The Key Anthology:
Frankie and Aaron
Frankie Jr.’s Story
“It’s too soon to get the police involved. It hasn’t been twenty-four hours yet.”
“I know, Wanda. I know,” Frankie Jr. said. “But Aaron wouldn’t have left like that. I know Aaron and he doesn’t lie. If he said he was leaving town with me then that’s exactly what he planned on doing. Something’s happened to him.”
Wanda put a glass of Coke in front of Frankie Jr. then walked around the counter. When she was in front of him, she hugged him, then held him for a moment.
“For the record, I think Aaron was ready to go with you, Frankie,” Wanda said. “I think his john has done something to him or with him. Otherwise, he’d be right here with you. I told my people to keep their eyes and ears open for any news about Aaron.”
There was a knock on the locked door of the sandwich shop. They were closed because of the funeral for Frankie Jr’s father the day before. Wanda had come over to keep Frankie Jr. company and check the inventory at the same time.
“We’re closed, sorry!” Wanda yelled toward the door.
She looked back at Frankie Jr. And saw him staring intensely toward the floor in front of the front door. “What is it?”
Frankie Jr. didn’t answer her, instead he walked toward the door and bent down to pick up an envelope that had been slid under it. He quickly opened it and began reading the note inside.
“What does it say?”
Frankie Jr. hushed Wanda then held up a key for her to see.
“Oh, shit,” Wanda said.
“The note with the key says ‘Take this key if you dare. It may lead to the fulfillment of all your secret dreams and fantasies.’ It’s like what Aaron got before he left the last time. A note and a key with an address.”
“What’re you gonna do?” Wanda said.
“All of my dreams and fantasies have always revolved around one person. I hope to God I find him behind the door this key opens.”
“Well I’m going with you,” Wanda said. “Let me lock up real quick.”
* * * *
Within ten minutes, Frankie and Wanda found themselves at the Welcoming Arms Motel. It was an older two-story motel where you could park directly in front of the rooms. There was no fancy lobby to walk through. All doors were on the outside facing a busy street. Frankie had parked his dark blue SUV in front of room eleven which was the last room on the right side of the first floor.
Wanda put her hand on Frankie’s shoulder as he put the plastic square key into the door slot and waited for the green light to come on. When it did they slowly opened the door to a dark room.
“Oh my God,” Frankie said quietly and in shock.
Wanda gasped and covered her mouth with her hands as tears rolled down from her eyes. “Is he alive?”
* * * *
“That seems to be the question of the day.” It was the voice of their field supervisor Elise Cannon coming through the speaker in the back of the brothers’ limousine.
A slender, refined looking man in his mid twenties twisted a long pale blond curl around his finger. It was his habit to twist his hair like that whenever he was nervous. His glistening blue eyes looked over at his brother inquisitively.
There was dead silence for a moment then Elise’s voice once again emanated from the speaker. “So far the members of the board are pleased with your first assignment for The Key Group. There have been some messy moments but life is like that. Things on the island with the deaths of those models were unexpected and beyond our control. But the police have been given a rather incriminating videotape that will show those responsible for the murders. Don’t worry, we saw no need to involve Mr. Martin Chambers. He wasn’t directly involved in the killings. Besides which, we understand from his banker and lawyer that he’ll be leaving the bulk of his estate to you, Angelo. We are sure that you’ll be making a generous donation to The Key Group once your money is in hand.”
“Be assured that I will,” Angelo said, from where he sat next to his attractive brother. “Then you and the others don’t think I involved myself too much in the story.”
“No,” Elise said. “You didn’t directly or adversely effect the outcome. I believe you know the importance we place on letting stories follow their natural course. I’ve always believed, as do others above me, that choosing good subjects for our little experiments helps keep the interest for both us and our select viewing audience. Also on a personal note, I believe your involvement kept things from getting too far out of hand. Speaking of which, I do hope our boy Aaron makes it. Keep up the good work gentleman. I’ll see you at our base when everything’s over. At that point I’ll give you my final analysis and review along with any suggestions I might have.”
“One question,” Angelo said. “If the police question those men from the island aren’t you worried they might mention—”
“Oh, Angelo,” Elise said. “Don’t concern yourself over such trivial things. We haven’t been around as long as we have without looking out for ourselves. That video of the pregnant girl being murdered was sent to her grieving redneck family first; along with the address of the men responsible for the girl’s death. There’s not enough of those thugs left for the police to question. The rednecks saw to that. A little vigilante justice can work in our favor sometimes. And the police won’t bother trying to find out who did the thugs in. They’ll just be happy to have them off their streets. I’ve been assured through my contacts that the police files on the case are already closed. That’s all for now. Good-bye.”
There was some static as the speaker went dead. Angelo reached forward and turned the dial to shut the speaker off.
“That was a relief, eh big brother. I thought for sure the group would think you’d gotten too involved.”
“Are you shocked I know what I’m doing, Jamie?” Angelo said. “I may be a little person and not as beautiful as you, but I am smart.”
“No need to get all defensive. I know between the two of us you are and always have been the smarter one.”
“And you were always our parent’s favorite. Beauty has a way with winning over hearts.”
“Only with fickle people. Our parents, God bless them, were very fickle people. Besides, just because you’re a little person doesn’t mean you’re not beautiful. I always thought you were and so did Aaron. You’re the only one who thinks you’re not beautiful. Actually I think you’re more handsome than beautiful which is how a man should be.”
“You didn’t mention what Martin thinks of me.”
“You know I don’t like him. I really don’t understand why you’re going away with him. That would make an interesting story for our pay per view audience. Anyway, it’s not like we’re not already rolling in money. So you don’t need to be with him for that.”
“I know,” Angelo said. “But no man should die alone, not even Martin Chambers. He’s tried to redeem himself. Even what he did to Aaron was an attempt to help the boy so he wouldn’t go back to his life of whoring.”
“With help like that, who needs enemies?” Jamie said, then adjusted his black and red caftan. “Or however the phrase goes.”
“And the money is yours . It was all left to you after our parents died.”
“And I put it all—everything, in both our names the day I inherited. Don’t blame me for how they were and don’t try to change the subject. You know I love you and I’m just looking out for you the way you’ve always looked out for me.”
“I know. I appreciate it, lil bro’, and I love you too. I’m nervous about going with Martin too, but I’ll be fine. Besides, I hate to admit this, but I find him extremely attractive.”
“Yuck,” Jamie said.
“Look who’s saying yuck,” Angelo said. “A man dressed in a black and red caftan.”
“I’m trying to dress the part of a mysterious behind the scenes persona. I was aiming for Fu Manchu.”
“Well you achieved dime store diva drag. Sorry but that outfit was dead on arrival.”
“Speaking of which, let’s hope Aaron isn’t dead,” Jamie said. “Time to check the monitors.”