The next message was from Tammy. She started in laughing. John still found it hard to believe what Brad had told him about her being a singer and having a deal in the works in Nashville. She didn't seem to fit the mold. Her short message was great to hear. She said she would be dropping by with more money and that she would like to help out if she could. He couldn't see what kind of help she could offer, but the money would be nice. He was a little stumped because she didn't owe him anything more than the retainer she had already given him. If he were to uncover anything for her she would owe him, but he hadn't even really started working on the case yet. He gave her a ninety- day deadline.

John let the message end and then found himself a little nervous about seeing her again. He looked forward to it, but he knew he'd feel inadequate and a little goofy around her. He reminded himself to simply consult his client and forget about what other feelings might be developing.

The two dial tones followed where the callers were probably vinyl siding salesmen and had hung up on the machine. After that, his mother's voice came through the little speaker with the response of a chain smoker. Only Mom didn't smoke. She was, however, usually sick with something. In her old age she had found it better to avoid all doctors than be told the truth about her failing health. Dad had the same attitude and he had died. John thought that his mother would have learned from him and take a different approach. No such luck so far. She also wanted to have lunch and added that she hadn't heard from him in a while. He pressed the save button again. He'd call her back in the next few minutes.

With no more messages to sit through, he opened the blinds and watched the tourists walking by shielding themselves from the hot, blinding sun. Thousands of lives were going on in the naked city, he thought. He tried to remember where he had heard that line before and figured it was some old black and white movie etched into his brain from years ago.

He went back to his cluttered desk and made a hopeless attempt at organization. He pulled out a few things and tried to prioritize his day, but it didn't work. He sat down and only thought of Tammy. He pulled her contract and looked at the address she had given. It was close by. She lived at the beach in an upper-crust subdivision of million dollar homes with security gates. Croatan was the name of the section and it was very well known. Not the kind of place you might find a struggling local singer.

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