Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)



First Committee Member

Pablo Medina

Number of Pages



We open in Venice Beach, with the hung-over Skids Poppe (30's). Skids, a former biker, is now a cult journalist for a variety of magazines. He still retains his dubious friends, one of which, Guantanamo Bey (30's), is an ex-military loafer who's sleeping on Skids' floor. Skids refers to Guantanamo as his "faithful sidekick." So, when another old friend, Bernie, calls Skids up and says he needs help, Skids and Guantanamo figure they'll get a free breakfast out of it at their favorite hang-out, the Sidewalk Cafe, a Venice Beach landmark; Skids says he knows better, but he still agrees to help Bernie when it turns out his friend is a suspect in a murder case. Bernie has gone legit and now owns a successful bar on Main Street called the Cup of Fools. He is making so much money that his accountant, Marty, has suggested some kind of investment in which they could take a loss. So, when Bernie's bartender Ja Alweighz, wanted money to direct his first film, Body Mechanics, Marty said it would be a good investment, even if they didn't show a profit; Bernie loaned Ja {dollar}150,000 and gave him a signature card for the account. The movie started shooting, everything was fine. Then, Ja took {dollar}80,000 out of the account at one time and disappeared. Two days later, he wound up dead, floating in the Venice Canals. Since it was from Bernie the money was stolen from, he is bound to be a suspect. Bernie wants Skids to find out who really killed Ja. Skids agrees, reluctantly, for the normal fee of {dollar}200 a day plus expenses (at least Skids thinks this is normal); Skids' first move is to get Bernie out of town and sends him to Las Vegas to stay with Skids' sister, Brandy. Then Skids goes to Bernie's bar to try and talk to the other people who work there, including Ja's former girlfriend, August Everywhere (20's) She's the beautiful lead singer in the house band, Bridemaid's Protocol; In the bar, Skids orders a drink which he sends to August. She agrees to see him after her set. After prompting, she recognizes his name from some of his articles. Skids, meanwhile, is smitten with August and so takes a while to get to his agenda..her dead ex-boyfriend; Eventually, she tells him they broke up a few days earlier and he asked to see her the night before he was killed. She turned him down because she was mad at him for sleeping with her best friend and band mate, Spring Thyme; Though August and Skids stay up all night talking, it's Spring who calls him first and agrees to tell her side of the story. Skids doesn't like her nor believes her story that Ja was blackmailing her in exchange for not telling August about their affair. He doesn't get much else out of her and, of course, gets stuck with the check; When he gets home that morning, Guantanamo tells him August called and wants to see him that night. She had found a key to Ja's apartment and knew Skids wanted a copy of Ja's shooting script. Before he meets August, though, Skids leaves messages for Bernie's girlfriend, Gina, and Marty, the accountant; Skids is pretty shocked when he and August get to Ja's apartment and find Gina inside..dead. August screams so loudly when they find the body, Skids has to call the police, since he knows they're coming anyway. While they wait for the cops, Skids prints out all of Ja's files on the film and pilfers a script. The cops act tough, wanting to hold them for something. But ultimately, they have to let the couple go. August is impressed with Skids' cool act. They go for another walk and Skids finds out more about Ja. August tells him that Ja was traveling back and forth to Las Vegas and even gave her contact information for when he was out of town. During this, Skids and August have their first kiss, but August won't let Skids come home with her; After he drops her off, Skids discovers August has left her day planner in his saddle bag. He can't resist looking up the night Ja was killed to check her alibi. According to her schedule, August was playing a kid's birthday party. Relieved, he sets his sights on Ja's movie materials. Among other interesting things, he finds two budgets: One which matched the numbers Bernie had mentioned and one much larger. Skids realizes his next course of action is to visit the set of Body Mechanics. (Abstract shortened by UMI.).


Culture; Novel; Original writing; Poppe

Controlled Subject

American literature

File Format


File Size

4003.84 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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