Private Voices: Part 02

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.

Part One

Jance James (PI) looks over a current case that doesn't seem to make any sense. Along the way, we met her son Brandon and her old partner Sean who owns the building and runs a bar below Janice's business.

Her client Stanley is divorcing his wife, Ava. She's fighting him demanding more. But there's more to Ava than what appears to be.

Part Two

Something never felt right about Steven owning a part of the dental business. When Ava came up from Brazil, she was by no means broke; she just didn't have enough to buy into the partnership. Liam wanted Steven's name on the agreement instead of Ava, but he had never said why. At first, Janice just thought it was misogyny, but this guy didn't scream misogynist. The real mystery was Ava herself. She was a beautiful leggy Brazilian with looks that could have gotten her any man. Still, she ended up with an angry shorty and this vanilla wafer of a partner. Sean got up and went to the door.

He said, "It's best to let it go and let them sort it all out. It's their lives, not yours."

With that, he closed the door. Brandon came out and flipped off the place where Sean was.

This time Janice couldn't help herself, "What have I told you about doing that?"

Brandon looked at her and said, "You can't tell me you weren't thinking the same thing."

Janice went down to the bar. It was eleven o'clock in the morning, but the bar was always open. She ordered her usual and went to a table in the back. A woman in a tank top that was maybe a size too small brought over a glass of tequila, Agave nectar, Triple sec, and orange juice over ice. Sean had his employees dress like this place was a Hooters, but to be fair, he also had the few male employees wear the same outfits. Janice sat in the darkroom, thinking about the past and her current case. The sound of a baby seemed to wake her up. On a table next to her was a baby in a car seat. After seeing how no one reacted to the baby, she understood that she was the only one that could see it.

The baby asked in an older child's voice, "Why isn't anything in Ava's name?"

On the side of the car seat was a sticker saying, "Hugs are free, but anything else is going to cost you."

It was a sticker Bill put on as a joke. This was the car seat they bought when Brandon was just born.

She asked herself, "Why is that?"

Janice downed the drink and left a five-dollar bill. After an hour of searching, she saw that nothing was in Ava's name. Not even the usual stuff such as a Netflix account or her AT & T. cell phone. Outside of her marriage license and driver's license, there was no evidence that this woman even existed. Janice turned to her son, who was back in his favorite seat.

He asked, "Just who is she?"

Thinking back to a Dustin Hoffman movie called Marathon Man with a dentist scene, Janice decided not to make an appointment. She did have a contract with an owner in the company. After a call, she had a key and a paper saying she had permission to enter the building. The office closed at eight PM, and the cleaning staff would be gone by midnight. Janice decided to go in around one AM. She looked at Brandon then back to the key.

She said, "this is going to be a long night, so I should take a nap."

She looked up, and the tween Brandon was gone, and in his place was the one-year-old Brandon in his Dwayne The Rock Jonson PJs.

He said, "Can you smell what the Brandon is cooking."

He started to scream as he did back then, no real words or anything coherent, just a cacophony of sounds. As a toddler, he would scream himself hoarse. The screams would wake up the neighborhood. He screamed all the time Janice tried to sleep. She finally gave up and went to call Bill.

William Samuel James had a hard day with his tenth-grade social science classes testing his patients. His classes were both woke and ignorant at the same time. He was fond of saying how, in the age of Twitter, calling someone a Nazi was considered a viable debate strategy. This class was especially hard because some of the students were friends of his late son. Seeing them, there was a reminder of how Brandon would never be able to learn or grow into the man he could have been. Today's class was about the social repercussions of slavery as they pertained to the Black Codes and Jim Crow. One class thought that Jim Crow was a Disney character. Another class wanted a black teacher to cover this subject because having a white man talk about black history just didn't seem right. The principal laughed, saying how they didn't have the budget to have a teacher of every race and gender to teach from every perspective. Bill looked at the phone and saw who it was. They divorced about two years ago, but Janice still calls as if they were still together, but she only calls on those bad days.

Bill asked, "How are you, Janey?"

At first, there was nothing then Janice said, "I'm sorry I don't know why I called it's just I mean I just."

Bill knew this tone and what it meant. He asked, "Do you want me to come over?"

A few hours later, Janice looked at the clock and watched it as it went from twelve fifty-seven to twelve fifty-eight. Brandon was never around when Bill was so when it got bad, she would call him, but she knew that one day, he would say no. For right now, he was beside her in bed, still naked after they spent the evening together. She looked down at her own naked self and wondered what would have happened if they had another child. Both Bill and Brandon wanted another child; she just couldn't see stopping her business for what could be two to three years. She had a hard time bouncing back from Brandon, both physically and emotionally.

She wrote a note saying she had to go out for a job, but she would be back before he had to go. Janice knew that as soon as he saw the note, Bill would leave. They had no connections in the here and now just past and memories. When she kicked him out, he said they couldn't have a future if she couldn't deal with the past. Just for a second, she thought about skipping the night and staying with Bill.

It was close to one-thirty when Janice finally decided to make her move. She had a key and every right to be there, but if she were caught, it would tip her hand as well as the client's hand. Janet had a plan, and if she was right, she could be in and out in twenty minutes. To be safe, she parked her car on another block and walked over to the building. The computer was turned off with the server in a locked room. The lock was new, and she didn't have the key. The paper files were unlocked but, it was a code she didn't know, or it was just that dam handwriting doctors were known for. In the office Ava was using, she found a safe with a biometric lock. She knew the make and model because she had one just like it back in her office. It was a gun safe. She wondered why a dentist would have a gun safe. Just because it is a gun safe didn't mean they were using it as a safe filled with guns. The safe had a master code from the manufacturer. It was something she wasn't supposed to know, so when she used it, she made sure to wear gloves. Janice put in the code, and she heard a click.

© 2019 Michael Collins aka Lakemoron


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