By Karen Singer
Janice sat in her car, down the street from Halifax’s apartment building, watching the driveway. She hadn’t gotten there quite so early this time, but she still had to wait about half an hour. At roughly the time she expected, the front door opened and a woman came out… a different woman than she had seen before. The woman walked down the street a short way to one of the cars there and left. And as expected, about half an hour later, she saw his red Corvette come out of the driveway, pause for a moment, then turn in the direction of his office.
Janice didn’t waste any more time. Removing a few special items from her purse to keep in her hand, she threw the purse itself over her shoulder and got out of her car. She walked the short distance to Halifax’s building, then went down the driveway to the area behind the building. A minute later she was at the doorway that was off to the side of the garage doors. She immediately put the lock picks in her hand to use. The lock on this door was old. The door itself was probably left over from before the building had been renovated and turned into apartments. Consequently she was fairly sure that even her daughter could pick this lock… and she had only shown Carol how to do it once, back before she had been sent to prison. She gave herself ten seconds to open it. The fact that it took fifteen told her she was way out of practice. But then, lock picking wasn’t her specialty. It was only a necessity.
A moment later, she opened the door and walked through, quickly closing it behind her again. She was momentarily startled as the lights suddenly switched on inside. Slightly frightened, she looked all around but didn’t see anyone. Motion detectors, she realized, “set up to turn the lights on by any motion in the area… in this case, her coming in through the door.
She looked around the large open garage area. She was only slightly surprised to see that the area wasn’t separated into separate units for each of the three apartments that the building now held. There was only one car in the garage now, but she had no idea what apartment it belonged to… nor did she really care. The garage stretched most of the entire width of the building, but it wasn’t all that deep, which told her that the bottom apartment wasn’t as big as the ones on the two floors above it. But she wasn’t interested in the bottom apartment.
She took her time walking all around the garage area, just to see what was there. Not much worth noting. Not much, but she did find something very worth noting in the far corner of the same wall the garage doors were on. An elevator! Through the glass door, she saw that it was fairly large. Probably done that way to make moving furniture up and down easier. She continued her tour and discovered two more doors along the back wall. One obviously led straight into the downstairs apartment. The other one led to a staircase. The staircase door wasn’t locked, so she entered and went up.
There was a door on the first landing, as she expected there to be… and the door didn’t have a lock on it. Cautiously, she slowly opened the door a crack and peeked through. Another hallway. Somewhat narrow. She poked her head though further and saw a more ornate door at the other end… right across from where the elevator would open. She went back into the stairway and continued upstairs to Halifax’s floor.
After cautiously opening the door to check again, she went into the hallway and down to Halifax’s door at the far end. The elevator was indeed right across from it. Instead of having a normal keyed lock, there was a keypad on the door. Her lock picks would be useless.
She had barely had a chance to examine the keypad though, when her cell phone started ringing. “Damn!” she swore softly as she dug the thing out as fast as she could to shut it up. The last thing she needed right now was for someone to hear her! “Hello?” she whispered as quickly as she could.
The voice on the other end paused before speaking. “Um… is this the Zen Restaurant?”
Janice was quick to realize that the wrong number meant that the call would be from Mr. Wu. Most likely from Susan. “I’m sorry,” she said softly into the phone. But you have the wrong number.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry,” the voice responded.
“That’s quite alright,” Janice replied before hanging up her phone. Susan… calling at this hour of the morning? Setting her purse on the floor, she dug into it until she found one of the two burner phones she now kept with her all the time. Two minutes later, she had placed her order for the required number of nonexistent items… and was waiting to be transferred to another “salesman.”
“Janice?” Susan Wu’s voice finally came over the line.
“Hi Susan,” Janice replied quietly. It wasn’t likely that anyone would hear her… especially not up here where she was fairly sure that Halifax’s apartment was empty, but she still wanted to stay as quiet as possible.
“Janice? I can hardly hear you.”
“That’s because I’m standing in Halifax’s building right now, staring at his doorway. I dare not make too much noise.”
Susan was surprised. “You’re there? Right now? That’s why I was calling in the first place, to see if you had made any progress yet.”
“I’m working on it,” Janice replied. “But I have to go slowly. I’m still trying to get a handle on anything I may need to worry about later. The more I can take care of things before I get started with him, the easier it will be.”
“I understand,” Susan replied. “Anything I can help with?”
“No, I think I’m making fairly good progress. It’s just going to take a little time.”
“I understand,” Susan replied again. “I’m afraid that I’m simply anxious to get this resolved – one way or another.”
“I’m doing my best,” Janice replied, still in her nearly whispered voice.
“You’re sure there’s nothing I can do to help you along?”
Janice’s mind was running through some of what she would most likely be doing in the near future. She had everything she needed… except for one thing. One thing she hadn’t even thought of asking Susan’s help for. “Well, since you’re asking, I had a supplier in Mobile that I used for a certain drug I need. What little I have left now is old and I dare not use it again.”
“A drug? You?”
“Not for me!” Janice hissed quickly.
“What is it you need?” Susan asked.
“I need an injectable form of Rohypnol… you know, the date-rape drug? It’s what I use to control someone until I can get them into more suitable surroundings. And Halifax is a fairly big man. I don’t want to have to pick him up and try to move him if I don’t have to.”
Susan was somewhat relieved that Janice wasn’t looking for any kind of drug for herself. In fact, she had never imagined Janice using any kind of drugs at all! “Yes, I’m quite familiar with the drug,” she replied. “If you give me an address, I can have some delivered right to you by tomorrow. Will that be soon enough?”
“I don’t need it that fast. Most likely, not for another week or two. I’m still not done checking things out.”
“Another week or two? That long?”
“As I said before,” Janice said, somewhat annoyed, “I have to account for as many unforeseen consequences as I can!”
“I’m sorry,” Susan replied. “As I said, I’m simply anxious to get this resolved. One of the things my father and I like about you Janice, is how careful you are. We both appreciate that greatly. It’s a paramount necessity in our business.”
“I know it is,” Janice replied. “And I appreciate that just as much as you do.”
“I can still have the drug delivered to you tomorrow, or any other time you require. I just need to know where to send it.”
Janice thought about that for a moment. She considered giving Susan a post office box number somewhere… just to protect her location somewhat, but she didn’t really have any other address than where she was living in Roger’s house just then. Besides, with the Wu’s contacts, they could probably find out exactly where she was living in a matter of days… if not hours. That is, if they didn’t know already! She gave Susan Roger’s address. A minute later, she was pulling the battery out of the burner phone. She would dismantle and destroy the rest of it later.
She stared at the keypad for a moment more before going back down the stairs into the garage area. She went over to the elevator and pushed the button. The door opened revealing a very nice interior. She pushed the button for the third floor and rode it up. At the top, she pushed the button to ride it back down to the garage again.
She had seen enough. She now had a pretty good idea of what she most likely would need to do. She wasn’t happy that Susan Wu was trying to rush things. Something like this shouldn’t be rushed. It was too dangerous! But instead of staying in Augusta to poke around further as she originally intended, she headed back to her car, where a few minutes later she was heading for home. A day later, she wasn’t at all surprised when a young oriental man knocked on her door... and simply handed over a small box. Susan Wu had been as good as her word.
It wasn’t the first time that Roger had worn his boots into the building supply store, but it was his first time wearing them there on a Saturday morning. Early mornings were always the busiest time of day for the place as many contractors stopped there to pick up any supplies they needed… if they hadn’t stopped in the evening before. And on Saturdays, the store often had many customers who weren’t contractors, they were do-it-yourselfers who needed the same kind of materials for whatever projects they were trying to tackle. So this time, the parking lot was somewhat crowded by the time Roger got there… and so was the store.
He was always horribly aware of the women’s high heeled boots he wore now – especially when he was out in public. But wearing them into a place like this… a place where he knew many of the people, both employees of the store and customers… kept him more aware of his embarrassing boots than ever. And the way Janice made him wear them, with his pants tucked into the boots so they were always fully on display, made them somewhat hard to miss. It was all simply… embarrassing! Especially in a place like this!
“Hey Roger!” He looked and saw another contractor that he knew. “What’s up with the boots?”
Roger shrugged. “It’s a gimmick,” he replied.
“A gimmick?” the guy asked uncertainly.
“To get me more customers,” Roger explained.
“You’ve got to be kidding!”
Roger shook his head. “I’m going to quit teaching and go into the handyman business full time now.”
“And you need a gimmick? Especially one as stupid and embarrassing as that? Shit, I get so many calls from people needing dumb stuff done all the time, stuff that I don’t have the time or interest to handle, that I could have steered a few of them your way. But this?” he shook his head. “So what makes you think something like that is going to help you?”
Roger did his best to smile. “I started with one customer, who told someone else who called me to do a job for her… and last night I got a call from that woman’s daughter to do yet another job. And I charged the mother extra… just because I realized that she had hired me as much for the show as for the simple job she needed done. I’ve just started my business, and it looks like the jobs are already starting to pile in.
The guy shook his head. “I just don’t see it. Not you doing something so dumb!”
Roger could only agree!
Nearly an hour later, he arrived at the Whittaker house and started unloading the heavy lumber from the back of his truck. It was far more difficult to carry heavy materials in the boots he was wearing. It was far more difficult just to walk in the damn things. But he had spent a lot of time in the boots so it was getting much easier for him now… and was starting to feel frighteningly more normal.
As he neatly stacked the boards on the ground where he could easily get to them, he saw the Whittakers looking out through the French doors at him. And a moment later, he saw Elaine Whittaker opening the door. The boards he had screwed in front of the doors prevented her from coming out and falling or getting hurt.
“Would you like some coffee?” she asked.
“Sure!” Roger replied gratefully.
“I’ll just be a moment,” Elaine replied before closing the door again.
Roger went back to his truck for more boards. By the time they were stacked with the others he had moved already, Elaine had opened the door again. He could just reach high enough to grab the coffee cup she was holding out for him where she had reached through the bottom underneath one of the protective boards. “Thanks,” he said as he took the cup from her. He took a sip. The hot liquid felt good going down his throat.
“Do you do any painting?” Elaine asked him.
“Sure, no problem,” Roger replied.
“I only ask because I heard that Rebecca’s daughter was looking at remodeling a few of the rooms in her house.”
Roger nodded. “Her granddaughter called me last night and said she was working on it with her mother. I told them I probably couldn’t start working on it until after I finished here. They didn’t seem to mind that it might be a few weeks.”
“Good,” Elaine replied, but she didn’t take her eyes off of Roger. “Mr. Brinkley, Rebecca told me that you were showing breasts as well as just wearing the boots. Is that true?”
Suddenly more embarrassed, Roger nodded. “Yeah,” was all he could reply.
“Are you planning on wearing them here as well?”
Instead of answering, Roger set his coffee cup on the ground and unzipped his jacket to give her a brief look. There was no use denying anything. She would see them soon enough anyway. After a moment, he zipped his jacket up again. He was surprised to see Elaine smiling delightedly. He had expected her to berate him for it instead.
“I look forward to seeing you finish the deck,” Elaine said as she stood up and closed the door.
But as Roger went back to grab more boards from his truck, his mind was thinking that what she really wanted to see was him working with not just the women’s boots, but now the breasts as well. Well, he had no doubt that before he finished, she would get to see plenty. But right now, the morning air was still far too cold to remove his jacket. But later? Well, maybe it would rain again.
Building things always made Roger feel good. And this job was no exception. It was man’s work he was doing, and working with his hands like he did always made him feel more like a man. But today, that feeling was tempered with troubled thoughts. He was doing man’s work… at least work that was usually done by or associated with things a man would do… yet he was wearing women’s boots… and breasts… not to mention the frilly pink panties he had on under his pants. Not… exactly… masculine. And this morning at the building supply store he had tried to convince some of the others that what he was doing was just a gimmick? He felt bad about having to do that. Yet… he had no choice. He wasn’t able to tell anyone at all about why he really had to do it.
As he worked, his mind went back to the night before, and the night before that, and most of the week for that matter. He had stood in his room every evening after dinner – for most of the evening – and played with makeup – trying his best to make himself look more… feminine. But if he didn’t keep trying to do something to further feminize himself every day, then he would be forced to sleep in that damn dog cage again. And if he kept dragging his feet, he had no doubt that he would soon be naked and chained to a tree in the back yard again. And that was something he definitely didn’t want.
Another troubling thought was on his mind as well. Tomorrow… Sunday… he would have to wear his dress to church again. Only this time with the wig and the “improved” makeup. He was still stressed out over having to do that, but at least everyone in the church had been nothing but kind. The people in the restaurant afterwards hadn’t been so understanding… but at least he had gotten through it.
A small knot of fear now resided almost permanently in his stomach. And that knot had been growing stronger with every day. It wasn’t just that he had to go out and embarrass himself in public like he did. It wasn’t that his friends now knew about his boots and breasts and could likely get hurt if they interfered too much. And it wasn’t that if he didn’t continue to make progress feminizing himself – every day… work at it every day, then Janice would make his life more miserable.
No, the knot of fear in his stomach was there now, because as unlikely as it seemed… as frightening as it actually was… Candy-girl the Handy-girl, was becoming more and more of a reality.