Private Voices: Part 33

Updated on February 6, 2020
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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, including Brandon's stuffed animal a Panda in a top hat he called Top-Hat Panda. With the help of her late son and her mentor, a former police officer named Sean, she runs her service, helping people in trouble. Three years after the death of their son, Janice and her estranged husband Bill are reuniting and looking for a new home.
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.
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 afraid to go out. In her truce, Ava makes an enemy of a long-time collaborator. Janice's assistant JG goes back home to Germantown, MD, for a confrontation many years in the making. She met up with her first girlfriend Barbie, who works as a high-class call girl. She comes home to find her mother and sister set up an intervention lying to their parish priest, hoping they could shame the gay away. JG left Germantown, leaving her family and past behind her.

Janice takes on a job for an old friend of Sean. A retired detective hires her to find his long-lost sister. Her investigation proves too easy, leaving more questions than answers and a woman hiding her family's past.

Part Thirty-Three

Janice sat in her Jeep, staring at Lynn and David Allen’s house when her phone rang. JG told her she was on her way home on a bus. The fact that she was on the bus said it all for Janice. JG was traveling on her own dime and not with help from her family.

Janice bit her lip and asked, “So, how did it go?”

JG Laughed and said, “I’ll tell you when I see you.”

She paused for a couple of seconds, “Could you look into that Lawyer… Ted Sanders for me?”

Janice asked if she needed a lawyer, but JG said, “No, I learned something, and I want to know if he is the same Sanders as someone my mom knows.”

Janice said when she got back, she would open a file.

Janice said, “Well, one thing I can tell you is that he was adopted.”

After another moment of silence, JG said, “He might be my half-brother.”

Janice left her car and walked to the front door. She had the phone in her pocket and a letter from her client. The walk up to the door was one of the most extended open treks she ever had to walk. Janice could feel all the eyes on her with her gun on her hip not very well concealed. She knocked on the door. After a few moments, the door opened, and an older Asian woman opened the door. Janice thought about just a day ago she was ready to chide people for not knowing one nationality from another when it comes to Asia. Still, she was not able to determine Lynn’s ethnicity. She knew part of that was because Lynn was from a mix of Vietnamese and Chinese.

Lynn asked, “May I help you, dear?”

Brandon said, “Yes, you can tell us your secrets and be like ET and phone home.”

Janice smiled and said, “My name is Janice James. I’m a private security specialist from Akron. I was hired by a Gaspar Price to find his sister Linh Price.”

Lynn’s smile faded a bit.

She asked, “Why is he looking?”

Janice replied, “I could be wrong, but I think that now that he is retired and looking back, he really wants to reconnect with the people that matter to him.”

Lynn shook her head, saying, “I’m not that person. She died a long time ago.”

Janice pulled out the phone and handed it to Lynn.

She said, “I was hired to put this in your hand. I can’t make you use it, but I think you should. Your brother is living in Texas with his wife and her family. They were all refugees from Vietnam and know about his and your father, but they don’t care. Don’t let someone else’s past control your future.”

Janice left her standing at the door, holding the phone.

Brandon said, “Don’t look back. It’s cooler if you don’t look back.”

A few hours later, Price called her, saying, “She called me and said this scary armed woman came to her house and handed her a phone guilting her to call.”

Janice asked, “So, she called you?”

He laughed and said, “Not only that, she and her husband are going to come down and meet my wife’s family. It feels good to speak to her again, and maybe we can be a family.”

He told her he would send a check, but Janice said how his retainer was more than enough, and she would send a refund.

He said, “Consider it a tip.”

Janice disconnected the call and looked at the phone. She didn’t do anything hard to find his sister. He was a skilled, trained investigator known for a near-perfect turnover rate. It almost felt forced. Janice looked at her door, wondering if she should talk to Sean.

Brandon said, “Maybe he did send Gaspar to you to help you get out of the door. If you really want to know, follow the money. Who paid you?”

The ten-year-old Brandon jumped down.

He said, “Think about this, you left the door to both your office and the outer office doors open. I think you are back in business.”

JG made it back to her new apartment with the closed security system and open neighbors.

She had sixteen messages on her phone and twenty emails. “Jenny, this is your mother, please call me. Jenny, this is your mother, why haven’t you called me?” Jenny this is your mother, I’m not mad, please call me back, so I know you are all right. Jenny, this is your mother, don’t be like this. Call me.”

The next three messaged were hang-ups then, “Jenny, I am so sorry about how I treated you. I could try and find some excuse, but I am your sister and the older of the two and a mother I should know how to treat people better, please call mom or me and let us know you’re OK.”

Her Email was about the same thing with messages for her to call. The final Email was from her grandfather.

It was short and to the point, “Jenny, if you want, I’ll kick them out of my house and let them fend for themselves.”

JG called her grandfather and said she was alright, and she would instead let it go and let them stay in the house. She called her mother and sister who spoke very little and didn’t end the call with the usual I love you or see you soon. JG disconnected her phone and wondered if she would ever see her family again.

The next day JG came to the office and found the door unlocked and Janice in her office with a stranger.

Janice got up and said to JG, “It’s good to see you, and I am so happy you came back. I have a new client, but as soon as we are done, I want to hear it all.”

JG nodded her head and went to her desk. She found a file for a client and a stop order for payment. JG looked around, realizing she didn’t think she was going to be back here after the attack, but now it felt like she was home. She also found Janice and Bill’s new address. The client left, and Janice came out.

The first thing JG said was, “I think from now on, I would rather be called Jenny. I told my family who I am, and now I want to be that person. I don’t think I will ever have my mom’s support, but now I can see that I don’t need it or anyone’s approval.”

Jenny turned to the door, then back to Janice and said, “I want a gun.”

© 2020 Michael Collins aka Lakemoron


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