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Friday, September 4, 2009

"... when the rain washes you clean you'll know ..."

Reprinted from MySpace

Cory Daye Desmond liked beer.

She liked big amber glasses of beer, and she liked to sing "Black Velvet" by Alannah Myles. She was a lean white girl who -- unbeknownst to me -- had a degree in criminal justice. I didn't know that because as far as I knew, she was a bartender and regular customer at my bar.

She never came early. Probably showing up after her shifts, she always showed up no earlier than 11PM and often much later, too late to get a song in. She hung out with a really rowdy girl named Britney who I saw suck face with one of my bar's bartenders on a table with everybody cheering. Britney was the one who got all the attention, while Cory played the background.

Once she came up to me confused about what to sing, because she'd had some problem with a guy. She didn't want to do anything slow, fearing the upbeat crowd would turn on her. I wagged my finger in her face. "Sing what makes you happy," I told her. She did, a ballad that let her rich contralto/mezzo-soprano voice shine, and people cheered even as she worked through her pain.

She was quick to smile and laughed like a big ol' guy, but I always thought there was a dark cloud hanging around her temples. I never shared many words with her -- she didn't sing much and I don't stray too far from my mixer -- but I could tell there was nothing really wrong with her. She wasn't a jerk, she wasn't a sloppy drunk, she wasn't a pest. For me as a karaoke host, that's good enough to get a favorable impression in my mind.

She wasn't exactly a regular at Sully's, but she'd been there often enough in my three or so years of hosting the Thursday night show that I knew her name when she showed and I recognized her by sight. I came to think of her like I'd think of Red or Q or any of the people who've come to be the regular cast members in the show's credits in my mind. So when Britney came in on Thursday and told me that Cory's body had been found in a roadside snowbank in the San Bernardino hills it kind of shook me. She looked younger than her 28 years, a virtual babe to my gray haired perspective. She was apparently bludgeoned to death, the victim of blunt force trauma. From reports, she'd left work and was on her way to visit Britney after their shifts ended on Valentine's night.

Britney sang "Black Velvet" for Cori, remembering how disappointed the girl would be if someone had sang it before she arrived. The next chance I got, I did "It's So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday," and several people came up to me to thank me for it. Apparently, she had many friends and fans.

Cori was trying to find her way like many people in their twenties. She never got a chance to figure out which way to go. I don't know anything about the crime, about why somebody would snuff her out like a scented candle, about what happened between the video footage of her walking, alone, out of the Redondo Beach bar where she worked at 2:30AM. I know that bad things happen, and I'm sorry for her loss. Anedge hirak Cori Daye Desmond.

Listening (Music): "Dreams" by Fleetwood Mac


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