Friday, September 14, 2012

Now Playing: Save The Girl!
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Episode Six of Save the Girl!

Episode Five concluded with:

             He motioned for Rance to follow him down a long hallway, towards the sounds of a piano and a female voice singing the scales. The detective reckoned Floyd wouldn’t mind a question. “Has there been any trouble?”
            “Nothin’ serious. Reporters try ta barge in and some guys look at a picture of the Songbird of the West and get kinda nutty; nothin’ too bad. They don’t mean no harm. But Mr. McLeod wants Miss Whiting ta be safe, so I’m here as a butler and bodyguard. I ain’t so good at the butler part yet, but Mr. McLeod don’t mind as long as I’m a gentleman. By gentleman, he don’t mean knowin’ which fork goes where, he means--”
            “I know what he means, Floyd.”

Episode Six

They reached the end of the hallway and entered a large elegantly furnished room. The room was tidy except for the far left side, which contained a piano. Sheet music lay scattered over the top of the piano and a table that sided it. Carrie sat at the key board playing and singing the scales. She stopped and smiled at the two men who had entered.
            “Miss Whiting, Mr. Dehner is here.”
            Carrie stood up and began to walk toward her guest and her butler. “Thank you, Floyd.”
            Floyd started to leave, then turned around. “Ah, Miss Whiting, would ya like me to get Lilly ta make--”
            “Lilly has already made the coffee,” she gestured to a small, ornate table on the neat side of the room. “We’ll be fine, thank you.”
            Floyd nodded his head and hurried off. Carrie watched him with an affectionate smile. “When I first moved into this house, I didn’t know how I could live with two people always around. Now, I can’t imagine getting by without Lilly and Floyd. You know, they’ve been happily married for eleven years.”
That last statement sounded wistful, and for a moment Carrie’s eyes glanced out the back window and a view of lush trees. She quickly returned her glance to Dehner.  “Lilly and Floyd are going to New York with me.” 
            “I didn’t know you were going to New York.”
            “Yes, the show I am rehearsing right now opens in New York next week. We’ll be leaving in two days. But you and I have more important things to discuss.” The singer again gestured toward the ornate table. “We can talk over here.”
            At the table, Carrie lifted a carafe made of fine china, placed a finger on the lid to hold it in place, and poured coffee into two cups. She handed one to Dehner. “Care for some sugar, or cream?”
            “No thanks.”
            “I’m with you. I like the taste of coffee.”
            They settled into two comfortable chairs on different sides of the table. Carrie got to the point. “George McLeod was here earlier with my lawyer, Brad Simons. They’ve learned a lot. The company that distributes Godey’s Lady’s Book in Dallas was following a common procedure when they placed those flyers in the magazine.”
            Dehner nodded his head. “The distributors sell local advertising for national publications this way. They can even place flyers only in magazines that are being delivered to certain neighborhoods. My guess: the flyers you’re worried about went to the poorer neighborhoods.” 
            “What does your lawyer say about bringing action against the Philip Richardson Talent Agency? After all, they lied in the advertisement when they claimed to have represented you.”
            Carrie sipped her coffee and gave her shoulders a quick shrug. “Mr. Simons claims there is not much we can do. He exchanged telegrams with Philip Richardson. Mr. Richardson is sending him a letter apologizing for what he calls a mistake and promising not to use my name again. Brad Simons believes most judges would be satisfied with that.” The young woman’s voice turned angry, “I wish most judges would talk to Anna Martino.”
            “Were you able to get that picture for me?” Dehner asked.
            “Yes.” She picked up a large envelope on the table, carefully extracted a photograph, and handed it to Rance. “This was taken two years ago when the Martinos opened their store. Maria is the only girl in her family. She was thirteen at the time.”
            Dehner studied the photo carefully. Five well dressed people were standing outside a building with a large sign proudly proclaiming, Martino’s Groceries. Two were boys, both under ten, both looking restless as they stood militarily-erect beside their father. Mr. Martino had a thick mustache and a glum expression, and held a derby in his right hand.  Anna Martino stood beside him, the smile on her face more nervous than happy.
            Only Maria Martino, standing on the other side of her mother, seemed to be enjoying the experience. Her entire face looked radiant. The girl appeared out of place, not only with the rest of her family but with the entire drab neighborhood. Rance thought about Maria’s days. She went to school, where according to her mother she did well, and then the girl returned home to help out in the store. There was homework before going to bed.
            And through it all, Maria Martino had dreamed the dreams of the young. Some despicable snakes had taken advantage of those dreams. They now had Maria.

Monday: Episode Seven of Save the Girl!