Mike is an amateur writer working on building a hopefully compelling story. He lives in The Village of Lakemore, Summit Country, Ohio.
A Note from Me, A name I Call Myself
I'm currently battling a bad case of the flu, and with that, I'm taking this weekend off.
When I'm back, I'll delete this message.
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.
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.
Janice confronts a man she was hired to follow about his past and why he's hiding it from his worried wife.
- Private Voices: Part 25
A new client takes a simple case of infidelity into new territory.
JG drove home in the Range Rover, leaving her car back at the office.
Brandon said, “You know, by giving her the car, you are going to lose money on this job.”
Janice replied, “I owe her so much after everything that has happened over these last few months.”
She stopped talking when she realized she was rationalizing with someone that wasn’t there. Not being real didn’t seem to faze Brandon, who just stood there waiting for her to finish.
Brandon said, “Whether I am real or something in your head, it doesn’t matter, all that does is the truth. Dad deserves to know the truth.”
Janice looked up, but Brandon was gone, and she was alone. Her phone dinged with a text from her client, Sandy Combs. She wanted to talk and was on her way over. The text was in all caps. About ten minutes later, an orange 2015 Honda CR-V pulled into the parking. She stopped and looked at JG’s car.
Janice had printed pictures she took of Pierre and his parents as well as photos of the place where they met.
Sandy asked, “I don’t know why he kept this from me for so long. Why did he think it would matter?”
Janice said, “That’s hard to say other than he would rather cut all ties to his life than lose you.”
Janice gave her a picture of Pierre’s parents as they met with their son. The picture showed them as a close family. Sandy didn’t have a close family with her workaholic father and mother that left for part unknown years ago. Sandy started to tear up.
She asked. “What should I do?”
Janice replied, “That’s also another hard to answer question. But just ask yourself, do you love him enough to get past who he really is? If so, then his lie doesn’t matter, and if you can’t, then nothing else matters.”
Janice handed her a short bio she did after finding out just who Pierre was. At the top was the name Pierre Audrie Combes the Third.
Sandy asked, “Audrie?”
Janice drove back to her apartment and Bill. He was working a second job online while he was in summer break from his teaching job. He worked with a professor he went to college with back in the day. Prof Matthew Hughes was an English lit professor with Cuyahoga Community College or Tri-C. Bill called him Mattie Hues, and he called him Bill doo. Bill was helping him grade papers and deal with his ever-changing landscape. Janice came in to find Bill laughing while reading something Hughes sent him.
Bill said, “A student declared that she wanted an A in his class because she was traumatized by all the cis white dominance in the book Little Women.”
Bill shook his head then went on saying, “She wouldn’t let Mattie speak. She went to the dean of school then she left when she saw the dean was a man. She is now suing.”
Bill showed Janice a picture of a young white woman with bright blue hair and one side of her head shaved down to a blonde stubble.
Bill said, “I swear she was in one of my classes last year.”
Janice asked, “Seeing how half of them look alike, can you tell them apart?”
Ava tapped on the screen on a blurry section.
Yara said, “That won’t help. It’s the camera, there must be something on the lens.”
Ava picked up a small automatic from the table and shot the screen.
She turned to Yara and said, “Considering what I am paying, these images should be in high def…… also don’t ever talk to me like that again. You are just as replaceable.”
Yara put on a robe and left the room. Ava turned to another monitor. On the screen, she watched as Janice walked up to Bill and hugged him from behind. The people Ava hired to wire the new apartment hadn’t placed any listening devices yet. She did have a mirroring program on Bill’s computer, but she was disgusted to find no porn. He used his laptop for work like some sort of plebe. Whatever the two were talking about moving from the dining room table to the couch. Ava thought about how their whole apartment would fit in her bathroom. From the angle of the kitchen camera and the blurry image of the living room camera, she saw Janice get onto Bill’s lap, and her shirt come off. Ava looked out her window to her pool, seeing one of the night maids going down on Yara.
She thought to herself, “Maybe it’s time to find a new Yara.”
The next day there was a knock at the door. Janice was on her treadmill, running out her frustrations over her inability to talk to Bill about what she sees. She stopped and went to the door. Two men were there saying they were with the apartment management and were there to test the wiring. Both men seemed out of place as electricians, but Janice didn’t want to typecast them, so she asked for identification. Both men had worked at this complex before, and they had the proper ID. Working on actual electoral jobs helped them cover their other activities. Ava watched as the two men placed listening devices and fixed the smudge cameras. She watched as one of them kept staring at Janice in her workout gear. One of the men let a camera slip, and Janice caught it. None of the microphones were active, so she couldn’t hear what was happening. It was clear by her posture that Janice knew it was a camera. She held it up and said something, but Ava couldn’t tell what she said.
Janice said, “what’s this?”
She held up the camera. The man that dropped the camera with a quick jab struck Janice in the face. She spun around, and the camera went flying. The man grabbed her from behind around her midsection and her throat.
He said, “Ava was paying us to just watch, but I like to do so much more.”
The other man came around and hit Janice with a roundhouse punch. She awoke with her hands over her head. She was on the edge of the bed with one of the men holding her arms down and the other on top. She could feel her control slipping.
The man on top of her said, “If Ava isn’t going to pay us for this, then I guess we’ll get out payment another way.”
The man grabbed her tank top and ripped it off. He did the same with her sports bra.
The man said, “My, my, my I guess thirty-eight is the new twenty.”
He grabbed her chest. Janice looked up at the other man. his grip on her arms had diminished. Janice twisted her wrist free and dug her nails into the man’s arms. He let her go as he backed away. With a quick jab, Janice drove her broken nails into the eyes of the man on top of her. Blood gushed as he screamed. Janice kicked him off her and made it to the dresser and her gun.
Ava watched as Janice pulled a Chiappa Rhino from a dresser drawer and fire at the two men. Ava cheered as the two men went down. The shooting was the most action she saw from this feed. She also realized that Janice would eventually find all the cameras taking away her favorite reality television show. Janice dropped the spent brass and reloaded. Ava watched as a topless Janice searched the apartment for cameras. She searched, but she didn’t touch. A beep went off, and the hack on Janice’s phone signaled she was making a call. Instead of calling 911, she called the bar and Sean.
Sean told her he would call the police, or as he said it, “I’ll call the guys, and we will be there fast.”
Ava watched as they took evidence, then the bodies away. Bill came back from wherever he went and was there as the police took out every camera the men had planted. In the last image, Janice gave the camera a long look at her middle finger before the picture went out. Ava picked up her gun and shot all the screens.
The Next Part
- Private Voices: Part 27
Janice starts to see another side to her long-time mentor/partner Sean.
© 2020 Michael Collins aka Lakemoron