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Maddox Knight Finds the Girl
 


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Maddox Knight Finds the Girl


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  Text set in Calibri

  MADDOX KNIGHT FINDS THE GIRL

  MADDOX KNIGHT FINDS THE GIRL

  (Case File 1)

  I always thought the winter was a blustery sack of slush, snow and shit. I often become depressed with the onslaught of cold, harsh temperatures. Not only this, the lack of sunlight makes it difficult to function. It is as if a plume of ash has exploded into the air from a volcano, not allowing a speck of light in. In the past I had tried vitamin D supplements to no avail. I can’t afford therapy nor do I think it may work on me. Many think that New York City is beautiful at Christmas time with the lit up trees, streets and abundance of tourists. However this does not fill me up. Quite the contrary, it is stressful.

  I live alone and was estranged from my family 5 years back. I was addicted to cocaine due to some idiots in high school pressuring me into it. After the first hit, I was hooked. It was as if someone injected instant happiness and energy into my body. It felt fucking great. This addiction proved to be an issue for my family, of course. However they didn’t even try to help me. They kicked me out of the house and wanted nothing to do with me. Abandonment is what I call it. I graduated High School and tried one year of community college and quit. It just wasn’t for me and I must admit the coke did sneak its way back in a couple of times as stress levels increased. But never mind. All my learning is self-taught. I’m pretty quick and very resourceful.

  The word friend is superficial to me. Acquaintance is more of a familiar account when it comes to people. No one can be trusted. Sexual partners are just that. One night stands are very common. I don’t like seeing them more than once and having to talk to them about what transpired the night before, forget it. Nor do I want to wake up the next day smelling of alcohol and cigarettes with someone. I always leave right after or as soon as I’m sober. Clothing choice is not important to me and I wish everyday and food was enjoyable. To me it’s as trivial as brushing my teeth.

  As much as I’m somewhat stuck in a routine, getting out of what I call a 7 year old funk is something I very much require. I admit, I need a different life; an event which is out of the ordinary. I also do crave getting out of this city and a new start. Leaving the idiots, outrageous comments, hustle, bustle, 9 to 5 and electric buzz would be rejuvenating.

  On the bank slip I got this afternoon it says there is $643.79 in my account, therefore options are limited. Rent is due in a few days and looking forward, I can’t see how I can make that payment. Being stuck between a rock and a hard place is an understatement. Suicide contemplation is an often fix but then I think of how painful it may be to actually slit my wrists. Avoiding the potential physical pain trumps the death card outcome.

  This particular day, I throw some clothes together after a brief and unsatisfying shower. Standing in front of the mirror limp and absent momentarily I ponder how I should really wash my hair or remove the blackheads and how atrocious I look but I don’t care. I then grab my apron and take off for a shift at Shamrock Irish pub. I very much detest this place but the need for money and a fear to give a new job a try bogs me down.

  Getting hit on was a frequent happening. I am treated like shit and harassed often however I usually brush the attempts off each time nonchalantly. It doesn’t really bother me that much. At times I like it. One lucky guy would be the target of my physical release once a week and they are usually among the offenders. Getting beat up, pissed on and abandoned are not enough for me to quit fucking random guys. The physical need to orgasm via fucking a stranger was just too strong. Sometimes I liked it rough too. It really did get me off.

  At work, walking amongst the sticky floor, dark room and dodging the greasy hands ready to grab a body part is a precision I had nailed down. What I hated the most was just showing up to work and offering initial greetings to the annoying people I work with. After that I can navigate my way through avoidance and going through the motions to the end of the night. The end meant somewhere around 2 a.m. Usually, tips would be counted out and everyone was too tired at that point to expect anything pensive from anyone else. Although I hear most of the other staff go out afterwards as a group to mull over the evening and that was therapeutic to each and every one of them. The outings kept them sane in some sense of the word I suppose. I however can’t stand spending another moment with any of them. I wanted out.

  This Thursday evening, while clearing off one table, piling up the dishes on the tray, my stealthy ears couldn’t help but overhear two men in a nearby booth.

  “Yeah, I don’t know what happened. She just kind of disappeared one day. She came to spend the weekend with me and it was an amazing weekend. We went out to eat. We took a stroll through Central Park, made passionate love three or four, um, four times that weekend. She gave me no indication that we were on the fritz. We spoke every other day on the phone but this time when she got back on that plane to Miami that was the last I’d heard of her. I try calling her several times a day. There is no answer. It just goes straight to voicemail. I look on her social media pages and she has added nothing new since then. This is beginning to affect my work. I feel so hopeless. I was going to ask her to marry me too.”

  “I don’t know what to say, bud. Sometimes women are very unpredictable.”

  “No. I’m convinced she is hurt or kidnapped.”

  “Do you have her work number?”

  “She didn’t work. Her parents were very wealthy and she lives with them. She volunteers at a pet shelter daily but I don’t have any contact info for that place.”

  “Umm, maybe she doesn’t want you to find her!”

  “That’s not like Sheila. I’m telling you. I would go down there and look for her myself but I can’t take any time off of work.”

  “Well, that’s what weekends are for, no?”

  “(Big exhale) Well, um. I sort of got into some trouble with a DUI last summer and can’t leave the state. The judge was very lenient and let me keep my license but one of the stipulations was that I can’t leave. So I’m stuck for the next little while.”

  “I’m sorry man, I had no idea. Why didn’t you tell me sooner?”

  “Well, it’s not the sort of thing you want to go around telling people. Embarrassing, you know?”

  Usually I’m a pro at clearing a table but this time I slowed it down as I listened on. As I sprayed more and more cleaner, the chemicals saturated my nose with the pungent odour and I hated it but I couldn’t stop just then. Their conversation sounded too interesting to abandon. It was a slow time of night anyways so I could have afforded to move a little slower.

  “Yeah, I know what you mean.”

  “If I could just send someone I know there to check up on her. I would pay airfare, lodging and all other expenses and a huge finder’s fee. I am that desperate.”

  I felt a surge of excitement unlike any I ever remember feeling without an artificial high. I found myself chiming into the convo.

  “I’ll do it!”

  “Sorry?”

  “I couldn’t help but hear what you need to be done and I’m saying I can do it for you. I’m pretty tough and trustworthy.” I look around to see if anyone else is listening or watching. “I’ll do it for you. You give me the info and you can look at my ID. I’ve been working at this place for a long time. You can ask the manager, he’ll vouch f
or me. I’m strong and I don’t need a lot of sleep. I can look for your girl. I will check in with you ever so often. Ummm. I don’t have a phone but I can use a payphone.”

  “I don’t know. I mean how do I not know if you will just take the free ticket and money and run?”

  After thinking long and hard for a few moments I surrendered in desperation. “You can pay the ticket and wire money as we go. You don’t have to pay me a lot up front. I don’t have a lot in my bank account. I’ll show you. Look here is the bank slip from this afternoon. I withdrew twenty dollars I only have this much left. Look.” I take the slip out of my pocket to show him the details. “I’ll even give you half of it as collateral. Please. I need this. I don’t have anything else of value to give you. You can check my apartment.” My eyes started swelling with tears for some reason but I fought them back.

  “What do you mean by ‘you need this’”? The man seemed to be contemplating the offer.

  “Well I mean this can be a new start for me. I just heard you talking about what happened to you and I had a feeling that I could do something good for you.” That’s a crock of shit; I don’t really mean that I want to do something good for him. I don’t like doing things for others. This is really just about me wanting this and saying whatever I can to get it.

  I looked around again and this time I saw the manager glaring at me. I slapped the table with my hand. “Never mind, just forget I even mentioned anything.” I went back to clearing the other table. I took the cloth and put it on the tray and took the tray back to the kitchen.

  Joe, the manager approached me. “Everything okay Maddy?” I think Joe has a bit of a soft spot for me but I’m not sure. I’m confused about what he says to me sometimes. I’m not used to people being nice to me and expecting nothing in return so he must want to get in my pants too. I felt defensive when he asked me this. “Yup. Everything is good. I just was telling that guy about restaurants in the area. That’s all. He wanted to know about a good place to eat for late night munchies so I told him about Slappy’s Pizzeria.”

  “Okay, just asking if you’re okay.” Joe retorted. “Carry on”.

  I went about my night. About an hour later the same guy from earlier approaches me while I’m taking a customer’s order. I glanced at him and he motioned for me to continue. After done with the order I nod towards the back of the restaurant where I have to give the kitchen and bar keep the slip for the order. The man is waited for me. I wondered what he had to say. When I approached him again, he gave me a piece of paper.

  “My friend and I were talking about your offer and I think I want to take you up on it but we need to meet again. Here is my name and number. Call me soon.”

  I felt speechless and surprised. I really didn’t know what to say. So I look at him, take the piece of paper and just shout out “okay!” in an excited tone. The rest of the night was uneventful.

  The next day I woke up earlier than usual. I quickly got dressed and walked down to the lobby to use the payphone.

  “Jay speaking.”

  “Hi, this is the girl, um from the restaurant yesterday. I’m calling so…”

  “Yes. Can we meet for lunch at 1230? A place on the Lower East side called “Omni’s.” Good food, I’m paying. We can talk there.”

  “Sure. That’s an hour from now. I’ll make it.”

  I was so excited; I flew back up to my apartment and tried to pick out something which matched the setting of the Omni which I hear is super expensive. I found a nice flowery dress with capped sleeves which I’ve had for a long time. There was a lipstick stain on the top part of the sleeve but I thought to cover it up with a cardigan. Only…I couldn’t find my cardigan. I looked all over. Then realized I hadn’t had this much energy about something for a while much less be concerned about what I was wearing. I had that balance in my account which had to be saved for rent but I really didn’t give a shit at this point. I wanted to take a chance.

  I had a quick shower but there was no time to wash the cigarette smell from my hair. I looked too and was out of shampoo anyways. So I improvised with a spritz of body spray found in the back of the bathroom cabinet. I remembered this was a gift a year ago at the staff Santa swap.

  I found some black tights as I looked through my drawers. Then I saw something peaking out from under the pillow case and there it was—the grey cardigan. I had it assessed it for smell and stains. It passed the test and so I wore it along with my coat. I zipped up my high boots and looked momentarily in the mirror. I paused this time. Admiring how the clothes looked on my body. I then actually took the time to look for lipstick stashed away in the back of the closet in a torn makeup bag. As I glided on the shade of rouge I noticed it matched the stain on the dress. I snapped myself out of the lingering and ran downstairs to catch a cab. To the upper east side would be a fetch of money but I was up for it with nothing to lose but much to gain.

  I hailed a cab and just escaped the splash of sleet which travelled up in the air with its arrival. “159 Ludlow Street.” I was not one for pleasantries therefore hello, please and thank you were not frequented. I stuck my ear buds in so the Walkman played and I wouldn’t have to talk. I could never afford to buy anything new but my trusted Walkman was in great condition and I took pride in it. It of course played audio tapes only so I blasted 80s music at all times from its workings.

  Forty minutes later through the messy roads and heavy lunchtime traffic I noticed the change of scenery. I was on the lookout for the restaurant as taxi drivers could not be trusted. The tab read $84.00 and I was gobsmacked. I then directed eyes to the clock which read 12:40. I hoped for some good measure soon. As the cab reached the Omni I looked up and gazed upon the beautiful bold signage with glowing lights. I quickly handed over her cash with no tip. The driver reacted but at least I couldn’t hear the horrid sound he probably made as the ear buds and music were still going strong.

  I stepped out of the taxi avoiding the puddles and made my way in.

  “Hello there, table for one?” The lanky woman smiled as I approached.

  “No. I’m meeting someone here.” I looked around the restaurant as I spoke.

  “Okay. Well can I ask for a name?”

  “Jay”

  “Alright, I’ll be right back.”

  I could not stand waiting and was already late so took it upon myself to find Jay. I started walking around the busy place. Far off at a window booth there he was sitting. I approached him. He smiled and said “From the bar last night right?”

  “Yes, I’m Maddox Knight.” I sat across from Jay.

  “Okay. I thought you weren’t going to come after all. I’m glad you did.”

  “Yeah, well, the traffic was a bitch not to mention the taxi driver did not know his way around.”

  “Well, glad to see you again. You look different than last night.”

  I got annoyed by his comment. I didn’t understand what he was trying to say nor did I want to try and understand. I don’t have time for such stupid behaviour.

  “So, it cost me ninety bucks for a taxi to get here so I have a lot less in my bank account then I have to ride it back too. Which would really clean me out so I can only give you two hundred as collateral probably.”

  “Oh wow, that’s a lot of money. I’m sorry. I didn’t consider your plight. I will reimburse you for the taxi rides. You are coming here for me so that’s not fair. Also, don’t worry about the money. I will take a chance on you. However I will take you on the offer of wiring you money in small increments when you check in daily. That sounds like enough security for me.”

  “Really? That’s it?” I was thinking it would be more of a struggle to get the gig.

  “Well, I want to see how you will do and I want information about my girl. It seemed easy when you came up to me. I also spoke with your manager and he said some really great things about you. So I will purchase a one-way ticket for you and pay for your taxi to the airport. I’ll give you $200 spending money and when we check in with ea
ch other we will take it from there. I’ll leave with you a prepaid cell phone so you don’t have to be struggling to find a payphone from anywhere you are. Of course you can use the hotel phone to call me from there when you need to. I will make arrangements for a hotel close to where Sheila lives. I will let you know all about it this afternoon if you agree to all of this.”

  “I agree. It sounds fair. Hi, I’d like a coke and a cheeseburger please.” I grabbed a waiter that was just walking by. “I can’t believe they haven’t come to take my order yet.”

  “Actually I ordered for us. But I didn’t order a drink so he can bring your coke and you can take the burger to go for later.”

  As quick as he explained there came a Caesar salad, lobster bisque and a creamy tomato soup.

  I marvelled at the food and the aromas alone caused me to salivate.

  “I hope you don’t mind. I ordered all at once because we were running late.” I nodded.

  We ate our meal. I talked briefly about my upbringing and Jay talked more about Sheila and their relationship.

  “You know what? I’m going to get a notebook. I’ll remember all of the things you have told me about her and I’m gonna write them down. That will help.”

  “Sounds like a good plan.”

  “okay so, here is the cash for the taxi. Call me by 3 p.m. and I’ll have the details settled.”

  “Alright. I’ll just stick around to wait for my burger.”

  Jay paid the bill, handed me some money and nodded to me. I sat and waited for the burger which came 5 minutes later.

  The taxi ride home was exhilarating. I ate the burger piping hot in the back seat with pleasure. Loving every minute of it.

  When I got back to the apartment the first thing I did was call Joe. It took a lot of mustering up the balls to say thank you to Joe for giving a good reference. Then I resigned.

  I got upstairs and packed whatever I needed into a backpack then packed the rest into boxes that were lying around. I didn’t have very much anyways. I called first an acquaintance to ask if she could stash the boxes there. To which the acquaintance replied no. Then I called Joe back and asked the same favour which was very awkward and once again difficult. He said ‘yes’. I was beginning to see a pattern with Joe. He was a very reliable person. I thanked him, which was also very difficult but less difficult than it was with others I admit. He said no problem and “if you need anything else, please ask. Oh and Maddy, please be careful.” Joe mentioned he would not be at the bar tonight but I could leave the boxes in the office labelled with his name and it should be safe. I appreciated all that Joe had done up to this point and I found that the word trust was possible with this person.

 
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