The Girl With Puppy Dog Eyes is the fifth episode of Lost Noir.
The atmosphere inside an after hours bar can become very nauseous, very quickly. The lingering smell of cigarette smoke, stale beer, and spilt whiskey, only adds to the lack of ambience.
Valentina Pace, her band mates long gone for the night, waited in a booth at the back of the bar. She spotted Joshua Hume coming in the back way of Our Mutual Friend Bar and Grill. She immediately ran into his arms crying.
“Okay, girl rocker,” Josh replied, as he soothingly stroked her hair, “lets go back to your booth and you can fill me in on the details, okay?”
Valentina nodded, as they slid into the booth.
“Okay, what’s up?” Josh asked.
Valentina wiped the tears from her eyes, “I don’t know where to start!”
“First rule,” Josh smiled, “start from the beginning.”
“Okay. Mary didn’t show up for our gig tonight,” she began.
“Is that unusual?” Josh wondered.
“Yeah,” Valentina replied, “she’s never missed a gig or has ever even been late before. When it come to music stuff, she’s all real serious like!”
Josh nodded, “Okay, she’s missed a gig. What was she doing earlier tonight, before the gig?”
Valentina deeply sighed. Josh noticed she was visibly upset and really nervous.
“Well,” Valentina continued, “she was supposed to meet this guy she liked at the university library earlier this evening. He was teaching her music comp. Then she said they’d come on over to the bar. I tried to get her on her cell and I didn’t have her friend’s number but then some strange guy showed up and said Mary had been kidnapped. Had me talk to her over the phone. Mary told me to do what this dude said, or she’d be killed!”
“Had the guy, who Mary was supposed to meet with earlier, ever show up at the bar looking for her?” Josh wondered.
“No,” Valentina replied, “not that I know of.”
“How did Mary sound over the phone?” Josh asked.
“Sounded scared and like she was drunk or something,” Valentina replied.
“Drugged, I’d guess,” Josh said.
“Anyway,” Valentina continued, “the guy gave me that.”
She pointed to an envelope laying between them on the booth’s table.
“He tells me to go see my father and give that envelope to him,” Valentina continued to explain, “there’s supposed to be further instructions in it. He said that only dad could open it. If anyone else even tried, Mary would be dead! There’s supposed to be a number for my dad to call to “give his answer”!”
“And you don’t know who this guy was?” Josh inquired, “you’d never seen him before and you don’t have the slightest idea what this could all be about?”
“He said his name was Bakunin,” Valentina replied,” said he worked for someone and was just a messenger. I’d never seen him before. Josh, this jerk threatened to kill me, my dad, and even my band, if I went to the police!”
“Well,” Josh began, “it always comes down to money.”
“Money?!” Valentina replied, incredulously, “what money? Mary and I both scrounge for the few bucks these gigs get us! Her and I have to pick up extra cash by working as servers every Monday night here!”
“Maybe they’ve misunderstood your financial situation”, Josh supposed, “or have mistook you guys for someone else, but either way, it still has to do with money! Your dad has money, right?”
“Well, he HAD money,” Valentina replied, “at least back in the days when he and my Uncle Charlie were self-described rock gods. But that was so long ago.”
“Well, maybe they think your dad still has money or at least access to some,” Josh replied.
“So what do I do, Josh?!” Valentina once again began to tear up, “since I couldn’t call the police, I called you!”
Josh nodded, “Okay, first thing you do is do what these guys, whoever they are, want. Go ahead and take the envelope to your dad. Have him read it. Maybe he can shed some light as to what’s going on!”
“Will you go with me to see him?” Valentina asked. Josh noticed she was giving him those helpless “puppy dog eyes” she was always good at giving.
“Of course I’ll go with you, babe!” Josh replied, “call me old fashioned, but I don’t like it when friends of mine get death threats!”