Private Voices: Part 22
A Note For Me, A Name I Called Myself
Chapter 6, parts 21, 22, 23, and 24 all happened three years before the begging of the story two weeks after Brandon's death.
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.
Three years ago, weeks after the death of her son Brandon, Janice was on the brink of a breakdown when she starts to see visions of her dead son. The visions begin to terrorize her as Brandon changes from a screaming toddler to the twelve-year-old just before he died.
- 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.
With Bill gone and Brandon back, Janice decided to go to her office. JG said she had a person coming in to talk about a case, and just maybe it could help her deal with the loss. Janice had a black 1970 Monte Carlo SS 454 with a four-speed transmission. Bill had called the car her giant black vibrator. The car rumbled with power, while Bill's hapless little Aztek was more of a windup toy. Janice had nine points with an appearance in court coming up for doing ninety-five on route 8 going through Akron. Most people called that stretch of road the Akron Autobahn because people just went whatever speed they wanted. She left a trail of rubber on the way to her office, but she made it without a cop in sight. Sean knew the sound of the car. He had tried to buy it from her before he understood that she might sell Bill before she would ever sell the car. She parked next to a bright orange Volkswagen Thing. The car was a collection of flat metal panels with wheels, but to the right collector, it was almost priceless. This one was painted orange with a metal flake that shimmered in the sun. Janice looked at the car and thought, "OK, this could be an interesting client."
From behind, she looked like someone who just stepped out of a Hollywood Noir from the 1930s. She had on a sleek dark purple sleeveless dress with matching lace sleeves, a matching hat with netting, and the type of hose with the seams in the back. Her hair was white and, in this light, and just maybe because of the dress, it had a purple tint. It wasn't until she turned around that Janice saw the woman was much younger than she thought with the lace sleeves being sleeve tattoos, and her hair was a pale lavender. She had a silver septum nose piercing with a purple stone that matched her necklace, earrings, the hatpin holding her hat in place, and the eight rings on her left hand. Even her lips were purple. Without thinking about it, Janice put out her left hand. The woman did the same, and only then it became clear that her right arm was a prosthetic.
She said, "My name is Valerie Cox, but I go by Violet."
Janice asked, "Is that just a nickname, or is it a stage name?"
Violet asked, "Is there a difference?"
Violet said she was a performance artist attending Kent state.
She said, "My art doesn't pay the bills, so I work a side job that isn't that legal."
She worked as a call girl for a very particular kind of clientele.
She said, "Sometimes, well, most of the time, I am the dominate with many of them wanting me to take the arm off."
As she spoke, she removed her right arm. The prosthetic was eerily realistic, and the tattoo on it matched her left arm. She said she had aggressive bone cancer when she was twelve that cost her the arm above the elbow. She had a good friend that was both a tattoo artist and an industrial artist who made her the arm and painted it to match a tattoo she has on the left.
Violet said, "One of my clients has started to call me at all hours of the night, leaving these long love messages. He would then call again screaming profanity. I had to tell my manager to stop booking this guy, but then he started to show up in my classes. I can't go to the police because I'm breaking the law, and that would hurt my chances to stay in school."
Janice asked, "When you say manager, do you mean something else?"
Violet shook her head saying, "as far as she is concerned, she is booking me for performance art pieces, and in a way, it is just that…. Also, I don't have sex with my clients. Many of them are married, and their husbands or wives are a part of the show."
Janice said, "Look, miss Cox if you can't or won't tell me the truth, then I can't help you."
Violet asked, "What do you mean?"
Janice asked, "You said you're breaking the law, but if you aren't having sex with the clients, then how are you doing that?"
Violet took in a breath and said, "Yes, I do have sex with a couple of them, including mister Beacon…. But I am not a whore."
Janice handed her a handkerchief from her desk. Just by coincidence, it was a violet color.
Janice said, "I am not here to judge you. I need all the information, so I can understand the mind of this person."
Janice closed her office door and spread all the evidence Violet had on this man named Miles Beacon. Most of it was blurry pictures. He never paid using a check or credit card; she never saw his driver's license or any form of identification. Her mind took a trip down the street, thinking about where the Akron Beacon Journal is printed. Near the newspaper, there is a small law firm named Miles and Roads Attorneys at Law.
In the corner of the office, Brandon said, "So, that isn't his name."
Janice looked over at a set of chairs against a wall in her office. Brandon was sitting on the one he would sit in on those days he would come to her office. He was in his tan slacks with a multi-colored pastel shirt, bow tie, and black converse shoes playing an old Gameboy.
Janice said, "That's too easy. What else do you see?"
Brandon said, "He is older and puts off an air of authority that has her saying mister, so cop, lawyer, or maybe a teacher of some kind?"
Janice rolled a pen between her thumb and two of her fingers. It was a nervous habit.
She said, "If he is a teacher, he isn't one of hers, or she would have told me."
JG was in the open door.
She asked, "I think it was House who said that everyone lies. Who are you talking too?"
After a mind-numbing series of calls to the campus, Janice turned to JG, who was also a student going to Kent for a few classes. She used JG's access as well as a book with pictures and biographies on every Professor given to every student to narrow their pool of suspects. The most prominent was a journalist/media professor named Robert Harris. Janice asked Sean to see if any of his friends could run a background check on the Professor. It came back with four charges of domestic abuse that were dropped. All of them were from past girlfriends and students of Kent State.
A call to one of the officers who answered two of those calls ended with him saying, "That guy is a piece of crap. Don't turn your back on him. I know that if I had a daughter going to Kent, I would make sure he no longer taught there."
The officer alleged that Harris would use his authority as a weapon against the girls he used.
He said, "The last one was a girl named Heather Peterson. She dropped the charges after he had hit her so hard, he broke her jaw. She went home and killed herself that night."
Armed with a report by the officer, his facility picture, and the crime scene report for Heather Peterson, Janice went to find Violet. Janice slipped into a small classroom built around a stage. On it was a white table with a white chair. The set was made to look like a cabin but in all black and white. Near the stage were about a dozen students and one teacher. He was dressed in all black from his turtleneck to his shoes. A door opened, and Violet waddled out. She was dressed as Charlie Chaplin's little tramp with the derby and oversized clothes. Much like the set, she was in all black and white. She started to recreate a scene from the Chaplin movie Gold Rush when the Professor stopped the performance.
Another student asked, "I don't understand why you're humanizing Hitler?"
The Professor asked the questioning student if she knew who Chaplin was, and she said, "Hitler."
The Professor rubbed his face and said, "OK, I guess we need a break. We start back in thirty minutes after I explain who Chaplin was and why he wasn't Hitler."
The Next Part
- Private Voices: Part 23
A Run-in with a professor and two officers changes the investigation. Bandon starts to become more involved with Janice's work.
© 2019 Michael Collins aka Lakemoron