The three piled into Nikki’s car.
“Clint lives a little ways away,” said Nikki. “But we should be there in about half an hour assuming the traffic isn’t too terrible.”
“Who exactly is he? How does he know Lionel?” asked Holly.
“He’s a paparazzo too.”
“He is?” Holly looked at Peter alarmed. “Maybe it isn’t the best idea to talk to him. Who knows what he’ll leak.”
“You can trust Clint,” said Nikki a little huffily. “He would never ‘leak’ anything to the press.”
Holly crossed her arms and sat back. She could tell from Nikki’s voice that she shouldn’t press the point but she still wasn’t convinced. Peter however didn’t seem to be objecting and since he knew Clint himself, she supposed that would have to be good enough.
They pulled up outside an apartment building forty minutes later and Nikki led the way in and up to Clint’s floor. She knocked on one of the doors and it was answered almost immediately.
“Nikki. It’s good to see you.”
Nikki smiled. “This is my friend who wanted to talk to you about Lionel. Holly. Holly this is Clint Morgan.”
Clint blinked at Holly for several seconds and then laughed. “I’m sorry. But Nikki didn’t tell me I’d be meeting the famous Holly Woods. I’ve heard a lot about your from- oh, Peter. You’re here too. Small world.”
“I’m sure if I wasn’t here, you would have still ended that sentence tactfully and discreetly.”
Clint grinned. “Indubitably. Well I guess everyone should come in. Feel free to have a seat. How was the trip to Ireland? ”
“I read in the papers that you’re back to fight more crocodiles though. I look forward to it. There’s not enough humor on television.”
“Does anyone want a drink?” asked Clint. “Holly?”
“I don’ think so,” said Holly. “But thank you for letting us come over.”
“Of course. Nikki said you wanted to know a bit about Lionel Atwood? I read about his death online.”
“Nikki said you were friends.”
“No one was friends with Lionel. At least I hope not. But we did talk some. We were both paparazzi and we saw each other a good bit. We got a lot of the same tips and had contacts at the same places, so we overlapped some.”
“What was he like?”
Clint chuckled. “Obnoxious. To be honest I could barely stand him about ninety percent of the time. He was loud and pushy and really relished the really ugly parts of the job.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well you know when you catch a married actor in a ‘compromising’ situation, that when you sell those pictures you’re going to ruin a marriage. No one likes that aspect of the job. You do it but you don’t like it. Except Lionel. He liked it. He thought the paparazzi where the moral watchdogs of celebrities, in a world where DUIs and shoplifting get you slapped with community service if you’ve got an Oscar on your shelf. His words.”
“I see. So if he had something on someone, or he knew something, he would sell it the papers and get it published?”
Clint raised an eyebrow. “What are you getting at?”
“I just mean that he doesn’t sound like the type of person who would blackmail someone.”
Nikki made a small noise of surprise, Clint however laughed again.
“Blackmail? Wow, you and Peter really do have a lot in common. You both seem to have a fondness for playing Nancy Drew.”
“Clint-” began Peter.
“Sorry. You can be Sherlock Holmes if you’d rather. Look I know they haven’t caught the muggers yet. But there really isn’t that much mystery to Lionel’s death is there. He was mugged and his heart gave out. He told me himself he had a heart problem. It seems pretty cut and dry.
“What is it?” asked Clint. “Look Peter can tell you himself, I’m perfectly willing to help, but I like to know what’s really going on.”