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Assisi & Brannan #14: Cornered

May 6, 2014

“Ready?”

“Yes,” replied Catherine.

I nodded at Fuz.

“Here is something for you,” he said.  “Put it in your key chain and squeeze if you need me.  I’ll be right outside the club and I can be inside in no time.”

It was a small gadget that looked like a fob.

“Do you really think this is necessary?” All this tech was beginning to frighten me.

“You can never be too sure,” he shrugged.

“But if it’s really so dangerous for me, they wouldn’t let you in.”

“Don’t worry about me, kid.  You just get in, do your thing, and get out.”

“Is this going to be dangerous?” Catherine asked, eyes flashing.

“I’m just trying to get some information.  The guy won’t see me so I have to go to where he is.”

It all started when Sam’s friend Joe introduced me to Melissa, Sarah Dinh’s friend who had gone with her to the party.  Melissa told me about a guy called Matt who had hung out with Sarah.  She said they seemed to know each other.  I called Matt who spoke to me once and claimed he had not invited Sarah to the party.  She and he just happened to be there. Likely story. When I tried to call him again he stopped talking to me.  It was my only break in the story and I had to follow it.

Matt owned a club called The Corner in South of Market.  Fuz agreed to take me and Catherine in my limo.  It would be simple. Catherine and I would get past the bouncers, I ask to see Matt, talk to him and get out.

“OK, let’s go then,” said Catherine.

The club was a few streets up from Sam’s shop.  A line of partygoers wrapped itself around the block despite the biting wind.

Catherine stepped out and sauntered to the door with all the confidence I didn’t have.  I followed quickly behind her.

“Who the hell does she think she is?” someone in the line complained.

Catherine said something to one of the bouncers.  He laughed.

We were in.

Catherine’s great. She can get us in anywhere, especially when there is a line.

The bar is somewhere between the door and the middle of the long room. There’s a band playing. It’s not smoky but the air feels thick.

Catherine and I go to the bar.

We wait.

Finally the bartender comes over.

“I’ll have a Paloma.”

“Me, too,” I say.

When he gives us our drinks, I ask, “Is Matt here?”

He looks at me.

“I’m a friend.”

We go to a table, dodging men and women swaying to the music.

A few moments later a waitress comes to our table and tells me Matt will see me at the back.

“Only you.”

Catherine sits back.  “I’ll be fine.  You got your keys?”

“You’re the journalist.” Matt says it like an insult when I close the door.  “Why are you stalking me?  I told you I don’t know when and where she went. The party was over. We left. Separately.”

He looks ordinary enough, but his eyes are dark pools, intense and angry.  I finger the fob Fuz had given me.

“I just want to know what you were talking about at the party.  People saw you together.  I thought you may have some information for us.”

“We are family friends.  The party was in my buddy’s house and I was just catching up with old friends.  Is that okay with you?”

He was hiding a lot and somewhere there was something about Sandra.

“What business are you in, Matt? It’s not just this club.”

“You better leave.” He stands.

I run outside, my heart pounding.  The waitress who had spoken to me earlier, stops me, “Don’t come back here again.”

I grab Catherine and run out the door past the bouncers who are glaring at Fuz parked across the street, watching them, his arms folded in front of him.

I slam the door shut.

A text chimes on my phone.  My fingers tremble scattering the message, “What are you doing?!  Stop asking about me.  You are putting my family in danger.  Sarah Dinh.”

 

© Jocelyn Uma 2014. All Rights Reserved.