After a good night’s sleep, they both awoke at about 8:00 Sunday morning and went down to a good breakfast. Then Georgie sent Rosie back up to the suite to pack her things and otherwise amuse herself until Georgie returned from the police station.
“If we don’t hear anything about Gil,” Georgie told her, “by four o’clock this afternoon, we’re going to go back to Los Angeles. You can ride with me in the Mustang and tomorrow or the next day I’ll have a couple of people come up and retrieve Gil’s Thunderbird. You didn’t leave anything in the Thunderbird, did you?”
“No,” Rosie replied. “Everything’s up in the bedroom.”
“That’s good,” said Georgie. “So be ready, I want to get back to town before dark. I’m a little worried about Stephen, he’s my cat. He’s gonna be clawin’ the furniture like you wouldn’t believe if he doesn’t get something more to eat very soon.”
Rosie almost let herself chuckle at this but decided, due to the gravity of the situation, she’d better not. Instead she said, “Don’t you worry, I’ll be ready by the time you get back. You will be back for lunch, right?”|
Georgie decided to break the tension by rubbing her stomach. “Wouldn’t miss it,” she said. “That’s one thing I can say about this hick hotel. They sure do know how to feed a country girl.”
This time Rosie laughed and then bid Georgie good luck as she went back up the stairs to the suite. After signing the check, Georgie got up and went around to the garage to retrieve her Mustang from George, who always seemed to be hovering somewhere in the background.
Upon reaching the police station she found that Sergeant Stein had been replaced by Chief Tom Eliot, who sat at the dispatch desk looking cheerful and expectant as Georgie entered the room. She also noticed that, sitting around in the folding chairs drinking coffee and eating donuts, were presumably the four officers that had been mentioned to her by the chief the previous day. She took a moment to look them over. Their generic uniformity—the fresh scrubbed clean-cut faces of young white people in their neatly tailored and spotless but rather plain uniforms—made it difficult to distinguish officer Gwen Brooks from any of her three male counterparts. They all looked impossibly bright-eyed, eager and young, giving Georgie the impression that she had just stepped into a casting call for a Brady Bunch reunion.
Clearing her mind and steeling herself for the business at hand, she walked over to the desk where Chief Eliot was sitting, looking quite patriarchal with his hands folded neatly on the desktop and a pleasant but rather fatherly smile gracing his lips.
“Ah, Ms. Jordan, isn’t it?” he exclaimed in a friendly manner. “I presume that you brought those calling cards with you, the ones we discussed yesterday?”
In response Georgie began to dig through her tote bag but was stopped by a hand from the chief. He turned to the assembled officers and said in an authoritative tone that was most unlike the rather mild and diffident manner he used with Georgie, “Officers, please go into the interrogation room while I conclude my business with Ms. Jordan.”
At the sound of this they all jumped up as if to attention and, taking their coffee cups and donuts with them and murmuring, “Yes chief,” “Right chief,” etcetera, they hurried into the next room and closed the door.
As soon as they were gone the chief turned back to Georgie and extended his hand while making a beckoning motion with his fingers. In compliance Georgie again reached into her tote bag and brought out an envelope which she handed to the chief. He immediately took it, opened it, and after making sure that its contents—ten one hundred dollar bills—were in order, he then replaced the bills in the envelope, slid the envelope into the center drawer of his desk, closed it, then barked out loud, “All right officers, get back in here!”
Within less than five seconds the four had returned and stood around his desk at attention, as if waiting for further orders.
The chief did not disappoint them. “All right,” he barked at about the same volume, though none of the them were more than three feet from his face, “Officers Sandberg, Frost, take unit two and go door-to-door on the south face. Take plenty of these pictures and descriptions with you.” He pointed to a stack of copies that had been made of Gil’s publicity picture.
The two officers so designated picked up a handful of the pictures and hurriedly left the building. “You other two,” the chief continued in the same tone, “take the rest of these pictures and circulate them on the north face as you go door-to-door. You, Officers Brooks and Whitman, will be first responders if anything happens on the strip. So keep your radios with you and turned on at all times. Take unit three.”
This pair of officers responded as the other two had, and with affirming nods of their heads grabbed the pictures and fled the office.
When they were gone, the chief turned back to Georgie and in his former mild-mannered voice said, “I can keep them out all day if you want, but we should have kind of a deadline. After all, they have to eat sometime.”
“I agree,” Georgie said, “I’m kind of pressed of time myself. Shall we say, if we don’t hear anything by four this afternoon, give me a call at the hotel. We’re going to leave town and we’ll take it from there. We’ll notify the county sheriff, the state police, and the FBI if necessary.”
The chief spread his hands in an attitude of contentment. “Whatever you say, Ms. Jordan, as long as it’s clearly understood that, after this afternoon, after you leave, it’s out of my hands and out of our jurisdiction.”
“That’s fine with me,” agreed Georgie.
As she stood up the chief also stood up and they shook hands rather perfunctorily. But as Georgie turned to leave, Chief Eliot couldn’t seem to help remarking, “Nice doing business with you, Ms. Jordan.”
Georgie set her jaw and, ignoring the implication, briskly strode out of the station. She jumped into her car and hurried back to the hotel.
After that it was just a matter of waiting around. By the time Georgie returned to the hotel Rosie had already packed all her things and was sprawled out on the couch reading a movie magazine and sipping a diet soda.
The two ladies engaged in small talk, social chitchat, and the inevitable Hollywood gossip until it was time to go down for lunch. After a meal of burgers, fries and milkshakes Georgie again sent Rosie up to the suite while she went to the front desk to deal with Fast-Draw Frankie.
It was quite an amusing scene, really, as the chief desk clerk of the hotel, whose owner was valued in the neighborhood of tens of millions, conferred with the office manager of a corporation that was also worth in the tens of millions, going seriously and carefully over a hotel bill of less than five hundred dollars. Melson was unusually reserved and businesslike and Georgie was the same. It was obvious that both had cultivated a healthy dislike for the other but saw no reason to provoke as they likely would never see each other again. When Georgie was satisfied that the figures were fair and accurate she signed the hotel bill and returned to the suite without comment.
As the minutes slowly ticked by and the two ladies tried to divert themselves by watching a tennis tournament on ESPN, it became increasingly obvious that there was going to be no breaking news as far as the Gil situation was concerned. The phone remained silent until just before 4:00 when finally it rang.
Georgie, seeing no reason for privacy this time around, quickly snatched up the receiver of the living room phone and said brusquely, “Jordan here.”
The voice on the other end (obviously Chief Eliot) took on a mournful tone that Georgie could tell in an instant was faked. “Well, Ms. Jordan,” said the chief, now going all folksy on her, “I don’t know what to tell you. We just can’t seem to find hide nor hair of the guy. It’s like the earth swallowed him up or something. Nobody’s seen anybody with that description in the last day and a half or so.”
Georgie, who had been expecting this, said simply, “Well chief, that’s all you can do. Thank you, and thank your people for their efforts, will you?”
“Sure thing, Ms. Jordan, and I sure do hope things work out okay.”
“So do I,” said Georgie grimly, and without further ado hung up the phone. Upon doing so she simply shook her head at Rosie, who divined her meaning immediately.
“Okay,” said Georgie, “bill’s all paid. I guess there’s no use hanging around here, is there?”
“No,” said Rosie, who got up and stretched, yawning a bit, “I’m ready to go back.” Then she looked at Georgie and said seriously, “You know, if it wasn’t for who-knows-what-happened this would have been a really fun weekend.”
“Yeah,” said Georgie, “I know what you mean.” She put her hand around the other woman’s shoulders for a few moments and then said, “C’mon, let’s get out of here.” She picked up the phone and called the front desk as Walter, the superannuated bellboy, was needed to cart Rosie’s voluminous baggage down to the parking garage. That accomplished, Georgie graced Walter with another fiver and then, after giving instructions to George about what would be happening to Gil’s car, they got in her Mustang and began the drive back down the strip.
As it was a really pleasant day Georgie retracted the top and a cool breeze ruffled their hair as they slowly made their way toward the west end of the strip away from the quaint little Hotel Remington and the imposing Monte Sueño.
When they reached the end of the strip Georgie turned around and looked back at the strange little town, then turned to Rosie and said, “Well, all I can say is that, wherever Gil is, I hope he finds what he’s looking for.”
“Amen to that,” said Rosie with conviction as she crossed herself.
Then Georgie speeded up the Mustang and, as they exited the strip, they turned left on the access road that would lead to the highway that would lead to the freeway that would connect with the Harbor Freeway and then to the Hollywood Freeway, which would take them back the City of Angels they both called home.