Saturday night I did go out, even though I didn’t have anything in mind. I had spent most of the day running back and forth to the model home. Every time I got home there seemed to be a call from someone wanting a tour of the model home. Each one had a compelling reason why it had to be done immediately, so I turned around and drove back to the model home over and over. By nightfall I really needed to spend time with people, who didn’t want to do anything but spend time with me.
Okay, some of them wanted me to do things for them, but at least they didn’t require me to walk around and smile. I could have done what they wanted flat on my back, or worse case on my knees. Smiling definitely was not required or even appreciated. In the end I did none of those things.
When I left the Cloak and Dagger, I went home alone. Once I got home, after midnight, I put the coffee pot on and plugged in my special MP3 player. Then I sat by the window and I was perfectly content. An hour or so later I heard the rattle of the back door, so I prepared myself to do battle with someone. My first move was to looked to the monitor in my head. I needed to see who and how many were invading me.
From the lookout cam, I got the image of Sylvia manipulating the lock and Peter standing beside her. I wondered what the hell had happened to bring them to my door after 1AM. I moved over to the bed and stripped to my chemise and panties. I lay down under the blankets and pretended to sleep.
“You left the coffee pot on,” Sylvia said.
“Busted, I have only been in bed a few minutes. I was across the street till midnight.” I admitted. “So what brings you here at 1AM. I know it can’t be sex.”
“No you don’t know that,” Sylvia said. “I am sure Peter would love to have sex with you.”
“Maybe, if you weren’t here,” I agreed.
“Peter had something to tell you, but since you are such a smart ass, it can wait till morning,” Sylvia informed me.
“I can’t imagine anything he has to say that can’t wait,” I agreed.
“Peter, let’s go to bed.” Sylvia suggested.
Those words were quickly followed by bodies slipping into the bed with me. Sylvia’s large soft breasts pressed against my back while I felt Peter’s backside pressing against my pubic mound. It was disconcerting but also comforting. They fell asleep and I went into sleep mode, which isn’t really sleep at all. I lay there watching over them as they slept. It was actually quite a good feeling. almost motherly I would think.
I was almost sad when they began to stir several hours later. “Good morning,” I whispered to Sylvia who was the first to move. How about a cup of coffee while sleeping beauty here finishes his nap,” I suggested.
“Of course, You make the best coffee,”Sylvia admitted. Before she left the bed, she lifted my hand, then lowered it onto one of her breasts. It was soft and warm.
“You do know that you are an awful tease,” I whispered to her.
“Of course, would you rather I didn’t?” she asked.
“Of course not,” I replied.
“Good, because I am beginning to enjoy it.”
The coffee was on the stainless steel counter, when Sylvia, who was standing in front of the open refrigerator, said “You are the only person I know who has nothing in her refrigerator.”
“I eat out a lot,” I explained.
“I know, but not even a jar of mustard?” Sylvia answered.
“What in the world do you want with mustard this time of the morning?” I asked.
“I don’t. I’m just saying… Fuck it never mind,” she said ending the thought.
“Besides Sylvia, you know it is pancakes after a threesome,” I said.
“Oh really, you think that was a threesome?” she asked.
“I’ve had worse actually,” I said with a laugh. “Remind me to tell you about the two midgets someday.”.
“Spare me.” she replied.
It was at that point, when a very groggy looking Peter joined us. “Well Peter go do whatever you have to do before breakfast, We are all going out for pancakes.”
For some reason, known only to God and Joseph Stalin perhaps, the Russian Pancake house made the very best pancakes in the county. Since that was the case, I drove the PT cruiser to Tryon. I drove it so that we didn’t all need to fit into the front seat of a compact pickup truck.
When we arrived in the parking lot, I realized how different I was. Both of them were all hunched over trying to avoid the cold wind. I didn’t even notice it, but I quickly pretended that I did. I had to work at going unnoticed. Everybody else I knew talked about not being noticed, as if it were some kind terrible sin.
The pancakes were sweet, so I enjoyed them. I like sweet as well as hot and spicy. It was the bland shit that bothered me. Not as in I found it distasteful, I just found it a waste of my time. I had become a real lover of Mexican food for that very reason. It was probably a good thing, since we had a growing Latino population in Aster.
Even without me interfering, Helen and Jack had bought a taco truck. I think she did it because I mentioned that it looked like a low overhead, high profit business. Her truck was where I bought my burritos. I felt much better when eating food I knew Helen had a hand in making.
I was having that free ranging food conversation with myself, while we ate the sweet pancakes at the Russian pancake house. It was toward the end of the meal that Peter came to life.
“Maxine did you know there was a connection between all the people on your list?” he asked as if I were trying to play some kind of trick of him.
“No more than the common element of the housing project. However it is my belief that people who want something done, seldom want it for the motives they profess.” I explained. It was something so elementary that every cop and every investigator learned it on day one. ‘Nothing is ever as it seems’.
“Then you won’t be surprised to learn that Althea Thompson is really Althea White Thompson. She married a Sheriff’s deputy twenty five years ago. His name was Robert Thompson. About fifteen years ago he stopped a car out in the county on a deserted road. The driver shot him dead as he walked up to the car. The driver of the car was white and a career criminal. Some say that Althea got elected to the city council because of that incident.
She has been an almost moderate voice in the African American community ever since. She may not be a radical, but she is very left of center. She sees everything through a lens colored by a racial tint.”
“Okay, so what is the connection to the Brother Harold ministry?” I asked.
“His name is Reverend Harold White. You guessed it Reverend White is Althea Thompson’s brother. The management contract of the housing project provides a nice source of income for his church. It give jobs to some of his people and enough profit to help pay his somewhat inflated salary,” Peter said.
“Well that explains why she doesn’t want him to lose the gig. What it doesn’t explain is why she doesn’t call the cops on the hoodlums living in the project,” I commented.
“Would you be shocked to find out the hoodlum is Althea’s younger half brother. He was raised with her. Evidently Althea’s mama got around a little,” Peter said.
“I am sure, if he got in trouble with the law, he would be calling on Althea and Carrie to bail his ass out somehow. So the ideal thing for all concerned would be for the half brother Jerome to just pack up and leave. But what is it he doing that is going to get Brother Harold tossed.” I suggested.
“I have no idea what Jerome is up to, but I do know that Brother Harold is supposed to be providing security for the project. He has a couple of part timers who come in and do a sweep a couple of times a night,” Peter informed me.
“Well if the cops bust brother Jerome, he just might tie them all into whatever crap he is into. The the whole house of cards might just come crashing down. Would the community elect a woman involved in something illegal, even if she is the wife of a black hero from back in the day. Same with the Reverend, would the housing authority cancel their contract with the Reverend. I am not sure I want to be involved in this,” I suggested.
“You do know that she probably planned this from the start. She knows who you are of course,” Sylvia said. “Everyone in town does.”
“That and Carrie knows all about me from Blevins,” I said. “When we were submitting that zoning request, she might have seen her chance to settle the brothers problem.”
“You need to give this a lot of thought,” Peter suggested.
“Yeah, I agree,” I replied. My first thought was to call Reverend Archer to find out just what the Ministry of Reverend Harold was like. I didn’t mainly because I wanted to keep my involvement as low profile as possible. I already had my regrets about bringing Sylvia and Peter into it.
Peter and Sylvia left the car at the rear of my Downtown House. They went directly to Peter’s economy car for the drive back to her house. I still had no idea what the extent of their involvement with each other might be. I also considered it none of my business. I knew that Sylvia’s involvement with Peter would make no difference in my treatment of her. I would follow her lead regardless. She was more important to me as a friend and employee, than she likely would be as a lover.
The calls started again after lunch. One of them was from Kate the realtor, she almost insisted I show her the house immediately. I came closet to saying go to hell, but in the end I didn’t. I guess I was a lot softer than I appeared. I just said, “Alright Kate, I’ll meet you there at two. I want you to know I am not going to list this with you and I am not paying a finder’s fee if you bring me people.”
“I understand, but my daddy wants me to look at the place. I shouldn’t admit it, but he is considering doing the same thing you have done in the village to a couple of properties we manage,” she admitted.
“Sweetie your dad is never going to turn them for as little profit as I do. He is going to want to get maximum dollar, so checking me out is a waste of your time,” I suggested.
“I know but daddy wants me to see them for myself. He thinks you are doing something to make this huge profit. Something he just can’t quite figure out,” she said.
“I’m not doing anything but taking a very small amount of profit and trying to do something worthwhile for the community. I know that is a really sick concept, but its the only agenda I have.”
I met Kate and she looked, and she was suitably impressed. She asked about the Irishman before she left. I wondered if all of it wasn’t just an elaborate scheme to find out what Martin was up to at the moment. Of course I had no idea, other than he was likely playing dead somewhere while his shoulder healed.
The day ended with me sitting on the sofa at the foot of my bed. I sat looking out at the traffic light’s colored glow in the reflection off the windows of the Drugstore Condo across the street. Even though the day was over, I didn’t close the page on it, because I didn’t sleep. I just waited for it to become Monday.