It was after midnight when I rode the bike out toward the Bluebird house. I traded all my cell phones, for my 410 gauge shotgun shell derringer. Oh I took the .38 along as well, because it is my opinion that like diamonds, a girl could never have too many guns.
Speaking of diamonds, I thought as I pedaled along, I should see that New York diamond merchant soon. I really needed to downsize, I laughed at the though of the blue barrels sitting in my gun vault. My mind also wandered to the other occupants of that vault. For some reason, the rifles I had left on the battlefields also came to mind. A sense of loss invaded my brain and that was a shocker. It was an emotion I would not have expected. I was having a lot of emotions lately, and that was all new to me.
Before I could take a more in depth look at my emotions, I pulled the bike into a closed strip mall. I did it to check for tails. Sure as hell a car pulled onto the side road, then stopped. I took a really good look with that special vision that came with the new me. I saw that there was a single man in the car.
My brain did some rapid calculations. If the judge had sent him, then he had made a lot of arrangements very quickly. However if the man was working for Lydia, he had the inside track. If he was Lydia’s man, wouldn’t he already know where she was? I asked myself.
The answer was maybe not. We had kept her pretty much incognito. She hadn’t had any real chance to tell anyone anything, so far. So who the fuck was the balding man, and for whom did he work? I could run his plates and I could spend a full day having him checked out but at that moment grabbing his ass up seemed easier. Would he squeal like a pig, probably, but I had a hell of a good lawyer.
I waited until he looked away for a second, then I put the bike in a gear way to high for the average person to start a bike uphill from a dead stop, then I pedaled like hell and before he could get the car started let alone moving, I was sitting by his window with the .38 staring him in the face.
“Play nice and I wont reach in and pull your ass out by the ears,” I said. “Who the fuck are you and why are you following me?”
“Ms Stone please put that gun away, I need to get my identification out of my pocket.” he said very nervously.
“Do it, but the gun stays on you till I see something,” I said. “If you think about getting hinky, I was born here. I know places in this county, where I can hide a body and it will never be found.”
“I am just going to get my ID card nothing more,” he said. While he reacher for his wallet, I noticed the Nikon camera with the long, long lens. Tabloid photographer I guessed, even before I saw his ID. However that camera and the ID could just as easily belong to someone hunting Lydia for a hit team.
He handed me his wallet with a driver’s license and an ID car that could have been real or not. As I expected it was for one of the better known supermarket rags. My guess was that he was a stringer not a regular employee.
“Now I am going to tell you what you are going to do. You are going to drive to your motel, or whatever parking lot you plan to sleep in tonight, and you are going to leave me alone. If I see you or this car again tonight, there is going to be a terrible accident. Do we understand each other?” I asked.
“Yes we do and I can only promise that next time I will try to do a better job,” he said.
“Well good luck. People disappear in the swamps a few hundred miles from here all the time.” I said it as I turned away.
“How did you get here so fast?” he asked. I just looked at him without any indication that I was going to answer. “One minute you are at the bottom of that parking lot and the next you are putting a gun in my face. How did you do it?”
“Optical illusion,” I said walking back to my bike.
That was a mistake… the message came into my mind from nowhere.
So spank me… I said it out loud and angrily. I needed to get to him before he could do anything. How was I to know he was harmless.
He isn’t harmless. He is going to be checking you out as well as your client… was the wordless reply.
“Well then I’ll check him out as well. Let’s see what else we can do before he disappears…
I rode on to the bluebird without any more incidents or messages. I picked up the truck without waking anyone. I went home to plug in my charger. I felt fine, but I knew I should be running low. Even on the reduced power program I was running in those days.
I was surprised to find that I was only down 20% even after all that physical exertion. Something was definitely different, but I didn’t mind so far. It could be a more efficient free electron accumulator or something entirely different. Whatever it seemed to be working without me doing much of anything.
I lay down on the bed, put myself in power saver mode and just vegged for a while. The next thing I knew it was time for me to get moving. Since I had come to love the hot water soak, I went into the shower first thing. It also cleared the dust and grime from my hands and other covering.
After the shower I dressed in jeans and a tee shirt. I fixed the clean out concoction, then sat on the toilet while I opened and closed valves and drank the mixture that sterilized my holding areas.
After that it was off to Helen’s for breakfast. There were a half dozen cops in Helen’s sit down that morning. I knew three of them from the old days. The other three I knew well enough to nod hello. On that morning no one seemed to know me at all. I guessed that the Judge really was well liked. That told me something, if Timmons was a dirty judge, he was damn good at it.
Even so, I expected that the best crooks were the ones who didn’t seem to be the type. I had been through the cold shoulder treatment before with the Aster cops. It lasted until something else came along to take their mind off me.
After the Waffle special, I went to the mall to walk. The rain had stopped, so I wasn’t weighted down with rain gear. I did two laps before the dancer found me.
“Did you know Jennifer asked us all to keep an eye out for strangers. Something about this Judge Timmons thing. Let us know if you need any help,” the Dancer said.
“I thought she might tell you to keep an extra sharp look out, and no thanks I think we have it covered, but I will let you know if I need anything. By the way the tabloids are onto us, so prepare to be trapped somewhere when you least expect it.”
I was just about to swing my leg over the bike when the phone rang. “Maxine, the storage unit you were expecting just showed up,” Jerrod said.
“Now it is way to early in the morning for it,” I said.
“The delivery man said they got back with it last night after midnight, so they parked it in their lot till this morning,” Jerrod said.
“Okay, I’ll come by and take a look. Do not come out to meet me and do not let Lydia show her face at all. We have the tabloid press chasing us now.” I said, I haven’t had a chance to talk to Jennifer yet. So I’m not sure how she wants to handle them. Be absolutely sure Lydia does not get to that cell phone.”
“She wants to call people, but I have so far kept her away from the phone.”
“Good, I will send Sylvia over to take you both to lunch. I am sure she is tired of the menu at Che Bluebird.”
“She is really beginning to bitch now,” Jerrod said.
“Jerrod, there are some things beginning to show up, if she were to try to exchange favors for sex, please let me know. It’s really important that I know.”
The unit I got was a real shipping container that had been used for shipping. It was not some cheap replica. At least that is what I had been promised. It looked like the containers I had seen passing on trains, so I was more or less satisfied. I put the call in to the Laboring Few’s Office. I made the call from the driveway of the Blue bird. There was no lock on the door of the shipping container and that was okay for the moment, but wouldn’t do come night fall.
It was barely noon and I was already over worked. I had way too many irons in the fire, but at least I wasn’t bored yet. Sylvia was in the office,, when I got back. She agreed to buy a lock and meet the designer and take Lydia and Jerrod to lunch.
Her job with the designer was to give her some guidance on my thinking for the units. Mostly it had to be easy maintenance, not to expensive to do, and very attractive. All that should be no problem, I thought. I knew it would be, of course.
Sylvia had been gone only a few minutes when the phone rang. “Hello,” I said.
“Did you really threaten to murder a tabloid photographer?” Jennifer asked.
“I don’t know that I said that, I might have implied it though,” I said.
“Good for you, fucking parasite,” she said.
“Yes, but you are about to tell me not to do it again,” I said.
“Well, we might be able to use the coverage, if this gets nasty. In the meantime I told him to just back off till there was something to say. When there was, we would talk to him,” Jennifer said.
“You really are a piece of work Jennifer,” I said.
“When you are a helpless woman, you have to use all the tools that you find laying around,” she said very much upbeat.
“You are about as helpless as a grisly bear,” I suggested.
“Have you learning anything new about our client?” she asked.
“No. but I should be getting the preliminary report anytime now,” I said.
“Good for you, keep me posted,” she said and clicked off.
I called Peter after Jenn was off the line. “So petter what is going on?” I asked.
“I got your information at least all that is easy to get. Harold Timmons has been a judge for ten year, before that he was had his own practice for fifteen. He began with a firm of personal injury lawyers first. That’s where he first got a taste for the stock market.
He was single so instead of fancy cars and houses he invested in stock. He did real well for a while, then there was a stock market adjustment and he took a bath, but he held on to his stock and it came back. Then he married. He and his wife tried to have kids but it just didn’t happen.
The wife worked so he began the practice and it did well. They live well but simply. Between the two of them they accumulated an awful lot of money, then his wife died of cancer. They went through a lot of the money paying her medical bills.
He seems to have gone a little ape shit after his wife died. He sold the practice and got himself elected judge. He seems to have done well for the first few years, then he married Lydia about five years ago. They lived simply and saved his money. Lydia doesn’t work or do much of anything else. I bet she gives a hell of a blowjob though,” Peter said.
“Can you account for all his money?” I asked.
“He could be taking money, but if he is it’s minor amounts. Hard to trace small deposits and small Stock transactions.”
And wads of cash in blue plastic barrels, I thought.