Mike is an amateur writer working on building a hopefully compelling story. He lives in The Village of Lakemore, Summit Country, Ohio.
The Story So Far
Janice James is a Private Detective haunted by her troubled past and the death of her son and a fractured psyche, forcing her to see her son Brandon as well as others. With the help of her late son and her mentor, a former police officer named Sean, she runs her service, helping people in trouble.
After a ceremony to honor their late son, Janice and her ex-husband Bill prepare to live together again. Janice's assistant, a young woman, named Jennifer Gordon, known as JG, while happy to see them together now must find a way to work around the new awkwardness. Janice's brother-in-law Mike and his son Scott come for a quick visit before taking a long trip. Janice's estranged father sent a letter hoping to put their past behind them before he died.
Janice was hired to help a man named Stanley Franco find out why his wife Ava is fighting a divorce. During the investigation, she stumbled onto a unique counterfeiting scheme designed to infect scanning machines allowing the user access to a company's funds. When her client was murdered, Janice turned her case over to the local police. She contacted someone from the secret service with help from her mentor, a former police officer named Sean. In the process, she found herself being watched by the FBI and Ava, a woman that isn't who she appears to be. Ava wants Janice dead for her part in chasing her out of the States, to her Island near Cuba. Ava sent several people to try and kill Janice from her assassin lover to a band of bumbling thugs. The last attempt happened by a con artist running a scheme with an end of the world cult. Terrence Stamps' effort to have Janice killed was forted by an unknown strange.
A new client's family is being blackmailed into breaking the law to protect one of their own. John Lu Louyang is a student attending Kent State, his father Wayne is a doctor in Seattle, WA being forced to steal and deliver drugs for an unknown party. John's girlfriend Sue is also a part of the scheme, but how she fits in is a mystery.
- Private Voices: Part 19
Janice confronts her new client only to find out the story isn't what she thought.
Wayne would write prescriptions for the drugs for patients in a dose that was just a few pills more than he would send them home with. Having a pharmacy inside his medical practice helped him skim the pills. With nearly sixty people in his care, he was able to skim just enough drugs to meet the order.
John said, "Despite all the talk, the authorities never questioned all the Adderall he was prescribing, and none of the parents asked about the missing pills."
John took a long drink of the now warm and stale beer on the table.
He said, "I was told that they would tell me what books to put them in, and they could collect the money. If I didn't, they would know."
Janice said, "Yes because Sue would tell them."
Janice opened a file of the pictures she took as she followed him on those two days. While not in every shot, she did manage to get several shots of Sue as she followed him. There was one shot of Sue going to a different book and taking something.
John opened another beer and said, "They are doing all this for money."
Janice replied, "No, this has nothing to do with the money."
Lu said, "We should call my son and have him bring Marylin here away from whoever this is."
Sean shook his head saying, "The problem is that these people have evidence that both Wayne and John broke the law. We will need to address that before moving against them."
Janice tapped on the still frame of the naked Sue and said, "If Sean is right, then we may have more than one problem. We don't know just how involved Sue is in all this."
Lou asked, "So what should we do?"
John called Sue, "Say where are you…. Are you busy...? I have tickets to a thing at EJ Thomas tonight and…. Love you."
About an hour later, Sue called, saying she couldn't go, and she would explain when she saw him next. She ended the call by saying she loved him so much that it hurt. Janice didn't know if John was buying it or were the blinders finally off.
Janice said, "We will get her story from the other side of this fight."
John looked at Janice with a "what" expression.
Janice said, "We need to go to Seattle and talk to both your father and sister."
Marylin looked at all the evidence from her naked self to the video of her brother planting drugs. Janice felt that something was off about her reaction. She sat there with a slight smile on her face.
Lu asked, "I knew you were no genius, but how could you let yourself be used like this?"
Wayne sat in the corner, just staring off into space. Janice looked at the pictures of Marylin then back Sue, and it all somehow made sense.
Janice asked, "There is no one else there? it's just you doing all this?"
John said, "Don't be stupid."
He looked to his sister, who was now just smiling ear-to-ear.
She looked to her father than grandfather and said, "The best part is that none of you saw this coming, and there isn't a damn thing you can do about it."
John sat down and looked at the table.
Marylin asked, "Awe is the poor little genius lost?"
Lu said, "No, this can't be you are just a girl."
Marylin's face changed into an angry sneer.
She spat the words at Lu, "I had a 4.0 before daddy and his scared straight ruined my life. Jimmy and I had less than an ounce on us, but dear old dad wanted me to feel how wrong I was for dating a black guy, so he paid the law to charge me with dealing and inflate the amount. Jimmy went to jail, where he was gang-raped, and I ended up with a felony that is ruining my chances at college."
Lu struck the table to prevent himself from hitting Marylin.
She said, "You have always discounted me for being a girl. Even now, you don't believe it was me. I started this while I was locked up in juvey. After a heart-to-heart with Sue, I found out she was here illegally, and so she became my pawn."
John looked at her, then back to the table.
Marylin said, "Don't worry, big brother, she hates me more than you do. I blackmailed her into helping me as well as a one-time sex thing."
Wayne turned green on the phrase "sex thing." The room fell silent as everyone tried to piece it together. She told them how she staged the first photo with this guy from school. Then how she took all the other images using a tripod as well as passing strangers.
She said, "It is so easy to just put a camera in someone's hands and have them help you."
John asked, "Why?"
Marylin found her smirk again then sneered, "The golden son doesn't know why? I was never good enough for any of you. Everything was always about you. I hated you from birth. As for dad. Do you know he started a bail fund for me at the same time he started your college fund?"
Marylin Stood up and slammed her hand on the table and said, "I was six-years-old."
Lu asked, "And now what?"
Marylin sat back down and said, "Nothing. If any of you make a move on me, then I will ruin your lives. Dad and John go to jail, Sue gets deported, and you dear grandfather will have to live with the shame of it all."
John looked her in the face and said, "You just don't see it, do you? For all of this to work, there had to be one thing in place."
Marylin smiled and asked, "What would that be?"
John looked her in the eyes and said, "Love. We were willing to risk everything because we loved you. I was willing to toss my future aside just to keep you safe. You can say whatever you want about how you were treated. I know I had my part to play, and I did nothing to help you. I failed you as your brother, and I will have to live with that forever, but what I won't do is ever help you again."
Ava watched the meeting on a hidden camera in the room.
She said to Yara, "I like this girl, but I don't know if I want to hire her or beat her with a pogo stick."
Yara asked, "Why not do both?"
The two women were in a pool of mud watching the video feed while also watching a man with a whip beat the lead chef. She had made a plate of scrambled eggs that just didn't meet Ava's standards. When the man was done beating her, Ava would have Hector drug her and burn the body. Ava liked to think that they came awake when they burned, but Yara secretly prayed to something she didn't believe that the ones who died like this went quick. The man with the whip did such damage to the sixty-year-old that they could see bone. Yara knew she had to stay and watch, or just maybe she would be next.
Ava said, "Yes, I am sending someone to approach this girl and offer her a job."
A prompt on the video screen came up saying she had a call.
Ava waved her hand, and someone put the call through. "Hello, my dear, I see you are in the mud again."
Ava smiled and said, "Terence, we thought you were dead?"
On the other side of the video-chat was Terence Alfred Stamp.
He said, "They tried their best, but it didn't take."
Back home, Janice told JG what happened.
JG asked, "So now what?"
Janice said, "John wants to work things out with Sue. He said something about marriage. The father is going to retire from being a doctor and teach."
JG said, "No, I mean the girl."
Janice said, "On the way back, Wayne called and said Marylin vanished, and he wasn't sure where she went. I offered to find her, but he said he wanted the police to do that."
JG looked down at the floor then back to Janice and asked, "Do you think he called the police?"
Janice shook her head. She instructed her to stop payments coming from Lu Louyang then she gave her a check made out to the firm for seventy-five-thousand dollars.
Janice said, "I didn't ask for it, but I also didn't refuse it. Use it to pay for your medical bills."
She looked out a window, then turned back and said, "Send a check to John Louyang with a note saying, buy some furniture."
Janice drove home just in time to see the motorhome drive away with Mike and Scott. She waived, and they waved back. Her first thought was that she finally had Bill and their place alone. She met Bill at the door, where she pushed him back into the apartment, just barely getting the door closed before she took her top off. They made their way to the couch, shedding clothing and kissing. Janice pushed Bill onto the sofa, where she got on top, and the two started to make love. As they did, Janice arched her back just in time to see Scott standing there with Mike's insulin pack from the fridge. In a whisper, he said they forgot it and sorry. Janice froze as Scott slowly backed out without taking his eyes off her chest.
The door closed, and Bill asked, Mike or Scott?"
Janice said, "That boy will have some interesting stories to tell when they finally get back home."
The Next Part
- Private Voices: Part 21
Three years ago, A few days after Brandon's sudden death Janice tries to come to terms with her new reality and the visions of her dead son.
© 2019 Michael Collins aka Lakemoron