Friday, March 28, 2014

The Housekeeper - Chapter 41 Part 2 of 3

The Housekeeper
By Karen Singer

Chapter 41 Part 2 of 3

The painting job that Roger had contracted for was a bit bigger than he first thought.  But that wasn’t any kind of a problem.  He spent almost an hour Saturday morning with Rebecca Adkin’s daughter going over everything she wanted him to do, as well as studying all the paint swatches she had.  If it wasn’t for Janice’s requirements to go to church on Sunday and the fact that she didn’t like him working on Sunday afternoons, he figured that he could possibly knock out the whole job in those two days.  But Janice’s restrictions made things much more difficult.  Especially since he needed to be home in plenty of time for dinner! 
Instead of tackling the whole job at one time, he was going to have to break it up into small segments… one or possibly two rooms at a time – at the most.  It was going to take a little longer, possibly several weeks since he still had to teach school and wouldn’t be able to work on it during the week.  But overall, he still had high hopes that the job would go quickly.
With the first initial check already in his wallet, Roger headed off to buy painting supplies before going back to start actually doing some painting – right after he moved all the heavy furniture in the first room out of the way.  It was a good thing he was now very used to the heels on his boots, otherwise he figured he would have a lot more difficulty with that little task.  And Janice had told him to buy some new boots with higher heels?  He wasn’t looking forward to that!  It would make everything even more difficult.
The paint store was in some ways like the building supply store that Roger usually used, only much, much smaller.  And he was somewhat known there as well.  He wasn’t too worried about someone noticing that he was wearing women’s jeans, and the jacket he was wearing hid “most” of his tiny breasts, but his boots were still a dead giveaway.  And the looks and raised eyebrows that he got in the store over them were more than a bit embarrassing. 
He had to wait while other contractors were being helped first.  He was very aware of many of them turning their heads to look at him… and his boots.  Each time he caught the eye of someone, he just nodded and then looked away.  How bad would things be when he had new boots with an even higher heel?  Would people look at him even more strangely?
When it was his turn to be helped, he couldn’t miss the raised eyebrows and different looks he was getting from the man who was helping him.  He considered himself very fortunate that neither the salesman or anyone else in the store said anything to him about the way he was dressed. 
While his paint colors were being mixed, he took the opportunity to stroll casually around the store for a few minutes to look at some of the things they had on display.  And on one counter against the far wall, he found a selection of cheap white coveralls.  Painters wore them frequently when they worked.  He realized immediately that the baggy garments would help to hide his little breasts when he was working, and since they had to be worn over top of everything else he had on, they would help to cover most of his boots as well.  Not to mention their main purpose which was to protect his other clothing and keep the paint off of that as well.  He quickly picked up three of the coveralls.  Now, was there any way he could hide the rest of his boots that would still be showing as well?
With that thought still on his mind, he paid for everything he purchased and carried several bags of painting supplies as well as gallon after gallon of paint out to his truck before heading back to the job site.  He had high hopes of finishing at least one room today... maybe even two.

Janice half expected Halifax to already be at the cabin before she got there, so she was fairly pleased to not see his car when she pulled up.  Of course, it was still half an hour earlier than the rental contract said that anyone was supposed to be there, but she figured that there was a good chance that the place had already been cleaned and she would have no problem getting in.  A few minutes later, she had the key from the lockbox and opened the door to yet another rental cabin up in the mountains.  Again, it was very nice, but she didn’t consider this place as nice as some of the others.  Still, it was more than adequate.
Carrying her stun gun in her hand in case she needed it, she did a very fast inspection of most of the house.  She didn’t look into too much because she was more concerned with meeting Halifax the moment he arrived.  Eventually she chose a chair where she could easily watch for his arrival.  Once she had him taken care of, she could take all the time she wanted to do whatever she liked, but until then, she had to watch for his arrival.
She had told him to get there as close to the cabin’s check-in time as possible, still, he was nearly fifteen minutes late.  Janice considered that fairly good considering the distance he had to drive.  She was on her feet and facing the door, her stun gun again behind her back, when he opened the door.  Before saying a word, she took a moment to study his face.  He said nothing as he stood there in the doorway looking back at her.  Janice noticed that his face looked dull… and resigned.  She took careful note of that before she said, “Sleep and obey, Mr. Halifax.  Sleep and obey.”
His reaction was almost instantaneous, but she took her time and carefully took him down into a deep trance, then she had him get fully undressed before putting the dog collar back on him and putting him soundly to sleep in the middle of the living room floor.  She hadn’t bothered to move the furniture this time, just as she didn’t bother to chain him… yet.  She knew he would sleep now until she decided it was time to wake him again.
Only then did she take the time to do a more thorough inspection of the cabin and bring her things in from her car.  Before doing anything with Halifax, she took the time to make herself a fresh pitcher of iced tea.  She figured she was going to need it this weekend.  Perhaps not as bad as previous times, but with the weather gradually turning warmer, the tea would be a welcome treat while she was there.  She had a list of things to cover with Halifax this week, but she wasn’t ready to deal with any of it quite yet.
With his naked body occupying a space in the middle of the living room floor, she pushed the coffee table out of the way and moved one chair and the end table next to it a little further back.  Then she spread out part of her plastic tarp, folding it just behind Halifax’s body so that she could spread it out more after she woke him up.  She placed one of the kitchen chairs in place on top of the plastic sheet and the bucket next to it.  The chain she again attached to the stairway post, but she didn’t bother to attach the cuff to him yet.  She just wanted it to be ready.
She got her notebook out where it would be handy.  She got her laptop out and connected it to the rental house’s internet system.  She found the remote control for the dog collar and put that where she could grab it easily.  And she took the time to pour herself a large glass of iced-tea with plenty of ice.  She downed half the glass before she figured she was ready to deal with him.
“Wake up, Mr. Halifax,” she said as she grabbed the remote control.  “Wake up fully.”
Halifax opened his eyes, and immediately saw the dreaded woman.  His eyes also noted the remote control in her hand.  It wasn’t because he was naked that the shiver ran through his body.  It was from fear. 
“Have a seat,” Janice said to him, as she stood back and watched him closely.
Halifax moved quickly to the chair before looking warily back up at her.  He knew what was coming now – torture!  And even though he hated it, he also knew he had no way to fight against any of it.  He would do absolutely anything she told him to do – even now, before she began ripping his mind apart again.  He swallowed nervously.
Janice studied his face… and the fear that she saw.  She smiled at him.  “Do you need to relieve yourself?” she asked.  “I know you had a long trip.”
Halifax searched the feelings in his body.  Yeah, he did need to pee.  “May I?” he asked.
“Go right ahead,” Janice said somewhat kindly.
He got up and relieved his full bladder into the bucket.  Then he sat down and stared up at her again… waiting for that first command to stand up – that would signal the beginning of the torture all over again.  He was somewhat surprised when she started talking to him instead… asking him questions.
“How was your week?” Janice asked.
He tried to formulate an answer.  “Not one of my best,” he told her.
“Why was that?” she asked.
Again, it was a few moments before he could answer.  “I… made mistakes,” he said.  “Dumb mistakes.  Things I’ve never done before.”  Then his voice blurted out stronger.  “I can’t think!  Whatever you’ve done to my mind… I can’t think straight!  Everything is all… dull and… I just can’t think straight!” he echoed again.
Janice nodded.  As smart as she was sure he was, his brain wasn’t holding up under the onslaught of her brainwashing methods as well as some others had.  She would have to be careful with him.  But, she was also almost done with him, so she didn’t have to worry… overly much.  She smiled at him.  “You’ll have a better week next week,” she told him.
Halifax wasn’t too sure about that at all.  Since she had kidnapped him, his life had been nothing but miserable!  He wasn’t even interested in seeing any of the women he used to visit with – every night!  He wasn’t interested in anything lately… except dogs now.  It seemed like he had spent and eternity this past week studying videos of dogs.
“Did you bring me the money I asked for?”
Halifax nodded.  “Yes, it’s in my jacket pocket.”
Janice found his clothes and searched his jacket.  She found a bank envelope in the inside pocket and pulled it out.  A pile of hundred dollar bills greeted her.  She took the envelope and laid it on the kitchen table.  She was careful to watch Halifax the whole time she was doing it, but he never moved from the chair he was sitting in.  He only followed her closely with his eyes.
Still carrying the remote control in her hand, she walked back to stand in front of him again.  “Last week, Mr. Halifax, I asked you to start researching dogs.  Did you do that?”
“Yes,” he replied and Janice noted a slight roll of his eyes. 
“And what do you think,” she asked, “do you think you’d like to own a dog?”
He looked at her.  “Truthfully?” he chanced asking.
“Of course!”
“Not really,” he told her.
Janice nodded.  “So you still dislike dogs.”
“Somewhat,” he replied.  “I never really liked them to begin with.  They’re dumb animals that have to be cared for and they don’t return any real monetary value at all… unless you’re making money breeding them or something.  Then they have value, but from what I see, not all that much.”
Janice smiled.  “Spoken like a banker, Mr. Halifax.  So the bottom line is that they don’t bring in any money… in most cases?”
He nodded.  “Pretty much.”
“And are you still afraid of them?  Last week you said you didn’t like them because they bite.”
He nodded.  “Somewhat.”
She nodded.  “So as far as you’re concerned, dogs are pretty much useless.”
He nodded.  “Yes,” he replied uncertainly.  Why was she just talking with him… somewhat nicely?  Why wasn’t she torturing him again?  And why was she so interested in dogs?
“How about as a loving companion for someone?” she asked.  “Doesn’t that have any value?”
He shrugged.  “I’m sure it does to most people, but you asked for my opinion, and I’m not interested.”
“So I did, Mr. Halifax.  And you’ve answered my questions honestly.”
“Why the interest in dogs?” he chanced asking.  “What’s the point?”
She smiled.  “We’ll get to that later.”
“You want me to invest in some… or bet on the dog track races?”
“No, Mr. Halifax.  Nothing like that at all.  As I said, we’ll return to that subject later.  Right now, I’d like to know if you’ve ever been on a cruise ship.”
Halifax was a bit stunned by the big change in direction.  “Yeah,” he replied.  “A few times.”
“And did you enjoy the trips?”
“A lot!  Loved them!” he replied.
“Good,” Janice purred.  “I know your poor tortured brain has been somewhat confused lately,” she told him.  “So I know you’ll look forward to a nice relaxing cruise for a while instead.  Tell me, Mr. Halifax, can you get off of work for a nice vacation for a few weeks?  I’m sure you need it.”
He shrugged.  “I own the company.  I can go whenever I like.”
“Good, Mr. Halifax.  That’s pretty much what I expected.  We’ll talk more about that later,” she said, “but I want you to start looking forward to a nice relaxing vacation somewhere… perhaps with some pretty woman to keep you company.  Wouldn’t you like that?”
He nodded.  “Very much!”
“Good, Mr. Halifax, very good.  And in the meantime, I want you to stand up.”
The command came so off-handedly that he missed it completely.  He didn’t miss the quick and painful jolt of electricity delivered through the dog collar though.  Through the pain, he managed to stand up… only to be told to sit down again… which he tried to do as fast as he could.  The torture had begun once again.

With the white coveralls covering almost everything he was wearing, Roger spread the white paint across more and more of the ceiling.  His footing was a bit precarious, not because of his boots, but because of the slippery plastic bags he had taped over top of them… before putting his coveralls on.  With one of his battered work baseball caps on his head, the only thing he would have to worry about cleaning up now when he was finished, was his face and his hands.  He was rather proud of himself for this little solution – that hid most of what he was wearing.
Painting didn’t take a lot of mental effort, so as he worked, his mind seemed to go from one thing to the next.  For a while, he thought about all the voice training he had been working on.  He knew he was bad at it, and overall he still didn’t want to do it, but it was something long term that he could work on that he figured would keep Janice happy… and consequently off of his back.  Of course, there was the fact that someday, he didn’t know how soon, he knew without a doubt that he would need everything he was working on – if he didn’t want to stick out like a sore thumb and be recognized as a man every time he opened his mouth.
From his voice lessons, his mind wandered on toward church tomorrow.  Janice wouldn’t be there, but Carol would.  Carol was spending the day today with her friends.  He had no idea when she would be home, but he still dared not be late for his six o’clock dinner deadline.  He had a feeling that Burger King was going to be on the dinner menu for tonight.  Actually, he didn’t mind that at all.  He was going to have to take Carol to church with him tomorrow.  Well, that shouldn’t be a problem.  Which dress should he wear tomorrow?  If he was going to be going to church every week and wearing dresses there every week, then he figured he was probably going to have to get another one… or two. 
But those thoughts reminded him that Janice had told him to buy some new boots – with a slightly higher heel.  And he knew that he had put that little shopping trip off for about as long as he dared.  He would have to do that soon.  Maybe even tonight.  Would he have to take Carol with him when he went shopping?  He already wasn’t looking forward to the embarrassment of that little trip – with or without Carol.
Thoughts of church soon led to thoughts about after church.  Janice had said she would be home early – possibly before lunch.  He had hoped to go fishing with Stan again tomorrow afternoon, but Janice had killed that idea quickly.  “Maybe next week,” she had told him.  So now he was planning on spending tomorrow afternoon working on his new deck out back.  Well, that was another project that needed doing anyway. 
So where was Janice going every week now? 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Housekeeper - Chapter 41 Part 1 of 3

The Housekeeper
By Karen Singer

Chapter 41 Part 1 of 3

“So what was that all about last night?” Jennifer asked Roger, even before she had set her lunch tray down on the table. 
“If you ask me,” Stan said as he took the seat right next to her, “it’s another case of the government not knowing what the heck they’re doing!”
Roger shook his head.  “According to Janice, they keep hounding her over something she never did in the first place.”  Although Roger knew perfectly well now that Janice did have a hand in whatever robberies the FBI was currently interested in.  He was also wishing the FBI could find a way to dig even deeper into what was going on in his house since he was currently totally incapable of pointing them, or anyone else, toward the truth.    
“Well I have to tell you, it was more than a bit frightening for me to be questioned like that!” Jennifer stated.
“I’m sure it was,” Roger replied with a nod of his head.  “I didn’t like it either.”
“Maybe you should consider getting rid of her,” Stan suggested.  “You really don’t need a housekeeper anyway.”
Actually, getting rid of Janice would be nothing but a wonderful dream, but Roger no longer had that option.  Protect Janice!  “No,” he said after a moment, “I’m not going to give in to whatever warped things the government is looking into now.  Besides, she claims up and down that she had nothing to do with the drug charge she was sent to prison for… and I think she deserves this second chance to get her life together again.”
 “Admirable,” Stan replied, “but I still think you should get rid of her.”
Roger shook his head.  “It’s not that simple… now that I’ve hired her.  Besides, I like her cooking!”
“There is that,” Jennifer agreed.
But the subject of getting rid of Janice was one that Roger had thought of many, many times over the last few months.  How much longer until she would finally leave on her own?  No telling.  And even when she did leave, he knew without a doubt that he would continue to change himself – as per Janice’s wishes… in every way possible.  Ugh!  Hopeless!

Janice had two file folders in front of her, one dealing with Jacobs and Forsyth, and the other one for the disaster relief company that the Wu’s had set up for her – “Islands of Hope.”  She rather liked the name.  Especially since it was based in Nassau.  Of course the real hope for the company was the hope it offered for getting her stolen cash out of the country.  And to do that, well, it was long past time for her to change the furniture in Roger’s house anyway… something more in line with the things and style that she liked.  Of course, a large portion of Roger’s living room was about to be taken up with some very special but necessary equipment.  But it was all in the name of… hope.  Hope for her and her daughter!  Of course grabbing Joseph Halifax’s little retirement nest-egg certainly wasn’t going to hurt at all either! 
Thinking of Halifax though, reminded her that she needed to find out if Susan had a preference for a new name for the dog that Halifax was soon to become.  She went to her purse and pulled out yet another of her burner phones.  It didn’t help that she dared only buy one or two of the darn things at a time, but it was all in the name of security.  She dialed the number she had memorized long ago.  “Yes, I’d like to order three boxes of your fortune cookies, twelve boxes of egg rolls, seven bags of your noodles, and I’m afraid we had a little fire and I burned that gorgeous fan you sent me.  If I can, I’d like to get another one to replace it.”
Ten minutes later, her burner phone rang back and she answered it.  “Hello?”
“Hi Janice, you called?” Susan Wu’s voice came over the connection.
“Yes,” Janice replied.  “I’m afraid I have just a silly little question for you today.”
“A silly question?”
“Yes, I’m afraid I need a name for your… new dog.  If you have a preference that is.  I need it to help cement Halifax’s new future.  And since you indicated that you wanted him when I’m done with him, I thought I’d offer you the choice.”
Susan laughed openly.  “It may be a silly question,” she said, “but it’s the most delightful question I’ve had to deal with in a very long time!  Can I consider it a bit and then let you know?”
“I’m meeting with him tomorrow afternoon,” Janice explained.  “Sorry for the short notice, but it would be helpful if you could let me know before then.”
“Don’t worry,” Susan replied happily, “I’ll think of something.  Tell you what, this is a secure line anyway.  Why don’t you hang on to that burner phone you’re using for a few more hours and I’ll call you later this afternoon or tonight.”
“That’s fine with me,” Janice replied.
“And Janice….”
“Thanks.  You just brightened up my day considerably.”
It was all Janice could do to not even turn the phone off and tear it apart after Susan’s call.  She had destroyed so many of the things now!
With that bit of business taken care of, she turned her attention to the folder concerning Jacobs and Forsyth… her two nemeses from the FBI.  Yes, it was long past time to do something to fix that situation!
She wasn’t all that happy with what she read about Forsyth.  He was a family man with two kids.  But he wasn’t her main interest.  She was far more interested in the information about Jacobs.  And as she had long ago guessed, Jacobs wasn’t married! 
FBI Agent Theodore (Ted) Jacobs.  Divorced twelve years ago and never remarried.  Janice figured he probably drove his ex-wife crazy!  Why would any woman want to marry someone like him in the first place?  But no matter, he didn’t have any kids or other close family that she needed to feel guilty about if she did anything to him… which she planned on.  But her plans for Jacobs didn’t include her regular mind-bending brain wash.  He was a government agent.  His life and everything about it would be subject to very close scrutiny.  And it was that scrutiny that she was mostly interested in. 
There wasn’t much in the folder about his social life.  The papers noted one girlfriend and included a bad picture of her, but the paperwork also indicated that it didn’t look like any kind of serious relationship between them and suggested instead that it might be nothing more than just a sometime mutual benefit type of situation – no pressure from either of them.  Janice figured that Jacobs was married to his job now.  She had known many other men who had been like that.  Shortly after they got married, their wives and family no longer mattered so much and the job totally consumed them.  And Jacobs wasn’t married, so the girlfriend was probably nothing more than a convenience.  But would that bit of information do her any good?  She’d just have to see.
One thing that surprised her about him, was that he had a house and didn’t just rent an apartment somewhere.  Somehow she didn’t see him as the homeowner type, but evidently he was.  She looked at a few pictures of the outside of his house and yard.  It was a small house, tiny actually, and it looked somewhat old and a bit run down.  Janice figured it was probably cheaper for him than an apartment.  Plus there was always the bonus that it might gain in property value when it came time for him to move again. 
As she studied the dull grey exterior of the house, she took careful note of the layout of everything she could see… which wasn’t as much as she would like.  The house had a detached garage and what looked like a chain-link fence across three sides of the backyard.  But she didn’t see any sign that the fence extended across the front or up to the house itself – which most likely meant that he didn’t have a dog that she would have to worry about.  Not that she figured he would anyway.  He seemed far too busy for the dog owner type.  Basically, the house simply looked… insignificant.
As she studied the house further, she took careful note of the chimney on the roof.  An older house like that with a chimney that big would most likely mean that it had a wood-burning fireplace inside.  But would it do her any good?  She’d have to consider that too.
She carefully read through the file notes on Jacob’s career… particularly on all the places he had transferred to.  It seemed like he had followed her purposefully every time she herself had moved to somewhere new.  Janice had no doubt that the abominable man probably had.  He had done everything he could to stay on her tail – for far too many years. 
Well, it was now time to put a stop to all that.  She wasn’t happy that it was going to cost her as much money as she planned, but… well… Halifax’s little retirement account would much more than make up for that little problem.

“So where did it get us?” Forsyth asked.
Jacobs shook his head.  “I’m not sure.  But something there isn’t right!”
“Oh come on!  We’ve both dealt with these transgender types before.  And every last one of them has tried to hide what they’re doing for as long as they dare.  Then it’s always a shock to everyone else when they finally come out of the closet.  As far as I can see, it doesn’t help your case against Stokley one bit.”
Jacobs was frustrated.  The problem was, he didn’t have any more to go on than he did before – despite everything they had learned last night.  “It just doesn’t add up,” he finally exclaimed.
“What doesn’t add up?  Everything we’ve found so far, adds up to a big fat zero!”
Jacobs shook his head.  “Maybe,” he conceded.  “But as far as I’m concerned, it just doesn’t add up!”
Forsyth shook his head and walked off.  Jacobs wasn’t going to leave the matter alone, no matter what!  He was obsessed with Stokley, and had been for as long as he had known him.  As far as he was concerned, whether Janice Stokley was actually guilty or not, there wasn’t one little shred of proof that she ever had anything to do with those robberies – and the woman was living in a dump and working as a housekeeper as the proof!  If she had actually stolen any of that money, he was sure that she would have shown some sign of it by now.  But despite the rather odd facts that might possibly point toward Janice as having some kind of hand in the robberies, everything they had found so far, only pointed in the opposite direction!

Janice rolled her eyes and did her best to ignore the… singing… coming out of Roger / Candy’s room as she passed by in the hallway.  Since a while after dinner, Roger had been once again practicing his female voice techniques, and evidently tonight it included… singing.  Sort of.  As far as Janice was concerned, it sounded awful!  But as long as he was working on things, then she was satisfied.  And from what she could hear, things could only get better.  His voice certainly couldn’t get much worse!
As she got near the end of the hall, Roger’s… singing… was accompanied by another more musical sound that took her a moment to identify – her burner phone ringing.  She hurried to the kitchen to grab it.  “Hello?”
“Hi Janice,” Susan’s voice said.
“Hello Susan.  Did you come up with a name?”
“That I did,” Susan replied.  “You didn’t give me much time, but I think I’ve come up with something that I’ll be pleased with, no matter what.”
“And what name did you pick?”
“I’d like to call him Ben-Ben.  It’s a Chinese name that means fool!  And I think that’s going to work out perfectly for him.”
Janice smiled broadly.  “Fool!  Yes, I think that will work just fine.  You said, Ben-ben?  Did I pronounce that right?”
“You’ve got it.  It’s not a difficult name like some others might be.”
“I appreciate that,” Janice replied.  “Yes, I think Ben-ben will work out just fine for Mr. Halifax.  And tomorrow is when I’m planning on beginning that little crusade with him.”
“I look forward to seeing the end result.”
Janice smiled.  “I’ve been working hard on my plans for him.  I think you’ll be very pleased.  By the way, have you done anything yet with the Doctor?”
“Not yet, but I’m working on it.  It will probably be the beginning of next week before I can finalize everything there.  I’ll send you the information as soon as I’m done.”
“Very good,” Janice replied happily.  “I look forward to getting that so I can move on with that too.  Can I destroy this phone now?”
“It might be a good idea,” Susan replied.  “I can always contact you the usual way if I need to.  Just watch for my messenger on Monday or Tuesday… probably Tuesday.”
“I’ll be waiting,” Janice replied. 
“Ben-ben,” she repeated to herself.  The name meant nothing to her, but in Chinese it meant fool.  Well, Halifax was about to become one big enormous fool for sure!”