Parachute accident my ass. The kid had scars on his pretty face consistent with someone or maybe many someones kicking the shit out of him. Most likely some of those bad ass Legionares decided to give him an attitude adjustment and went too far. He wouldn’t be the first.
As long as he would fight, I didn’t give a shit who he screwed. For me it was about keeping his eye on the prize and that was one thing Legionares were famous for doing. I know some men were uncomfortable working with gay men, but they would have to find a way to get past it. There only other option was to say no, when I asked for help. That happened now and then anyway.
It would have been so much easier to do this with an Eve unit, but it wasn’t company business. It was personal. To start involving them in my personal shit would pretty much destroy the part of me that was left. If I didn’t want to go into storage between jobs for them, I had to keep them out of my business.
I went back and shut myself down except for a small power drain while I schemed. I seriously needed an end game plan, but I didn’t have one. My whole plan at that moment was to inset Jerrod and gather intelligence, while hoping something would come to me.
The one thing I absolutely knew by the time the sun came up, was that I had to meet with Althea and the Reverend White, if this job was to go forward. I rode the bike to breakfast knowing full well that I was going to have to include Reverend White in the next meeting. I also knew that the meeting had to be that very day. If they needed time to think and do their own scheming, it had to be over the weekend. Come Monday we were going to be operational, or I was going to begin looking for another use for those storage units.
At breakfast I used the few minutes after the bag was empty to look up Althea’s office phone number. It was almost ten when I placed the call.
“You have reached Althea Thompson’s office,” the messager said. “If you will leave your message at the tone, Council Woman Thompson will return your call as soon as possible.”
“Council Woman Thompson this is Maxine Stone. If you want our little arrangement to go forward, you need to arrange a meeting between you, Reverend White and myself before the end of today. If you choose not to do so, or Reverend White chooses not to be involved, then the deal is off. Oh yeah have a good day.” I didn’t sound at all cheerful because I wasn’t.
I managed to finish my walk at the mall before she replied. I had to pull over while riding the bike home in order to answer the phone. “Maxine Stone and Associates,” I said just to piss her off.
“Why do you need to meet with Brother Harold?” she asked.
“You are going to have to trust me. He has to sign onto this, because he will have a hand in making it work. If he isn’t on board, then those storage units become a perk for the residents of the Drugstore Condo. I can find a place to drop them off, if I use them as storage units. I won’t be needing your input for that. So it’s time to get your hands dirty, or just say goodbye to the plan. You are not so invested that you can’t walk away. But love, there are only co defendants in this not observers.
“I’ll have to think about this and get back to you,” she said.
So Brother Harold didn’t know that Althea was scheming. That was fine, but he had to know that he had a problem at the project. He also had to know that his baby brother was about to bring them all down. I might be their only chance to save the Family livelihood as well as the family reputation. It was up to Reverend White at that point.
While Althea dealt with her brother, I dealt with Sylvia. She drove to work in Peter’s car. Since she wasn’t yet licensed he had to be in the car as well. So I either had to drive her home at the end of the day or deal with Peter hanging around all day. What the hell, I thought. Sylvia could drive Peter around on her errands and I could sit on my ass drinking good coffee.
“So you have to show the model home this afternoon?” I asked. I knew that she did, since the messages were mostly about the housing development.
“Yes and we could have sold out already, if you didn’t require the ten percent down,” She said.
“So you say, lots of people will tell you that they would buy, if only. Everyone who says no, needs an excuse. We are not going to take government loans or guarantees. I do not want them in our business, period. I’m not going to have some asshole come buy our houses cheap, then rent them and gouge some poor family. I will sit on the houses until the turn of the next century, if I have to do so,” I admitted.
“Yes boss,” Sylvia said as if she were disgusted. “I got to show the models to a friend of yours. The man who took over your first business he said.”
“Lucas, I’ll be damned he can buy a house anywhere, why would he want to live there?” I asked.
“He said it was for his assistant,” Sylvia commented.
His assistant could mean anything. He could have someone helping with the work or it could be Julie. “Let me know how it turns out with Lucas,” I demanded.
“Will do boss,” she said. The whole time we talked Peter had sat quietly in the living room on one of my sofas with his laptop.
“So Peter do you want to hang around and be Sylvia’s designated passenger today?” I asked. “I might have something coming up this afternoon.”
“I would be happy to do that. So what are you doing?” he asked.
“You can stay, you can ride along with Sylvia, you can observe and you can even write about what you see, but you can not ask me questions,” I declared. “I have too much on my mind, and I don’t want you even one word ahead of what is going on.”
“Fair enough,” he replied.
Sylvia and Peter were gone when the burn phone rang. It was the number I had left for Althea. “Stone,” I said when I opened the connection.
“This is Althea Thompson, I don’t see why you need Brother Harold, but he has agreed to meet with us. 3pm at Sadie Mae’s,” she demanded.
“Not this time, this time it is at the Cloak and Dagger in the basement of the Drugstore Condo’s. I will meet you at the rear door at 3pm, if you like? But you need to leave the so called body guards in the car. The drugstore is filled with guys, who would eat them alive,” I informed her.
“Very well, but it’s cold in the car they can wait in the hallway outside.” she suggested.
“Tell them to keep a very low profile, I’m serious armed men in that building will get hurt, if they get noticed.” She knew that I wasn’t kidding. She had surely heard the rumors.
“I’ll remind them to leave their weapons in the car,” she agreed.
“Good then is it still 3PM?” I asked.
“Yes it is,” with that the connection went dead.
I had just over two hours to wait. I plugged in the MP3 player for some tunes and a quick jolt. I chose an album from the hey days of Joan Baez. I liked to pretend that I was a grown woman, when my dad was young. Okay I had daddy issues, so what. I was about halfway into the album, when Sylvia and Peter came through the rear door.
“I got a check for 20% of the price of a tricked out Robin,” Sylvia said all pleased with herself. “Tricked out to the tune of 150K. Your buddy Lucas bought it with all the bells and whistles. He had a chick named Julie with him. I think the place is for her.”
“You do know that if you sell any more of those units, we are going to have to negotiate for the next batch of houses, so close that model house until we are ready to move to phase two.” The beauty of the new brain was that it never forgot anything. Even when it didn’t seem to be working it was processing everything.
“Right, no more Robins until we move a bunch of Bluebirds and Cardinals.”
“So how are you doing with the renovation crews?” I asked.
“Actually it is moving quite well. His Laboring few has come around. They have agreed to work on the next batch for the same amount of money as the Russians. I know you prefer to keep it all with one contractor, so I told them if their work was satisfactory on this group, we would use them on all the others.”
“Good, I like those reformed drunks as opposed to the active drunks we have now,” I said with a laugh. “Now I have a super secret meeting at the Cloak and Dagger. I shouldn’t be more than an hour.”
“Okay,” Sylvia said without batting an eye.
I walked across the street and felt the hollow feeling as I always did when I walked over the spot where I had been shot. I made it to the back door of the Drugstore Condo building a few minutes before the others. When they arrived it was all in one car, so I allowed four people into the building.
The Council woman, the reverend and I walked into the basement. “If you guys want I can get you a coke from the machine, but I don’t have anything else to offer you.”
“No we are fine. Let’s just get this over,” the heavy baritone voice of the Reverend said.
“Fair enough, do either of you want to tell me what Jerome White is doing in the project?” I asked.
They looked at each other before Althea answered. “From what I have heard he is just being a bully. I honestly believe that he is just trying to pretend to be a tough guy,” she said.
“Are you shitting me, or do you really that naive?” I asked.
“What do you mean,” Brother Harold asked.
“For one thing Jerome has no visible income. He is doing something to eat, since he isn’t eating at the open kitchen. Yes I have checked. To his credit he isn’t driving a Mercedes while living in the project.” I shut my mouth and waited for one of them to answer.
“We know he is up to something, but we have not gotten any complaints. What he is doing may not involve the project at all. He might be involved in something somewhere else. It doesn’t matter, when he gets caught it is going to be a mess,” Brother Harold informed me.
“Well in order for me to move him out, I have to know what he is doing. That will be the key to forming a plan. So do either of you know what he is up to? If you do now is the time to say. It will save us all some trouble.” No one spoke, so I moved on.
“In that case Reverend you need to put one of your security guards on vacation for a couple of weeks. I want you to hire a man I’m going to send you. He is going to have a good look around and report to me. He and I will decide on our next move. I may or may not need to talk to you again,” I said.
“So, if I hire this man for a couple of weeks, you will take care of Jerome White?” the Reverend asked.
“That’s right it is the first step and it might be the only one you have to take. You will pay my man just as you do your own man. It all has to be open and above board, just in case it goes sideways.”