The state had pulled my certification. Without it I was unemployable, even as a game warden. That really hurt, not that I really wanted to back to being a rabbit police person. Even if I found a small town police force that wanted me, they could hire me without that certification.
I could bring an action against the state but if the damage to my hand proved to be long term, I would lose. I doubted that any court anywhere would force them to do any more than make a monetary settlement with me. It sucked, but that was the reality of the situation. I had two days to make my plans, with that in mind I made sure to go to the drug store with my sitter. I bought a bottle of generic 12 hour pain killer and a bottle of a different kind of 4 hour pain killer.
“Why are you buying more of the same thing you have at home?” my sitter asked.
“Nothing personal, but I didn’t break the seal on those bottles.” I looked her right in the eye when I said it.
“You do know how paranoid that sounds?” she asked.
“There is a fine line between precaution and paranoia,” I replied. In addition to the pills I purchased one of those prepaid burner phones. I took the battery and the sim card out of the old one the mission had given me, Then I tossed the old phone into the trash can on the way out.
I finished out the day without making any decisions. I wanted to be absolutely sure that if they had switched my meds, the tainted ones were out of my system. I wanted to be absolutely sure before I made any life changing decisions.
The next morning when I awoke my pain was about the same, so I figured the sitter had been right, I was just paranoid. But someone was really after a few of those people who thought there were people after them. I did not want to make a bad decision because of a dopey brain.
It was about 9AM when I placed the call to the Warren County Sheriff’s office from my new cell phone. I asked for Deputy Learner who had been my last partner in the Warren County Sheriffs department.
“I’m sorry, he isn’t on duty right now,” the receptionist said.
“Okay, how about Chief Deputy Simpson?” I asked.
“Who shall I say is calling?” She asked.
“Former deputy Sylvia Porter,” I answered.
“Sylvia how have you been?” she asked.
“Not bad, thanks for asking,” I replied.
“I’ll get the chief deputy for you,” she said. It took a few minutes before Simpson came on the line.
“So Sylvia, what can I do for you?” he asked cautiously.
“Don’t worry Simpson I’m not begging for a job, but I do plan to move back to County Seat. I have only been gone three months so I was calling to get Learner to check my old apartment. I wanted to see if it is available. But since he isn’t working, I was hoping I could get his home phone number from you. I know the receptionist wont give it to me.”
“Tell you what, I remember where you were living when you left. I will have a car run by there to see if the apartment is vacant. If it is, we will ask the owner for his phone number. How is that?” he asked.
“That would be perfect,” I replied. I went on to give him the number for the burn phone.
“Do you still need to talk to Learner?” he asked.
“No, I’ll see him when I get there,” I replied. So at 10AM I carried the cell phone while the sitter and I went out to breakfast. I had dropped from a high risk target to a low risk one literally over night. So we went to Hardee’s for a bacon egg and cheese biscuit and cheap restaurant coffee. I had convinced the sitter to take me to the local park to eat the breakfast.
Half way through the biscuit the cell phone rang. “You got a pencil handy,” the receptionist from the Warren County Sheriff’s office asked.
“Hold on,” I said as I scrambled to find somewhere to save the number, I finally just decided to enter it into the phone, Which is what I did as the receptionist read it off. “Thanks, I really appreciate this,” I added.
“You just come by to see us,” she said.
“I will and I’ll stop by Granny’s Donuts at the plaza first,” I said.
“You remembered,” she said.
“Some things one never forgets,” I replied.
“People up there really seem to like you,” the sitter said. I thought of her as the sitter, since they changed every couple of days I had stopped trying to remember them by name.
“They seem to like me better when I’m far away,” I replied with a smile.
I pressed enter on the phone and waited for the blue haired lady to answer. When she said hello, I began, “Hello, this is Sylvia I rented your carriage house apartment for a while. I called to see if it was available again.”
“I remember you Sylvia. You weren’t any trouble, except you left the place empty while you traveled. Then you left in the middle of the night,” she said.
“Was it really the middle of the night, when the movers came?” I asked. I would not have been surprised if it had been.
“I guess it just seemed that way. But they did pay an extra months rent to give me time to rent it. They also left the cleaning fee, so I guess you were fair about all that. It is empty so sure why not.”
“I can be there on Friday to make the financial arrangements, and move it on Saturday. If that is okay?” I asked
“Sylvia tomorrow is Friday,” she said.
“Yes I know,” I admitted.
“Very well,” was her answer and then she was gone.
“So, you are going to make the deadline to be out tomorrow,” the sitter commented.
“I didn’t figure that Mission was kidding when she said be gone by Friday midnight,” I said.
“Well that is for sure when my shift ends,” the sitter said.
“Then lets stop by on the way back to the safe house and let me arrange for a car rental. I can be on the road tomorrow early if I have a car.” I explained. “And a travel coffee mug.” I added as a second thought.
“That sounds doable,” The sitter agreed.
We went to two rental agencies before we found one that had a 3/4 ton moving van. It was actually a 3/4 ton pick up with a box bed. It would be more than enough room for me. I wanted it, as opposed to a full sized moving van, because it would be more maneuverable going through the small roads and streets in the mountains.
In the afternoon I called the storage lot that held my Toyota I explained that I would most likely be there to get it over either tomorrow or the next day. I wanted to make sure there would be someone there to deliver it and give it a charge since it had been sitting several months. He promised me it would work out, Even with his promise I had my doubts. He sounded rather vague.
I felt a lot better about the storage locker. I was told that since it had an outside entrance, I could get my shit anytime I wanted. “Remember lady, there are security cameras everywhere, so just keep that in mind. “ the man said.
“So, I shouldn’t plan on cooking meth in the locker,” I said.
“Yeah, or do anything else you don’t want big brother to know about.” he said.
“Roger that,” I said with a laugh.
“So you got all your plans made?” the babysitter asked when I returned to the living room.
“Well the car storage lot closes at 9PM so I have to get that first. The furniture I can get anytime. The problem is I can’t lift shit with this hand. I don’t have any friends I can call on up there any more,” I said.
“Carry your pistol and your knife and hire some day labor. There are always guys standing around under a highway bridge,” she said.
“That will be my last resort I assure you,” I said. Actually I thought I might find someone who worked the office of the storage locker company, who would help me load the truck for a few bucks. If I got it back to County Seat I might find someone there who would help a damsel in distress.
As for the car anyone could drive it back in the city for me. I could find someone in the cafe to do that. As a matter of fact I might find some retired person to help me with the storage locker as well. There was no heavy lifting involved. The whole apartment had been set up so I could lift everything by myself. At least I could when I had both hands.
If was all iffy but it seemed like it might workout. After the agreed time we went back to pick up the truck. I drove it back to the safe house where it sat over night. I set the alarm clock that belonged to the house for 4AM. When it buzzed me awake, I went into the kitchen and found a bagel in the frig. Once I toasted it, and reheated the coffee I was almost ready to set off on my journey.
The clothes the agents had gotten from the camper, when they picked up the truck to return for storage, I loaded into a plastic trash bag. There was nothing I owned that looked worse wrinkled than it did smooth.
The bagel and coffee would hold me till I made it onto the the interstate. That one connected with the interstate that ran through Warren County. It was going to require a few connecting jigs and jags, but I should be in town by noon.
I was about to leave at 4:30AM when the babysitter came down. “Well Terry, it’s been real. I have to admit you are a piece of work.”
“You mean I’m a piece of work for a woman,” I said with a smile.
“No honey, I mean you are a piece of work for anyone. You can handle pain and you don’t let anyone push you around. Those two things are vital to who you are,” she said and hugged me. Now I’m no hugger. At least not with strangers. I had a little tingle run through me. I realized that it had been too long, since I had anyone’s body against mine.
I was embarrassed so I left the safe house quickly carrying the plastic bad with a couple of pairs of jeans and a few tee shirts inside, all of them dirty. Where was the South American woman when I needed her, I thought.
I put the plastic bag in the seat beside me and started the truck. I had to back out of the driveway in the dead of night. Even with the back up lights of the truck I was more or less blind. I somehow made it onto the residential street. Thank god it was a ‘no parking on the street’ type area.
The shoulder rig hadn’t been easy to arrange with only one hand, but it was on and the .38 hung down and reasonably easy to get. I was pretty sure no one would be after me unless it was just a random act of violence, but I stumbled into those way too often, so I was determined to be prepared for anything. Well at least as much as I could be prepared.
The drive itself was pretty much uneventful except when I stopped for gas. I got all the way to the giant truck stop beside the shopping area half way between Dobson and County Seat. The charge against my debit card was almost a hundred dollars. I made sure to keep the receipt because I planned to charge it all off to the state.
I went through the drive through window of Granny’s Donut shop in the plaza next door. I promised donuts to the the receptionist and I planned to deliver them first thing,