When I woke that next morning, I went to the bathroom with the laptop. I thought at the end of the update, that it was getting easier to update my brain. Since most things at least seemed familiar, even if new things were being added very slowly and most of the old seemed gone forever.
I just went to the storage room to pick up my trike without ever thinking about where it was. That was ingrained in my memory at least. I had eaten in the breakfast house enough times, so that I didn’t need to look up the directions to it or to my office. Neither was an intellectual memory, but more a rote memory.
I pulled into the parking lot of the business two doors down from the office. I sat there sniffing the air. I could smell nothing but grass that had been recently mowed. I tried the parking lot beside my building. There was a very, very faint sweet smell, I was pretty sure that only someone really paying attention would notice. Maybe a revenuer but probably not the employees of a medical device sales center. The medical device showroom was for doctors and retailer to shop, not people with broken bones. I wondered if they still considered vibrators as medical devices.
The smell in my parking lot and even close to the back door was no worse than it had been next door. I did see a couple of bees and a fly or two hanging out at my door. I ignored them as I went inside the office.
I noticed the smell was a bit stronger and would be annoying, if I stayed in the office every day. I went into the bathroom and noticed the smell was very strong in there. So I had learned that the smell could be contained in a more or less sealed area, if properly vented. The volume of carbon dioxide released into the air had to be minimal for that to work in an urban setting.
I also learned that morning that the mash had almost finished ‘working off’, as they said in the business. It would be time to cook at almost any moment. I had other things to do but cooking would have to begin that evening or the next day for sure.
I left the office for my meeting with Royce. I was back in the apartment at 9:30AM and he was right on time. It was a short drive since the sign company was inside an older shopping center near the downtown.
“If we are going to be serious about this, we probably need a second vehicle to cover in case of breakdowns. It doesn’t need to be fancy or signed up just available for use,” Royce said.
“I have a rental arrangement with a used car dealer. I expect they will still honor it. I will be cheaper just to pick up a car for a day or two while the cruiser is out of commission,” I informed him. His suggestion did show that he was taking the business seriously.
We met with a young woman in her thirties at least. She knew graphic design and was even familiar with the cruiser. She pulled up a computer graphic to demonstrate different designs. I picked one that was bold with striking color combination. Also one with large lettering and a phone number that seemed almost 3D on the computer.
“We will need the car for two or three hours,” she informed me.
“Royce can you bring the car and either wait for it or find a place to hang out till it is done?” I asked.
“I’m sure I can do that, but not today. Remember I have to be in court this afternoon,” he reminded me.
“Sure,” I said of course I had totally forgotten it. “So can you have the signs ready for tomorrow morning?” I asked the saleslady/designer.
“If you pay me today, I can have it done tomorrow morning,” she informed me.
“So that leaves only the big question how much?” I asked.
“Well design and install would be no more than $1500,” she said.
“Hold on we need to discuss this,” I said it so that she would leave the room.
I turned my attention to Royce, “If I commit this kind of money, you can not bail on me. I sure as hell can’t run this kind of thing on my own. So decide right this fucking minute are you in it for the long haul?” I asked.
“I need something and my options are not exactly coming out of the woodwork. I’m in for the duration, whatever that is,” he said.
“Let me check to see if there is a procedure for me to get this kind of money from the bank.” I looked up in the index of my file. It gave me the accountants number. I called my money man and explained my plan to purchase the wrap.
“I don’t need to approve your purchase, I just need to know that it is you doing the purchase not some third party. Now that I know, when I see the charge to your account, I will just ignore it. Thanks for the heads up though,” he said.
I called the lady back in and gave her my debit card, “Let’s do this tomorrow,” I said.
“We can be ready anytime after 9AM. Just call and set up an installation time,” she advised me.
“Now that is up to you Royce,” I informed him. You call her to arrange it and when it is done, call me on the phone. I will be busy for a couple of days I think but nothing I need for you to do.”
Royce dropped me at the condo on his way to Tryon for the trial. I had no idea what it was about and I could only vaguely remember anything about Ansel and the dirty cops. I had to be reminded every time he brought it up.
I checked my journal one more time before I rode back to the office. I found an entry for me to call Wilma at work. I needed to ask how her ‘date’ had gone.
“It was really strange to be with a man again after a year of abstinence. He had no idea what turned me on. Hell I had no idea myself, but we managed to work it out. I also had no idea men were so heavy into oral sex. I must have had his penis in my mouth a half hour,” she said.
“There are worse places to have it,” I said with a laugh. I found that I actually remember anal sex without looking it up.
“Oh yeah, he tried to do that but I put my foot down. Well metaphorically at least,” She said giggling.
“So Shawn is going to be gone again tonight. Do you want to do something?” she asked.
“I would, but I have a chore I have to take care of tonight. I’m not sure how long it will last. Give me a call in a day or so. Since I called you this time you call me the next time you want to talk.”
“Very well, I will be the man in this relationship,” she said laughing at me.
“Yeah, you be the take charge person,” I said. “Now I have to go business calls.”
“You can’t be driving a delivery van with your memory like it is?” she asked.
“No, but I’m doing a ride along for a while,” I lied.
I had been collecting odds and ends while the mash worked off, so I pretty much had everything I needed to cook. I poured the canning pressure cooker about 3/4 full. I didn’t put the top on until I had the mash nice and hot. I got the cooker up to 177 degrees at which point the alcohol was supposed to start evaporating. I had the top and condenser coil to catch it. The cooking hot plate and cooker were sitting on the counter by the sink of the kitchenette. If I had not had the break area kitchen, I would have cooked it in the bathroom.
So the plastic coil wound loosely around the wooden post was submerged in a big thermal water cooler. The spout at the bottom had been removed and the drain end of the condenser coil ran through the hole. It had been a tight fit, but even so I sealing it with high temperature gasket seal. The cooler sat on a plastic box from the dollar store. I had a piece of hose which ran water from the sink faucet to the cooler. When the water felt warm to the touch, I planned to try changing it first. If that didn’t work I would try Ice. I had more than one option for ice. My little apartment size fridge had ice trays in the freezer and nothing else. There was a self service ice machine a few blocks away in a shopping center parking lot.
I lost track of time while I waited for the mash to cook. I remembered to dump the first two ounces since everyone said they could be deadly. I got less than a quart of shine from the first 1.5 gallon run.
When it stopped dripping, I opened the lid. I scooped out eight cups of the cooked mash, then I added eight cups of uncooked mash and started it cooking again. I started the hot plate again and repeated every thing.
When all six gallons of mash had cooked, I had just under a gallon of alcohol. Each run netted me just over a pint of liquor. It wasn’t about the amount, it was about the liquor and the making of it.
When it was all done, I cleaned up the cooker and the condenser before I poured all the different batches of liquor into one plastic two gallon ice tea pitcher. I scooped out a cup of the liquor then put a hydrometer into the cup. I proofed the liquor that way. It proofed out a 160 proof.
I cut the liquor with natural spring water from eight ounce plastic bottles, yeah right. I used 6 of them. The liquor was under 100 proof so I was satisfied. I still hadn’t tasted it. The pitcher of blended liquor was bottled in those 8 oz water bottles. I put them into the overhead cabinet once they had cooled a bit. When the bottling was finished I had two ounces or so left over so it was the moment of truth. I tried it straight first and found it was too strong for me. It was strong but not raw, if you know the difference.
I cut my next drink with a commercial juice drink from Walmart. It was actually quite good, I was more than a little surprised. I took one 8 oz bottle and left the box fan near an open window to clear out the smell of cooking mash as I headed for home. I had been cooking for almost 16 hours. I had fought to stay awake all night, I did not want to lose my memory right in the middle of the cook. So I was headed home and to bed for at least a nap.
It was very early in the morning. Even though it was 6AM on a Sunday morning the breakfast house restaurant was open. That being the case, I slipped the trike in and found a parking space near the door. I tried to park near the door or window so that I could keep an eye on it. I got home by 8 AM, so I called Wilma.
“I sure hope I woke you,” I said when I got her on the phone.
“Like I said, you are an evil bitch. I had a wedding last night and it ran a little late,” she informed me.
“I thought you were headed out to have some fun?” I suggested.
“Actually I was going to take you along to the wedding, If you hadn’t been busy.”
“In that case I am glad that I was busy,” I said light heartedly. “I have been up over 24 hours so I’m going to slip into bed. I don’t suppose I could interest you in joining me.”
“Another time maybe, I’m just going to slip back into the arms of Morpheus,” she said.
“Well tell him hey for me,” I said.