Should Anna Love Don?
Don Cole recognized the car as soon as it pulled into the junk yard, the same green Subaru station wagon Anna Holloway drove when she worked for him at The Mt. Griffin Motel. He watch Annie getting out of the driver's seat as he approached the vehicle, realizing his plan to hide out at the junk yard undetected for years had failed.
Annie didn't look that much different from the last time Don saw her - what, three years ago? - her brown hair down around her shoulders, her round face cupped by her bangs. She was wearing jeans and a tee shirt and she was glancing around the large junk yard as if she was in the middle of a scary graveyard.
"How long have you been out?" She asked Don. He was wearing greased stained dirty dungaree overalls over a tattered flannel shirt. His black hair was unkempt and scraggly and he hadn't shaved in a while.
"A couple of months," he replied. "How'd you know I was here?"
"I ran into Schwartz at Donovan's," she answered. "He told me he gave you this job."
"He's the only one who was willing to give me a chance," Don said.
"You really work here?" Anna asked, glancing around the junkyard as she leaned her backside against the front grill of the Subaru.
"Live here too," Don said, gesturing toward a beat up old house trailer in the corner of the lot.
"Well, I guess you can't fall any further than this," she sighed.
"It's not so bad," Don said. "I always loved junkyards. They're fun to explore and the cars are nostalgic. There's a lot of history here. Every car has a story and you never know what you might find in the trunks!"
"What exactly do you do here?" Anna wondered.
"Night watchman mostly," he answered. "Schwartz wanted somebody on the premises 24/7 and he's got too many other business ventures going on to worry too much about this place. I keep track of the inventory, retrieve parts off junk cars for customers, scrap some of the stripped hulks, log in sales and release forms, position new junks brought in, and keep a map of where every vehicle is located."
Anna nodded in understanding. "I suppose South County is far enough away from Mt. Griffin for you to successfully hide," she said
"Except from you," Don shrugged, leaning against the front of the car next to her, crossing his arms across his chest and staring off into the distance. ."Thanks for the care packages," he said. "They really helped."
"So you're here by yourself all the time?" Anna asked, tossing him a look.
"Pretty much," he said. "Guess I can't get in trouble that way."
"You're on Probation?"
"Three years. Court ordered mandatory therapy too. I'm a Registered Sex Offender which pretty much ends any chance for a real job."
She nodded. "How's therapy going?"
"I think it's helping," Don replied. "Did you stay on with the new motel owners?"
"No," she said. "It didn't reopen for several months. I got a job at the Greenville Super 8. I'm still there."
"Sorry I cost you your job," Don sighed.
"Sorry I cost you the motel," Anna said softly.
"It wasn't your fault," he assured her. "You didn't do anything wrong."
"If I hadn't let that repair guy into the crawl space you never would have been caught."
"Maybe it was time for me to get caught," Don reasoned.
Anna gave him a pitied look. "I ruined your life," she said. "Your wife left you. Your family turned against you. You lost the motel. You went to jail for eighteen months."
"I was living a secret life, Anna," Don reminded her. "I have a sickness. Voyeuristic Disorder is a recognized mental illness diagnosis for people who like to spy on unsuspecting non-consenting victims to achieve personal sexual gratification. I'm working on it in therapy but I can't deny my past."
"When did you put those spy vents in those rooms?" Anna asked.
"When my parents gave me full responsibility for the motel," Don revealed. "What was I, twenty three? In charge of a twenty room motel all on my own? The design of the place had the crawl space over the first four rooms so I cut holes in the ceilings and covered them with screens to make them look like ventilation grilles."
"So, you spent about a decade spying on people?" Anna realized.
"About," he verified.
"I thought you had a drinking problem," Anna sighed. "Every time you disappeared, I figured you were having a nip somewhere."
"People would have been much more understanding and forgiving if I was a drunk instead of a pervert," Don replied.
"Probably," Anna agreed.
He tossed her a look. "What are you doing here, Anna?"
"I just wanted to see how you were doing," she shrugged.
"A nice woman like you shouldn't be seen with a pervert like me," he warned.
"Stop referring to yourself that way," Anna protested.
"Then tell me what you're really doing here," he said.
She looked embarrassed. "I'm enrolled in Green College's 'University Without Walls Program'," Anna revealed
"Good for you," Don smiled.
"Sociology," Anna explained. "I need to write a final paper."
Don smirked sardonically. "And you thought my case would be a good one."
She blushed slightly. "Wouldn't it?"
"For you, maybe," Don said.
"I'm sorry," Anna said. "I know it would be awkward for both of us."
"I really haven't talked about it much," Don said. "I took a plea to avoid a trial and humiliating my family and most of the town. It's not something I'm inclined to bring up in a conversation."
"I understand," she said. "Sorry I mentioned it. Anna moved off the grill of the car and started for the driver's door of the car. "It was rude of me to come and violate your privacy."
"You can do your paper on me," Don said, following her. "He pulled a business card out of his shirt pocket and jotted down his cell and e-mail address. "Let me know," he said, handing her the card.
"Thanks, Don," Anna said with relief as she took the card and got into the car. "I really appreciate this."
Don nodded and watched Anna drive away, shaking his head - half in amusement, and half in disgust. He was still a freak show even after all this time.
A/N: I read a magazine article about a guy who bought a motel with the intent of watching his guests having sex. He installed peep holes in the crawl space over the rooms and even some of the bathrooms. His voyeuristic spying went on for DECADES and he never got caught. He eventually sold his story (and the notes he kept) and I used that as the premise for this plotline (I mention it here in case the reader thought this idea was too far-fetched).