Note to Our Readers: The following entry is a combination of two blogs that were lost during our website’s server crash. Luckily, I have managed to restore them. If you were fortunate enough to read The Missing Screenwriter: Anomalies and The Missing Screenwriter: How to Join a Cult, you would know that I have been busy taking a closer look at Dark Onto Light, in hopes of learning their secrets. When the website went down, only the most recent blogs had vanished. I know that I am not the only one who senses foul play. Vitaly Sumin and I think that VMP’s website was hacked and that the last two blogs were deleted intentionally. This wouldn’t be the first time we have received strange signals from the Russian mafia. If it’s true, and the mafia is on to us, then something in my last blogs must have triggered their alarms. If you have any ideas on what that could be when you read the following, don’t hesitate to let us know!
Who is Grigory Markov, and what does he want? That was the question I raised in my last blog. Since then, I have tried to reach out to him, but without success. If you recall, our informant (who supposedly goes by the alias, Grigory Markov) traded valuable insight on the Dark Onto Light cult for information that could lead him back to his missing wife. While uncovering certain details about his wife and the last place she visited, I discovered something that didn’t add up. According to a controversial report, the missing wife’s husband died from a lethal dose of poison. The report was never published, but I was able to verify that the man’s name was indeed Grigory Markov through hospital medical records.
The problem is that our informant claimed to be Grigory Markov. He even delineated the events prior to the husband’s death… As if he was at the club to witness it. How else could he have known? The entire report was unpublished.
That is not the only thing that has been bothering me. The informant, whoever he really is, expected me to follow through with my side of the bargain. Despite the deceit, I could tell that his cry for help was genuine. I met him after all. He was broken.
You might be asking — couldn’t he just pretend to be broken and desperate? Indeed, it’s possible. But if he’s working against us, why offer information on Dark Onto Light’s costume shop? According to the informant, it’s one of the many Russian fronts operating in Los Angles. Of course, I wanted to make sure that his information checked out.
Over the past few weeks, I conducted some surveillance on the address (which I shall not divulge at the moment) he left me. He wasn’t lying about there being a two-story building with a pizzeria on the bottom floor. For the first week, I waited in my car with a clear line of sight on the building. I observed everyone who walked into the pizzeria. At the same time, I used my camera to enhance my view inside the place. Specifically, I focused on the register to see if the clerk ushered anyone to the door leading up the the second floor.
At first, you couldn’t see it. It was done with a certain slight-of-hand. I got a glimpse of the key that was handed to a customer — the only customer in the pizzeria at the time… And this was the pattern that I saw. The supposed “cult member” had to wait until he was alone before he could order the obscure item that wasn’t on the menu.
This code granted the person access to the second floor. It makes sense. The pizzeria is still a business available to anyone who walks through the door, but its true purpose must be kept a secret at all costs. No one can overhear the code.
Then, I remembered what the informant told me. The special customer didn’t exit through the front door. There is an alley leading to the back of the building. So, I took a risk and tried to get the best possible line of sight. The same man who was ushered to the second floor was, moments later, quickly loading something I couldn’t quite see into the trunk of a car.
This whole maneuver or system occurred two more times during my surveillance. Each time, a different person. On the third occurrence, I managed to see what the special customer was carrying! The informant was right. Dark Onto Light’s shiny black cloaks had to come from somewhere. This was the place.
Grigory Markov, our so-called informant, was offering information that checked out… Well, somewhat. Based on my observations, the special customer (i.e. cult member) was alone when he ordered the obscure item that wasn’t on the menu. However, the informant told me that his observations were made up close and personal. In other words, he learned about the second floor by eavesdropping and pretending to be a regular customer. How then could he have learned about the code (assuming there really is a code) if he was in the pizzeria?
During my meeting with the informant (about two months ago), I was told that he was confident in my discretion. Looking back, I have the feeling that he knew I would come across information that would raise questions about his true identity. Perhaps he knew that I would have to breach our agreement to keep his “name” out of my blogs. That would seemingly compromise his mission to find his wife… Assuming that the Russian mob continues to keep tabs on our investigation. Now we know he really isn’t Grigory Markov.
My guess about the informant is as good as yours, but I’d like to think he knows what he knows because he’s somehow connected to the Russian mafia. If this is true, why risk helping us? Maybe it’s simple. His role inside of the organization is keeping tabs on our investigation. That would explain his confidence in telling me information about Dark Onto Light. It may be a stretch, but it’s something to look into.
During the second week, I continued to conduct surveillance of the pizzeria. Of course, there is only so much that I can do from afar, so I had to find a way to get closer. I decided to return to the pizzeria after closing hours with the intention of tailing the cashier to his home. He is most likely a big player. The cashier cares about whether the code is phrased correctly. He is responsible for maintaining the secrecy of Dark Onto Light. By focusing my attention on him, I could learn about some of those secrets, right? Unfortunately, when the lights went out, the cashier didn’t leave the building. In other words, the pizzeria is his home. I guess it’s a smart way to avoid being compromised.
The next day, I reached out to some of my private eye contacts and asked if I could borrow some equipment for picking up sound from a distance. Sure enough, Rex Hoss came through once again.
For three hours, I waited in my car with the equipment and listened for audio cues from various interactions with the cashier (who is probably the shopkeeper). And then it happened. A man walked up to the counter when he was the only customer in the store and ordered something quite obscure.
The truffle basil pizza cake with extra Khinkali.
No one in their right mind would order spicy meat dumplings as a pizza topping. That’s because it’s a code phrase, and obviously not an item on the menu. Knowing the code phrase is useful… That is, only if I decide to use it myself. I can learn a lot about Dark Onto Light’s operation if I manage to create the pretense of being a member of their cult. But what about etiquette? Or a second code phrase that I didn’t know about? Why have a code phrase at all? Maybe there are more members of the cult than we originally thought. If the cashier could recognize every member of the cult, a code would be unnecessary.
There is a lot that could go wrong if I decide to use the code phrase. At this point, there aren’t many options. In order to figure out what happened to Hurley and Natalya, I might have to join the cult.
Be sure to visit our website and learn more about Robert Hurley and the film that was made about his experience at Dostoyevsky Reimagined: The Making of Notes from the New World.
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