The pretty boy Jerrod showed up at my place first. He wanted directions to the Second Baptist Church. “Come on in, they probably won’t be ready there until ten. I’ll take you to breakfast,” I said.
With that I took the cruiser out, so that I could run Jerrod and Sylvia to breakfast with me. I drove to Helen’s of course. “It’s not very fancy I’m afraid,” I said.
“Well if the food is good, fancy isn’t important,” he replied.
“I’m going to let you decide how the food is,” I suggested. We walked from the low counter to a picnic table in the rear of the dining room. Once we were seated Jerrod tried the food. I got a laugh at watching his eye light up.
“It isn’t French cooking but it is very good for peasant cooking,” he said,
“You mean most cooking in France isn’t peasant cooking?” I asked.
“Not the really good French food. Sure the run of the mill food you would get in a roadside tavern is like this for breakfast. We have a different kind of bread but this is still very good, in that rustic kind of way.
“Right,” I said. Sylvia just smiled.
I was about to ask her what she found so amusing, before I could Jerrod asked, “What am I going to be looking for on this job?”
I looked around to be sure no on was watching. “There is a guy named Jerome white who lives there. He has a connection to the management, but he is involved in something he shouldn’t be. We need to find out what it is.
“So my first job is just to find out what this Jerome fella is involved with?” he asked.
“Yep that’s it. Find that out and we will have a meeting to decide what to do with him.” I replied.
He smiled and shook his head. Then he began a conversation with Sylvia. Both of them were gorgeous. Both of them were also sexually dysfunctional. I wondered if there was a correlation.
Once we arrived back at the house, I gave Jerrod his communicator. The one pieced together by Peter. I demonstrated it as much as I knew about it. He was pretty familiar with cell phones so he knew how it would work.
“Now call me and tell me what time your shift starts. Leave that line connected, Peter did something to it. He swears it will stay open. Go in the bathroom and turn it on. I will monitor you.
The first two nights it was a waste of everyone’s time. I parked the pickup across the street from the project. I was amazed that Jerrod didn’t just jerk some smart ass teenager up and pound them. I decided right there that the security business was not for me.
On night three Jerrod got in the middle of a husband and wife trading blows. The husband wasn’t beating the wife, the were standing toe to toe trading blows. Neither one of them was scoring the knockout punch.
The regular security man said to Jerrod, “We have to separate them, even so they will be back to this in a couple of days. She is eventually going to kill him.”
“What makes you think he won’t kill her?” Jerrod asked.
“Because he is going to hurt her one night, then go to sleep. That will be the end of him for sure,” the man said.
“Probably be for the best, but of course she could just leave,” Jerrod said.
“Man they don’t never leave till someone’s dead or in prison. It’s just the way it is in the project.” The old time security guard said.
The two of them were walking back to the car when the security man said to Jarrod, “You see those three walking there. They are a thorn in my side,” he said.
“How so?” Jerrod asked.
“They running some kind of protection scam. The old ladies and old men pay them to leave them alone,” He said.
“Doesn’t that bother you?” Jerrod asked.
“Of course it does, but he is the directors brother. I am not fooling with that guy. He is also one mean prick and so are those kids who run with him.
Jarrod shut up at that point and let the night just pass. He came to see me the next afternoon before he went in to work. “So what are we going to do about them?” Jerrod asked.
“Well it’s like this. Jerome is not going to go peacefully is my guess. His family had go him in to the project with no money at all. He is making his spending money with this protection scam. I would bet you that it isn’t the only thing he is up to his ass in.”
“So do I keep looking,” he asked.
“Yeah at least finish the week. If nothing has come up by then, I will try to think of something based on this. Something else would be better, but I guess we can make it work this way.”
“Well let me know, I don’t care much for people who take money from little old ladies,” Jerrod said.
“Tell me, what are the two younger ones like?” I asked.
“Wannabes, nothing more, I would keep on eye on them if they got behind me otherwise they are hardly worth any effort at all,” he said.
“Watch them anyway, keep an eye on them all for the rest of the week at least.” I said it with a smile. “While you are at it take some pictures with your cell phone of him collecting from the old ladies.
Once Jerrod left Sylvia and I got to work on the houses. It was difficult to get all the paperwork in order but it had to be done. Jennifer’s girl Edsel checked it at the end of every day. She gave us a list of things to correct it was worse than being in school again.
Even so the two of us stayed at it. I knew it was the only way to learn. I learned the first time of course, there were just so many things that needed doing. When I got one day’s list completed the next days list would be ready.
“Sylvia don’t worry honey, it will all fall into place one day soon.” I said on Friday morning of that week. The deals were made for all of the first phase and most of the second by the end of that week. It looked as though I had guessed right for a change. The small houses were a hit.
The problem was that Jerome White was heavy on my mind all week. I just couldn’t figure out what would make him move. Sure I could kick his ass and it would keep him away a while but not permanently.
I don’t know that Althea required a permanent solution. Most likely if I got him to give up his place then someone else could be moved into it. That way there would be no place for him, if he returned. With that in mind, I began weighing my options.
I decided that we might be able to just harass him until he decided to leave. I was going to need to be on that security detail for that. It would take only a minor amount of disguise to pass for a pretty young boy like Jerrod. It would look to the locals like they had decided to hire gay guys. Even though neither of us would look all that gay. Jerrod was pretty and I was a little too graceful.
When we met for lunch the next day Jerrod said no need to do that just grab Jerome up, when he was out and about during the day. Then take him somewhere quiet and adjust his attitude.
I no longer had a building with a basement, but I did have about a hundred houses that were empty. To bad I also had workers prowling around them. I couldn’t be sure that I would have enough privacy for the job at hand.
I began thinking about that and decided that it would never do. If he went to Althea with it, I would never get anything past the city hall. “Jerrod, he has been to prison. I wonder if he would like to go back.”
“Nobody in their right mind wants to go back to prison, or so I’m told,” he said.
“Let’s grab him up off the street alright, but let’s do a little show and tell. You stay there till you get enough pictures. When you do we will have our little talk with Jerome White.”
The pictures took another week to secure but it wasn’t difficult according to Jerrod. The three of them were pretty casual about shaking down the old ladies.
Grabbing Jerome up off the street was a lot easier than I expected. We just told him that we wanted to sell him some gold rings. He had no intentions of buying them so he wanted to get us in a quiet dark place so that he could steal them.
Jerrod grabbed him up and had his hands behind his back before he could reach for his knife. I put a rag in his mouth first, then a cloth bag over his head and we tossed his ass into the rear seat of the cruiser. He made some noises, but we didn’t make any stops between where he tried to steal the gold and the abandoned power station.
Once we were inside I began our little chat. “Well Jerome we have a problem you and I. I have a very good friend in that housing development and you are extorting money from her. That is a very bad thing my friend. She is an old lady and there you are taking the money she needs to live. I think we have to be sure that stops tonight and forever more.”
He sneered at me, so I nodded to Jerrod. Jerrod reached over and back handed him. “Now you might want to listen to me. It will be a lot less painful for you.
I could have turned Jerrod loose on him, but I didn’t want any permanent damage. I was pretty sure his family wouldn’t take kindly to visiting him in the hospital.
First of all I showed Jerome the pictures Jerrod had taken. We had shots of several little old ladies giving him money. There was just no denying he was involved in extortion.
“Jerome now here are your choices, you can go back to the project and sin no more, you can move somewhere else. and not come back, or you can go back to the joint. I can make sure your parole is revoked for this kind of behavior. Now I really don’t think you can go back and sin no more, so you should find another place to live. Just in case you think that was a suggestion, Jerrod here will explain it to you.
When Jerrod finished punching him in the body a few times, I asked, “So Jerome, you do plan to make a major life change don’t you?”
We sat him on a park bench near the project. “Now Jerome you don’t have any broken bones so you can make it home on you own. But if you continue taking money from old ladies this is just the beginning.
“Which one of these old ladies is your friend?” he asked.
“Sweetie, you need to pretend that they all are. That way you won’t get the wrong one. And as I said, you need to move your ass out of here. I don’t care where you go, just get out of Aster. Jerome that was not a suggestion. You need to be gone by Friday, if you aren’t…. well let’s just say you really want to be out of town by Friday.”
I don’t know, if I can find a place by then,” he said.
“Then go to a shelter somewhere. You can stay there a day or two until you find a place of some kind.”
“Alright, I’ll go, but I swear I will never do that again,” he said.
“Of course you will. You are a low life mudder fucker. It’s easy money and that’s all you care about. Well Jerome, it ain’t easy money no more, so just forget it.”
“Why are you really doing this?” he asked.
“Like I said you extorted money from an old family friend. I tend to get possessive of my past. My future sucks, so I tend to take care of my past.
We hear of you being around this project after Friday, I have a meeting with your PO. You need to decide if this life you have is worth going back inside.