Crape Myrtle (14)
Carol entered the patch followed by a stranger. Natalia dashed into the side yard for cover. There wasn’t a stake to hide behind but to jump over the fence to the front yard and enter the house through the arch door.
“Good Morning!” she heard him greet.
“Good Morning, Jose! What have you got?” asked Linda wrapping a towel. Carol flexed a folding chair for him to sit.
“I have good news today, Linzy,” expressed Jose, “Realtor called to say his client taken interest in another property. You can have the Playa Del Rey.”
“Really!” Linda uttered, “Do you mean the whole lot?” Natalia stepped closer to the wall by the corner with hands covering her stiffy and listened.
“Forty-nine thousand square feet,” he continued, “That is 1.24 acres. 140 in width and 350 to water and a six-bedroom house.”
“Show me!” demanded Linda.
Jose spread a chart, “Same price and one month in the market.”
“I was thinking west of the highway!”
“This is east of the drive, north of the highway.”
“What about east, I mean west?”
“Plenty of options,” replied Jose, “several spaces in the west. Few on the east.”
“Of course. This Playa Del Rey area has the best soil. You saw the grass and trees! East reclaimed bed isn’t rich enough. This is the best bargain.”
“I’d need calm waters for the boat.”
“This is exactly it. Packery Channel…”
“I’d like to take another look,” said Linda, “Let’s make it five this afternoon!”
“Good,” and Jose left.
When the coast was clear, Natalia ran across the patch, grabbed the pickets and popped her head into the neighbour’s yard, “Hello!” her voice low and gruff.
The girl with dyed red hair retreated halfway towards the house but she turned and yelled out, “I saw it!” She wore the widest mouth Natalia ever saw. She was the singer.
Linda Linz actually wanted to buy a waterfront property in Padre Island, as Natalia overheard. It could be in a price range between five and ten hundred thousand dollars. Playa Del Rey enclave in North Padre Island lying south of Packery Channel could hold the most expensive real estate lots.
Natalia Phol returned to the motel and changed to Muay Thai outfit. She arrived before five and stopped on Archvale Drive in view of 906. Linda was home as she could tell since her white Corvette Roadster with a white and red Wisconsin license plate, LNZ-616, was parked in the front yard.
Shortly, Linda and Carol climbed the convertible and drove away. Natalia dismounted the bike and entered the cul-de-sac, clambered over the fence to the side yard. Reached the backdoor and forced entry into the house.
Linda was not a tidy person and the kitchen bit messy. Natalia had seen the inside. She climbed the stairs to the master bedroom. None of the curtains were drawn. Light entered through the square grid panels. Linda took the camcorder but she left the camera on the bed. Natalia pressed rewind and listened to the whistle of its motor. She popped the back cover and took the film assuming it was the cartridge used to take her photos.
Linda’s dressing table was big and fully stocked, not neat either. She stole a couple of perfume bottles. Of course, after mining fingerprints, she’d use them. Linda won’t even know they were missing. She also picked two pieces of dirty underwear. Of course, not to be used even after she could obtain a DNA someday.
She searched the closet. Most of her clothes were dumped inside. It was a mess. She rushed her search and found a pile of mail in a drawer. None was open and with some address in New York. She snapped some photos of random picks spread on the bed. She wasted a good forty minutes upstairs finding no lead.
She climbed down and entered the maid’s room with boxes stuffed on the linoleum floor. Switched on the light and dug into the boxes containing magazines of all kinds. To her astonishment, she pulled out a vintage ring binder album with black kraft pages in good shape. Black and white photographs with ornately cut edges mounted with photo corners. Some loose and some with captions on a side or at the bottom and penned with a fading silver ink.
This was the album of Mia Crape that passed on to Sophia Crape-Martin to Sidney Martin to Savon Martin. Where’s the will? Signals sparked at 265 mph in the brain. First thought came to steal the album. Next, she’d better photograph every page. She had to find the will and the missing parts in the camera case like a link to the needle and syringe or a Databack. Linda would have kept a pile of papers if she dug Crape-Myrtle like she did. She would probably know who killed Savon Martin…hang loose!
Natalia began to take photographs of every page of the album. After that, she sat on the floor to pick very carefully which photographs to steal. She picked a photo of Howard Crape who fled to Texas and married another woman. A picture of Mia Crape with two other girls on a stage doing a Charleston dance. Some family photos of Mia and Howard with their children. Numerous photos of Sophia Crape both in Charleston and in Baton Rouge.
Natalia wondered why was the album in Linda’s possession. Either she stole it or Savon Martin gave it for some security reason. She couldn’t find the will. Now that she forced an entry but couldn’t steal an album…the only lead to the mystery. How miserable!
Light was fading. Two hours passed. Natalia had to get out fast before Linda comes home. She returned all the things into the boxes and left 906 Maurus Circle.