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Assisi & Brannan #10: The Smell of Wet Grass

Apr 1, 2014

Waiting is tough for me but when you get paid to wait around it isn’t so bad. I was parked on the Embarcadero waiting for the group dining at The Slanted Door.

My mind started to drift back to the events of the past days. Between writing short pieces on local news and working on a follow up to the Sarah Dinh story, I haven’t had much time to think. There were a few things that didn’t paint the same picture Gene had painted for me.

One of the Dinhs’ neighbors I spoke to, Betsy Fuller, had said that Sarah Dinh often went out in the evening. Betsy watered her lawn in the early evening with a portable sprinkler that she moved around and often stayed out to enjoy the evening and the smell of wet grass. She actually said, wet grass.

I had stopped by to see Betty again on my way up to Sam’s.

“There’s one thing I forgot to mention but I don’t think that means anything,” she said. “It was so hot that night that I slept badly. I woke up because I was restless. It was 2 p.m. and the Land Rover was pulling out. It is Gene’s car. I thought Sarah was home and so I didn’t think much about it. They would never leave the children alone at home. They are so young.”

It was something Gene said the last time as I was leaving that stuck with me. I had made a note of it, “Sarah can never leave her children.” It was like the movie, Memento, where the notes don’t make much sense when you read them again but you had written them for a reason.

Finally, no large withdrawals had been made from any of Sarah’s or Gene’s bank accounts. This Peter Hunter hinted at. It was not a formal statement by the police.

In the end the story wasn’t adding up the same way the facts were which is what kept bothering me.

“Hey!” Thor’s Hammer pounded my window.

“How’s it going?”

It was that Rotini-pasta asshole.

I rolled down my window.

“Thought I’d stop by. Say hello.”


“I recognize Sam’s limo and I thought to myself I should say hello to a fellow professional. You’re working tonight? Me, too. It’s a great night.”

“Yeah. It’s a great night.”

“How long you here for?”

“Only another hour.”

“Oh, you got time. Come let me get you a drink. Non-alcohol, of course. Leave the car. It’s not going anywhere. I’m right there.”

He opened the door.

So I spent the next hour with Fuz drinking Perrier.  He used to work in construction and told me about developing Bayview-Hunters Point.  His two kids kept him busy with their sports.  He never missed a game.

“If you need anything just call me.  I got some friends who are PIs.  They can look into anything.  If anyone bothers you, you just let me know.  You’re a good kid and, hey, I take care of my friends.”

© Jocelyn Uma 2014. All Rights Reserved.