Chapter Seventeen

Kitt slowly opened the passenger-side door to the rental car provided by Devon. I'll never get used to this, he thought. He watched with envy as Michael slid into the driver's seat beside him.

Michael sat quietly thinking, staring blankly out the front windshield.

"Michael, do you believe Lena will tell us the truth tomorrow?" Kitt asked, interrupting Michael's thoughts. "She seems quite hesitant."

"I don't know Kitt," Michael said, rubbing his chin thoughtfully. "I think she wants to open up, but something is holding her back. Tony mentioned something about waiting for a signed authorization form from Class Action. Authorization for what? Impersonating Greg Noble and Stevie? I wonder."

"Well, Michael, if Josh and Tina were impersonating Greg Noble and Stephanie without legal authorization, The Getaway could be facing criminal charges and fines," Kitt countered.

"Not to mention the bad effect that publicity would have on the reputation of a newly opened resort," Michael added. "But, as long as everyone believes that Class Action performed here tonight, no one would question the legalities of it."

"But Michael, it wouldn't be prudent for The Getaway to take such a risk. Perhaps the documentation is on its way as Tony says?" Kitt questioned.

"A brief search through Tony's files would answer that question," Michael reasoned. "I think we need to get into Tony's office. Scan the main building and see if anyone is in the Manager's office," Michael instructed.

"There is someone at the main receptionist desk and three people exiting the Manager's office," Kitt announced. .

"Perfect! Keep listening and tell me when the coast is clear," Michael commanded.

"Affirmative Michael," Kitt answered.

Michael looked around. All the guests had gone to their rooms or left. There wasn't a soul in sight.

"Michael, it is time. As you say, 'the coast is clear'," Kitt stated, calmly. "Shall we go? he asked."

"We?" Michael asked surprised.

"Yes, Michael, don't you want me to come with you? We are a team, are we not?" Kitt asked uneasily. "I'm your back-up, Michael, what good am I here?" Kitt argued.

"I don't think so Kitt," answered Michael. "I just need to get in and get out. Nothing I haven't done a million times before."

"But Michael," Kitt argued, "I can be of more help in there than out here," he reasoned.

"Kitt, don't argue with me, I need you to be here and keep a look-out for me," Michael insisted. "I need you to do what you've always done, cover my back. I'll keep my com-link open, okay?"

"Whatever you say, Michael," Kitt replied sadly, "You're the boss."

Michael slipped quickly out of the car and was out of sight in a flash. He felt guilty about telling Kitt to wait in the car. Darn it, Kitt! You're not designed for this! Michael thought.

Michael slipped past the receptionist, unnoticed. Within moments, Michael found himself safely inside Tony Marino's dimly lit office. The first thing he noticed was Tony Marino's untidy desk. A disorganized collection of papers laid helter-skelter upon the desk. Skimming quickly through the assortment of loose papers, one letter caught his eye. It said:

Dear Mr. Marino,

This letter is to confirm receipt of your proposal relative to the band Class Action. Your proposal is currently being reviewed by our attorney and a decision will be forthcoming pending that review.

As we discussed previously, there continues to be unresolved issues regarding usage of video tapes that include the two previous band members Greg Noble and Michael Knight. Currently, Greg Noble's family has expressed interest in your proposal, but is as yet unwilling to accept the financial terms you have proposed. As to the latter issue, I am awaiting a response from Michael Knight.

As the Manager of the band Class Action, I am fully empowered and prepared to negotiate the financial terms of this agreement pending resolution of the aforementioned unresolved issues. I will contact you when I have more information.

Sincerely,

Stuart Manning, Manager

Michael quickly searched Tony's desk for a scrap piece of paper. Pens, pencils, paper clips, rubber bands, an eraser and assorted loose coins! Doesn't this man have a memo pad? Michael thought.

Pulling the drawer farther out, a lovely antique necklace slid forward. A necklace? Michael wondered. Why not? he thought. Lightly brushing it aside, Michael's eye caught sight of a small pad of paper. Finally!

As he removed the pad of paper from the drawer, Michael was surprised to find that the first sheet of paper was written on. Written neatly in large, bold, square letters was the same information printed on Michael's driver's license:

Michael Knight

2745 Ybarra Rd.

Nores, California

California license # 555-87-4529

Realizing that time was running out, he quickly tossed the pad back into the drawer and grabbed a loose blank envelope that caught his eye. Slamming the drawer shut, he scribbled Stuart Manning's name and phone number on it and quickly slipped it into his back pocket.

Michael spied the filing cabinet beside the desk and carefully eased the top drawer open. Flipping quickly past the first few file folders, Michael's eye caught sight of the folder labeled "Class Action". Here it is, Michael thought to himself. Carefully he laid the folder on top of the desk.

The file was filled with a conglomeration of assorted letters, photos, addresses and touring information. Michael spotted an 8 x 10 glossy photograph of Stevie. It had been taken at his first concert performance with her. Written on the back of the photograph was Stevie's personal information. Stevie's height, weight, eye and hair coloring was noted. Other personal facts included were her parents' names, hobbies, schools she attended and favorite songs. Michael was shocked at the detail of this information. Aside from a few errors, for the most part it was fairly accurate.

"Michael, someone just pulled into the parking lot. I think it is Tony Marino," Kitt warned.

"Thanks, Kitt," Michael answered, speaking softly into the com-link on his wrist-watch. "How much time do I have?"

"Not much, he is entering the building now," Kitt replied, softly.

"I'll have to stay put until he leaves," Michael answered. "If I'm not out in 10 minutes, create a distraction."

"Got it Michael," Kitt answered.

Just as Michael disappeared behind a large chair in a dark corner, the door to Tony's office squeaked open.

Tony burst into the room and rushed to his desk. "Where'd I put that necklace?" he grumbled, as he flicked on the switch lighting the area above his desk. He yanked open the center drawer of his desk, without taking a seat. "What a day!" He exclaimed. "Can it get any worse?" he mumbled.

Searching frantically through the desk Tony's hand brushed against the note pad in his drawer, sending it flying out of the drawer and onto the desk. It fell directly on the letter from Stuart Manning.

"Ah, here it is!" Tony said proudly as he pulled the necklace from the drawer. "Now where is that envelope?" He wondered aloud bending down trying to see farther into the drawer. Not finding it, he plopped down into his chair with a sigh. "I wonder if I left it in the car?" he murmured.

Tony rubbed his eyes wearily, leaning forward on his desk. As he removed his hands from his eyes, he noticed the note pad with Michael's address. Picking it up, he said aloud, "Now what am I going to do with you, Michael Knight?" He took a deep breath and slowly let it out before picking up the phone and dialing the operator.

"Jean?" Tony asked politely, sounding worn-out. "This is Tony. I need the room number for a guest. Can you look it up for me please? The name is Knight. Michael Knight."

After a brief pause, Tony spoke again. "Why am I not surprised!" he exclaimed. "I'm sorry, Jean. No, there isn't anything else. Thanks."

Tony tossed the note pad back onto the desk. As it landed it forced several papers off the desk onto the floor in front of the desk.

"Argggg!!!" Tony moaned aloud as he rose from his chair and circled around to the front of the desk. The first paper he picked up caught his attention.

Michael watched closely as Tony slowly picked up the paper and read a portion of it aloud, "As we discussed previously, there continues to be unresolved issues regarding usage of video tapes that include the two previous band members Greg Noble and Michael Knight. Michael Knight? Michael Knight was a Class Action band member? Just great!" he moaned.

Tony shook his head and bent down to retrieve the rest of the scattered papers on the floor. Just as he returned the papers to his desk, the phone rang.

"Hello?" he asked. "What? No, the pool is not supposed to be unlocked at this time of night. You say there are teenage kids swimming in the pool now? Tell them to get out! No, that's okay. I understand, I'll check it out. I'm leaving now anyway. No problem. Good-bye."

Tony sighed aloud and hung up the phone. He turned off the light switch as he exited the room.

Michael heard Tony shut and lock the office door. The moment Tony was gone, Michael stepped out from behind the chair and pulled the envelope from his pocket. Inside the envelope Michael found a receipt. The receipt was from Second Time Around pawn brokers, a shop not far from The Getaway.

Michael quickly searched the other drawers for another blank envelope. Finding none, he placed the receipt back into the center drawer by itself and left.

"Thanks, Kitt," Michael said, settling into the driver's seat once again. "Kids in the pool, very imaginative," he added.

"Actually, Michael, it was the truth," Kitt replied.