Save the Girl! 1
Monday, September 17, 2012
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Save the Girl! 1
Save the Girl! 1
Episode Six concluded with:
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.
Rance handed the picture back. “Thank Anna for me. Seeing the picture will help.” He leaned forward, a strong undercurrent of determination in his voice. “And tell Anna I will get her daughter back.” Dehner related his experiences that morning at the Palace Theater.
After hearing Dehner’s account, Carrie stood up and began to walk about the room slowly caressing her hands. “The stage is such a strange taskmaster. It can give you a beautiful life or it can throw you into perdition.”
Rance also stood up; like the singer he was feeling restless. “No one is throwing Maria into perdition. I’m leaving for Alcott in the morning.”
Carrie looked at Rance, a fierceness in her eyes. “I know the kind of people you are going after. Do whatever you have to.”
The detective’s voice was toneless. “If I have to kill to get Maria back, I will.”
The Songbird of the West stared at Dehner for a moment, then spoke to him in a whisper. “Do you recall any of the conversations we had back in that small town?”
“I recall every moment I’ve spent with you, Miss Whiting.”
Carrie continued to speak in a whisper. “I told you that being a singer is lonely and isolating, but that it has such magnificent moments, I could never give it up. The expression that came onto your face, Mr. Dehner, when you told me what you’d do to get Maria back…you could never stop being what you are, either. I guess we’re two very strange, hopeless people. But I’m very happy that I know you, Rance Dehner.”
“And I am very happy to know the Songbird of the West.”
The two continued to look at each other as if something else needed to be said but neither one of them could quite decipher it. Finally, Dehner managed a, “I should be going now.”
“When you get back, I’ll be on my way to New York,” there was an odd wave of sadness in Carrie’s voice.
“I’ll hand in my full report to the McLeod Agency. I’ll telegraph you about Maria.”
“Yes…of course…that will be fine.” Carrie looked at the detective with confusion in her eyes. Those eyes went downward when she spoke again. “Good bye, Mr. Dehner.”
“Good bye, Miss Whiting.” Dehner nodded politely and left the room. Outside, he felt an overwhelming urge to go back and speak to Carrie Whiting. He stopped in the hallway, but he couldn’t think of a single word to say to a young woman who was the most beloved singer in the nation. He continued his walk down the hall, pausing only for a quick “thank you” as Floyd handed him his hat at the door.
Years later, he would wonder what might have happened if he had only turned and gone back.
Tomorrow: Episode Eight of Save the Girl!