By Karen Singer
Chapter 26 Part 1 of 3
It wasn’t until late Friday afternoon that Jacobs had a chance to check on the location of Janice’s car again. He was fully expecting to see it in the same location where it had stayed in Gainesville for some time now – most likely being repaired. But when he saw that the car wasn’t there… and it wasn’t anywhere near where he expected to see it, it took him a few minutes to figure out where it was – moving… and just outside of Birmingham, Alabama.
“Damn!” he swore as he hurried to Sid Forsyth’s desk. “She’s going after the money… right now!” he exclaimed before Sid barely registered he was there.
“Who’s going after what money?” Sid asked, totally confused by his partner’s statement.
“Stokley! She’s going after the cash, right now!”
“How do you know?”
“I planted a bug on her car… and right now it’s approaching Birmingham!”
“You planted a bug? Does Phil know?” referring to their direct superior.
“Of course not!” Jacobs said with a bit of a grin. “I’m going after her. Cover for me if it’s necessary!”
Before Sid had a chance to say anything else, his partner disappeared, heading for the door. He remembered that Janice Stokley had worked in Birmingham before moving to the Atlanta area a few years ago. And if she was indeed heading in that direction, then it was possible that she could be after some of the money she had stolen. If… she had actually stolen any. There was still not one bit of actual proof about that. Only a lot of conjecture. But it was all very interesting conjecture.
He wished his partner luck as he started moving file folders around on his desk in preparation for going home – hopefully for the entire weekend.
On Saturday morning, Roger stared up at the Whittaker’s deck from the ground below. The large dumpster he had ordered to hold all the debris from the job was placed almost where he had hoped it would wind up… just off to the side of the project. Whoever had delivered it hadn’t brought it as far into the backyard as he had hoped, but that was a minor inconvenience.
As he looked up, he saw the two deck boards that he had already pried up, blocking the French doors that led from the house out to the deck. It was a safety issue that had to be taken care of. He had pried the boards up then screwed them across the doorway to make sure that nobody would try to go out of it until he was completely finished rebuilding the deck. He was also hoping they would keep the Whittaker’s a little further away from him so they wouldn’t ask too many questions about what he was wearing. Even now, he could see both of them looking out through the wide French doors, watching him. He had only knocked on the door to politely let them know he was there… but he hadn’t said anything else to them as he went straight to work.
And now it was time to demolish the deck… before it fell down on its own! The thing was that bad! He had his regular hammer in his tool belt that encircled his waist, but he also had a sledge hammer on the ground next to him. He wasn’t sure how well he could swing the sledge hammer with the high heels on his feet, but he had no doubt that he’d find some way to manage it. But he wasn’t about to waste much time demolishing this deck. The sledge hammer stayed on the ground as he pulled the starter rope on the chain saw in his hand instead. The tool roared to life in his hand. A few seconds later. He stared cutting railings into manageable size pieces… while he was more than aware of the Whittaker’s watching him trying to do it all – in his freshly shined high heel boots.
As he worked, his mind again went back to the fact that he had to wear a dress to church tomorrow. He still couldn’t comprehend that fact. And he had no doubt in the world that he would wind up actually doing it.
Janice had been mysteriously missing again that morning… gone long before he had gotten up. Once again he said a little prayer that something major would happen to her and she would never come back. But he knew it was useless wishing.
Wear a dress to church? Inconceivable! He tried his best to put that thought out of his mind… but it was simply so bizarre that not thinking about it was all but impossible!
Jacobs stared at the junky looking fence… surrounding an even junkier looking piece of property… filled with junk cars. It had taken him a long time to find the property last night… even guided by the small tracker he had for locating the bug attached to Janice’s car. Or rather, the car that used to be the one that Janice drove. Because he was now looking at a business that proclaimed to be an automobile auction house. Obviously, Roger Brinkley had not only bought that new car he had seen for himself, he had now traded in his other old junker car for something newer. And Jacobs was pissed!
It had been too late last night when he had gotten here and discovered exactly where the car was to retrieve the little bug he had planted. But since it was “technically” government property, he had no choice but to wait until the place opened to get inside the fence and find the damn thing. He had been forced to spend the night in a cheap hotel. But now the place was open – finally. And now he could get his little tracking bug back. And even though he had no just cause for feeling that way, he once again decided that Janice Stokley was going to pay extra for putting him to this inconvenience!
The red Corvette paused at the end of the driveway as the driver checked the oncoming traffic, then it turned out onto the road and roared away. Janice cursed her luck as the thing whizzed right past her… in a direction that she would have to turn around so she could follow it. She wasted no time though and got lucky as a series of traffic lights helped her to at least keep the thing in sight. She almost lost it again when it hit an open road and accelerated far past the legal speeding limit. She prayed there were no police around so she could keep him in sight. Ten minutes later, she saw the car pull into the parking lot of a golf course… which surprised her because the weather report was calling for rain again – as it did every day lately.
She pulled into the parking lot herself and watched as Halifax got out of his car and walked into the clubhouse. He wasn’t carrying any golf clubs, but Janice knew from experience that most likely he was a member of the club and probably had a locker there to hold his equipment. She got out of her car and went inside to look around. She saw him signing in and talking with several other men… then they all went out through one of the doors that led outside.
She had dealt with many men in the past who had played golf. To many of them, the game was an important business necessity as most of them discussed business while they played. Janice didn’t know exactly why that was since she didn’t play herself, but she had come across the issue many times in the past. Knowing that Halifax was going to be tied up for many hours, she went back to his apartment where she again drove into the parking area behind the building. She studied the garage doors… and she studied the one regular door off to the side as well.
Getting out of her car, she walked over to that door for a closer look. She tested it... locked! She tried pulling up on several of the garage doors… but she couldn’t budge any of them. Most likely they were all on automatic door opening systems that kept them totally secure.
With nothing else she could do that day, she got back in her car and headed home. It was time to plan another trip. A trip to dig up another buried box. A trip to get her equipment from past dealings with the men she had ruined.
The only reason Roger didn’t sleep in the cage Saturday night, was because he had been up extra late the night before studying internet how-to videos for makeup. He tried a few of the things that he saw over and over again, but all the videos really did was to point out how pitifully inadequate his makeup supply was. Every single video called for the application of product after product, to either small areas of his face, or more often to his whole face. And he didn’t have even one of the products each of the videos had shown him.
The only reason he had really spent so much time studying the videos… was panic! He had been hoping for some kind of miracle video that would show him how to do something to his face so he could at least pass a little better as a woman… and not get laughed at when he went to church in the morning. But it quickly became apparent that there was no such miracle… at least not for him. He was doomed to go to church looking like a man in drag… who didn’t know the first thing about passing or even looking anything at all like a woman.
He had been allowed to sleep outside the cage all night. But that didn’t mean he had been able to sleep. Worry over the issue kept him awake through most of the night.
He had finally gotten up early and gone into the bathroom to shave and shower… and to shave his legs and arms once again to make sure there was no hair there. Janice hadn’t even mentioned that to him… but he knew how bad any hair in those places would look, so he made sure there wasn’t any. Then he went back to his room and stared at the clothes he would have to put on… very shortly.
When breakfast time came, he wore his usual jeans and an old shirt – over top of his filled out bra and panties of course. And as usual, he ate his meal from his dog bowl on the floor. But after breakfast, he went back to his room where he immediately pulled on the same pair of pantyhose he had worn to the store… and then added the slip that would eventually be covered by his dress.
Having no mirror in his room, he went to the bathroom to do the best he could with what little makeup he had. He knew without a doubt that he would have to go shopping for more – very soon. If he wanted to look even remotely better, then he needed more stuff – and most likely, help as well! But the kind of help he really needed, as far as the makeup went anyway, was not something he wanted to dwell on, because it would mean discussing the issue with someone – in person.
Once back in his room, he sat on the floor and buckled the high heeled shoes onto his feet. Then he stared at his dress in his closet for several minutes before finding the courage to pull it out… and put it on. It took some doing, but thanks to the practice he had several nights ago, he managed to get the thing zipped all the way up in the back.
He had no mirror to see how he really looked… and he wasn’t sure he even wanted to know. He threw the things he normally would carry in his pockets into his purse and finally slung the thing over his shoulder. He opened his bedroom door… and went out into the hallway. He stopped on his way to the living room and turned around, and went all the way back to the bathroom where he checked what he could see of himself. Bad! Forced to face the awful inevitable, he headed for the living room.
“Ah, Mr. Brinkley,” Janice said as she caught sight of him. “Or perhaps, we should call you Candy today instead.”
Roger didn’t reply. He simply felt too stupid.
Janice looked him over carefully, then smiled. “I’m afraid you have a very long way to go Mr. Brink… I mean, Candy. But still, I’m pleased with what I see today. This is definite progress you’re making today. Definite progress!”
As far as Roger was concerned, it was the wrong kind of progress! A short while later, he found himself sitting in the back seat of the black Cadillac SUV, pulling out of the driveway, and on the road to total humiliation. He was doing it. He was actually doing it. He was going out to church – wearing a dress! Yet he still couldn’t conceive it!
And ten minutes later, after they had left the driveway, a pickup truck pulled in.
Stan was glad to see Roger’s new truck sitting in the yard. That meant he was home… where he expected to see him. That is, unless he went back to work on that deck he said he was rebuilding. But since the truck was in the yard, he was sure that Roger would be home.
He knocked on the door, and got no answer. Nothing. In fact, the house seemed all too quiet. So despite the truck in the yard, nobody was home.
Where the heck would Roger go on a Sunday morning? Most Sunday mornings in the past, he and Roger had gone fishing together. In fact, that was the pretense he was using this time to talk with Roger. The back of his truck was even filled with all his fishing gear. But unfortunately, it seemed that Roger had taken off somewhere. And since the house was so quiet, evidently he had taken his new housekeeper and her daughter as well.
Where in the world would he take them both on a Sunday morning? He certainly didn’t see Roger taking them to church somewhere. Roger wasn’t exactly the church-going type!
Frustrated at finding nobody home, he got back in his truck and headed off to go fishing – by himself.