Santa Monica Beach Tunnel
Excerpt From Chasing The Dime (Photo by Wendy Werris)
Pierce took the California Incline down to the coast highway and then north to the mouth of Santa Monica Canyon. He turned right on Channel and parked at the first meter he found open. He then got out of the BMW and walked back toward the beach, looking over his shoulder and about him every ten yards for followers. When he got to the corner he looked around once more and then quickly went down the stairs into the pedestrian tunnel that went under the highway to the beach.
The walls of the tunnel were a collage of graffiti, some of it recognized by Pierce even though it had been at least a year since he had walked through the tunnel. During happier times with Nicole it had been their routine to get the paper and coffee on Sunday mornings and take it all down to the beach. But in the last year Pierce was working on Proteus most Sundays and didn't have time for the beach.
On the other side the tunnel branched into two separate staircases leading up. He knew the further staircase came up on the sand right next to the drainage channel that emptied surface water runoff from the canyon into the ocean. He chose this stairway and came up into the sunlight to find the beach deserted. He saw the yellow lifeguard stand where he and Nicole would have their coffee and read the paper. It looked as abandoned as their Sunday ritual had become. He just wanted to see it, to remember it, before he went up the hill to her. After a while he turned back to the mouth of the tunnel and went back down the stairs.
A quarter way back through the sixty yard tunnel Pierce saw a man coming down the opposite staircase. Because of the light from above him, the man was in silhouette. Pierce was suddenly stricken with the thought of a confrontation with Renner in the tunnel. The cop had followed him and was here to arrest him.