A two-faced gold jack-in-the-box bobbles back and forth on the coffee table. Amanda feels a rush of adrenaline flush to her face as she catches her breath. She looks up at Lorenzo, steady and calm. “That’s a keeper,” she finally exclaims.
Lorenzo hands the camera back to Robert and joins his girlfriend at the couch. “Seems Mr. Oxley picked a likeness of himself as the messenger,” referring to the corporate mogul’s propensity to hide behind a fabricated public image. “What’s it holding?”
“It looks like a car fob.” Amanda take the key and turns it over. She plants one raised eyebrow at the camera and holds up the logo in plain view. “A bribe perhaps? Oooo I’m honored.”
The reputation Amanda has as an investigative reporter has not gone unnoticed. The last documentary she wrote, produced, and directed got her quite a bit of notoriety in the fish farming industry when she exposed the unethical DNA manipulation practices of the famous Skinny Mermaid Salmon restaurant chain. Although Oxley Corporation shed no tears at the resulting bankruptcy that their biggest food industry rival had suffered (in fact, the Oxley restaurant division gained most of the lost business) they took note of this young ambitious activist as someone to stay clear of.
So why the sudden interest? Amanda, Lorenzo, Robert, and Robert’s mother Angela are the only ones suspicious of the Columbus project.
“How does he know?…Robert?” Lorenzo and Amanda look straight at Robert who is taken aback by the insinuation.
“It’s not me. My mother would lose her job if they found out. Or worse.” His obvious fear supports the claim.
Amanda stares off into space, looking up and right as if trying to recall an image, then suddenly exclaims: “The footage!” She rushes to the office chair, rolls it to the computer, and starts fumbling through the command menus. “Lorenzo?”
“I’m right there with you, hon.” Lorenzo rolls another chair over, applies a few effects to the stranger they had originally planned to edit out, and starts the playback.
As Amanda’s voice plays over the zoomed image, they notice that the man shifts his eyes from time to time in their direction. He isn’t really concerned about the courthouse at all. Robert, still filming the current sleuthing session, advances and exclaims:
“Yes. The Skinny Mermaid reporter. Read his lips. That’s what he’s saying.” He makes an exaggerated vocalization to prove his point.
Lorenzo rewinds and zooms in further. Robert is right. The man in the corner must be a plant from the Oxley Corporation. The cuff links give him away. Lorenzo brings the original frame back into view and freezes it. “Hey! Is that a Lamborghini?” He grabs the mysterious key fob and sure enough, it’s a match.
“Do you suppose it’s still there?” Robert asks.
“Only one way to find out.” Amanda heads for her jacket while Lorenzo copies the files to a memory stick and locks up the computer. The three filmmakers take a quick jaunt to the courthouse.
As they had hoped, the black sports car is still parked where it was this morning when they were filming. Amanda clicks on the fob and the car responds with an ominous beep.
“Sweet!” They sing in unison.
Amanda approaches the car, opens the door, and grabs a blank envelope from the driver’s seat. She opens it. The invitation inside is addressed to Amanda. “You are cordially invited to a private Oxley Corporation press release at 4321 Takeoff Drive this evening at 7:00PM. Attire: Black Tie. Admit One.”
“Black Tie? What kind of a press release is that?” Lorenzo grumbles, mostly because he didn’t make the guest list.
A cell phone rings. Robert answers. “Hey mom…What?” He stares wide-eyed at Amanda. “A Ferrari? No, Lamborghini…Not me. Amanda…I don’t like it…be careful.” He hangs up, his mouth dry with worry. He gulps.
…to be continued in Dancing With The Enemy.