Friday, October 4, 2013

The Housekeeper - Chapter 17 (Part 1 of 2)

The Housekeeper
By Karen Singer

Chapter 17 (Part 1 of 2)

Janice woke up Monday morning with a lot on her mind – foremost of which was why Mr. Wu hadn’t contacted her again.  That was beginning to scare her more than a bit.  She could only hope that he would get in touch with her sometime today… sooner rather than later!
She also needed to go with Roger today to “help out” with giving that woman an estimate for repairing her deck.  That was business that couldn’t be helped.  Like it or not, Roger was about to start a new career… because of her, and she had every intention of making sure that he succeeded.  He might not like her “business plan” for him, but she was fairly sure that in the end, he would be quite successful.  He just didn’t know about that business plan yet… at least, not the full plan.  But he would soon – just as soon as he finished building her secret hiding hole – that hopefully he would get back to working on later this morning.
There were other minor things in the back of her mind as well… things that didn’t matter quite so much.  She was now looking forward to doing some serious shopping with her daughter.  Shopping for both clothes and new furniture for the house.  Now that Mr. Fitch was out of the picture, it was time to make the inside of the house more suitable to the things she liked instead of the stark way that Roger had decorated it… which was in truth, not at all.  She and Carol would be living there for a while, and while they were there, she had every intention of making it a proper home for herself and Carol!
With her mind already at work, she got out of bed and headed for the bathroom to take her morning shower.  She would let Carol sleep a while more.  There was no school this week and no reason why Carol couldn’t be allowed to sleep in for a change. 

Roger moved his neck a bit to move his head to a more comfortable position on the pile of sweatshirts he was using for a pillow.  The sunlight streaming in through the window bothered him, but not enough to make him open his eyes.  He wasn’t chained to the toilet.  He wasn’t chained to the bedframe.  In fact, the chain itself was piled out of the way under the window.  But that didn’t mean that Roger could get out of the room.  He could move around somewhat, but only on his elbows and knees.  When Carol had put him in his room last night, she had again folded his arms and legs and tied them off that way.  He couldn’t stand on his feet and his hands couldn’t reach anything beyond his shoulders.  Unfortunately, Carol had then done something worse when she stuffed his feet back into those miserable high heeled shoes and buckled them tightly onto his feet again… just before closing the door to his room and saying, “Have a good night, doggie!” 
But he had now slept in far worse conditions, so this wasn’t that much of a problem at all.  The stupid shoes on his feet were irksome, but they hadn’t bothered him all that much during the night – for which he was very grateful.  Maybe he was getting used to the stupid things.  And since he could move around… somewhat, on his elbows and knees, he had no trouble at all with once again laying his head directly on his pile of sweatshirts that he had fixed as a pillow the day before.  He just didn’t have a way to adequately pull any of his other clothes over top of him for a blanket.  But at least he had a nice soft pillow now… and the freshly carpeted floor was soft under his body.  Compared to the night before, it was almost heaven.
Breathing a somewhat satisfied sigh, he did his best to try to go back to sleep… while he still could!  Who knows what horrors the coming day would bring to him?

Janice softly opened the door to Carol’s room.  She was still sound asleep, so she left her daughter to sleep.  She went to the next door, Roger’s room, and opened that one.  She saw Roger sound asleep as well, his head resting on a pile of his clothing.  She had no problem with that.  Actually, she was glad to see him able to sleep well for a change. 
The way that Carol had tied him up last night was the same way Carol had tied him when she had first played “doggie” with him – back while she was still in prison.  It was that delight in her daughter that had prompted her to put those “dog” commands into his brainwashing program.  She had plans now to increase those commands and make them many times worse… but only as a means to convince Roger to take the path for his life that she would rather see. 
Despite how she treated him, she was somewhat convinced that Roger was a “relatively” decent man.  At least she had not yet seen anything to convince her otherwise.  And the way she and Carol had robbed him of his life – or the way he was living – was somewhat regretful.  But it was also very necessary to her.  Things were happening now that required her to remain fully in control of him.  And there was simply no way she could let him go back to his old life when she and Carol were finished here.  No… way!  It would be far too dangerous to her… and Carol.  Besides, he was a man, and she really had no problem at all with destroying any man she came in contact with.
As she entered the room, her eyes focused on the high heeled shoes she was making him wear.  It looked like Carol had put them on him last night without any of the knee-high hose.  That was certainly fine.  Just as long as they were on his feet – one way or another!  She herself wasn’t sure she would ever want to try to wear such heels.  She was sure they would be most uncomfortable.  But she had noticed recently that many of the younger women were wearing heels like that, and worse, very frequently.  She wondered if her daughter ever wanted to wear shoes like that.  Carol was certainly old enough now to be interested.  She supposed she would find out later – not that she’d let Carol actually buy shoes like that – ever!
“Mr. Brinkley,” she called softly, so as not to wake her daughter in the next room.  She saw him startle and open his eyes.  She began untying his legs.  “If you think you can be quick… and somewhat quiet… you can go into the bathroom now and shave and shower.  I’m letting Carol sleep in a bit.”
Roger only nodded.  A good hot shower would be very welcome to him.  Not to mention a chance to get out of those stupid shoes for even just a few minutes.  He waited patiently as Janice removed each of his bindings. 
“Please try to hurry up in there,” Janice told him.  “I don’t want Carol to be too inconvenienced.  And when you get dressed, please keep in mind our appointment with Mrs. Whittaker this morning.  Just don’t forget your pert little breasts… and for now, I want to see you wearing those same shoes.”  She left him then to start getting breakfast ready, while Roger hurried into the bathroom. 

“Momma,” said Carol while they were sitting having breakfast together.  “Can I please go see Shelly today?  I haven’t seen her in a long time now.”
“Oh,” Janice said as she considered the question.  “I had thought the two of us would spend the afternoon shopping together.  But…”
“I could come back early… right after lunch,” Carol suggested.  “Please, just for a little while?”
Janice smiled. “Of course, dear.  “Mr. Brinkley and I have to go out this morning to see a woman about repairing her deck.  But I’m sure you would much rather see your friend than be stuck waiting around while we take care of business.”
“Oh thank you, Momma,” Carol gushed.
“You can take Mr. Brinkley’s car,” Janice suggested as she glanced over at Roger… on all fours with his head currently in his dog bowl eating the breakfast cereal she had put into it earlier.  “We’ll be taking my car anyway.”
“Thank you, Momma,” Carol gushed happily again.
With a smile, Janice glanced back at Roger again and saw his head lifting out of the bowl… which was now empty.  As usual, he had done his best to hurry through his meal.  She really couldn’t blame him for that one bit.  “Mr. Brinkley,” she said, “Please give Carol your keys.  Then make sure your boots are shined very well… top to bottom!  I’ll be allowing you to wear them when we go out this morning.”
Roger didn’t know if he should be shocked, or outraged, or grateful.  He wasn’t too happy though to hear that he would be going to Mrs. Whittaker’s house – still wearing those stupid women’s boots.  But at least they would be a whole lot better than the crazy shoes he was wearing now!

Roger was sitting in the passenger seat of the Cadillac while Janice drove.  He was giving her directions as they went, but he was barely glancing out the window.  His eyes instead were planted on the sight of the women’s boots he was wearing – over top of his pants legs.  Before they had left home, Janice had insisted he put the boots on – over top like this so that they would be fully exposed.  She also hadn’t allowed him to remove the sock balls from inside his bra.  That was troublesome too… but not nearly as much as the full sight of the boots he was wearing. 
“When we get there, Mr. Brinkley,” Janice said as they got close to the address, “it would do you well to act very proud of those boots.” 
How could he possibly act “proud” when all he felt was ashamed?  He forced himself to glance up to the houses they were now passing.  “It’s just ahead on the right,” he told her.  A minute later, Janice turned into the crumbling macadam driveway of an elderly house. 
“Goodness!” Janice exclaimed, “I hope they can pay for this!”
Roger grunted.  “They’re house is old… just like they are.  But trust me, they’ve got plenty of money.  I think that Elaine is not just careful with their money… I think she’s just plain cheap as well.  But they’re both nice people.  Good people.”
“So it’s Elaine who controls the family finances?” Janice asked.
Roger had to think about that for a moment.  “Most likely.  At least, she’s the one who seems to primarily handle the business.  Of course Frank used to be at work all the time so she probably started handling things back then.  But he’s been retired now for years.”
Janice considered that information while she parked the car.  Inwardly, she was glad that she would “most likely” be dealing with another woman here.  “Out of the car now, Mr. Brinkley,” she said as she opened her car door.  “You’re not going to hide those lovely boots while we’re here.  And as I suggested before, I recommend that you behave as if you’re very proud of those boots – as you should be!”
Roger still didn’t know how he was going to manage that little feat… just as he didn’t know how he was going to manage to get out of the car in this condition.  But a moment later, he had grabbed his notepad, and he was not only out of the car, but following Janice up the front steps to the front door.
Elaine Whittaker opened her front door and found two people on her doorstep… one of whom she knew.  “Roger,” she said brightly as she opened the front door to her visitors.  “Please come in.”
“Hi Elaine,” Roger replied somewhat embarrassedly.  “This is Janice Stokely,” he said as he turned briefly in Janice’s direction.  “I think you talked with her on the phone.”
“I did indeed,” Elaine replied a she shook Janice’s hand.  “It’s nice to meet you in person.”  She turned toward Roger and immediately stared down at the boots he was wearing… before turning her attention back toward Janice.  “I didn’t believe it when you told me over the phone, but now that I see it in person, I must say I’m still quite surprised.”
Roger immediately realized that he had missed something somewhere… but did he really want to know what it was that he had missed?
Before replying, Janice turned to Roger.  “Why don’t you get started on whatever you need to do while I talk business with Elaine here.”
Roger needed no further encouragement.  He just wanted to get his embarrassing boots… not to mention his embarrassing little breasts – out of sight!  Unfortunately, he had to pass Elaine’s husband Frank along the way.  Frank was sitting in an elderly overly stuffed chair with his feet up on the footstool.  Roger did his best to ignore the boots on his feet.  “How’s your ankle, Frank?” he asked as he went past.
“It hurts!” Frank replied as he stared directly at the boots Roger was wearing.  “How about those things you’re wearing?”
“They hurt too,” Roger replied, and kept on going straight out to the back deck so he wouldn’t have to discuss his boots anymore.  It took him no time to spot the hole in the deck where Frank had gone through and twisted his ankle.  He was lucky he didn’t get hurt worse.

“They are lovely boots,” Elaine was saying to Janice.  “But are you sure he can work in them?  I mean, it just seems so… unusual!”
“It is unusual,” Janice agreed.  “But yes, I’m quite convinced that he’ll have no trouble with those boots at all… and as he has decided, eventually he’s planning on moving up to an even higher heel as well.”
“And he’s going to wear them for all his jobs… all the time?”
“That’s his plan,” Janice confirmed.  “And I must say, I think it’s going to make a marvelous calling card for him.  Once people see him… or quite possibly even hear of him… then hopefully their curiosity will make them remember him whenever they have a little odd job that needs to be done.”
Elaine had to consider that.  “Well, yes,” she finally agreed.  “I can see that it would.  But isn’t he rather… embarrassed about it?”
Janice nodded.  “For now,” she replied.  “But he is determined.  And I have no doubt that once he gets more used to it, then he will have no trouble about it at all.  Especially if it keeps the money coming in.”
Elaine could only shake her head in wonder.  “It just seems so… unusual.”
“Now Mrs. Whittaker,” Janice said, changing the subject, “didn’t you mention something over the phone about having friends who need work done as well?”

Roger carefully measured everything… and just as carefully recorded everything in his notebook.  But even more carefully, he stepped around the deck… and climbed down the stairs… and inspected everything top and bottom.  He was extra careful because he didn’t want to fall through the thing like Frank had done.  And from what he was seeing, it’s amazing that nobody had fallen through the thing sooner.  Using the camera on his phone, he also took many pictures of the deck and its supporting structure.  Only when he was sure he was thoroughly finished… and couldn’t really delay anymore, did he go back into the house.  Frank was still seated in his same seat of course.  This time, Roger only nodded as he went past.  He found the women in the kitchen drinking tea.
“Of course, I know perfectly well that Frank’s ankle isn’t nearly as bad as it was,” Elaine was saying, “but I don’t mind humoring him one little bit.  It makes me feel useful!”  She and Janice both giggled as the saw Roger entering the kitchen.
“All done, Mr. Brinkley?” Janice asked.
“I’ve got everything I need,” Roger replied before turning to Elaine.  “As I told you the last time you were here, it’s really in bad shape.  I’m going to have to rip everything off and rebuild it from scratch.”
“Oh dear,” Elaine replied.  “Are you sure it’s that bad?”
Roger nodded.  “If I don’t, then most likely, it’s going to collapse one way or another.”  He paused before continuing. “It looks to me like it was built about the same time as this house… and that was a long time ago.  It’s simply time to replace it all.”
“Well, when you do the estimate, can you at least try to find a few ways to save us some money?” Elaine asked.
Roger nodded.  “I’ll keep that in mind.  But I also don’t want to build you anything that’s second rate or even the least bit dangerous.  If I build it, then I want to do it right.”  He glanced briefly at Janice before continuing.  “But at the same time, I don’t want to overcharge you for anything you don’t need… and I don’t want to try to gouge you on what it’s going to cost.  I am trying to build a new business here, and quite frankly, I don’t want any bad comments should anyone ask you about my work.”
His words seemed to pacify Elaine’s fears and she nodded.  “When can I expect to receive the estimate from you?” she asked.
“Please give me about a week.  Hopefully, I can get it to you sooner.  But I have to figure up all the materials as well as how long it’s probably going to take me to do this.  I’ll make sure you get it as soon as possible though.”
Elaine nodded. “Well thank you.  And thank you for your honesty as well.  Frank and I look forward to seeing it.  And may I say, I think you should do very well in this line of work Roger.  Especially if you’re planning on making those boots of yours your trademark.  It’s such a unique idea that I think it’s simply a marvelous.  I have no doubt that people will remember you quite well for that.”
Her words suddenly sent Roger’s head spinning.  Trademark?  “Uh… thanks,” he replied… unsurely.

“I think that went exceptionally well,” Janice exclaimed as she was pulling out of the driveway. 
Roger was just glad he had gotten through it without it being even more embarrassing.
“And while I was there,” Janice continued, “Elaine mentioned the names of several friends who need work done on different things as well.  Mr. Brinkley, I have no doubt that we will be hearing from some of Elaine’s friends very shortly.  Especially once she tells them all about your boots!”
Roger glanced down at his boots once again.  His trademark?  Ugh!  How embarrassing!  And he realized that nothing had even been mentioned about his “pert” little breasts!
“Mr. Brinkley,” Janice said a moment later.  “As soon as we get home, I want those boots off your feet and your new shoes on instead.  And then I hope you’re planning on spending the rest of the day building my little secret hiding place!”
Roger sighed.  Back to the even more uncomfortable stupid high heels. 


sa said...

*hugs* Thanks for the update :) Poor porch. Not even going to be around for one last pile of halloween candy, sounds wikes.

ADietrech said...

Did I mention I love this story? The mysteries just keep piling up -did Susan usurp her dad's position, and what is it that Janice wants to get from them? The handwriting is pretty much on the wall as to Roger's sartorial future, unless he likes living as a Chihuahua. But what does Janice hope to gain from petticoating him?
Can't wait to find out!