Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Housekeeper - Chapter 39 Part 3 of 3

The Housekeeper
By Karen Singer

Chapter 39 Part 3 of 3

It was almost like a parade.  Janice watched out the window as three large vehicles invaded her driveway.  The first and third vehicles were large black SUVs.  The middle vehicle was a black limousine.  It didn’t take much effort to figure which vehicle Susan Wu was riding in.  She went to her front door and opened it, as four men got out of each of the SUVs, while the doors to the limousine remained firmly closed… the dark windows impossible to see through. 
She stood there at the door as a seeming army of men quickly spread out around the yard – front and back.  Two of them men were holding electronic devices in their hands and were walking around with them to different areas of the yard.  Both of the men with the devices met again a few minutes later in the middle of her front lawn and seemed to compare notes.  Then they both headed for the front door.  Janice opened it again.
One of the men with the devices bowed to her and showed her the device in his hand.  It was very similar to the anti-surveillance device that Susan had given her.  The man said one simple word as he motioned toward the interior of the house.  “Please?”  Janice stood back and let the men in.  From the doorway, she watched as they quickly went through her entire house, then met in the living room again.  She didn’t understand anything of the language they spoke as they compared notes.  With a smile on his face, one of them approached the door again.  “Thank you,” he said as he motioned for her to let him out again.  She opened the door for him, very much aware of the man still in the middle of her living room.  She now saw the other men in her yard checking the surrounding woods very carefully. 
The man that had left her house headed straight for the limousine and opened the back door.  He spoke to the person inside, and then stood back as Susan Wu finally left the vehicle.  She was beautifully dressed in a dark plum colored skirt suit with matching heels on her feet.  She carried a nice looking leather case in her hand.  And… she was accompanied by four of her men, all of whom looked very large to Janice, especially for Chinese men.
Susan approached the front steps with a broad smile on her face.  “Sorry about all the security,” Susan explained, “but father won’t let me go anywhere without it.”
Janice smiled in return.  “Quite alright,” she replied.  “Actually, it’s nice to know that everything here is as secure as I hoped it was.  Good to see you again Susan.”
With all her men in tow, Susan entered the house.
“Um… I had thought that perhaps we could talk over some coffee in the kitchen, but if you’d prefer….”
“No, no!” Susan replied quickly.  “Actually, that sounds wonderful!  I could use some coffee.” 
Two minutes later, Janice and Susan were seated comfortable across the table from each other, while the living room was occupied by overly large men.  “Mmm!  Chocolate cake,” Susan exclaimed as she took a pre-sliced piece from the tray in the middle of the table.  “You’re going to spoil me!”
Janice just smiled a she took a slice for herself.  “I don’t get the chance to often indulge myself either,” she replied.  “But the occasion was one I couldn’t pass up.”
Susan stuffed a small bit of the cake in her mouth before she opened her case and pulled out a very thick file folder… that appeared to contain other folders inside of it.  “The first thing you asked us for was the information on your two FBI agents,” she said as she selected one of the folders.  She briefly opened it to check the contents and then passed it across the table toward Janice.  “The information in there is correct as of two days ago, so it’s as fresh as we’re capable of managing.”
“Perfect!” Janice replied happily as she took the folder and briefly opened it.  There were a lot of papers inside that she would look over later.  “The time is long past due for me to do something about Agent Jacobs! He’s been a thorn in my side for way too long now.  I should have never let it continue.”
“But as you pointed out to me,” Susan replied, “you’re dealing with the FBI here.  You have to be extra careful.  You seem to be very security conscious in everything you do, so I have to wonder if you might still do better to leave things alone and let him continue to search around in the dark?  He hasn’t found anything yet.”
“No, but I still blame him for being sent to prison on something I had absolutely nothing to do with.”
“But as you said, you have no proof that it was him.”
“No, I don’t,” admitted Janice.
Susan nodded and selected the next folder from her file and passed it across to Janice.  This one was much thinner.  “We’re ready to move on the new identities for you and your daughter as soon as you’re ready.  We are going to need some new photos though to finish the process.  If you like, I can hold this request for as long as you like… or you can simply let me know when you’re ready for them and I can set you up with an appointment to have the pictures taken so we can finish it all for you.”
Janice opened the folder and read just a little of the top paper.  “Janice Kimberly Edgewater… Carol Alison Edgewater,” she read.  She looked up as she considered the new names.  “I think I rather like them,” she declared happily.  And you kept both my first name and Carol’s first name the same.  That will make things much simpler.”
“We aim to please,” Susan replied as she stuffed more cake into her mouth.  “It might be better for me to hold onto that file until you’re ready to finish the process,” Susan suggested. 
Janice passed the folder back to her without bothering to look at anything else in it.  New identities.  New lives.  The freedom and relief it would bring would be wonderful!
Susan pulled another small folder out of her file and passed it across to Janice.  “Our off-shore banking suggestions,” she said.
Janice opened the folder.  There was a single piece of paper with bank information listed for about a dozen different banks.  “This will be a big help,” she replied as she closed the folder and set it aside.
Susan nodded.  “Especially in light of what you learned from Mr. Halifax,” she noted.
Janice nodded.  “Yes, especially in light of that.”
Susan had more questions to ask about that situation, but she wanted to get all the other business out of the way first.  She grabbed the next folder another large one and passed it across to Janice.  “The disaster relief company you asked us to create for you.”
Janice opened the folder and briefly scanned the top page.  “Islands of Hope,” she read the name of the company that the Wu’s had created for her.  She looked up and smiled.  “Once again your organization has come up with something that sounds perfect.  I look forward to looking through all of this.”
Susan nodded.  “From what little you told me, it sounded like you were trying to set up a legitimate relief company… so that’s exactly what it is.  You’ll note however the links you asked for with other companies… notably, the International Red Cross.”
“Perfect!” Janice declared.  “And believe it or not, Carol and I will be doing a lot for disaster relief efforts – wherever we can.”
Susan nodded.  She knew that the company was going to somehow be a laundering point for the money that Janice had hidden, she just didn’t know how that was going to work.  And now Janice was declaring again that she was actually going to be doing disaster relief work?  Well, to each their own!  She pulled one final piece of paper from the folder in front of her and put the large folder back into her case.  She looked down at the paper in front of her.  “I already sent you most of the information on the doctor you requested.”
“Yes you did,” Janice agreed.  “But you also sent a note that said you had to do something to make it useful to me.”
Susan nodded as she looked at the paper in front of her.  “I’m afraid however that circumstances have left me with a rather odd decision to make.  My initial idea was to pay the loan sharks off and hand over their markers to you.  You would then own the doctor’s entire debt.”
Janice heard the unspoken “but” in Susan’s statement.  “She’s been a stupid woman!” Janice noted as she waited for Susan to finish what she was about to say.
Susan nodded.  “That she has.  But she’s just one among millions afflicted with the same disease.  I’m afraid that our company preys on more than a few of those individuals every year.  They are more than willing to provide us with… information… that we are always in such desperate need of.”
Janice understood the concept.  “So what of this doctor?”
Susan took a big breath.  “As I said, circumstances have forced me to be faced with a decision I hadn’t anticipated.”
“Sixteen and a half million circumstances?” Janice asked.
Susan nodded.  “Exactly.  That’s a much larger payday than I ever imagined you would get out of Halifax.  Yes, I know he had close to ten million you could eventually get at, but that sixteen million came as a surprise.  And it’s easy and clear money.”
“And you want it,” Janice finished.
Susan shook her head.  “No, the deal was that you would get whatever you can out of him.  But in light of that amount… and in light of the fact that I’m paying for everything else on the table here, I’m not sure I want to pay the markers for this doctor.”
Janice nodded.  “I understand.  And if it’s any consolation, I guess I can’t blame you either.”
Susan nodded gratefully.  “I’m afraid I had some other thoughts on the matter though… if you’re interested.”
“What’s that?”
Susan paused to figure out where she wanted to start.  “As I’m sure you’ve guessed, my education has been far more than just the best schools father could find for me.  I’ve been trained in some very… unusual subjects, not the least of which is interrogation techniques – one of my personal favorites I’m afraid.”
Janice nodded, but cautiously. 
“I’d like to see you work sometime,” Susan blurted out.
Janice wasn’t sure if she was surprised by the statement, or not.  “You want to see me destroy someone?”
“Yes, exactly.  I’d like to witness it.”
Janice shook her head uncertainly.  “I’m sure you’d find it very boring.  It’s a very long and tedious process.”  What she didn’t add, was that she wasn’t all that fond of having someone else as a witness to the criminal acts that she did.
“As are most of the effective processes I’m aware of,” Susan replied.  “Our business runs on information, and obtaining it by any means possible is part of the way we do business.  Jacob Vesper turned out to be a world of useful information once he was properly motivated.”
“I’m sure he was,” Janice agreed.  “So he’s still alive?”  She wasn’t happy to hear that.
“Not any longer I’m afraid.  If it’s any consolation though, I made sure his last few days on earth were pure hell!”
Janice nodded.  She had no doubt that Susan would do something like that.  She was just glad the man was dead and no longer a factor that she would have to worry about – as remote as that factor seemed.  “I don’t know…” she said uncertainly.  “My techniques are ones that I’ve learned over many years and through a lot of trial and error.”
“I’m not interested in learning to do what you do,” Susan said, “although to be honest, it is another technique I wouldn’t mind mastering.  But it will be enough to watch how you go about it.  I’m sure there is a lot of information about your methods that you would need to teach someone before they could even attempt to do what you do.”
Janice nodded.  “Yes, that’s true,” she admitted as she thought about that.  “There is a lot someone would have to know!”
“Then may I be permitted to watch you operate sometime?”
Janice shook her head.  “I’ll have to think about it.  Besides, I don’t have a fresh… customer… right now.  And I’m still very tied up with not only Halifax, but many other things as well.”
“We could provide you with someone… just to play with at any time you like,” Susan offered, “but actually, I did have someone in mind already.”
“Who is that?”
Susan nodded toward the paper in front of her.  Doctor Jessica Parker.”
Janice shook her head.  “I don’t do women.  As reprehensible as the things that Doctor Parker has done are, I’m still a very great advocate of women.  I won’t destroy any woman… unless I had very, very good reason for it.”
Susan nodded.  She hadn’t expected that, although she realized she should have.  “I can easily arrange for someone else.  There are more than a few ‘deserving’ men around that we can tackle.”
Janice took a deep breath as she thought about it.  She simply didn’t know.  “I don’t know,” she finally said.  “Let me think about it a bit.  As I said, I’ve got an awful lot on my plate right now.”
Susan nodded, then said, “I would easily be willing to pay the amount of those gambling markers… for a chance to watch another master at work.”
Janice realized that Susan has just upped the ante again.  Now she had something else to consider.  She also realized that Susan wasn’t going to be denied… and she had no doubt about how dangerous Susan probably was.  Her whole family for that matter.  Finally, she nodded.  “Very well.  But please give me a few weeks to get Halifax off of my plate and some other things squared away as well.  Not the least of which I guess still needs to be the Doctor here.”
“And in that case, I will send you the paid up markers for her,” Susan added.
Janice nodded.  “That would help.”
“How long before you’ll be done with Halifax?”
“Two or three more weeks, I think,” Janice replied.
“That soon?  I would imagine that it would take you longer than that to get at the rest of his money?  And of course, you still promised to punish the man.”
Janice smiled.  “I’m not going to touch the rest of his money.  Only his retirement account.  That way when he goes… loony, shall we say, the authorities will find nothing at all wrong with his financial dealings… as far as I’m concerned anyway.  I don’t know and don’t care about what other irregular things he may be into.”
Susan smiled.  “I’m surprised at that, beyond his retirement account, he’s still worth a lot of money.”
“I have no need to get overly greedy here,” Janice exclaimed.  “As I said, the authorities will find nothing from that angle to go on and I can be done with the man sooner rather than later.”
“What do you intend on doing with him?” Susan asked.  It was one of her primary questions she had wanted to speak with Janice about today.
Janice sighed a bit as she took a sip of her coffee.  “I’m not sure,” she replied.  “Other than leaving him with the worst case of guilty consciousness the world has ever seen, I’ve personally been kind of leaning toward turning him into a dog.  I did a bit of a trial run with that with my current employer here, and I was surprised to find out how well it actually worked out.  But my daughter, on the other hand, is trying to convince me to turn the jerk into a pig.”
Susan laughed.  “A pig!”
Janice smiled.  “Can you just seem him wallowing around in a barnyard, convinced for all the world that he really is a pig and will always be a pig.  And of course, the only way he’ll be able to act is as a pig.  No matter what situation he’s actually in.”
Susan was still smiling over the thought.  “What do you actually intend to do with him when you’re… um… done with him?”
Janice shook her head.  “I haven’t thought that far ahead yet.  Most likely, I’ll just turn him permanently, and then let him loose somewhere.  Perhaps a park or something.  No matter what I do with him, a dog or a pig, he’ll firmly believe he’s an animal and will be incapable of acting any other way… no matter what happens.”
“Really?” Susan asked skeptically.
Janice nodded.  “Oh yes.  In fact, I recently had far more confirmation about that from my last little dog attempt than I had hoped for.  He’ll remember that he was once human, and he’ll forever be punishing himself with the guilt over what he did to Leila, so he knows he no longer deserves to be human – for as long as he lives!”
“Would you mind if I have another piece of your cake?” Susan asked as she considered what Janice had just told her.”
“No… go right ahead!”  Then Janice herself took a second piece too.  She got up and refreshed both of their coffee cups before sitting down again.
The break though gave Susan time to consider her next question.  “You said that you were personally leaning toward a dog.  Why?”
Janice smiled.  “Personal reasons I suppose.  If I had sent my current employer, Mr. Brinkley, in that direction, I would have fixed him so that he would be quite useful in certain… um… forgive me for saying this bluntly… sexual situations.”
Susan stared at her for a moment, then laughed outright.  
“I would imagine that as a dog, his tongue would become stronger and stronger from use, and I’m afraid I can also imagine just how… interesting… that tongue could be in certain situations.  He would have become the perfect… lap puppy for someone.”
Susan laughed again and ate some of the cake in front of her while she thought about things.  “Tell you what,” she finally said.  “I like the idea of your little… lap puppy.  I vote for that one.  But instead of just turning him loose somewhere afterwards, I want him instead.”
“You are talking about Halifax and not my current… employer?” Janice asked.
“Of course.  I’m not interested in your employer at all.  He’s your business.  But Halifax is mine!”
Janice nodded.  “Give me a few weeks and I’ll have him all wrapped up with a bow for you when I’m done,” she said.
“What are you doing with your employer then?” Susan asked.  “You said you did a trial of the dog thing with him?”
Janice nodded.  “Actually, as it turns out, he’s one of the more decent male specimens on the planet.  We only took over his life as a last resort because we couldn’t find anyone else more… fitting.   But I simply can’t leave him as another stupid male to clog up the world.  So I’m forcing him to turn himself into a woman instead – as complete a woman as modern science can make him.  And believe me, he’s doing just that… although I can tell you for a fact that he’d much rather not!”
Susan chuckled over Roger’s fate.  “He’s doing it, but he doesn’t want to do it?”
“He has no choice.  My will is his will.  And my will dictates that he will turn himself into a woman.  Like it… or not!”
“And so he’s the one you need the doctor for?”
Susan nodded.  No doubt, Janice’s mind control techniques were very, very powerful.  Well worth leaning!  “You said your daughter was trying to convince you to turn Halifax into a pig.  How much does she know about all of this?”
“Most of it,” Janice admitted.  “I’m afraid I needed her help to secure this place… and to secure Mr. Brinkley while I was still in prison.  I guess as unlikely as it sounds, I’m rather proud of the way she handled things until I could get here.  And… it seems she’s showing some talent in some rather… unexpected avenues.”
“Such as?”
“Bondage and control.  I’m afraid she has a very wicked sense for things to punish people with… um… men in particular, since that’s what I trained her for.”
Susan nodded.  “So… you’ve been training her for a while now?”
“Not in what I do with the mind control.  I’m not even sure where to start to teach something that difficult.  But in… other little areas that have been a big help to me now.”
Susan stared at Janice for a few moments without saying anything.  She had just one more subject to bring up today… the biggest subject.  “Janice,” she finally said.  “I need to tell you something very important.  Something that is unfortunately, totally out of my hands.”
Janice was suddenly worried.  “And that is?”
“Father,” Susan said bluntly.  “I showed him your video from last weekend.  And of course he probably knows more about you and what it is that you do than I do.  I wanted to find an easy way to bring this subject around, but I think that you deserve the truth instead.  In your own discipline, you’re at least as much of a master as some of the things that I’m capable of.”
Janice said nothing, but simply looked at Susan warily.
“I’m afraid that father has taken rather a liking to you.”
Janice immediately felt a bit relieved.
“But he’s insisting that I find a way to persuade you to work for us in the future… contract basis of course.  He feels you would make a very… interesting addition to our catalog of services.  And Janice, I need to warn you, if you don’t decide to cooperate, father might be forced to decide whether to let you stay a client… or he could just as easily decide to kill you… and your daughter.”
Janice was aghast!  She looked angrily at Susan.  “My plan… was for retirement!  So my daughter and I could relax and enjoy the rest of our lives!”
“I know… and I’m sorry.  You would… mostly be able to do just that… under whatever identity you wish.  You would simply be subject to… an occasional call for your services.  And… it is entirely possible that you would never get called.”
“How possible would you think that would be?”
“Honestly?” Susan asked, then her face fell, “Not very likely.  I fear you would probably get called several times a year.  You would be very, very well paid for your services of course.  You could probably name whatever atrocious fee you wanted.  And, we would be in a position to handle much of the dirty work for you.  You could simply come in and… do your thing, if you will.”
“But the bottom line is… you’re not leaving me with a choice in this.”
Susan shook her head.  “Sadly, no.  Father was most insistent.”
“I just wanted to retire and relax!” Janice said again.
Susan said nothing for a few moments.  Finally she said, “Janice… truthfully… would you ever be able to stop doing what you’re doing?  Wouldn’t you eventually decide you needed some… spice in your life?”
Janice continued to stare at her.  Then she looked down into her coffee.  “Most likely,” she admitted.  “But it would be under my terms and only when I wish it.”
“And there’s no reason why much of what you do for us can’t be under your terms.  We would just have to accommodate… other client’s wishes as well.  Think of it as a way to… broaden your horizons.”
Janice shook her head.  “I don’t like that I have no say in the matter.  And worse, you’re threatening my daughter as well!”
Susan nodded.  “Father leaves no stone unturned.  He never has.  But there could be benefits for your daughter as well.”
“Benefits?  What benefits?”
“She could be taught… I myself could teach her some of the things I have been taught.  You said she’s shown some interest… and a certain talent for some things.  Why not take advantage of that?  Her interests could be… guided before they’re expanded upon.”
It was a moment before Janice could answer.  “Would you teach her things like that?”
Susan smiled.  “I’m guessing that you and your daughter are beginning to become somewhat of a team, am I correct?”
Janice shrugged.
“Then how much more useful could she be if she knew some of the things that I know… or some of the things my people are capable of teaching her?”
Janice sat and thought about that.  Although in truth, it didn’t take much imagination to see the wisdom of what Susan had just said.  And in truth, Janice knew that she would never give up her little quest to destroy the men of the world.  But her problem was just in the way that it had been put to her.  “I truly hate that we don’t have a choice in the matter.  You know that as a mother, I’ll do absolutely anything to protect my daughter.  You have to know that!”
Susan nodded.  “Yes, of course I know that.  But at least I’m being up front and honest with you.  No surprises.  Up front and honest.”
Janice stared at her for a few moments.  “I don’t like it, but I seem to have no choice.  But I’m going to hold you to your offer to train Carol wherever you think she can learn something.  And I’m going to insist on some kind of outrageous settlement for my services as well.”
“Nothing would delight both father and myself more.  The more you charge us for your services, the more of a take we get on our percentage coming from the clients.  We both win.”
Janice nodded.  “More coffee?” she asked.
Susan stared at her for a moment.  “Why not?”

1 comment:

sarah penguin said...

Thanks for the update :) Enjoyed it! :)