Enigmatic revelations

What has Matt forgotten to tell me that his sister assumes I know?

Published October 18, 1999 4:00PM (EDT)

Oct. 18, 1999

Saturday afternoon, August 28

After two evenings of alternating between morbid paranoia and tipsiness, I
invited Jasmine over for coffee -- then told her what was bothering me. I
extracted the sealed envelope from my underwear drawer.

"Ignorance isn't bliss!" Jasmine exclaimed, snatching it from my hand. "I
can't believe you still haven't opened this. You think you can make
things disappear by shoving them under the carpet, don't you? It's
the kind of thing a Nice Girl does when she's playing at being
a Bad Girl. And the sick attachment you have with Allison is symptomatic.
I wish I knew what the two of you are running from ..." She picked up the
long nail file on my dresser top and -- looking rather satisfied with
herself -- sliced the envelope apart.

"It's a form letter," she said, in a calm voice -- as if she were
counseling a superstitious peasant. "Please contact
this office as soon as possible -- looks like it could be a
downtown number." She squinted at the signature and waved the
letter in my face. "It's signed, but why isn't the name printed
out? And why no letterhead? Looks like they've Xeroxed this thing
a million times! It's weird."

"Do I have to call them back?" I asked hopefully.

"That's a good question," Jasmine said. "There's no
proof you ever received this letter. Have you been filing your

"Sort of," I sighed. "It's never been my strong point.
Sometimes I'm late."

"That figures," Jasmine said, rolling her eyes. "If the IRS gave
out a Prada make-up bag for every tax return that got filed, you'd
be, like, the first in line at the post office. I'll call the
number tomorrow from a phone booth," she offered. "Just to be on
the safe side -- it's more anonymous. I want to get to the bottom
of this. There's something about that signature ..."

"There is?" I re-read the letter, stared at the scrawled signature
and realized that Jasmine was getting that predatory look in her
eye. "You like this kind of thing, don't you?" I said with a
shudder. "You're on one of your missions, I can tell."

"You're not answering that letter until I find out who sent this,"
she told me. "I have a hunch."

A double date tonight at Jubilee with Matt's sister (the assistant
prosecutor) and her husband, Jason, the M&A lawyer. What to wear?
Sisters are touchy: I'm always conscious of not wanting to reveal
too much cleavage around Elspeth.

Sunday, August 29

Last night was touchy indeed. As soon as Matt was away from the
table, Elspeth leaned over and said in a conspiratorial tone: "I'm
so glad we're seeing you both -- you've worked things out." Jason
flashed her a warning look -- which she ignored -- and tried to
talk to me about the killer mosquitos, but she talked right
over him. I looked at them both, silently wondering if Matt's been
having much more than a fling -- has he been double-dating with
another girl? When Matt returned, Elspeth let it drop and looked
upon her brother with approval as he gently showered me with
attention. But was she really trying to bring us together? Or
drive us apart?

Tuesday, August 31 The end of the summer is nigh!

This morning, I rushed over to D'Agostino's to stock up on mosquito
spray -- I'm forgoing Allure for Off! these days because
perfume is a mosquito magnet. Whom should I spy in the express
line but April wearing a sleeveless party dress -- on the
cover of the National Enquirer! "Up from degradation" read the
headline, right next to her blond up-do. "Former e-babez hooker
reveals the secrets of an online prostitution ring." But the real
news was that April's suing that California madam Anabel Weston for
$2 million -- for "intentional infliction of emotional distress."
Not wanting to be mistaken for a National Enquirer reader, I
surreptitiously slipped it into my shopping bag and said nothing to
the check-out girl. For one mad moment, I felt famous -- by virtue
of having known April.

According to the Enquirer, Anabel turned April into a compulsive
prostitute who can only have orgasms when she does it with men for
money -- using her lesbian magnetism to seduce April into a life of

"I was brainwashed and hypnotized by a master
manipulator who fed me potent -- and dangerous -- herbal
concoctions before each sex act," April told the Enquirer. "She used every trick in the book to make me think we had a real relationship -- including a
vacation on the island of Lesbos. Then she fed me, for a profit, to all
the men who met me through her Web site."

April's lawyer, Anthea Walgreen, was quoted as saying, "My client is seeking reparation --
like the women who are demanding compensation from the Japanese government for
being imprisoned in brothels. It is time for other women like April to speak out."

April even claimed to have been "shipped East" by Anabel more than
once -- whatever that means.

"I don't know if I will ever recover from what Anabel Weston has done
to me but I am slowly taking my life back. I want to be the person I
was before I met Anabel Weston. Money can't buy my life back, but it's a start." Staring at the manufactured cleavage of the girl who tried to steal my favorite client, I tried to
imagine who April was before she met the Internet madam.
A spoiled Hollywood brat fallen on hard times? A blue-collar Bible Belt transplant
now elevated beyond her wildest dreams? She always seemed too
plastic for New York ... What was I thinking when I tried to persuade her
to buy Allison's business?

Money can't buy my life back, but it's a start. What does that mean?
Only in California would a call girl be audacious enough to sue a madam
for millions of dollars and then claim she's a victim. Are escorts really generating this kind of money
on the Web? And is it worth it -- if you have to deal with vicious
floozies like April Ford?

By Tracy Quan

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