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PART THIRTY

“Caleb Morse,” Stacie corrected. “Kisor was Karen’s maiden name, the name she went back to after her husband died.

“Well, at least we got something from all this, grainy as it may be. Can you clean this up like they do on TV?”

“Me?” Suzann asked incredulously. “Surely not! But someone might be able to. If it had to be done. It seems to me that we’re getting a bit ahead of ourselves with worry, don’tcha think?”

“Is there a, I don’t know, an automatic erasing of the video after a certain amount of time?” Stacie asked. “Should we save this on a memory stick?”

Suzann showed two rows of straight, white teeth. “You are watching too much television! And old TV at that. This is digital, not tape. We can save it forever, I just clear it out when the computer needs more gigs. It’s perfectly safe here.”

Stacie nodded, bit her lip and said, “I’m sure you’re right, but would you mind if I loaded it on my USB?”

Suzann rolled her eyes and shook her head. “Not if it’ll make you happy, but now you owe me two beers. Are you ready?”

“You were serious? I mean, sure, why not! Just let me get me stuff and memory stick and we can go.”

Suzann shook her head and her dark three-inch curls shook from side to side. “I told you, we don’t need to do that. It’ll stay here until I erase it and I certainly won’t erase it without your say so.”

“I believe you, I believe you!” Stacie responded, rising from her chair. “But I’ll feel a lot better knowing that we have this backed up outside the system. Humor me?”

“What do you think I have been doing?” the school secretary asked with a mischievous smile. “Go! And you’d better hurry before I tell you you owe me three drinks.”

Stacie paused, brow knit in mock horror. “Three drinks!? What are you trying to do, get me to pass out?” she asked as she headed out of the office and toward her classroom.

Stacie stored her purse in the bottom right drawer of her big teacher’s desk. On her first day as a teacher, Stacie had been delighted to find that the desk had an intriguing design feature. Unless one opened the small, flat, pencil drawer directly beneath the desktop the big storage area at the bottom would not yield to pressure. Because of this quaint, low security system, the young woman, who was unlikely to lock her desk in the first place, almost never did so, believing firmly that the desk’s old-school security measure would stymie most third-grade children from prying into her things.

Stacie sat at her desk, reaching for the pencil drawer, when she noticed the light on her desk phone flashing. Picking up the receiver, she pushed the voicemail button and entered her PIN code. The teacher was greeted by a husky, cornpone accented voice that declared, “Miz Shannon? This is Karla Kisor. Sorry I missed your call, but I’m not allowed to have my phone on at work. I hope everything’s okay? If’n I don’t hear back from you right quick I’ll go ahead an call you on your private line like you said? I just don’t wanna bother you.

“Oh! And if you ever need to talk to me during work? You can call the Walmart here at 846-9504. Just ask for me. They’re real good about that here, I’m just not supposed to have my phone with me unless I’m on break.

“I thought I’d left my work number with that nice Jamaican girl at the office but maybe she lost it? Anyway, call me on my cell, it’s 256-262-1245. Okay. Bye.”

Stacie disconnected from voicemail, opened the two drawers and removed her purse from the larger one. Pulling her phone from her purse and entering her PIN she found another voicemail from Karen Kisor that was both more succinct and huskier.

“Misses Shannon? This here’s Karen Kisor again. Sorry to bother you but your said you needed to talk to me about Skylar? Would you please call me quick as you can? I’m just a little bit nervous. Thank you! Number’s 256-262-1245.”

“Oh, poor woman,” Stacie said, pulling her soft side briefcase out of her desk and checking that it held a memory stick. “Let me call her now and then she won’t be worried about Skylar,” she declared.  Performing a quick visual check of her room, she slung purse and shoulder bag over her left shoulder and punched Karen’s two-five-six number into her phone before turning out the lights and heading back to the main office.