It was 8AM when I came out of my stupor. I just knew that it was going to be one busy ass day for me. My first call was to Blevins. “Hey you fucked up old man, you want to do me a favor. Let me buy you breakfast?” I said into his message machine. “If not today, then tomorrow.”
He picked up the phone at that point. “Helen’s at 9.” He said it, then he was gone.
Strange, I thought. I washed my beat up body and scraps of hair. Once I had removed any dirt that might have attached itself to me, I examined the skin for an breaks. The sensors would tell me if there were any openings to the air. I just looked to make sure there were no scraps that might become a problem.
There were none. I had something in a tube that was like super, super glue just in case of emergencies. Since I had no scrapes, I dressed for the day. Over my panties and thick chemise, I wore the slightly loose fitting jeans and a chocolate brown tight tee shirt. When I left the apartment, I slipped on the shoulder rig with the concealed hammer .38. Then a bright red sweatshirt at least three sizes too big over everything. It wasn’t as easy to get to the pistol as an open coat would have been, but it was more practical than a heavy coat on the bicycle.
Even with all that activity I still had a few minutes so I plugged in the MP3 player for a few tunes and a little extra jolt. As usual I selected motorcycle gang music before I hit the road on my bicycle. Nothing like the hard pounding sound of heavy metal music to get me in the mood to ride my pedal bike. I laughed at the thought.
When I finally got to Helen’s, I was still five minutes early. I picked up a bag with a bacon and egg biscuit and homemade hash browns. I chose a table near the rear of the dining room. It was empty when I sat down, but it didn’t stay empty long. Within five minutes I had a young paramedic come join me. I should have asked him to leave, but I didn’t bother. I figured that would look like I had something to hide when I spoke with Blevins.
When Blevins finally arrived, I stood up walked to him then kissed him passionately. I was surprised to feel his erection. Blevins was in his mid to late fifties. I would have expected it to take more than a simple tongue in his throat to achieve that state of arousal.
“Hello honey, how are you this morning?” I asked. To his credit Blevins knew his part in the farce.
“I am good, I’m sorry I had to leave last night. I promised this chicken farmer, I would check out his chicken house for thieves,” It was at that point the Paramedic finished his breakfast and left.
“So you where a chicken inspector last night,” I said after the kid had gone.
“No but that seemed a boring enough dialogue to run the kid off. So what’s up?” Blevins asked.
“Jerome White, is on the radar. What do you know about him.” I asked.
“I know he is a nasty piece of work. At the moment all he is known for around the station is being a bully. He moved into the project after he got out of prison. He was inside for a couple of years on an armed robbery beef. When he got out he just waltzed to the top of the project’s waiting list. Been there over a year and spent most of it terrorizing the old ladies.”
“So why hasn’t some gang banger capped his ass?” I asked.
“I have no idea. You know I don’t work gangs. Best I can figure he is out of the drug scene,” Blevins said.
“So where does he make his money?” I asked.
“Rumor is he and a couple of the kids, whose parents live in the project, muscle little old ladies for their social security checks.” Blevins said.
“That’s despicable,” I replied.
“Yeah but cops can’t prove anything,” Blevins said. “Now before you go getting your ass involved out there listen to me. You don’t need the cops looking at you right now for any reason.”
“Oh why is that?” I asked.
“Take my word for it, just don’t get in the middle of anything right now,” Blevins said as he opened his brown bag. From it he took something that looked like an Egg McMuffin.
“What the fuck is that?” I asked.
“It’s what I call an Egg McHelen. It’s a piece of country ham and a scrambled egg with cheese on an english muffin. It cost more than a McDonald’s piece of crap, but man this thing is so good you can just hear your arteries harden,” he admitted.
“Helen’s menu in this place just keeps growing,” I suggested.
“If you got your sorry ass out of bed in time to be here at 6AM, you would see why. Sometimes we need a cop to direct traffic around her drive in window. I would bet that there are more brown bags in the downtown trash pickup, than anything else,” Blevins informed me.
“Damn,” I remarked. “Well thanks Blevins, I’m off to walk at the mall.”
The ‘don’t let the cops look at you’ remark echoed in my brain as I rode to the mall on my bike. I expect that someone had finally found the ‘Peace’ of shit’s car. I had left the keys in it, when I parked it behind the mission. I had hoped that someone would just drive it away for me. They must have done that and finally got caught with it. So they were looking for Bristol. Well good luck with that, was my only thought.
I had a feeling he was going to show up in another jurisdiction. When he did he would need to be identified. So if he had already shown up, he might have done so before he was reported missing. In which case some podunk Sheriff’s office would have done a quick on line search for missing persons along the river and found nothing. The body with no foul play indications glaring at them, might easily have gone onto the back burner. If he showed up after the car was found, then they might match him to the missing persons report.
To be honest I didn’t think the mission would report him missing. I expected them to think he had simply skipped out, since he was about to be arrested for the pimp that he was.
It was complicated for sure, so I chose to ignore it until there was something I could actually do about the puzzle. I just walked at the mall and considered what to do about Jerome White. It seemed to me to be a much easier task. He would know that someone was behind it, if I showed up at the project, so I had to recruit someone else for the sting.
I walked my first lap when I ran into the Dancer. “Hey chick,” I said in greeting.
“Hello bitch,” she replied. Dancer had begun to talk to me like Jennifer did.
So that’s the downside of having Jennifer live in the Drugstore. People would see how we interacted. I suppose it wasn’t a good or a bad thing just something new.
“So Dancer, have Leon give me a call this afternoon, if he has a few minutes,” I said.
“Don’t you go getting Leon into one of your nasty little plots,” she said. “He isn’t like Vlad and the rest of them.”
“I know who Leon is Kat, and he can make his own decisions. Just like you can make yours. You have helped me on occasion. If I remember right, you were highly turned on by it all.”
“How do you know I was turned on?” she asked almost angrily but not quite.
“Do you think Leon is the only one who can tell when you are in heat?” I laughed a nasty laugh, when I said it. If she wanted to play like Jen, she better learn how to take it like Jen, I thought.
“I’ll tell him to call,” she promised. Then we parted ways. I walked to the escalators and went to the second floor, so that I could walk alone. There were walkers there as well, but they wasn’t the dancer.
When I left the mall it was 11AM. I rode around the downtown area once again. I was still searching for the right lot for my new office. I rode around without finding anything new. I expected that I would need to go outside the downtown or think outside the box again.
I called the DMV when I got to the Downtown House. I found that all Sylvia had to do was show up with some form of identification and proof of residency. I called her at school to make sure she knew what to bring with her.
I drove her out to the DMV in the Cruiser when she finally arrived. There were messages for us both, but I refused to allow her to even look at them. It was a little after 2PM when Sylvia pulled into the parking space carved from the alley behind the Downtown House.
She was proud that she had not missed a single question on the test. I was proud that I only snapped at her once during the drive home. I was thrilled to see her driving a car.
It was 3PM when I got around to calling the representative of the Green County Savings and Loan.
“So what did you decide?” Walter asked.
“I decided that I will do your screening for you,” I said with just a little attitude.
“I am sure our mutual friends will be thrilled. So get out there and make us all some money,” he said with a grin in his voice.
“Right, so when do we meet again?” I asked.
“Get a couple of houses sold and closed, then after they have been in the house a couple of weeks one of my men will come talk to the home owners . The representative will suggest that they call you and Jennifer to arrange for the paperwork. Just as soon as Jennifer gets the papers ready, we will sign off and hand you a check.”
“Sounds good to me. Let’s do it,” I agreed. Then I broke the connection since you can’t really hang up a smarter than smart phone.
Sylvia was on the phone with some woman about the model house when I got the wordless message in my head. It was directly from the creator.
Maxine, don’t worry about the women. Everyone around here is in love with the idea of retiring to Aster. All except the real operatives that is. Your little town is like a movie set to these repressed widows and divorcées. The idea of hobnobbing with field agents is irresistible. So they share your cover story but as best we can tell that is all of it. As usual the simplest of explanations is the real one. There is no plot to out you. The message said.
You are willing to bet my ass on that? I asked wordlessly.
You have no idea how valuable your ass is to us. Yes I am willing to bet your ass and probably my life on it, he replied.
Good enough, I agreed. I shut down the link then I decided to keep an eye on the controllers, the creator, and that little super committee as well. That were a lot of people on the farm to watch.
“What can I do for you Maxine,” Leon asked on the phone.
“I need a tough younger man from some western European country who can handle himself,” I suggested. “I have a little job, I can’t do myself.”
“You know that most of the men I know around here are middle aged and retired,” Leon admitted.
“If you know someone who fits the bill cool, if not I guess I can recruit someone who is active,” I suggested.
“Actually, I do know someone who might fit the bill. Expect a call from Jerrod this evening. You will have to be flexible, but then you are almost as flexible as Catherine.” he said with a giggle. The giggle would have been out of place on almost anyone else, but it fitted Leon quite well.