Today's Reading

I pulled out a pair of nitrile gloves from my jacket pocket and put them on. I opened the envelope and pulled out the letter, careful to hold it by the edges of the paper, in case there came a time when there'd be a reason to fingerprint it. There were six pages of hand-printed stationery in the same block lettering as the envelope. Same deep indentation, too.

"How many people have handled this?" I asked Evigan.

"The daytime receptionist, Naomi's producer, and me. I think that's it." Evigan's face slipped back into a deep frown. "Why?"

"Wait a second," I put the letter down. "Naomi hasn't read this?"

"She gets so much mail that she doesn't have time to read it all, so we have her producer, Carl, read some of it and pass along any letters to her that need a reply. Naomi likes to personally answer letters from her fans. After Carl read the letter, he brought it straight to me."

"And you didn't tell Naomi about it?"

"No."

"And you told Carl not to tell her about it, too?"

"Yes."

"Don't you think you should alert her to this situation if you think it's dangerous?"

"I'm not sure it is dangerous." His eyebrows rose.

"You called the police and then me when they wouldn't help you. I think you're sure."

"Just read the letter and tell me what you think."

I started reading the letter, again holding each page on the edges. The first five pages were fairly innocuous. The writer praised Naomi and recounted some of the things he claimed she said during her shows, putting quotation marks around them.

"Don't fight the lonely night. Let it in to comfort you until your Other presents herself." "Don't pollute the freedom of your mind with the restrictions of your body." "Peer into the darkness. Only then can you find your true light."

There were another twenty or so quotes. It sounded like New Age mysticism. Naomi had ventured into that area when I'd listened to her, but not too often. Mostly, she just listened and found the perfect question to ask at the perfect time to unlock the caller's true angst. She was remarkable. She should have been a psychiatrist. Or a homicide cop.

The author turned one of Naomi's quotes back at her on the last page of the letter. "I was lost in the darkness until I peered into it and found my true light, you. Cora, you have given me a purpose in this darkness underneath."

The letter ended: "Until that night, that sweet night when our prophesy is fulfilled, I ask that you just acknowledge that you've listened to my words on paper as you have on the air. Just say my name once during the show by the end of next week and I'll know our hearts are twinned forevermore. Don't disappoint me and awaken my rage."

Until, sweet Cora, Yours, Pluto."

Evigan was pacing behind his desk by the time I finished the letter.

He stopped when I set it down. "Well?"

I reread the last paragraph out loud and looked at Evigan when I finished. "Is Naomi a stage name? Is her real name Cora?"

"No. Her real name is Naomi."

"What about her middle name?"

"Ursula. But I Googled Cora." Evigan looked like he was waiting for a pat on the head.

"And?" No pat.

"It was made famous my James Fenimore Cooper in The Last of the Mohicans. She was the dark-haired heroine in the book."

"The dark hair fits Naomi." I wondered if there was some connection with the novel. I also knew Cora was a shortened version of the Spanish name for heart, Corazon. I had to dig deeper. "What about Pluto?"

"It's a planet. Or used to be. I can't keep track." He sat back down.

"I know that." He still wasn't getting a pat on the head. "Odd choice for a name for a potential stalker."
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Today's Reading

I pulled out a pair of nitrile gloves from my jacket pocket and put them on. I opened the envelope and pulled out the letter, careful to hold it by the edges of the paper, in case there came a time when there'd be a reason to fingerprint it. There were six pages of hand-printed stationery in the same block lettering as the envelope. Same deep indentation, too.

"How many people have handled this?" I asked Evigan.

"The daytime receptionist, Naomi's producer, and me. I think that's it." Evigan's face slipped back into a deep frown. "Why?"

"Wait a second," I put the letter down. "Naomi hasn't read this?"

"She gets so much mail that she doesn't have time to read it all, so we have her producer, Carl, read some of it and pass along any letters to her that need a reply. Naomi likes to personally answer letters from her fans. After Carl read the letter, he brought it straight to me."

"And you didn't tell Naomi about it?"

"No."

"And you told Carl not to tell her about it, too?"

"Yes."

"Don't you think you should alert her to this situation if you think it's dangerous?"

"I'm not sure it is dangerous." His eyebrows rose.

"You called the police and then me when they wouldn't help you. I think you're sure."

"Just read the letter and tell me what you think."

I started reading the letter, again holding each page on the edges. The first five pages were fairly innocuous. The writer praised Naomi and recounted some of the things he claimed she said during her shows, putting quotation marks around them.

"Don't fight the lonely night. Let it in to comfort you until your Other presents herself." "Don't pollute the freedom of your mind with the restrictions of your body." "Peer into the darkness. Only then can you find your true light."

There were another twenty or so quotes. It sounded like New Age mysticism. Naomi had ventured into that area when I'd listened to her, but not too often. Mostly, she just listened and found the perfect question to ask at the perfect time to unlock the caller's true angst. She was remarkable. She should have been a psychiatrist. Or a homicide cop.

The author turned one of Naomi's quotes back at her on the last page of the letter. "I was lost in the darkness until I peered into it and found my true light, you. Cora, you have given me a purpose in this darkness underneath."

The letter ended: "Until that night, that sweet night when our prophesy is fulfilled, I ask that you just acknowledge that you've listened to my words on paper as you have on the air. Just say my name once during the show by the end of next week and I'll know our hearts are twinned forevermore. Don't disappoint me and awaken my rage."

Until, sweet Cora, Yours, Pluto."

Evigan was pacing behind his desk by the time I finished the letter.

He stopped when I set it down. "Well?"

I reread the last paragraph out loud and looked at Evigan when I finished. "Is Naomi a stage name? Is her real name Cora?"

"No. Her real name is Naomi."

"What about her middle name?"

"Ursula. But I Googled Cora." Evigan looked like he was waiting for a pat on the head.

"And?" No pat.

"It was made famous my James Fenimore Cooper in The Last of the Mohicans. She was the dark-haired heroine in the book."

"The dark hair fits Naomi." I wondered if there was some connection with the novel. I also knew Cora was a shortened version of the Spanish name for heart, Corazon. I had to dig deeper. "What about Pluto?"

"It's a planet. Or used to be. I can't keep track." He sat back down.

"I know that." He still wasn't getting a pat on the head. "Odd choice for a name for a potential stalker."
...

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