That’s how I wound up as a hostess at an illegal drink house. It opened at 9PM and closed at 3AM unless there was a crowd. If that was the case it might go till sun up. It didn’t take me long to get well known. I did my thing and a little of their thing, but I did manage to remember who I was.
I was collecting information the whole time on the guys who came to the house. Most of them were involved in some kind of petty crime or another. Even though it was petty, the pure volume was significant. I kept a file of everything I learned. Then every couple of days, I made a dead drop to the local Sheriff. We did it as carefully as I could manage. I had no idea how secure the sheriff’s man were.
It took only a week to begin to miss my old life. Hell I even missed the bike rides out to the lake. In Stoneville, I was back to running and hour a day. Yes that was significantly more than it had been at home. I wasn’t getting as much exercise on the job here as I did back home either.
After only two weeks of slinging drinks I met a member of the distribution network. He had heard of me from the club owner. “You are Karen Smith?” he asked.
“Yeah, what can I do for you?” I asked not quite sure who he was.
“I can do something for you. I heard you are a real piece of work. Is that true?” he asked.
“Depends on what you mean by that. I can take care of myself, but I’m no killer, even though I have killed men.” I said.
“They tell me you were in the sandbox. Everybody who was there was a stone killer according to them,” he said.
“Not true. The ones I knew would tell you that they fired at a position along with about ten other people. You can’t tell who actually killed someone unless you are looking right at him when he falls over and that doesn’t happen very often.” I said.
“So you are a truck driver, why are you hustling drinks in this joint?” he asked.
“Hustling drinks here gets me in the right place to meet the people who can get me driving the trucks again.” I replied.
“Well my name is Barry, and I’m the guy to give you a job driving, but only if I’m convinced you won’t jump and tun off at the first sign of trouble, leaving my product to the cops.” he said.
“Well that’s a decision for you to make. I know what I will do, you are just going to be guessing. But if the cops stop me by accident, I doubt they would be a skeptical as they would be of a redneck behind the wheel. It’s a lot about appearances. If they get to looking, the cops will get your product anyway. So sometimes it’s subterfuge and sometime it’s horse power.” I said.
He just nodded, then said, “So do you want the job?”
“If the pay is right you know I do,” I replied.
“I’m sure it will be more than you’ve ever made before. You drive when I tell you and do what I tell you,” he said.
“More money than I ever made is how much?” I asked.
“I can pay you a grand a week, but it’s a lot of runs for that,” he said.
“As long as I’m not carrying nukes for it, I can handle it,” I said.
“Can’t promise, but we haven’t carried one of those yet. So go over and put your tray on the bar and let’s go. You can start by driving me around tonight.” he said.
There was very little doubt in my head that there would be sex of some kind involved in the interview process, “Fair enough,” I said.
I took him from the small town of Stoneville to the very large town of Charlotte. It was a parking garage across from the airport, where I made my first stop. He directed me to a mid sized American made pickup truck. “That’s your truck. I’m going to stay here and you are going to take that truck and go get a load of product. You will off load the product at another location. Then the truck and you go back to Stoneville. I’ll call you tomorrow with another pickup. Do you understand?” he asked as he handed me a burn phone.
“Yes, is there a gps system in the truck?” I asked.
“Yes, so I’ll just give you the address for the pick up and delivery and you take care of the rest,” he informed me.
“I got it,” I said.
He handed me the note with the address. “When you make the delivery get rid of the note, you won’t need it again.” The information about future pickups was intentionally vague. He wanted to see how I worked out before he gave me too much information. I determined from it that he was a lower level operative. It was okay, one had to start somewhere.
The trucks registration was made out to a lease company. I also had the paperwork to the lease in the folder and it was blank. I assumed that it was counterfeit, since it could be made out in anyone’s name. I filled it in with my own name and drivers license number. Well not my own, I used the fake identity we had set up. When I was sure I had papers that would pass a quick inspection, I opened the note from Barry.
The drive sent me to a small community in the mountains even more remote than County Seat. There was a dead drop set up for me along a county road. The drop wasn’t in Warren Country, so the information on that one would ultimately go to their local Sheriff one day.
During that long drive along those lonely roads, I wondered why Barry hadn’t demanded sex for the job. After all the club manager had for a whole lot less in the way of reward. Then again I was going to be more involved and possibly Barry wasn’t anywhere near the top of the food chain. I wasn’t really sure how I felt about not getting sexual with Barry. Men tended not to ignore me once they had sex with me. The attention wasn’t always good, but I tended not to get ignored.
The drop was in a town in Virginia. I probably passed five other towns that would have bought the product, if it were legal. That was part of the problem with illegal products. The ultimate purchaser paid for the lack of efficiency. It was inefficient in the distribution process, but it was also inefficient in the manufacturing process as well. I would love to make the distribution more efficient, but that wasn’t my job. Mine was simply to move a load from a to b with no stops in between.
My first job was to record the data where the bad guys wouldn’t find it. So I began with Barry. I didn’t know his real name just that they called him Barry the Barber. My very first drop had been leads on crimes being committed by the patrons of the drink house. Also I gave as much information on the operation of the drink house as I had.
I had included the name of Barry the Barber and two of his henchmen. Then later I reported that I had been offered a job with Barry. I had taken the job of course and had one run under my belt when I gave the location of the two dead drops I had used. I could send a text message and have the drop off monitored before I got there. That was the plan for future operations.
I could also give the coordinates of the pick up point so that if it hadn’t been made yet we could pick up the person making the drop and follow him or her. So the text message address I had would be the link. I was never to have direct contact with my handler unless it was an emergency. We just left messages for each other.
Barry liked my services evidently because he called me the next day. “Karen I need you to stop by the camper cover store on Independence Blvd out near the mall and have a cover put on the truck. Pay for it with cash. I’ll leave the money at the bar of the downtown motel. It will be with a bartender name Neil. I’ll place the order and will have the right amount to pay for it.”
“I guess this means I still have a job?” I asked.
“Yeah, you did fine but it was a simple task,” he said.
“Yes it was a simple task,” I said. I had been unarmed as far as he knew. I wasn’t of course. I had the .38, but that was my back up gun and he didn’t need to know. He probably did know about the box opener though.
I had trouble finding things to keep busy, so the camper top was a nice change. They didn’t want a new comer finding out too much about the operation, so mostly I just make the distribution runs which, though they took a long time, weren’t really very taxing. The truck was a black color and the new camper top was black as well.
So when I left the motel two night later I was driving the truck with a new cover. I was off for another dead drop. It was almost a hundred miles from the last one. I got to the drop at exactly the right time and found it empty. “I’m at the drop and it’s empty. I can’t tell if there has been anyone here before me or not,” I said into the phone. Calling the number they gave me in case of trouble was a decision I had to make. I know what I would do but I needed to know what they wanted me to do.
“So what do you think,” the voice said.
“I think they are in production and anything could have happened. I can go get a cup of coffee and come back in a half hour. You could also call to see what is going on with the other party.” I said.
“I could also give you the number and you could coordinate with them direct,” he said.
“That’s up to you,” I said. “After all you pay the bills.”
“Go get the coffee, I would need to clear the other with Barry, and I don’t know how to get him. I’ll call you back in a half hour.” With that he rang off. I turned the truck back into a convenience store parking lot near the highway.
I fixed myself a cup of black coffee and had a package of peanut butter crackers. I rested in the parking lot since it had been an almost two hundred mile drive to the dead drop. It was almost the full half hour when the phone rang.
“Karen you need to go back to the pick up and see what is going on, but don’t stop unless the signal is right. I couldn’t reach the contact and it might have been compromised.” he said.
“Well, if it has they will wait till I load it to swoop down on me. It is only against the law once I take possession of it. So yeah we need to be careful that it isn’t a trap.” I said. It didn’t hurt for me to be the one to remind them that it might be compromised at the production end.