Read Along: Paradise Palms: Chapter 25
Lin turned up the speakers so L7 would be good and loud. She screamed along with Gas Chamber while Tiger Lily finished the coding of the trap. When the person trying to get into their system connected, the trap would feedback and force a lock. Only a physical disconnection would allow the person to get away from their detection. Once established, they could find out everything they needed to know about their mystery visitor.
Tiger Lily reached up and turned the music down to a conversational tone. “Do you have those other cameras ready?”
“No.” In fact, Lin had almost forgotten about them. They were in the basement still packed in the original packages. She’d ordered them online and hadn’t installed as many as she could since nothing happened and she didn’t think anything interesting ever would. She was thankful she had installed the ones she did.
“Why don’t you go get them? They’re the same as the others, right?”
“One is. The other is a tripod camera and it’s a little different. We may need to install software to run that one, but it’s easy enough to do.”
“Can you get those? I’ll install the software while you set up the cameras. We definitely need one pointed at Doc Brenner’s trailer. We do have a clear shot to that one, right?” Lin nodded. “Great. Set up the other one on the roof and point it toward the Sandy Bar. I know we have one on top of the Sandy Bar, but we need one to see what might be going on out of range of that camera.”
“What about the one on the main office?”
“Can we re-direct that one? I had thought these were stationary?”
“They can be re-pointed. I just had them set up in one direction. I’ve never had a reason to move them.”
“Perfect. It’s closer, so that’ll give us a better view behind the bar. Just set up the tripod camera and we’ll be good, then.” Tiger Lily winked at Lin and wrinkled her nose.
Lin went to the kitchen and opened the door Sam had installed to go down into the basement. Even with the lights on it looked like a dungeon, and the sound of humming servers didn’t make it any more inviting. Every chance she had she avoided going into the basement, which was pretty much all the time. She only went down there to put something into storage or to get something out. It was intended as long-term storage, after all.
She grabbed the broom sitting at the top of the stairs and waved it all along. Just because she couldn’t see the spider webs didn’t mean they weren’t there. She hated bugs.
The small room at the foot of the stairs held her personal storage. She didn’t need much. The last time she’d been in the basement was to put the extra cameras away. The water-tight, clean-room environment for the servers was sealed away in the dark. Only the generator was visible in the light from the storage room. Lin grabbed the tripod camera and hurried back up the stairs.
Tearing open the package to retrieve the installation CD, Lin returned to the bedroom and handed it to Tiger Lily.
“The box says it’s a wireless camera, so we won’t need to run a cable to it. I just need to plug it in,” Lin told Tiger Lily.
“Great. Do you think it’d be better on the roof? I just don’t want someone to walk by and knock it over or pick it up.”
“That’s probably a good idea.” Lin thought. She didn’t have a ladder to get on the roof. She’d always gotten Sam or Casper when she needed anything like that.
“Um, Tiger Lily, could you help me get up on the roof?”
“Sure,” Tiger Lily said as she closed the CD drive. “How do you get up there?”
“I think there’s a set of ladder rungs that go up the back of the trailer, but I’ve never been up them.”
“Oh, okay. Let’s go. I need to stretch my legs a little anyway.”
Lin removed the camera from the box and they headed outside. The sun was high in the sky. It wasn’t even noon yet but Lin already felt tired. They’d had a long day already with the driving and coding. She looked up the road when the sound of a loud motor cycle or something worked its way up the drive. Girlfriend drove Sam’s quad, towing a trailer, and a woman Lin didn’t recognize sitting behind her.
“Oh, that’s Sam’s girlfriend.”
“What’s her name?”
“Her name is Girlfriend Sokolov. She’s really nice.” Lin waved for her to stop. She’d be driving up to Sam’s trailer just up the drive and on the opposite side.
Girlfriend pulled up to a stop in front of Lin and Tiger Lily. “Hi Lin.” She sounded tired. Lin noticed Sam in the trailer.
“What happened?” Lin rushed over to see what had happened to Sam. She didn’t see any blood, but that didn’t mean something bad hadn’t happened.
“Oh, he’s fine. I know why he doesn’t drink now.” Girlfriend laughed a cold laugh. “Funny, I always thought he could handle a drink if he ever took one.”
“What do you mean?”
“Oh, he thought that maybe Doc Brenner was responsible for something and went to talk to him. Doc offered him a drink and he drank two really fast. Then he passed out.”
Lin and Tiger Lily exchanged worried glances. “What did he think Doc Brenner was up to?”
Girlfriend shrugged. “It’s kind of hard to explain.”
“Not that hard,” the woman sitting behind Girlfriend said.
Lin asked, “Do I know you?” The woman looked vaguely familiar.
The woman extended a hand. “I’m Myra Tolie. I’m here to try and help any way I can.”
Lin recognized the woman from across the street with the detective. They’d been around with Sam, asking him questions. Was she a cop or a detective too? Lin didn’t want to ask.
Tiger Lily stepped forward. “We’re also thinking Doc Brenner is up to something. That’s why we’re asking what Sam may have thought he was doing.”
“Well, I don’t want to speak for Sam. You know, he’ll be up later, if this is something that can wait.”
“Well, are you sure you can’t tell me what’s going on? There’s been some strange things happening and Sam might be onto something really important.”
Girlfriend looked back at Sam and then at a paper she had in her hand. It had a semi-circle on it and a map of the trailer park. Lin didn’t get a good enough look at it to tell what it really showed. Myra held a map also, only a slightly different map.
“Should I show her the pictures?” Myra asked Girlfriend.
“No!” Girlfriend nearly shrieked as Myra asked her question.
Lin said. “I think we may be able to help each other here.”
Girlfriend eyed Tiger Lily suspiciously. Lin felt the need to explain. “This is my, um, friend, Tiger Lily.”
“I saw the car in front of your trailer. You don’t get too many visitors.”
Lin wondered if Girlfriend’s evasiveness was to protect Sam somehow.
“Does this have anything to do with the strange things that are happening?” Lin asked.
“No!” Girlfriend snapped.
“Yes,” Myra said at the same time.
Lin looked between the two women. It didn’t make any sense. What could they be hiding and just how much did Lin have to say? She didn’t want to tell them everything about what they knew, but at the same time she didn’t want Girlfriend to drive off without telling them something.
“I’m sorry, Lin. I need to get Sam into bed. He’s had a bad day and he thinks he’s going to have a really long night. I’ll have him call you when he wakes up, alright? I’m sure he’ll tell you all about it later.”
Lin looked at Tiger Lily and they nodded to each other. Lin wanted to smile at the unspoken communication the two of them had naturally fallen into, but refrained. “That’s fine.”
Girlfriend kicked the quad into gear and rode back to Sam’s trailer. Lin and Tiger Lily stepped back to the side of the trailer and watched.
“You know, I think we need that other camera and I think I know where we need it pointing,” said Tiger Lily.
“And I need to know when he wakes up too. I’ve got some software that I need to install that’ll set off an alarm if one of the cameras detects movement.”
“Perfect. Let’s get these cameras set up. I don’t care who sees the one pointed at Doc Brenner’s trailer, but let’s try to keep the camera pointed at Sam’s trailer as hidden as possible.”
Lin looked at the rungs leading up the back of the trailer and then at the tripod camera in her hand. She was just glad that Girlfriend or Myra hadn’t asked about them. She’d hate to have to explain to them about the cameras and what they’d seen as well as what they suspected about Doc Brenner. She knew that Girlfriend was Doc’s cleaning lady and didn’t know what her relationship with the man entailed. Perhaps she’d find out later if she actually told Sam to call her.