Barry looked as though he was going to do the questioning. He stood in front of us seemingly waiting for Molly to leave. He looked at her and she looked back as if to say, she was going to watch and enjoy it. So much for strong women bonding over a homemade fishing rod, I thought.
Barry said, “It would be easier if, the one who sold us out owned up to it.”
“First of all Barry I was kept in the dark as to where to take the package until I picked up Bruce. You told us where to go, and I drove straight there. If I had given it up ti someone, I did it withing ten minutes of our arrival there. So that doesn’t even make sense. If I were you, I would look at people who would reasonably be able to do it. I would stay away from those with no possible way of doing it. I especially wouldn’t bother with those two people who save my package for me. But you do whatever you want. I personally know nothing, but I can’t speak for Bruce.
“Why don’t I just kill you both and be sure,” he said.
“Let’s see, how about murder is a capitol offense. Making someone totally disappear it pretty hard to do. As they say, if it were easy, there wouldn’t be nearly as many married couples,” I said it pretending to stay calm.
“You said your money was on he home team, what did you mean?” Molly asked.
“Someone in Barry’s operation. The way I figure it somebody else beside Barry know where we are going to make the dead drop. He has to have someone scouting, or picking the places. The person probably deals with half a dozen more. So all those people know where it’s going to be.
The big problem would be when, and that wouldn’t be too hard to figure out. If nothing else just based on the amount of activity on the night of the drop, So the question is who had access to the location and would have either known or seen the activity surrounding a drop, but not have had access to the signal?” I suggested.
“Also where are the real pick up people and how badly were they treated. Maybe it was the home team, if you get my drift. Either way I would move past the messenger drivers, who risked their asses to save your junk. But hey that’s just the slow girl talking,” I added.
Barry didn’t say anything he just looked at Holly who nodded. It was the look in her eye that gave her away. The only visible scar I had was the one on my throat. That was only because I wore long sleeves still, I had a feeling that was about to change. I just knew I should have brought those Vicodin along.
Barry used Bruce for a punching bag. It was pretty horrible, but I gauged the level of violence from it. He was torturing him as much as he was looking for a quick confession. If it had been Bruce, I figured he would have given it up. I knew I was going to give it up after I made them work for it a little. It had always been my plan to stay alive.
Barry finish with Bruce and turned to me. He smiled at me and I said, “So since you knew the when and where, who is going to beat the shit out of you.”
“Boss knows I wouldn’t sell her out. We don’t know about you. Now do we.” He said.
“We know I drove off when Bruce wanted to walk into a trap. We know I pulled into the parking lot where I could ambush them and save the package. That’s what we know about me, what do we know about you?” I asked with a smile. I knew it was coming but it sure as hell didn’t make it hurt any less.
“Not the face,” Molly said.
Barry punched me in the left breast. I had been hit there before but the most recent blow was while I was wearing the vest and it was by a slug. I screamed because of the old injury. It was gut wrenching.
“That’s enough,” Molly said. Then she walked up and spoke to me. “You been hurt there before?”
“Kicked by a no good man,” I said.
“And him,” she asked.
“He lost his vision in one eye,” I said.
Molly laughed, “Barry I would watch out, if I were you. Now Karen how would you figure out who ratted us out.”
“How the hell would I know. Who had the information to give away, in time to use it. It looks to me like with all the dead drops, you are pretty security minded. So I would look at the other side for answers. I have said that all along.”
“You have indeed. So let me tell you that you sound innocent, but you won’t be off the hook till we find the one who sold us out. You won’t be working for us till then,” Molly said.
“Well I hope you do it quick because I am not wealthy and I don’t have any sell out money to live on,” I said.
“Well me and Todd are going to want to keep you close at hand till this is settled, so you move out to our place and work on the vineyard.” she said.
“Mrs. Green, I know nothing about grapes,” I said.
“Then maybe we will put you in the grape jelly division,” she said with a smile. It might have all been pleasant if it didn’t hurt when I breathed. It was a physical reminder these people were not playing around. If I needed more, I could look at Bruce.
I didn’t try to negotiate a deal for Bruce. I probably should have, but I was too interested in staying alive myself. I also didn’t want another beating even though mine had been minor. I still had to go to the Emergency Room, since there was a possibility of a punctured lung. Turns out I had rebroken the rib. Well Barry had broken it. I make a note that Barry was going to pay for the rib. Then moved past it.
I drove the truck to the motel. I had one of Barry’s men to help me load up. Then I drove to the vineyard and waited in the kitchen till Molly came.
“Okay Karen, I am going to put you in one of the many tiny houses we built for seasonal workers from out of state,” she said.
“Out of state, or out of the country?” I asked.
She looked like she might want to hit me herself, then she smiled, “We have the same policy as the White House. We don’t ask, as long as they vote democratic at least once.” she said.
“Okay, but I’m a Republican,” I said.
“I never doubted it for a moment,” she replied with a laugh. She honestly seemed to think that all was forgiven. She was the boss, so I guess she was allowed to be delusional. That’s what it was to think I had forgotten Barry’s punch to my chest.
The tiny house she put me in was one that probably held ten migrant workers during the summer. It was empty at the time, since there was no harvesting or vine prep going on in early spring.
When they had put the vineyard to sleep last fall, they had done all the things possible to make the season start a little later in the year. The only thing I cared about was getting enough information to put Barry in prison for life. I wouldn’t mind if he carried the Green Valley Vineyard owners along with him for the ride.
Of course I figured the cops would be looking for my body about that time. I needed to post the “I’m alive but in trouble coded message onto the Internet.” It was a message that required the operation to shut down any new phases till they either heard from me or recovered the body. Yeah I know it’s a dark way to look at things, but it was the only reasonable thing to do.
When I saw Molly, at lunch I asked, “So are you keeping me incommunicado or can I send email and get messages.” I asked.
“For now, I’d rather you didn’t have any contact with the outside world,” Molly said,
“That’s fine for now, but I keep in touch with some people, who have instructions should I drop off the face of the planet. They will be getting in touch with people who would come looking for me.” I said.
“How long do we have,” Molly asked seriously.
“Couple of days easy,” I said.
“By then we should know who it was who tried to screw us,” Molly suggested.
“Good, I would like to be back out on my own. I don’t mind the rent free digs but I would like to meet new people now and then.”
“Well how about meeting old friends in a new way,” Molly said.
“Now that could mean a lot of things,” I said with a laugh.
“Yes, it most definitely could,” Molly agreed. Then she left me alone to settle into the tiny house as best I could.
By that time I was pretty sure the controller would be thinking I might be dead. The delivery location I gave them would be all wrong for how a dead drop should look after. The after action report I did not file, I had to skip it because I didn’t have a phone either text or voice. It was likely to be a few days before I could send a message.
Most likely the controller thought it was too late to rescue me. Either I would surface, or I was probably dead. I’m sure that was what he thought, because it would be what I expected.
I decided to forget the cop business for a while because there was nothing else I could do. I sat in the little house trying to figure out how I could keep warm. It had three blankets which would help some for sure. I took a look and determined they were government issue. The government buys blankets so cheep they are just a rectangle of some kine of synthetic material. They were unbound and had nothing to hint at which end was meant to be used where. I have a feeling there were used previous at some kind of disaster or other FEMA type moment.
For heat there was a coal stove of sorts. I had never seen an unlined metal stove. I had especially never seen one so inexpensively made. It wasn’t much more than a five gallon bucket with some sand in the bottom and a hood over the top. There was some stove pipe to get the fumes out of the room. The room was so poorly sealed I’m not sure anyone would be effected by the carbon monoxide.
That first night Molly couldn’t seem to get far enough away from me, or do it fast enough. To her I was sure to be poison and I could understand why. If I turned out to be the one who sold them out, they would most likely kill me. I doubted they wanted to share a bottle of wine with a skinny chick one night, then put a bullet in her head the next morning. Still it had been done before, not to me of course, but to others.
I was a bit nervous but once I took the meds from the ER, I drifted right off.