"It was a real seedy hotel," Gross recalls. "Broken bottles. Weird people."
At one point, Gross made the mistake of calling Karpov the world champion. "I'm still the world champion," snapped Fischer. "Karpov isn't. My friends still consider me champion. They took my title from me."
By 1982, Fischer was living in a nicer neighborhood in Los Angeles. Gross began picking him up and letting him off at a bus stop at Wilshire Boulevard and Fairfax, near an East Indian store where Bobby bought herbal medicines.
That March, on the fishing trip to Ensenada, Fischer got seasick, and he treated himself by sniffing a eucalyptus-based medicine below deck. Fischer astonished Gross with the news about his teeth. Fischer talked about a friend who had a steel plate in his head that picked up radio signals.
"If somebody took a filling out and put in an electronic device, he could influence your thinking," Fischer said. "I don't want anything artificial in my head."
"Does that include dental work?" asked Gross.
"Yeah," said Bobby. "I had all my fillings taken out some time ago."
"There's nothing in your cavities to protect your teeth?"
Gross dropped the subject for the moment, but later he got to thinking about it and, while taking a steam bath in a health spa in Cerritos, he asked Fischer if he knew how bacteria worked, warning him that his teeth could rot away. "As much as you like to eat, what are you going to do when your teeth fall out?" asked Gross.