Archive for category: Garage Sale Addict

Garage Sale Addict-Part 11

This morning, I’m sharing Chapter 5, Part 11 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″
“Garage Sale Addict-Part 8″
Garage Sale Addict-Part 9
“Garage Sale Addict-Part 10″

 

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.

Chapter 5-Part 11

Bonnie chose the long route home, stopping and turning at every corner possible. She stopped at through a bank drive through without making a deposit, just to ensure no one was following her.

I may be paranoid, but I’m not stupid, she muttered to herself as she adjusted her rearview mirror. Finally, she arrived home and locked the door behind her. Slinking to the ground, her head was whirling with that afternoon’s incident. What has Ros gotten herself into?

Bonnie’s phone rang and she grabbed it immediately. The caller ID showed it was Micah.

“Did you get home ok?” Micah asked on the other end.

“Yes, I took a circuitous route and I don’t think I was followed. How about you?”

“I wasn’t as successful. One of the suits tailed me, but I stopped at a coffee shop to wait it out. He’s in here, trying to appear natural around all these granola kids. He ordered a black coffee and I think the barista about had a heart attack.” Micah snickered.

“What are you going to do?,” Bonnie asked.

“I’m about to confront the guy. What could he do to me in a public place? I thought I’d let you know, in case I end up missing. I’m at the coffee house on Main and 4th.”

“Copy, Eagle. Meadowlark has taken note of your whereabouts. Proceed with caution.” Bonnie allowed herself a little giggle.

“Meadowlark? Unusual code name-but at least I won’t forget it. I’ll touch base with you soon. Over and out.”

They both hung up. Bonnie was so exhilarated with the cat and mouse game, she decided to write down everything that had happened up until now. Maybe seeing it in black and white would help her to make sense of it all. She started with the first garage sale, and soon moved on to the second and third sales. She categorized sightings of the “Suits”, conversation with Tibar and any other detail she could think of.

After all her plotting and sketching, it still didn’t make sense. There should be no reason for Rosalyn to be under scrutiny. She wondered aloud, “Ros, what are you really involved with?” Her house answered back with only silence.

********

Ros jerked awake to nothingness in the cold, cement room. The steel chair had become one with her and she stood up to rub at her low back. She paced the room, trying the door for what seemed liked the one hundredth time. Running her fingers along the grout lines between the cement block, she counted the indentions from one block to the next. She began to sing one of her favorite radio songs softly, then louder when there was no reprimand. For some reason, the top 40 hit began to make her cry.

“Sit down and be quiet!” The voice was back, but Rosalyn ignored the command and continued to the next wall, singing and counting blocks. She felt like a crazed idiot.

“I said to sit down!”

“No.” Rosalyn broke from her song to stare directly at the smoky glass and shout out her response. “Look, I’m tired, cold, hungry and honestly a bit ticked off. If you expect anything more out of me, you are sadly mistaken. I’m done. Stick bamboo shoots under my nails, I don’t care.” She lied about that last part, but it made her feel tough.

“Ms. Jones, have a seat. That is a direct order.” The voice said calmly.

“Make me.” She felt like a second grader.

“I wish you hadn’t said that.” The microphone cut out and the door to the room swung open abruptly. Three men entered the room, grabbed her arms and shoved her back into the steel chair. Her wrists were zip-tied around her back before she even knew what was happening.

Rosalyn pouted, letting her chin drop to her chest. One of the suits lifted up her chin and stared directly into her eyes. He actually seemed kind-with laugh lines around his eyes and salt and pepper hair just above his temples. He looked more of the role of a new grandpa, rather than an interrogator.

“Who do you work for?,” the grandpa interrogator said.

“I’ve told you a thousand times-I work for myself,” her voice felt thin and defeated.

“Ms. Jones, we want to let you go-we do,” the interrogator looked to his partners standing beside her. “We all have lives outside of here. Why are you making this so difficult? Just tell us your contacts and we can all go home to our families.”

“My contacts? I’m a pet photographer. I live in my Grandma’s house. I’m unmarried. I’ve been recently dumped by an excuse of a man. I have nothing. I am nothing.” Rosalyn began to cry.

“Then where are you finding these name-brand items that you are selling at your garage sale? You are committing fraud to the public by selling counterfeit goods and that, Ms. Jones-is a Class C Felony. We can put you away for a long time.”

Rosalyn sniffled and wiped her nose with her gray sleeve. She wrenched her chin out of the interrogator’s hand and plunked it back down on her chest.

“Give me a break,” she mumbled. “I haven’t done anything wrong. Prove that I have and then we’ll talk.”

The three men left the room as quickly as they had entered. They flicked the switch, shutting off the single light in the room and enveloping Rosalyn in complete darkness. Her tingling hands signaled her arms soon would fall asleep. Rosalyn began to cry once more, her sobs echoing in the empty room.

****

Rosalyn heard a slight scratching piercing through the darkness. She pinpointed the sound and could see sliver of light beaming from underneath the door. Something was being slid underneath the door. Rosalyn forced herself out of the chair slowly, but her arms still tied behind her making it difficult. Falling to her knees, she used her nose to pull an envelope towards her. As soon as she had tugged at the envelope, she heard footsteps on the other side of the door clomp away from her.

The room was dark, save the bit of light around the door frame. She drew her hands underneath her, weaving her legs through one at a time. Clumsily, Rosalyn tore at the envelope with her pinky fingers. Inside she found a lighter and two pictures. Using the lighter, she melted through the plastic zip-ties. With her hands now free, she crawled to the corner directly underneath the smoky glass, and held the lighter up to inspect the two pictures. One picture was of her selling a Chang belt to one of her customers. The suit was standing beside her in the photo, tape recorder in hand. She hadn’t noticed him that day at the sale. The second photo was of her photographing her last client with the bird dog. The suit was off in the distance, but definitely watching her.

How long had she been followed? Both photos were taken from some distance, the pixelation caused by blowing up a photo evident. The suit’s face was grainy, with no distinct features other than black dots where eye sockets should have been.What were these photos supposed to tell her? She flipped the photos over. Each had long code hand printed on the back. The first photo of her with the Chang belt read: -01-02-17-33-458-2-19-0-0-1. None of the numbers were significant to her. The second photo read similarly, but used a few letters in place of numbers: 213-7-J-14-SP-12-N-89. She scoured the envelope for any more clues, but it was blank. Rosalyn sat in the corner, silently saying the codes over and over again, trying to make sense of it.

The only place to hide her puzzling information was underneath the chair or the table. Rosalyn crawled through the abyss to find  the chair. She ran her fingers underneath the chair, feeling a lip between the seat and the legs. Jamming the envelope into the vacant space underneath the seat, she prayed it wouldn’t be visible when the lights were inevitably flipped back on. Rosalyn tucked the lighter into her shirt sleeve, crawled back through the darkness, found a corner to lay her head against and fell back asleep.

****

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Garage Sale Addict-Part 10

This morning, I’m sharing Chapter 5, Part 10 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″
“Garage Sale Addict-Part 8″
Garage Sale Addict-Part 9

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.

Chapter 5-Part 10

Bonnie awoke to a light tapping on her window. She glanced at the clock-3:30 am. Grabbing the robe at the foot of her bed, she walked to the window and gently lifted a slat in the blinds. A pair of eyes stared back at her-the only thing visible in the darkness. Scared, she dropped the blind and jumped back.

“Who are you?,” she called from inside the room. Slowly, she slid the baseball bat out from underneath her bed.

“I may know where your friend Rosalyn is being held,” the muffled voice, with a thick accent, responded. “Let me in and I’ll tell you what you need to know.”

“No way. I’m not letting some stranger in my home at 3:30am. Why didn’t you knock on the front door, like a normal person?”

“I didn’t want to be seen from the street. Please, I know where they are holding Ms. Jones.”

“Who are you?,” Bonnie moved further away from the window.

“I’m a man that had the same thing happen to him. My name is Tibar. I had garage sales and I was abducted, just like Ms. Jones.”

“Come to the back door. I’ll open the door, but I’m leaving the screen door shut and locked. Try anything and you’ll get a face full of pepper spray. Understand, Tibar?” Bonnie added to her weaponry the pepper spray kept in the night stand drawer.

“I understand. Don’t turn on any lights. We don’t want the neighbors to know.”

Bonnie tied the robe as tight as possible, baseball bat in hand and stuffed the pepper spray in her robe pocket. Slowly, she unlocked the dead bolt and opened the back door.

“How did you know where to find me? How do you know that I know Rosalyn?,” Bonnie stared into the eyes of a short man with greasy brown hair. He was dressed in black from head to toe and looked the part of a cat burglar, save his large belly protruding over his belted pants.

“I came to her sale, and while I was there, I saw him.” Tibar’s eyes grew wide.

“Him? The Suit?”

“Yes. He’s the same man that abducted me.”

“What happened to you? Where did he take you and why did he take you?” Bonnie loosened her grip on her pepper spray.

“I am Tibar, purveyor of fine, used books. I know books and I know their value. But–” Tibar’s finger shot in the air, “–most people don’t. At a flea market, I found an original Velveteen Rabbit and paid $5 for it. I sold it for more than $250.” Tibar’s smile stretched across his face.

“That’s, um, great. But, how does this coincide with the disappearance of my friend?” Bonnie yawned.

“Ah, yes. And, I apologize ma’am for waking you. But there was no other time I felt it would be safe to contact you. After I sold and shipped that book, I started getting strange phone calls in the middle of the night. A man showed up at my garage sales. He kept asking me who my source was.”

“Was it that same man at our garage sale?”

“Exactly the same man. Then, he started following me to book stores and to flea markets. I didn’t feel safe,” Tibar removed his glasses and wiped at them with a handkerchief.

“Why did he care about the books you were buying?,” Bonnie unlatched the screen door and let Tibar inside. For a moment, he let his eyes adjust to the dimly lit kitchen.

“I wondered the same thing. Then, one day, I came home and my front door was wide open. My wife was talking with some man in the kitchen. She was crying and told me I could never buy another book. I agreed, just to get him out of my home. But, I saw a book I just couldn’t pass up later that week. I paid generously for it and resold it for only a few dollar’s profit. That very next day, that man abducted me.”

“What did he do to you?”

“He took me from a parking lot, put a bag over my head, and the next thing I knew, I was in a concrete room being asked all sorts of questions.” Tibar rubbed at his temples, but then continued. “I was there for several days and when finally released, they told me I couldn’t tell anyone, or my wife would be in danger. She was told that I was on a business trip-by my own office.”

“I don’t understand,” Bonnie paced around the kitchen, her robe swishing behind her. “What did they want with you and now with Ros? You’re just a couple of normal people.”

“I have no idea,” Tibar grabbed her shoulders and stopped her pacing. “But, I do know that these are not nice people. Not nice at all.” He pulled down the edge of his black t-shirt, revealing a scar just above his clavicle.

“What did they do to you?,” Bonnie’s voice was squeaking.

“I can’t remember-they gave me a drug so that I would forget. I just know I didn’t have this until I met that man. He’s dangerous.” Tibar put his glasses back on.

“So, where is she? You said you knew where they were taking her.” She fished around for a piece of paper and a pencil from her kitchen drawer.

“When I woke up, I was sitting on a park bench, downtown. I was right in front of the Civic Center building, in the middle of the day. People were passing me by as if nothing had happened. But, they had to have dragged me to that bench. Someone must have seen something.” He shook his head.

Tibar exited the back door quietly, after giving a detailed description of exactly where he awoke and on what bench downtown. Bonnie looked at the clock after he’d gone–it was almost 5am. There was no use going back to bed. By the time she’d had a shower, an entire pot of coffee and breakfast, she left for work.

She called Micah on the way and filled him in on that early morning meeting.

“I’m going downtown over my lunch hour,” she said. “Do you want to meet me?”

“You bet. I’ll be there at noon.” Micah said goodbye and two hung up.

****

Bonnie parked her car in front of the library, just steps away from the bench Tibar had described to her. The bench faced the Civic Center building, with its back to the library. A large fountain was between the two buildings and presently was crawling with worker bees enjoying the fresh air.

Micah approached Bonnie from the opposite direction, having parked closer to the Civic Center.

“I checked around the building again, and I found something interesting,” Micah whispered to Bonnie. Nonchalantly, she slung her arm through his and the two slowly approached the building, pretending to enjoy a stroll.

They came to the point in the landscaping where the pink sticky notes– surmised as Rosalyn’s–had ended during their first investigation.

“Let me take a picture of you,” Micah winked to Bonnie and grabbed his phone. “Just a little to the left, a little to the left. Oh, the sun is so bright. Can you go between those two hedges?”

Bonnie backed up slowly, looking around to see if anyone else was watching them. She slunk in between the hedges and then, behind them. Flattening herself between the building and the bushes, she waited for Michael.

“Oh, no,” Micah’s muffled voice reached her ears. “I dropped my phone behind these bushes.”

“You get an “A” for improvisation but an “F” for acting,” Bonnie whispered to him once he had joined her behind the hedges.

“I never was the star of any school plays,” he smiled back to her. “Now, look down here.” Micah pointed to a spot on the slab of the building where an arc of dirt seemed to disappear into the wall. The two began to push against the wall, running their fingers along seams and cracks.

“There has to be a door somewhere, right?,” Bonnie was pressing against a small rock embedded in the side wall. “Dirt just doesn’t naturally do that.”

“That’s exactly what I thought.” Micah was now squatted down, pressing against the bottom of the wall, right next to where the dirt stopped.

The bushes next to them rustled. Both Micah and Bonnie froze. They heard a twig snap and then another. Micah signaled to her to run the opposite direction. The pair took off, heading for a break in the hedges. Bonnie’s loose shirt was snagged and she tore it as she ran. Micah’s baseball cap had been ripped off by a low hanging branch. Behind them, they heard two voices.

“Hey! You two come back here!,” one of the men yelled, chasing after them.

“Run faster, Bonnie!” Micah was almost stepping on her heels.

They found a break in the hedges and took off in two different directions-each for their own car. The man stumbled out from behind the building, searching for Bonnie. She had already immersed herself in the group of people inhabiting the fountain, removed her top button up-shirt and threw it away, leaving only a tank top underneath. Bonnie pulled her hair up into a ponytail and put on her sunglasses.

A makeshift disguise, she thought to herself.

The second man stumbled out seconds later, his mission clearly on Micah. Bonnie peered over her shoulder, but Micah was nowhere to be seen. She smiled, and made her way to the car, meandering through a parking lot, weaving between rows of cars. She felt just like a spy, just like her hero-Nancy Drew.

Bonnie unlocked her car, checked over her shoulder again to make sure she wasn’t spotted, and then drove away.

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Garage Sale Addict-Part 9

This morning, I’m sharing Chapter 4, Part 9 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″
“Garage Sale Addict-Part 8″

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.

 

*********Part 9
Chapter 4

“Micah! Hello! Anyone home?”, Bonnie pounded on Micah’s front door.

He soon opened the front door, Spartan following closely behind.

“Hey, Bonnie. It’s good to see you.”

“Yeah-you too. When was the last time you saw Rosalyn?” Bonnie had a ratty tissue between her hand, wringing it the entire time she spoke. She wiped at a tear that spilled onto her cheek.

“Bonnie, what’s wrong?” Micah placed a hand on her shoulder.

“I’ve been calling her all day and she hasn’t answered. It’s not like her. She always answers.”

“I’m sure there’s an explanation. Maybe she’s just taking a day for herself. Or maybe she’s photographing and can’t pick up.”

“She called me this morning to tell me she was meeting The Suit downtown at 10am.” Another tear spilled out.

Micah quickly told her of their encounter the night before at the sushi restaurant.

“I thought the whole thing was pretty strange, but now it’s getting really weird. Let’s go look for her.” He grabbed the keys off the wall, leashed up Spartan and led Bonnie to his car.

It only took the pair fifteen minutes to get downtown, and they began circling the building that was Roslayn’s destination. The building was dark, the streets vacant.

“Are you sure this is the right address?”, Micah asked.

“Positive. I even had her text it to me-just in case.” Bonnie started crying again.

Micah pulled into the parking garage adjacent to the building. The bottom level of the garage only had a scooter, so Micah drove the ramp up onto the second level. They both spotted Rosalyn’s car at the same time.

“There it is!” Bonnie flung open Micah’s car door before he had completely stopped. She began peering through the window’s on Rosalyn’s car. Micah joined her and tried each door and the trunk.

“It’s locked. Her purse is gone, but her camera bag is in plain sight on the back seat,” he said.

“If she was robbed, they would have taken her camera. That means, all they wanted-was-her.” Bonnie started sobbing again.

Micah grabbed Bonnie and hugged her.

“It’s going to be alright. We’ll call the police, we’ll figure this out. Let’s look for any clue as to which way she went.”

Bonnie immediately quit crying and began scanning the pavement. She found a bottle cap, a quarter and a lid to a coffee cup.

“Wait a second, this looks like Rosalyn’s travel mug lid,” she said. “In fact, I know it is. She went this way.”

Bonnie headed towards the staircase Rosalyn had previously fled to. She stopped a few feet before the stairs and bent over to smell the cement.

“Look at this, it’s a puddle of drying coffee.”

“Maybe somebody spilled their coffee?”, Micah asked.

“I think Rosalyn used what she learned in her self-defense class and threw hot coffee on someone.”

“Smart girl.” Micah said.

“I see scuff marks all the way up the stairs, as if something was dragged from above.”

Bonnie slowly ascended the staircase pointing at each scuff mark as she passed.

“I think you missed your calling, Detective Bonnie.”

“Lots of Nancy Drew books. Lots.”

The scuff marks ended at the top of the stairs. They were surrounded by four tall buildings, all of which were dark.

“Now what?,” she said.

“If I were Rosalyn, forced against my will, what would I do?”, Micah asked.

“I would leave a trail.”

“A trail of what?”

“Of whatever I had on hand.”

The pair began scouring the pavement once again, searching for clues. The had traveled several feet before something caught Bonnie’s eye.

“Micah, I think this might be a start.” She lifted up a pink sticky note that had been crumpled into a wad.

“Those look like the ones she’s been using at her garage sale. Good girl, Ros.” Micah jumped a few feet forward, picking up another sticky note wad.

“Look-there’s one in the grass ahead of you.”

The trail ended at the hedges surrounding the civic center building. They looked at the backside of the building, void of doors, windows or any sort of entrance.

“Maybe she went around the side. Or, maybe these weren’t her sticky notes.” Bonnie slumped to the grass. Micah sat down next to her, smoothing out each sticky note.

“These are definitely hers. Look at the handwriting. I would recognize the way she writes “7’s” anywhere, with the line going straight through it.”

“It always irritated her when she couldn’t read people’s 2’s or 7’s.” Bonnie sniffled and smiled.

“These look like sticky notes from her last sale. She must have stuffed them in her pockets. That means, we’re on the right trail. Come on, let’s keep looking.” Micah lifted Bonnie up and headed around the side of the building.

 

**********

 

The speaker shouted at her, breaking the silence that had been permeating her cell.

“How do your friends know where you’re at?”

Rosalyn, huddled in the corner, only lifted up her head.

“I told Bonnie where I was going. My friends keep track of me, because they care. Not that you would ever know what that feels like.” She buried her head back into her hands.

“I don’t appreciate your sarcasm.”

“Well, get used to it.”

“How much longer do you want to stay here, Ms. Jones?”

“Forever.” She rolled her eyes. “Of course I don’t want to be here. Will you please just let me go? It’s only a matter of time before my friends find out where you’re keeping me.”

The door suddenly opened and The Suit stepped inside. He calmly walked towards the chair, pulled it out and quietly sat down.

“They’ll never find you, Ms. Jones. You see-you are at our mercy. You are hidden between two floors, something only a few select people know about. This area is encased in concrete and even if you try to escape, you’ll never figure out how to get out of here. Where you’re at was created with the express purpose of never being able to be found.”

“If I tell you what you want to know, will you let me go?” Rosalyn looked up just for a second, worried he might see her tears.

“That depends on what you tell us.” The Suit touched his ear and responded, ‘Copy that’ to no one. “Your friends have given up. They’re gone.”

“That’s a lie. They’ll never give up.”

“That’s not what it looks like to me, Ms. Jones. They just left in a black jeep. A dog was in the back seat. It looks as if you are very much alone.”

Rosalyn didn’t care anymore-she started to cry. The Suit threw a packet of tissues at her from his pocket and left the room.

 

*****

“Yes, her name is Rosalyn Jones. She’s been missing since this morning. Yes, I’ll hold.” Bonnie practically screamed into the phone. Micah patted her shoulder, but continued to drive.

He could hear squabbling on the other end and hoped the police had already found her.

“What do you mean-24 hours?! She’s been kidnapped and I have to wait a whole day before you’ll do anything?” Bonnie had pulled the phone away from her ear and yelled directly into the mic at the bottom of the phone. “She could be dead by then! Who’s your superior officer? I want to speak to them.”

More squabbling. Micah could hear a pitch change and then a new voice on the other end of the line. He took a left, circling the same building once again.

“Yes, I’m looking for help in finding Ms. Rosalyn Jones. She had a meeting downtown this morning with a Robert Stope of the FBI at 1 Civic Center.”

The squabbling stopped and there was silence.

“Hello?” Bonnie said.

The squabbling started again but soon Bonnie hung up the phone.

“Well, what did they say?” Micah asked, parking on the side of the street.

“They said, ‘There is nothing we can do. However, know that she is safe’ and then he hung up on me. It was like that guys’ name spooked them.”

“What is happening here?” Micah pounded the steering wheel. After a few moments, he pulled back out onto the deserted street and they drove home in silence.

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Garage Sale Addict-Part 8

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.

 

*********Part 8
Chapter 4

 

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.

“Mr. Black.”

“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.

“No.”

“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.

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