Crape Myrtle (10)
300 East 74th Street, 16th Floor, NY, Vixen Office; a reception girl offered assistance kindly, “Let me check on the computer!” Linda’s name didn’t materialise.
A brown girl with afro curly hair reached to lean on the counter, “What is going on here?” She was six feet tall, slim like bone and ribbon-like moves.
“She’s looking for Linda Linz.”
“Linzy! Get the floppy disks, ’84-’85, she doesn’t work with us any longer.”
“Where can I find her?” asked Natalia.
“I’ll show you,” she flaunted to the lobby coffee table and returned holding a magazine with a full-length image of Linda Linz on its cover.
“That’s it, baby! She’s on every cover.”
Linda Linz looked gorgeous and shockingly hot. Toned and single, lean and skin – Lynyrd Skynyrd. “Free Bird!” Natalia muttered taken off the course, “There’s too many places I’ve got to see!” She felt hesitant to go to any of those high-class fashion offices.
“What exactly are you looking for?”
“A contact number, I have to reach her. I’m from Teep Lab, a private investigation firm in San Diego…”
“Oh! You’re not from here!”
“Is this serious?”
“It’s about a lost and found case. Some valuables belonging to her.”
Meanwhile, Stephanie got busy trying to find the model in the floppy disks.
“You know, they’re not going to give us a contact number but I can tell you where you might find her. First time in New York?”
“Don’t you like to come with us this evening?”
“Thanks, I’d love to.”
Three girls in Gina’s car drove from pub to pub in Midtown drinking and dancing. It was midnight when Gina came across her friends with a connection to Hearst. Alejandro said, “Here’s the number. She’s not answering. I can tell, she’ll be heading to the festival called ‘Circus in Corpus Christi’. Not precisely a circus but a beach party, music, techno dance…a rave. Lucas has been there.”
“Yeah, last year,” admitted Lucas who was filled to the top, “Takes place three times a year. Music, drugs, fun and girls…”
“Linda is one of the organisers,” added Marcus, “She bought a house in Corpus Christi. She’s a producer, supermodel, entrepreneur, you know, worth ten million dollars…”
“When is the party?” asked Natalia anxiously.
“What’s the location?”
“Balli Park. You want to go!” Lucas threw his arm around her shoulders, “Natty! Let’s get some fresh air!”
Gina echoed, “Go with him. Have some fun!”
Natalia picked her coat, “Some fun, duh!”
Lucas drove to his apartment house in Brooklyn. It was quite a night he faced some high drama. On top of the booze, he hastened to have sex with her, kissing and undressing hurriedly. Natalia dropped off her clothes to his beat. When she drew her pants down, she came armed with a gun.
“What!” cried Lucas, “What the hell are you? Holy Crap! You are a dude! Get out of here!”
Natalia ran down the steps to the roadside. It was dawn. She was standing in front of some rowhouses in the rain. She caught a cab that took her up the Brooklyn Bridge that she could tell. She arrived at 74th Street in Manhattan where she left her Bronco.
In a little apartment room on third floor at Off Road Inn where she could easily jump to an alley down the fire escape, in lower Manhattan, Natalia prepared for the trip to Corpus Christi. She bought a bunch of fancy clothes and magazines with Linda Linz pictures in them. From an interview in Redbook she read that Linda became a successful businesswoman and a fashion designer.
“At first I tried hard to enter as a model without a favourable outcome. I made a trip to Turks and Caicos, some British islands in the Atlantic, did a photo shoot on the beach. I made a break. Vixen magazine finding them encouraging put me on the cover,” Linda narrated, “Since then I’ve been in many fashion and lifestyle magazines.” Natalia heard that from Jeff Lonnell.
When asked for an advice to young girls about a career, she replied, “Take the risk! They roll to your feet like paper balls. Don’t kick them but pick them. There are few choices but many chances. For those who like choices and those who like chances.” She was an opportunist.
A cockroach hit the page. She growled in a low tone and flipped away. She saw the giant insect sitting on the table with its feelers roving. She folded the magazine and brushed down the surface. The roach ducked under and flew towards her. She shrieked like a girl, “Bitch!” She did again and the roach came right at her like an ACAS – airborne collision avoidance system in an aircraft – those antennas warn to dive.
“Stupid!” sobbed Natalia, “I still haven’t seen the skin of her!”
She had to start early to the south to look for the venue and get oriented. It could be hard to find. However, if Linda Linz bought a house, that could be traced. If she bought a house, she must also have a car.
She noted a slight oversight; Justin Carmen and Jacob Lawrence – she hadn’t collected enough material or a photograph. She called Enrique Cavanes, her assistant at Teep Lab, to obtain those company profiles.
“I’m about to call you,” said Enrique, “You’ve got a FedEx from Mr Jeff Lonnell, Chicago.”
“Open and tell me what’s in it,” she demanded.
Enrique cut open the package. “A Virago edition with your picture on its cover, documents and a letter. It says, original copy of the article ‘Nicotine Overdose’ and a photograph of the will.”
“Don’t touch!” cried Natalia, “Get fingerprints on them and mail the whole thing to Miss Valerie Burke, 86 Church Street, Charleston, South Carolina.”
“Who’s she?” he asked.
“Don’t ask. I’m going there in three days.”
Natalia called Valerie, “It’s me, Natalia.”
“Who?” asked Valeria vacantly.
“Excuse me for a moment!” she ran into the next room and whispered into the mouthpiece, “Call me back in five minutes. I have two guests checking in. Where are you?” She was keeping it underground.
Natalia fixed her layover in Charleston.
She walked to a beauty parlour in Chinatown to change her looks. It took over six hours to bleach and dye a natural black hair to a honeycomb that left her with a deep ombre of fringes of a sun-kissed look in a very first attempt.