“How old is she?”
“Um, I’d say mid-twenties. Got that baby face still.”
I raised my brows and Sadie chuckled. “That’s from memory, not the application.”
“Of course.” I laughed with her.
“She works the swing shift at Bob’s. Always pays her rent on the first. In cash too.”
“Huh. Well, I’ll go on over and knock on her door.”
“You go on and do that,” Sadie said. She waved her arms, shooing me out. “Mind you stop back in here when you’re done. Fill me in on whether I was helpful for your next CSN article.”
“Yeah, City Scope News.” She giggled.
I thanked her and headed over to the next building.
Stairways at each end zigzagged up three flights and the downstairs small patios jutted out beyond the landing over-head.
Rosa Lynn Kohl’s unit was the second apartment on the second floor. I knocked.
My stomach somersaulted. I wiped my sweaty palm on my slacks and waited.
Masking tape with the occupant’s name and a little stenciled heart stuck to the door beneath the unit letter B.
Footsteps, then the door popped open the length of the security chain and cigarette smoke rolled around the door-jamb. I peered through the gap and spied a bulbous nose, and one dark brown eye smudged with chocolate mascara.
“Yeah?” she said.
“I’m Kate Lambrose, from City Scope—”
“I don’t want the paper.” She slammed the door.
I knocked again. “Look. I’m not selling subscriptions.” No answer. I knocked again.
“You’re Rosa Kohl, right?”
The chain yanked and the door flew open. “What about it?”
My eyes met a well-endowed bust restrained by the thinnest tank top material. I tilted my head back and peered up the flaring nostrils of the largest woman I had ever encountered. “You wouldn’t happen to uh…” I swallowed hard. Insanity equaled asking an angry giant if she used an alias. “Use the name Rosalyn Kohler?” She took a step towards me. Her bare, flat feet slapped the concrete deck, and I stepped back to avoid a nipple in the eye.
“Does it say Rosalyn Kohler?” She smacked the door where the tape held fast.
I flinched. “Do you know anyone by the name of Abby?” No time to explain my crusade, I valued my life.
“What are you, a cop?”
I shook my head and back stepped as she took another step toward me. My butt bumped against the balcony rail.
“FBI? CIA? ICE?” She fired initials at me.
“CSN reporter.” I managed to get my mouth working again.
Obviously, she had buried lies, but not out at sea and she was not my Rosalyn Kohler, thank God. The Amazon woman scared me gray, especially after she threatened to drop kick me over the railing. Baby face? Maybe if her daddy went by the name Jolly Green. Paranoid? Absolutely, and definitely in need of anger management classes. I beat feet down the steps. Next stop, Abbot’s pharmacy for Summer Brunette hair dye to wash away my gray.
My knees were still shaking when I stopped at the rental office and thanked Sadie Arnold. She was sorry her lead hadn’t panned out, but thought she might have info on the Alien Baby headline.
On the drive back from Hudson, I compartmentalized all my facts, which wasn’t much. After my run in with Rosa Lynn Kohl, my imagination ran wild and tangled with the words from my phone threat. “Leave it go before you’re gone.” Giant woman’s paranoia infected me, and I spun conspiracy plots in my head. Maybe Sadie Arnold’s tip had merit. Maybe Rosa Lynn Kohl really was Rosalyn Kohler and somehow tied to my phone threat in ways I hadn’t suspected. I checked my rearview mirror repeatedly during the ride back to Yardman, as if I could spot a tail. Just to be certain, I skipped the first exit off the highway and opted for the second. A slight detour and it put me on the south end of Yardman. I vowed to watch fewer murder mysteries.
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