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Episode 2.4: The case of the missing client

Episode 2.4 of the fictionalized adventures of two sisters, Dawn and Sherry, one Ashland-loving, the other Medford-bred, and their adventures across the Rogue Valley. Find prior episodes at www.dailytidings.com.

Blue and I were meeting with Claire and Leila to explore a case she’d dangled at my dinner party a few nights ago. The Downtowne Coffeehouse in Talent fit the bill, whose newly expanded dining area would give us privacy if we needed it.

One of Claire’s clients, Leila, was an unusual woman, who had renewed her services as a dominatrix. She had done similar work in Los Angeles before moving to Southern Oregon to retire, so to speak. Apparently, there was enough demand for her skills among the locals for her business to blossom once again.

While I’d had many fantasies of what Leila might look like, I was surprised to see just how normal she appeared, walking in with Claire. Leila was in her 50s, tall, with a short gray bob, who looked more like a librarian than a dominatrix. I was more inclined to imagine her re-shelving best sellers than spanking moaning men encased in rubber latex.

“Hello everyone. Leila, this is Blue of Blue Investigations and her assistant, Dawn.” Claire sat down at our table and pulled out a chair for her former client.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Leila. Claire tells us you may need our services,” said Blue, shaking her hand.

“I’m completely fascinated by what you do,” said Dawn, blushing idiotically.

“Thanks. People have a lot of misconceptions about bondage,” said Leila. “But I’m more interested in getting to the core of why I’m here.”

“Could you give us an overview?” asked Blue, pulling out her notebook.

“A dear friend of mine and a former client has disappeared. I’m worried that something bad may have happened to him,” said Leila, sipping her coffee.

“Does he live in the area?” asked Blue.

“He lives in Ashland, but he used to direct films in Hollywood. He retired up here before I did. In fact, he recommended the area to me,” said Leila.

“What were the circumstances of his disappearance?” asked Dawn.

“He was researching a new film that he hoped to submit to a bunch of film festivals. I don’t know much more than it was about local culture in southern Oregon.”

“Anything more?” asked Blue.

“Apparently, he was doing some undercover work as part of his research, but he wouldn’t tell me anything specific. All I know is that he missed his appointment, doesn’t answer his phone or his front door, and no one else has heard from him,” said Leila.

“Did anyone inform the police?” asked Dawn.

“Yes, I believe his girlfriend did. Her name is Jennifer Stanner. I’ve got her contact information. “ Leila gave Dawn an index card with names and numbers.

“His girlfriend?” Dawn asked in surprise.

“Yes. You see, this is another misconception. I merely provided Jeremy with a service. I am not his girlfriend,” said Leila, looking at her watch.

“Sorry to ask awkward questions. I’m just trying to understand,” said Dawn.

“Don’t worry about it. By the way, here’s your retainer. Several of his friends and Jenny and I set up a fund to pay you,” said Leila.

Next week: Dawn goes undercover.