He was easy to track down. Their house kind of stands out. When I arrived He was working round the side of the property. We chatted for a few minutes before things really got going. One of the stipulations Albert laid down was that he wouldn’t let me speak with his wife. He told me she didn’t see anything and with her hearing not being as acute as it used to be I would be wasting my time.
One thing Janelle did do for me was make cheese and ham sandwiches. I was only there for a little under twenty minutes in total but I got practically force fed! Their place isn’t anything more than and old house for old people but they have lived there for years and have apparently seen Barstow grow.
That statement surprised me. If the Barstow of today has grown I’m thankful I never got to see what it used to be like.
I asked Albert what roused him. What noise got his attention?
“See, we were sleeping. Up back. Jan sleeps like a log, always has done really. There ain’t much can get her up from a slumber. Not even me sometimes! Hell, I struggle waking her in the winter mornings. See, I make breakfast, outta habit. I used to always be up with the cock when I was a working man… I guess the thing that got me was voices. It was late. We don’t get folk round here much. After dusk the only things moving are coyotes. The voices woke me up. I heard two. A man and a woman.”
I asked Albert what he did when he heard the voices.
“Got up! I was out on the stoop in one minute flat.”
I asked what he saw, what was out there?
“Two young folks. A guy. I couldn’t see what the other was. Don’t rightly know if it was a guy or a girl. What ever they was they was looking real suspicious. Out in here in the dead of night. There was smoke in the air. Like an almighty barbeque. Jan stirred so I called back inside to hush her up. I couldn’t see far, see my eyes are shot, so I called the fire department.”
I probed Albert for more. All he was open for talking about that had bearing on the events was:
“The police department found a car way up in the boonies. I got told by the time they fire department got there it was all but burned out on itself. They spent the night driving round the area looking for whoever set it going. I told them about the two I saw. They sent a car up all over this side of town. I don’t think they found a soul. Someone told me they found a cruiser a few days later. Washed up in a ditch on the south side of town. I ain’t got no idea ‘bout that. If you ask me anyone out walking at night in the dark is up to no good. They ain’t never going to catch him. We get so many strays here from Las Vegas and Los Angeles. I don’t think they care no more ‘bout catching them.”