tagLoving WivesThe Slave Trade

The Slave Trade

byGrey Eagle 286©

Thomas Burke Rockwell III sat at his desk and watched the latitude and longitude change as he ran the cursor across the satellite picture of the area. He looked at the next coordinates for a corner of the property he was interested in. It was a 1244-acre parcel of land; it was planted in pine trees now. He wanted to determine how much pine was harvestable right now.

He had only been using the satellite pictures for a few weeks and was just becoming proficient with it. It appeared that it would make his job much easier. Nancy, his wife had never understood exactly what he did but she knew he made good money. He wondered if she had gotten home from her trip to town this morning. She had said that she might stay in town for lunch with some friends.

He rolled the track ball on his mouse and ran the cursor up the highway to his neighborhood. He followed the road off the highway and found his house. He looked at the time the picture was taken and saw it was only 5 minutes old. He saw his wife's white SUV in front of the garage. There was another vehicle there too. He cranked up the magnification and recognized their friend Alan's Pick-up truck

Why was it there at 12:45 in the afternoon on a Thursday? He picked up the phone and rang his own house number. No answer. He tried Nancy's cell phone. She answered. She sounded out of breath. "Hi, how are ya doing. Your did shopping go, OK?"

"OH! Hi dear, we are still at it. We'll be home in a while."

"Hey, drive carefully. I feel you are safer in that big Escalade of yours, it's like a tank."

"I feel safer too. See ya later."

Tom sat there with a puzzled look on his face. He checked the time again on the screen for the date time group showing when the picture was taken. He picked a picture for the present time. His house was still in sight. The picture was from more of an angle but the two vehicles were both in sight.

He switched to an older picture taken at 12:00. Both vehicles were there but the pick-up was partly in the street so it must have just been arriving. The picture was from lower on the other side. He zoomed in and copied the license plate numbers off both trucks. He knew that was the last usable picture until tomorrow because the satellite he was using was in polar orbit and not geosyncronous orbit. The satellite he was using passed overhead roughly every 23 hours and 56 minutes. It was over his position close to noon and that was when he got the best resolution with the least distortion.

He looked off into space for a moment then he grabbed a Heartland America catalog from the wastebasket where he had thrown it. He searched trough it rapidly until he found what he was looking for. The Item was no. E3-87256, a Motorola home monitoring system. It consisted of two motion activated IR wireless cameras that capture both audio and video and relay that it to a receiver that connects to your PC (where it could be recorded.) or Internet equipped cell phone. This feature made it possible to monitor your house from anywhere in the world. The programmable cameras could be set to 'always on' for continual viewing or motion activated. It had a 250' range from the cameras to the PC. He picked up the phone and ordered one sent to his office by priority shipping. Not bad for $129.99 plus shipping. It would be there in two days.

He opened a cupboard and found his little RCA voice activated digital recorder he used to record meetings and save them for later review. He dropped it in his brief case and returned to work. Work wasn't easy that day. He checked his house several more times. It was shortly before one o'clock when the truck disappeared from his drive. He was able to go back up to a year and review pictures. The resolution was not as good but it was good enough to see cars in his driveway.

He went back to the previous Thursday and saw the truck there then too. It was never there except on Thursdays. He checked back for several months on Thursdays and the truck was there. Of ten Thursdays it was there on eight of them. He checked back on his daily calendar and one day it was missing was when he had been home after having minor surgery for the removal of three skin cancers. The other was when they were away on vacation.

He thought about Nancy, could she be having an affair? He knew she was fond of his friend Alan Stroudt. They both were, but would she cheat on him? There had been times in the past that he had wondered about her. She had always been somewhat of a flirt and a tease with the guys.

She had always enjoyed touching other men. When they were first married it had made him very jealous. He had asked her why she did it and told her it might give the man the wrong idea. She had laughed and said, "If I want to give a guy a signal I will just tell him what I want. I am just a touchy feely person. I like touching people. I don't mean anything by it. " "You mean that when you do it to me you don't mean it, that it's not a sign of your love and affection?"

"Of course it is. What I do to you is different."

"Not that I can see. Anyway it makes me uncomfortable. I don't see any reason a married woman should flirt with another man anyway."

He thought back and he had noticed she had stopped touching other men. At least when he was around anyway. He recalled that since Alan had gotten his divorce from Alice, he had stayed pretty far from Nancy at parties and other occasions.

What possible innocent reason would he have for being at his house every Thursday at noon? What was significant about Thursday with Nancy or himself?

He could think of nothing except that Thursday was payday at his office. He always paid everyone at noon on Thursday. He never went home at noon on Thursday because by the time everyone got their checks it was usually 1:15 or so. He had the checks at his desk and his employees stopped by and had a word with him and picked up their checks. He turned to his computer and went to WORD and typed in a memo that payday next week would be on Friday and would be on Friday until further notice. He printed it out in a large red font and posted it on the bulletin board.

Damn! He thought, have I already convicted Nancy without hearing her side of the story? No. Not really, I wouldn't say anything to her until I had better evidence than I had now. Well! At lease it gave me time to set things up for next Thursday. The voice recorder would go to work tonight. I need to think about this a bit more carefully. Nancy worked part time at the local bank. Alan was a Vice- President there too. She worked as a loan officer on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Once in a while she worked late, but not often, maybe every other month. He had never thought much about it. She always called him early to tell him so he would be home for the kids. At fourteen and sixteen they could really fend for themselves but it seemed the right thing to do. He had never checked on her. She was always home by eight thirty or nine.

He thought about their sex life, it was pretty good he thought, they had sex about twice a week. Not like when they were first married but about average he thought. It was always good and often great. When she worked late she usually didn't want to fool around. He tried to remember. She had begged off last Thursday too. More to wonder about, she was going to have a lot of questions to answer pretty soon.

What would he do if she were cheating on him? He had never thought about it. He guessed it would depend on several things. He knew it would be hell living without her. Would he ever be able to trust her again? Cheating was the same as stealing she always said. She said you could never trust a thief or a cheat. Maybe it would be smart to give her reason to believe he was suspicious of her. Maybe she would stop if she was cheating. God, this was enough to drive you crazy.

What about the kids? Why isn't she thinking about the kids? Why isn't she thinking about him? Does she love Alan? Is she about to leave him anyway? He made up his mind he would give her a subtle hint, get straight or get out! Yeah! Real smooth. He had to think about it. Do it now or be sure of what she is doing first?

He told his people he didn't feel too good and that he was going home. He drove home with his mind in high gear. He pulled in the drive and sat in the car to gather his thoughts before he went in. She was in the kitchen, She looked at him with real concern in her eyes, "I thought I heard you pull in. What took you so long to come inside? She hurried to him and looked up at him. "Are you alright, are you sick or something?"

"Yeah! I don't feel too good."

"What's wrong Honey, tell me about it." She was dragging him to his favorite chair. "Do you want me to fix you a drink?"

"Yeah, a drink would be nice." He walked in the kitchen and sat at the kitchen table. They took most of their family meals there. They had their monthly family conference there. She set a drink in front of Tom. "Now tell me about it Dear."

"Why don't you tell me about it Nancy? Something is wrong between us and I don't know what it is, but I am scared."

"I don't know what you are talking about. Nothing is wrong, I love you and you love me. Right?"

"I don't know. Do you remember the old game of Monopoly?"

"Of course I do. Why?"

"Do you remember the 'Get out of Jail free' card?"


"Well this is your get out of jail free card, Tell me everything and get out of jail free, I will forgive anything if you tell me now."

She stared at Tom; he would swear there was real fright in her eyes for a moment. "There is nothing to tell. I don't know what you mean."

He looked at her for several minutes. "OK, fine. No problem. I'm going to go take a nap, OK? Want to go with me?"

"No, I would love to, but I have dinner started, and I can't just walk off and leave it."

"OK, by the way did you have a nice day shopping to day?" Tom looked at her hard. Then turned and went up stairs. He left his briefcase under his place at the table. The voice-activated recorder was on.

Tom got undressed and started to take a shower, he turned the water on and walked over to the bedroom door. He looked down the long hall and he saw Nancy pick up the kitchen phone. Her back was to him and Tom walked toward the kitchen. He heard her say, "No, never again, leave me alone." She hung up the phone and turned around and saw Tom. She dropped into the chair and stared at him. He turned and walked away. He went into the shower and took his shower. He cane out and shut and locked the bedroom door. He dressed and packed a bag. He looked at his watch; it was five o'clock. Nancy would be picking up the kids from the school bus. Tom picked up the bag and wrote a note and left it on the kitchen table. It read: 'Your get 'out of jail free' has expired.'

Tom put the little recorder behind a couple of cook books near the phone and picked up his briefcase and went out the door. He headed out the opposite direction from the bus stop. Tom cut through some dirt roads and then headed for the interstate. There were several Motels there and He opted for the Best Western. He had his cell phone turned off.

The next morning Tom was at his office early, he put a recording on the answering machine saying he was out of the office until noon Thursday. He was gone before anyone showed up at work. Tom returned to the Motel and called his office, his secretary picked up with, "SAS Inc. Real Estate. Acreage Bought and Sold. Good Morning. Peggy speaking, how may I direct your call?"

He told her he wouldn't be in until Thursday Noon. She said Nancy had called and wanted to know if he were there. Tom told here to tell her the same thing she told any other calls for him. He told her to tell everyone that he was out until Thursday noon and that she had no idea of where he was. Tom told her to tell Mike, his assistant to just complete the projects they had going. Tom's cell phone rang again. He flipped it on speaker as the answering service came on. He heard Nancy say, "Tommy, don't do this to me, please call me, I am scared to death. I love you so much. Please don't leave us this way. The girls are scared to death; they think you won't ever come back. They want to know what I did to drive you away. I can't tell them. I haven't slept all night waiting for you to come home. At least call and let us know you are all right. Please Tommy, please, sob."

Tom almost broke down and called, it hurt him to hear the agony in her voice. He was feeling plenty of agony himself. He slowly turned the phone off and then put it down. Tom thought about things for a few minutes. He dialed a number from memory. The phone rang several times then was answered. Tom knew the voice very well. He said, "Hi! Alice, how are things going?"

"Tom, how are you. I haven't heard from you guys since the divorce. I figured you were pissed at Alan and didn't know me anymore."

"I thought Nancy had called you." "No, but I didn't really expect her to. I guess you must have learned something or you wouldn't be calling here." "I just figured out that something was wrong yesterday. I haven't said anything to anybody yet. Can you tell me anything?"

"Oh! Tommy! I'm so sorry! I thought you knew all about it."

"No, I thought things were fine until yesterday. I love her and I tried to give her a way out but she claimed nothing was wrong."

"What do you know?"

"I know that Alan has been at my house every Thursday from noon until about one for several months now. I can't come up with an innocent reason for that. She lied about where she was yesterday. I know her Caddy was in the drive and Alan's truck was there too. She didn't answer the house phone but did answer her cell phone. She was out of breath and said she was in town shopping."

"Tommy, I really thought you knew that that was the reason I got a divorce. I thought you knew about Alan. This isn't the first time he has done this and I just couldn't take it any more."

"Alice, I never heard a word. I haven't seen or talked to Alan since the divorce. Nancy never mentions him any more."

"Tommy, Alan has a history of blackmailing women into having sex with him. He has caused a number of divorces. I have no idea if that is what is going on with Nancy or not, but I am sure she loved you with all her heart. I don't know what to tell you to do."

"Well I have moved out without saying why. I intend to get some proof before I go any further. Please don't say anything to either of them, OK?"

"I never talk to them but I promise I won't if you promise to keep me informed of what is going on. I have a new friend I am very fond of and I never want to see Alan again. I really hate that man and want him to suffer."

"I am happy for you Alice and I sincerely wish you well. I promise to keep you informed. If you think of anything that would help me figure this out please call me on my cell phone at any time. Here is my number, 427-3909." He said goodbye and clicked off.

He called and made an appointment with a good friend who was also his attorney. He was able to talk with his friend for several minutes and told him of his suspicions and asked his advice in several areas. Brice, his friend was very upset about his problem and promised to have the things he requested done as fast as he could. He spent a sleepless night and in the morning he called his office. Peggy told him that Nancy had called many times and sounded very upset. She also said that a package had arrived for him. He directed her to place it in his office.

He picked up the phone in the rented room and called his house. Nancy answered on the first ring.

"Hello, Nancy, how are the girls?"

"Oh! Tommy, they are heartbroken. I am too. We miss you so much! Please come home, please, please, please."

"I will be by to see the girls later. I want you to tell then that I have no answers for them at this time and for them to please not to ask me any questions about what is going on. That goes for you too! I hate this as much as any of you do. I have only questions, no answers. When I find the answers I will let all of you know."

"Do you want me to leave so you can see the girls?"

"No! I want to see you too! Have you thought things over? Do you have something you want to tell me?"

"I'll talk to you when you get here. OK?"

"I'll see you in a little while."

Tom stood and walked to the window. He looked out the window and saw nothing. He thought about Nancy and the two girls. What would a divorce do to all of them? What could he do to mitigate the trauma to the girls? He felt the tears run down his cheeks. He had no answers. He shook his head. Damn! He had to act like a man. He dried his eyes and headed for the house he once called home.

He rang the doorbell. His oldest daughter, Sandy opened the door. He said, "May I come in?"

She looked at him wide eyed and said "Mommaaaaaa!" and fell sobbing to the floor.

Nancy and Amy, the youngest daughter came running. They looked at him and then crouched by Sandy. "What's wrong girl, what happened?"

Sandy raised her head "Daddy, sniff, Daddy asked, sob, if he could come in his own home." She burst out crying. Amy joined her and Nancy held the two of them in her arms.

She glared up at him. "Why did you do that?"

"Perhaps I no longer feel this is my home." Her jaw dropped and she stared at him, then she got up and turned away, sobbing.

. The two girls looked up at him, Sandy said, "Why Daddy, why isn't this your home?"

"I don't think your mother wants me here. I really Don't."

"No Daddy you are wrong, she loves you, she really does. She hasn't slept in several nights, she cries all night long."

"Girls I love you both dearly, nothing will ever change that, nothing! Your mother and I need to talk alone. Please take Amy to your room until we call you. Please do not try and listen to what we are saying. Can you do that for me please?"

"Yes Daddy, we are going now."

Tom walked into the house and heard Nancy softly crying in the living room. She was huddled on one end of the couch. He sat on the other end. After a few minutes he softly said, "Nancy, we need to talk." She jumped, startled, and looked at him. "You look terrible, Tom. You aren't taking care of yourself."

"You look pretty sad yourself girl. We really need to talk. Actually, you need to talk, I need to listen. Right?"

She looked down at her hands clenched together at her waist. She looked at him, "I can't. I just can't."

"Then this is the way you want our marriage to end, like this? You don't look too happy, is this what you want. Just tell me something. Explain it to me. I told my attorney to draw up divorce papers this morning. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. It was like cutting my heart out with a dull rusty knife. PLEASE TALK TO ME."

She slowly lifted her head, "How much do you know?"

"I pretty well know WHO, WHERE, and WHEN. I just don't know WHY."

"Oh Tommy, I just had to do it. I just had to."

"You just had to fuck Alan? Why for Christ's sake?"

"Because I didn't want you to go to jailll. Sob. I had to do it so he wouldn't tell."

"Wouldn't tell WHAT?"

"That you are stealing money from the company. He has copies of all the checks you wrote to yourself on the company accounts."

"And you believed him?"

"No, not at first. Then I researched it and checked the accounts and found it was true. You have been doing it for years. It is a huge amount of money. He promised he wouldn't tell if I was nice to him. I had to keep you out of jail."

"Nancy, why didn't you just ask me about it?"

"Tommy, I SAW the checks, you put them in a savings account somewhere I guess."

"Honey, I thought you knew me better than that, I have never stole a dime in my life."

"I SAW the checks."

"Nancy, I can't steal from the company, I own the company."

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