"A Flock of Seagulls" is the eighth episode of Lost Noir.
The fog was just beginning to lift, as they drove down the coast. Valentina Pace stared contemplatively out to sea. She figured they’d be at the hospital, where her Dad had checked himself in, in about half an hour.
Valentina thought about her Dad and about Josh Hume, whom she hadn’t seen since that adventure they had in New Mexico almost a year ago. Josh, who sat next to her, navigated the winding curves of the Pacific Coast highway.
She also thought about Mary. ‘How long ago was it?’ Valentina wondered when she had first met her cousin. A cousin she never even knew existed, until Mary wandered into the bar that one rainy evening.
Valentina and her band had a gig that night. Valentina had arrived early but her band’s van, along with their equipment, was stuck in Encino with a flat tire. The bar manager had asked Valentina if she could go up on stage solo.
Valentina didn’t know when, or even if, her band was going to be able to make it at all that night, so she figured she had no choice. She grabbed her acoustic guitar and headed up on stage. It went well. The audience was very generous with their applause and their tips. For that, Valentina was very grateful and relieved.
As she took a break in a booth a young girl, about her age, walked up.
“You were awesome!” she excitedly told Valentina, “your singing and playing were so tight!”
“Thank you,” Valentina replied, “I appreciate that.”
The girl kept hanging around, like she wanted to say something else but didn’t know how.
“Wanna hang for awhile?” Valentina finally asked.
“Yeah, sure,” the girl replied, taking a seat opposite Valentina in the booth.
“Haven’t seen you around the bar before,” Valentina began, “you new here?”
“Yeah,” the girl nervously replied, “I..uh..actually..uh…just got into town.”
“Got relatives here?” Valentina asked.
“Yeah,” the girl replied. Valentina knew this girl had something she desperately needed to say. She just wished she’d get to it.
“I really came into town to look someone up,” the girl began, “someone I needed to see. An Uncle, who never knew I existed.”
“Oh, that sounds….intriguing,” Valentina replied.
“I’m glad you think so,” the girl replied, “by the way, I’m Maria Collins.”
“Valentina Pace,” Valentina replied.
“Well, Valentina Pace,” Maria began, “that Uncle is your father and I’m your cousin!”
Back in the car, Valentina watched a flock of seagulls glide over the beach.
She remembered how Valentina explained what her mom had told her and how Maria discovered that her father’s brother and band mate, Liam, was still alive and now living in L.A.. So Maria had decided to look him up.
“How did he react?” Valentina remembered asking Maria, because her father had never told her about any of this.
“He smiled,” Maria replied, “said that it was no surprise to him, considering all the “Birds“ that hung around back in the day.”
Valentina had just shook her head.
She didn’t trust Maria at first. What did she want? Was she a pulling a scam? Trying to find out if she could get any money out of all of this? But as Maria continued to talk that night, Valentina began to take a liking to her.
She could see the resemblance between Maria and the old pictures she remembered of her Uncle Charlie. And Maria had told her Liam had agreed to provide blood samples, so they could do a DNA test. He did, the test was performed, and the result was a match.
So Maria was, indeed, Valentina’s long lost cousin. Valentina figured if Maria was there for any money she thought was owed to her, then she was going to be in for a surprise, because her Dad had wasted most of his money on drugs and later on rehabilitation.
He had always told Valentina he had some money coming in from the few and far between royalties he would occasionally receive from what few downloads Drive Shaft retrospectives would occur, but that was about it.
When Maria learned that, it didn’t seem to faze her. She still hung around and when Valentina discovered she had an interest and a talent for all things musical, it was a natural that Valentina would ask her to join the band.
After meeting with the other members of Crank Case, they all agreed that Maria would fit right in.
‘So that was how it all happened,’ Valentina thought, ‘and now Mary has been kidnapped by some lunatics, who want something from her Dad. But what? What did they think he could provide that was worth Mary’s life?’
Josh turned off the highway at exit 42 and headed onto the off ramp, which led them down to a hospital parking lot. As Valentina looked at the mysterious envelope she had placed on her lap, she hoped that her Dad could provide some of the answers they all now desperately sought.
'He’d better provide some answers,’ Valentina thought, ‘because Mary’s life, all of our lives, may depend upon what those answers turn out to be!’ She then glanced up at the large facility where her dad now resided, The Santa Rosa Mental Health Institute.