“I have a bit of a problem,” Royce said to me.
“Oh what kind of problem?” I asked.
“I know how your memory is, so let me do a quick recap of our relationship,” he said. He had obviously been practicing his speech. I read my files, while he talked. Between the two of them, I felt like I had a pretty good idea what there had and had not been between us.
“So what is it you need?” I asked without any emotions showing in my voice.
“I need my old job back. To be honest I need it at least on paper. It seems the old cop buddy of mine was working contract for the bank. When they found out he was hiring an ex-con they told him to get rid of me, or they would drop him. I guess he needed the business. Anyway I’m on the street, and without a job, I’m headed back inside.”
“You know I’m still a lawyer, I can’t make false representation to the court system. If I do that I can be disbarred. I doubt that I would ever get my license back.” I said it again, I hoped, without any emotion.
“You can hire me to help with whatever you are planning now. You need a driver, if nothing else. That trike won’t take you to Tryon, should you need to go,” he suggested.
I had an idea at that point. As Royce said before, being brain damaged didn’t make me stupid. “Royce if you can keep your mouth shut, and not ask too many questions, maybe we can help each other out.”
“I assure you that if you help me out here, I can do that,” he said.
“The idea just struck me, so we are going to need some time and effort to make it a reality. You are going to have to really work this time, not just entertain me.” I said it to let him know, that I knew what we had done before.
“Whatever it takes,” he said.
“One more thing, some of the things I will ask you to do might seem a little risky. We will have to be very careful, or you might wind up back inside anyway,” I admitted.
“If that is the case, maybe I need to know more about it?” he said.
“Not till we get to the point that it becomes risky, at first it is just going to be a new business venture for me. Are you still living with your sister?” I asked.
“Yes I am,” he said simply.
“Okay try to keep your overhead down. There is no telling what kind of income you are going to have for a while. I can’t afford a dead loss, so we need to generate income in order to keep you employed,” I said.
“How do you plan to do that?” he asked.
“You said it yourself, I can’t ride my trike to Tryon. There have to other people who need things they can’t handle themselves. We just need to make enough money to pay the expenses including your salary.”
“What do you mean?” he asked.
“We are going into the pick up and delivery business. It shouldn’t cost too much to get started. I already have a mini delivery vehicle which is doing me no good since I can’t drive it. If you come into this, it has to be for the long haul. I am not going to make you a partner, since you walked out on me, but I will pay you a bonus. After we start making a profit, I will give you a percentage of it,” I explained.
“Sure, I can go for that, how about a small salary. Just like you did for Sam, and a larger percentage of the profits?” he suggested.
“Since there are no profits, I will agree to that. $200 a week against 35% of the net profit to be paid monthly.
“I can live with that, if the figures are not carved in stone,” he suggested.
“Fair enough, You know you are going to have to do all the real work. I’m more or less just the money person. I can give you a few startup ideas, then you are pretty much on your on with the day to day operation.”
“I can do that,” Royce said with a big smile.
“Then let’s go buy a simple cell phone for the business first thing,” I finished the soda before I followed him to his sister’s car. “Why don’t you get her to drop you at the office. I can give you the keys to the Cruiser now,” I suggested. “Since you will be working from a cell phone where ever you happen to be, you can take the cruiser home with you.”
“Sure she is home today. I can get her to drive me there now. I should be back here within the hour,” he informed me.
“Good when you get back, we can buy the cell phone. I can make some calls. while you are gone.” What I didn’t tell him was that by picking up the Cruiser from the parking lot of the office, I would find out how noticeable the fermenting smell was. If he mentioned it, I would need to make other arrangements. If not, then I would just keep on with my plan as it was.
When he returned an hour later, I was well prepared for the rest of the day’s activities, and even the next days. I had made a note on the schedule to meet with a car wrap company to design the cruiser signs. The meeting was set for the next day at 10AM.
“Royce this is what I want you to do. We are going to go buy a simple basic cellphone for the company. Then tomorrow we are going to design the signs for the cruiser. They will be the beginning of our advertising. We might get work from them immediately, so we need to set up the system now.” I paused to give him a chance to respond.
“Knowing you, it is going to be a bullet proof system,” he said.
“Pretty much,” I agreed. “When the calls come in, you need to get them to commit. You are a smart guy, if I give you the estimator tools you can do the pricing. If you sell it, collect a check or credit card information, when you pick up the package. Take cash if you must, but we would prefer checks and credit cards. We are not going to front any money for pickups. If the item has been paid, then we will pick it up, and deliver it,” I suggested.
“You mean like if granny buys a lawnmower from Lowe’s and gives us the pickup authorization, we pick it up and take it to her for a price?” he asked.
“Exactly,” I admitted.
“It sounds like a deal to me,” he said.
“Do not knowingly accept any illegal items. You will be getting a contract signed with every delivery or pickup. It was state that there is nothing illegal in the shipment,” I said.
“I can pretty much keep us out of trouble there,” he said.
“Good, then lets go get your phone and the contracts and schedule sheets printed,” I suggested.
“Sounds like a plan, to me,” he said. “Then maybe we can go to dinner?”
“Royce, this is strictly business. I don’t think dinners are part of the compensation package,” I informed him.
“I get it, no problem,” he said smiling weakly.
The cell phone proved to be a bit more difficult than I expected. We had to listen to the salesman go on and on about all the package deals available. It was necessary in the end to raise my voice. “Look we need a simple cell phone with a simple plan. We don’t need text or web service we just need a damn phone with a reasonable number of minutes.”
“Yes ma’am, I think the basic plan at $50 a month will work for you,” he said.
“Is there a time limit?” I asked.
“No ma’am its unlimited phone minutes,” he said. There is a limit on data but you said you didn’t need data so it won’t be an issue,” the slick teenage salesman suggested.
“Fair enough,” I said as I looked at the contract. I signed the contract, but had the phone assigned to, ‘Door 2 Door Delivery.” I just made the name up standing there.
From the cell phone store Royce drove me to Office Depot. There we met with another teenager. “Hello,” I said.
“Yes Ma’am, can I help you?” she asked.
“We need to get some printing done. Could I use your computer to draft a quick contract and schedule form?” I asked.
“We don’t usually let customers do that here, but since we are not busy, if you are going to be quick, I guess I can make an exception.” She said smiling at Royce.
I didn’t mind at all. “Thanks.”
It took me about five minutes to draft a simple pick and delivery agreement. The schedule was nothing more than a bunch of columns with boxes set by the hours. “Here you go all ready,” I said to the girl behind the counter. I gave her a good look while she printed the forms. She was definitely a bottle blond. She was thin and had a very slick hairdo. I liked the way she looked. Even if she was flirting with Royce.
I had no idea why she would do that. He was about twenty six or seven and reasonably attractive. I guess I just knew too much about him to find him a sex symbol.
“Royce how about you find a clipboard you like for your paperwork. I’ll take care of this so when you get back, we can pay the lady and leave,” I demanded.
“Right,” he said.
“Are you two together or is he married?” she asked.
“No, we are not a couple and he is not married,” I said it cheerfully. Maybe I should tell her I had a suspicion that he was screwing his sister. I decided that it would be a bad idea to make that kind of comment.
“So do you have all the papers?” Royce asked, when he rejoined me at the counter.
“Yes we are good to go,” I said as I swiped my card through the machine. I only had one debit card, so it was up to Milo the money man to figure which were personal, and which were business purchases. I’m sure I paid him well, so let him earn it, I thought.
“I’m going to be in court most of tomorrow afternoon,” Royce informed me. “Ansel is going on trial and the DA wants me to tell about the parking lot encounter. Would you like to come to hear the details from someone who was there?” he asked.
“No thanks, if I need to know anything, I’ll just ask you,” I said. I paused a few minutes then added. “It’s after five, lets call it a day. Just drop me in front of the building,” I said.
“I really should go up with you,” he said.
“I don’t think so. You didn’t think it necessary to babysit me yesterday, so I don’t think we need to do it tonight,” I replied.
On the way home my cell phone rang. “Hello this is Lucy,” I said into it.
“Lucy this is Wilma at the Avery Photo Studio,” the female voice said. I quickly looked her up and found that I liked her.
“Sure Wilma, what can I do for you?” I asked.
“Could you stop by the studio, either tonight, or in the morning?” she asked.
“Are you working late?” I asked.
“I can, if you are planning to stop by,” she suggested.
I looked at the time on my cell phone then asked, “Will 7PM be too late?”
“That will be fine,” she said.
“Should I stop for pizza?” I asked.
“Sure I have some dynamite iced tea,” Wilma informed me. It was sorta a date even though I knew she had no interest in me sexually. The note in my journal told me that.