Carol chuckled to herself at the guy’s ‘backwoods’ diction and deep accent then left a brief message stating her name, that she was staying at Michonne Douglass’ beach house in Coastal Shores Estates in Savannah Beach, and that the A/C wasn’t working so she needed him to call her back ASAP and gave her cell phone number for him to call her back. She then tried calling his cell but after the first ring the call went straight to voicemail, and a recording came on saying that the voicemail box was full before automatically disconnecting. Carol waited for over an hour with no call back so she tried both of Dixon’s numbers again to no avail. By that time it was sweltering in the house and she knew that she had to call Michonne sooner than later to figure out what to do next. She knew that her friend may still be ‘indisposed’ from the night before so she waited until a little after 10 am to finally call her.
“Mornin’ babe,” Michonne answered in a cheerful, yet sleepy tone.
“Good morning. I’m so sorry to wake you Michonne… you sound exhausted!”
“Exhausted yes, but you didn’t wake me, hon. I’ve been up since room service brought breakfast in a little while ago.”
“So you are still at the Alexandria Hotel with your mystery man, huh?” Carol giggled.
“Yeah… my honey bunny was just here a little while ago feeding me bacon and red velvet waffles with whipped butter, maple syrup and maple cream cheese icing in bed, but he had to get into the shower. I need to get out of this bed and follow suit … check-out’s at 11 which is in less than an hour.”
“A night of passion followed by being fed breakfast in bed by a sexy man... that sounds absolutely heavenly,” Carol mused dreamily.
“Oh yeah, it was… Yesterday’s afternoon delight turned into an action packed all-nighter just like I knew it would … and it continued right up until the break of dawn this a.m. with few interruptions… we did have to eat and sleep a little to keep our energy up but otherwise it was non-stop INCREDIBLE!” she added with a laugh. “I’m telling you Carol, I rode that man like I was going for the gold in the Kentucky Derby, and believe me when I say I came so many times I lost count!” she laughed.
“You can say that again! By the way… I got your text from yesterday letting me know you arrived safely in Savannah. Do you like the house?”
“Michonne… I don’t like it… I LOVE IT!” Carol exclaimed. It’s perfect… le décorations sont tres chic!” she then added in French, enthusiastically complementing the home’s decor. “Im tempted to invest in finding my own little property down here! I did a little shopping and exploring around town yesterday, and even got some writing done while I was waiting for the pool to finish filling up.”
“The pool wasn’t full? That should’ve been taken care of long before you arrived. I left that message for Merle over a week ago! I’m hoping he didn’t scare you to death if he let himself into the yard. He has a habit of doing that and I hope he had a damned good excuse for coming over a week late,” Michonne groaned.
“No… I’ve never seen the guy. The pool was still covered when I went exploring in the backyard yesterday and the tarp had palm fronds, leaves and dust on it from the past few months, and it was totally empty inside when I checked.”
“Are you telling me that Merle Dixon never showed up last week to take care of my pool?”
“I can’t believe he dropped the ball on this. It’s not like him at all.”
“Michonne don’t worry… you know I have a pool at home so I knew what to do with the chlorine tablets and all that so it was no big deal. But… now there’s another problem.”
“Oh no, what else?”
“Well a summer thunderstorm passed through last night. The house lost power at some point overnight but only for a few minutes I’m guessing because none of the food went bad in the fridge. Everything came back on… except for the air conditioner.”
“Hmmm… Did you try the breaker switch? I hope it’s not a short or something.”
“Yep. I tried everything. Then I tried to reach the maintenance man… the same Mr. Dixon of the swimming pool fame… to no avail. It seems he isn’t answering his cell, and the voicemail box on his business line is full. If he’s as good as you say he is, he’s probably backed up with calls and clients! He probably never even got your message about the pool from last week. It’s the beginning of summer. Everyone’s probably calling him for pool and A/C issues. He may be overwhelmed with trying to fill so many service requests at once. ”
Michonne sucked her teeth. “Not a chance of that. Trust me… I’ve known Merle Dixon for years. That’s not how he operates. He’d never overbook himself like that. He’s built his reputation on individualized customer service. And business is good, but not that good that he can afford to ignore calls and not respond to customer messages for days on end… and I’m one of the few paying extra for 24 hour maintenance service during the summer months so he needs to be available, and if he isn’t for any reason, he should’ve informed me in advance, and made arrangements for one of his business associates to take care of things in his stead. Or, he should’ve let me know so that I coul make other arrangements. Something must be going on. I’m gonna try one more time to get a hold of him, and if I can’t I’ll call another company in the area to come and repair the A/C by this afternoon. I’m so sorry about this Carol, I wanted you to be comfortable while you’re staying at my place. It’s June in Georgia so I know you’re positively melting! Let me make a few calls to see if I can get to the bottom of this.”
“Uh oh,” Carol chuckled.
“What?” Michonne exclaimed.
“You’re using your courtroom voice!”
“My courtroom voice?” Michonne repeated with a laugh.
“Yeah! Your ‘no bullshit, take no prisoners, I graduated from NYU Law and I’m about to nail this case,’ voice! You didn’t have to use when you were handling my divorce since Tobin’s lawyer didn’t offer you any opposition, but you dropped it a few times when you negotiated my second book deal,” she chuckled. “I love it and I love you!”
“Love you too, sis,” she laughed. I’ll call ya back a little later.” Michonne ended the call then immediately tried both Merle Dixon's office and his cell numbers, twice each, to no avail. She hung up the phone, deep in thought. The man had his issues but it wasn't like him AT ALL to not handle his business. It was early on a Saturday morning and he wasn’t in his office to answer the phone? She knew that could mean that he was driving on his way to a job, or already working at someone’s home and couldn’t answer at the moment but something just didn’t feel right. She had a bad feeling that something might be wrong and there was only one other person she could call to get some answers.