By Karen Singer
Chapter 55 Part 1 of 2
“Momma, are you okay?” Carol asked. “You’ve been awfully quiet since I picked you up last night. You hardly said a word all the way to church and back.”
Janice smiled and held out her arm for her daughter to cuddle into her. “I’m fine dear. I just have a lot to think about right now.”
“Anything I can help with?”
“Not this time dear. You head out and have a good time with your friends.”
“Okay, Momma.” Carol kissed her and ran off to wait for her friend Michelle to pick her up.
Janice stared after her daughter. Most times she relished having her daughter around, and she certainly wouldn’t mind it today. But with Candy off fishing again, having her daughter out of the house for a few hours would bring her a bit of calm silence so she could think. Her mind had been totally preoccupied by what she had “accidentally” discovered in Agent Jacobs’ yard. It literally changed everything! And now she had no clue what to do about it.
Susan Wu stared out her office window, watching Ben-ben in the distance. Some of the staff had managed to make some kind of harness for him and he was now hooked up to a cart full of firewood. She watched as the former man struggled to pull the heavy cart. The men with him certainly weren’t letting him rest as one of them continually hit his ass with a stick to keep him moving. The sight brought a smile to her lips. She hadn’t taken the pleasure yet of having him spend any time in her room. She would leave him to Meng’s instructions for a few more days before she indulged herself that way. But she was very much looking forward to it.
Her phone ringing forced her away from the window. “Hello?” she asked as she picked the receiver up.
“Daughter,” her father’s voice replied. “Can we speak for a few moments?”
“Certainly father,” she replied. “I’ll be right there.” She headed across the hall to her father’s office where she knocked. Like her, even though it was Sunday, he was at work as usual. She entered at his invitation to come in. “Father,” she greeted him as she entered and bowed slightly.
“Come. Sit,” Wu said as he motioned toward the sitting area and got up from behind his desk.
Susan sat in the chair she usually used… as did her father.
“I have seen… your creation.” Wu said amiably.
Just the thought of Ben-ben brought a smile to Susan’s face. “I am rather pleased with the way he turned out.” She replied.
Wu nodded. “It will be interesting to see what Meng does with him.”
“I have no doubt that Meng will train him in everything I asked.”
“How long do you intend to keep your toy here in the compound?” Wu asked. “You know it is dangerous. Tongues wag!”
Susan nodded. “I know father. I’m still planning to keep him here for a little while. At least until his training is complete.”
“And then you plan on shipping him to China… to a dog breeder?”
“That was my original intention. But now I think he might be more suited to one of our brothels back home instead… especially in light of the training he is now receiving.”
Wu nodded. “It seems… appropriate,” he replied. Then he changed the subject, “I asked you here to discuss a… opportunity,” he finally finished. “One of our clients has a situation… and I am thinking of suggesting the services of Janice Stokley.”
Susan’s eyebrows went up. “I see,” she replied.
“What I am wondering,” Wu continued, “is what Janice would need to do her brainwashing?”
“She doesn’t seem to need much,” Susan replied. “I saw her use a simple dog collar with a shock box attached. That and a plain simple chair. Nothing else.”
Wu nodded. “In the past, I am aware that she met with her victims several times to accomplish what she needed. How many sessions do you think it would take her to wipe someone’s memory so that he could never speak of something to anyone else?”
The question caught Susan off guard. “I don’t know,” she replied. “But I will find out. I have to get in touch with her anyway for another reason. How soon will you need the information?”
“I am meeting with the client tomorrow,” Wu said, “but I can put it off a day or two if necessary. I’ll need to know Janice’s price for an operation such as this as well. I have no doubt the client will be mostly concerned with that.”
“I’ll call Janice right away,” Susan replied. “I’ll let you know as soon as possible.”
“Thank you daughter,” Wu replied with a smile.
Janice was a bit perturbed by the sound of her cell phone ringing. Thinking it could be Carol calling with a problem, she hurried to answer it. She was a bit startled when a clearly Asian sounding woman asked if she had reached a Chinese restaurant. Janice quickly assured her that she had a wrong number and hung up. Susan Wu was calling! As she hurried to find yet another of her burner phones – of which she now needed to buy more, the only reason she could think for Susan to be calling her was to let her know that their new identities were now ready. With that thought now happily registering on her mind, she activated the new phone and soon placed her order for totally fictitious items. Less than a minute later, she had said hello to Susan Wu.
“Hi Janice,” Susan said. “I’m afraid father and I have some questions for you.”
“Questions?” Janice asked.
“Yes,” Susan replied. “Father has a client that he’s thinking of offering your services to, but we need to know how many of those sessions you would need and what your price would be.”
Her questions surprised Janice. “So soon,” she said, more to herself than as a reply to Susan’s questions.
“When Father sees an opportunity, he seldom waits.” Susan got the distinct impression from the sound of Janice’s voice that something was bothering her.
“What exactly would you need me to do?” Janice asked. “You know I get most of my satisfaction from ridding the planet of another stupid male mind. To get it right, that can take anywhere from three to six session, depending on the strength of the man I’m working with.”
Susan smiled. “I don’t think it will be anything quite so drastic this time. Father said something about wiping someone’s memory so he can never speak of something to anyone else.”
Janice thought about that for a moment. “Do you mean wiping the memory completely out of their mind, or fixing it so they will still remember but can’t tell anyone?”
“I… don’t know,” Susan replied. “I’ll have to find out.”
“Never mind,” Janice replied. “The number of sessions would probably be the same anyway.”
“And how many do you think that would be?”
“At least three,” Janice decided after a moment. “That would be the minimum I would be satisfied with to get the… person… to the point where I need him and to be sure he would never break free from what I would do to him.”
“And how much money would it cost for your services for this?” Susan asked next.
Janice had to think about that for a moment. “I don’t know,” she finally replied. “Tell you what, since this is my first time working with you on something like this, why don’t you just decide what would be appropriate and then I can decide next time if I need more or less.”
“Sounds perfect,” Susan replied. “I think Father will be pleased.”
“Of course,” Janice added quickly. “I will expect all of my expenses to be taken care of since I don’t think that doing it here in my house would be the best place. Oh, and make that expenses for my daughter too.”
“I don’t think that will be a problem,” Susan replied. She heisted before asking, but decided to ask anyway. “Janice, is there something bothering you today? You sound a bit… preoccupied.”
Janice sighed. “I found out something that took me by surprise and I don’t know what to do about it?”
“Can I help?” Susan offered.
“Maybe,” Janice replied, considering the offer. “Maybe you can at least offer some kind of advice.”
“So what’s your problem?”
“Last night, I went to Agent Jacob’s home to… plant some evidence. And in the process, I accidentally uncovered proof that he had planted the drugs in my car that got me arrested.”
“Proof?” Susan asked.
“I was digging under his wood pile and literally dug up a bag full of heroin. The same blocks of the damn drug that were presented at my trial.” The hiss of breath she heard from Susan let her know how surprised the other woman was.
“And what did you do?” Susan asked.
“I did what I probably shouldn’t have done,” Janice replied. “I pulled all of those blocks out of the bag, put the money I was planting into the bottom of it, then put the drugs back in on top. Then I buried his bag right where it was and stacked all the wood back over it again and went home.”
Susan thought about that for a moment. “Janice, about how much of that heroin was in the bag?”
“I counted nine blocks. A couple of pounds I would guess.” She wasn’t surprised this time by Susan’s hiss of breath. But it was a moment before Susan spoke.
“Janice, can you fix another of those chocolate cakes you made last time? If you don’t mind, I’d like to meet with you again.”
“Yes, I can do that,” Janice told her. “When were you thinking of coming.”
Early Monday morning, Doctor Jessica Parker sat in her office, sucking her pacifier, and thinking about Candy Brinkley. She was still somewhat angry that he had prevented her from going to the casinos last week. But at the same time, she worried that maybe he had really done her a big favor. If that woman… Janice… Candy’s housekeeper… knew she was trying to gamble again, would she do something worse to her? According to Candy, she not only would, but he had seemed very convinced that whatever she would do would be far worse than what she had to endure now. Thoughts of the bug man that Candy had told her about ran through her mind. She shivered at the thought of it. To be reduced for the rest of her life to something like that? What about her kids? Like it or not, she had to face the fact that Candy had really helped her. And like it or not, she supposed she owed him something for that. She made a mental note to call him and thank him. It was the least she could do… should do.