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Rogues Episode 2.5: Interviewing a missing man's partner

Episode 2.5 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.

A few days ago, Blue and I met Leila, a middle-aged dominatrix, at the Downtowne Coffeehouse in Talent. She had a case for us that looked promising. One of her clients, Jeremy Trout, a relocated filmmaker from Los Angeles, had disappeared under suspicious circumstances. We decided to gather more information about the case from Jennifer Stanner, his girlfriend. I was meeting with her today at her home in Ashland.

“Welcome,” said Jennifer, opening the front door of her hillside home.

“Thank you. It’s a pleasure to meet you. I just wish it were under better circumstances,” I said as I took in the large living room with high ceilings and the spectacular view of Grizzly Peak.

“Yes. Why don’t we sit in the kitchen? It’s my favorite room,” said Jennifer, leading me through the house.

“Sounds great to me. Love the view of the mountains,” I said, reminding myself of some of the questions I needed to ask her. This interview was not going to be easy.

After pouring us both something hot, we got down to the questions I needed answers to.

“These questions are not easy but they are essential to our finding Jeremy,” I said.

“I understand. I’ll be as forthcoming as possible,” said Jennifer.

“First of all, what kind of film was he working on and do you think it had anything to do with his disappearance?” I asked.

“He was doing research on pawn shops in the Rogue Valley. He was interested in the culture, what kinds of people frequented pawn shops, and how the industry was changing,” said Jennifer.

“I see.” I knew nothing about pawn shops.

“As to the second part of your question. Yes, I do think that his research is partly responsible for his disappearance. He was going undercover, hiding his true purpose. He may have stumbled into something dangerous or illegal or both.” Jennifer fidgeted with her coffee napkin, tearing it into shreds.

“Do you have his calendar and if so, may I see it?”

“It’s right here. I knew you’d need it. I’ve highlighted the places in it that are related to the film. The last one he visited was ‘Bring it on Pawn,’ in Medford.” Jennifer had done her homework.

“What do you know about this place?”

“It’s high-end pawn. That’s all I know. I hate those places.” Something moved across her face, pulling her energy inward.

“Do you think his, uh, relationship with Leila is of any importance to the case?” I had to ask.

“Nope. None at all.” Jennifer blushed and smiled weakly.

As I left, I thought about what images I had in my head about pawn shops. The term summoned up sleazy strip malls where rotund loan sharks, drenched in gold jewelry, hocked dead auntie’s pearls and dad’s titanium golf clubs.

I was going to learn a lot. And I was going to have to do it undercover, just like Jeremy.

Next week: A dreadlocked woman walks a chicken across a Talent street.