Crape Myrtle (4)
Days later, Natalia stopped at East Main Street outside the address of Hulsen & Quinn Attorneys at Law standing in front of a church. A three-storey house with tinted glass windows in the façade. A grey building with black frames. She collected information about the agency from Madison City Clerk’s Office near Wisconsin State Capitol. H&Q was basically a personal injury law firm.
She parked in the shade of a big tree standing by the opposite corner and sat for hours snapping pictures. Few people passed the entrance.
She booked in at Hotel Ruby where she faced too many questions about an identification problem over her eccentric looks or Asian origin and that she belonged to San Diego. Natalia learnt that this place was run by some conservative walled in a blue state so inclined to mistrust the liberals. She moved out next day and booked a room at Doubletree Hilton paying the double.
Natalia entered H&Q house and enquired at the reception. The girl asked, “Do you have an appointment?”
Natalia replied, “I’m from Teep Lab, Intel Service, San Diego, looking for information.”
“Who do you want to talk to?”
“Aleric Hulsen or Jadon Quinn,” she passed her business card.
“That’s right,” she uttered, “It’s quite important. A property related matter of a client by the name Thomas Avon Cyril.”
“Please wait!” The counter girl used an intercom phone. Then a door opened and a mature woman dressed in a white suit came out.
“Mr Quinn will see you for five minutes. He has a very tight schedule, I’m afraid,” expressed the lady.
Natalia followed the lady into a huge room with a mahogany table and vintage furniture. A tall white man with brown eyes goggled at her. Finally, he spoke, “What is that you want?” His tone wasn’t welcoming.
“Mr Thomas Avon Cyril. Was he anytime a client of yours?” asked Natalia.
“Why do you want to know?”
“I want to find about his property in Charleston. Any information with this regard.”
“Why don’t you ask him?” Jadon Quinn began to pull on his coat.
“I will. It seems you represented him.”
“No. He wasn’t our client.”
“Here’s a photograph.”
“Young lady! I don’t know who sent you here. I’m not going to talk about any of our clients unless you show me a valid reason. Miss Jenel, please!”
“If I may ask,” continued Natalia, “do you know Mr Thomas Cyril?”
He picked the photograph and glanced at it for a moment and replied calmly, “I don’t remember knowing him. What’s this all about?” He stood a foot above her.
“My client is interested in the property.”
“Well, you’re at the wrong place. Now, if you will please excuse me!” He returned the photograph. Natalia recently printed this card. Got no fingerprint except hers and now his.
Jenel opened the door and Natalia stepped out. There was something in his tone that told her Quinn was not telling the truth. She was literally in the blind and got no knowledge to proceed with a dialect. At least, she half succeeded the reason she came; for exposure.
Quinn told Jenel, “Call Doherty and get me some pictures of this visitor from the security camera.”
Five in the afternoon, Jenel came out of H&Q and took a stroll down Main Street to turn left on Franklin St. She continued on foot. Natalia climbed down from the car and followed her. Jenel walked half a mile up Franklin Street to an affordable house with a green painted gable and window frames.
After five minutes, Natalia clambered the steps and knocked the door. “It’s me again,” she said.
“It is you!” returned Jenel in shock, “Why do you come here?”
“I think you can tell if Thomas Cyril…”
“Come inside,” Jenel interrupted, “I am afraid, I cannot tell much.”
“I have to find a source to connect to the Cyrils. I do feel Mr Quinn is hiding something. Perhaps, you can help.”
The lady replied, “I can tell you that Mr Thomas Cyril is not our client but I remember a meeting with him and his half-brother with some others, six years ago, over a property and it took place at the office. No idea how it ended. There are no records and nothing typed. In some meetings I don’t have to sit down and take down notes. I understand their father left a will with a law firm.
“A month later, I read in a Milwaukee paper that this half-brother, Savon Martin, committed suicide. And there is something very disturbing,” she searched a rack and picked a magazine, “This article in Virago appeared two years later claiming it was ‘murder’ over a concession that failed.”
“Did the police look into this?” she browsed the page under the heading; ‘Nicotine Overdose’.
“I don’t know. That was 1983 he died.”
“I believe I’ve seen this paper…Journal Sentinel. He died in Milwaukee, then?”
“So, there’s someone who knew!”
“That will be my guess.”
“Thank you. I see this is a good start.”
“Please keep it for yourself. And remember, they are watching you.”
“I bet. I will not bother you.”
Natalia backtracked to her car parked on Main Street. Her brain stormed over the camera case where she found copies of Virago, the Milwaukee Journal and other papers that described Savon Martin’s death. She kept the case in the car. All came back to her mind. She recollected well that it was a different edition of Virago in the camera case. Natalia felt optimistic to put the pieces together.