Thursday, February 22, 2018

A Plan of Containent

"Mama!" Kathleen yelled. "You have truly lost your mind now. I cannot believe you have asked Martha Stewart for assistance." 

“Well, Gallagher is so small," Dixie defended her decision. "I want you to have more than just a regular wedding. I want you to enjoy being on the big stage. After all, this place is so provincial.”

“Well it was good enough for you to live here." 

"And that is why, as a mother, I can only want better for my own daughter." 

Kathleen picked up her bag from the back of the chair. "This is the last straw!”

“Where are you going?"

"To see daddy. Surely he will see that this is all nonsense.”

Kathleen walked out. Dixie shook her head. Eventually, Kathleen would come around. Whatever the case, Dixie didn’t think twice before she went ahead and replied to Martha Stewart. She wrote down all the information Martha had requested said and returned it with the signed contract. By having MSL (Martha Stewart's company)  handle the wedding, she was giving up all the publication rights and the sole use of any photographs of the event.

‘Thank God, Martha is out of jail,’ Dixie thought. ‘What did the poor mothers do during that unfortunate ordeal while Martha was not available?’ 

At the Sheriff's Station, Sheriff Quitman called Annabelle and asked if she could come down to the station. “No, this is nothing about you personally. This is just an issue I think you can help me with.”

Annabelle said she was free around 3 that afternoon and would drop by then. She thought nothing of Rascal's call. Lord only knew what he needed from her.

After some research, Mary Lee learned that Ms. Davis was going under a new name - Miranda Davidson, these days. She checked with Hollis and he confirmed it was 'Davidson' not 'Davis".

A little after 3 that afternoon, Annabelle walked into the Sheriff's Station. As she waited for the Sheriff to get off the phone, Anna Belle made small talk with Mary Lou. It wasn't long before they were interrupted by the Sheriff's loud voice. "Annabelle, thanks for coming.” The Sheriff was standing at his office door. He motioned toward his office, “Let’s talk."

After some pleasant small talk - Annabelle always had all the local scuttlebutt, the Sheriff leaned forward in his chair. He pushed a picture across his desk toward Annabelle. "Do you recognize this young lady?"

Annabelle picked up the photograph and immediately knew it was Miranda Davidson. "This is Miranda, Miranda Davidson, one of the young ladies who works for me. Is she in trouble?"

"I don't know?"

Annabelle did not hesitate, looked Rascal in the eyes and said, "Rascal, I don't have a clue why you have a picture of her. Although, seeing her in a uniform is a bit different than what I am accustomed to."

"Miranda Davidson does not work for you, Miranda Davis does. And that uniform she is wearing is that of a Montgomery, Alabama policeman, or policewoman, I should say." He paused. "Is she popular with your members?"

"Well, let's just say she has developed a special 'niche' that some members really appreciate."

"And, that would be?"

"S&M - Sadism and Masochism."

"Really?" Sheriff Quitman said as he leaned back in his chair. "That's interesting. So she uses 'devices'?"

"Well, I suppose so, I've never seen her, shall we say, at work. However, I've never had a complaint about her. In fact those who favor her are very upset if she is not available."

The Sheriff was quiet for a moment. "Annabelle, this is going to sound odd, but would she use something like a 'taser' on a member?"

"I certainly don't think so. No doubt, I would be notified about such an incident." She paused, "What does a taser have to do with Miranda?"

Ignoring for question, Rascal continued, "Do you know where she came from? Her background?"

"No, but that's not unusual. I don't ask many questions about their past. As long as they present themselves in a good way and pass a background check."

"Background check? I did not know you required a background check?"

"I have the state police run one on any girl I employ."

"And, hers came back clean?"

"I would say so, otherwise I would not have hired her." She paused. "Come to think about it, I don't think Miranda's background check ever came back. The agency called to say they had not received it. I asked Miranda to resend it. Still, why are you so interested in Miranda?"

"Well, it's not so much her, as it is a certain taser." Then he went into the AFID system, the unique trail of 'confetti' each left, and how the taser was identified.

"Who was the taser used on?"

"I'm not at liberty to say."

"OK, what do you need from me?"

"Nothing really. You have told us what we needed to know."

"Rascal, you know I will do whatever I can to help you. I have no desire to obstruct justice."

"Oh, I know. It is just one of those unpleasant parts of this job."

"Well, if you need me," Anna Belle stood and smiled. "You know where I am."

"I do and I appreciate your help here. Needless to say, we do not need Miranda to think anything is amiss."

"Absolutely. She is off today."

"Do you know where she is going or what she is doing?"

"No, I don't."

They said their goodbyes and Anna Belle left.

Being Miranda's day off, Anna Belle went straight back to the Hunnicutt house where she went straight to Miranda's room. She had never violated her girls' privacy, but given what she knew and what the Sheriff had just told her, this was going to be an exception. Very carefully going through all the drawers and closet, so as not to show someone had been there. It wasn't until she reached underneath the left side of the wooden bed frame. She felt something cold and metal like on the rail. The device she pulled out looked much like a gun, but no doubt it was a taser. 

She returned the taser to its place. Next she left Miranda's room, making sure no one could tell she had been there. She opened the utility closet and found the vacuum cleaner. After removing the dust bag from the device, she went to the deep utility  sink at the back of the room. She opened the bag and carefully sifted the dust as it came out. It took a while, but eventually she started seeing small pieces of what looked like colorful confetti. Annabelle picked as many of the pieces  of the confetti like shreds she could separate from the pile of dust. She placed them in a dry bucket that was beside the sink. 

After washing the dust down the sink, cleaning the area and her hands of the dust, she put the bag back onto the vacuum. She found an envelope in a box of office supplies in the closet and carefully she transferred the tiny pieces of paper into the envelope.

In her office, Anna Belle closed her door and looked carefully at the colorful bits. Yes, there was a constant ID number on each piece of paper. She jotted the number down, closed the envelope, and carefully put it in the back of her desk drawer. Anna Belle hesitated just a moment before she picked up her phone.

"Wade, this is Anna Belle. We may have a problem." With that Anna Belle shared what she had learned from Sheriff Quitman and then what she had found at the house. She told him Miranda was gone for the day. 

"Let me think about this. I'll be back to you as soon as I can with a plan of containment," Wade assured Anna Belle. "I'll call Clark and Hank and give them a heads up."

"I'll speak with Sara." They rang off.

Barbara Birch had checked into the General Taylor Imperial Motel, the only place to stay in Gallagher. The semi circle of single story rooms was interrupted by a small 2 story portion in the middle that housed the lobby and innkeeper's suite. Unlike the pink colored concrete block walls that the rooms were constructed of, the larger part was made of brick with tall white columns in front.  The main door was ornate and made of, what looked liked, yards of heavy molding. Barbara felt as if she had been transferred to the '60s. 

She entered the lobby and was not surprised to find a handsome older man at the desk. Behind him were the cubby holes for each room. The appropriate keys for each room were hung in each  cubby on a cup hook. Seeing that most of the cubbies still had a key in it, she guessed there were few guests at this time.

After seeing the lobby and the innkeeper, she was not surprised when she opened the door to her room.  She was pleased to find it clean. The spread on the bed was old and faded. There was a Bible, a Book of Morman, and a pink princess style telephone that still had the 'Sothern Bell' logo on it. She looked and suure enough, bolted to the headboard was a small metal box. Inserting a quarter into the box would activate the 'Magic Fingers' connected coils under the mattress. For a mere 25 cents and 15  minutes, one could 'enjoy' lying on the bed as it gave you pleasure jiggling side to side

After settling in, Barbara placed a call to Jerry, one of her co-workers with the production company.

"Finding anything interesting down there?"

Barbara laughed,"I'm not sure where to start."

"So, you don't think Art made up his tales from whole cloth?"

"Jerry, the family trees here are so gnarled, they do not branch. There are these middle aged women who meet every afternoon to drink at the Tea Room."

"Of course they drink tea down there, where do you think iced tea came from?"

"They're not drinking tea, they are drinking alcohol. Although, they do not serve hard liquor there."

"Then there was their attitude about the local brothel."

"Brothel? You're making this up?"

"Jerry, I could not if I tried."

"Well take good notes, maybe we are onto a different plot."

They rang off.

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