: Arriving back at the condo to the excited yapping of Miss Sara Joy, Bruce Halloran drops his keys on the hall table, reaches down to scoop up the little furball directly onto his right shoulder, and continues walking to the bar in the living room to pour himself a stiff snort of bourbon. Miss Sara Joy navigates his perch on Bruce’s shoulder, licking his Master’s ear and face with reckless abandon. Knocking back the first shot of several, Halloran drops the dog off on the back of the black leather sofa, and walks directly into the bathroom for a much-needed piss.
Outside the bathroom, Miss Sara Joy reaches down to clean himself as he listens to the distinctive sound of water hitting porcelain...a lot. The sounds continue as the little dog rises, walks around in a circle, and flops down on the black leather, splayed out like a ragdoll and very comfortable. At last the whooshing sounds of the plumbing signal an end and his Master emerges triumphant. Miss Sara Joy’s tail sweeps the sofa back furiously.
Halloran tops off his cocktail and walks around to the new computer. Pitts had a $2K Mac that Halloran just hated because he couldn’t use it like the computers at work. So he sold it and bought one from Cox during the last upgrade. The OS is clunky, the interface is straight out of Windows 98, and he has it rigged to play the old AOL “you’ve got mail!” soundfile. But it works for him. He pulls up the email from young Mr. Tschantz.
“DiNotto, Tschantz, & Asino
Testamentary Law-Estate Administration
Dear Mr. Halloran,
The partners are happy to hear you’ve made contact with Mr. Tupperman. They wish you the best of luck in completing your tasks. With the help of the photograph you sent, we were able to locate Mr. Youngblood. Please find attached all information pertinent to your request.
Mr. Q. Tschantz III
Q, thinks Halloran. What the hell could his first name be? He sorta resembles a koala, maybe it’s Quantas? Bruce opens the attachments, which take over the screen. The first place to look is the photo of a very handsome man. Youngblood certainly lives up to his surname, thinks Bruce. The guy looks like he’s hardly aged a day. The photo comes from an article in City Business published three years ago. Dr. Youngblood isn’t only a celebrated psychotherapist, he’s now got one of the largest psychology practices in the Gulf South. That could be useful. If I can make this all work.
Clicking over to the PDF, Halloran reads up on the fellow he first noticed in the bars back in 1986. The privileged Mr. Jeremy Tollivar Youngblood has had quite the cushy existence. Born to Miss Millicent Tollivar and Jerome Youngblood in 1965, he was raised in a formerly exclusive part of the Garden District, near the corner of Coliseum and Fourth Streets. Educated at Isadore Newman, head of his class until graduation. Waited until the spring session of 1988 to enter Tulane as a psychiatricl researcher. Changed his major a year in to psychologist. Earned his degree and salutatorian of his class in 1991, went directly to Charity Hospital as a therapist...award, award, award, blah blah bla--hold up! What’s that?
Bruce scrolls back up to find the reference that has caught his eye---here it is. He clicks on the link to reveal details of an award from an organization called Artists Against AIDS. Dr. Youngblood was recognized in 1996 for his “substantial contributions to the gay & lesbian community in New Orleans, providing free counseling services and actively fighting against so-called ‘reparative therapy’ in the greater New Orleans area. Someboy named T. Varnadore and Kathy Something-Scribbled signed the declaration. There’s also a link to one of the performers that evening; “https://youtu.be/McN3RIxWgHE
Okay, thinks Halloran. Youngblood scores points. Lots of bastards do.
Bruce has a habit of assuming that anyone who makes a name in the gay community is automatically out for a buck. Such is his viewpoint on Youngblood, initially. Until his name starts showing up in charities to which Halloran himself has contributed. Then it just gets weird. Youngblood’s credits definitely turn towards the radical for a few years. The Lesbian Avengers pop up, as do several efforts for the NO/AIDS Task Force, what he can only assume is the final year of Artists Against AIDS. and a handful of awards at the end of the file from an organization called Doctors Against Toxic Therapies, or DATT. As far as he can figure out from what he’s been given, DATT still continues today. The last award given to Dr. Youngblood was last year for “Outstanding Outreach Program, NORC-SSP Division”
NORC-SSP? What the hell did that mean, exactly? He punches up the anagram into his phone, pulling up “Naturally Occurring Retirement Community-Special Services Program. Philsy is the definition of a NORC-SSP….Focus, thinks Halloran. Is it possible? Has Youngblood been...no, it can’t be that easy. He’s looking for Tupperman. But...the evidence is there. He’s built his career on helping people like Phil...naw, it can’t be...can it? It must be. You’ve managed to figure it all out. Find Youngblood, set them up again, let nature take it’s course, get the signature and he’s on to the next case. Simple! Simple!!...This Is My New Orleans.