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Johnnie Mitchell

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Missing Angel Chapter 2
By Johnnie Mitchell
Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Rated "PG13" by the Author.

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Chapter 2 of the mystery-suspense novella by Johnnie Mitchell. A part-time detective searches for a missing high fashion model.






Chapter 2

“I show do hope you can find my baby,” Mrs. Mandrell said.
She was a well preserved brownskinned woman perhaps in her late fifties. I could see the resemblance between her and Angel. She may have equaled Angel during her younger days.
The apartment was rather smallish and seemed overly crowded with furniture. I was seated on a sofa and she sat on a full one directly opposite it.
“I'll do the best I can, Mrs. Mandrell. Can you tell me the last time you saw or spoke to Angel?”
“I talked to her on the phone the day she disappeared.”
“Did she seem troubled by anything?”
“No. She was her usual self. She's not the type to tell other people her problems.”
“Speaking of problems, did Angel have any special problems during her childhood?”
“Childhood? What's that got to do with anything now?”
“The more I can find out about her personality the better I can figure out what she might do if I know what situation she's in.”
“Well, I guess that makes sense.” She locked her fingers together and placed her hands in her lap. “Angel never really had no big problems. Except with her father. That man could be something else. He was like day and night. He would be nice and sweet one minute, and mean and cruel the next. He would say things he really didn't mean. After it was all over he would do something grand to make it all right again.”
“Did he ever get violent during his changes in personality?”
“No. He came close. I take that back. He did once. He came home drunk. Just out of the blue he took off his belt and started hitting me with it. Angel walked in on all the mess. She was around eleven at the time. It really shook her up. It turned her off to him. It took him six months to win her back. He acted nice during the whole time. I thought he had finally straightened out.” She unlocked her hands and wiped her eyes. “We came home from downtown one day. Angel ran ahead to the bathroom. Her father was in there. He had. He had shot himself through the head. Blood was all over the place. I never will forget the look on my baby's face when she came running back towards me. Oh......I haven't talked about this in a long time. You know. It took us awhile to get over his death. But Angel has come out all right. At first I didn't like the idea of her becoming a model. But now I'm proud of her.”
She fell silent, and I couldn't think of anything to say, or pull myself up to leave.
“My baby has been gone two weeks,” Mrs. Mandrell said. “Tell me the truth, Mr. Washington. Do you think she's dead?”
“It's possible. But I can't say for sure. I hope she's not.”

The first thing I noticed about Alfredo Menti's apartment was the variety of paintings he had hanging on the walls. There were landscapes, portraits, and abstract drawings.
“Those are pretty good,” I said. “Did you do any of them?”
“Yes, most of them,” he replied humbly.
“They look pretty nice. You ever sell any of them?”
“I get pretty good prices on some of them.”
“Oh. Are you a pro?”
“I do okay.”
“Oh. Sorry about that. I don't really keep up with what's happening in the art world.”
“That's cool. No sweat.”
He was a tall and skinny young white guy with a full head of shoulder length wavy brown hair. He had a Fu Manchu type mustache.
We moved to Menti's kitchen and sat at the table. Before us was a concoction of milk, strawberries and bananas that had been run through a high speed blender. It had sounded good when he suggested it, and it wound up tasting even better.
“What can you tell me about your relationship with Angel?” I asked.
“She's something else, man. She saved my life. You know, when it came to art, I was a sort of a boy wonder. I had my first big show when I was nineteen. I sold out the show. The critics raved about me. My second show did pretty well, but not as good as the first. But then. I just sort of ran out of steam. No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't do any good work.” He took a long swig from his drink. “I tried dropping acid cause it was supposed to heighten your creativity. But all it did for me was push me into other stuff like coke and pills. After a while all I wanted to do was stay high. My friends started worrying about me. An artist friend of mine suggested I try a model he thought was really great, and might inspire me in some way. Guess who that was?”
“Angel.”
“Angel. When she showed up that first time I asked if she did nude modeling, hoping like hell she didn’t. When she agreed I pretended I knew what I wanted to do. And then she took off her clothes. Oh man. Oh man. I’ve seen some pretty well built nude models. But there was something special about Angel. It wasn’t that she was relaxed without her clothes on, but it was like she knew how fine she was, but it was just no big deal. I remember doing a sketch of her, and then starting to paint. But then I stopped painting and started doing an abstract sketch of her. I was suddenly thrown into a frenzy of going from one painting to the next. I went way over her time, but she didn’t complain one bit. When she was finished posing she got dressed and we sat and talked for about two hours. And then just like that she took off her clothes again. And this time we made love.”
“That must’ve really been something,” I said half sarcastically.
I found myself having jealous feelings over a woman I never had met in person.
“Yes it was. It was one of the most beautiful moments in my life. After that I painted her in about every conceivable way almost every day for a month. By that time I had fallen hard for her.” He sipped from her drink. “My big mistake was starting to work on other subjects. To her it must’ve meant I was over my problem. Just when I was gonna ask her to marry me. She said it was over between us. That I didn’t need her any more. Oh man. I didn’t want to believe it. I couldn’t. I would call her, and she wouldn’t answer the phone. I finally went over to her place and begged her to let me in. When she refused it dawned on me that she was serious about it being over.”
“When was the last time you saw Angel?”
“About two months ago. She came to one of my shows. She even bought a painting. I convinced her to have lunch with me. To me it was like we picked up where we left off from the last time I saw her. But to her it was like we hadn’t seen each other in ten years. I realized it was pointless to try and rekindle what we had before. Still, I went home that night and dreamed about her over and over again.” Menti almost came to tears. “You gotta find her, man. She’s something special.”

Dr. Bryant lived in a two story brick house in a fashionable section of the South Shore district. It was a little after dark when we greeted me warmly and ushered me inside. He offered me a drink from the bar in the corner of the room and I accepted a shot of gin. As it turned out he had read my book and said he found it “quite interesting.”
Dr. Bryant, a thin lightskinned man with close cut dark brown hair, and baby-faced features, paced across the floor, occasionally downing some of his drink. Even at home he was wearing a shirt, tie, and dark slacks. He said:
“I came to meet Angel during a very disturbing time in my life. I’m a surgeon and I had lost several patients in a row. I was beginning to lose confidence in my abilities. Plus my personal life was a disaster. My wife and I had separated. So I took off to Mexico to try and relax. It wasn’t working until I happened to meet Angel. I won’t go into details, but I will say we became very close during my stay at the resort. I told her about the problems I was having. She encouraged me to get my life back in order. Other people had tried the same thing, but she had a way of putting things that made you believe in her, and yourself at the same time.” He finished his drink, went over and poured himself another one. “We saw each other for a time when we both returned to Chicago. But then I. I returned to my wife, so of course our relationship had to end. She took the break up quite well. She even consulted me about medical advice on a few occasions. Of course, that’s been several months ago. …..I sincerely hope you locate Angel. But I unfortunately don’t believe I can help you. I guess that should be it.” He checked his watch. “My wife and kids are due back pretty soon. I think it’s best that you be gone when they arrive.”
That, at least, explained why he hardly let me get a word in.

“So you’re George Washington, huh. I thought you’d have a white wig with a red ribbon attached.”
That was what Mark Garmon had said as he let me inside his apartment. He had rugged features, broad shoulders on a football running back type body. In fact, he sort of favored ex-NFL player Emmit Smith.
The place was a typical bachelor style apartment with expensive, yet cold and impersonal sparse furnishings that could easily be straightened up if you were inclined to do such a thing.
Mark led me over to a picture window that gave you a great view of the beach and lake. “I get a pretty good view in the day time. Sometimes I whip out the binoculars and check out the ladies. I’ve even gone down and scored with a couple of them.”
“With the kind of year you’re having, you shouldn’t have to worry about the ladies.”
“I have to admit I ain’t been having too much trouble lately,” he said with a grin.
“You guys are playing pretty good ball now. What happened at the beginning of the year?”
“You know, we had some problems. Our pitchers started out slow. And a couple guys were out with injuries. When we brought my man Jackson up from the minors it really got us going. I think we can finish close to five hundred this year. And next year, look out!”
“I can feel it. Especially if you keep playing the way you have been.”
“Hey man, to tell the truth, I owe it to Angel. I guess you know I had a pretty good rookie season. I was doing pretty good my second year when I got hit in the helmet with a high inside fast ball. I wasn’t hurt or nothing like that, but I got this mental block about inside pitches. I would bail out and have a weak swing at the ball. It didn’t take long for the word to get out around the league. It seemed like every pitcher in the league had a way of taking advantage of my weakness. Hell, it worked like a charm too. My average fell from around two-ninety to under two hundred. Pretty soon everybody was on my case. The fans. The press. Even my mother wanted to know what was wrong with me.”
“That must’ve been rough.”
“You ain’t lying.” Mark moved off toward the center of the room. “It got so bad I turned into a semi-recluse. A friend of mine talked me into going to this party. That’s when I met Angel. We hit it off pretty good right from the start. She wasn’t really into baseball that much. But she had read about my problem in the paper and she said she was sorry I was having trouble. After that we started going out together. Then you know, we went on this road trip, and man, it was a disaster. My average was down to about one-fifty. Some washed up dude was playing in my place against right handers. Trade rumors were flying everywhere.” He sat in a chair and I went to a sofa and took a seat. “As soon as we got back to town I raced over to Angel’s. I was looking for a shoulder to cry on, but instead she came on all happy and gay. Then she told me she had a way for me to solve my problem. You would never guess what it was.”
“What was it?”
“She bought a bunch of these plastic balls that kids play with. She had me stand like I was hitting with a bat in my hand. And then she stood in front of me and threw the balls at me. So even when she hit me it really didn’t hurt. Pretty soon I wasn’t worried about the ball hitting me. I saw what she was trying to do, but I didn’t know if it was gonna work out or not. But guess what. It did. In the first game of the home stand I got doubles my first two times up. The dude pitching came inside on my a couple times, and then tried to go outside. I just went with the pitches and I smacked then right down the line. Then the last time I came up this relief pitcher was in. He had this curve that breaks real sharp. I figured he was gonna try and sneak it inside on me. When he did the ball hung a little, and I slammed that sucker into the upper deck. After that I was on my way back. Man, that honey saved my life. She really did. I gotta admit that I fell for her harder than I ever have for anybody. But a funny thing happened. The better I played the further away Angel drifted away from me. I got scared I was gonna lose her. So I asked her to marry me.”
“What did she say?”
“Ain’t it obvious? I ain’t married to her now. She said we should break it off because our careers would clash. I don’t think that was the real reason. I think it was just her way. She’s something else, man. I’ve never seen another one like her.”

I was in my car driving. So far I had learned that Angel Mandrell was a cross between Florence Nightingale, Halle Berry, and Oprah. Clearly the men in her life didn’t want it to end between them. That switched me to another line of thinking. Maybe one of them had decided if couldn’t have Angel no one could.

       Web Site: Missing Angel

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Reviewed by Alex Mahon 9/8/2012
I enjoyed reading this chapter. If they're as good as this your book will be published.


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