"Cut!" The director screamed. He ran onto the movie set and stared at the lost man in a tacky detective costume. The director was a head shorter than most actors, but his stare was fierce. "I told you for God knows how many times, read your script as it is WRITTEN!"
"But real detectives don't say things like 'What were you doing at the time of the murder.' It's a straight give away to the suspect that a murder had taken place!" The poor man defended.
"God damn it, who cares what you say as long as it's a talkie film. A MOVIE!" The director slapped his script on the prop table. He turned to his crew, "Who hired this genius?"
The crew was stone silent. The cameramen wiped their bulky equipment fervently like their life depended on it. The lighting crew looked at their silver lamps as if they saw it for the first time. The soundman listened to his playback looking for noises that didn’t exist.
A young man in a plaid sweater put up his shaking hand, "but sir, you said you wanted an authentic guy to play the part, so I got you a real detective."
"I said I wanted an authentic LOOKING guy, Martin! Not the real deal. This is show biz, use your brain, if you're not SITTING on it!!" The stumpy director bellowed.
A voice light as chimes cut through the quarrel. "Boys, if you don't mind, I'll just go powder my nose." The lead actress with white blonde hair and the figure of an hourglass floated back into her dressing room.
"Yes of course, certainly my darling." The director cooed. He then turned coldly to Martin and the detective. "We'll take a 15 minutes break for you two to sort this out."
"Break! 15 minutes!" Martin announced, he then turned apologetically to his friend, "I'm so sorry, detective Zeo. I know most of this doesn't make sense, but can you please stick to your lines?"
Joseph Zeo looked at his shiny detective costume and gave a weak smile, "I dig what you mean," he sighed, "and you know I wouldn't have taken the job if I wasn't low on dough.
"Thank you! Thank you for sticky to your line." Martin said, he was then pulled by other crewmembers in ten different directions. Besides being in charge of casting and assistant to the director, the poor kid also had to take care of the lighting crew, make up artists and substitute as the script clerk whenever someone called in sick.
Having only a few lines to read, Zeo did not have much to do. He sat in a corner and read the script to himself again, shaking his head. None of these conversations would have happened in real life, but then, what did he care. He was in it for the rent money.
A make up artist sat by him and striked up casual conversation. They shared a cigarette together, waiting for time to past. Suddenly, they heard a piercing scream coming from the star dressing room. Zeo threw the stub away and ran to the dressing room.
"What happened? Did someone died?" Martin closely followed behind Zeo.
Zeo opened the door to the dressing room and found the scantily clad lead actress holding a note in her hand. Everything else seemed fine. Zeo breathed a sigh of relieve. "What's the matter, Ms. Summers?" he asked.
Simone Summers handed the note to the detective; the stunning starlet seemed to be on the verge of tears. Zeo examined the note, cut and paste from newspaper text:
GIVE me What I wANT OR you will die LIKE yOUR broTHER.
"Do you know who wrote this?" Zeo asked.
The actress looked down and shook her head.
"How did your brother died?"
"Someone pushed him off a building." Simone said between sobs. She then looked directly at the detective with red-rimmed eyes, "I need a bodyguard. I'm sure you know people like that, detective Zeo. I need to hire a bodyguard, NOW!"
[Note: Everyone is welcomed to join the story. Feel free to take the role of the bodyguard or anyone you see fit (that makes sense). The story is quite open ended at this point of course. Just join in the fun. Feel free to PM me for any questions or suggestions.]
"Haha" Vulkie said, as she laughed when she saw Joseph Zeo in his costume. He looked like a detective who had just begun on his very first investigation.
"Laugh all you want, but that ain't the reason I called you to come here and help me..." Joseph said, with a little grin showing on his face.
"What's the reason then?" Vulkie asked, being curious of nature.
"Well, we just had a 15 minute break a few hours ago and suddenly, I heard a scream coming from the star dressing room. The lead actress, Miss Summers, had a note clenched in her hand." Joseph explained.
"What did the note say?" Vulkie asked. Joseph handed the note over. The note was drenched with the smell of glue and newspaper letters were "pasted" on the note.
"GIVE me What I wANT OR you will die LIKE yOUR broTHER. " Vulkie said, with a "what does it mean - look".
"Miss Summer's brother died a few years ago. He was pushed from a building by someone. The killer was never caught... And now it seems he or she is after her..." Joseph said.
"Great, it must be a crazy lunatic fan that escaped out of some asylum probably..." Vulkie said, lightly agitated by the case.
"So, detective Zeo, is this the bodyguard you have found for me?" Miss Summers said, walking towards the two detectives.
"No, this is a fellow detective, Detective Nouson... Victoria Nouson, Vulkie for friends" Joseph said, as Vulkie and Miss Summers shook hands.
"My bad... I have been so frustrated. This note... My brother.... he meant so much for me...." Miss Summers said, taking a seat on a chair nearby.
"Care to explain Miss Summers?" Vulkie said, waiting for a reply..
"Before we get started," I said as I walked to the group of people, "I hear someone needs a bodyguard."
Everyone turned around to see who was talking. "Damn good to see you, Marc." Joseph Zeo said. He was a friend of mine; a close friend of mine to be exact. Vulkie was there too. Yes, we had our differences in our past, but I had come to forgive her for what happened a few years ago. "You too, Zeo. Vulkie, it's good to see you too." I replied.
"To be honest, we do need a bodyguard." Zeo said. He opened his mouth to say something but I cut him off. That was one thing I was bad about doing; cutting people when talking.
"Say no more," I said, " for I am the right man for the job." I pulled out my two new guns. Both were custom made pearl white Colt .45 caliber automatics.
Vulkie smiled and shook her head in disbelief. "I can't believe you had those made," she said with a chuckle.
"Believe it or not, but I did," I said. "So," I continued, "what seems to be the case here?"
"Marc, this is Simone Summers," Zeo said introducing me to the actress, "her brother was killed a while back, and now we believe that his killer is out to get her. "
"Miss Summers, this is detective Marc Lacrimosa. I guess now, he is your bodyguard. Marc is another friend of mine." he said. I reached out and shook her hand.
"Miss Summers, it's good meet you." I said. I looked back at Zeo and Vulkie. "Let's get started, shall we?"
There was one interesting point that Zeo realized no one picked up earlier. He turned his attention to Simone Summers. "May I ask, Ms. Summers, did you see this note when you first entered your dressing room at the beginning of the movie shoot?"
"Actually, no." Simone shook her head with a frown. "This morning my dressing table was in the exact same condition as I left last night. It was only during the break did I find this note, and seeing that it mentioned my brother's death, I- um - I lost control and screamed."
"Was that so..." Zeo thought to himself. There seem to be holes in Simone's 'testimony'. He felt that the lady was hiding something. Zeo shot Marc a look. The dark man knew exactly what Zeo was thinking, for he too noticed the stutters and hesitations in Simone's voice. By being the close bodyguard to the Starlet, Zeo knew Marc could find out more about what was going on.
As to the strange appearance of the threatening note, although the set was not exactly an air tight facility, the security was usually wary of strangers lurking about. Perhaps someone can question the security guards for any unfamiliar faces, and if there wasn't any, it could only mean that this was an 'inside job', that someone amongst the cast and crew wrote the note. At this moment, Zeo could not draw any conclusion. More research needed to be done.
Anyhow, that could be done later in the day. At the moment, they concentrated on the content of the note. "Miss Summers," Zeo began.
"Please, please just call me Simone." The actress interrupted.
"Yes, um, Simone, the note asked for something that the writer wanted. Do you have any idea what it is?"
"No.No I don't." Simone shook her head again, her eyes looked vacant, as if she was shielding information which was behind it.
"So you have NO idea who could've wrote this?" Zeo sighed, knowing very well what the answer would be.
"Detective Zeo, I am very happy that you are concerned, but this really isn't what I was asking for. I needed a bodyguard, and you got me one. For that, I am eternally grateful. Should we just get on with our lives?" The Starlet looked at her diamond studded watch. "Look, it's getting late. I have an early call time tomorrow. I shall see you again on the set, detective."
Simone gave a wry smile and asked Marc to accompany her. She told him that she owned a Mercedes and would drive it home, and asked if he would be able to stay over night to guard her villa. Apparently, this up and coming Starlet have some dough and was planning to pay Marc lavishly. Zeo regretted not taking the job himself. He sighed and put another cigarette on his lips.
When Zeo shot Marc a quick look, Marc knew instantly something wasn't right. Marc knew that Simone and her brother were close. She even said that. When she explained that she had no clue who wrote the note, that part may have been true. However, that would not say that she didn't have an IDEA as to who may have killed her brother.
"Ma'am," Marc said with a hesitation. " I am going to protect you from who ever this is that is threatening you, however something doesn't seem right. You and your brother were close, correct?"
"You two were close. But yet you have no idea who wrote this. I can tell just by looking at your facial expressions that you know something. Yes, you are scared, and I understand that, but if you want this psycho stopped, I suggest that you spill out everything you know." Marc said firmly.
Riza leaned against the shadowy side of the yellow-colored building that housed the studio set as she waited for the director to come out. “That scum thinks he can get away with not paying me back? I’m going to get it even if I have to wait here all day, dammit,” she muttered as she twirled a small knife around her fingers, making it catch the sunlight and glint.
The door opened and out came a stunning actress accompanied by…MARC?!? What was he doing here? “Hey!” Riza called out as her stilettos clicked over to him. Marc turned around, and upon seeing Riza, gave a small smile and replied, “Hi.”
“So what’s with the chick? Going home with her tonight?” Riza asked, raising her eyebrows and looking the woman up and down.
“No…well yes, actually. But it’s not what you think. I’m going to be her bodyguard for a while. She just received a threatening note before. Joseph and Vulkie are inside trying to figure things out.”
“Oh really, sounds interesting. Maybe I’ll have to take a look into that....By the way, have you seen the director around anywhere?”
The actress gave a throat-clearing noise and tapped at her watch.
“Oh, right, I have to go now, but I think he was still on the set screaming at somebody. See you around,” Marc said as he hurried off with the woman.
Riza retreated into the shadows until the door opened again, this time a young man looking to be in a rush, and then she ran over and grabbed the door before it shut, letting herself inside.
The interior of the building was dark and cool, a noticeable relief from the scorching heat outside. Riza followed a narrow pathway to where it opened out to a larger room: the set. Off to the right she spotted the director, just as Marc had said, screaming at one of the set crew. “Salazar!” Riza called out, watching him cringe at the sound of her voice. He started to run towards the exit to the trailers.
“You’re not going anywhere!” Riza said, furrowing her brow. She took the knife she had been twirling in her fingers and suddenly flung it across the room, a dead shot landing a inch away from Salazar’s head. His eyes bugged out and he collapsed onto the floor; apparently he had fainted.
As Riza removed his wallet from his pants pocket and took her cash, she sniffed the air. There was the distinct odor of cigarettes hanging around. She grabbed her knife out of the wall, and followed the scent to the trailers, where she found Joseph and Vulkie arguing about something.
“Hey guys,” Riza said, nodding at them. “What’s this I hear about a mysterious note?” They both started to fill her in on what had happened.
“And what did she say when Marc confronted her before?” she finally asked, five minutes later.
“Well that’s the most interesting part,” Joseph continued. “She said…”
Zeo continued, "she said... well, first of all I expected a bit of tact from Marc, that he'd find out more about Simone and her brother at her place instead of asking her right out. But then, this IS Marc we're talking about. What else would I expect from the King of Interrogation..."
"Except Ms. Summers is more or less our client; well, at least she's Marc client." Riza replied.
Zeo sighed. "Apparently the starlet doesn't want us involved. She's definitely hiding things. When I rushed into her room while she was supposedly 'powdering her nose', she was wearing next to nothing," Zeo blushed, "so what was she doing at that moment? Plus, if Simone really have no idea what the person who wrote the threatening note had wanted, the writer would have specified, wouldn't he?"
"She is definitely holding a lot more than what she told us. When Marc asked her to spill out everything she knew, Simone appeared very upset and said it was none of our business. However, she did mentioned that her brother had been dealing with some wrong people. That's all she was willing to say." Vulkie added.
"Could her brother be involved with the mafia?" Riza raised an eyebrow.
"Possibly, but I don't think whoever have written the note belonged to a gang, otherwise they would've just go threaten Simone directly instead of doing it through an anonymous letter." Zeo exhaled and looked the smoke dancing in the air. This case was exactly alike: unpredictable and impossible to grasp. He snuffed his cigarette and got up.
"I am going to find out more about Simone's brother. There's someone who might be able to help, but i can only take one of you. Anyway, someone need to stay behind on this set to find out if anyone saw anything suspicious. I'm leaving now. We can meet back at my office later tonight."
[Note: for the purpose of this story, Zeo is a private investigator (behind on rent) instead of being in the NYPD or FBI like some of the other threads.]
After talking to Riza, Marc and Simone stepped outside into the warm sun and walked to her Mercedes. No one spoke as they drove down the busy road. It was stop and go traffic. Marc hated it. But thankfully he wasn't driving in it. Over the past couple years, his road-rage had gone to the extreme.
"So where exactly are we going, ma'am?" Marc asked.
"Please, call me Simone. And we are going to my villa."
"With all due respect, Simone, I don't think we should go to your villa. I think it's best if we go somewhere else." Marc said.
"Look, it's your job to protect me, not advise me." she snapped.
Marc took no offense. He knew she had a bad day today. Not only that, she was a big-wig celebrity.
Half way to her place, Marc pulled out his old pipe and his pack of fresh tobacco. "I don't allow smoking in my car," Simone said without looking at him.
Marc cut her a quick look. He sighed and put his pipe back into his coat pocket.
They arrived at the gates of where she lived and they pulled into her long drive way.
Her "villa", as she called it, was not how Marc had pictured it. Instead, it was much larger. It was more of a mansion.
Marc looked out his window. Something wasn't right. "Simone?"
"How many cars did you say you have?"
"This one, why do you ask?"
"Don't get out. Stay here. If I'm not back in two minutes, I want you go to City Hall. Don't go to Joseph Hollis but go to Tom Sullivan of the city counsel. Tell him who you are and what happened. He will take care of you."
"Marc-!" Too late. Marc stepped out of the car. As he walked quickly, he pulled out one of his pistols. The door was unlocked.
[ You must login to reply ]