The island police station was quiet except for the broken phone conversation the desk sergeant was having with an irate individual.
SGT. Walton : Sir I am trying to tell you we have no one who can possibly go by your house right now, but...
SGT. Walton : I understand your concern, but everyone is out who can check on
that. I can send an officer when the next shift starts in an hour,
or if someone on patrol now can go by there they will.
More muffled yelling...
SGT. Walton : Your donation offer is greatly appreciated, but frankly won't
expedite the situation to your satisfaction. I have all the
information, and will phone you as soon as we know anything.
Thank you and good bye.
SGT. Walton gratefully hung up the phone. She was completely disinterested in the continued ramblings and yelling of the obnoxious strip club owner. She was muttering to herself when Detective Jason Bryan walked through the front door.
DET. Bryan : Sgt. Walton, talking to yourself again ? Guess I don't have to ask how
things are going this beautiful afternoon. Who has you so irritated?
A missing goat? Stolen travelers checks?
SGT. Walton : Just the detective I wanted to see. Actually, we have a missing
DET. Bryan : An actual missing person, or just someone sleeping it off where they
aren't suppose to be? Could be a drunken drowning. My favorite so far
was the drunk tourist guy who saw cliff diving on TV and thought he
could do it. He really should have made sure there was water at the
end of that dive. Looking at his friends video of the whole thing
he didn't even have good form. Sad really. I mean at least go out with
style. Flailing isn't, why are you looking at me that way? You know you
thought the same thing. Don't pretend you didn't.
SGT. Walton : Are you done?
DET. Bryan : Appears so. What is it?
SGT. Walton : I wouldn't get your hopes up, it probably is nothing. A Salvador
Manana, a very earnest and apparently somewhat Yiddish man, from
the BLU VELVET strip club can't find his star. A world
renowned-better-than-all-of-us, stripper, Erin Thorne. Apparently she
was suppose to check in when she got here, and so far hasn't. Big
surprise, an irresponsible stripper doing whatever she wants on a
Anyway, he has called her cell phone repeatedly and she doesn't
answer or return his calls. He desperately needs her to get in touch
with him as he needs her to return as soon as possible for a huge
show. Ranting about making millions, I honestly lost track of the
conversation other than we're suppose to find her and have her call
him. I tried to explain to him we aren't a phone service, but he seems
to believe something happened to her which then does involve us. So
there you go. It was a most painful conversation I'd like to add. I think
he called me a name, but I can't be sure
DET. Bryan, sarcastically: Really? I'm sorry he might have called you a name. You
should go get a massage after work. Loosen yourself up. Unwind. Why
are you looking at me with that blank stare when I'm showing genuine
concern? Enough about you then. How long has she been MIA?
SGT. Walton : What?!
DET. Bryan : M-I-A! You know, missing in action. Work with me here, this could
be our first real case. Take all the fun out of it.
SGT. Walton, chuckling: 3 days, and she's suppose to be staying at the white
house on the hill.
DET. Bryan : 3 days? That certainly gives a body a chance to start stinkin'.
SGT. Walton : What?!
DET. Bryan : Why do you think the worst of me? I'm saying what if she hasn't
been at the house for the last 3 days she probably hasn't taken
a shower. I'm not saying she's rotting somewhere. Well, she
could be, but that's not what I was saying. What name did he call you?
SGT. Walton : I couldn't understand it completely, but it sounded like
shnook. What is that? How much longer are you going to harass me?
DET. Bryan : Shnook? I don't know what that is. It doesn't sound really
terrible on a possible name calling scale. As far as harassing you I
think I'm finished for the moment. The white house
on the hill you say? What is the strippers name?
SGT. Walton : That's the house, and Erin Thorne.
DET. Bryan : Erin Thorne? THE Erin Thorne?
SGT. Walton : Yes again, Erin Thorne. I don't know how many Erin Thorne's
there are, but that's what he said her name is. Don't tell me you know
DET. Bryan : Well, perhaps I know of her. I've never seen her in person, but
always dreamed of it. Every man's dream really. He leaned down
with one hand on the sergeants desk, and the other on the back
of her chair, and whispered : Did you know the club where she
works has to have a staff of doctors and nurses because people
literally pass out when she's doin' her thing on stage? They have
to have a separate room for oxygen tanks so people can catch
their breath. People throw so much money on the stage it's inches
thick, and she just dances and kicks through it. Doesn't even care
she tromping all over it. I heard people have disappeared after
touching her. Can you believe that?!
SGT. Walton : Seriously?! Well, just after you see her, and regain consciousness
and hopefully not disappearing if you happen to shake her hand,
have her call Mr. Manana please. I really don't want to EVER have
to hear his voice again.
DET. Bryan, sarcastically: You think I should write myself a note and pin it
on my jacket in case I lose all cognitive abilities? I hope they
have oxygen at the house. What if I do pass out? What if she puts
people under some sort of stripper spell? I should take some large
bills with me. I'm sure a dollar is hardly acceptable, and highly
insulting. She's probably never seen a dollar. Do we have any
confiscated drug money?
SGT. Walton : Please leave.
DET. Bryan : Ok I'm going, but if I'm not back in an hour, or three, send
someone to look for me. No, on second thought don't, it's not a
bad way to go.
SGT. Walton : Just go.
The detective grinned and waved to the sergeant as he pushed the station door open, fumbled for his keys in his jacket pocket, and headed to the house on the hill. Driving with the windows down he felt the warm tropical air across his face, and listened to the flocks of screaming parrots in the thick green tops of the jungle trees. He knew this would be another easy call, they were all easy as nothing ever horribly criminal ever happened on the island.
He had no idea the deceit that waited only a few minutes away. Deceit that would open the door to the truth of what was, for as long as could be remembered, believed to be merely island myth and superstition.
Empty champagne and beer bottles were scattered throughout the house. Ana was on the couch downstairs slowly waking up to the distant sound of Erin's cell phone chiming her signature dance song. She stretched and opened her eyes with regret.
Ana : Stupid, stupid song.
She rolled over and waited for the noise to stop. She wanted to go back to sleep, but couldn't. The sun was shining too brightly throughout the whole house, and the birds outside were so incredibly loud. She hated this place. It was a horrible, tropical postcard nightmare. She rolled back over thinking she might as well get up. Besides, she thought, today is the day. She sat up, and stripped. Leaving her clothes on the floor where they fell, she headed to the pool when the door bell rang. Not caring in the slightest that she was naked she answered the door.
Ana : Yes.
DET. Bryan tried not to be phased by her appearance, but could not initially keep his
keep his eyes above her breasts : Uh, I'm sorry, I wasn't expecting you,
or anyone, to answer the door completely naked. I apologize. I am
Det. Jason Bryan with the Island police department. He awkwardly tried to stop
starring, can you tell me if Erin Thorne is in? You're not Miss Thorne are you?
Ana: No I'm not Erin, but you knew that didn't you? I'm Ana.
DET. Bryan Well yes. Anyway, Ana, is she in?
Ana: You a fan of Erin's?
DET. Bryan: I wouldn't say a fan, but I know of her. Most everything about her.
I've never seen her in person, just a lot of pictures. Not naked pictures,
just ones in magazines, and not nude magazines. Is she here? I need to
discuss something with her.
Ana: Something? Like what?
DET. Bryan: It's nothing really, and I feel ridiculous coming out here for it.
I mean I do have a degree in criminology, years on the police
force, made detective at a very early age, but ya know, I don't
mind delivering a phone message to a world class stripper. It's all a
part of the job right? As I was saying a Mr. Salvador Man..Manna...
He had a continuing problem not starring at her perfectly tan,
smooth naked body, and was embarrassing himself with his lack
Ana : Man-an-a, and why don't you just take one long, hard look and get it over
DET. Bryan, giving an embarrassed laugh: Uh, well, that would be completely
unprofessional. Although helpful, still unprofessional. I think I'm ok
now, your comment was sobering enough. Would you mind
putting a robe, or anything, on please?
Ana : Yes actually I would. I'm going for a swim.
She turned away from him, and headed toward the pool. She knew he
would not be far behind. She stepped into the warm water not waiting for
him, or a response. She did not care if he followed, but it would be
more convenient if he did. He was saving her the effort of calling the
police station, and giving the dramatic speech she planned. This was going
even better than she hoped. She came up from under the water, and saw
him standing at the end waiting for her. She thought it was perfect that she
was such a seductive, naked distraction to him. He would not be
concentrating on Erin's whereabouts. She swam toward him.
DET. Bryan: Would you please tell me where I might find Miss Thorne?
Ana: I just woke up, so I don't know where she is.
DET. Bryan: It's late, you just woke up? Must be nice. Could she be upstairs?
Ana: Doubtful, too quiet.
DET. Bryan: Loud sleeper is she? Would she have left a note if she went anywhere?
Ana: She might've. She got out of the pool without glancing at the towel he tried to
hand her, and slowly went into the house. Detective Bryan followed thinking he
would keep a safe distance from this one. She pretended to look on the kitchen
counter, then glanced over at the coffee table where she knew she left it.
Ana: Here it is. She handed him the small piece of paper. Dripping pool water on
the tile floor.
DET. Bryan looked at the note: She did go for a walk. Guess you don't know
what time that was since you were sleeping til, he saw the clock
on the wall, 2:30. About 2:30?
Ana: That's right. Don't have a clue when she left.
DET. Bryan: I'm just asking because this Mr. Manana says he's been calling
for three days. Why hasn't she called him back in three days?
She not like him?
Ana: Nobody likes Sal. She sat on the couch still wet from the pool. Sal thinks he
owns Erin, but it's really the other way around. If it weren't for Erin, Sal would
have, and be, absolutely nothing. She doesn't need him, but he'd shrivel up
and die without her. Other people do what Sal tells them to do, or else they
disappear. Pathetic and unoriginal really. If Erin doesn't want to talk to him
he'll simply have to get over it.
DET. Bryan: He said he needs her to come back to the BLU VELVET, or he stands
to lose millions. Is that true? He sat on a chair across form her no
longer noticing her naked body in the slightest. I mean can he really
lose millions if she doesn't do a show? Does she really make
him that much money in ONE show? That's impossible isn't
it? I mean I won't make a million dollars in my life time. How can she
do this in a few hours?
Ana was becoming physically ill by the conversation on how wonderful, and profitable Erin is to Sal. She found it incredibly nauseating to have to say anything nice about her at all, and to have to sit across from the detective who obviously wanted to ogle over her like every other irritating peon, was almost more than she could stand. The detective, like everyone else, looked right through her to simply get to Erin. She hoped more than anything Erin's body was at least half rotted on the coral path. That the jungle animals gathered around the carcass like one of Sal's all you can eat fried food buffets.
DET. Bryan: Isn't that impossible?
DET. Bryan: Isn't it impossible for her to make millions off one show?
DET. Bryan: Depends on what?
Ana: Depends on who the show is for. If he has someone flying in for a private
show, then no, it's hardly impossible. That's some of his best money.
He could close the club if he wanted, but it's how he moves some of his,
lets say, questionable, untraceable income.
DET. Bryan: Questionable and untraceable income? That's a whole other
investigation. Staying on the subject, how do you fall into the
equation? Why doesn't he just talk to you?
Ana: I'm not connected to Sal, or his club.
DET. Bryan: You don't work there with Miss Thorne?
Ana: No. I'm, independent. Self-employed. No one controls me.
DET. Bryan: Self-employment must be nice.
Ana blankly stared at him.
DET. Bryan: Back to Erin. When she comes back in would you please give her
my card and tell her to call me first so I know she got in ok. It is a
jungle out there ya know.
Ana continued the blank stare.
DET. Bryan: That's ok, it was a bad joke that frankly no one ever laughs at, and I
should stop telling. Where is her cell phone by the way? You think she
took it with her?
Ana: She didn't. It's upstairs.
DET. Bryan: Would you mind getting it?
Ana got off the couch and went upstairs. She thought she should act a little polite, for future reference, and should offer him a drink. She should probably put on a t-shirt or something too.
Ana: I'll be right back. Help yourself to something to drink. There's
beer, champagne, wine, all kinds of stuff in the refrigerator if you'd like.
DET Bryan: I'll get a water. Thank you.
DET. Bryan got a water out of the refrigerator as Ana went upstairs to get the cell phone. He was completely immune to her beautiful naked body by this time. He knew her type. The type who vainly believe themselves to be above all others. The type that uses everyone's backs to walk on as they thoughtlessly get what they want. No regard, no consciousness for others, only what their narcissistic selves desire. He wondered why she was a stripper. Dysfunctional childhood? What was her mother like? May be she didn't have one. Abusive male role model? Perhaps she's the spawn of Satan? He laughed a little out loud at his thought.
Ana was coming down the stairs. She had put on a pair of thongs and a white
t-shirt: Something funny?
DET. Bryan drawn out of his boredom: What?
Ana: Something funny?
DET. Bryan: Oh, uh, just thinking about a show I watched last night. If I tried to
explain it, it wouldn't be funny. Nice of you to put on some clothes.
Such as they are.
Ana handed him the cell phone: My naked body too distracting Detective?
He scrolled through the missed calls, and saw many from Sal's number, but no
others: Does no one else ever call her? The only number on here for days is
Mr. Manana's. And no your naked body is no longer distracting just
unprofessional. Unprofessional for me that is.
Ana glared at him: No one really has her number. Sal, a few people from the club.
She sat back down on the couch.
DET. Bryan: You?
DET. Bryan: Well it doesn't matter. I see he has called, incessantly, so I'll
just wait for her to call me when she gets in. Make sure she calls
DET. Bryan placed one of his cards on the coffee table in front of her:
If she's not back by dark call me. She's probably going to hit a
couple of the beach bars before she comes back. Thank you for your
time. I'll let myself out. Thank you for the water too.
He turned and waked out the front door. His shoes made a loud cracking sound on the coral drive way. He glanced back at the house, shaking his head thinking it was such a waste to be so physically beautiful, but have absolutely no morals, no ethics, and nothing upstairs but cruelty and self-serving attributes. As he got in the SUV he wondered if Erin was the same, or just mixed up with someone acting like they cared. He sat for a minute. He thought he should drive by a couple of the beach bars within walking distance from the house. She would have had to take the old coral path behind the house to get to them, but it wasn't a difficult walk. Otherwise there wasn't much else for him to do except wait at the station. He slowly drove away.
Ana was peering out the front window at the detective sitting in his running vehicle. He's another useless jaw dropper she thought. A little detective on a filthy little island having to pat himself on the back with all his diplomas, and awards because no one else will. He'll one day brag he almost had a brush with fame, but didn't have a clue fame was rotting just down the hill. He will be able to say he sat in the same room with me though, and that will be the highlight to his entire career and miniscule life. May be we could kill him too, or at least ruin his life. I could tell a few little lies about him. What he did to me while he was here, accuse him of things he more than likely imagined doing to me, but never in all his upstanding, professional would ever do. Everyone would believe me, the beautiful, distraught bystander. She smiled as she watched his SUV roll down the drive way.
She got something to eat and sat on the couch to watch TV until a little after
dark. Then she would call the idiot detective, and tell him Erin didn't come
back. She'd have to remind herself to sound worried instead of irritated and
bored. Her next call would be to Markis. No need telling him about the
detective at this point since everything was still going as planned.
She flipped through the channels trying to find something remotely interesting
to watch. She wondered how people could live, or even choose to visit, such
an insanely boring place and call it paradise.