The No-Tell Motel
When a young woman vanishes from a roadside motel, Mary-Alice and the gang leave Sinful and head across the border to find her. They soon find that the unprepossessing McCully Inn holds some Texas-sized secrets, which the influential McCully family would prefer to keep hidden.
But with the missing woman’s life at stake, the ladies decide to keep poking around the McCully family closet and let the skeletons fall where they may. And with their technical know-how, decades of experience, and relaxed attitude about rules and procedures, they might just get to the truth.
Their new “command center” (as Mary-Alice liked to think of it) was an unused room on the second floor, a few doors down from where Solange had been staying when she disappeared. Inside were two double beds and a couch. Fortune immediately volunteered to take the couch, and no one argued with her. That was one of the advantages of age, Mary-Alice thought. No one expects you to sleep on the fold-out.
While Mary-Alice got ready for bed, Fortune and Ida Belle went to work. They disconnected the room telephone and in its place plugged in a tan plastic box about the size of a deck of cards. Then they pulled out a similar box and hooked it to a laptop.
“Are those little hard drives y’all are setting up?” Mary-Alice asked.
“They’re listening devices,” Fortune explained. “This one is an International Mobile Subscriber Identity-catcher. It’s like its own little cell phone tower. If Solange’s kidnapper calls someone in the area, we can not only hear the call, we can trace the location of the phone.”
“We should be able to hear anything that comes through the switchboard too,” Ida Belle added. None of it’s admissible in a court of law, and might not even be legal, but this setup’s pretty useful.”
Mary-Alice came over to take a closer look. Fortune slid under the desk to do something with wires and cables.
“Are there headphones?” she asked. “Will we be listening and taking notes?”
Mary-Alice imagined herself wearing big studio-style headphones for hours on end and wondered whether her ears would get sore.
“Thankfully, no,” Ida Belle said. “That’s how they did it back in my day. I mean, in spy movies. But now they can record and transcribe the conversations.”
“That way we can actually get some sleep,” Fortune said from under the desk. “And the voice recognition has some problems south of the Mason-Dixon Line. It can’t tell the difference between ‘oil’ and ‘all’.”
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This story is a licensed work in Jana DeLeon’s Miss Fortune world.