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.
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. After a confrontation with a client, Jance went home to find Bill confronting the new scholastic norm.
Ava continues her obsession over Janice, leading to a confrontation between her surveillance team and Janice, where she shoots and kills two men. After the shooting, Janice and Bill retreat to Sean's house. A planned bed and breakfast Sean and his wife built but never opened.
- Private Voices: Part 27
Janice starts to see another side to her long-time mentor/partner Sean.
JG walked in and handed Janice an empty canister of pepper spray.
She said, "I don't think it's going to work out with Ryan."
She stopped at the sight of Bill in his boxers and t-shirt. She smiled and walked past him.
She Said, "You should teach like that."
Bill replied, "I do. It's the benefits of tenure."
Bill went up to get dressed while Janice followed JG to find out what happened. She found JG in the kitchen, pouring a cup of coffee.
JG asked, "What is with this house?"
Janice said, "Sean and his wife were going to open a Bed and Breakfast."
Janice poured a cup of coffee and asked, "OK, what happened, and should we expect the police?"
JG replied, "You know I have been trying things out to find who I am. Well, Ryan decided he wanted me on team men, so he made his move last night."
Janice asked, "He did something to you?"
JG said, "Worse, he asked me to marry him. We went on six dates, had sex three times, but it's not like we were more than that. I don't know where I am going with this. I like boys, and I like girls, and I don't see why I have to choose?"
The bar was always open, and there was always a police presence. JG helped Sean set up the video camera, and he recorded an interview with Janice over the attack. About ten minutes into the interview, Sean opened a bottle of whiskey and poured her a shot.
Janice said, "Sean, it's eleven in the morning."
Sean countered with, "That only matters if you let it matter."
After the interview, Sean said, "You three can stay with me as long as you want."
Janice didn't say anything. She wasn't sure what to say or what she wanted to do.
Finally, she said, "Thank you, Sean."
She gave him back his gun and went to her save, pulling another Rhino along with a few moon clips.
Sean asked, "Do you want to go back to the apartment?"
Janice said, "There's nothing there that means anything to me. I don't see a need to go back at all."
Ava ended her call and turned to Yara, "The people that we are working for aren't happy with this Ohio thing. They want me to end my obsession with James and make sure she knows it's over, or they will take steps to as they put it, make our lives interesting."
Yara asked, "Can they do that?"
Instead of answering her, Ava picked up her phone and called for a pizza. The Erie Street Pizza in Cleveland was, in actuality, a hub for criminal activity along the shore of Lake Erie. Her first order was to end all surveillance of James. Secondly, she wanted a phone to be delivered to Janice. When she was done with the call, she broke the phone in her hand and tossed it across the room.
Yara said, "When this job is over, we can go and kill her ourselves."
Ava shook her head, "If what we are doing works and their economy collapses, then there won't be a safe place in the world for us. Maybe not even here."
The office door opened, and a man in a DHL delivery uniform came in with two uniform officers behind him. He gave Janice a package and had her sign his scanner. He then was searched as someone checked his identification, and someone searched his van.
Janice slipped him a twenty and said, "Sorry."
With the driver gone and the package checked, Janice opened it and found a DVD and a phone. Sean put the cellphone and DVD under a UV lamp to kill any pathogens. He plugged the phone into an isolated computer. As he ran a check on the phone, it rang. After five rings, the call dropped, then a message came up saying, "Call me back before you play the DVD."
Sean asked, "How can we call whoever this is back?"
Janice replied, "Sean, you just did something so CSI, but you don't know about redial?"
Sean smiled and said, "What can I say, my cell phone still has a rotary dial."
Janice took the phone and searched for the redial.
On the third ring, a voice said, "I wondered what I would say when you called?"
Janice looked over at Sean and mouthed a word she then said out loud, "Ava?"
After a few seconds, Ava said, "I hired those men to surveil you and see what you know about me. I didn't authorize them to do anything to you, and I want to make it clear that I don't want anything more to do with you. The DVD will provide you with enough evidence to find the Plumbers and deal with them."
The call ended, and the phone shut off.
Sean said, "The Plumbers must be a reference to the dirty tricks crew hired by Nixon to take on his enemies. They were called plumbers because they fixed leaks."
The DVD had video as well as files on a company named Gennie's Electric Systems. Other papers had the names Harry's Electric, One-eye Systems, and Watching You LLC. Janice's apartment complex had a contract with Crooked River Electrical, which was also among the files.
Janice changed to the next file saying, "These guys are making a good piece of change on the legal side."
In the last file, they found the real name and notes on how much Ava paid them.
Janice asked, "Linus Tactical Systems, why does that sound familiar?"
Sean said, "Because they were indicted for wire fraud and illegal surveillance of a foreign power."
Sean brought up a news site from two years ago. The company's CEO, a man named Lennox Linus being taken away in handcuffs with the headline, "Spying on a Friend."
Lennox Linus was sitting on a beach watching his trial go on with a stand-in acting like him. He hired an actor to play the part so he could escape, but the actor did such a good job that Linus paid him to stay on and do time. He thought that ten million would be a good payday for three to six years in federal prison. He also knew that if he got the full one-hundred years that the actor would spill his guts, but he also had a plan for that. Sneaking the bomb into the courtroom was the best fifty-thousand dollars he ever spent. An alert came across his phone from one of his operators still working in the States. A hidden program imbedded in all their files sent out an alert when specific files were opened. He already knew about the attack, but he didn't know about Ava and the package. He watched as this woman read through his private files, and most of his businesses still in operation.
He turned to another person sitting next to him and said, "Ava betrayed us."
The man sitting next to him said, "Wow, what a shock."
He smirked then smiled, showing a set of unnaturally white teeth.
He said, "I did tell you this was going to happen. You can't trust a sociopath. Believe me, I know."
Two days of raids by the FBI, Homeland Security, and local law produced thirty-five hundred arrests over nineteen states from Maine to California. The largest civilian criminal surveillance organization ever found with petabytes of information from social security numbers to illicit video, some of which was labeled as child porn. When Blane Gnat was told he was facing seven life sentences for his role in the company, he broke down and said to them he wasn't Linus that he was hired to play him during the trial. A day later, Lennox Linus found himself on the FBI's most wanted website right next to Ava. Linus watched all this from a monitor on a bunker on his property in Argentina.
Linus turned to the man in the room with him and said, "That was my entire operation in America. She just cost me over a billion dollars as well as all my clients."
The man asked, "You have so much money, why does this matter?"
Linus replied, "That system was set in place since the war. My family, my honor, my connection to the party all were a part of that company."
Behind Linus on a wall was a black and white photo of a man that looked like him in a Nazi uniform standing next to Hitler.
A week after she was attacked in her apartment, Janice was in a rental car watching something she would have never guess would happen. She was back in the parking lot of the restaurant named The Barn. She watched as Sandy Combes and her two children met her in-laws for the first time. Janice would have put money down on them, splitting up rather than what happened. She didn't count on Sandy, and her need for a bond with a family that was not just a business. Sandy turned to see Janice and smiled. Janice thought about how so few of her clients were happy after a job like this one. But she knew that nothing lasts forever and that the bigger the lie, the greater the divide.
Brandon said, "You know that… yet here we are sitting in this car, keeping secrets."
The Next Part
- Private Voices: Part 29
Janice thinks about when JG came to work for her as she contends with the aftermath of the assault in the apartment.
© 2020 Michael Collins aka Lakemoron