Mike is an amateur writer working on building a hopefully compelling story. He lives in The Village of Lakemore, Summit Country, Ohio.
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. Three years after the death of their son, Janice and her estranged husband Bill are moving into their new home behind a wall. Bill offered the wall to a creative art class to paint a mural. 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 Jenny, while happy to see them together now must find a way to work around the new awkwardness. After a trip home to see her family, Jenny comes to terms with her new life in Ohio and a disconnect from her family. 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's assistant Yara with the help of her sister Maria plans on escaping the island and Ava's control while the US Navy moves in. Ava starts her plan going between Miami and Fort Myers. She found a hitchhiker named Lance on the way she would either keep or feed to the alligators.
Janice's former partner/mentor took a trip to Miami beach. While in Miami, Ava Sees Sean. Ava sent lance with a fake bomb hoping he would either kill Sean or get killed by Sean.
Janice takes on a new client whose husband seems to be blackmailing women into sleeping with him. The client is backed by the husband's firm, who wants to use his indiscretions to kick him out of the company. The target seems to be using blackmail for sex and recording the transactions.
- Private Voices: Part 43
Lennox makes plans to finish the job with Ava as she travels to Ohio. Bill finds trouble at work.
Bill came home to find Janice in the middle of cleaning every inch of their home. The mismatched smells of pine, ammonia and some sort of lemon was overpowering. She was dancing around while playing a song from the band Toto called Africa. Janice was in bib overalls and one of his white button-down shirts with her hair tied up in a scarf. The look was something like Madonna in a video or movie, but Bill couldn't remember the name. She seemed to be dancing with someone even though she was alone. This brought about a memory of a day many years ago. They were going to spend a week painting three rooms. Janice had organized the process, including cleaning. That first day Janice and a five or six-year-old Brandon were dancing around while cleaning with a mix of music, including the song Africa. He looked back to Janice, who had stopped dancing around when she saw him. She smiled and pulled him into the room. She grabbed the front of his shirt and sent the buttons flying as she ripped the shirt open.
She wrapped her arms around him underneath the shirt and said, "Let's see just how fast I can get you naked."
They were naked on the couch with Janice still on top of Bill with her head on his shoulder.
Janice tilted her head, asking, "I can't see what she expects to gain by outright lying about you?"
Bill said, "I don't think she had a plan outside of trying to get out of having to do the work. What I don't like is how many people just fell into line behind anyone that accuses without evidence."
Janice put her hands across his chest and went nose to nose with Bill. She asked, "so now, what do we do?"
Bill said, "there's not much I can do. If I speak out, then they will say I'm blaming the victim. All I can do is let the system work for me, and hopefully, there is enough evidence to put this behind me."
Janice slid down him just a little and whispered, "you can sexually harass me anytime you want, Mister James."
After taking a few days off, Jenny was back working on the books. She was surprised to see that Janice had a few clients while she was away. Jenny could see that everything was going to go back to some sort of normal, well as normal as anything could get around them. Janice was pregnant and about to remarry Bill. They even talked about bringing in a partner who would occupy an empty office. Janice took the day off to clean and paint a room for the baby. She said she would paint it white and use decorations to add color so she could have the room decorated and fume-free for when the baby arrives. Jenny thought about how she had many flings, but what she didn't have was a long-term relationship. She thought about what kind of person she could see settling down and have that family with or if she should ever settle.
Thinking about her options, Jenny opened a file and titled it, "who am I?"
She started with a list of how she saw herself and what she thought people thought about her. As she wrote, she added reflections and memories from her childhood and her current life. Jenny wrote about her first love and her most current flings. From the notes and memories, she wrote an outline. She wasn't sure if it was a book or script. It could go either way.
She thought, "Just like me."
Jenny checked the time only to see she had been working on her own whatever this was for ten hours, and it was now nine-pm. She saved all her work in a file on the cloud and decided she would write it as a book and let it go from there. Jenny closed the office down and drove home, stopping at Swenson's for a burger to go. Her apartment was just another reminder of just how alone she was. She checked the time and did a quick calculation on her ability to pick someone up tonight and bring them home. She thought again because a quickie wouldn't take that feeling away. She settled on calling Tasha and talking the rest of the night. Tasha was in Canada working on her new show.
The forty-two-foot yacht rocked gently in the water just off the coast of Mexico on the Pacific Ocean. Yara bought a bluewater boat with the plan for her, Maria and Lucas to sail the Pacific. They had enough supplies to keep afloat and on their own for months. She wanted to try and put her part of Ava's story in the past and just maybe find something good with her sister and this boy. She knew that there will one day be a reckoning, and she most likely has a room in hell waiting for her in the end right next to Ava, but right there and then she was away from her posh cell and on the open water. She was free.
Janice got out of her car and looked down at herself. She felt like one of the Goodyear blimps that would fly over occasionally. More than one person asked if she was having triplets or a litter. She waddled her way to the stairs to her office only to find three times as many stairs as before.
At the top of the steps was the nine-year-old Brandon yelling, "Oh my god, here comes Shamu."
Janice stopped and looked down to see she was in a black and white smock. She looked again, and it was a whale costume.
At the top, Brandon was yelling, "Beep, beep, beep."
She woke to see it was all just a dream and she wasn't even showing yet and she wouldn't for months. Bill left early to talk to the principal, and she was alone, but not really. In the corner was the nine-year-old Brandon. It had been a few days since she had seen any of the ages of Brandon, and she wasn't thrilled to see him now. She got out of bed and took a shower. When she came back, he was gone. Janice looked at a photo on the wall of the young Brandon and thought how just maybe she was ready to let him go.
When Bill got to the school, he was met by security, and they escorted him to the front offices. He was told to wait to speak to the principal, but the security stayed. Principal Hardness opened her door and let Bill in, but she didn't close the door. She sat down and put a file in front of him.
She said, "I think you can understand that we don't want any unpleasantness, so just sign the papers, and the security will escort you out."
Bill opened the file to find a resignation letter that basically acknowledged him as instigating abuse and accepting the consequences.
Bill said, "there is no way in hell I'm signing this. What the hell is going on?"
Principal Hardness said, "while we can see that you might be innocent or at least not as guilty in this case, what we can't deal with is the eventual backlash."
She looked at one of the guards, and he walked into the office.
Bill said, "don't think this is over. I'm going to fight this, and I'm going to win because I have the truth on my side."
Principal Hardness smiled and said, "you have your truth, and we have ours. If you think your union is going to fight for you, your union steward who recommended you be let go or at least be given a chance to resign."
The Next Part
- Private Voices: Part 45
Bill comes to terms with his career while Janice has a visitor.
© 2020 Michael Collins aka Lakemoron