I blinked in disbelief. "That was yours?"
Klein shifted uneasily. "Kurtz felt it was, well, a bit sophomoric."
"Puerile," Dooney said. "That was the word he used. He said it demeaned the artistry of the photograph." They went on to describe Kurtz's threat, which had alluded to crude proctological experiments and a slow, agonizing death. His note had arrived in the lobby with a vase of black roses. That very night, Klein's new Volvo wagon was stuffed with 400 pounds of rancid clams while he dined three blocks away at Gramercy Tavern. Kurtz, who at the time was shooting a Kings game in Sacramento, was never officially connected to the crime.
"Any other incidents?" I asked.
Dooney said, "Well, there was that ugly beatdown on Plimpton in Zaire—"
"Ancient history," Ricks broke in. "Let's fast-forward, shall we? The erratic Mr. Kurtz has vanished, and we need him found, ASAP."
Dooney spun toward me and began to stammer. "Jimmy, he's an amazing photographer, O.K.? Truly a giant talent but still—"
"There are boundaries," Klein cut in sternly. "Certain moral and professional boundaries that cannot be crossed. The man was on location, out there doing his usual Kurtz thing—this was a week ago—when we began receiving these reports...."
"Disturbing reports," Dooney said. "At first we couldn't believe them. Didn't want to believe them."
"Then suddenly he's gone," Klein said.