Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Housekeeper - Chapter 42 Part 3 of 4

The Housekeeper
By Karen Singer

Chapter 42 Part 3 of 4

The forecast called for more thundershowers later in the afternoon.  But in the meantime, the skies were sunny and the temperatures were fairly warm, and Roger was trying to take advantage of the good weather to continue working on the deck behind his house.  But he wasn’t the only one who was enjoying the good weather for a change.  Carol had found his old aluminum folding lounge chair in his shop and had dragged it out and set it up on the part of the deck where he had already finished installing the floor boards.  She was currently sunning herself happily. 
Roger was enjoying the sunny warm weather and he was enjoying the work he was doing.  But there were things that he was not enjoying – his new boots seemed to top that list admirably.  The long hair of his wig wasn’t exactly a lot of fun either, but at least the wind wasn’t blowing and it wasn’t getting in his way… too much.  As he worked, he just couldn’t figure out how Janice expected him to do this kind of construction work in boots with the kind of heel he was wearing now.  He had too much heavy lifting to do and the boots didn’t offer him the kind of support he really needed to do that kind of work.  But since he had no choice in the matter, he persevered.  There was no doubt about the difference in the height of the heels on his new boots compared to the brown boots he had been wearing.  Just then, he’d give anything to be able to continue wearing the old boots instead of these new ones… especially since the ground he was walking on was so soft from all the rain.  The narrower heels of his boots kept sinking in!
A faint sound caught his attention and he looked up towards the back door of his house.  A moment later, the sound came again.  The garage door opening and closing.  “I think your mother’s home,” he said to Carol.
“’Bout time,” Carol replied without even opening her eyes.

Janice entered the kitchen.  The house seemed quiet… too quiet.  Roger’s truck was parked out front, but where was he and Carol?  A small noise from out back made her smile.  Outside, of course.  She went through the laundry room and opened the back door, careful not to go through the doorway so she wouldn’t fall through the deck that Roger was still building.  But when she opened the door, she was pleasantly surprised to see a deck floor she could walk right out onto… and her daughter was lounging in a chair on the finished portion.  She stepped out on the new deck.  It certainly felt nice and firm to stand on.  “Hi everyone she greeted them.”
“Momma!” Carol exclaimed as she got up from her chair and gave her mother a hug.  “How did everything go?”
“Just fine dear,” Janice told her.  “Just fine.”  But she was careful to not offer any other details.  “I must say,” she said as she looked around at the deck, this is looking wonderful!  The steps are nice and wide too.  That will be a big help.”
Roger looked up from the other side of the deck where he was on his knees installing yet another board, extending the finished floor length.  “It’s still got a little ways to go,” he told her, “but it is getting there.”
“What do you still have to do?” she asked.
“After I finish with this part,” he said, indicating the floor boards he was installing, “I’ve still got to install the railings.  That will take a bit of time, but it shouldn’t take too long.  I should have it finished up sometime this coming week.”
“That will be wonderful!” Janice exclaimed happily.  She took a moment to notice the silver buckles on his new black boots.  “Your new boots look very nice,” she told him.  “Stand up so I can see them better.”
Roger hated it, but he stood. 
“Turn around,” Janice requested.
Roger turned slowly around.  “The heels are too high and too narrow for construction work,” he told her, hoping to get some relief.
“Nonsense!” Janice exclaimed.  “It looks like you’re managing just fine in them.  And if you have any problems, well, I’m sure you’ll be able to handle things one way or another.  But I must say, they are exactly what I was hoping for you.  They look splendid!”
Roger had a far different opinion of the boots.  Far different!  He moved closer to talk to her.  “Um…” he said as he got near her.
“Yes… Candy?”
“Um… I was wondering if there’s any chance that I can go fishing again next week.  The deck here should be done before then and I’d really like to go again.
Janice considered that for a moment.  “I think that we can allow it again.  I’m very pleased with the work you’ve done here so far.  I look forward to seeing it finished.”
Roger was very glad.  Almost ecstatic!  “Thanks!” he said gladly.
“Candy is going to a hen party the week after that,” Carol told her mother.
“A hen party?”
Roger rolled his eyes.  Nothing else was said though because they were interrupted by the ringing of his phone.  He hurried to grab it from the finished part of the deck where he had put it so it would be out of the way.  “Hello?”  A few minutes later, he set his phone down again.  “Another job,” he told Janice.  “More storm damage to repair.”
“Wonderful, Candy.  You’re new business is moving right along!”
Actually, Roger was glad for the call – despite having to wear the new boots to work in.  More calls meant that he was still working… and with his teaching career coming to an end, he was going to need that income!

On Monday morning, while the house was quiet, Janice sat with her computer and consulted her notebook very carefully as she typed away at something she had never had to work on before.  She spent several hours creating a document for Susan that told her all about what Ben-ben would be thinking and feeling and how the “dog” should behave.  It detailed all the commands he would understand as well as the special commands, such as the ones that would allow him to temporarily understand human speech.  She even included the special command to turn him back into a human again – although with no knowledge of being a dog at all.  She left nothing out.  Susan had asked for him, so Janice figured it was only right that she know everything about the dumb… beast.

Carol was fuming as she worked diligently on the test questions in front of her.  Damn!  Roger could have at least warned her that the quiz was coming.  But then, he loved giving tests!  He probably enjoyed it even more when nobody knew they were coming… like this one.  The jerk! 
Surprisingly, she finished the thing easily before the period was over.  She looked up from her seat at the back of the room to glare angrily at him, but he was working hard at grading the tests from his earlier classes.  She finally saw him finish with the paper he was working on and move it to another pile.  She watched as he looked up at the class where most of the kids were still working on the stupid test.  She watched him lean back in his chair to rest for a minute.  She saw him stretch his legs under the desk.  She knew that he had stretched his legs out because she could just see his one foot extending out from under the back of the bottom of the desk.  She hadn’t been able to see his feet earlier.  Something about seeing his foot there held her attention as she stared at it.
He enjoyed making the kids miserable by giving them tests.  She was looking for a way to make him miserable when he gave them.  She stared at his still visible foot… and smiled.  What if….

Late Tuesday morning, there was a small knock at the door.  Janice wasn’t surprised to find the same Chinese messenger standing at the door with another file for her.  “Thank you,” she said and watched as the man bowed slightly to her.  “Can you get something to Susan for me?” she asked. 
The man bowed again and uttered a single word, “Yes.”
“One moment please,” Janice told him.  She found the envelope containing the paper she had made detailing the “dog” that Susan was soon going to get and gave it to the messenger… who bowed yet again before he went back to his car.  Janice planned on calling Susan tomorrow to set up where to get Ben-ben.  She wasn’t sure if Susan would have the document by then, but that wouldn’t matter.  The Halifax business was nearly at an end.  And by next Friday night, she would have ten thousand dollars more to spend on… furniture and equipment for her new charity business
Picking up the new file that had just been delivered, she carried it into the living room and sat down to study it.  It was, of course, everything else she needed to know about Doctor Jessica Parker – Endocrinologist… and gambler!  The only really important information in the file, was the markers that Susan had paid for… and had now given to Janice.  As of now, Doctor Parker owed all that money to Janice instead of her usual loan sharks.  Her cooperation with Roger’s little transformation was all but assured.
She was about to pick up the phone to make an appointment with the doctor, when the sound of a noisy vehicle entering the driveway caught her attention.  Looking out the window, she noticed a brown UPS delivery truck coming to a stop.  She went to the door, and a minute later signed for a package, then watched as the truck drove off again.  She carried the package into the kitchen and opened it… and smiled.
She wasn’t too sure how much Roger was going to like his new corset.  But she had no doubt that she was going to absolutely love seeing him in it!
She finally picked up the phone and called Doctor Parker’s office.  Since she didn’t have a referral from another doctor, the process took a little longer, but she finally got an appointment for late the following Wednesday afternoon for a consultation for Roger.  Yes, Roger’s life was about to undergo many more changes now.  And she was looking forward to having a front row seat to witness all of it.

Susan had not been expecting to get something back from Janice, but when she saw what the paper was about, she read it through with great interest.  Then she read it again, much more carefully. 
There was much in it that she liked, and a few things she wasn’t as sure of.  She really liked the fact that Halifax would forever be feeling remorse over what he had done to Leila.  The part she wasn’t so sure about was that basically he would have the mind and intelligence of a dog.  He would remember that he had once been human, but that was about it.  His memories of his human life would be limited mostly to things that would feed his remorse… namely, what he had done with, and to, Leila.  Susan had to wonder if his punishment to live the rest of his life as a dog would be more painful to him if he had more of his old memories to draw upon.  She decided that she would have to content herself with the fact that he would always be focused on what he had done to Leila.
As she read the details carefully, she realized that Janice was being as complete as possible with Halifax.  For all intents and purposes, he would possess the brain of a dog and nothing more.  The only things he would be capable of doing were things that a dog would do.  And… he would be capable of learning new things… but he would be limited in his ability to learn them the same way any other dog would. 
She wasn’t very interested in the command that would turn him back into a human again. She not only had no interest in using it, but eventually, when she got tired of having him around, she had plans to ship him off to somewhere where he would never hear the English language spoken again. 
Overall though, she was now more curious than ever about what kind of… creature Janice would be delivering to her. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Housekeeper - Chapter 42 Part 2 of 4

The Housekeeper
By Karen Singer

Chapter 42 Part 2 of 4

Janice finished up washing the few breakfast dishes she had created, while Ben-ben was licking his dog bowl perfectly clean of the dog food she had fed him.  As she had programmed him to, and as he had already done last night, the stupid dog had quickly devoured the entire thing – ravenously!  And now he was licking the bowl totally clean.  She bent down and grabbed the now empty dog bowl.   Ben-ben moved over to start lapping at the water bowl that had been next to it while she washed Roger’s purple dog dish in the sink.  When Ben-ben finished with the water, she grabbed that bowl and cleaned it as well.  As always, the rental cabin would be left as spotless and as fingerprint free as she was able to make it… not that she was overly worried about it, but it was better to not take chances.
With the breakfast dishes cleared away, she found the leash she had bought for Roger and attached it to Ben-ben’s collar.  Two minutes later, the stupid dog was pulling at the leash as she walked him outside to do his business there.  She watched carefully how he went about it.  Mostly, he acted like every other dog would, but there were a few things she thought that could be better.  Ten minutes later, she led the “dog” back into the cabin again.  She led him into the living room… and onto the plastic tarp that was still laid out on the floor.  “Sit!” she commanded.  As expected, he sat – somewhat like a dog.”  She removed the leash from the collar.  “Stay!” she commanded before she turned and carried the leash into the kitchen.  She attached the chain to his leg again, and tossed him the duck dog toy that she had gotten for Roger… Boots.  Ben-ben seemed to like chewing on it more than Roger had. 
She left the dog and went back to the kitchen… and her laptop computer there.  She spent twenty minutes going to various websites and double checking things she had looked into before.  But she wanted to make sure there were no changes needed to the notes she had taken on everything.  So far, everything looked… perfect!  She turned her computer off and grabbing her notebook, went back to the living room.  It was time to return Ben-ben to his human state again.  And then move on toward the future.

They were a few minutes earlier getting to the church than usual.  As Roger got out of his truck, he still felt embarrassed and out of place dressed the way he was, but like with all his other trips to the church, each time he came it seemed to get a little easier… a little less embarrassing.  Sort of.  For once, Bethany didn’t come running out to greet him – thankfully.  He and Carol went inside, and in the usual back corner, found Cassandra talking with Carlita.  No sign of Tracy or Bethany yet. 
“Candy!” Cass greeted Roger happily.  “And….”  But Cass couldn’t remember Carol’s name.
“Carol,” Roger supplied.
“Yes!  Sorry, Carol.  I’ve always had a horrible memory for names.”
“It’s alright,” Carol replied.  “To be honest, I don’t know your name either.  We’ve hardly met!”
“Cassandra,” Cass replied.  “But just call me Cass for short.”
“Cass was just telling me that she’s thinking of holding another hen party,” Carlita said.
“Hen party?” Roger asked dubiously.
“Oh you’ll love it!” Cass replied offhandedly.  “Actually, I hold these little get-together dinners a few times a year.  We call them hen parties because everyone there is either someone like you and me, or like Carlita here.”
“They really are fun,” Carlita added.  “And… somewhat helpful too.  I got some great help in the past from some of the others who usually attend.”
“Some of the others?” Roger asked.
“You don’t think I’m the only one around who’s a trans-woman, do you?” Carlita asked.
“Uh… no,” Roger replied.  “To be honest, I really hadn’t thought about it.”
“Well, there are a few others here in the church, and we all have a few friends as well.  The parties are kind of a way for us all to get together and have some fun… let our hair down among friends.  You know?”
“Sounds good,” Roger replied, not knowing what else to say.
“I’m thinking of week after next,” Cass told them.  “Right after church.  If you like, you can follow one of us to my house so you can find it easier.”
Roger wasn’t even sure he wanted to go yet.  Besides, Janice might have a big say in that.  “Um…” he started, trying to find a polite way out of it.
“Don’t even think about not going,” Carlita told him as she noticed his uncertainty.  “This will be good for you.  Trust me!”
“But… I may have to check with…”
“Candy,” Carol chimed in, “I think you should definitely go!”  Actually, she couldn’t wait to tell her mother that Roger would be attending a… “hen party.”
Roger thought about it a bit.  There would be people there who might be able to help him… well, offer him some advice anyway as to how he could make turning himself into a woman go easier.  There was no way anyone could help him with getting out of his predicament!  “Uh,” he replied, warming to the idea.  “I guess it sounds good.”
“Excellent!” Cassandra declared happily.  “Two weeks from today then.”
“What’s two weeks from today?” Tracy asked as she walked up.
“One of my hen parties,” Cass replied.
“Oh wonderful!” Tracy said with a suddenly great amount of enthusiasm.  “You’re last one was sooo much fun!”
“Yoo-hoo,” a voice called from the doorway.”
“Speaking of having fun,” Tracy muttered as Bethany hurried in. 
“What’s happening girls?” Bethany asked as she hurried up.
“Cass is holding another hen party,” Carlita told her.
“Oh fantastic!” Bethany practically squealed.  “I absolutely can’t wait!”
Roger saw Carlita rolling her eyes where Bethany couldn’t see her.

Joseph Halifax blinked and looked around.  He was lying on the plastic tarp, still naked, and the damn woman seemed to be watching him all too carefully.  Why?  What was she expecting him to do?  His brain was slow to realize that things in the room looked… different.  The last he could remember, she was torturing his mind unmercifully again.  And now… something was different.  He finally realized that she was dressed differently, but there was something else.  The light!  The light coming in through the windows was different.  Damn!  She had kept him asleep all night long!  Well, he supposed that was better than more torture, which was what he was now worried that she was about to do to him again.
Warily he stared back at her, afraid of what she might say… yet waiting for her to tell him to do something. 
Janice smiled at him.  “Have a seat, Mr. Halifax,” she said… and watched as he moved as fast as he could for the chair.  She almost chuckled.  “Relax Mr. Halifax,” she told him.  “It’s time to give your poor mind a break.  I think it’s time we discussed sending you on that little vacation I mentioned yesterday.”
“The cruise?”
Janice nodded.  “Exactly.  I’m very glad you remembered.”
After what she had done to his brain… again… he just counted himself lucky that he was still among the living, let alone that he had remembered it!  “What is it you want me to do for you on that cruise?” he asked.  Whatever it was, illegal or not, dangerous or not, he had no doubt that he would do it with a single minded determination.  Her will was his will, and her will was all that mattered.
“Why… nothing at all for me,” Janice replied.  “All I want you to do is… sleep and obey, Mr. Halifax, sleep and obey.  Sleep and obey, Mr. Halifax, sleep and obey.”  Once again, Janice took his mind down into a blissful, totally controlled state.  He went under very quickly, yet she was very thorough to make sure he was as deep as she wanted him to be.  Only then did she pick up her notebook and proceed.
“Mr. Halifax,” she said, “I want you to spend the next week looking forward to going on a nice relaxing cruise.  You want this cruise badly because you feel like haven’t been able to concentrate on things as well as you should lately and you need to take a break and clear your mind.  You are also looking forward to this trip because you will be spending it with your new pretty girlfriend who is the one who will be making all the arrangements and reservations for you and her both.  There will be no need for you to double check any of the reservations because she will be handling all of that for you.
“Mr. Halifax, I’m sure you will be happy to know that you and your pretty girlfriend will be going on a week-long cruise through the Caribbean and will be stopping along the way at many islands for sightseeing and fun.”  She then told him the exact name of the ship that he would be taking and told him that it departed from Miami.  She also told him what airline he would be taking to fly into Miami and what time the flight left.  There was no need to tell him of course that he wouldn’t be on that plane… or the cruise ship either.  She wanted him to look forward to the trip and to let everyone know that he would be gone for a while.
“After the cruise, Mr. Halifax, you and your girlfriend are planning on spending another week enjoying the beach in Miami and just having a good time together.  You don’t know which hotel you are going to stay at yet.  You are planning on picking a nice one when you get there.
“If anyone asks you about your plans,” she told him, “you can tell them the things you know so far.  You will be very excited about the trip and you can’t wait to start it.”
“Mr. Halifax,” she said, “before you leave on this trip, you are going to withdraw ten thousand dollars in cash for the trip.  You may need to plan this with the bank early in the week to make sure there will be no problems.  You need this much money so that you and your girlfriend can have a good time on both the boat and shopping on the islands.  You also plan on using some of it for gambling on the cruise ship as well. 
“Next Friday, you will drive to the Atlanta airport.  You will plan on getting there as close to five o’clock in the evening as possible to give you plenty of time before your seven o’clock flight leaves.  You will have with you the money from the bank and your passport for the trip in case you need it.  However, you will not bother to pack any clothes or suitcases.  The thought of packing these things or needing luggage for the trip will not even occur to you. 
“When you get to the airport, you will park in the long-term parking lot and take the tram to the south terminal which is the terminal the airline you will be flying on works out of.  When you get to the terminal though, you will not go inside.  Instead, walk all the way down to the baggage claim area and wait for me outside near very last entryway.  I will meet you there with the rest of your travel information.
“In the meantime, Mr. Halifax, I want you to continue to be interested in studying how dogs behave.  I particularly want you to pay attention to how they eat, how they drink, all the different things they like to smell and the times that they always seem to like to smell them.  I also want you to study very carefully how they go to the bathroom under many different conditions.  You will find all dog behavior to be very fascinating.  You are even thinking of getting yourself some type of dog in the future now, so studying how they behave so closely will make perfect sense to you.  You want to be well prepared just in case you do finally get yourself a dog.”
Janice put her notebook down and stared at him.  He had the same blank look on his face as when he started, but she had no doubt that every single instruction she had just given him was now thoroughly burned into his head.  He would have no possible course other than to follow her instructions exactly. 
A minute later, she had removed the collar from his neck and had him get dressed again.  It was time to send him home.  She instructed him to get dressed and come fully awake from his trance shortly after leaving the cabin… with the happy knowledge that he would soon be going on a two week vacation with his pretty new girlfriend.