Is Revenge that Necessary?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Now picture the scene…’ – and she held both hands in front of her palms up front, with the thumbs in a 90° arc from the other fingers and their nails touching each other – ‘It’s quite the blizzard outside the house. Somebody gets out of the car, the house had (for the moment) space for only one car in its garage remember?, and rushes (carefully) to the front door of the house, opens it and gets inside. And, as she starts to remove all those clothes that protected her from the weather outside and hang them in the hooks on the wall by the door, we can see that the newcomer is a tall brunette young woman with a very ample bust that is stretching the cotton shirt she now exhibits to the camera…’

 

Charity was really emulating her Spike Lee’ side as she described the situation!

 

‘She looks at the room where her sister is watching TV and calls her name… once… twice. But the younger woman’s head only slightly moves as she makes unintelligible noises that the newcomer barely hears (remember, I had put the volume of the TV not incredibly loud… but it was very loud). So what passed in Joan’s mind at that moment? ‘She dozed off in front of the TV’… and that’s what she half said to/half admonished her little sister with as she went through the hallway to meet her.’

 

Suddenly Charity made a quick move with her hands, who had wandered in front of her as if following and ‘filming’ Joan Small as she entered her own house, and now her face appeared in the gap between both palms. She really liked that!

 

‘Now the camera focuses on the girl on the couch, Jordan Small, and more specifically on her gagged face. The camera opens up the scenario that Joan is about to meet. The whole part below her nose is now behind blue tape, her very young body lies on the couch involved in all that blue tape (and her pink lingerie), and I am crouching in front of her, keeping her still with one hand (and some treats) and a gun in the other hand… Joan gets closer, closer… she starts to move as if to ‘wake up’ Jordan and that’s when I jump from my point… I actually jumped over Jordan and stood in between the couch and the dumbfounded Joan… who obviously recognized me…’

 

Since, as everybody expected, tonight’s ‘theme’ for our reunion was ‘Revenge’ (so we could pry from Charity the story behind her second meeting with ‘So Ungrateful Joan’), it was obvious that Charity had rehearsed how she was going to tell her tale.

 

She hadn’t been the first to talk, but as I warned Irma and Dora that I would be late (more than the usual that is) for our gathering they had managed to elaborate a good excuse as to why they should tell their stories (that I already knew way too well) about the ‘subject’. By the time I finally arrived at that club Dora was but finishing to tell them about how she had made that ******* pay for leaving her bound and gagged buck naked inside a bathtub… and calling the cops as soon as he left her home in her car!!!

Irma’s story, about how she dealt with a couple of ‘friends’ that tried to backstab her one too many times, had been the very first story of that night.

 

So Charity saw all eyes converging on her, sighing a very fake ‘sigh’, she started her tale. How she had found out Joan Small (and her littlest sister Jordan, there were also Jasmyn and Julie Small, not very imaginative their parents were...huh?, but they lived elsewhere) was living was fairly easy, but she kept that info useless until the day that she decided that she was going to meet her quite unexpectedly.

 

That is, she made no plans, she did not elaborate on how she was going to serve that cold dish to herself (quite the opposite of Irma and Dora!)… she had a successful job, a bad night with the guy that had helped her with aforementioned job, then a failed one, then another failed one and then… as she lied low she started to think ‘Should I go to that town and meet that ****? Yes or no?’ and suddenly, when she heard that Jack Frost was about to arrive very earlier that year, she jumped on her car and crossed three states until she got there. She parked it at a mall and took a cab to a neighboring house and, after ‘finding out’ that her ‘fiancé’ had given her the ‘wrong address’ she decided to ‘take a walk to his house’… she surprised Jordan Small as the girl was leaving her car and soon had the ultra-frightened girl stripped to her underwear, taped into submission and placed as a bait on the couch in front of the TV, and now…

 

‘She stood there, unable to say anything or move, and then she found her voice back…’ – The ‘camera’ she had made with her hands was ‘dismounted’ suddenly and she took quite the serious pose as she imitated Joan’s voice – ‘Do anything you want with me, I deserve it, but please don’t hurt my baby sister…’.

 

‘And you?’ – Gina was the most enthralled by Charity’s words.

 

‘I had her stripped, completely, in front of me, told her to turn around and roped her up in no time. Seriously, I… had bought a book about how to bind, ‘erotically’ that is, your lover… I know… and I used what I could remember of those pictures on her upper torso and legs. It wasn’t ‘just’ a matter to tie her elbows together and do the same with her wrists… I really took my time and (I confess) enjoyed all the shivers and trembles that my actions gave to Joan as she realized that I wasn’t going to ‘plain and simply’…’

 

‘You mean bitch… no… (…) I mean it. You. Mean. Bitch!’

 

Mary wasn’t the only one to so openly bash Charity, half the table was with her. The other half tried to reason that, after all, Charity had the right to be so mad at Joan.

 

But, as Fay pointed out, Joan had been the very first girl to be captured by those two ******** (one whole day before Arabella and Samantha), so she had spent hours being crudely (and yet ‘artistically’) overly restrained by them among other things… rumor has it that she had to endure an upside down suspension for like three hours!

 

And obviously Charity was thinking about that rumor, and many others of the same nature, when she bought that book since that sailorette (or was it girl scout?) knew more about knots than Eric Stanton! She had acted like one so she deserved the name!

 

Anyway! At some point I realized that she was crying and whatever ‘revenge feeling’ that I had with me was suddenly gone. Puff!!!! Just like that. So I spun her around and hug her, and after a while a broke the hug, dried her tears and gagged her. I made both sisters sit side by side on the couch and stood in front of them…’

 

‘And you did not know the slightest thing that you should do from then on…’ – I said.

 

‘Exactly. Both brunettes were begging with their eyes all sort of stuff that you can imagine, they tried with their mouths too but I had gagged them well enough for that. And then I looked at the smaller one and asked her: ‘Are you hungry?’… She looked at me as if I was now an alien from the Planet X… and I explained myself. Obviously I was going to have some sort of conversation with her sister, and she hadn’t been invited to it. So I was going to stash her somewhere in the house… after I was sure that she wasn’t going to feel any hunger or thirst or bodily demand to go to the WC while I had said conversation with her big sis. She nodded when I remade my question and I went to the kitchen to make a couple of sandwiches for her. And as I pretended to have gone straight to there, I stood by the opening that was its entrance, both sisters…’

 

‘Wormed their way until they were back to back sitting on the couch…’ – said Mary.

 

‘And tried to free each other…’ – continued Hannah.

 

‘Only to see you inches away from them, towering the duo with a ‘nasty’ expression in your face and holding… a mean looking roll of silver tape?’ – finished/asked Dora.

 

‘Black electrician tape. By the time I returned to the kitchen both sisters were now writhing helplessly while tremendously taped to sturdy oak chairs, that I had place like twenty yards away from each other on both ends of the room. And I had them tape blindfolded and ear plugged (with cotton) after I whispered to both of them ‘I know I deserve whatever you may be thinking of me right now, but do you really want to **** me off?’. Jordan tried to plead and beg but I warned her to just eat the tuna sandwiches (and in silence) or she would spend hours locked somewhere in the house… terrified to her core… upside down… naked… and with only an empty stomach as her company!’

 

Mary was about to reprieve Charity again but LeeAnn grabbed her hand and whispered something in her ear, and Mary acted as if she finally realized that Charity was actually atoning for her actions against Joan… she stayed silent for most of the rest of the tale.

 

‘After the sandwich I taped her hands in front, undid all the restrains that held her body to the chair and grabbed her in a fireman’s carry… upstairs we went! She was so tense, so obvious! So heavy! After I recovered I took a good look at her. I knew that she was up to something but not what she did! THAT was absolutely unexpected!’

 

‘Which was?’ – asked Fay and Hannah at the same time.

 

‘I told her to took off her clothes, I didn’t wanted to watch her doing her business in the bathroom and if she was naked she wouldn’t be dumb and suicidal to try to leave the house through the small window during a blizzard. She tried it anyway…’

 

Excuse me?’ – Sondra’s loud incredulity attracted more attention than we wanted from the other patrons of that club, but after a while…

 

‘Minus thirty and dropping fast, visibility like a couple of yards ahead if that much and she still tried it after she tried to lock the door! She was halfway through, and shivering already, when I grabbed her skinny waist and brought her back inside the bathroom. She tried to oppose to my efforts of re-restrain her and you know what she did?’

 

But before she answered her own question Charity’s eyes sparked a new gleam… and instead of giving us the continuation of the story she started to talk about Jordan.

 

‘Later, a little later, Joan would tell me about the nightmares she got about me and my vengeance on her, quite the ugly ones!, and because of them Jordan had decided to find out who actually was ‘Francine Doe’. The FBI and (everybody else on the ‘right side’ of the law) were too incompetent to do it? So she was going to find out who I was and hand them my name and current address in a silver plate!’

 

Too much Nancy Drew wasn’t even beginning to explain Jordan’s exploits in order to pick, among the thousands of still at large (at the time) unknown criminals in the USA, the ‘right one’. That little girl (she started it when she was 13) was nut! But after she got herself a large database with over five thousand nicknames and aliases in it…

 

Charity dared us to find out who, among the unknown (to the law enforcement’s dudes and dudettes that is) female criminals that we knew of, was the one that the crazy (and DUMB!!!) brunette was sure that was ‘Francine Doe’, which also explained why she was so determined to get out of the house (under that weather) no matter what to save herself and her sister! But as soon as Hannah said her choice Charity told her to try again because Jordan had been wrong all along, even about her race!

 

‘Come again?’ – Hannah (and us all) didn’t understand what she said.

 

‘She got all those files about crimes made by women whose fingerprints and DNA were unknown, since after all they (the FBI and local law agencies) have those things of me (but nothing else)… so she concentrated her attention on those made by women good enough to even hide their race and skin color from their victims…’

 

‘She thought that you were…’ – I started.

 

‘…a gal that we know that is white?’ – finished Sondra.

 

And Charity merely nodded! Oh boy! That was too good to be true!

 

But none of us got the name right in our first attempts, neither in the seconds, and that’s when Charity admonished us all because we were choosing names of ‘too kind ones’, and Jordan’s incredibly stupid escape attempt was motivated because she had (wrongly) deduced that she (‘Francine’) was a mean psychopathic ****!

 

OK… Hannah came with the name of a gal that died unlamented. No. Sondra tried with the alias of a monster now doing thirty to life in a horrible place that is way much better than she deserves. Nope. Mary’s try was so lame that doesn’t deserve commentaries. Fay’s was a good one, that ********* is going to hell when they execute her!, but no again. LeeAnn (per Charity’s admission) got close enough... ‘but no cigar’.

 

And I hit...

 

Gertha Andersen Matthaus?’

 

‘J-a-c-k-p-o-t…’

 

This time we (well, me actually) had to pretend that Charity had told the incredibly stupid thing she had heard from a co-worker, actually a former one of my own (he got fired due to his antics of converting his co-workers to the ‘truth’), that explained how the world was actually flat ‘but why the satellites could not show us that’, as an excuse to our loud incredulity. We had to repeat it since one of the patrons of a nearby table saw his friends laughing and wanted to understand what was the joke…

 

After the laughter subsided…

 

‘‘The White Panther’? She really thought that YOU were that...’

 

‘...Neonazi ****? Yes, Mary, she was adamant of it actually! So there was I holding her in between my legs, and demanding to know why she had just tried to give herself a fatal dose of  hypothermia, and she says: ‘I know who you are... White Panther!’...’

 

This time we managed to hold our laughs...

 

‘And I MUST have put quite a face for in the next instant she was looking at me puzzled, then really puzzled... and then I couldn’t see her face because I started rolling on the floor next to her laughing quite maniacally. But as soon as she tried to stand up I grabbed one of her legs and with my other hand, the left one, I pointed a gun at her. ‘You stupid idiot!’, I said and then I asked her what she knew about the victims of that quite infamous burglar, she told me like six or seven cases that she had researched about and then I asked her what was the common factor between all them... It took her a while to realize that they were all very successful and rich NON-WASP people, save for a gay couple, and when she understood it... and come on, it was that obvious all along!... she blushed so adorably! I told her to use the bathroom and get ready to be tied up (again), and that I was NOT going to ‘punish’ her for mistaking me for that...’

 

‘But...?’ – Sondra asked in our name, the gleam in Charity’s eyes was so obvious...

 

‘Well, we went to her bedroom and I did a very simple job... crossed wrists, ankles and legs right above the knees tied together... then I carefully place her over her single bed right beside the footboard, I grabbed ALL the bedding (the two sheets, the duvet and the blanket) at the foot of the bed and started wrapping it...’

 

Oh no...’ – LeeAnn’s face (pretending to be offended/surprised) was very hilarious!

 

‘...with her in the middle of it all of course! Once I reached the headboard I grabbed a few of her belts and sashes and make sure that the exquisite ‘roll’ would stay put together, and then I told her sister what she had just done!’

 

‘You devil!’ – but this time it was obvious that Mary was joking...

 

‘When I returned to Joan... well it was fairly obvious that she was fearing the worst and worser. The look she gave me when I removed the blindfold... Sigh! She had heard my laughter (with one ear that she somehow managed to free) and was wondering what the cause of it was. I asked her if, ‘unlike your dumb Nancy Drew-wannabe of a sister’, she was going to give me any trouble... and when I said that she changed her look to a slight enraged ‘Don’t tell me!’... Contrary to Jordan (and her sisters), Joan did not believed for a second that I was the ‘White Panther’. She had correctly deduced that all the jobs that Jordan pinned on me were the works of a white supremacist, but her two older and one younger one sisters were quite the thick, thicker and thickest skull ones... and when I told her about Jordan’s ‘escape attempt’... her eyes... oh her eyes... and even behind that multi-layered I could hear perfectly: ‘Say what?’’

 

‘You almost felt sorry for Jordan?’ – asked Dora.

 

‘Oh come on! I basked on it! Joan wanted me to free her ASAP so she could... I don’t know... spank Jordan? Lecture her? ...? who knows? But I told her to calm down. First she was going to use the bathroom, to have a bath actually, next I would give her some underwear and tape her up, and only after that she would meet her sister. She gave me no trouble at all and, like twenty minutes later, I led her to her sister’s bedroom. My last act of malice against her was that, after she emerged from the bathroom in one of her younger sister’s cream set of bikini-like lingerie (two numbers smaller than it should be...), I had her taped in a way that she could only hop and not walk, and couldn’t use her arms or hands against the riding crop (HERS!) I had in my hands as an incentive for her speed... The way she looked at me... and I said: ‘Oh come on, you were expecting me to be mean to you, right? That’s all the meanness I can muster now...’’

 

‘And you did use the crop?’ – asked Dora.

 

‘Only six... or seventeen times...’

 

That’s when something unexpected happened. Our/my ‘anecdote’ about the wisdom of a flat-Earth believer was roaming around the club, and a couple of flat-Earth believers did found themselves very insulted with the way we had mocked that ‘sage’...

 

Oh the rage of the righteous (dumbass self-servicing ****** that is)!

 

After the bouncers had them expelled we decided to go to a quieter place, and about thirty minutes later we were at a bistro. After our orders, and some flirtatious acts from Hannah towards a lone guy that wasn’t that beautiful, I resumed.

 

‘As soon as we entered her room Jordan’s expression was of shock, quickly changed to ‘fear’ when I removed the cleave gag from Joan’s lips and she hopped, already giving her a tongue lashing, to the bed. After about three minutes she realized that I was still by the door, holding the crop, and that I was enjoying the show... she looked at me and I decided to give them some privacy, after I checked if there was anything anywhere in the room (within their limited reach or not) that could be used to free Joan. And I stood by the stairway, against the balustrade, while Joan continued her lecture... I don’t know why she wanted me out of the room, I could hear her quite perfectly!’

 

‘That mad?’ – asked Fay.

 

‘Later I would learn a little more about the Smalls, Jordan was the younger of four sisters that had to fend for themselves after their parents’ death. I mean there was this aunt of theirs that was their legal guardian (but she was in and out of hospitals on a very regular basis). And Joan never had the proverbial good health... so the fact that she, due to her stubbornness! (and incapacity to accept Joan’s clear like water logic), had tried to go buck naked outside at night and during a blizzard... When the tears came I went there and hugged Joan as she kept saying ‘you idiot’ in between sobs.’

 

‘And afterwards?’both Mary and Fay said at the same time.

 

‘Well, I anchored Joan to that bed with some rope and put her besides Jordan, oh yeah... I forgot to tell you. After I clasped the last buckle I rotated her 90° so Jordan’s body was fully resting over her now bare mattress, I put her head over a pillow and tied her bound ankles to one of the front feet of the bed and went after Joan. Now I tied Joan’s feet to the other front foot, the right one if not mistaken, added a few ropes here and there (to reduce considerably her arms movements), and then I dried Jordan’s tears and left the sister talking to each other. I was hungry and my conversation with Joan could wait for dinner. I fixed some pasta I found in the freezer and served both me and Joan a good lot of it. Jordan was fed by Joan a tiny little bit... Next, per Joan’s request, I freed Jordan from her cocoon and took her downstairs. Next I freed Joan from the most part of her bonds and took her downstairs. And, while me and Joan had our conversation, Jordan was writhing on the floor, hogtied à-la-Wolfe-mode (that bondage dude that uses way too much rope on his models?), and unaware that we were like five feet away from her.’

 

But Charity refused to say anything about the conversation itself.

 

It was fairly obvious that she pried from Joan the reason behind that ‘accursed’ (for her) facial composite Joan had delivered from her bed at the hospital a couple of hours after she was admitted in. But apart from the fact that it lasted ‘three hours, give or take a few minutes’, she didn’t said anything about it.

 

‘After we were through I hugged her and I told her we were all going to sleep ‘on the king size bed upstairs’. But that bed belonged to her parents, and had never been used ever since their deaths, so she begged me and we all ended up sleeping in the same room: I alone on the single bed and the sisters well bound hand and foot inside sleeping bags, that I had tightened with a lot of belts around their bodies, at my left on the floor. Morning came and I was going to free them before I fixed breakfast for us three... I was going to feed them one last time, lock them somewhere with some scissors within their reach and leave... but a male voice awakened us three...’

 

‘Who?’Hannah was the faster one of us all.

 

‘Conrad-something, Julie’s husband. The way-too-close-to-an-actual-whiteout had cut both landline and cellphone’s communication in that state that night, so the first thing in the morning that Julie and her husband did was check on the family to see if anyone was in need of some kind of help. His parents were alright and so was his brother, and when he barged into the room, attracted by the weird muffled noises he was hearing...’

 

‘You... conked him in the head?’ – asked Mary. Charity shook her head.

 

‘Kicked him... there?’ – Dora, and again Charity shook her head.

 

‘Held him at gunpoint!’LeeAnn, to which Charity mouthed ‘And...?’.

 

‘Hmm... Julie was close behind?’ – Charity nodded – ‘And you made her tie... tape up her husband?’ – Charity shook her head while making her index fingers do synchronic circular movements – ‘The other way around? He taped her up?’ – Nod – ‘Hmm... After he was finished you locked him somewhere else in the house?’ – Nod – ‘After you taped him up?’ – Charity shook her head – ‘Conked him enough times for him to go straight to Dream State, Slumberland?’ – Nod – ‘A closet?’ – Charity shook her head – ‘The  basement?’ – Nod – ‘Hmm... and then you left the house?’

 

‘After I put on some clothes...’

 

Oh yeah, Charity still has the habit of sleeping like Marilyn Monroe did... and she did smiled so candidly when we realized that she had done all that in her birthday suit!

 

‘But how come we never heard about it?’ – Dora asked.

 

‘As I was fighting my trousers, as they suddenly decided to be unwearable, I looked at Joan and promised her that if she did not called the cops I would quit my ‘life outside the law’ for good. They didn’t called those boys, and I have been clean ever since.’

 

‘Next? Can I be the next one?’ – No one had objections to Mary’s request, but instead of started to tell her story she fidgeted with her smarthphone until she found the picture she wanted. Sighing very audibly she turned to Dora.

 

‘It’s him, isn’t? This is the man you knew as ‘Richard’... right?’

 

And it was him alright. The smartphone was passed around us all before it was returned to Mary. In the picture she was having a tasty lunch in some sunny place with four guys with her at the table. Two wore Army Rangers uniforms, one was Bugs Kremp (in his early teens, 14 at most) and the last one was Richard Dubrowski...

 

‘My cousin Leonard and his platoon buddy Aaron died like... less than a month after they returned to Iraq, and this is the last picture I took with him... I won’t gonna delete it just because the *************(!) is in it too! Well, there’s another reason as to why I won’t gonna ever erase this picture... but I am not telling you guys right now...’

 

‘And you knew him as...?’ – Dora asked her.

 

‘Dennis O’Shea... Like he did with you he created a good (fake) back-up for himself when he started to hang around the places I was used to at the time...’

 

Mary’s tale was very similar to Dora’s. The same approach, more or less the same way he let her ‘discover’ that he was a criminal, he wasn’t a very imaginative... whatever... and then... after Mary heard about the daring B&E (on one-of-those-guys-you-NEVER-mess-with’s one and only daughter’s house) that was only successful because the getaway car had been ‘specially tuned’ by ‘an expert’...

 

‘...He wasn’t there. Nor were his clothes and MY money, my emergency reserve...’

 

‘How much?’ – asked Fay.

 

‘Twenty grands. I must have smashed or broke a vase and a few other stuff before I just rested against a wall and let myself slid to the floor. I don’t know for how long I stood there. And then my phone was ringing, it was Harris ‘Broke’ Brock. He wanted to know if I had seen Bugs Kremp, who at the time was just a kid who liked to listen stories about past jobs, because he had just seen the guy he had told him to be on the lookout for, and I was almost dismissing him he told me that ‘the guy’ was...’

 

Dennis O’Shea. Oh man...’ – Fay knew the rest of the story already...

 

‘Shut up! Let ME tell the story... So I managed to make ‘Broke’ tell me the whole story, Bugs had showed him this very picture and told him to be aware of Dennis (although he didn’t told him why) presence in that part of town...’

 

‘Next to the marina?’ – asked Hannah.

 

‘Yes. So I thanked ‘Broke’ grabbed a gun I had hid in a different spot in my house and I went to that alley five blocks away from the marina..., bingo! There was the red Toyota Mark II! I took a look around and found an open door...’

 

We ALL made well known for her our disbelief with her naiveté, Irma even went to the length of asking if the ‘It’s a trap!’ neon sign was off..., but she tried to excuse herself remembering that she had never been a field agent, just a mechanic...

 

‘Anyway... I got into the place and there was this sound, weird and muffled, that put me in alert, I grabbed the gun and went in the direction of the sound. The place looked it had been once a shop or the likes and I had entered through its back door, and the sound was guiding me to the opposite side of the back of the ‘shop’. There I found what was obviously somebody (probably bound) sitting on a chair and covered with a tarp. I removed the tarp and there she was... twenty years tops, wearing a pink T-shirt and a white Bermuda shorts over what was obviously a very tiny string bikini, and tape all over her! She had been gagged and blindfolded with that silver tape as well. I stashed my gun in my pants, in the back, and was about to remove the tape when I heard it...’

 

‘The cocking of a gun?’

 

‘No, Hannah, they tased me. When I came to I was lying on the floor by the side of the chair where the girl was still imprisoned. Dennis and ‘Broke’ were standing in front of me and admiring the ropework on my body, I had been placed in a very taut hogtie, and when I realized that what ‘Broke’ was holding in one hand were my clothes...’

 

‘And who was the chick?’ – asked both Dora and Gina.

 

‘*********** *********’s little girl.’ – answered Fay in Mary’s place.

 

We stood there for a moment with our mouths wide open, minus Gina (as soon as she started to give what we all knew would be a very loud ‘What?’ she was handgagged by both Dora and LeeAnn), until Mary sighed once more and resumed.

 

‘The daring ‘B&E’ at her house? They were looking after something that they believed ‘daddy’ had given to her to guard it for him, they didn’t found it and took her in order to trade her freedom for ‘it’. She wasn’t alone at home when they broke in, so they tied up her three friends and her but took just her with them. HE told everybody to make it look like his daughter was one of the dames that he had transferred to a private clinic... so the cops couldn’t and didn’t learn about the kidnapping...’

 

‘But... who could be that stupid?’ – asked Gina, as soon as she was allowed to speak.

 

Dunno... did you?’ – But Fay shook her head, the fact that her husband had told her about it was already too much disclosure for his health – ‘It seems that it was like this, giant monkey ‘A’ scratches the back of big monkey ‘B’, who then scratches the back of monkey ‘C’, who scratches the back of small monkey ‘D’, who goes scratch the back of monkey ‘A’... a big exchange of favors that someone, wanting something from big-badass-daddy, had started and eventually was a special job that landed on his hands, and since whatever it was it wasn’t where they had been told it would be...’

 

‘But why did they lure you into that trap?’ – LeeAnn asked first.

 

‘They wanted me to fix their second getaway, that was showing some malfunction that I never actually knew what it was, and I was supposed to call ‘Bugs’ Kremp...’

 

‘Why?’ – asked Gina to Fay and Dora and Chastity to Mary at the same time.

 

‘Because of his memory, as I told you he hanged around me and other ‘support crew’ dudes and dudettes when he wasn’t hanging around the ‘serious folk’. So when he made a few questions about Dennis O’Shea he was told the pack of lies... that man... told me (and I had told others), and knew that whoever Denny was he was a big liar. The whole action (the robbery turned kidnapping) was supposed to be credited to that person that didn’t existed, Dennis O’Shea, but there was this troublemaker teenage kid wandering about town with a lot of dangerous knowledge in his head and unpleasant questions in his mouth. They needed to shut him up, permanently, as badly as they needed to do...’

 

‘The same with you?’Mary nodded and it was Hannah’s turn to be handgagged by the two nearest her, the bistro was starting to get crowded after all... cue to us all to find some place with private cabins so we could finish our rounds of tales in peace.

 

Our last stop that night was at Dora’s house. It was one of the weekends her ex was allowed to be with their children so we had it all to ourselves.

 

‘But they didn’t have to force me to call him or anything like that. As he was starting to make his treats against my body and everything else... Harris’ cellphone rang. It was Kremp, and he wanted to know if he (’Broke’) had managed to get in touch with me because he had found out who Denny was and what he had just done!’

 

Needless to say at that moment we were all circling Mary, sitting beside or in front of her in any of the furniture at the living room or standing up in Hannah’s case.

 

‘Harris managed to make him promise to tell no one about his discovery, they could amass a huge pile of money for each other if they did it right and, apparently, he managed to scratch Kremp’s greedy bones well enough for him to promise to stay in an alley far away from anybody’s sight, somewhere like at the other side of the town, until he (Harris) arrived to take him to *********** *********. Denny asked ‘Broke’ if Kremp had actually found out who he was, and in turn ‘Broke’ said: ‘He called you...’ and listed three or four aliases of ‘Denny’, and to each name said his face got paler!’

 

‘And what happened?’ – Hannah was the most hooked on by Mary’s story.

 

‘Well, they discussed what they would do with Kremp, added more tape and rope to both mine and her frame and walked to the door of the room... and as ‘Broke’ was about to grab the knob of the door... CRASH!!!! Somebody’s bear-of-a-husband came through the window, rolling on the floor like ex-marines and commandos do, and holding a gun already pointed at the pair of ******, effectively staying in the middle of us and them. Our own big, burly and mean human shield. Three or four guns were cocked and came through that shattered window to make company to those already aimed straight at them as well, and the door (?), whose knob ‘Broke’ was now holding? Burst open violently and three guys jumped on both him and Denny, only one of them didn’t have a brass-knuckles, and they were already pummeling the ****** when HE entered the room...’

 

‘Big-badass-daddy?’ – asked Hannah, who got a cushion straight in the face as reward.

 

‘If HE learns that I called him that...’

 

‘Enough you two, this is MY house.... Behave!’

 

‘(Sorry...) Anyway, it was him. Two of his men were already freeing his daughter from all her tape bonds, and she ran to her father’s arms even with some of them still dangling from her arms. By the time I realized it; her husband had already cut most of my bonds and was giving me a blanket to cover myself with. He merely looked at his second-in-command and said: ‘Make it last’...’

 

Needless to say, Mary did not knew what had become of Dennis O’Shea and Harris ‘Broke’ after that, but who said that anyone would ever find out about their fate?

 

‘...as of me HE was quite the understanding guy. He paid all the bills the doctors that took care of me, not that I was even somewhat hurt... physically speaking that is, and all I had to do was do a job for free for him that we would be ‘even’. I confess that I would have taken care of that badly damaged Bugatti, that he found somewhere in Iowa, for just air anyway. The girl’s friends (and their parents) got bribed and what little they knew made it possible for her to not lose all the friendships (but she did lose one or two anyway), and Kremp... he disappeared for a whole week!’

 

‘But what...?’ – But I cut short Hannah, she was going to tell us anyway...

 

‘As soon as Kremp found out who Denny was (or rather what he had done over the past twelve years), he phoned *********** ********* right away. What he said to him is still a mystery, but with that very same picture he managed to convince HIM that he was right about one of his daughter’s kidnappers’ identity, it seems that HE was one of the few people in the world that actually knew Dennis’ real name. Kremp swears to this day that he did the job all by himself, but in any case all the people under HIS orders was either on the lookout for Denny or getting in touch with their informants and friends and who knows else in order to find him. One of these people came with the story that he had seen Denny with ‘Broke’ that very morning, so now the net was open and out to grab ‘Broke’ as well. At some point of the kidnapping ‘Broke’ realized that they had no food with them at that hideout, and they were expecting to stay there for like three or four days, so he went to buy some stuff at a grocery, got seen and followed by ‘Pea’ Gerard and his brother and the siege was settled less than half-an-hour later. Right on time to see ME arriving and falling in a way too obvious trap... And they had three lookouts (on nearby buildings) who described my ordeal, and confirmed to Mr. ********* that his daughter was alive and (for the moment) well. It looks like the angle of the spots where those lookouts stayed (at first) did not allowed (at least not immediately) for them to take a clean shot at the *******. But they needed to make them go as far away as possible from me and the girl, so Kremp came up with that idea of the phone call. He grabbed his cellphone and put it on the speaker and took written instructions from HIM from them on...’

 

‘And what happened to Kremp?’ – I asked.

 

‘He, ‘Pea’ and his brother were sent to a week in Atlantic City on HIS dime. The best room in one of the best casino-hotels of the city, that kind of limo that you only see in movies to move them around town... simply the best!’

 

‘Wait a moment! Was in that trip that ‘Pea’ met his wife?’

 

‘Blanche’ is still one of LeeAnn’s bitterest frenemies to this day...

 

‘And what about Kremp, did he go to strip joints as well?’ – she asked after a while.

 

‘No, he spent half the time learning to play poker with the best professional players and card dealers the hotel manager could find, and the other half talking with retired dudes that were very dangerous forty to fifty years ago... At some point ‘Pea’ did pay a busty lady to make a strip tease (dressed as a cop) for him in his room, and locked him there with her and left for the night... but it turns out that the lady was the only granddaughter of a (then) recently dead guy I’ve never heard of, and as they played some poker (and she apparently taught him how to NOT get distracted with very generous cleavages or bare breasts and other teases...), she told him story after story of her grampa’s exploits!’

We all laughed... yep, that was the ‘Bugs’ we all knew.

 

Next it was Hannah’s turn, but I won’t reproduce it here. Frankly, it’s a bad story (and quite a stretched one) about how she made a wiseguy that almost cost her freedom and her car run after the aforementioned car in his birthday suit in a windy and stormy night somewhere outside Topeka, and later we would learn that it had actually happened when she was in high-school, BEFORE any liaison between her and ‘Crime’...

 

So she cheated and, as a result, I won’t repeat her story.

 

That’s when LeeAnn surprised me with a ‘cocky’ attitude.

 

‘It’s getting late, and I have quite the good story about ‘Revenge’... and about me being a ‘Heroine for a Day’ that I couldn’t tell you guys last time... Do you mind if MY story ends up our meeting this once? Pretty please...’

 

‘Is it a good story?’ – I asked.

 

‘It is a long one, and quite good.’

 

Now all ladies’ eyes were upon me and, what the hell, why not let one of them finish the round of stories for once? I nodded and she started.

 

‘First of all, a little backup is in order. I grew up in ***********, **. It’s a small town like you imagine one when ‘Deep South’ comes to mind. It’s quite the good place to be raised in... as long as your father isn’t doing twenty-five to life in a Federal pen. I was bullied on a daily basis from my 5th birthday to three days after my prom night, when I was... when the... *******… that had approached me in order to have a scapegoat for her plans left me on a dirt road in the middle of nothing and ran away with my share of my first criminal act, I did some time and entered the business... and never went back to my hometown, at least publicly. Every once in a while, if I had done a job that had caused more than just some sparks and I needed to lay low for a while... I knew exactly where I should go. The big old barn of Mr. Crevellian’s farm, (...) no one knew why his son wouldn’t sell the whole farm thirty years after his old man’s death and it was considered to be spooky and haunted... it was just dirty.... and very isolated. Well, I had already entered the Duchess’ organization and did a job that ended well and bad at once, and there was I with a van loaded with stuff that I couldn’t know what I would claim that they were ‘actually’ used for, if I was ever stopped by a cop and he/she took a glance at it. And on top of that part of the products ‘acquired’ with the use of all that ‘stuff’ was there too. And the van itself was hot as a volcano! So I was stuck in that barn for a few days, at least. In my third day there I got visitors...’

 

‘Don’t tell me that you were the one that recovered the stuff Pym stole…’

 

We all, save for Fay (who was deep in thought), looked at Mary quizzically.

 

‘Nigel Pym was a loser, with a capital ‘L’, that started to steal stuff from the ‘Storage Deposits’ of the Duchess he worked at in order to sell them to whoever paid more, anything and everything that he could grab, and all because he was a lousy poker player that found a flaw in the security of the place’ – said Mary.

 

Come again? Wasn’t that a legend told by the Duchess’ employees in order to refrain them from using and abusing all the resources available for their jobs?

 

‘Until the day he stole a very special ultra-precise rifle that, all of a sudden, Cinnamon (of all people!), found herself in need of. When the guys of the deposit went look for it… he had already ran like he thought he could avoid what was in store for him… with a van loaded of all sort of stuff that he could grab and put inside it…’ – said Mary.

 

‘But it was soon found that he had stolen dozens of stuff, from ammo to gizmos, from cellphone’s chips to… anything you might be thinking of. The Duchess tracked the stolen goods to a deposit in *********** and I and some guys were sent to recover it but… we had to deal with the people who had ‘hired’ him to steal the rifle…’

 

Gimme an ‘F’!’ – started Mary.

 

‘Huh… gimme a ‘B’?’ – continued/asked Hannah. And we all knew what went next.

FBI? The guy had made a deal with the Feds? Suicidal **********!!!!

 

‘Hold on a second... ***********, **?’

 

LeeAnn (and us all) realized that Fay was starting to identify what ‘famous past affairs’ that she had read about was the one that LeeAnn was going to tell.

 

‘Yes, there was only ONE case that happened in that place in the past century that deserves attention, and I was in the middle of it! So shut up (!) and let me tell the story!’

Fay just nodded and mouthed to us ‘It IS a great story!’.

 

‘Anyway... it was 3 or 4 PM and here they came, black nondescript van riding alone on that dusty road. I grabbed my guns and a rifle and was ready when they stopped the van. And for a second I could not believe in my eyes! I knew them both! I had tons of grudge against them both! A man and a woman walking with another woman in between them. A nearly naked captive woman that is. Both captors wore casual clothes (blue and black jeans and T-shirts), gloves and tucked in their waist were what obviously what they had used to cover their faces when they had abducted the woman, who was barefoot, wore only her panties and lots of tape around her body, and she was being roughly treated by the couple. Even hobbled at the knees they (laughing) demanded that she walked faster! And then the guy fell backwards with a dart in his chest and I, holding a megaphone that partially distorted my voice (don’t ask!), shouted at the woman: ‘The next one will be for you and for real! Drop your weapon and kneel on the floor NOW!’. She grabbed the captive that was taller than her and tried to use her as a shield as she walked backwards. I used real bullets on the front tires and shot a couple of them at their left, closer and closer at each round... and the woman threw her gun to one side, her captive to another and knelt on the ground. I used a rope to go to the ground without using the stairs, so I wouldn’t lose contact with them, and by the time I reached them the captoress was already shouting that ‘There is more money than you can think of’ in that story, that I ‘Don’t know with who you’re dealing with!’ and stuff like that. And then she recognized me. And the look on Ms. Martha Pelletier’s eyes...’

 

‘Who?’ – asked Gina.

 

‘The woman that used her and left her for the cops to find...’ – said Fay.

 

We all looked at LeeAnn with the same expecting look…

 

‘She tried to compose herself and said ‘Oh, it’s you...’ and I let her believe that I wasn’t seeing the charge coming, she said a few stuff like ‘Long time no see, huh?’ and started to explain that I could get a good million if I lent her a hand... and she jumped at me...’

 

Now LeeAnn was never a Cynthia Rothrock, but I don’t know how many people could expect to win a fight against her starting it with something as well anticipated by her as Martha’s lame attack had been. And the same idea went to all the other’s mind.

 

Dumb ******* idiot (who happened to have a glass chin!)!

 

‘It lasted less than I thought it would, she was really a lousy fighter that had relied more on her gun than anything else years before, but now I had to drag her to the barn... or did I? I grabbed the mask, put it on and removed the tape that blindfolded the captive. Then, making my best fake voice possible I told her that she would carry or drag her kidnappers to the barn behind me. She mewled with anguish but I couldn’t care less...’

 

‘Why?’ – Dora and Gina’s question was shared by most of us. LeeAnn looked at Fay who was begging like a puppy with her eyes and nodded.

 

‘She said that she had recognized ‘them both’, but what made you think that the guy was one of ‘them both’?’ – She answered before the dentifrice add’ smile went on.

 

‘I never knew who was the ************** that was working with Martha...’

 

‘Then who was the... the kidnapee?’ – asked and answered Mary.

 

LeeAnn and Fay merely nodded.

 

‘And who was she?’ – asked Mary.

 

‘Class president (three times), leader of the cheerleader’ squad, the blonde dream of all male students and the number one bully… I had to face in my school life.’

 

AAAAWWWWWW!!!!

 

Seriously, we all made the same sound (those two included), before we laughed and laughed and LAUGHED! That was too... precious!!!

 

‘So all she could do was sob as she dragged both unconscious bodies to the barn, and before I tied them up I put her on a quick (and demanding!) hogtie on the dirt ground. I finished about twenty minutes later and was about to undo the hogtie when I heard a weird muffled sound, ‘Dixie’ (as it appeared in ‘The Dukes of Hazzard’), coming from the back of Martha’s pants. I grabbed it and froze... It was a text message, ‘Have you grabbed the ******* yet?’, coming from ‘THE SHERIFF’.’

 

‘WHAT????!!!!!’

 

Only Fay was expecting it, and she just nodded with a knowing smile as we all stood (or stayed) in our places, struck by that lightning!

 

‘I must have stayed there, with a very awkward face and holding that phone like I had just seen something very horrible when her mewls brought me back to Earth. I opened the doors of the barn and had her inside the van, and all that trash all around her, in no time. And I was en route to the second safest place in the county when I (Martha that is) got another call. This one was the usual one, and the demanding voice on the other side was none other than the sheriff’s! And he ordered for me to answer his questions, that only implied him more in the kidnapping, until he realized that he wasn’t talking with Martha. And instead of cutting the one-sided conversation he tried to make a deal...’

 

And LeeAnn put on a gruffy male voice and...

 

‘Whoever you are, don’t kill the bitch yet, I can make you filthy rich!’

 

‘I have a whole million dollars waiting for you if you obey my instructions!’

 

‘Talk to me dammit! This is much bigger than this ***** hell hole of a town!!!’

 

‘If you don’t talk to me right now I will hunt you down and your family too and...’

 

‘And that’s when I answered him... ‘My oh my sheriff Scoville... and what if I was recording it? You’d be in so much trouble...’... and he recognized me, cursed me and I threw the cellphone away and drove in circles for like two hours...’

 

‘But why did you not record the conversation?’ – I asked.

 

‘Old story, old technology and old cellphones... That model didn’t record anything...’

 

‘And this place where you drove yourself and... What was her name?’

 

Mylene (it means ‘Merciful’!!! Can you believe it? HER!!! Can you really believe in that?!!), Mylene Addams (with two ‘D’s) LeBlanc.’

 

‘This place where you drove yourself and Mylene, was it safe?’ – asked Mary.

 

‘Oh yeah, very unlikely for the sheriff or anyone involved in that to find us there.’

 

‘Why?’ – asked the three gals (that beat the rest of us) at once.

 

‘Would you… would any of you guys go looking for someone or someones you want very badly to find... in your own home?’

 

I really didn’t know that LeeAnn had that in her! That she was very cunning, clever and tricky? Everybody knew that! But that brazen?’

 

‘When I got there, a small farm on the other side of the county, only his meek wife was present. She recognized me as soon as I stopped the van and tried to shove me out of there. I pulled a .357 into her face, she promptly shut up and I had her roped into one of her own chairs in the kitchen in no time. I had her cellphone in my breast pocket as I undid the ropes holding Mylene still, minus the ones around her wrists, and took her by one arm inside the house. She, of course, recognized it and was looking at me as if I was the maddest person in the world... What did you said?’

 

‘I said... ‘and why is that?’’ – answered Dora.

 

‘Look guys... from the moment he was ‘imported’ from Chicago PD, Jeremy Scoville was the LeBlancs’ faithful guard dog, the fourth former police officer of a big Yankee city brought by them in a row! He would never put in risk his job, that got him a good paycheck (like twice or more the one a sheriff should get in normal conditions) in exchange of his total devotion to the job. Would he ever stop the search for the missing daughter-in-law of the town’s Powers-That-Be, Mrs. LeBlanc, and go have a dinner with his wife? Would he even bother to call her?’

 

‘Hmmm… no?’

 

‘No Dora! Usually the sheriffs lasted like four or five years in that county, but Mr. LeBlanc had ‘liked’ Scoville’s ‘methods’ so he had kept him until the day he had died, and his widow had made it clear that he only had a future if he kept being HER sheriff! And if the whole town KNEW that Mylene LeBlanc was kidnapped… even with him being part of the kidnappers’ gang… he had to keep up the appearances…’

 

‘Ok, so you brought her inside the house and…?’ – I asked.

 

‘I tied her up, in an even tighter than the previous one hogtie, over the couple’s bed and decided to do some research. Ok, so the sheriff was trying to amass some money by kidnapping the trophy wife of the county… right?’

 

We nodded but she just smiled.

 

‘Wrong!!! You know how old folks suck at computer’s passwords? His own birthday was the one of his computer AND e-mail account and he had them both wrote on a piece of paper taped under the keyboard… So I had access to all his secrets… or so I thought… and soon I was looking at the naked, blindfolded, gagged and (I admit) crudely tied up gal over the bed behind and I was thinking: ‘How could I ever fear such a dumb ****?’ and you know why is that? You ALL think you know…’

 

‘She planned her own kidnapping?’ – Asked Mary and LeeAnn nodded.

 

‘But the sheriff found out and convinced the people hired to kidnap her to do it for real?’ – Asked Hannah and LeeAnn shook her head adamantly.

 

‘He arrested them, took them to the limits of the town and warned them to not tell the LeBlancs (Junior and his wife) that they were off the deal…’

 

‘So it was the sheriff that contacted Martha and the guy?’ – I asked.

 

‘That he contacted Martha I know, but how the dude got involved…’

 

‘Wait a minute… Her husband was involved in the fake-kidnapping plot?’

 

‘It was his idea…’

 

And LeeAnn described us the dumbest ‘ripping off your rich relative’ scam I can recall I ever heard. It looks like five to six years before Junior had finally tried to leave his mothers’ shadow and had started a small business. His overprotective, mega control freak and quite vindictive mother’s answer? Had turned his business life a living hell.

 

So (at the time) he was in need of 200K, or he would have to declare bankruptcy…

 

And the way he was planning to ‘clean’ the ‘ransom money’ was so ridiculous!

 

Besides the sheriff, over half of his subordinates and someone called ‘Her’ had already decided that the real ransom would be of 20 million dollars…

 

Waaaaaiiiittt a minute! Twenty million dollars? They were going to demand to Junior’s mother that much? Did they have any idea of how impractical and impossible it would be for it to happen?’ – LeeAnn nodded and Gina continued – ‘Then how…?’

 

‘That is the dirtiest and saddest part of the story, which is yet to come… Anyway, after I learned pretty much everything, including the fact that ‘Her’ was someone extremely close to Mrs. LeBlanc, about the whole business I heard a ‘bump’ behind me. Mylene had tried to worm her way out of the bed and had fallen of it. So I decided to remove her blindfold and gag and talk to her… she didn’t recognize me at first…’

 

‘But when she did…’

 

‘Her eyes BULGED, she started to stutter and then I placed my hand over her mouth like it was an iron claw and delivered her everything… and soon I was lecturing her on how foolish her (and Johnny Junior’s) plan had been and how the sheriff was planning to cash on her stupidity, which was why I was going to help her…’

 

‘What?’ – Gina could not believe in it, until she realized that LeeAnn had lied to her former tormentor. But LeeAnn sighed audibly and told us a secret…

 

‘She just looked at me and said: ‘Oh-My-GOD!!!! You still don’t know? (…) You… really don’t…’, and I looked at her a bit puzzled and asked her: ‘Know what?’ (…) and she put her ‘I am smarter and better than thou’ look that I had to endure for so long and said: ‘Like Jack Dalton your eye twitch every time you lie, or try to con somebody like you just did… you must be such a great poker player…’ (…) That last bit earned her a very tight tape gag & blindfold afterwards, but that revelation explained a lot of incidents in my recent and far past… and yes… I was a lousy poker player until then.’

 

But LeeAnn once got over 125K in a game in Las Vegas… so we all looked at her with the same question in our eyes, and she decided to serve herself of a glass of water!

 

‘I did some therapy and every time I need to I take a pill to control my anxiety, but for a while I put on an eyepatch before I sat with my ‘friends’ (that suddenly realized that I was no longer an easy mark) to enjoy some Texas Hold’Em…’

 

‘And when she told you that…?’ – I asked.

 

‘I grabbed her hair and forced her to look straight into my eyes and told her: ‘Fine! I want some payback and I will have some! Do you know that some of the cops of the town were planning to have some ‘fun’ with you?’… And, as she realized that I wasn’t lying, I realized something else… Half the names of the policemen of the county were people I knew, I have no good memories from any of them but I still can tell you that they are ‘honest’ folks. The other half? Rupert Harrison… scum! Malcolm Dugars… BIG scum! Chad T. LeRoy? A real offense to the scums all over the world if I compare him to them! And there were two others that I knew were not from the county… all recently employed by the sheriff. Something was going on in that county, for two or three months at least, and the sheriff had gathered all the **** he could find to help him and ‘Her’! And then Mylene brought me back to the real world as she kept asking if I hadn’t suddenly learned to lie very well… I hadn’t… she hadn’t changed much over the years and probably is still that… bodilicious good! And I doubt that she ever said ‘hello’ to Rupert, Malcolm or Chad in her life, so when those three learned about how the sheriff would ‘arrange’ part of the money they would get paid if they followed his orders… they were quite explicit and graphic in their e-mails…’

 

‘And you?’ – asked Mary.

 

‘I am… I was… a thief, a kidnapper and many other things… but not anything that could feel good to see so much raw terror in Mylene’s eyes… So I spent one hour on the phone on the porch of the house trying to find somebody bold (and dumb) and trustworthy enough to come by and take her away from my hands, in the meantime she and Ms. Scoville ‘shared’ a hug on the floor of the kitchen, until I got in touch with a guy called Beck Tyson… a total gentleman (and gay dude) that arrived at 05:40 PM in his SUV and left with two narcotized and heavily restrained captives half an hour later. I couldn’t let Ms. Scoville warn her husband that I knew about his plans and I had to be sure that none of those three (or the sheriff) would be the one that would eventually find Mylene. While we waited for him to arrive she told me a lot of things about how the county was in trouble thanks to Mrs. LeBlanc recent actions…’

 

It would be a bit too long for me to reproduce what she told us, but to put it simple it seemed that after caring (in a very twisted and peculiar way) for the city for most of her adult life Gertrude LeBlanc had suddenly decided to sell the city’s main and only raison d'être (her whole industrial business, whatever it was since she didn’t told us that) to a foreign company, who planted to reallocate it (closing the town for good).

 

And she seemed to have embarked into a reclusive mode over the years, if she had talked with Junior more than five times the past five years it was too much according to Mylene. She did answer phone calls (politely and very coldly) but no outer contact other than her maids and her secretary, one of which LeeAnn was sure that was ‘Her’.

 

‘It was nearly 8 PM when I parked the van (now also carrying everything that the sheriff had illegally recorded) three blocks away from Junior’s building and went there using all shadows I could find, the streets weren’t the least occupied (at first) and the whole impression was that the city was about to die… or explode, there was a big concentration of people in front of Junior’s three stories industrial facility and they were giving the sheriff and all his staff a hard time. I crept in the back and went straight to the third floor by the stairs, as I expected there was only one light on in that floor... in Junior’s office. What I didn’t expected to find was three people searching the whole place upside down as silently as possible, one of them being Mylene’s best friend ever, Vivian Lake. And what they were looking for? Hidden microphones… There was a pair of them over Junior’s desk. Junior apparently was unto the sheriff’s game…’

 

‘But was he?’ – I asked.

 

‘Not really, oh… he knew that the ‘kidnapping’ hadn’t happened as he had planned and that could only mean that somebody had been spying on him. At the moment those three were searching his office, and his employers and their families were staging (a bit too convincingly) a ruckus to attract the sheriff’s attention, half his high school friends were finding all the mikes inside his house. But it was only AFTER I told him about Scoville that Junior connected a whole lot of dots in his mind and found out how much of a fool he had been… but I am getting ahead of myself. So those three, Viv and a young couple, were searching the office and I walked in…’

 

And she snickered.

 

‘Vivian recognized me right away and screamed ‘You?!’, and the guy… barely twenty, a bit muscular, dressed like a burglar and obviously related to the youngest woman in the room, looks at Viv and says: ‘It’s her isn’t? It’s… LeeAnn Winters, right?’’

 

To this day I don’t know LeeAnn’s real name, after she told me that story it would have been piece of cake to find it out, but what the hell? I know her since the beginning as LeeAnn and I don’t need to know her birth name…

 

LeeAnn stood up, told us to give her some space and we all knew that it was coming; she simply had to be too… theatrical sometimes… (like 9 out of 10 times!)

 

Viv nodded and he and the girl relaxed… I mean, they are doing something that they didn’t wanted anyone to know about, someone that no one in town has seen in over a decade after she… became an escaped convict!... shows up gun with a silencer in hand surprising them in the middle of it and they both relaxed! Like… ‘Oh, it’s just her!’

 

Oh-oh…

 

‘I said to the guy ‘Do you realize that I have a gun in my hand?’ and he makes that ‘So what?’ face that only idiots do in such an occasion, and he starts to walk toward me and says: ‘Oh please! Who in his right mind has any fear of…’

 

LeeAnn’s right index and thumb were at the moment making a ‘gun’ in her right hand, she grabbed her right hand with the left one (still with the ‘gun’) and with a swift move of her left leg she took a step forward and drove her left elbow to an imaginary throat, next she raised her right knee so quickly that we could only imagine how painful it was when it made contact with guy’s stomach, lastly she ‘conked’ ‘him’ with the butt of the ‘gun’ and bowed to our applauses. Bravo!

 

‘Needless to say, the young girl tried to run to her brother/cousin and Viv held her with both hands, handgagging her as she became too noisy. I threw a roll of duct tape to them and told them both to strip to their bra and panties and to Viv to use the tape on the girl, which she did with surprising craftiness…, in the meantime I saw a metal table whose bolted feet could have some company… namely the torso and arms of the young dude for one and his ankles for another. Like ten minutes later he woke up and saw me towering him and grinning… ‘In the case you have forgotten, stupid ***********, I put a bullet on two of the prison guards I had to shoot at while I was escaping. The frail and pitiful girl you sneered at was long gone by then…’ I told him and then I turned my attention to Viv, who now had a very impotent and struggling brunette babe at her feet (that I later taped on and to a swivel chair), and she quickly told me what I had already deduced by then. The ‘kidnapping scam’ was sort of public knowledge among Junior and Mylene’s friends, but after that day’s events had not happened as they had planned, Junior had called for help. For example, the ‘hideout’ where Mylene was supposed to be ‘stashed’ (rather comfortably) by Oswald Cray and his wife Pauline (another ex-cheerleader of Mylene’s squad) was none other than the basement of their house at the outskirts of the town! The whole town had by then realized that Junior’s mom was mad or worse, and Junior was their best and only option to still be around, so they could have staged the whole thing in the middle of the town’s main street rather unconvincingly that all the ‘witnesses’ of the crime would swear that the kidnap was for real…’

 

‘A whole town against Mrs. LeBlanc, ‘Her’ and the police department?’

 

‘No, yes and yes Hannah… THAT is the sad part of the story, Mrs. LeBlanc’s portion in it. But let me get there in time ok? After I gagged Viv and placed her on the floor at the left of the girl (whose name I never bothered to learn) I took a quick glance at the commotion three stories below… I had time for some particular questions’ answers… I walked back to the other woman wearing lots of black electrician tape, removed her gag and cocked my gun and asked her: ‘Care to explain why you and your… whatever… acted the way you did when you learned my identity?’, she stuttered and stammered and the guy suddenly was trying to free himself from the handcuff and ropes restraining him and… I hadn’t thought… (much)… about it… over the years that is, but I knew that my reputation should have plummeted even further after my arrest and trial…’

 

‘That bad?’ – asked Mary.

 

‘My first sexual experience with a human being was the day before I was arrested, with a guy called Bartholomew ‘Fart Bart’ Dunkis, who sort of showed pity towards me/sort of raped me…. after he saw me having my ‘first time’… with one of his horses.’

 

We all stood quiet for a moment after that… LeeAnn resumed after a loud sigh.

 

‘And that’s not the worst ‘anecdote’ she told me in the hour and a half that I waited for somebody to show up! She tried to apologize after some time while I was considering how badly I could **** everybody’s life in that ******** town. But, eventually, Junior and his buddies realized that they had given way too much time for Vivian and the couple of brothers and they; Junior, Chris LeMont (former quarterback of our high school team and sort of Junior’s ‘bodyguard’ all his life), Walt McKenzie (Chris best buddy and a former linebacker) and Sarah Bonn (who could have been my friend back then if she wasn’t into… ‘pranks’); entered the supposedly empty building and went to Junior’s office, and as soon as they got out of the elevator they heard the sounds… muffled pleas… and feared for the worst. So they all reacted like in the movies…’

 

‘Rushed at top speed to the office door…’ – started Dora.

 

‘…without calling any form of backup?’ – completed Mary.

 

‘Exactly. They ran, opened the door and found the trio of captives… I had taped Viv to another swivel chair and did my best to tape them ‘back to back’… They  rushed to them to free them all and I announced my presence… harrumphing quite audibly... (…)’

‘And what happened next?’ – asked Dora.

 

LeeAnn, who had sat back on the sofa, took a look around before answering.

 

‘If I ‘show’ you guys how I did it Dora will never ever let me come back here anymore. I don’t mean to offend you Dora, but his office was way more…’ -  Dora  mouthed ‘I got it!’ to her – ‘But as soon as they realized who I was both Chris and Walt assumed that I had anything to do with Mylene’s ‘real’ kidnaping… so they barged at me…’

 

‘Ignoring the gun in your hand?’

 

‘Like if it wasn’t there Hannah, just like it…After the ‘redecoration’ we ‘promoted’ in the place they were sprawled at my feet, and there was the barrel of a gun against the back of my head. Junior’s shaky hand and voice were demanding that I told him where his wife was and it was my turn to ignore the so close treat of a gun… by pointing mine against his pelvic area. Soon Sarah was using the last handcuffs I had ‘borrowed’ from Scoville (plus some rope and their own socks as gags) on those two. What? You wanna hear what did they call me after they got their breaths back? While I made Junior, just an older version of the obese spineless kid I remembered him as, tell me everything he knew. And then, as I hogtied Sarah (down to her bra and panties as well, just for good ole days sake) over his desk, I told him (the only other person now free of any restraint in the room as he was just kneeling in the middle of it with his hands on the back of his head) what had happened so far. That’s when he got really weird… he seemed to ‘space out’ as he recollected facts and stuff that he had seen or heard, and then he looked at me and said: ‘I’ll pay a quarter of a million if you pay a visit to my mother tonight’, just like that… as if it was the most normal thing to do for him…’

 

‘And you?’

 

‘I simply laughed and said: ‘So you can call her in advance and set a trap for me?’, and his reaction was very unexpected. He stood up and it wasn’t Junior that stood up, it was a whole different person that looked at me in the eye (He, who avoided eye contact with everybody!), and said: ‘Of course it’ll be a trap! But not for you…’ and then he walked out of the office saying: ‘Follow me’, and I just looked at the captives who looked back at me as dumbfounded as I was… I realized that they had no chance to free themselves without outer help and left them in the dark. Junior had run into the office of Vivian and was opening a drawer in a file, I pulled my gun at him and he showed me a cellphone. He told me that there was no way that cellphone could be traced, hacked, whatever, since he had gotten it from his mother’s best ‘Friends’…’

 

It took a while for all of us to realize what she meant with that…

 

‘THEY were really preoccupied with Gertrude’s erratic behavior over the past months, they had told him that they would have had agents around and that if he ever needed to make a real deal secure phone call to anyone he was supposed to use that cellphone.’

 

‘Which was wired…’ – I said.

 

‘Of course it was…, and Junior expected that they would be listening when I called him after I found and talked to her. Right at the Three Shooting Stars, the city’s main and at the time only hotel, was the (then) governor of the whole state’s father, who was an old friend of Gertrude going back a few decades. Junior was going to meet the man ASAP and both would be at the hotel’s bar waiting for my call. So if/when I found out what was going on with Mrs. LeBlanc and the whole town… he expected that the man who could have the full force of all the state’s law enforcement agencies zeroed in his… our town, and his mother’s ‘Friends’, were ready to learn the truth with him. But it turns out that the old dude, who’s been dead for like six years, was one of their ‘Counselors’…’

 

Mary and Fay just whistled after that revelation…

 

‘The Duchess herself told me that… but again I am getting ahead of myself. I almost pulled my gun inches away from his eyes and asked who the **** was the man in front of me! But then I settled my services for 300K and we closed the deal by shaking our hands once with force… what a cliché!... Only around 4/5 AM is that someone appeared at his office and freed the captives. So he went to the hotel and I went to his mother’s manor. As I was reaching it the cellphone started to ring… it was Junior, with a much unexpected revelation. The old dude had arranged with his son to have a ‘mole’ of his inside the town, a gal that was pretending to be a journalist ‘way too investigative’ (but was actually a state trooper). Problem is that she was supposed to have made contact with him the night before (under the guise of an ‘exclusive’ interview), but had not returned to her room and was missing ever since… and according to Molly Galvin (the younger sister of one of my classmates), who was a registered masseuse and was taking care of a problem Gertrude’ private secretary’s had with her back (and thus was living at the time at the manor), a woman with a matching description with that of the state trooper was admitted inside the manor the day before… which according to the sheriff hadn’t happened. So I had to ‘rescue’ a state trooper (supposing that she was still alive) as well… while Dad called his son and all judges he could remember to find one that could authorize State policemen in town and inside the LeBlanc’s manor!’

 

‘And you…?’ – asked Dora.

 

‘I did it, and much more… To my surprise the security in the place was not as good as I supposed it would be giving the circumstances. The cameras had been deactivated; no one was patrolling the premises… and a girl was trying to escape the place through a window in the kitchen. She wasn’t dressed for the night or the task, she was wearing but a string bikini and was the exact copy of Annie Galvin… my oh my how sweet lil’ Molly had grown up! (Not as tall as her sister still is but taller than me anyway, and was as… hum… pneumatic as her sister…), and she was running with Martha close behind. Apparently she had seen what she wasn’t supposed to and Martha was told to ‘take her of her’, and Molly had run and Martha was right after her, she was wearing a flip and a bathrobe (but like Molly she was barefoot), as she jumped through the window… right into my awaiting left fist. This time she tried to put on a fight, but in the end she was just a battered and bruised gal writhing at my feet after me and Molly taped her up. Molly told me that she was looking for May Wallace (Gertrude’ secretary), for another session of massage, when she had heard a weird sound coming from a room in the back and saw a gal naked and tied up over a bed, and it was obvious that the gal wasn’t enjoying a wicked fantasy of hers… but when I told her to show where this gal was she panicked, apparently things had been really grim for her that afternoon and night (although I had no way of knowing that at the moment), so when Wallace pulled a gun at her and told Martha to ‘take care’ of her she decided that she had had enough of the spooky place, and wouldn’t return to there on her free will… She put on a fight as I wrapped the tape all over her arms, and then around her forearms, ample bosom and back, I had gagged her with a balled up scarf shoved into her mouth and completed the service with her own bikini top. And then I looked into her eyes and whispered to her ‘It’s me Molly!!!’ and she recognized me… What a disbelief she showed in her eyes… I told her that I needed to get inside the house, that I needed that she didn’t raised the alarm or alerted anyone about my presence and that I was not going to hurt her but if she wanted it so badly… to no avail… She struggled in my arms and over my right shoulder all the way A few minutes later I was locking her inside a closet inside the kitchen. I went to look for the lady cop and quickly found the room, door ajar and the lights on showing a woman writhing on her bonds quite desperately…’

 

We all looked at her with the same unspoken question in our eyes and mouth.

 

‘Of course it was a trap! Wallace was hiding behind the door! But, instead of rushing at the naked captive I became ‘Karate Kid’ and kicked the door, twice!, before I grabbed her hand, pulled her arm upwards while I placed my gun under her chin with the other hand. She kept saying that she had ‘millions’ in store for me if I ‘joined forces’ with her while I tied her up on the floor, the lady cop wriggled and mewled as furiously as possible to attract my attention and help, especially after I asked her: ‘Janet Trent?’ and she nodded and I said: ‘Too bad that my job is just to confirm that you are alive babe…’ but after a while it was done. I looked at Janet’s bonds... Slack, slack and over there slack as well… So I retightened the knots and added a few strips of tape over/around them. I patted the furious girl’s exposed behind and left the room. If memory served me well Gertrude’ private study was in the first/ground floor at the left of the entrance, I went there as careful as possible and found the bearded blonde guy that, supposedly, was in league with Martha checking a few papers. We pulled our guns at each other and he said: ‘All that I am supposed to do is to make sure that these papers are not around when the state police arrives’. He was sort of a ‘damage control agent’ of the Friendship working undercover. How he managed to get connected to Martha I don’t know, I learned afterwards that Scoville got in touch with her but not him so how he arranged his participation in the whole episode… is still a mystery to me. So I asked him: ‘And the papers that interest to Junior?’ and he said: ‘Third drawer on that bookcase over there’, I let him go… sort of. We pointed our guns at each as he walked backwards to the front door where some leather clad bike chick on a Harley Davidson (yeah, I know, but that’s how it happened!) was waiting for him, and I returned to the study. There was this set with four rows of ‘diaries’ (or something like that) and a few drawers on the lower part of the set. I quickly found the documents I was supposed to, I took a (long) peek at them and none made any sense to me. What was going on in Mrs. LeBlanc’s mind to have such kind of documents ready? Were they keeping her drugged or the likes? Then I decided to take a look at one of the ‘diaries’ myself… (…) don’t ask… The entire town knew that Ms. LeBlanc wrote down her personal experiences and ideas and all that on those diaries, but no one had ever been bold and brazen enough to take a peek at one of them… ever! So… what the hell… why not?’

 

She just stood there for a moment, sighing, before she resumed.

 

‘As I was sort of expecting the calligraphy was beautiful, and since she believed that no one would ever read those diaries she was shamelessly honest in them, and the person who had written them became ugly and uglier as I read what she had been done for the past year. It wasn’t unexpected for me that Mylene had been cheating on Junior, the fact that he knew about it and was ok with that was for both me and his mother! The words she used to describe Junior, not a single expletive or swearword, but a twisted way to express her love for somebody she debased and despised more and more each given day… and then, all of sudden her calligraphy started to get worse and her ideas a bit confuse. I didn’t realize it at the moment, I thought that maybe she had started to have some case of arthritis. And then I decided to see what she had written about me…’

 

Oh-oh… here came the ‘sad part’ I thought (and I, and all the other girls, was right and wrong at the same time about it!) as she really sighed before she continued.

 

‘They were all lined up and with a date like mm/yyyy to mm/yyyyy in each of them. It wasn’t hard to find the (highly unsavory) mentions to my father after he was arrested. She had made my mother’s and my life a hell because she truly believed in guilty by proxy… my father was guilty of his crimes so was my mom for having married him and so was I for being his daughter… so why not prove, once and for all, to everybody still stupid to not see it… that the apple hadn’t fell far from the tree?’

 

Not-a-chance!

 

‘She had…’ – started Mary.

 

‘…arranged for me to meet Martha on the following day of the worst Prom a girl could ever attend, (…) at least I didn’t got a bath with pig’s blood… But everything… from Martha’s ‘plan’ and ‘betrayal’ to how Scoville had treated me after I was arrested…’

 

‘And you…?’

 

‘What else could I do Mary?’ I saw red, deep bloody red; I grabbed my gun and went to her room to ‘have a ‘talk talk’ with her! Regardless of how old or frail or whatever she was! Before I realized it I was right in front of her door, I opened it… and found out that the master bedroom of the manor had a new occupant for quite a while… Wallace. That should have put me on alert, but I was only seeing red at the time so I just checked all the rooms on the second floor. Nothing. Then I remembered about the attic.’

 

I won’t repeat what she found in there, not a chance!, let’s just say that about half an hour later she locked Mrs. LeBlanc inside her own room and went in a bee line straight to where she had left Wallace and the lady cop. She wasn’t in the mood to be anywhere gentle with Wallace and the ************* ‘saw’ (she was blindfolded) it at once.

 

‘‘Listen up you *******! I just took care of the welts somebody she can only identifies as the ‘Beltman’ gave to Mrs. LeBlanc! That woman is no longer able to write or have any coherent thoughts anymore! So I want to know exactly what you and Scoville are planning to do and what is going on in this or I will’… but you know what she did instead? That psycho had spent all the time I was out rationalizing HOW she would use her knowledge about what Gertrude had done to me and my mom! So she tried to make me ‘join forces’ with her and Scoville and the other **********! Until, after a harsh exchange of words between us both, in which she made sure that I realized that she knew everything that Mrs. LeBlanc had done, I apparently, complied.’

 

We all looked at her as if she was an alien in disguise. Say what?

 

And then we heard a snicker. In the next moment LeeAnn had just jumped on Fay and was holding her lower face tightly clamped by her right hand.

 

‘You-are-not-going-to-spoil-my-story, is that clear?’

 

Not a bit scared but not serious either Fay (somehow) managed to nod.

 

‘As I was saying, I apparently complied. I told her that there were a few details that we were supposed to deal with. Namely the state cop (that I told her was a PI hired by someone in the Capitol), Junior and Mylene. She demanded to know what I had done to Mylene but I told her that ‘my accomplice’ was guarding her. It wasn’t part of her plans to have not Mylene under her power, which enraged her and thus… if I wanted a share of the money I was supposed to have her brought ASAP to the manor after I freed Martha and her accomplice, that she called ‘Arthur’, of course. And then I asked if she wanted to say anything else in front of the PI before I killed her… and she said: ‘Not here nor now you idiot!’ as if she was back in charge of everything! Which probably she was thinking that she was. But soon she wasn’t so sure anymore, after all… I told her… she now knew that the hillbillies were wise about her plan. So she needed to get out as fast as she could, cash as much money as she could before she entered her jet and left the country. And for that she needed me to free her…’

 

‘But you didn’t…?’ – Dora and all the others (myself included) were really curious about the turn of events… and LeeAnn just smiled and said:

 

‘And lose the opportunity to record her confession with her own camera?’

 

Who was that woman in front of us? She definitely wasn’t LeeAnn!

 

After our praises she explained herself.

 

‘As I was tending to Mrs. LeBlanc’s wounds with that balm/ointment, I saw the camera and the idea formed in my mind just like that. Make her talk in front of the camera! So I went to her not trying to hide all the rage and despise that I was feeling towards her… and she quickly acted in a way that, while she tried to manipulate me, she had not many choices but to be frank and honest with me. Next I made a few exploratory questions in which I may or may leave to her imagination that she could be ‘gaining’ my help. Then it was time to put her off balance with the revelation that the town’s population was oh so close of learning the truth about her and Scoville’ scam… HER scam actually, as it later became known that her plans included only ONE one-way ticket to Rio de Janeiro. Who knows what she was planning to do with Scoville?’

 

‘Your typical psychopathic bitch waiting for an opportunity to backstab anyone who was dumb enough to (…) Wait a moment! Did she and Scoville…?’ – asked Hannah.

 

‘Every Thursday and Saturday (for how long?), on the master bedroom’s bed…’

 

‘And then?’ – asked Dora.

 

‘By the time she realized that she was talking too much it was way too late… I removed her blindfold and she looked at the camera in my hand as if it was an alien weapon, or something as absurd as that, and quickly I had to regag her (without any hint of care towards her hair) with tape as she retorted to her last weapon, insults that I didn’t need to know that they exist. I then called Junior and the old guy… let’s call him ‘James’… and gave them the order, come to the manor as quietly as possible and ASAP! Junior wanted to learn about his mom but I only told him to bring ‘Doc’ Limbert (the county hospital’s dean) with him but not with an ambulance…’

 

‘Why not?’ – Dora asked.

 

‘Because I still had to deal with Scoville and the five ******* that he had hired just for that, to deal with any treat to his ‘extra-large retirement check’ scam, and I had to be ready for them. I supposed that ‘James’ had brought some security with him and that it could help me to face Scoville. But it was only one (big) dude and… well…’

 

‘Stop being a tease!’

 

‘Calm down Mary, calm down. Fact is that, while I waited for Junior, ‘James’, Doc and whoever else to show I freed both captives’ legs and took them upstairs. The trooper was soon lying over the bare bed of Junior’s former room, anchored by her ankles and both armpits to diagonally opposite feet of the bed, while May’s body was balled-up (with a lot of useless resistance!) and I locked her in the closet of another room. Right on time to greet my helpers I thought as I ran to the front door and carefully opened it. There they were, leaving their two cars… Junior and ‘James’ (talking on the phone with his son) and ‘Doc’ and a big guy, a former marine or even harder to crack guy, and as I welcomed them… the marine dude got shot twice. Scoville, Rupert and Chad emerged from the bushes thirty yards at our left as I returned the fire. ‘James’ and Junior were helping the marine as they rushed pass me with their heads down while I told ‘Doc’ where was Gertrude. He took a quick but good look at the guy’s wounds (can you guys believe that Chad, that trigger-happy, was using armor piercing rounds?) and all four went upstairs as fast as they could with ‘James’ now yelling to his son to send help!’

 

It was a bit complicated for her to explain how it happened, and for me to tell it I would have to remember exactly how was the layout of the LeBlancs’ manor’s ground floor as she told how it was/is (which I don’t), but after tense six minutes LeeAnn found herself cornered with Chad and Rupert closing in from two sides while Scoville (who had called for back-up) was taunting her and trying to convince her to ‘surrender’.

 

‘Like I was that dumb… but my two options now were simple: either I emerged from behind that sofa rolling or jumping to the left, to have a clean shot at Chad (who would have his at me as well) and prayed that Rupert would react a bit slow… or I would go to the right and try to shot Rupert before he shot me and have my chances with Chad like two seconds after that. Not to mention Scoville who was coming from the back of the manor… holding a very frightened Molly in his hands!’

 

No way!

 

‘For her part… she became way too loud when she heard someone passing thru the kitchen, and at first she thought that he was there to help her. But quickly she was but a human shield in his hands as he started to threaten to shoot her if I didn’t give up!’

 

‘And you?’ – asked Hannah.

 

‘I quickly formed a plan. I removed my jacket and was going to throw it, with one of my tennis shoes wrapped in it, to the left while I emerged just slightly behind the right corner of that sofa… that would give me but a second or two to shoot Rupert’s legs and whatever body part of Chad that was in my line of fire, then I would have to kill them both and confront Scoville, remembering him about gunpowder residues and the likes as I prepared my shot. But then Molly head-butted him, backwards of course, and he let go of her for a moment, and a half-naked shadow fell from the floor above over him…’

 

We all looked at her puzzled, including Fay (who didn’t knew that part of the story).

 

‘He was right under the bannister, and as he was walking towards me he was looking straight at me. Molly wasn’t, she was looking all around trying to find anything to help her. She even looked at Chad for help (who answered with a leer)! And then she saw Junior at the top of the stairs, holding a gun (of the wounded bodyguard) and making the ‘backwards head-butt’ with his own head. She complied and the now freed trooper, who was outside Molly’s line of sight, simply jumped over the bannister onto Scoville’s body! She broke his right shoulder, rolled on the floor and jumped back at him as he was trying to grab his gun with his left hand. Chad and Rupert got distracted enough for me to have a clean shot at them. I put a through and through in Rupert’s left shoulder and, I was aiming for his head but…, I shot Chad’s gun out of his hand. And then Junior was now with us and pointing his gun at Chad. The trooper held a hysterical Molly in her hands as both me and Junior taped and cuffed all three scumbags... And that’s when I made a big mistake, the only one I made that night… (…) Fay…’

 

Fay, with a smug attitude, just made as if she was zipping her mouth shut

 

‘I had just finished taping Rupert’s ankles together, and was yelling at ‘Doc’ to come down to deal with the bleeding in his shoulder, when I stood up… and found myself facing a gun aimed at me. My gun, which I had left on the floor at my right as I knelt down to tape those *******’s legs together, but I had started from right to left and it had become a bit too distant of my fingers… but not from Molly’s…’

 

Now that was unexpected!

 

‘The trooper was right behind me already grabbing my wrists to place that bracelet on them, as she kept telling Molly to keep the gun aimed at me! But in the next moment the trooper froze, Junior was holding a gun against her head and was not kidding about it! He calmly said that he wasn’t going to allow any form of betrayal happening against me if he was around, and ordered Molly to lower her gun ASAP. I had the still (or was it renewedly?) trembling girl taped up (quite simply, just ankles and wrists and over her lips) in no time. The trooper kept telling Junior that he was aiding and abetting a known escaped criminal at large until Junior told me to shut her up first, which I did, and then I proceeded to really tape her wrists and forearms together. But… (…) I should have realized! Hours before, when he had pointed a gun at me his hands were shaking and his voice was stuttering a little. Now (back then) his hands were like this…’ – and she held both hands up and straight forward, as if they were carrying a gun each and she was aiming them, with all the calm and steady fashion of a professional – ‘…and his voice was firm. (…) But I… didn’t realized what was happening until I had my back to him and was looping tape all over that ungrateful… careerist!...’s forearms. And then we all heard ‘Beltman? Beltman? BELTMAN!!!’ and when I turned to him he was in mid-air, jumping over Scoville’s body… obviously he had seen his mother and she had done a better job to identify who was ‘Beltman’ to him than she had done to me. I was about to simply shove the trooper forwards and run at him, who was already delivering the most powerful blows he had ever produced to Scoville’s face, when I felt something in my hands, I turned my face forwards and bang! She head-butted me!’

 

‘And you know why she did it?’ – asked Gina.

 

‘No. Why?’

 

‘You only knew her as ‘Janet Trent’, right? You never knew her real name and she was probably wearing a disguise, a new color for her hair and the likes…’

 

‘So?’

 

‘Close your eyes…’ – said Gina with a feral smile in her face.

 

LeeAnn looked at the rest of us but we were as puzzled as she was. So she closed her eyes as requested and Gina continued…

 

‘Picture Janet’s face in your mind… change it slightly as she was probably using some sort of removable dental implant, as she usually does’ – LeeAnn said that she was doing it already – ‘Now, change her hair color to titian red and cut it a lot…’

 

‘Oh no…’ – LeeAnn turned to Gina and opened her eyes showing all incredulity some of us were showing as we realized who ‘Janet Trent’ actually was – ‘Alexandra Trey Patterson? I saved the life of that *********** ****** Alex Patterson??!!!’

 

‘Alas… yes…’ – answered Gina.

 

Alex Patterson, the girl who had (thanks to some procedures she had to endure after an accident while skiing) a very ‘malleable’ face and used it to be the best ‘mole’ the FBI had ever found in like ages, if not ever (for short term infiltration operations that is)! Her existence and ‘works’ were not ‘public knowledge’ for those who had always been on the ‘right’ side of the law. To those who had even just ‘took a walk on the wild side’, ‘The Chameleon Girl’ was a really despised person! Especially due to her absolutely no-commitment attitude that made her as ungrateful as ‘Janet Trent’ had been!

 

It took like ten minutes for LeeAnn to recover after that. Unlike it happened when I told them that I had saved Terry O’Toole’s life, she wasn’t ‘attacked’ by anyone of us (her listeners). After all, Alex Patterson was responsible for the arrests of most of her buddies that were behind the bars… she had been one of the main ‘weapons’ the FBI had used against the Duchess over the past decade…

 

‘Do you think that… she knows?’ – She asked to Mary.

 

‘The Duchess? Of course you silly girl! If you had saved her life after she became the ‘Chamaleon Girl’ you’d be SO in trouble… probably. But that night happened before Las Vegas’ debut of Ms. Patterson, right? So what’s the worry?’

 

‘And don’t you ****** dare to ask us to keep our mouths shuts about it! We all know how mad some guys and gals are at… HER… so we all know that they could try and extract their revenge upon you. So we won’t tell anything, right girls?’ – And we all nodded at Dora who finished – ‘So don’t you dare to ask us…’

 

‘To do what you just asked them? OK, ok…’ – LeeAnn stood up and hugged Dora and then she sat back on her chair and resumed – ‘Anyway, she head-butted me and I started to fall backwards, but I managed to grab her wrists and she fell with me… and over me. I grabbed… her… and said: ‘Listen up you ******, unless you stop being an idiot WE BOTH will end up helping him to kill that *******! Is that what you want?’ and she became paralyzed in my arms and shook her head slightly. I told her to not try any other stupid stuff and jumped over Junior, we rolled together and in the next moment I was on top of him and we were pointing our guns at each other, inches away from our faces. I told him that I wasn’t going to become accessory to murder no matter how much Scoville deserved it, he replied saying that all I wanted was to ‘help’ the man who had done that to his mother ‘just because’ she had done that to me and mine own, I cocked my gun and ‘asked’ him to repeat what he had just said, he was about to do it and then… ‘Enough you two! Stop with it NOW!’.’

 

‘It was the ‘James’ dude?’

 

‘No, ‘Doc’ Limbert, who was standing but a couple of yards at our right and looking at us with disgust. LeeAnn Winters! The governor’s father has just received confirmation from his son that in about half an hour or less this place will be flooding with state troopers, policemen from other counties and who knows what else! Pack your stuff and leave, NOW!’ and then he dismissed me as he started to look after what Junior had done to Scoville’s face and provided a tongue lashing to Junior even more severe than the ones he had received from his father and/or mother! I stood up a bit dazed and looked around, at Molly’s face (who looked back me still showing a lot of raw terror) and at Janet’s… and then I told Junior that I had managed to record a full confession from May Wallace, and that the trooper… was my witness. I told him where was the camera and where I had locked May, grabbed my stuff and he suddenly was at my side and asked me about Mylene. For a moment I actually forgot about who he was talking… adrenaline rush’s backlash… you know, I never felt one like that one!... and then I told him that I was going to get in touch with him the next day… and that’s when we heard the sirens of two police cars coming up to the manor. Scoville’s backup? Most likely since there hadn’t been enough time for, for example, a cop from one of our nearby counties to arrive at the manor. So we now were holding our guns as I told him to stay back and went to check on it. The newcomers were two police cars… and about two or three dozen other vehicles! Even Bill ‘Tiresome Tires’ Toller’s truck (actually it was ‘Terrible Tires’ what was painted on its sides, but the music he used at his own shop to promote them was incredibly boring, annoying and off key since HE had recorded it!) was there and soon the whole place was flooding with angry and armed civilians!’

 

‘But… how?’ – asked Charity.

 

‘Simple, as I was dealing with Scoville downstairs, and before he was allowed by ‘Doc’ to meet his mother, Junior used his phone to call Earl ‘Union’ Fallbury, the guy that kept trying to form an union in our ‘right-to-work’ state’s little town, and told him that he had to call everyone he could think of, friend and foe alike, and send them to the LeBlanc’s manor since he had proofs that Scoville was in league with those who were planning to close the town, but Scoville had found out about it and had already shot at him, twice! Earl did as requested and now the four cops were trying to deal with an angry mob that was accusing their superior of trying to commit murder and worse! And as the tension escalated between both parties I shot a couple of rounds to the air and attracted their attention. I was recognized and received a few insults but then Junior, who I told to stay behind the heavy and massive front door of the manor, yelled at them to shut up. Next he said that Scoville, Rupert and Chad were our prisoners and that all that the mob in front of me feared was true. Our little town had been targeted to cease to exist in a few months, and the sheriff and a few of his officers were supposed to be the ‘muscle’ behind that operation. In the next moment the entire mob’s guns were aimed at the four officers but Junior ordered them to get their guns and nothing else. As soon as he saw that he had no reason to fear to be shot at, Junior appeared at the porch and explained a few things to them all. Turns out that of the four cops only one was in league with Scoville, the other ‘newbie’ from another town was arrested hours later, but the other three were turning a blind eye to their activities in order to keep their jobs and paychecks. So all four were handcuffed in a matter of moments, while Junior escorted me to my ride, a bike that I had ‘borrowed’ from Walt… only then is that Junior did remember about the ones still trapped in his office… I told him that Mylene was to be set free the following day anyway (with Mrs. Scoville), and as of the money he would find my mother… wherever she had ended up after his mother had her expelled from town… and give all to her. Then I remembered one thing and looked at the mob behind us. ‘Fart Bart’ wasn’t among them, but two of his buddies were, so I whispered a few words to Junior’s ear and he smiled. And he looked straight at Bart’s buddies and yelled ‘If you idiots don’t want to meet her when you least expect it, don’t even think about warning Bart that she’s in town!’ and I was off. I arrived in town and went straight to the van, got in touch with the Duchess’ organization and warned them that the van was compromised. They gave instructions that I followed to the letter and… how many?’

 

Mary, who suddenly was the center of our collective attention, answered.

 

‘Fifteen, we found fifteen different tracers/tracking devices hid in the van and among its cargo, and as of the ‘special ultra-precise rifle’ that had caused the whole commotion… it had been ‘replaced’ with an useless piece of junk. It took seven months for another one as good as that one to be provided to Cinnamon… Not that she really needed it.’

 

‘She had herself a not-so-special rifle that she used for that job?’ – I asked.

 

Mary just nodded and we all started to get ready to leave Dora’s house, but then LeeAnn whistled and indicated to us all to sit back on our places...

 

‘Just because very few people know about the rest of the story doesn’t means that it was all over when I left the county that night… Can I continue?’

 

We checked our watches and it was waaaaay past midnight, so we told her to get it done fast and she harrumphed before she restarted the story!

 

‘I got scolded and demoted for the loss of that rifle and for my behavior that night, I was not paid to become a heroine for a night!, and for the next six/seven months I had the menialest jobs (and pay) until I got mad at myself… I had saved HER life (as if I would do anything different!) so I was going to get my pay for it!’

 

‘You returned to your hometown?’ – asked Hannah.

 

‘One last time. Mr. Crevellian’s old barn? Gone and razed as well as everything else of that spooky place. But I found a cozy place to hide for a few days after a quick search. I knew that the security at the LeBlanc’s manor might have been improved (and it had), so I needed a few days to find my way in. So, after four nights of vigilance… I was back inside the place. I hadn’t had to tie up or conk or gas or tase anyone, except the gal that I found at the security room of the place. No one that I had ever heard of, in her mid-40s and more bulky than obese, and soon I had her stashed under the desk in front of all those screens, with her hand under her knees and her ankles tied up high to a ‘hook’ (or something like that) I found at the wall. Aside some vigilant dudes there were no one but Junior, Molly and Mylene in the premises… and Molly was starting to give a massage to a naked Mylene in a room nearby… DON’T ASK!!!… me how I had the layout of the place… while Junior was at the library… So I went to pay them a visit first. Don’t look at me like that! I knew I wouldn’t find any real jewel in the place that would be worth stealing! Money? Perhaps… but I had lost my chance months earlier… May had ‘removed’ as many jewels from Mrs. LeBlanc’s safe in a bank at the capitol and was stashing them as part of her emergency ‘escape plan’… I could have cashed a few millions if I had bothered to check on those boxes by the shoes!’

 

‘Hold on… she kept the jewelry in a box?’ – asked Gina.

 

‘A Danish biscuit’s tin round box! With six to seven million dollars hidden inside it!’

 

‘Ok, so you knew that you didn’t have any chance to cash a lot of money…’

 

‘Actually, Nora, I had a chance. Tinker Bell was waiting for my call to make the money that I would force Junior to transfer to a bank account she had created especially for that night, I thought and planned for like a month before I went to there, disappear before anyone could have a chance to track it. So the plan was, get rid of the security, tie up Mylene and use her as leverage to force Junior to pass a good million or two!’

 

‘But…?’ – Fay really did not know about that ‘epilogue’ of the story…

 

‘Well, it took just ten minutes to stash the three dudes in closets and the likes, and then I barged into the room where Mylene was still over that massage table and they both looked at me and Molly… Molly said ‘Oh! No!’ with such a disappointment in her voice! No seriously… it wasn’t fear! It was like ‘Why are you here?’…’

 

‘Why?’ – asked Dora and Fay at the same time.

 

‘I’ll get there… anyway, Mylene was naked and Molly was wearing a 60’s-like black and blue bikini, I threw a roll of tape to Mylene and she soon made a good job on the youngest woman in the room, way too good indeed… which put me in alert. And when Mylene gagged the girl now laying on her side with her hands taped to her knees and stood up saying ‘A deal is a deal…’, I just asked ‘Ok, what’s going on?’.’

 

‘And?’

 

‘She looks at me as if she was expecting the question, Dora, and says: ‘Just a little deal we had between us both that was made as soon as we heard that your mom rejected the 300K…’, and then I interrupted her saying ‘What?’… and she looks at me as surprised as I was and realizes that I didn’t knew what was she talking about and starts to think ‘If not for the 300K, then why is she here now?’ and when she realized that I was going to kidnap her, or at least use her to get some money from her hubby, she turned pale… and tried to scream. I had her over the table in no time, I used zipties on her legs, arms and waist (in this case solely to trap her body to the table), and tape over her lips and here and there all over her body, to better attach her to the table… and I went to see Junior. He was, apparently, deeply involved in a game of solitaire in his notebook when I entered the library. ‘Hello… LeeAnn’ he said as if he was expecting, and turns out… he was! When I got close enough of his desk he turned the notebook’ screen to me… and I saw Mylene and Molly’s fruitless efforts to free themselves, the ‘security lady’ being untied as two or three dudes were watching the screens, the same happening with her male counterparts… and six or seven guys ready to storm the library!’

 

‘They… (?) …where were they?’

 

‘The library had two entrances. The feed of the security cameras, that I expected were now disabled but obviously weren’t, showed three right next to the one I had used, and three or four next to the other one. I almost motioned to grab my gun… but then I saw his eyes. I don’t know… he had changed a lot over the course of the past month… and I knew I could trust him somehow… so I sat on the chair in front of him and asked ‘Oh, so I was being expected?’ and he just chuckled… ‘Seriously, the attic of the abandoned store on Plymouth Street?’. That’s where I had stayed in hiding in the past days, and he showed part of the feed the hidden cameras he had in there had recorded of my stay!’

 

‘Then why weren’t you… apprehended by the Friendship?’ – asked Charity.

 

‘That was the first thing that came into my mind, but he just said: ‘I might have not enough power and influence among my ‘Friends’ as my father and my mother had, but I can still manage to have a meeting with you, and only this one, without any interference of their part. As long as you don’t threaten any life… as you haven’t so far… they can and will only watch and record…’, and I started to ask ‘But what about…?’ and he cut me short. As soon as ‘they’ had realized that that night was ‘the’ night they had put a few things in motion, and all the ‘security agents’ I had overpowered had actually been trained for situations like that one… to act like they had been genuinely surprised and overpowered and all that… Yeah, I also thought that it was another legend about the ‘Friendship’ but it wasn’t… and as for Mylene and Molly…’

 

‘Yes?’ – A chorus of slightly demanding (it was now past 01 AM!) voices asked.

 

‘Molly had been receiving a substantial plus in her paycheck to be around when the time came. I mean, everybody in that state knew that Junior was suffering with some problem in his back, and Mylene wasn’t going to reject the opportunity of have such a skilled masseuse as Molly taking care of her body as well… so the absence of Molly in the manor was something that could trigger an alarm in my mind when came the time that I was supposed to make a ‘visit’ to Junior! So her four digits paycheck was, until the night I dropped by, a five digits paycheck! As for Mylene… who knows? He did try to tell me how sorry she was for everything she had done to me and etcetera… but all I wanted to know was why he hadn’t given the money to my mom as I had told him. And he looked me in the eye and asked: ‘You forgot WHO you have as your mother?’.

 

‘She would never touch a cent of the stuff?’

 

‘Not even with a 100 ft. pole! She did, however, accept the extra generous loan the bank gave her to re-open her bakery in town… I won’t tell you little is the interest rate she pays! Not a chance!... And then he told me that he had to refrain her from showing up at the attic with a cake made just for me!’ – We shared a collective laugh with that one – ‘But the fact was that he had the 300K waiting for me, in cash and non-sequential bills and all that, but most important… he had a proposition for me as well. The whole ugly episode had been kept out of the news by using all the pressure he (and ‘James’) could muster over the press, and by giving everybody involved in the story a chance to strike a deal. The cops that were ‘just looking the other way’ and a few others bribed by either Scoville or May made a deal with the state attorneys and signed a confession, their confession was used against the crooked cops and other crooked dudes in the state’s capitol to force them to strike a deal and sign full confessions, which in turn were used against Scoville and May. Let’s just say that the deal with… them included that the wardens did not forgot to keep them separated from the other inmates of the prisons they were sent to, ever. But he actually felt that I had been kept out… so he had this idea. He knew that the Duchess had ordered me to be assigned to lame and lamer jobs since that night. How could she not? So why didn’t I simply retire? It took him a while to convince me that he was for real, that it was no trap or whatsoever and the likes. The argument that won me? If I had, under a fake ID of course, a legitimate business, 100% clean and all that… maybe he could be able to convince my mother to visit me…’

 

And she quickly summarized all the preparations laid out by ‘Junior’ (she might be the only person in the world to still call him that!) that night, that she followed to the letter AFTER her boss at the Duchess’ organization gave his (HERS!) approval to them. In nine months she was well established and ‘clean’, and was LeeAnn

 

‘My mom shows up every year. She always chose a hotel in another town, never the same town of any previous year, and always brings me a cake… and that’s it…’

 

Finallly!’Gina barely said as she gave us a collective ‘bye’ and dashed to the door. We all gave proper farewells to the others and went back our homes. I found it odd that I hadn’t told a story, it was the very first time it had ever happened but I had to agree that LeeAnn’s was way much better than the one I had about when I saw a former ‘partner’ relaxing by the pool in between two bimbos…

 

Maybe I would be able to tell them that one next time I thought, but… alas, since I had ‘atoned’ (or at least confessed) my grave ‘sin’ of saving Terry O’Toole’s life and now we knew that it was most likely that (indeed) LeeAnn had ‘sinned’ and saved… that ********* Chameleon Girl (!!!!)’s as well…

 

The others felt that it was time for their confessions and atonements as well, and over the next week they texted and phoned each other and got the script for our next meeting ready to be used by the next Thursday…

 

So I only managed to tell a story again over a month after the last time I had done that!

 

 

The End

 

The ladies will return in ‘Sinner, Atone!’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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