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   I was sitting behind a cup of coffee in Café Anastasia when the girl with the lavender-colored glasses walked through the slab of light at the front door, looking for a woman wearing a black leather jacket and rhinestone nose-stud. The glasses looked good on the girl but she couldn't see past the blunt line dividing sun and shade and dropped her head to peer over the top of the rims. I knew she searched for a woman in a black leather jacket because she had called twenty minutes before and I wore a leather jacket that day, as I do every day when the temperature drops below 95º Fahrenheit. I sipped my coffee, the movement of my cup drawing her eye. She stepped forward, her head tilted self-consciously high, as though aware that she looked good when she held her head high but also afraid that she might trip in the dim light and that wouldn't look good at all.

"You're the photographer works for the tabs?"

"Sometimes," I said.

She took that to mean yes and sat the straight-backed chair across the table. "They said you'd give a hundred dollars."

I watched the girl over the rim of my cup. I get a few desperate people trying to sell me fabricated information every week and it has taught me to be cautious, particularly of runaways. At first sight she didn't look the type to sell tips to the paparazzi. Her low-slung knit slacks, bare-midriff silk blouse and calf-skin jacket appeared pulled from the racks of name designers. She'd applied the makeup to her heart-shaped face subtly, as though taught by a cosmetician instead of the myopic older sister with a make-up kit who taught me and most of my friends. The girl knew what money looked like even if she hadn't seen any of it lately. She'd pulled her hair back in a tight ponytail to conceal that it hadn't been washed in a week and when she'd turned to sit the chair I'd noticed a swath of dirt at the seat of her pants.

"They said you'd give more," she said, "if I saw someone really famous."

"I don't give anything. I buy information, if it's good enough."

The girl nodded. She seemed to get it. She glanced over her shoulder as though afraid someone might be eavesdropping then leaned far over the tabletop to whisper, "About five minutes before I called, I'm hanging out near the beach, just chilling, you know, and I, like, look across the street and there's Chad Stonewell walking into this place on Ocean Avenue, a restaurant, the Italian sounding one with the valet parking on Broadway."

She had a sense of the melodramatic, at least.

"Chad Stonewell was a big star ten years ago," I said.

"Is he worth more than a hundred?"

"Back in his prime, he would have been worth more than a hundred. Right now, I don't think I can sell his photograph on E-Bay, let alone to the tabs."

The girl curled up from the table as though I'd just slapped her. "Okay," she said. "I thought he'd be worth something."

"You hungry?" I asked. "Get whatever you want. My treat."

Her eyes drifted to the sandwiches, pies and cakes in the display case at the back of the cafe, then snapped back. "I'm fine," she said.

"Who set you up with the tip?"

She flicked the tip of her index finger beneath her eye, obliterating the tear welling in the corner before it could roll down her cheek. "Nobody," she said.

"Somebody told you to call me, say you'd seen Chad Stonewell, isn't that right? Some PR flack?"

"I saw him with my own two eyes." A second tear sprang from her eye. She flicked it from her cheek and laughed. "What's a PR flack? I don't even know what it is."

"Public relations."

She held her head at an angle, as though she didn't know what that was either.

"Get yourself something to eat," I said. "It's part of the deal. Not your fault Stonewell's star sunk."