This morning, I’m sharing Chapter 4, Part 8 of my story, “Garage Sale Addict”. If you’d like to catch up, here’s:
“Garage Sale Addict, Part 1“
“Garage Sale Addict, Part 2“
“Garage Sale Addict, Part 3“
“Garage Sale Addict-Part 4“
“Garage Sale Addict-Part 5“
“Garage Sale Addict-Part 6”
“Garage Sale Addict-Part 7”
And, here is my disclaimer one more time…
Disclaimer: I am nervous about sharing this. Instead of me being able to use words like “crap” or my made up favorites like “goody-ness”, what I’m about to share will be held to a higher standard. Because it’s part of my hidden soul-my personal writing projects. Who knows if this will ever go anywhere-but it’s fun to write and to dream. I’d love to hear what you have to say, or maybe I won’t.
Early the next morning, Rosalyn picked up the phone, the “suit’s” card in hand. Before the first ring played out, she hung up. Immediately, her phone rang back with a blocked caller on the other end. She sucked in her breath and pushed the “answer” button.
“Ms. Rosalyn Jones?,” the caller asked.
“This is she. Who might this be?”
She felt in control, but not for long.
“I’ll be the one asking questions. I need you to come to my office today.”
“Why? Who are you? I’m not doing anything until you give me more information.” Rosalyn said.
“Today. 10 am. 1 Civic Center Drive.” And the caller hung up.
1 Civic Center Drive? That’s a governmental building downtown.
Rosalyn glanced at her watch–it was only 8 am. After calling Bonnie and telling her about the mysterious phone call, Rosalyn decided to humor the “suit” and show up. An hour later, she was out the door.
She parked in a well-lit underground parking garage, grabbed her coffee from the cup holder and made her way to the elevator. Her heels resounded in the almost empty garage. Rosalyn, aware of the numerous murder plots that happen in parking garages during most one-hour cop shows, remembered the self-defense class she took and slid her keys to the center of her hand, point end out. She scanned the garage for other signs of life, all the while pretending to nonchalantly sip her coffee.
“Ms. Jones?” A voice called out from a darkened corner. She widened her stance, flung her purse to her back, tightened the grip on her keys and lifted the lid off of her coffee cup-steam rising from the rop.
“Who’s there?” Rosalyn used her lowest voice possible.
“Sure, it is. What do you want?” She called into the nothingness.
“I need you to come with me.”
“No way. I know how this will play out. It never ends well for the female.”
“Ma’am, I’m not going to hurt you. I just need you to come with me.” The voice calmly demanded. She could hear his shoe scraping dirt against the concrete floor. As soon as she saw a bit of skin, she tossed her coffee in the general direction of his face, stabbed at his stomach with her keys and took off towards the staircase.
Rosalyn could hear the man scream and call out words she would never utter as she climbed out into the open air. Immediately, two more men in suits each grabbed an elbow, wrenched her keys from her hand and “escorted” her into the unmarked governmental building without saying a word.
“What’s going on? Leave me alone!” She tried to break free, tugging and wrestling against the new “suits”. Downtown seemed oddly vacant, save a few pigeons squabbling around. The men remained silent.
“Help!” She called out to no one. The pigeons took off.
The suits shoved her behind the landscaping that surrounded the building and opened a door unnoticeable from the street. It was unmarked and blended seamlessly to the facade of the front of the building. On the other side of the door was another “suit”, armed with tight lips and piercing eyes. His white shirt was covered in coffee and he was still busy wiping the moisture off of his reddened face.
“Put her in holding cell #1,” he growled.
The two new suits nodded and moved faster down the dimly lit hallway. They opened a metal door, shoved her inside and slammed it behind her. Just like in the cop shows, there was a metal table, two chairs, one hanging lamp and a large smoky glass section in the wall.
“Whoever you are, you have the wrong person.” Rosalyn shook her finger at the glass.
“Sit down.” A voice demanded over an unseen speaker.
“Sit down.” The voice screamed at her.
Rosalyn tugged at the metal chair and plopped into it, folding her arms across her chest.
“You can’t hold me against my will. I want a lawyer.” Rosalyn was grateful she had watched so many Cagney & Lacey shows as a kid.
“We can do whatever we like. We are who everyone else answers to. So get comfortable, Ms. Jones.”
The room was silent. Rosalyn folded and re-folded her arms. She sat up straight in the chair, then slouched. She started counting the acoustic tiles in the ceiling of the room when the coffee-stained suit entered the room with a fresh new shirt.
“You do realize you have committed a federal offense by assaulting a federal agent?” The suit said, circling her like a vulture.
“I didn’t know you were a fed, I just thought you were some creepy guy in the parking garage.”
“I was trying to show you my badge, when you emptied your hot coffee on me.” He pounded the table with his fist.
“I’m not sorry about that. You should have identified yourself.” Rosalyn slouched even lower and smiled.
“Sit up. This is a serious situation you have yourself in. No one knows that you’re here-or even where here is-and there’s nothing you can do about it, other than cooperate.”
Rosalyn slowly sat up straighter in her chair, realizing she was totally at the suit’s mercy. She clenched her jaw shut and began grinding her teeth.
“Tell me what I want to know. Now!” The suit pounded the table again.
“I seriously don’t know what you want to know.”
“Who’s the leader of your faction? Who do you answer to?” The suit sat down in the seat across from her.
Rosalyn snorted and started to laugh but suppressed the urge when the suit glared back at her.
“Look, you’ve got the wrong girl. I’m a pet photographer. I answer to my clients, I suppose. If they aren’t happy, they won’t pay.” She let out a little giggle.
“This isn’t some cop show, Ms. Jones. This is real life and you are in real trouble.”
“Then, why don’t you tell me what I’ve done? Because I don’t have any clue what is going on.” She slumped again, but then sat up straight.
The suit stayed silent, rubbed at his temples and stood up suddenly. Hands on hips, he sighed heavily and glared at her again. Rosalyn noticed how quiet quiet can be. The room felt dead-no whirring of a heating system, no footsteps, no road noise. The suit vacated the room and slammed the metal door shut.
Rosalyn sat alone in the room. She picked up her game of counting the ceiling tiles once again. Soon, she had counted all 131 of them and decided they needed names. Starting alphabetically, she named the first tile “Adam”, the second, “Bonnie”-of course, the third, “Curt” and so on. She had rounded the alphabet and was back to “K” when the suit re-entered. She made a mental note of where he had interrupted her.
“Since you are being uncooperative, we have no choice but to hold you overnight.” The suit said, throwing a pair of gray sweats at her.
“There is no way I’m staying here. I have a job to do and a friend to see tonight. People will start wondering why I’m gone within a few hours of me missing. It’ll turn into a big missing person’s thing-my picture will be all over the news in no time. You don’t want that, do you?” Rosalyn knew she was exaggerating, but her arsenal of defense was depleted.
“We own the news.” The suit sat down again.
“Nobody owns the news. I mean sure, someone owns the news, but it’s like a cooperation or Warren Buffet or someone like that. Not someone like you.”
The suit remained silent and continued to glare at her.
“Do you have any other face than that one? I mean like if you saw a really cute puppy, what’s your face do then? Let’s turn this frown upside down.” She reached across the table to pull the corners of his mouth up, but he smacked her hand away.
“Ow! You don’t have to be so mean. When I get a lawyer, I’m telling him that you hit me.”
“You aren’t getting a lawyer, Ms. Jones. In fact, you will be doing good to see the sun anytime soon.”
Rosalyn tugged at a loose string attached to the sweats and looked at the table. Humor wasn’t working for her, being angry wasn’t working for her, and demanding a lawyer did diddly squat. Now what?, she thought.
“How about Micah? Would you like to see him again? Or Bonnie? What about her?” The suit smirked and leaned back in his chair. Rosalyn’s mouth fell open.
“What do you know about them? Why do you know about them?” She could feel her skin turning hot.
“We know everything that we need to know about you, Ms. Jones.” He smirked again.
“But there’s nothing important to know about me. I’m telling you-you have the wrong girl.” Now she was the one to hit the table with her fist.
“We can play this game all day, Ms. Jones. I have nowhere else I need to be. But, it sounds like you have a full schedule. Just tell us who you report to, and I might let you go.”
“I don’t report to anyone! I have no idea what you are talking about. I want out of here.” Rosalyn shot out of her chair and began pounding on the glass behind the suit. “Let me out of here! You have the wrong person!,” she screamed at the glass.
“There’s no one back there. It’s just you and me.” The suit stayed seated. Rosalyn pounded for several minutes, screaming all the while. The suit didn’t move an inch behind her, nor try to stop her. Rosalyn finally wore herself out and sat back down.
“What do you want to know?” She hung her head.
“Who do you report to?”
“No one. I report to myself.”
“You mean to tell me you run the operation-yourself?” The suit leaned forward and hissed at her.
“Yes-I run the whole operation myself. Every garage sale is my idea. I just get my friends to help me.” She shoved the sweats towards the suit.
“Oh no. You’d better get comfortable, Ms. Jones. You are going to be here a long time.” The suit finally smiled, but instead of it being a reaction to a cute puppy, it mimicked more of a devil grinning back at her.
“A long time.” The suit said again as he stood up and slammed the door behind him. A metal sheet fell over the smoky glass and a voice on the hidden speaker told her to “get dressed”.
Rosalyn slowly put on the sweats, folding her clothes neatly and leaving them on the table.
What is going on?, she asked herself.
Dressed, she huddled in the corner and began to cry.