Scene One: We see both Vickie Wickie and Milo Fenderbender as they talk on their telephones, each in their respective homes in Pleasantview. It is mid-afternoon.
Vickie: Milo! You'd better be calling with good news!
Milo: Good news and bad news, as the old saying goes. After spending hours on the internet, and making several phone calls...
Vickie: Milo, I only want to hear what you've dug up. I could care less about how you got it.
Milo: That's "I couldn't care less," Vickie...
Vickie: Oh, shut up! You sound like that college professor wannabe, the Foxster!
Milo: Whatever. First of all, your little Tara...
Vickie: Save the best for last! Unless you found out she's as lily white as Gretchen probably is!
Milo: Okay... Let's start with Mr. "Foxster." He's from Massachusetts...
Vickie: I know that already...
Milo (firmly): Look, I'm just reading from my notes! This time, Vickie dear, you shut up!
Vickie, unaccustomed to this sort of outburst from Milo, remains quiet.
Milo: That's better. Personal stuff, zilch. Nothing juicy. And the worst thing on his rap sheet is a handful of speeding tickets in a '62 Corvette, and later, that Bugatti of his.
Vickie: I don't know anything about cars, but since he brags about it so much... It isn't a Bugatti, it's a Borgatti! It's supposedly a very rare vehicle from a short-lived manufacturer. He says it's "almost as rare as a Tucker," whatever the hell that means.
Milo: The Tucker was...
Vickie (interrupting): Milo, I really don't care.
Milo: Fine. (pause) Straight out of high school, he tried to find work as an investigative journalist. Didn't get very far. Wound up in New York, on the writing staff of a freaking soap opera! Then he headed toward California, with a few months in Vegas working for singer Barry Cabana.
Vickie: Barry Cabana? (brief pause) Oh, yeah, he's the guy who'll be appearing at Kewl Beanz! at the end of this month!
Milo: I know. They have a poster in the downstairs bar announcing it. (pause) And I'd thought he was dead.
Vickie: Okay, get to the good stuff.
Milo: There is no "good stuff." He wound up in Hollywood, mainly doing re-writes and "script doctor" work for various studios. Made lots of contacts, and ended up homesick for Massachusetts. Thanks to the 'net, he could still work for the Hollywood execs from there. He got additional work at a TV station, which is apparently where he met the Skipster.
Vickie: And what about dear old Skipster?
Milo: It's... interesting. Another Massachusetts native. And... (chuckling) I got quite a laugh when I learned his real first name! No wonder he prefers "Skip!"
Vickie: Well, we can't all have nice, normal names like "Fenderbender."
Milo: And what, "Vickie Wickie" is better? Oh, wait, I forgot. That name is as phony as your...
Vickie (interrupting): Watch it, Milo!
Milo (chuckling): Anyway, after college, he enlisted in the army, went through OCS, became an officer... Military records are sealed as far as specific assignments go. (pause) Here's where it gets interesting. After his honorable discharge, he disappeared.
Milo: So far I've drawn a total blank for about five years afterwards! It's like he was on freaking Mars or someplace, until he showed up at that TV station, too.
Vickie: Ooh, there's got to be something good there! Keep digging!
Milo: I'm on it.
Vickie: How about the blonde bimbo?
Milo: Gretchen? Zip. Open book, here and in Germany. Not a damned thing you couldn't read in Peeps, if you haven't ripped every available copy to shreds yet. (pause) Now... Luke is another matter.
Vickie: Luke? (brief pause) Oh, yeah, the former "Kato."
Milo: His timing in reclaiming his real name was a godsend for us! As "Kato Kato," there are minor arrests in Massachusetts and...
Vickie: Massachusetts again?
Milo: Yeah. (pause) Okay, as I said, there are minor legal blips in New England and in Florida. Now, as Luke Tian, things get better! His father, Alan Tian, is a self-made millionaire. Owns a big import/export company, Tian Global.
Vickie: So it looks like little Luke is in line for a big inheritance!
Milo: Uhhh... not necessarily. (pause) Listings for Alan Tian show a wife, a daughter, and a son... and the son is not named Luke.
Vickie: Make up your mind. Is Luke the son of this Alan Tian, or not?
Milo: Early records show three Tian kids. Then, a few years ago, it's like his father disowned him and now denies his existence! Which ties in neatly with "Kato's" police record, timewise!
Vickie: Okay, fine. Stay on that one, too.
Milo: Of course.
Vickie: And finally, Tara? Whatcha got on that little maggot?
Milo: So far, nothing.
Milo: Absolutely nothing. According to everything I've checked, "Tara King" didn't exist until the very day she and "Kato" showed up with their bus tickets for Pleasantview.
Vickie: Wait a second. Those two came to Pleasantview together?
Vickie: What about her stint at the University Of Florida in Gainesville?
Milo: No record of her whatsoever by that name. But she was in Gainesville -- both of them were -- on the day they hopped on that Greyhound.
Vickie (after a long pause): So, all that work, and you've got nothing? Thanks for the bad news. Where the hell's the good news?
Milo: It's coming, I'm sure of it!
Vickie: What the hell is that supposed to mean?
Milo: Vickie, think a minute. I've only been on this for a few days. Out of five background checks, I got two large "gaps," and one solid brick wall.
Milo: So... To screw up an old saying, "Where there's no smoke, there must be fire!"
Vickie: I'm still disappointed...
Milo: Don't be. I'm going to intensify my efforts with Tara, and I still have plenty of favors owed to me by the ever-so-useful scum of the earth! Heh. One way or another, I'll have some dirt soon that you can use however you want to use it.
Vickie: Okay, I'll try to be patient. But it's not one of my good points. (long pause) And Milo? Whatever you're thinking of saying right now... don't. (pause) Just bring me some really good news soon. Don't forget: When you make me happy, I make you happy.
Milo: You mean, another crack at the old Fenderbender Treatm--
* * * * *
Scene Two: The main bar and lounge area of Kewl Beanz!, where the new assistant manager, Isabella "Bella" Vergara, is tending bar. Afternoons at Kewl Beanz! are generally slow, and this afternoon is no exception. The last three customers have just left, and Bella is cleaning their table, with her back to the door.
A Man enters, unseen by Bella. As Bella bends over the table she's cleaning, he boldly walks up to her and pats her on the behind in an overly-familiar way. Bella bolts upright and turns to face him, noticing that he looks oddly familiar. Her eyes flash with anger, but her voice -- heavy with a Colombian accent -- is restrained and polite.
Bella: Is there something I can do for you... sir?
Man (reacting to her accent): Ooh! Aren't you the hot little tamale! (brief pause) Yeah, there is something you can do for me, sweet-cheeks! You can find me the manager of this little bistro. I need to talk with him.
Bella: The manager is a "she," not a "he," but she's not here right now. I'm the assistant manager, so you may talk with me. And you are...?
As soon as the question has escaped her lips, Bella realizes where she has seen the Man before.
To Be Continued...