The Cinema Files
page 7, chapter 7
I sat at the little laptop, a pile of files at my feet, a small container of pecan ripple ice cream on the desk beside me, and my back refusing to straighten up. I had left the video store and gone right to my aunt's storage unit. I needed to figure something out about these murders. I couldn't help it, but for some reason, I felt those two drownings were connected. I just had no idea how to prove it yet. And I wanted to do it away from the apartment. Rudolph had talked about nothing on the way home, but he had his reporter face on. I know, because my aunt used to have the same face when she was figuring out a story for the newspaper. A blank stare, knitted eyebrows, mindless mumbling under her breath when she was adding up facts and untangling motives. That random gasp of air where her eyes would go really wide for a few heartbeats while her hands hovered in midair. Then the quick and curt excuse to leave. Rudolph didn't get as far as the gasp for air and hovering hands, we made it back to the apartment building before he could. On top of that, the good night was very awkward. All the flirty behaviour he'd had during dinner had mysteriously melted away, leaving him a zombie like puddle of inner thoughts. Much like my ice cream was doing. Wiping the wet dripping rings of meltedness off my desk, I let out a deep sigh.
"Coffee..." I spoke out loud to myself as I got up from the desk and went over to the little fold out card table near the door. Opening the coffee tin, I let my shoulders drop. It was empty. I think I actually pouted for a second before putting the lid on the tin and letting it back in it's spot. My eyes grazed the title of one of the crime novels but my brain wasn't registering what it was. I was too busy arguing with myself about going out to get coffee or staying for another hour. Crossing back to the desk, I reached for another of the napkins I had there, wiping more of the melted ice cream off the edge of the desk, the container it appeared had a small hole in the bottom. "Of course it does." I said again out loud to the wall. Getting back up, I tossed it into the waste basket, my hands sticky from it. I was out of napkins. Reaching for the small pad of note paper, I decided nothing to do but sacrifice a couple to clean my hands. That's when I noticed the playing card. The three of diamonds, with the numbers 413 written on it. Nothing else. Nothing to indicate if it was a time, a date or an address or what? "Well, you're a clue." I said picking it up and examining it. "But what to? Huh little card?" I stopped stared at the map over the desk sighing deeply. "Okay time to go for a walk. Get some fresh air, grab a coffee." My gaze shot to the corkboards sitting on the floor a few feet away. I thought the card needed to be saved where I could see it. There were no extra tacks for the boards, and I didn't see any on the desk. The little drawer on the side of the desk which one would expect to have office supplies, didn't. As I rummaged through it, I found an old photo of my aunt Jackie when she was in college. There was a day planner under it, sticky notes and folded clippings sticking out of it. Half of them recipes. I'd forgotten she'd subbed for the recipe of the week column her first year on the job. The papers were so golden yellow with age. I smirked to myself. Even in the beginning she had added her trademark little red stars to them. I looked again at them. Only five had stars, all the ones written with EJL in the byline. My stomach growled forcing me to grab my purse and sweater leaving the storage unit for the moment.
"That will be about 15 minutes." the pizza guy said taking my order. I nodded and said I'd be back to get it as I headed to the dollar store across the street. They were closing in less than that, and I had fully intended on heading back to the storage unit for the next few hours. Grabbing a package of thumbtacks and pens, I spotted the corkboards at the end of the row. I thought, why not? What's one more in that already over cramped space right? Grabbing the largest they had, I proceeded to the snacks shelf, picking up paper towels, a handful of chocolate bars, and a small container of coffee. I was about to check out when the newspaper caught my eye. The restaurant death was the lead story, written by Rudolph of course. Grabbing one, I paid for my loot and headed back out to the pizza place.
Tune in again for another installment of the Cinema Files, starring your heroine...me(straight up story. Ah, Reporter Face; I know it well.)