By Karen Singer
Chapter 53 Part 2 of 2
Even though the days had been growing longer, it was still completely dark by the time Roger’s truck reached the halfway point driving toward Marietta where the Doctor’s office was located. He had told Janice immediately what was going on and what he wanted to do. Janice couldn’t believe it and had started angrily declaring things she should have done to the doctor instead of what she had done. Roger had pleaded with her to let him handle things. Fortunately, she had agreed… although reluctantly. But Janice made it clear that if she got wind of the Doctor gambling again, then she would make sure the Doctor would be sorry for the rest of her life! So Roger had purposely delayed leaving home… just to keep the Doctor in her office longer and away from the casinos.
The only car in the parking garage when he got there was Jessica’s Mercedes. He parked next to it and headed for her office. The door was unlocked and the lights were on, but the place seemed deserted. “Doctor?” he called. He saw her head poke up from one of the desks behind the receptionist’s window… with her pacifier still in her mouth.
“Took you long enough,” she grumpily told him. “What’s your problem?”
“I… just want to talk,” he finally said.
“And this couldn’t wait until next week?” she asked angrily.
“No! It couldn’t!” Roger replied firmly.
“Oh all right!” she replied with a shake of her head. “Come on back to my office.”
“Why don’t we go to dinner instead and talk?” Roger suggested. Actually, he had already eaten with Janice and Carol, but he was fairly sure that the Doctor hadn’t.
“Why?” she replied, put off that her trip to the casinos might be delayed even longer.
“Because… you need to eat!” Roger declared.
She stared at him with a mixture of anger and exasperation. Yeah she was hungry. She did need to eat. But she could far more easily stop at the drive through of a fast food restaurant along the way… and her damn pacifier and baby bottle wouldn’t even be an issue! She closed her eyes and shook her head. “Candy… what do you want?”
“To talk!” Roger replied.
“I’m having problems,” he finally decided.
“With what? You’ve only been on the hormones for a few days!”
“I know, but I’m still having problems.”
Totally exasperated, she asked, “What kind of problems?”
“I’m… having major mood swings,” he told her. “I cried in school today.”
An image of him crying in a classroom full of kids nearly made her laugh. “Candy, I told you that you would experience things like that. It’s perfectly normal. In fact, you need to experience these things.”
“I need you to tell me about it all again,” he told her. “Over dinner!”
She stared at him angrily… then gave in. “Oh all right, damn you. Let me get my things.” She headed for her office, but her mind was still only on leaving for the casinos just as soon as she possibly could!
They again went to the same restaurant. It was Friday night, but since they were so late, the crowd had thinned and they were able to get a booth immediately – the same booth they had sat together in last time. And just as they had done last time, Jessica slid in first and Roger slid in next to her. The waitress recognized them immediately from the last time they were there.
“So what’s your problem?” Jessica whispered as soon as the waitress had taken their drink orders.
“Don’t go gambling!” Roger hissed.
“Is that what this is really all about?” she asked angrily.
“Yes!” Roger replied.
“Forget it!” she said. “I’m going!” With that, she grabbed her pursed and started shoving her body against his to try to get him to move.
Roger dug in and held her back as best he could. He was still a man underneath his makeup and he was still much stronger than she was. “Stop it!” he whispered.
“Let me out!” she demanded angrily. Her voice now raising in volume to the point where others could hear her.
“No!” Roger replied stubbornly. “You can’t go!”
“You have no say over what I can and can’t do!” she replied as she tried again to shove him out of the way.
“Doesn’t matter!” he replied. “I’m not going to let you throw your whole life away!”
“Move damn you!” she yelled as she pushed him.
“I’m not letting you go!” Roger insisted, his voice too raising… and losing every bit of the Candy voice he had been working on.
“Is there a problem here?”
They both looked up to see the manager quickly stopping at their table.
“Get out of my way!” Jessica yelled at Roger.
“I think…” the manager started to say, but Roger stopped him.
“We’re going,” he told the manager angrily. “She’s and addict and I’m just trying to prevent something really bad.” He saw the light of surprise in the manager’s face. But he also noted the look of comprehension as well.
“Out of my way!” Jessica angrily screamed.
Roger moved out of the booth, grabbing his own purse. He hurried toward the door, and as he suspected Jessica almost raced him for the parking lot. He was simply there first. He stood in front of her car door, blocking her from getting to it.
“Out of my way!” she demanded again.
“No! I’m not going to let you go!”
Totally frustrated, she started swinging her purse at him. Hitting him several times before he caught the thing and pulled her into his arms to hold her fast. “Let me go!” she screamed.
“No. Listen to me,” he said, “Janice is mad that you’re going gambling again. Very mad. She’s sworn to totally destroy you if you even go near that place again.”
She briefly stopped struggling and looked up into his eyes. “You told her?” she gasped.
“I had to,” he explained. “I had to tell her why I was leaving. My life isn’t so open and free as you might think!”
She thought about that for a moment, but her addiction was still in command. “Out of my way!” she demanded again as she struggled in his arms again. “She won’t know anything if you don’t tell her! Now let me go!”
“No! Think Doctor! Think! She’s already put her curse on you. Look what it’s done to you already! How can you doubt one bit that everything she willed won’t happen?”
She stopped struggling again for a moment and again looked into his eyes. “Her will,” she said as that thought focused strongly in her mind.
“Her will!” he repeated firmly.
“The wall,” she said as her eyes lost focus and her mind pictured the grey wall instead.
“Stand up,” he said.
Her eyes lowered to his chest and she leaned her forehead into it. “Sit down,” she replied, her voice turning to defeat.
“Remember the bug man?” he asked.
“She mentioned with me,” she replied, “that most of her victims don’t remain… human.”
“That’s what she has in store for you if she ever hears of you gambling again.”
She quickly looked up into his eyes, searching for some sign that he might be making it all up. But all she saw was the truth. Overwhelmed, she leaned into him and started crying. “I want to go gambling,” she cried into his chest. “I need to go gambling!”
“No you don’t!” Roger said softly. “It’s the addiction.”
“I’m not addicted!” she insisted through her tears.
“Yes you are!” he said firmly. “You need help!”
“No I don’t!” she replied through her tears and still into his chest.
She held onto him and cried… and he held her and let her cry.
“Come on,” he finally said. “Let me drive you home.”
She shook her head. “I’ll turn into a baby again… for the entire weekend! I won’t even know what anyone is saying to me.”
“Yes but… you have no choice.”
“I can just get in my car and keep driving for the whole weekend.”
“You can’t do that,” he replied. “Besides, knowing what I do now, you’ll probably drive straight to a casino somewhere.”
“Damn you!” she replied as she finally pulled her head away from his chest.
He tried another idea. “Think of your daughter,” he said. “Didn’t you tell me earlier that she’s been your one bright spot?”
“Jasmine,” she breathed. “She’s been… my savior.”
“Let me drive you home,” he insisted again.
She looked up into his eyes… those eyes so kind… yet so troubled. What kind of a man must he have been? “I’ll drive myself,” she said at last, tearing her eyes away from his and stepping back from him.
“No,” he insisted. “Let me drive you. There’s too much chance right now that you’ll change your mind and go somewhere you shouldn’t.”
She looked into his eyes again and felt the defeat wash over her… and the tears starting to fall again. She nodded and let the tears flow one more time.
He held the passenger door of his truck open for her and helped her inside then ran around and got in behind the wheel. “Where do you live?” he asked. She gave him directions and he drove.
“I’ll find some way to get your car before I go home tonight,” he told her.
“Call my sister,” she said, unable to stare at anything but the floor of his truck.
“Your sister?” he asked.
“She’s been taking care of me. She’s got my kids too.”
“Should I take you to her house instead?” he asked.
“No. She won’t have me there. The one time we tried it… it wasn’t good. Just call her for me.” She pulled her purse around in her lap and started opening it to find her cell phone.
“You don’t want to call her yourself?”
“I… don’t feel up to it right now,” she said, her voice still thick with defeat.
Following her directions, Roger finally wound up in her driveway. A very nice house he noted. But she wasn’t moving from her seat. She was just staring ahead, not seeing anything. He got out of the truck and went around and opened the door for her. Very gently, he grabbed her hand and pulled a little just to get her going. She got down from the truck, and placed her cell phone in his hand. “Her name is Kate,” she said, “call her for me.”
As she walked slowly toward her front door, Roger found the entry for her sister and called it. He couldn’t tell if Jessica’s sister sounded angry or relieved when he talked with her. She was definitely angry when he told her that they would have to get Jessica’s car from the restaurant. But Kate had said she would be there… eventually… to meet him.
Roger headed for the open front door and went in. And was faced with the sight of Jessica crawling away from him on the floor… her purse and key ring lying on the floor behind her where they had simply been dropped.
He had no idea what to do for her. By all appearances, she was acting like a baby. A total baby. He followed her into the kitchen where she sat in the middle of the floor for a few minutes before crawling over to one of the cabinets… and started pulling out pots and pans. Not knowing if that was a good or bad thing. He let her. He decided it was a somewhat bad thing when she started banging them on the floor, playing with them, and making a rather horrible racket… that caused her to giggle and laugh like an infant behind that crazy pacifier she was stuck sucking on.
He heard the front door opening and a woman’s voice call, “Hello?”
Roger hurried around towards the front door and saw a woman who somewhat resembled Jessica approaching. And he was surprised to see a girl and an older boy with her. Both kids stopped still and stared at him. And so did the woman.
“Candy?” she asked, sounding rather irritated.
“That’s me,” he replied.
She shook her head. “One of those!” she muttered angrily. “If I had known, I wouldn’t have brought the kids with me.” She turned to the girl. “Go check on your mother kids,” she said. “It sounds like World War Three in the kitchen.” When the kids were gone, she stared at Candy for a few moments. “How did you get dragged into this?”
“She was going gambling again,” he told her. “I had to prevent it.”
Kate shook her head. “You should have let her go. Nothing ever stands between her and the casinos.”
“If she did go,” Roger said, “you think she’s a problem to handle now? She’d be far, far worse. And I can tell you for a fact that if she ever gambles again, you won’t have a sister anymore.”
Kate was startled by that. “What do you mean?”
But in trying to explain, Roger found that he couldn’t say anything at all about Janice to this woman. He realized that as little as he could talk about it with Jessica, he could say far less about it with anyone else. “They won’t kill her,” he said… purposely making it sound like more than one person and defiantly not his housekeeper… “but for all intents and purposes, she might as well be dead. They’ll strip her mind from her completely and she’ll be left a non-communicative hulk. Little better than a corpse!”
“How would you know?” Kate asked angrily.
“Because… I’m… a victim too!” Roger replied.
“You gamble?” Kate asked. “Is that what this is all about? Someone taking revenge on gambling debts or something?”
Roger shook his head. “Not with me. Although I suspect that’s what it’s about with your sister.”
“So… you know these people?” Kate asked. “Who are they?”
Roger wanted to tell her, but it was totally impossible. “I… can’t tell you,” he said.
“Bullshit!” she declared. “You know something. Why can’t you simply go to the police?”
“I… can’t!” he managed to say. “Trust me when I tell you that telling anyone anything at all about what I know is impossible. Physically impossible! And… much more importantly, mentally impossible!”
“Bullshit!” Kate said again. “I should call the police right now and have you arrested. Maybe they can get some straight answers out of you.”
“Go ahead,” Roger said, “but trust me, it will do no good at all.”
She stared at him for a moment. “What did they do, brainwash her or something.”
Roger seized on it. “Yes!” he said almost excitedly, “that’s exactly what they did!”
“So you can tell me something! Tell me about it.”
But as much as Roger wanted it. Again he found it impossible to utter a single word. “I can’t,” he finally said in defeat.
“That’s what Jessica’s says on the phone. She can’t tell me anything.”
“It’s true, trust me,” Roger replied.
“Not for a single second!” Kate told him. “I wouldn’t trust you with anything!”
Roger nodded sadly. “You want me to take you to get her car now?”
“In a minute,” she said as she pushed past him. “I have to check on her first.”
It was very late when Roger got home. But at least he knew that Jessica was being cared for by her sister. And he was especially happy over the fact that he had managed to keep the Doctor out of the casinos. He felt very good about that. And it managed to make him feel happy all the way home. It was a far better mood than when he had woken up that morning.