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Pictures tell the whole sordid story

Three weeks before Joellen and the children were on the train, Monika Novotny had already called her contact in New York. As it turned out, Lonnie McSweeney was on everyone’s A list.

“So, let me get this straight,” Lonnie told Monika on the phone, “this guy’s in New York in two weeks time, for five days, maybe a couple more, and he’s shackin’ up in some hotel but you got no idea which one. That’s the story? And you want pictures?”

“Yes,” said Monika. “I can give you his credit card numbers. His wife gave them to me. You can track him with those. I don’t know which card he’ll be using, so track them all. Now how do you get pictures?”

“Depends what you want, you know,” he said. “If you just want shots with the broad and him goin’ from here to there and bein’ all cozy like, that’s no sweat. But if you want the real goods, you know what I mean, that’s a little more tricky. I would need a real setup for that. And that takes cash. Sometimes a lotta cash. These hotels – I mean, like, some of them – can be real sticky about what you can set up in a person’s room. Not that the management would know. But you know, sometimes I gotta nose around to hit just the right employee, if you know what I mean. And then again it depends on the hotel.”

“Okay, I get what you’re saying,” Monika said. “Let’s do it this way. You track him and find out where he’s staying. If it seems like the kind of place where you could make some headway, go for it. Just keep me informed.”

“Sure thing,” Lonnie said. “And who do I bill?”

“The firm, as usual,” said Monika. “Here are the credit card numbers.” She rattled them off. She could hear him breathing as he wrote everything down. She also heard car noises and what sounded like a bus. She figured he was on a cell phone in a cab.

“Check,” said Lonnie and clicked off.

The next time she heard from him was the week before Joellen took her children to New York. To Monika it was like a kind of dance. She enjoyed the push-pull of it, the timing, the tracking of the quarry. She liked to use men against each other and she relished the thought that at the end of the chase there would be a reward for her efforts. A reward for herself, but also on behalf of the woman who was wronged. She had been wronged once. And now she got a righteous feeling of payback with every one of these damnable cheaters. If it hadn’t been Lonnie McSweeney she would have found someone else. But he was good at his job. He had never let her down before. And he didn’t this time. It was funny, she thought, how husbands favored cheating in New York or Las Vegas.

“Well, we’re in,” Lonnie said on the third day of Brent’s week in New York. “Him and his tootsie are all lovey-dovey at this restaurant, sitting at the bar. I got great shots of them. Tracked him by his credit card. Simple as a slice of apple pie. And can you believe, this guy picks one of the hotels that doesn’t have a doorman. No security, nothin’. I got a friend of mine to help out. We did some team surveillance the first coupla days. I follow him onto the elevator; get out on his floor; walk down the hall slow like, nice and easy; then watch which room he goes in. Go back to check the room number. And then my guy bumps him one on the street and, bango, we got his electronic room key. Gotta love them dippers. Before he even misses the key we’re in and out and the setup’s done.”

“No, don’t tell me how you got it,” cautioned Monika. “Just mail me copies. traceable.”

Joellen Part 2, Episode Eighteen

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