Private Voices: Part 29
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.
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. Ava offers a truce, and now Janice finds herself in an unknown situation. In her truce, Ava makes an enemy of a long-time collaborator.
- Private Voices: Part 28
Ava calls for a truce offering up a significant prize hoping to send the heat against a friend/rival.
Janice sat in her office, working on the books as her most recent assistant packed her bags and left. She quit after the husband of their most recent client sent them a package. She caught images of him sleeping with the next-door neighbor as well as a guy down the street. Both men were also married. To express is displeasure with Janice, he sent the heads of the only two children he and his wife had, a pair of dash hounds. The tiny heads showed the violence and betrayal of the act in their lifeless eyes. Janice gave the box to Sean.
He said, “Don’t worry about this. I think mister Henry is about to have a run-in with the law.”
Janice left what he said alone. Off in a corner, Brandon was quietly doing his homework on a card table. He was wearing a t-shirt with a cartoonish Jesus catching a soccer ball in front of a goal with the caption, “Jesus Saves” across the bottom. Last year Brandon became obsessed with the game. He would watch any time he could find a match on television. He also followed the University of Akron Zips teams, both men and women. Janice quietly fumed over the shirt. Her rule with Brandon and her office was that he had to dress appropriately before coming here, but somehow Bill had let him come dressed in a shirt he couldn’t wear to school.
A knock at the door woke Janice up from her building rage. After the knock, the door opened, and a young woman walked in. She was in a pink sundress with a plunging neckline that was borderline indecent. Brandon noticed her immediately.
After a second or two, Janice remembered who she was, “Jenny Gordon, how may I help you?”
The woman said, “Please call me JG; it’s what all my friends and family call me.”
JG told her she was starting at Kent State and taking a few classes at the University of Akron.
JG asked, “I don’t suppose you need a hand around here?”
JG looked at the clean empty desk then into Janice’s office.
She asked, “Oh my god is that Brandon, he’s gotten so big.”
Brandon pretended not to see her while his eyes never left her chest. Janice waved Brandon over to them. JG smiled then chuckled over the shirt.
She asked him, “So if I am right, you are ten?”
He nodded, then after seeing the disapproval on his mother’s face, he said, “Yes.”
Janice asked, “I just lost my assistant, so if you are up for a challenge, then I do have something for you?”
JG asked, “When can I start?”
Janice walked over and pulled the desk chair out and asked, “How about now?”
Janice put the picture someone took of that day down and placed a hook on the wall. She was surprised it was over five years ago. JG had stopped and started her academic life going from major to major, trying to find herself. Janice also knew she was delaying going back so she could live the life she wanted without her family finding out. Twelve years of Catholic school had her in deep denial over her feelings and how she thinks her family would react. JG had decided on a business degree in Accounting with a minor in acting. Two fields that rarely ever mixed. She was on a plane going back to Maryland to speak with her parents and tell them she was changing majors again. She wanted to make her minor in acting her major. She was also going to tell them about her new lifestyle, but Janice knew she wouldn’t. Janice saw the ten-year-old Brandon sitting at her desk in the same shirt from that day with an open book and a paper with the word “lies” all over it written in many colors.
Janice said, “I was so embarrassed by the way you spent that day staring at her breasts.”
Brandon replied, “They weren’t hard to miss.”
The phone beeped with a message from Bill about a house near both his school and her office.
Janice called him and asked, “What kind of security does it have?”
He replied, “The kind we install. Janice, I think you should see this one. I think you will like it.”
Janice looked at her gun on the desk and then at the door.
She said, “I will like whatever you like…. As long as there is a bathtub deep enough for me to swim in.”
Bill said how he took off his shoes and got into the tub and was able to almost lie down flat.
He said, "This tub would be illegal in California with how much water it will take to fill, owe yeah one more thing this place has its own well.”
He said he would put an offer on it, but they will need her signature to finalize the bid. Janice picked up her gun and held it in her right hand while holding her phone on the left.
She said, “When you need me to be there, I will…. Unless we can do that here or at Sean’s place.”
It had been about a month since the incident with the security company, and Janice was out of clients. She wasn’t taking on new clients, and her active roster was cleaned up. The one thing she was never without was her Chiappa Rhino loaded with 357-magnum jacketed hollow points. She liked the feel of the Rhino, and the action even loaded with the 357-magnum. Every time she goes to a range, some know-it-all tells her that her gun is too underpowered, or the two-inch barrel is too small to utilize the full potential of the round.
She eventually tells them, “I killed two men with this gun and round, and it was good enough for them.”
She usually finds herself alone after confronting such range bullies. Her goal was to have both Bill and JG certified to carry concealed as soon as she can get them to touch a gun. JG said how her friends cringe over her working with someone that owns a gun, and Bill seems always to be busy when she is going to the range. A knock at the door awoke Janice from a daydream.
She sat down at JG’s desk with her gun just below the line of sight and said, “Come on in.”
The doorknob jiggled, then a familiar voice said, “The doors locked.”
Janice looked at her gun then the door.
Brandon came in from her office and said, “Go ahead and shoot. I mean, really, what could go wrong.”
Janice got up and put her gun in the holster on her hip. She went to the door and put her hand out, stopping to look at her hand then back to the door.
From behind her, Brandon asked, “Are you going to leave him standing out there?”
Janice looked to Brandon, then the door, and opened it. About a year earlier, Detective Gaspar Price retired from the police. He and his wife, Sue, moved to the gulf side of Texas to be closer to their family.
He said, “I wasn’t sure you were open. Sean said I should knock, but I didn’t want to disturb you as you talked to someone.”
He looked around, trying to see whoever she was talking too. Brandon waved.
Brandon said, “So what’s this one, an English Mannix?”
Janice held up her phone and said, “I was talking to my husband about our new house.”
She looked over to JG’s desk and stepped aside so Detective Price could come in.
Price said, “I wasn’t sure if you were taking clients, but I wanted someone on this that I knew I could trust.”
© 2020 Michael Collins aka Lakemoron