Laetitia met her group in La Jolla (pronounced La Hoya), a lovely upscale seaside community a little north of San Diego. Raymond Chandler lived here toward the end of his writing career. Laetitia took her group to Balboa Park to the San Diego Zoo and gave them a few hours to go through it at their leisure before meeting at a designated location. As it neared time for the group to reassemble, one member of her group came back early. He told her his dream was to be the Raymond Chandler of the twenty-first-century and handed her his manuscript. Fortunately, the rest of her group returned and they all headed off to the Point Loma lighthouse before Laetitia had time to read more than the first paragraph:
“When Sue Smith married Kansas carpenter Sam Studfinder, she had no idea how aptly her newly acquired surname would suit their daughter, Stella, who would go on to survive a rebellious youth with only one illegitimate child. In Hollywood, Stella had used her marketable assets—a face that would make a lily wilt with envy and a penchant for marrying accident-prone men of means—to bankroll an escort service for lonely rich women. Her venture was so successful that she had soon accumulated a fortune large enough that she could afford to keep a pool boy for her birdbath. Now Stella was dead under mysterious circumstances. Just as I was drinking my first cup of coffee of the day and reading in the Times that Stella’s lawyer and alleged lover, Snively Scofflaw, was her sole beneficiary, her waif of a daughter turned up in my office after two days and nights on a bus from Kansas. When she tearfully begged for my assistance, I replied, perhaps prophetically, that I would help her or die trying.”
As near as Laetitia could tell, the new work resembled Raymond Chandler’s writing only in so far as it was written in the first person.
When the California Gold Rush dramatically increased the number of ships sailing its West Coast, the United States responded by building eight new lighthouses. Built in 1855, the Point Loma Lighthouse operated for 40 years before being replaced by a lighthouse closer to sea level that was more visible on foggy nights. The group visited the old lighthouse, which is 400 feet above sea level on the tip of Point Loma, before going off to dinner. They dined at a seaside restaurant with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. At a nearby table, a number of ladies from the Los Angeles area were gossiping about a friend named Ramona who had recently taken up yoga and liked to practice in her yard.
It shocked the whole town of Pomona
When doing yoga in public, Ramona
Raised her legs in the air
And proved to be bare
Naked beneath her kimono.