By Cindy and Walt
I didn’t take time for breakfast before leaving Farmer’s Grove, because Control made it sound urgent. The trip to Capitol City was a four hour drive. Since I did find time for take out, I was eating the egg sandwich as I waited on the park bench. The bench was in the shadow of a Civil War Soldier’s statue. I think he was a Reb but there were no markings on him. With all the political correctness and historic rewrites happening lately, I expected that all the original markings had been removed.
I had finished the egg sandwich and begun my second cup of take out coffee when the woman a few years older than my 27 years appeared. I watched her sit down beside me, then raise a paper to block her face.
“I hope I didn’t keep you waiting too long,” Morris said. I could tell she wasn’t sorry at all.
“Not really, I finished my breakfast while I waited, so it wasn’t a problem.” I waited a second then went on. “So what is so urgent that I had to drop everything and come to this park?” I asked.
“Well for one thing, we can’t find Jeremy and Alice anywhere before they showed up in the Farmers Grove community,” Morris said.
“Since they were there first, they should be more worried about me than me about them,” I suggested.
“Yes that is true and they may be. If they are worried enough, then they could be a threat,” she informed me. I had to admit that it did sound reasonable. “Your being out of town on business will give us a while to check on them. We do have an assignment for you.
“Okay so what do I do next,” I said.
“When you get back home, get us a set of fingerprints on one of them. Both would be better,” Morris said.
“I’m sure it would be. I doubt they will be happy about giving me a set of prints. I can get a coffee cup or a glass they have handled maybe,” I suggested.
“That should do,” Morris replied.
“Okay when I get back, I will make it a priority,” I agreed. I also wanted a background check on Rachel, but I didn’t want Morris to know anything about her for now. I hadn’t decided yet where Rachel fit into my world, if she did at all.
“Well Rose did you shut down your house?” she asked.
“It’s June, I didn’t drain the pipes if that’s what you mean,” I replied.
“It is hot in Capitol City. I guess we can get you home by November. The almanac predicts a hard freeze early in November,” Morris said.
“I’ll try to keep that in mind,” I said.
“Good, in the envelope is your new biography and all the details of the job. I hope it only takes a few days to get to stage one. Stage one may lead to other stages. We will just have to go where the information leads us,” Morris observed.
“Then why do I get the feeling I’m the one who will be going along the trail. I also expect to be going alone,” I said.
“Well, if you want to get technical, yeah,” Morris said. “But we will give you all the assistance possible.”
“You do know one of these days that isn’t going to be enough?” I asked.
“No, I don’t know that. You don’t either,” Morris said.
“Would you for god sake slap the bitch silly,” Liam whispered in my ear.
I shook my head for his benefit, but Morris thought it was for her. “Come on you know we do all we can. You knew the nature of the job when Mission pulled you out of the Women’s Correctional Institute.”
“I knew, but that does not mean I like what I do. I like it even less since you became the case officer,” I said.
“You tell her,” Liam said.
“Well your new car is parked on Plaza and it suits you fine,” Morris said. With that she stood and walked away. There was no way anyone could have known about the meeting, so I felt pretty good about staying where I was to read the file.
“So Rose, what is it this time,” Liam asked.
“Best I can tell the target is named Michael Gold. He is some kind of specialty architect here in Capitol City. I’m supposed to apply for a job with the Security Company who provides security for his office complex,” I said.
“Oh my, a rent a cop. Do you get one of those cute little uniforms?” Liam asked.
“I suppose so. If everything works out well, the job should be clean and quick,” I said
“You don’t really expect that do you?” Liam asked.
“If it was that easy they wouldn’t need me at all. They could just do it themselves,” I said. “At least this time I should be able to do the job without fucking him in the process.”
“Well not literally anyway,” Liam said with a laugh. “Is that Michael Gold.”
“Yes,” I said exposing a photograph to him. “He looks more like a Goldberg.”
“Probably was once upon a time. Now he is an architect who has something to hide,” I said.
“Well for gods sake be careful. Something tells me there is more to this than meets the eye,” Liam said.
“That’s what all you men say,” I suggested with a laugh. The people walking by probably thought I was quite mad. I put my blue tooth earpiece in so it looked as though I was speaking to god at the very least.
“So, it looks as though Gold is mixed up in something to do with drugs coming from South America. What do you think they need with an architect?” I asked Liam.
“Obviously he is designing them something,” he said.
“Yes, that would seem to make the most sense,” I said. “Well the State Super Investigators think his computer will hold a clue.”
“Then I suppose you need to get a job with building security at his office building,” Liam said.
“I suspect that the SBI has some inside information. They gave me a list of thing to mention on the application and during the interview. According to Morris’s background cover, mentioning them should get me hired, maybe.
I memorized the information in the background file, then went to the job interview. First I stopped by the apartment they furnished me which someone had made sure included everything imaginable. I didn’t have time to go through it now. I have to change into something more acceptable for a security officer. What the private cops found more acceptable was supposed to be a well fitting pant power suit. I put it on with just a little make up to hide the hairline scars. Even the best surgery leaves them. The light has to be just right, and I have to be sans makeup, but they can be noticeable.
The appointment was at 3 PM so I got there just in time. The woman I met was the head of Human Resources for the Super Office Complex. I fed her Morris’s shit with a spoon.
“Well Miss Anton you are certainly qualified to rattle doors for us. I just don’t see why you would want to do it,” she said.
“Yeah,” Liam said. “I want to hear the line of bullshit as well.”
“Frankly the man I shot in Brevard County could have just as easily died. I guess I was prepared to get killed doing my job. Hell I still am. I just really don’t want to take a life. If I carry a badge and gun, it could happen at anytime. I really want to be a peace officer not someone who holds a gun on other people. If I find something wrong, I want to be the one who calls the police, not the one who has the responsibility to capture or kill another human being.”
“That’s pretty noble of you. So what would you do if some unauthorized person was trying to get into the building?” she asked me.
“If the post had a call button, I would activate it and then tap dance as fast as I could till help arrived. If the person assaulted me, I would defend myself. The intruder would have to go through me to get into the building,” I said.
“Let me do the background check and if it comes back clean, you can start work next week as far as I’m concerned. You are agreeable to the pay?” she asked.
“Well I wish it were more, but I can make do,” I said.
“Well let’s go meet Captain Earl, he will be your boss,” she said.
I allowed her to lead me and Liam into the less attractive area of the building. The security offices were in the same hallway as the housekeeping office. I found that amusing, but Liam was rolling in silent laughter after I pointed it out to him.
“Captain Earl this is Janet Anton. If her background checks out, we are going to be employing her to work the front desk,” the Human Resources lady said.
“Good, I have heard a lot about you Janet. I think you will make a great addition to our security force,” Captain Earl said.
“Thank you Captain. So is Earl you sire name, or given name?” I asked.
“My name is James Earl, but you should call me Captain,” he said. I smiled at him as if he were joking, but said nothing. The lady from personnel smiled at me as well.
I returned to the furnished apartment. I now had time to check it out. There was a TV and a computer. I found that it had a hard drive with Windows on it. I also found that I could completely bypass the hard drive since it was set to boot first from the USB port which held my own little operating system. I could install two USB flash drives and work completely outside the computer’s hard drive. That little move made it impossible to track my computer use, unless the person had my flash drives. I protected them the very best I could.
I hid them in the freezer section of the refrigerator and would retrieve them before I used the computer for any real business. I used it to slip around the Internet on its Windows program. If anyone checked they would find that I visited adult chatrooms and video TV sites. Hardly anything to make a difference.
The refrigerator was empty of course. The packet Morris gave me had a prepaid debit card so I went to the store before I settled in for the night. I drove the five year old Hyundai to the first grocery store I came to while headed north from the apartment.
It was a downtown grocery store because the apartment was almost downtown. There were some really beautiful apartments downtown and a few blocks north some not so beautiful ones. My little apartment was one of the not so nice ones. It was one of four in a big old house. It was not a big grand old house just a big one.
The grocery store had a large section of Hispanic foods. Since I had no idea how to cook them I skipped over to the frozen food section. There were just enough of those to make a few days worth of meals without repeating any of them. I was sure I could find a Walmart Store soon enough. There was always a Walmart within ten miles of a major town.
Once I got back to the apartment in the big old frame house I heated a frozen beef potpie. That and added ice to a glass of diet Pepsi for my dinner. I washed dishes and spent the rest of the evening with the computer and streaming TV shows.
I finally got bored with the TV shows and moved on to adult chatrooms. I know that they are addictive, but they are few and harmless if one is very careful. After I found a couple of people who were interesting I tried to chat for a while. One of them insisted I send him a photograph but to do so required I give him some kind of personal information. I decided against it, as I always did.
He rightly assumed I had something to hide. He just assumed it was the wrong thing. I frankly didn’t care what he thought. It was, after all an Internet chatroom. I actually did laugh when I thought how silly he seemed to be. I mean really, how silly to get all upset just because I refused to do as he wanted. He just assumed that it was my obligation to make him happy whatever that was. I found that hilarious.
I went to bed and slept right through till 5 AM. Some mornings I slept till six but seldom longer than that. That particular morning I was up at 5:15 and dragging into the bathroom. I went out to the old Hyundai, then drove it around in circles as the sun came up. I was looking for a morning restaurant close enough to run or maybe to ride a bike for breakfast. I did not find a thing. I had expected an early opening restaurant in the downtown at least.
Before I found a restaurant with a dining room, I had traveled a pretty good distance from the apartment. Since I had done it by car I traced a route directly to the apartment. I found that it was going to shake out to about a four mile ride from the apartment to breakfast. Round trip it was eight miles, a little too long for me. Actually it was several miles too long for me to run.
I made the loop back to have breakfast at the converted fast food restaurant. I had seen the same type thing in most of the towns where I had lived. Some one who had a burger franchise screwed up and the building changed hands. I suppose it made a good sit down restaurant for the same reason it made a good burger joint, the location.
Once inside I found that it was a self-serve restaurant. Go to the counter to place my order and pay. Then I had to have a seat and wait to be called. Then take the tray to a table or pack the bag out to my car. When I rode a bike, I would be taking it to a table.
I was surprised by the temperature when I got out of the car. It was at least ten degrees warmer than it was back home. Not only that the air felt thicker somehow. I knew for a fact that after breakfast I would be looking for a disposable bicycle. That meant a morning spent in pawn shops and thrift stores around town. I wasn’t interested in a special type bike, or just a cheap bike. It had to be the right bike at the right price, so that I wouldn’t feel bad when I left it on the curb as I drove out of town.
The breakfast wasn’t awful. So I thought about it and made my decision. I decided that I could live with the quality of the food and the lack of service, since the place was within reach.
“If you run across a better place that would be cool, but this one was satisfactory for the moment,” Liam agreed.
It was too early to go shopping for a bike so I returned home to leave the car. I ran through the downtown since it was only three blocks away from my new apartment. I needed an excuse to look around and get my bearings. I could do that as I ran.
Unlike the people from Church Camp, I was no a warrior. I did not enjoy torturing my body with physical exercise. I didn’t run and ride the bike for conditioning. I did it to burn calories. If I didn’t run or ride the bike every single day, I would forever be doomed to the ‘House of Garden Trimmings’ instead of McDonalds. Since that was the case I ran an hour or biked two hours every morning that my schedule allowed. Unlike the others I had met along the way, I didn’t revel in it. I cursed it everyday.
I spent my after breakfast time showering and rearranging the apartment. The Controller had arranged everything for me, but they had arranged it all wrong. I didn’t like that there was a living room, then a bedroom with bath and finally a kitchen. If I invited someone to dinner they had to go through my bedroom to have dinner.
Since the bed was a small one I managed to move it into what was the living room when I arrived. I planned to use it as a studio living room/bedroom. The bedroom was going to become an office with the sofa there. I planned to find a nice cover to covert the bed into a day bed should I ever have company. I doubted that I ever would, so there was no rush.
I also took time to visit the area pawn shops and second hand stores looking for a bike. I never had any luck with pawn shops simply because they don’t take bicycles in on pawn. They generally sell new Chinese bikes or really high end bicycles, which they buy from people for resale. They are just a little too expensive to ride a few day or a few weeks, then drive away and leave.
I found myself at the Capitol City Second Chance Store. It was full of vintage items and best of all the profit went to the Open Door Ministry. It was a ‘feed the homeless’ kind of outfit. I was glad to see I could afford a bike that was on the curb. It was forty dollars which I felt was on the high end of fair. I would love it for twenty but I was happy with it at forty. I also bought a chain and lock to secure the bike.
The young man doing his community service for leaving his shit on a bridge overpass. His shit came from a can of spray paint. His tag was really quite nice. He made sure I saw a photograph of his handy work before he tied my trunk lid down. I checked after him to make sure the little girlie pink cruiser bike was secure. It was just a show I made, because it really didn’t matter if the bike beat the shit out of the little car. I mean it wasn’t my car.
“Tell me you aren’t going to be seen on the girlie piece of crap,” Liam said.
“I sure as hell am, why does it bother you?” I asked.
“It’s the wrong image for you,” he said.
“Liam, if anyone comes to find me on my morning work out, the color of the bike isn’t going to matter much,” I said.
“But do you want the cops to come do the investigation and find you on that thing?” he asked.
“I got a feeling it won’t matter,” I said.
“It might, most of the time bicyclist survive the accident. Some impression you are going to make on that thing,” Liam said.
“Like I care what they think,” I said. “Besides to a casual observer I will look harmless.”
“Well I am going to be embarrassed for you. I am not going to go with you in the mornings, not if you ride that titty pink bicycle,” he said.
“On the side I can always sell Mary Kay cosmetics,” I replied.
I parked and locked the bicycle to the porch of the converted house. Since there was nothing else on the porch, I didn’t figure it mattered. Once I got into the house I turned on the window air conditioner and relaxed in front of the computer.
The next morning I rode the bicycle to the restaurant at 6 AM. After my breakfast I pedaled it back to the apartment. I had a nice hot shower and then sat around reading the news, and then watching the TV from the night before. There were several websites that rebroadcast the shows on demand.
For lunch I went into a Subway sandwich shop, then drove home with the meatball sub and a bag of chips. It wasn’t much of a meal but I never really have been a foodie kind of person. I did two more days of that domestic me shit before I heard from the chief of building security.
“So Janet are you ready to go to work?” he asked.
“You bet, when can I start?” I asked.
“You can start training tomorrow if you get your uniforms in time. We have a contract with Iverson Department store. You just need to go down and see the lady Department Manager. She has the list of what you need. You do need to call to be sure she is going to be there when you go. She is the only one who can dispense the uniforms,” the Chief of Security said.
I hurried to get to Inversion before the Department Manager left for the day. “Mrs. Helms, my name is Janet Anton, I’m supposed to pick up some uniforms, so I can start work for the Piedmont Office Park’s security force,” I said.
“Sure, you look like you will be easy to fit, so lets get to it,” Mrs. Helms said.
“Fine,” I replied following along behind her.
“Pants?” she asked. It took me a second to realize she was asking my size.
“To be comfortable size six,” I replied. Rather than answer she put three pairs of khaki pants over my arm.
“What size golf shirts,” she asked.
“Six if I’m going on a date, eight if I want to be comfortable,” I replied. Her answer was to put four black golf shirts over my arm as well as the slacks.
“Shoe size?” she asked next.
“Seven A,” I said.
“Seven medium,” she said that as she put a box containing a pair of leather walking shoes on the counter. “Sign this invoice and you are ready to go.”
It had taken no more than twenty minutes and I was ready to go for sure. It was very efficient and since none of the items were specialty, it could be passed out in minutes. I knew the ‘ID card on a chain’ would be issued at the building the next day. There was nothing to do but go into a dressing room and try on the pants and tops.
It took about ten minutes to convince myself that the sizes of the uniforms ran true, so they all fit on the first try. I found the shirts tight across my breasts, but not too provocative or uncomfortable. It was obvious that they wanted me to look a little sexy. It would add something to the lobby. It is also harder for a man to get pissed at an attractive woman. Even when she tells him to empty his pockets and let her run a wand over your body. I knew that is how they were thinking at the P.O.P. security office.
I left all the cloning gear at home since I had no idea how to get it through the security check point. Yes we had to go through it as well as the other employees of the buildings. I was going to need a few days to find the weaknesses.
I went to the Internet for some interactive porno again that night. I needed the release to sleep. I shared a conversation with a thirty year old woman. Well she could have been a seventy year old man, but it didn’t matter the person on the other end knew what buttons to push and the right time to push them. I took a good look at my naked body just before I came from my fingers inside me. The folds of my body were bright red showing just how turned on I was.
I did hang around until the woman who called herself Emma just disappeared. I was glad when she did as I needed sleep. I washed before going to bed. I felt sticky and I probably was from the fluids which leaked from my body. The amount of fluids which had leaked from me that night was going to cause me to sleep in a cold wet bed. I knew that from experience.