This is the continuation of a story. You can read the rest here.
If only all the people I’m paid to find came strolling into my office, I might not be pushed off of cliffs quite so often.
She’s smaller than I thought she’d be based on the picture her boyfriend gave me yesterday. She’s not wearing shoes; their absence could account for a great deal of the smallness. Petite women always look a bit like little girls without shoes. Her hair is all askew, like she just woke up inside a wind tunnel. Smears of mascara live under her eyes where she’s been crying. She’s wearing a ripped and dirty shirt, and a ripped and dirty skirt. She looks like she just stepped off the set of Oliver as a starving child extra where she’ll be listed as Ragamuffin #6 in the credits. Please, sir, may I have some more?
“Nora?” I ask as if I didn’t know the answer already. “What are you doing here?”
“You know me?” She seemed genuinely surprised that anyone, anywhere would know her name, let alone anyone in my office.
“In a way. Your boyfriend was in yesterday. He said you disappeared and asked me to look for you.”
“I don’t have a boyfriend.”
Uh oh! Shenanigans are afoot! “Big guy. About yea tall with a square jaw and a buzz cut. He looks like he grew up on a farm with no farm equipment, so he had to do all the heavy lifting.”
“I don’t know who that is.”
“Well, what are you doing here?” Coincidences like this just don’t happen outside of the movies.
“I ran away, but I don’t know where to go. I saw your ad and thought maybe you could help find out who’s after me.”
“So, it’s just a coincidence that both you and the farm boy looking for you came to me then? Based on an advertisement?”
“I suppose so.”
Well, what do you know. The smarmy little salesman was right when he said that advertising could increase business. “Bets, remind me to pay the ad bill when it comes.”
“It came three weeks ago.”
“Well, pay it!” Bets shot me a look that could cause flowers to wilt. It’s a good thing I’m not a flower.
“Now, Ms. Nora. What can we do for you? Why don’t you start at the beginning?” I sit her in a chair and fetch her a cup of coffee. If anyone looked like they needed a strong cup of coffee, it’s her. On the way back, I lock the office door just in case anyone else has any bold ideas about walking in.