Stagnated in Sonora, Arkansas Laurel and Steve decide to return to their home in Houston, Texas.
Bored, Laurel seeks re-entry to the sex business. Unknowingly she is thrust into a back door partnership with criminals. In fear for her life, she seeks help from her detective friend.
I arrived at Miss Laurel’s a few minutes before eleven. Brenda greeted me from the receptionist desk and rolled her eyes when she told me a small tornado had come in early and had taken over the butler’s pantry for an office.
“She said she was your assistant.”
“She did? Well...maybe she is.”
Opening the door to my office I noticed the new order to my desk. I had left piles of papers scattered all over the top, now neat stacks were lined up and fresh flowers were in a vase. I went to my chair, sat down, pulled a bundle of papers to me and started to read through the sheets.
“I’ll explain it all to you.”
Startled, I jerked and looked up. Sadie stood inside the door.
“Come on in. Looks like you’ve taken over.”
She walked over and sat a cup of coffee and a bagel on my desk. “That’s what managers do. First, let’s go over the schedules. You can drink and eat while I explain. And, you were paying way too much for linens. I got you a deal with someone I know.”
It took me all of ten minutes to realize the little old lady knew her business. She had organized the paperwork, and for the first time I felt relaxed, like maybe this business would work after all. I hadn’t realized how stressed I was until she had things in order.
“Sadie, you’re a gem. How did you manage to do this in such short order?”
“I know the business, plus I’m an organized person. Now let me show you what I think we should do for stationary, invitations, and such.”
After looking at two samples, I simply shook my head and said, “You handle it. I trust your judgment.”
Belinda came hurrying into the room. “You need to come out here.”
I jumped up, thinking we had an armed man in the receptionist area, but when I arrived, I saw a delivery man.
“Can I help you?”
“Got a load to put in your lower level.” The man had a thick accent, from where I didn’t know, but similar to C.J.’s.
The house was three stories; the bottom level entry was from the outside. From the front it looked like a two-story house.
“I didn’t order anything.”
“Abe, he told me to unload it here.”
Abe. What could he be putting here? What had Huff said, guns, bombs...no telling what.
Sadie came up behind me. “Do you have a list, so we can check and verify you brought everything?”
“No list. I bring what they tell me.”
“Now, young man, that’s not the way business is conducted.”
The driver looked like she had lost her mind, or maybe came from another planet. He gave her a hard look. “Lady, don’t give me no trouble.”
I took Sadie’s arm and pulled her back. “Go ahead and unload. I don’t have a key to open the door.”
“Don’t worry, I do.” He walked away, muttering under his breath words I couldn’t understand.
Sadie pinched my arm. “What was that all about?”
I led her back to the office. Once inside, I shut the door and sat her down.
“Sadie, you might not want to work here after all.”
“Are you doing something illegal? Drugs?”
“I don’t know what he’s putting down there. Abe is the man that gave me the cash to start the business. He said he wanted to use the downstairs until the business was up and going good. I needed the money, but I never dreamed he would fill up the bottom floor with Lord only knows what.” I looked out the window and saw a huge truck backing into the drive.
“Have you any idea what you’re into?”
“An idea. But I can’t talk about it. Maybe you should just pick up your purse and leave.”
“No. I promised to take care of you, and I will.”
“Then for whatever reason you’re really here, you have to keep your mouth shut and don’t challenge anyone. There’s one man in particular you want to watch out for.”
“The one you met with yesterday?”
Startled, I looked at her for long seconds. What did she know? “Yes.”
“Okay, let’s get on with business.” She went back to the paperwork. “Sit down, we aren’t finished.”
When I sat beside her, she whispered in my ear, “We’ll check it out later.”