Cornerstone Chapter 2

Cornerstone Chapter 2

The following week was horrible at work my co-workers acted as though I were invisible. When I went to the coffee room if anyone was in there they would leave. Finally, Charlotte came in with a plate of cookies, she filled her cup with coffee came over where I was sitting handed me one of the cookies and sat down.

“I understand that you are an honest person and you had no ulterior motive when you turned in the boss. I just want you to know what he was using the discretionary fund for; it was not to line his own pockets. He gave me $10 one day to help with paying day care. I was short that week because my youngest was sick and I had to take him to the doctors twice. John in billing needed gas money; his streak of bad luck happened when a deer totaled his car and the insurance company would not cover it, the repairs came out of pocket, he was short that week. There are many here that were helped by the boss.” Charlotte said

Tears welled up in my eyes and I hoarsely whispered: “I am so sorry, just to let you know the bosses were not concerned about the discretionary fund they are interested in who has been siphoning off the top to a tune of more than a million. I told them my error they do not believe me. I have to find out who is doing it for Cortland’s sake.”

Charlotte said: “ I will quietly tell everyone what you said and as for me if you need help just let me know what I can do.”

I perked up and leaned over to give Charlotte a hug. She hugged back.

I then said: “Charlotte do you know anyone who could check into someone’s financial records?”

Charlotte said: “I might, what are you thinking?”

I answered: “Mr. Timberland offered me Cortland’s position. I am nowhere qualified for that position; he knows very well that I am not qualified. This leaves me wondering what his motive is. I did decline the offer stating I did not want the responsibility.”

Intrinsic to my nature I reach out to others; some may say because I am so rigid in my stance since I will not lie, they believe I do not have the capacity to reach beyond my beliefs. They would be wrong; I stand at the line that I have drawn in the sand never wanting to cross the line my toes ache wanting to reach to others hoping even in the gray areas I allow myself, someone will at least touch the tips of my fingers not for help but simply to communicate. That is what Charlotte has done.

Charlotte left the coffee room assuring me she would give the information to the person she knows and she will let me know if anything is found in Mr. Timberland’s  financials.

I was glad it was Friday and I could just close myself in my little house and not poke my head out until Monday when I had to be back at work.

That did not work out the way I had hoped when I arrived home there was a message on my recorder from Mr. Cortland.”

“Emma this is Kurt Cortland I was hoping to speak with you. Could you give me a call and consider coming over this evening I will spring for a pizza and have beer on hand. We need to talk about Timberland.”

When I first heard his voice a knot clenched in my stomach, but after hearing what he said all the stress of the week seemed to evaporate.

 

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Cornerstone Chapter 1

Cornerstone

 

While I was growing up my parents took me to church and Sunday school. One of the things I took with me into adulthood besides faith is we should build our lives on a corner stone. Christian faith has one true value that all agree on. Christ came in the flesh and died for all.

My parents instilled in me the cornerstone can be applied to our lives the choices we make the lines we draw in the sand are all part of our own personal cornerstone. A cornerstone is a piece of a whole we build our lives around and upon that one thing. My cornerstone is ‘I will never lie’ that may seem insignificant to some but if you think about it how many times in your life did you tell what some people call a fib just to spare someone’s feelings?

That is harder than you think. If a friend would ask me “how do I look in this outfit?” I would say “It’s just my opinion” but I don’t think it is you. I would point out several outfits they have that I liked better on them.  My friends know me, many will not ask my opinion if they really do not want to know.

My problem arose at work; my boss wanted me to look the other way when he dipped into the discretionary fund. I did not go to his boss I merely told him that I would not lie for anyone. I hoped he would do the right thing and would stop and eventually put the money back. I kept an account of what I knew for sure when and how much he took. One day there was a meeting all bosses were in attendance. Soon it came down to mid-level which was what I was. They wanted to know if anyone in the room knew who was stealing. My heart started to race and my palms sweated. I did not raise my hand I waited until the end of the meeting and approached my boss’s boss.

The action was swift and harsh my boss Mr. Cortland was ushered out in hand cuffs he looked directly at me and said: “Fuck You!”

As it turned out the bosses did not want to know about the little stuff but who was embezzling millions. I stood before the bosses and explained my mistake. They did not believe me.

 

 

Best Friends Chapter 3

Best Friends Chapter 3

Once I cleaned up I went to the office Don was sitting at his desk his door was open so I just tapped lightly on the door jam. He looked up from his computer and motioned for me to come in. I handed him the camera and said I believe I captured Campbell in his incriminating birthday suit. I told him what had happened in my pursuit of this evidence and asked if there was hazard pay. He laughed hard and long. Once he caught his breath and wiped the tears from his eyes he viewed the photos.

He looked up at me and said: “Bravo there’s no hazard pay but there are bonus’s for superb photos and especially clarity. Write a report making sure to not leave out the detail that you saw him go into the room, and what you saw through the window. You can leave out the part of the pile of shit.”

I nodded and left the office with my next assignment. I had to go to work and told him so. I told Don I will get the photo’s of Mike Spenser stalking his ex-wife after work.

After work, I arrived home just as Carole was getting out of her car. She smelled like she was in a cologne factory when there was a malfunction. I would rather smell like that then shit. Although the strength of the scent caused me to gag so I guess it’s a toss up.

Once Carole showered and threw her clothes in the laundry she came into the kitchen where I was making dinner. She told me her assignment was to catch 2 women shop lifting. The store has their own security which the women both know on sight, store management hired the agency knowing they would not recognize anyone from there. They were adept at keeping away from surveillance cameras they have been at this for a long time. Security knew they were doing this and caught them as they were leaving the store. When they were before the judge they convinced him it was a girls day out and they were talking so much they had no intention to steal the garments they just forgot to pay.

Carole followed the women and observed them placing items in their purses, in their bras and even pulled the clothing on under what they were wearing. They were good at it unless you watched carefully you would never notice because they worked as a team using distraction as part of their act. Carole clicked off a few shots before she was noticed. One of the women came running over to her to try and grab the camera while the other sprayed cologne in Carole’s eyes and mouth. Carole has great defensive skills she took them both down simultaneously and the security guards converged on the scene aiding her in the apprehension. Carole said Don told her she would receive a bonus as well.

Her next assignment was to follow Spenser’s ex-wife to see if there was any child neglect or abuse. Great Don and Jack are playing for both sides. Don works for the mom Jack works for the Dad. This should be interesting.

We put our heads together and decided that Carole will try and make friends with Colleen and I would try and follow Mike without being noticed. Carole found out by reading the file on Colleen her routine.

Tomorrow is Thursday on Thursday Colleen takes her 2 children to the park anywhere between the hours of 9 am and 11 am. I set on a bench by the fountain where I could get a good view of the play area and a portion of the parking lot. I noticed a man walking towards the fountain and realized it was Mike Spenser. He walked over and sat near me. A half an hour passed when Colleen walked into the park accompanied by Carole. I sat wondering how she managed that.

Mike noticeably tensed up when he saw Colleen. I continued to look down at my phone which I planned on using for the photos. Mike cleared his throat, I looked over at him and said: “Excuse me?”

He glanced at me and said: “Sorry, just clearing my throat. Allergies.”

I nodded as though I understood, I had hoped this would distract him enough to make a move toward Colleen. He did just that.

I said: “Are you alright?”

He said: “Mind your own business”

I took a photo of him running in the direction of Colleen. I texted Carole that Mike was on the move. Instead of taking a direct route right behind Mike I went around the restrooms and peered from behind a tree. Colleen was pushing her daughter on a swing and Carole was at the bottom of the slide waiting for the boy to descend.

Best Friends Chapter 2

Best Friends Chapter 2

The first week after Dale and Ken left Carole moved in and we started our routine in hopes of staving off our want of our husbands. One evening as we were watching TV Carole turned the TV off and said: “ Savannah I have been thinking we should use this time wisely and maybe learn something so when the guys do set up their security business we can play a role.”

Tilting my head I asked: “What exactly are you thinking?”

She said: “I have been checking into what it takes to get a PI license. You need a background in criminal justice as a police officer or a degree. But there is another way and that is working for a licensed PI for up to 5 years. We have 4 years before the guys get back.”

I sat back trying to absorb what she was suggesting. We both have jobs that pay a couple of dollars above minimum wage so this may not be a pay cut.

Would it pay or would we just be free apprentices?” I asked

I checked with a local group. There are two out of an office next to the Catholic Church I approached Don Morris he said we would get paid per assignment.” Carole said

The next day we made an appointment for after work I told Carole it would be nice to be able to do the assignments before or after work. We figured we could arrange our work schedule to accommodate this new venture.

Dressed in jeans and a tee-shirt we sat in the waiting room for about 10 minutes before the door opened to Don’s office.

Ladies come in.” Don said as he motioned for us to sit on the love seat near his desk. There was another man standing to the left near the window he turned and smiled.

Don said: “This is my partner Jack Gibson he will also be handing out assignments. Your assignments will be benign, we will explain procedure especially how to complete your assignments legally.”

We each walked out of the office with an assignment, each assignment paid 20 dollars unless we get exceptional photographs of the person of interest.

My assignment was to find out if a Mr. James Campbell was cheating on his wife. Every Tuesday he is said to be meeting someone at the Carllie Hotel on Main street. We were told to be discrete but not told exactly how to attain photos of our suspect.

I waited in the coffee shop just inside the hotel James Campbell walked in wearing a three piece suit, he went directly to the front desk and walked away with a key card. I got in the elevator with him and saw him go into a room on the second floor. His window would be off the alley which runs alongside the hotel.

I hurried out into the alley, looking up trying to gage where the window would be. There was a dumpster under his window, I climbed atop of the dumpster and realized I would need one more thing to get me close enough to see inside the window. So far as I could see the curtain was still open. I found a plastic tub I threw it on top of the dumpster then used it for that extra I needed to look in. I was concentrating on Campbell I took a couple of shots of the woman on the bed and got off shot of Campbell as he undressed, he was just crawling on top of the woman when I took my last shot that is when I felt the dumpster move. I can not figure how I did not hear the garbage truck backing up. I stepped off the tub slipped and landed on my but as I slid off the dumpster into something that felt like pudding on the ground. When I stood up I realized it was not chocolate pudding but someone had deposited their personal waste there. Shit! Literally!

I scooted my body against the wall hoping to scrape off as much of the shit as I could without touching it with my hands or getting any on the camera. When I came out of the alley I bought a newspaper to set down on the seat of my car. I went home to shower and change before taking the camera back to the office.

Best Friends Chapter 1

Best Friends

Carole and I have been best friends since high school. Neither of us went for higher learning because we believed by the end of high school we knew everything we needed to know.

When I married Dale, Carole was my maid of honor when she married Ken I was her matron of honor. My wedding was a simple justice of the peace hers was a big bash with the church and reception. At Carole’s reception, we sat in the parking lot of the reception hall drinking wine and laughing about all the dumb things we did in high school.

Do you remember when we lured Kevin into the girl’s bathroom making him believe we would both be eager participants?” Carole asked

I remember the bathroom was filled with girls all hiding in the stalls and when Kevin pulled his pants down all the stall doors opened and the girls in unison said Oooooh Kevin!” I answered

We started to laugh remembering he ran out of the bathroom struggling to get his pants back up and was caught by the principal.

I think we were hard on him,” I said

No, we were not! When he lied to the guys about going all the way with Vanessa and she started to get all the phone calls and cat calls from the guys, he deserved the humiliation. We stepped in so he was not put on the list for perverts.” Carole said

I looked down at my glass and noticed something floating in it.

I yelled: “Oh my Gawd there is an ant floating in my wine!”

Carole laughed and said: “Darn I wish I would have gotten to know her before her untimely demise.”

I laughed and said: “Carole you’re weird!”

She nodded her head and said: “I know right?”

Both of our husbands had known each other from grade school, they understood Carole’s and my relationship. Dale and Ken had a similar connection they were both warriors at heart and they were constantly competing with each other.

One evening after work we were all sitting in the backyard drinking beer, decompressing. Dale was the one who broached the subject with us girls.

Girls, Ken and I want to talk to you about something we have decided we wanted to do. We both want to join the Marines.”

My beer was midway to my lips when I looked over at Dale, tears were stinging my eyes and I said: “Why?”

I love you Savannah, all I could think about was that I wanted to marry you. Now I am thinking about our future. In the Marines, I can learn more about defense and security, Ken and I want to start our own consulting firm one day. Being a Marine will be the beginning of our credentials.” Dale said

We know the money will not be the same as what we are bringing in right now but when we finish our 4-year tour things will change for the better if you girls will hold down the fort while we are gone you will see this is a good decision,” Ken said

I did not like it but at the end of the evening, I could tell they already made up their minds. The only good thing to come out of this was Carole moved in the house with me to help with the payments while the guys were gone.

 

The Leaf – Conclusion

The Leaf Chapter 2

Charlie called today asking if I would like to go out for dinner. I said no. I am not sure why I have been pulling away from him. Nothing has changed I know I am in love with him yet I sit here by the window crying as the rain pelts the glass wishing I could remember what my grandmother whispered in my ear to make me feel better.

Music played in the background of my thoughts, a serenade of notes I used to enjoy considering they used to be uplifting but at this moment it sounds more like a dirge. It has been a year to the day Kyle was taken from me. Our music we used to dance to with every intention of culminating our lust now sounds more of a cosmic longing. I want my Kyle back yet I feel guilty for loving Charlie. What was it my Grandmother whispered in my ear I need to hear it again, I need to feel the comfort of her breath on my skin and the words of comfort.

There are no bright lights on in the house only a lamp on the table next to the chair I am sitting on. It is autumn the rain is still pelting the window, a car pulls into my driveway at the same time an oak leaf drops from the old oak tree and sticks to the window. The car lights illuminate the leaf long enough for me to see each vein and the graduated color of fall etched upon the thin veil of the leaf. My soul is stuck to the window understanding the leaf’s loss. I felt as though the rain was pelting against my soul.

Footsteps pulled my attention to the front door as the hand used its fist to intrude on my thoughts all decorum said I should get up and answer the door.

I forced myself to get up and answer the door. Charlie stood dripping wet with Chinese food in his hand. His smile was tenuous when he said: “I hope wine goes well with Chinese I am not in the mood for Shoji .”

I smiled despite myself while Charlie took his wet coat off and shoes I placed the food and wine on the dining room table. When I turned Charlie was at the CD player placing a CD into the slot. An old Bonnie Rait song came on ‘Let’s give them something to talk about.’

I walked over to Charlie he leaned in and whispered ‘ No matter what Madison I will always love you.’ I started to cry uncontrollably Charlie held me and asked: “Why are you crying?”

I said: “Ever since Kyle was taken from me I have been trying to remember what my grandmother used to whisper in my ear when I was upset. She would always say, ‘no matter what Madison I will always love you’ It always made me feel better.”

The Leaf Chapter 1

The Leaf

 

Today I moved furniture in my home and in my life. It is symbolic not just the need to clean in the corners although there are webs in my heart and my mind. I was there when he needed help to go to the bathroom. I was there when he took his last breath. I was there while the hospice nurse checked for a pulse and made the call that took him from me. I was there numbly watching as they descended the stairs and took him from our home.

I stood at the top of those stairs for the longest time trying to remember what my grandmother whispered in my ear when I had colic and would not stop crying. She whispered in my ear the same thing each time I cut or bruised myself. I searched within my memory just for the slightest remembrance of that special whisper that always gave me comfort. Why can’t I remember?

The cloth in my hand is soiled to the point of needing to be replaced; yet I cling to it and continue cleaning, not convinced I am accomplishing anything yet I cling. Finally after 8 hours of moving, arranging, and pitching things I believe I accomplished only one thing, emptiness. Shopping is the first thing which came to mind, yet I know the mere purchase of a new item will not fill the void I feel I need a change in my nest. This house used to be a home but to me now it is only a nest. A home you plan on staying in a nest is easily left by the wind beneath a wing.

It has been a year since Kyle crossed over to his new home and yet some evenings I sit tensing my soul trying to listen for that voice that kept the bad dreams away. What did my grandmother whisper in my ear?

Someone new has come into my life; this excites me and scares me all at the same time. I had the best of the best with Kyle no one could live up to what we had together, the good and the bad in each of us seemed nothing compared to what the world pressed against us we stood together stronger than any storm that came our way.  This new man seems distant yet close as though he is waiting to see if I am going to make a home with him or a nest. I really don’t know. I do know I am in love with him and at the same time, I don’t want to be in love with him. My confusion is what keeps him distant no matter what positive, loving things I say and do he knows my heart is not in it all the way. My toes are in the water but I am not ready to swim the current might be too strong this time.

Sin tastes good Chapter 2

Sin Taste Good Chapter 2

New developments

The next day we were contacted by the father of a girl Jennifer went to school with he had asked if he could come over and have a chat with us. Andy took the call and agreed to a conversation that neither of us knew what the subject was going to be.

Andy answered the door when Fred Beck knocked as he walked his shoulders were slumped but his head was up and his eyes fierce.  I knew instinctively this man was under a great deal of strain. He sat down and I asked if he would like a cup of coffee he asked for something stronger.

I brought him and Andy a beer we sat at our dining room table and waited for Fred to tell us what he needed from us. 

Fred took a pull from the beer, giving it a moment to hit bottom before he began the tale of what happened to his daughter Corey. It seems Governor Clark’s son Jason has a way with the girls but not the sort of easy way as he had with Jennifer it seems Jason would lure the girls to a secluded place and demand being pleasured or he would not take them back to the main road. The girls would accept the invitation because Jason is on the football team and his father is the Governor. Prestige is an aphrodisiac to some but a lure to others. 

Jennifer was sitting on a stool at our counter listening to the conversation. To her credit, she did not say anything she just listened. 

After Fred filled us in on all the gory details which included two other girls that had a similar experience he was hoping Jennifer would lend her story to this fray to add credibility to their assertion that Jason was a predator.

Camera Chapter 3 conclusion

Camera Chapter 3

Finding Connie

While I was combing through three days’ worth of grainy video Detective Ross had Rose work with a sketch artist hoping it could lead to the identity of the man who claimed to be from missing persons.

Two days prior to the amusement park opening up a man with keys entered the back door of the woman’s bathroom he turned out to be maintenance. One day before the amusement park opened the same man entered carrying what looked like tools. The amusement park manager said he was fixing faucets and toilets. My frustration was starting to show when my boss came back he had with him coffee and sausage McMuffin from McDonald’s I said: “Thanks, but I need more than a McCrapper to eat.” I knew as soon as it came out of my mouth it was a horrible thing to say. He looked at me and said: “Told you to go home and get some rest.”

I apologized and then ate the McCrapper and pointed to the screen with a full mouth I yelled: “Oh shit there is a guy with a crow bar trying to break into the woman’s restroom!” I sprayed part of the Crapper on the screen. I cleaned it off slowed down the film and tried to enhance the image. Ross walked in the room while I was working on it. We compared the image to the rendering the sketch artist came up with. It was a match.

My job isn’t over I need to go back to the day of the disappearance to see if the same man entered that day. It took an hour and I found him he walked in like he owned the place, here is where I started to go slow to see if he exited with anyone. Finally, I saw him exit, it was dark but the moon was full that night I inched the frame ever so slowly until I got a glimpse of a second shadow shorter than the man. I did not see a struggle, just a silhouette walking with the man. I could not get it any clearer it was too grainy and too dark.

I took stills of each frame which showed the man; I took it to the police station. I showed them to Ross. Ross said they tracked down the man in the photo and he is indeed from Missing Persons part of the FBI’s special unit. I stood transfixed wondering what the heck was going on.

As it turned out Rose and Frank Mellon abducted Connie while she was playing in her back yard she was 3 at the time. When FBI agent Carpenter heard a girl fitting the description of the 3-year-old who was abducted seven years ago, it lead him to the amusement park where Frank Mellon worked as a grounds keeper. Carpenter kept hitting dead ends each time he thought he was close because the Mellon’s kept moving to a different apartment then they fell off the face of the earth except for Frank’s job. Turns out the Mellon’s were living in a Maintenance shed for a week before Carpenter caught up with them. The maintenance guy on the video said nothing to management because he had lived there when he had a string of bad luck; he was trying to help them out.

Connie’s real name is Marie Santini she will be reunited with her parents in an hour as soon as they arrive from Detroit.

I love my job. Now I am going to go home and sleep for 24 hours.

Camera Chapter 2

Camera Chapter 2

Getting to the truth

 

At this point, the ten-year-old girl had been missing for 10 hours her name is Connie Marie Mellon. Rose Mellon is Connie’s stepmother, Rose sat next to her attorney staring at her coffee barely blinking. Rose’s attorney was court appointed, he looked disheveled but he sounded sharp.

“Detective Ross we need to get to what evidence you say you have against my client.” Clark Rose’s attorney said

“I would like to ask Rose what happened after she went to the restroom with Connie. I would like to know why she went in with Connie but did not come out with Connie?” Ross asked

Clark looked at Rose nodded and told her to tell Ross what she told him.

“I went in with Connie, we each went into a stall when I was done I washed my hands and called out to Connie she did not answer. I checked the stalls she was not in any of them. I told the first officer who came when we called. It should be in his notes that he took.” Rose said

Ross looked at her his brow furrowed looking confused, Ross excused himself and walked out of the room, ten minutes he came back into the room and asked Connie; “What was the officer’s name and was he wearing a uniform?”

“No he was wearing a suit like you have on, he said he was from missing persons. He was tall heavy set, dark hair, blue eyes and had a scar just below his left eye.” Rose answered.

Normally if someone is lying their description would be vague and sketchy, Rose’s was precise.My gut tells me Rose did not do it and what she said sent a red flag up. Missing persons would show up so soon a uniform officer would be the first on the scene. I looked at Ross I know he was thinking the same thing. He again excused himself as he was walking out the door he mumbled: “SHIT”

I excused myself and walked out behind Ross, I called out “Ross”

Ross turned as I caught up to him I said: “I want to go back to the office and comb through the footage and see if I can find footage that shows if there are any back doors to the restrooms, a maintenance door or something. Ross said he would send a uniform there to take a look, we both believe something was missed.

I settled in and started combing through more footage even footage of the day before and the day before that to see if I could find anything. I looked at the clock on my office wall and realized I have been at this for 5 hours yet I do not feel fatigued I feel antsy and a bit cautious not wanting to miss anything. The phone on my desk rang it was Ross he said there indeed was a maintenance door on the restroom, the officer said it looked like someone had pried the door open.

The amusement park opened 2 days before the Mellon’s visited it so I went back to the day before the park opened hoping to find someone hanging around the woman’s restroom.

My boss came in to tell me to go home and use fresh eyes after a couple of hours of sleep. I told him I couldn’t sleep even if I tried.

He said: “Suit yourself I will see you in five hours.”