I was not supposed to feel emotions. That is why they made me. I was supposed to just do what I needed to do and then just walk away. Well somebody must have fucked up badly, because it felt good that I left Raphael whimpering on the floor like a beat dog.
I was looking forward to meeting Sumatra and her boss as well. I had no idea how my handlers on the farm felt about it, and I didn’t much care. Although I did have a feeling that it was exactly what they wanted. A non employee gone rogue and working inside the United States. Besides it was the best kind of training imaginable, live fire training.
It was a lot like hiring Swamp Thing to take care of a cruise ship on the high seas. The difference was that I worked much cheaper. There was no question of my loyalty, since I had no use at all for the money. If it weren’t for Jennifer, I would be homeless and most likely just as happy.
It was late, so I decided to dispose of the pot first thing. I headed toward the Marina, along the way the pot got dumped into the lake. It was valuable and someone would probably come looking for what had once been about five kilos of weed. The Arab might just send one of his own crews to retrieve it. Son of a bitch, life is good, I thought.
I went home and did a top off charge and closed my eyes till the sun came up. Since, thanks to Jennifer, I wasn’t homeless, I had two business decisions to make. First I compared the pile of handmade drawing from Billy to those digital ones from His Laboring Few’s designer. There was no contest I awarded Billy the contract. Yes it was true that I needed something for Billy to do, but I also needed the flair he brought to the table as well.
I decided to hire him to decorate unit one. I would offer to pay him $500 for the decoration of the unit, and the right to have it repeated several more times with or without him involved. We would need to work out a smaller fee for decorating later units. I decided all of that while I had breakfast at Helen’s place and then walked the mall.
When I got home I called Kate. “Okay my little realty slut, what time do we do the tour de radio?” I asked.
“It’s 10AM I assume you have done your legendary morning things?” she asked.
“I have and I’m ready to begin my day. I promised to tour and make an offer on the building, so just tell me when and I’m there.”
“Okay how about we meet in half an hour. There is no sense putting it off,” she said knowing that things tended to pop up.
Since there were presumably two men in the hospital who potentially could be laid at my door, I expected cops any minute. I didn’t tell her that. She didn’t need to know the details just to understand my life was constantly in a state of flux.
“Sure, it will give me time for another cup of coffee and a three day old cake square,” I said.
“How could you save a cake square for four days,” she asked.
“It got lost among all of Harvey’s lawn trimmings,” I said. “Don’t even try to understand. I’ll explain it all when I see you.”
My next call was to Edsel at Jennifer’s office. Put a note on Jennifer’s calendar. Tell her not to get too tied up for the next couple of days. One of you will probably need to bail me out of jail.” I laughed after I said it and so did Edsel but I’m sure she was checking Jennifer’s Calendar, even as she laughed.
I made the two block walk down to the Radio building arriving right on time. “I’m a little surprised that you made it?” she said.
“Why, I only canceled once,” I said.
“Daddy said you were up to your ass with Lydia Timmons.” She saw my curious look. “He knows them both from the club. He knew Timmons’ first wife as well.”
“The Golf club?” I asked.
“No the regional health and fitness club. He and Timmons had heart attacks on just about the same day ten years ago. They joined the regional health and fitness club, because they had a heart rehab center. It was the only one in the area at the time. We have grown since and now there are ones closer to home for both of them.” She said.
“I see, so I know you are dying to tell me the dirt, so what is it?” I asked.
“He says one of the trainers told him that Lydia had turned a trick or two before she married the judge. The gossip was that she came before him as the housewife hooker. He had her record expunged, or whatever they call it.”
I nodded. That made a kind of sense. If it were true, then she would have known what it was and how to get into the live again. Then the question became why. “Okay, we are here lets go see what we have.”
The first floor plan was mostly the wide open space of a jewelry store. It was two thirds open space and another third shared between a vault without a door and the less secure stockroom.
The second and third floor were offices all had very old hardwood floors. Everything had water and/or age damage. I planned to pull all the ceiling down and knock out most of the partitions, so I didn’t mind so much.
“You could probably do another Drugstore type conversion here,” Kate said trying to sell me the place.
“So how much do they want for this dump,” I asked.
“Tax value is 300k,” she said.
“You are really good. You said that without breaking into gales of laughter.” I said making it clear that 300k was out of the question.
“The building is forty four feel long and thirty two feet wide and three stories tall.” Kate informed me.
“I am sure nothing about it works, There are brackets in the windows for portable air conditioners. I would bet there is a boiler in the basement that was last used twenty years ago,” I guessed.
“Sixteen,” she said. “But it dates back almost seventy-five years.”
“Okay sixteen years, It is probably a gas burner conversion, which makes it the least efficient unit in the world. From the looks of the ceiling on the third floor the roof leaks. Tell you what I will do and you can call your client with this offer. I will start at 150K and have His Laboring Few do a quick estimate for repairs. Not renovation’s, repairs to get it back into shape structurally, then I will have a heating and air man come in and do an estimate to bring the boiler to code, including the new energy efficiency code.” I will offer the owner the difference. If that is acceptable to the owner, then I will get the people in to look the place over. If it is not, I’m sorry to have wasted everyone’s time.”
There were newer buildings I could be looking at, but none of them had the ease of renovation I saw in this old building. For my purposes it would be mostly change out the windows, knock down the partitions and clean and paint it. I didn’t see a lot of changes structurally I needed to make. I could make the floor plan for the upper two stories almost exactly the same as my Downtown House and be perfectly happy. I wanted the best view of main street and the railroad tracks from my third floor bedroom. I also wanted a nice bathroom and a guest room in the rear. Their view would be the railroad tracks out the side and a much less used city street, which ran beside the building. Maybe the guest would get to view a homeless person or two wandering around as well. I could get a waiver for some fire escape type balconies on the rear at least. The third floor view from one of those would be my ‘roofs of Paris’ view. I really wanted the place, but I didn’t want Kate to know that I wanted it.
Peter was waiting in the parking lot. “Alvin is a fucking genius. He ran all this shit and came up with three stocks he can’t pin down. They were purchased by some lawyer over in Tryon, but they were put in the Judge’s name. They have not been touched since. Alvin says since the Judge has not done anything with them, he can claim he didn’t know about the purchases and they played no part in his decisions.”
“So for five years he has done nothing with the stock. so it could be argued that he knew nothing and it was all a big frame up. He could beat it in court, but it would be enough for an ethics investigation. If no one ever found out he would have all that money for his retirement. It really is eloquent,” I said.
We said all that while he installed the application that allowed me to view Sumatra’s bugs anytime and anywhere. All I had to do was pull it up and watch the bug at any speed I wanted and go back as far as I wanted. I was always amazed how they could work this shit out. Peter and Lucas were the geniuses as far as I was concerned. Money bored me this other shit was just plain fun, even though I wasn’t supposed to have fun.
“So now we have a judge who may be dirty and his wife who may be a thrill seeking hooker. Tell Alvin to keep looking for hidden assets. If the judge sold out once, he did it before. You don’t just start with that kind of score. He would have begun with the gift of a new car or a bathroom renovation. “ I suggested. I said all that while he worked on my smart phone and computer.
“And Peter find Lydia’s money. I not only want to know how much she has, I also want you to find out who is bankrolling Sumatra. Find out how she gets her customers as well. It has to be a net thing, since she is doing it call out. I suppose her brother Raphael is her enforcer.” I noticed his curious look. “I did a little digging around, remember I still have real life contacts as well as you computer geeks.”
“Do you think she had someone beat Lydia?” he asked.
“If we see her brother, we will ask,” I suggested. There was no sense in Peter knowing that I had talked to Raphael and not asked him about the beating of Lydia. I was just so pissed that he would dare try to frame me, that by the time I was thinking straight again, I was in my truck and headed to the marina.
“If she did order it, then it was about more than Lydia’s shitty disposition. That was a big time beating and it was somewhere that showed. Lydia is going to be out of work for a while. Sumatra is not running a twenty buck blow job on the corner type business. so that beating is costing her as well as Lydia.”
“Okay, I’ll get on it,” he said.
“Good, do you want to work here. I have to go to the hospital, but you are welcome to work here if you like. Sylvia will be here in a minute,” I suggested.
“No thanks, I promised Alvin I would come back over to River Landing and let him show me some more things, in exchange I will show him how to track down the money transactions on the web. I had to do the computer work for him, but once he saw those numbers it was like they spoke to him.”
“Well you go keep your man date,” I said with a laugh. “I am going to go see how our friend Harvey is doing.”
I was in the hospital’s lobby and standing at the volunteer greeter’s desk fifteen minutes later. I was still dressed in my semi slut rags, but it was a public hospital, I sure as hell wasn’t the only fashion crime there. “Harvey Middlehouse?” I asked. Is he still in 2012?”
“Yes he is, but there is a flag by his room. You need to see the floor nurse on the second floor before you go to his room.” she said.
“Now that is curious,” I suggested as I turned to the elevator.