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The Vistas - Chapter One

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, events, businesses, events, and incidents are a product of the author(s) imagination or are used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons either living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

All Rights Reserved.





The Vistas

Chapter One

Micah Craig Dunbar











Danny Boy streamed through Spotify as Micah Craig Dunbar drove toward his work at The Vistas. His Ethereal Frost Silver Range Rover, a gift from a loyal patron in lieu of money for services rendered, sped down the Grand Strand. To his right, the Atlantic Ocean, today with a deep blue calmness and miles of cold sand. To his left, a newer six-story hotel boasting free cable and an indoor lazy river on its flashing billboard.

He checked his hair in the mirror as he slowed to a rolling stop at a red light then blew through it like the wind. Caution be damned.

Winter in Myrtle Beach was much more relaxing than the summer. Less traffic, somewhat less homebuilding, giving him a much-needed break to get caught up on renovations. Especially, at The Vistas, where the wealthiest of wealthy either lived or owned a get-away home.

Micah slowed for the speed bumps and entered the gates, his all-access pass making it a breeze. They loved him at The Vistas. Who else could get an unquestioned passport from people who valued their security above anything else? A pass that allowed him access to absolutely everything. The pools, the spa, the weight room, the occasional out-of-town resident’s condo. Who had to know? They had maids to remake the beds and wash the sheets. Who would miss a few chunks of imported cheese and a bottle of champagne?

Micah parked the Rover in his self-designated spot and started to rummage through his glove box. He found them. He put his driving glasses in their case and donned his spectacles with camera capabilities. From the side of his seat, he removed his Smith and Wesson M&P semi-automatic pistol he’d recently had converted to a fully automatic and shoved it in a hidden holster in his pants. Nothing could get by him. Absolutely nothing.

Micah got out of the car and stretched, then yawned. His nights were long.

He stepped to the left passenger side door of the Rover, opened it, and pulled out his briefcase—a nice supple leather bag that held a small, compact computer that stored the video he collected. Another gift for services rendered. He checked the battery; full. The WiFi signal; perfect. The secret, tiny cameras he placed in each condo all registered clear visuals of every owner. Secrets? He allowed them none. Micah tucked the brief case back into his car.

His phone rang. His wife. Her thick Russian accent was sometimes hard for him to cipher. “Hey honey, I’m at work. Got to get this condo finished before the clients get back in town. They’re riding my ass. You know how it is.”

“Yeah, yeah.”

“No, no. Don’t fix dinner tonight. I’ll pick up something before I head home.”

He hung up without the pleasantries of good-byes.

When he married her, he thought she’d be a quiet cover, a constant companion, a beautiful bride to make him look good, but she’d turned out to be an expensive Russian mail-order bride he couldn’t afford. Thoughts of sending her back to her family rolled in his mind like waves on the ocean. But those waves only hit the shore and rushed back out to sea. Micah was stuck with her.

But there was one purpose she did serve, albeit small. She never complained about their sexless marriage. She never pushed him on it or for it. If he kept a roof over her head and a low balance on her Visa, she was happy to be a trophy wife for a man who preferred gentlemen. And no one had to know about his sideline adventures.

With the salt air in his lungs, he took long strides to the lower garage deck to inventory who was home. Bingo. A full house. Good video tonight. Now to check the official video cameras of The Vistas. He looked both ways to ensure a clear coast, then slid his hand across the top of the door jamb. He heard the clink of a fallen key against concrete, picked it up, and took another look around for intruders to his chaos. The key slid into the lock and with a quick turn of the knob he was in.

The flip of a switch illuminated the room. In front of him were thirty screens with red roses as screen savers. How sweet. The former board president, the Nazi, set that up. He’d change it if he knew it wouldn’t give away his intrusion. He inserted a thumb drive in the system to download the videos, careful not to stop the tape from rolling.

This would take a few more minutes than he had to spend. He left the downloading and escaped the room without notice. He’d sneak back in later to retrieve it. He stood on the tips of his toes and replaced the key. Wouldn’t want to be caught with that on him. He knew it would be foolish for anyone else to know he had keys above all the outside doors which allowed him to come and go onto common properties at any time he wished.

It was almost ten. He scheduled a meeting with Stan Musick, the board president. He reached for the broomstick he snuggly hid in a small corner of the garage and turned the ceiling camera ever so gently—just enough for him to walk by unnoticed. With his back against the wall, he slithered like a snake after a rodent until the reached the unlocked door leading to the stairwell.

A cramp hit his stomach. He tensed and tightened the cheeks of his ass. He had to reach a bathroom. The steep steps to the bathroom were not empathic to his stomach, but he finally reached a toilet. The maintenance crew’s toilet. He winced at the white toilet with a black seat. It reminded him of his school days. There was no time for memories. He tore off his belt and lowered his pants. He rolled his eyes as his expelled gas made the dirty toilet water splash on his skin. Then all he could think of was beets. Yes, beets from last night’s dinner. Borscht soup with black bread his wife considered a delicacy. Micah thought it tasted like vinegar. She said it reminded her of home. It reminded Micah of blood in a bowl.

His head broke out in a sweat. He reached for the toilet paper, but all he saw was an empty cardboard roll. The foul odor was hitting him in the face. He struggled to reach on the back of the commode for a spare roll of paper. Again, an empty roll, but this one had a message written on it:

This is not your restroom.

Management


He could see his scowled face in the reflection of a metal paper towel holder hanging across the room from him, beside the sink. That, too, was empty. Those bastards never cut him a break. He shook his head and mumbled, “That’s okay. I’ll just tell Stan they’re not keeping the restrooms stocked. There’s more than one way to skin a cat.”

Now, however, Micah was stuck. He had no way to clean himself. What choice did he have? He slipped off his shoes and pulled his pants off completely. He removed his Armani underwear he had stolen from an out-of-town resident. Enraged, he took a deep breath and wiped the silk underwear between the cheeks of his ass, then tossed them into the trash. His ass burned in more ways than one. He redressed himself, flushed the toilet, and made his way to the main lobby. He slipped into the resident’s formal guest toilet and locked the door.

Micah rubbed his hands together. Payback time. The toilet sparkled and he could smell it had just been cleaned. He picked up handfuls of fine linen-like paper hand towels and pushed them into the commode. He flushed the toilet three quick times and could hear the gurgle of the clogged plumbing line. Water soon spilled to the floor and would soon run into the lobby. Micah unzipped his pants and watched his urine cover the toilet set and splash on the walls. Nothing to do now but tell Stan how maintenance was failing to do their job.

He hopped over the running water and walked to the elevator. Inside, he pushed “P” for penthouse. Stan’s unit. The elevator opened to Stan’s living room. Nice. Micah had redone his unit just last year and it was holding up well if he had to say so himself.

Stan sat in a wingback chair near the balcony. His chair faced the ocean. “Hello Micah,” Stan said in a low tone.

“Stan, my man. How’d you know it was me?” Micah stood, waiting to be asked to sit down. “I see the wrought iron fence at the front of the neighborhood was painted. Looks better than that chipped façade it was.”

“Yeah,” Stan said, “I had the maintenance crew get some black paint and touch it up.”

Micah rocked on his feet. “You know I could have done that job for you.”

“Yeah, yeah, you could have, but I have people for that. Besides, you don’t have a contractor’s license and you never pull permits for the work you do.”

“You told me I didn’t have to as long it was on personal property. And who needs to know what goes on at The Vistas? Stupid building code enforcement officers. Slip them a few bucks, they’ll turn their heads, especially on their meager salaries.”

Stan cleared his throat. “It wouldn’t hurt to pull a few permits to make it look good. All I need is for the city and county to come blasting through here. You know that water leak from the Mater unit? Your friends did that job. That leak ran down four floors. You have everyone wondering if you didn’t cut that pipe yourself. You need to stay out of arguments with the residents. I can’t cover you forever. I even have the maintenance crew asking questions.”

Micah raised his eyebrows. “You need to rethink that bunch. They’re not restocking supplies again, and that lobby bathroom looks disgraceful.”

Stan looked back at him. “Oh yeah? Again? I’ll make a note of it, but who are you going to blame if they’re not around? You’re getting sloppy.”

Micah let Stan’s warning roll from him like rain down an umbrella onto dry ground. Micah knew it would never get him wet.

“Say, Stan, I’m working on the Fontaine unit. I need to stay a little longer than six. I might need to work on the weekends, too. Thought I’d let you know in case you get any calls.”

Micah watched Stan grit his teeth. “No work after six and no weekend work unless it’s an emergency.”

Micah picked up a photograph of Stan and his wife with Micah photobombing it with a flashy grin.

“I guess you can work past six for a couple of days, but that’s it.”

“Aren’t you going to ask me to sit down?”

Stan sank further into his chair and looked out over the ocean. “I don’t see the need in that.”

Micah sighed. “Are you still stewing over the photographs? A guy must look out for himself. I make these units look new. It’s not costing you anything to throw me a bone with the real estate agents. They get their cut, too. I’m always decent about making the playing field fair.”

Stan flung his chair around. “Do you call blackmailing me with photographs fair?”

“No,” Micah said, “I call that insurance. You formally hire me, give me health benefits, and launder the money I make on these expansive renovations I do, and I keep my mouth shut about all the dirty little secrets about this building. Your wife doesn’t find out you had an affair, and you get to keep that big financially secure CEO title. That seems fair to me now that I think about it. She would take it all you know. All of it.”

Stan looked at Micah with hate-filled eyes. “Leave my wife out of this.”

“My wife loved the flowers.”

“What flowers?” Stan said, baffled.

“The ones you had me order for your wife last week. Four dozen roses. They were beautiful. Thanks for that.”

“Get out!” Stan said. Take your snarky ass off my property.”

Micah turned to leave and heard Stan laughing. He turned back to him. “What’s so funny?”

“Nothing, nothing at all. You better get to the Fontaine’s place. I don’t want to get any phone calls about more crap you’ve caused.”

“All right, then. I’ll see you after the board meeting or you can call and tell me how it goes?”

“Can’t wait,” Stan responded, throwing a vase at the elevator doors as they snapped shut.


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