Private Voices, Part 01

Updated on February 6, 2020
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Mike is a long-time supporter of procrastination and enjoys doing as often as he can.

A note from me, A name I call myself

"Private Voices" is a long story I wrote a year ago with the intention of it becoming a series of books following the main protagonist as she struggles with her work and a past that still haunts her. As with most of my long stories, it needed a rewrite, and I never got back to do the job. In another long story called My Private Global War(meant only for my old website) I find myself with a little writer's block, but I want to have something to post, so I'm going to adapt my 65,000-word book to HubPages, and I hope those people that stick around to read it will enjoy.

Private Lives Part One

Janice walked into her office after another night without sleep. Her twelve-year-old son Brandon sitting there in his usual spot playing his retro Gameboy. With one leg up on the armrest, his black Converse shoes and white athletic socks could be seen and in direct conflict to the tan slacks, multi pastel plaid shirt with bow tie he was wearing. She started to ask him if he had homework, but she stopped short of asking. She sat down and stared at her most active case. “So, do you think she is doing it?” Janice looked over at her son. He was still looking at the game, but he was smiling.

A divorce case was going from nasty to worse. The client Steven Franko was convinced that his wife was sleeping with her partner in her dental office. The partner, Liam Drake, was a dentist with a problem, and Janice had the proof, but his heroin habit had nothing to do with her client. Using public records and a little hide and seek, she found how he got addicted. Like many, Liam found his addiction through legal means. He was in an accident that hurt his back. Eventually, when the pain medication was taken away, he had to find his fix in other places. Janice had enough dirt on this guy to end his career and possibly put him in jail, but she had nothing on the wife. Ava Franko was as clean as a new surgical scalpel. Her only real vice was her shopping, but after an extensive search of the client’s finances, there was no sign of a shopping addiction. After an advance from the client bought the voice of the wife’s receptionist. Janice learned that the two partners never worked together and said little. The receptionist said how the office felt off, and she was using the cash to find a new job.

Brandon got up and walked over to the desk, where he sat on the end, making sure he didn’t disturb the files or the open bottle of Jim Beam. He looked down at her, and she looked back, wondering why life was so cruel.

Janet said, “I think Ava might be blackmailing the partner into covering up her spending.”

Brandon didn’t say a word.

Janet continued, “Why would she need to cover up something that’s not illegal? Why would she allow this man to potentially hurt her practice?”

Brandon said, “Those are all good questions.”

Janice looked at the bottle of whiskey.

She said, “You are no help to me at all.”

Brandon replied, “Why would I start now?”

Janice looked back at the pictures then back to where her son was, but he was gone. On a shelf in her office was an urn with the cremated remains of Brandon. There he was, and where he would stay until the day someone took them away, but that would never be Janice. She couldn’t stand the feel of the cold metal encasing what was left of the light of her life.

The client called and told her that he served Ava divorce papers that morning. Steven Franko was an angry man with a voice that gave him an aggressive tone that was in no way the reality of how he looked in real life. Anyone that knew him away from his work would say he was always on the verge of screaming. At five-foot-five, he had that short man syndrome that put everyone on edge. Janice wondered just how this man could bag the six-foot-three underwear model turned dentist. Steven was a pediatrician, and he was an excellent doctor and great with the kids. One of the parents said he was on their level, then her face turned red. The divorce papers were just a formality. They had separated about a year ago, and any talking went from accusations to screaming matches. Steven was loud, but there were no signs of abuse. If Janice had found any, she would have returned his retainer and went to the wife, but while he was loud, he was also non-violent.

Ava could be both verbally and physically abusive. Janice had a video of Ava beating Steven on the head like a drum when he refused to sign over the lease to a Lexis she was driving. It was this demeaning video that helped Janice take the case. Janice watched the newest videos from the camera outside of the dental office; a man slipped into her office. Sean Mackay was a one-time private eye now a bar owner. Janice’s office was over his bar. Sean was a cop before he went private, and his bar was a regular hangout for all his old friends on the force. As he approached Janice, he glanced over at the urn.

Sean said, “So, Janie baby, what’s with the doc and his habit?”

Sean tried to sound like Kojak, but his thick Irish accent just made it seem off. Janice wanted to ask how he knew as well as tell him to stop calling her that. He just smiled and winked.

Janice said, “You know it isn’t ever going to happen, right?”

Sean’s smile never faltered as he said, “You know who really loves you, babe.”

Behind him, Brandon was making gagging sounds.

Public records showed a pattern of police calls to the dental office and the partner’s house for about two months after his accident. Sean made a few calls and found the two officers that went to most of those calls.

Sean recounted what he was told, “The doc had a wicked temper when he was high, and he took it out on the staff.”

Sean took in a breath then said, “Look, I know you want to bust her fair and crap like that, but you have enough to get her to sign the papers for a fair split, and all you have to do is sell your soul.”

They thought of using the partner’s problem to blackmail Ava into signing did occur to her, but Janice didn’t like how it felt. The partner was dangerous, and letting him continue to practice could end badly also up until now she never compromised herself like that. Maybe she bent the truth and the law but nothing as slimy as that. The husband didn’t want to ruin her. All he wanted was out and with enough to get by. In the papers, he would sign over half of the dental business while she would sign over claim on his practice with everything else split fifty-fifty. Ava wanted to force him to sell his practice then pay her eighty percent of the proceeds.

© 2019 Michael Collins aka Lakemoron


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