“…a beautiful doll had come and gone.”
Tony Resolvo – Private Ojo
She turned and left, her high heels calling me a heel all the way down the stairs. To tell you the truth, I didn’t know what to think. Was I losing a well-off client or a bien loca?
I spent the next week thinking of her. But it went from wondering about a questionable client now gone to wondering about what a beautiful doll had come and gone. The only other person to visit me was George Itazmo, detective, Los Angeles Police and former partner of mine. George was one of those personas Jung referred to as petrified pillars of the past. George will be trying to solve a crime his last day, his last moment on earth with no change in method or approach.
“You’ll be crying to come back soon,” he said as he sat on the same chair the angel had occupied. He didn’t fill it nearly as well. Still, I listened to what he had to say. “You gave up a pension for this?”
He waved his hand around the room, his face frozen in a tragic grimace, much like the mask of Melpomene, the Greek Muse of tragedy as he tossed his Fedora on my desk as if to emphasize my sad state.
“It takes a while to get rolling. Word of mouth, you know.”
“Word of mouth is that you soon will be begging to be reinstated.”
“No, I like being free.”
“Free? Looks like you’re a slave. To poverty,” he said, now looking around the office just like…then it hit me like a sack of frijoles to the head. I didn’t know the dazzling woman’s name. I have to ask for names. Names are important in my business.
“I didn’t get her name,” I cried to the world, which happened to be represented by police detective George I. at the moment.
“Who is that?” he asked, ever the detective.
“My first client.”
“You have one?”
“Can you blame me?”
“Did her husband get himself lost and now she wants you to bring him back hog tied?”
“Her daughter ran away con un mariachi sin vergüenza?”
“She is a missing person but can’t remember who she belongs to?”
“To whom she belongs. No.”
“She found a man’s cold body in her bedroom and wants you to justify it being in her bedroom?”
“Close. She doesn’t want to be a cold body in her bedroom.”
George looked at me and I could hear the rusty tornillos turning in his head, rusted from all that Kentucky bourbon he had downed over the years. Then the light turned on in his alcohol-soaked head.
“You mean, someone tried to kill her?”
“No. He just whispered in one of her pretty ears that he would love to do that.”
“I have to get back. Still trying to nail a bartender and his pal who pushed some wanna-be-actress over a cliff at the end of Franklin in Hollywood. All because she didn’t want to do a romantic scene with one of them in the back seat of a car. But first, I’m going to get me a big ham sandwich at the Grand Central Market. Come along, I’ll buy.” He said this while again examining my surroundings.
“Thanks but I have to find clients. Tell you what, once I’m on my feet, we’ll go get some Barbacoa at the Azteca Restaurant on Main Street. It’s been a couple of years since I been there. And I’ll buy.”
He got up, paused then he looked at me with what looked like disenchantment. He then put on his Fedora and headed for the door then turned for a postscript.
He left without telling me why.
So, here I was once more alone with my problema. Should I treat this spooky woman as a victim or vampire? I needed a drink. I put on my own Fedora, grabbed my coat and headed for the door. Standing there as if materializing upon demand was the victim. Or vampire.
She, framed by the doorway again, looked at me with a smirk. Ordinarily, smirks count a lot from a wonderful-looking gal, but at the moment, I got nervous. Her smirk shot out from under another wide-brimmed hat, this one pink.
“You’re back,” I croaked in uncertain complaint.
“I came back to see if you wanted me.”
She said this while repeating her walk toward me wherein she unloaded all her sex had to offer in a walk. Her hips moved from north to south and back, while the black dress she had on was doing a dance of its own.
“It’s not a question of possessing,” I said in a fatherly tone, “it’s a question if I can help you.”
“Sure you can. Someone from long ago has come back and for some silly reason is trying to kill me.”
She stared at me as if expecting an answer quickly and expecting it to be the right one. I was at a loss. Then it hit me like the sweet aroma of a Banana Daiquiri. I could just tell her my fees, ask her name, address and anything else that came to mind. That would call her bluff. I put on my own smirk before I spoke then I proceeded to do so.
“By the way, what is your name?”
“Carmen Fiolencia,” she shot back without hesitation.
“Oh, yeah?” I said with a frown, wondering if it was her name or one she had just pulled out of the city air.
“What’s wrong with it? You don’t seem to like it.”
“I think it’s a swell name, but—“
She laid her purse on my desk with a thud and sat down empathically on my one client chair. I accepted her challenge and sat with a firm thump on my own chair. She pulled out a utility bill and handed it to me. It reflected her name and her address on Lorena Street. She then pulled out her driver’s license which also reflected the same name and address. I tried to look at the birth date but she pulled it away before I could. None of these documents had her photograph so I could not match her face to any of them.
The brim of her pink hat now shadowed her eyes but their brilliance shot out like two rounds from a .38 Special.
Okay,” I said, trying to regain control, “there is the question of money.”
“Money?” she said as if it were a new concept she had to familiarize herself with. The two blazing bolts from under her hat went dark. I assumed she had her eyes down in shame for being broke. I began to feel sorry for her, thinking of a way to tell her that she would have to move to another part of the planet to avoid being murdered, which would be cheaper than hiring me.
For Installment 1, click: Tommy-WhisperofDeath
Tommy Villalobos, an inveterate serial thriller writer, regales us with another of his novel affairs, set as usual in Los Angeles and its environs, filled with characters larger and funnier than life drawn from the streets and callejones of the City of Angels (and Devils). His first of five novels, Lipstick con Chorizo, was serialized in Somos en escrito ala Carlos Dickens. He lives incognito in northern Califas.