Welcome to Flash Pulp, Episode Seventeen.
Tonight’s story, Mulligan Smith and The Digital Digit Pt. 2 of 3: The Baroness
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Tonight we rejoin private investigator Mulligan Smith, hot on the trail of the woman alleged to be blackmailing his client.
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Flash Pulp 017 – Mulligan Smith and The Digital Digit Pt. 2 of 3: The Baroness
Mulligan found the girl in a trailer park on the outskirts of Capital City.
He’d spent the bottom of his morning in a Starbucks with his laptop, researching “Baroness Ludmilla Anastasia”, and attempting to shield his results from other customers.
There’d been no personal information available, which, given her vocation, the PI had expected. Eventually he’d located a contact number for the company that maintained her website, Melto Productions. After name dropping a police commissioner, he’d eaten his lunch while waiting out the hold music, until, finally, an aggravated man had come on the line and barked out her agent’s phone number.
Mulligan hadn’t bothered to call – the reverse directory gave up the address easily and shortly there-after he’d scooped the keys to the Tercel and snapped shut his notebook.
Twenty-five minutes of driving later, he found himself nosing the baby blue clunker along the uneven pavement of Elm Terrace. As he pulled up to his destination, he noted a rangy twenty-something in red Adidas track pants had stepped to the double-wide’s screen door.
“Yeah?” the man in the bright pants asked.
“Name’s Smith.” Mulligan, weighing his approach, opted to apply some angular momentum to the truth. “I work with the police. I need to speak with your girlfriend.”
He stepped onto the homemade porch. “Immediately.”
It wasn’t the inclusion of the police that the investigator thought of as a gamble, he was on first name terms with most of the uniforms working the east side of the city. The real risk was in assuming the guy was so small time he was living and sleeping with the talent.
“Hold on,” Agent-Boyfriend said, disappearing into the darkened interior.
Her website had largely featured pencil skirts and crisp-rimmed glasses, so when a teen in a white tank top and sagging grey sweatpants bounced down the iron step and onto the plywood patio, Smith had to take a moment to re-imagine her in work attire.
“HEY BILLY-” Her raspy voice rocketed into the shadows behind the screen. “You wanna go get me some smokes?”
Mulligan momentarily wondered if Billy, no doubt eavesdropping, had any eardrums left.
“The hell, why don’t you go get ’em yourself?”
“You know that douche-canoe counter jockey always cards me.”
There was a pause from within.
Agent-Boyfriend slammed through the door, across the deck, and into his Honda Civic. After a moment of fighting with the ignition, the hatchback roared away from the cement slab that made up the home’s front yard.
“Now that he’s gone, we can talk,” she said, pulling a cigarette from the elastic depths of her cotton pockets.
Mulligan’s fingers plucked a lighter from his jeans, sparking the flint and applying it to the girl’s dangling addiction.
“You’re here about the pictures, right? I’ll tell you straight up that I don’t have them. I don’t want any trouble, and I don’t want to hear any whining about your Wife or Boss either. I can’t help what you did.”
“I’m actually a private dick, here on behalf of a client,” Smith replied.
“Oh, things must be getting serious. You don’t really look like the kind of guy who takes pictures of his junks and mails them to people anyhow.”
“If people are emailing you pictures of, uh, their junks, but you’re not getting them, who is? Your agent?”
“Billy? Hell no, that jackass still uses a pager. A friend of mine got us all set up with the agency, and our site. Maybe it’s old Theo, the guy who owns the whole thing, who’s actually getting the money.”
Mulligan nodded, thanked the girl for being so forthcoming, and turned back to the Tercel.
“Hey,” the girl said. “That was some pretty big help I just handed you – if you manage to find the one running the scam, will you let me know?”
She took a long drag, exhaling through her nose and mouth simultaneously. Her eyes took on some of the hard countenance that was so familiar to her fans.
“I figure I deserve a cut.”
Flash Pulp is presented by http://skinner.fm. The audio and text formats of Flash Pulp are released under the Canadian Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.5 License.