Los Angeles: The City of Angels.
The land of sun, palm trees and broken dreams. The land of Botox and silicone and really great tacos and hamburgers. I had moved back here recently and was back on the beat. That beat being searching for said tacos and hamburgers.
But I needed a phone number for my new place. Sure I had a cell phone but that wasn’t enough. I needed a land line. And when I got one, well, I never expected the tale that would unfold as a result.
Apparently, the phone number had belonged to a woman named Dana Belle. When I was overrun with calls by bill collectors searching for her, one thing became abundantly clear about Miss Belle: This dame was in trouble. And trouble was my middle name.
Actually, I don’t have a middle name. My parents didn’t give me one. They figured with a last name like Turchiarolo, how much more torture do you want to put a kid through?
The more calls I mistakenly got for Dana Belle, the more fascinated with her I became. I imagined she was a beauty. A living Jessica Rabbit with the sexy Kathleen Turner voice to match. But Romancing the Stone /Body Heat Kathleen Turner. Not Friends she-looks-like-she-really-could-have-a-penis-and-be-Chandler’s dad Kathleen Turner.
Maybe Dana was an actress. She came out here with only pennies to her name and a dream. She was searching for fame and fortune but instead all she found was heartache and peril. She was running up credit cards bills and always on the run from creditors.
Who knows how many phone numbers she may have had by now? Who knows what she has done to escape the gangsters that were no doubt pursuing her? Rob? Steal? Sell her body to the highest bidder? Take a job at one of those mall kiosks selling cell phone cases?
I knew if I kept going down this path I too would find myself in trouble. It was obvious Dana Belle was a dangerous woman. A femme fatale. Wanting to find and help her were thoughts that needed to be purged from my mind. Mostly so I could remember where I left my car keys because I was late for work.
But I had to find her. Even if my fate was to end up floating face down in a glimmering swimming pool wishing I had learned how to swim or at least invested in a pair of those arm floaties shaped like ducks. I like ducks.
One day I got the phone call that I was never expecting to receive. The call that rocked me to my very core. The man’s voice on the other end was pleasant enough but his greeting was disturbing.
“Hello, Mr. Belle, this is….”
I didn’t bother to listen to his name because my whole body had melted into a state of shock. Massive waves of disappointment came crashing down upon me. My L.A. noir had come to an abrupt and tragic end.
Dana Belle is a dude.