It was only 4PM, when I was dropped off at my truck. Levi, the Jew, was very efficient. I started the truck and of course right away I smelled the odor of antifreeze. I shut the truck down quickly. Being my daddy’s daughter, I knew that I had a coolantleak. It could be as simple as a hose, or as nasty as a blown head gasket or a cracked block.
I opened the hood and checked the radiator, it was bone dry. Since I was in the parking lot of a Mcdonald’s restaurant, and it was a slow time of the day, I took a chance. I explained my problem to the manager, then asked to borrow a plastic mop bucket and to fill it with water from the ladies room.
He did me one better, he let me fill it from the outside faucet. So I managed to get the radiator full again. With the hood lifted I started the truck and found that the leak was in the core of the radiator. It wasn’t the best possible scenario, but it was better than a blown head gasket or cracked block.
Even driving the truck to the meeting with a blown head gasket, would have been better than missing the meet. If I had to junk the truck, I could take a bus or a train with the diamonds a hell of a lot easier, than I could have with two large blue barrels.
I got directions to the closest auto parts store. I was thankful that I had worked with my dad all those years before. I was even glad that he was one of those make do mechanics who worked for the poor. I knew that I would be filling the radiator with stop leak, then driving it on the highway home. If it held wonderful, if I burned up the engine closer to home, that was okay as well.
Most likely, as it had done on the trip up, air passing over the engine at seventy miles an hour would keep it cool. It was when I stopped that I had to worry. For that reason once I got to the parts store, I spent slightly over twenty bucks for a jar of stop leak for aluminum radiators, and a five gallon water jug. At least they let me fill up the water jug from their slop sink in the back free.
I poured in the liquid alum with the motor running but the cap off the radiator. It instantly stopped the leak. I let the motor run a few minutes just in case, then topped off the radiator and put the cap back on. I considered driving the truck home with the cap on but loose as I had done from the fast food restaurant to keep the pressure off the radiator, but decided just trust my luck and seal the radiator. To keep the water jug from banging around I put the jug in the passenger’s seat foot well. I filled the truck’s gas tank, and checked for leaks again under pressure that time then I hit the highway for home.
I stopped for gas four times on the way home, mostly to check the radiator. The damn stop leak held all the way home. It was 8AM when I pulled into my parking lot. I had run the MP3 player all the way home, even though it hadn’t really been necessary. I was surprised that the truck didn’t need a bit of water all the way home. I knew without a doubt that I had dodged a bullet.
Inside the Downtown House, I removed my bag of diamonds from the McDonald’s bag. That left Jerrod’s plastic bag inside the white paper bag. Since the gun vault was the safest place in my apartment, I put one bag in each of the two top drawers drawers of the upright red mechanics tool box They definitely took up less room than the barrels had.
I for sure needed a better place to store them and I knew it. I didn’t think putting them down the barrel of a shotgun then plugging it would be a good idea. I might get my guns confiscated someday. Freezing them into a block of ice had a certain appeal but it was a well known trick, so I mentally marked that as only a maybe if all else fails plan.
They were safe enough for the time being, so I rode the bike to Helen’s for breakfast. I had that desire for sugar again. I downed the Cinnamon bun breakfast with the orange juice and coffee. I felt the cold shoulder from the cops in the dining area, but there were a couple of Paramedics seated in the rear. I found a seat at the empty table near them.
“How you doing Maxine?” The male asked.
‘I’m fine how are you two this morning?” I asked.
“A little tired, we just got off. We had a late call,” his almost middle-age partner said. She wasn’t beautiful by any means, but she wasn’t a dog either. She had a pixie’s smile.
“Well it’s over now,” I said smiling as I bit into my roll.
“So it is,” she said happily.
“I’ll second that,” the guy said.
I sensed there was more he wanted to say. I waited to give him a chance and when he didn’t I tossed my trash, then headed to the mall. I couldn’t read the paramedics mind, but I knew for sure that I didn’t have time to be fucking around with anyone new. It would be bad timing at the very least. It might also be fun, but I just had too many things going at that moment. Would I have said no, if they both had asked? I doubt it, but was I glad they hadn’t asked? Yes I was.
I didn’t see the Dancer during my walk and I didn’t mind at all. Of course I had been out of town, so maybe I should have worried a little. I sat at the silly little fountain in the middle of the mall and made a call to Jerrod. “So how is it going?” I asked, when he picked up.
“This bitch is driving me crazy. If you don’t get her to straighten out, I will be the next one to kick her ass.”
“Calm down Jerrod, what is she doing,” I asked.
“She is threatening to fire us with every breath. She wants her old life back.” he said.
Well that can cut both ways, I thought. She could be over the initial fear for her life and wanted to go back to her old life, or she might just be tired of the pretend game. “Jerrod sit on her, if you have to, I’ll be over in a little bit to take her to see Jennifer. If she can’t put the fear of god into her, we will just let her go get herself killed.” I suggested.
I went home to pick up the truck and to change into something a little less bag lady looking. For my more formal look, it was jeans without holes and a blouse with buttons. I also wore a blazer that mornings, since I was hiding the larger Glock. I didn’t bother to switch back to the .38 for some reason. I had no real reason to expect trouble, I just went with the gun from the day before. I dressed a little more businesslike because I wanted Lydia to know I took her shit seriously.
Since it was the Weekend, I called Jennifer at her apartment in the drugstore condo. “You need to talk to your client.” I said.
“Why?” Jennifer asked.
“Because she is ready to blow us off. I haven’t talked to her yet, I have been out of town on other business, but she is giving Jerrod a hard time. I am going to talk to her now. If I can’t make any headway, I am going to load her into the front of the truck and bring her to you.”
“Alright bring her here, if you can’t handle her and I will try to put the fear of god into her,” Jennifer said. “But don’t make a habit of this.”
“Sweetie, you need to tell her that not me. I am headed out there now.” I replied.
I should use the cruiser, I thought, but Sylvia was still using it. Since she had enough money to buy her own car, I had no idea why she still used it. I knew she did have enough money for a fact, since there had been plenty of bonus money flowing around her lately. I just didn’t know why she wasn’t parting with it. I planned to find out so that I could get my car back or buy another one.
The pickup still had a small ticking noise, but it wasn’t so bad that I was concerned. I made it to the house without any problem at all. I checked to be absolutely sure that I was not being followed. I also checked carefully before I left the truck to be sure no one was watching the house. I was sure that everything was in order, when I knocked on the door gently. Jerrod was there instantly. He had obviously seen me park in the drive.
I got inside the door, but not much farther, when Lydia came from a bedroom all in a huff, “I will not stay here and you can’t force me to,” she demanded.
“You are absolutely right. When the presiding judge asks me why you were killed, I will say I have no idea. If you aren’t killed, he will ask me if I believe that your life was ever in danger and I will be forced to say I can’t honestly say that I do. A person who fears for their life doesn’t value a meal at the country club all that much. So you feel free to walk out the door. I will loan you my phone to call a cab right this fucking minute. But you should know that the Honorable Judge Timmons is saying that you at running a scam on us. You are helping him to make his case.”
“Please Maxine, I am going crazy here,” Lydia said. “I miss my life.”
“Now listen to me you spoiled brat. If you really are in danger, then you go out there alone and odds are you will be dead in a couple of days. If you are running a scam, as the judge says, then taking off just reinforces his case. Either way leaving here is foolish, but I am sure as hell not going to stop you. If you stay, I will try to make some accommodations for you. I can have Anya come take you out to dinner and shopping things like that. But you are going to be with one of my people at all times and that is that. If you don’t want to play by my rules, then fuck off.”
“I want to talk to Jennifer,” she demanded.
“That’s more than fair, let’s go.” I said.
I packed her into the truck along with Jerrod for the short ride to his house. I dropped him in the drive so that the pretty boys could see him get out of the truck. Then I drove Lydia toward the drugstore condo.
“I really wish you would change my bodyguard. I don’t like Jerrod,” she said.
“Is that because he is gay and impervious to your feminine wiles?” I asked.
“He is just cold to me. I want someone I can relate to better,” she answered.
“Fair enough,” I said.
While she met with Jennifer, I stopped by Vlad and Anya’s apartment. “Sure she can stay with us here. She will be safe I assure you,” Vlad said to me.
“What about the professors across the hall?” I asked.
“They love this whole mystique thing. They won’t say a word, I assure you. You know Leon and his girl friend won’t say anything and Jennifer is her lawyer,” Anya said to me. Anya and I circled each other, but I knew that she was competent.