Christmas was at hand, so I bought apple cider from a fellow who made it. It was legal and above board. He sold me some at a discount from his apple shed. I saved him the expense of bottling it, transport it, standing out in the cold at the festival, so he cut me a almost half price deal for twenty gallons.
I plan to make one more batch of blended whiskey. I had five gallons of moonshine I had been saving for Christmas presents, so I mixed it up with the twenty gallons of apple cider. The result wasn’t hard cider, and it wasn’t apple pie, I called it shiny red apple. Yes I added some food coloring to it.
I made one more run through the mountain shops where I did business. I gave a gallon to the biker bar owner, who distributed my shine. I gave a gallon to Jim and Simon who turned me on to the drink houses. When I shut down for the year, there had been only three houses I could keep supplied. The smaller user’s orders were just to small to risk transporting to them. I carried the shiny red apple to them anyway. I gave them a half gallon of the mix. I kept some in even smaller jars for people I knew from around town.
Christmas came and I spent it alone. It was by choice, since Mary Ellen and a few of the others invited me to their homes. I just preferred to be alone. My Christmas memories weren’t really bad, they were just lame. We celebrated Christmas and all that but it usually ended badly, when I went to bed.
The day after Christmas I began to think about moving money to the bank. I wanted to buy a house. I had no idea what kind of house or where it might be I just wanted to own something.
I had Swamp Things payment for the Miami affair. I kept it in a different place, away from the liquor money. I did not know whether they intended to report it or not. I wasn’t sure that they wanted records of any part of that operation. In any event I had plenty of money from my moonshine business to worry about first. After I had all that taken care of I might worry about the Swamp Thing money.
It was hard but I managed to not do anything for the week after Christmas. Then of course it was the New Years parties. I went to one of the drink houses that catered to a variety of clients. I ordered my product and was told they were sold out. I drank beer. If there was one thing I had learned it was to know who made the homemade liquor I drank.
I had a couple of beers danced a little and welcomed in the New Year at midnight, then I went home. I went right to sleep and actually sleep very well.
A few days later I picked up the local Bi weekly newspaper to read over breakfast. I found that the adult education center at the community college was offering a class in jewelry manufacturing. It wasn’t a course in some factory shit offered to the employees. It was an arts and crafts thing. I decided that I would go to Dobson and sign up for it. Yes I decided on a whim, but I knew I was going to need something to occupy me during the winter.
The class met twice a week for 12 weeks. It was going to cost $200 for tuition the book and the materials. It sounded awfully reasonable for all that.
After my bath and hair wash, I drove to Dobson and took advantage of the early registration. I paid for the course with a swipe of the card that tied the purchase to my checking account. I was still in a quandary to take care of my money problems.
In January I got a 1099 from swamp dog. My job title with them was Law Enforcement Consultant. It showed the $36,200 I had been paid by them. I immediately deposited the money in the bank. It gave me a nice boost to my checking account and my down payment fund.
During this same time I was working with Mary Ellen and her son’s friend Joseph. Joseph was fifteen and because I treated him as an adult, he fell madly in love with me. It was cute and it was good for my ego, but I never touched him. I remembered being fifteen and I wasn’t getting into those memories again.
I had a pawn shop in Dobson, which I visited religiously. They had gold coins. I saw the certificate of authenticity and the chemistry report for the mint which had produced the gold coins. Before I did anything further I put it in a glass jar of vinegar. Since it didn’t change colors I bought 4 of them at $500 each. I used cash from the liquor business to pay the $2000 for the coin.
I saved the coins till I went to another storage auction. I bought a locker for $300. It was stuffed full of items that you might get from you grandmother’s house, when you put her in a home. I figured that was a best case scenario. Granny might well have died and the kids forgot about the locker.
I had driven Mary Ellen’s full sized pick up to the auction. We were not going to get every thing in the pick up. “ So Joseph, lets do the usual.” I suggested. The usual was to take everything out and sort it. What we wanted to keep and would fit on the Pick Up, we put back inside the bin and locked it temporarily. The rest we carried to the dump.
When we returned to the storage building after lunch, we loaded the truck and headed back to County Seat. We had done a quick search at the storage unit and found nothing of value. I always saved any small boxes to search till after I dropped Joseph off at home. There were usually a few pieces of costume jewelry in the boxes.
I kept those and Mary Ellen never objected. She would sort through the rest and get it ready for Joseph to take it to the super flea market. It was held in a field across from the Plaza by the highway. There was sometimes some antique items she pedaled to an antique dealer in Dobson or another town nearby. I always took whatever she gave me as my share and never complained. I did like for it to cover the cost of the locker, but I considered it a cost of doing business when it didn’t.
I would take the coins or gold chains to the net and sell them. The money went into a legit pay pal account and then to my back account. I sold the coins with all the certification and guarantees. If they came back, I took them back to the seller. Coins were the safest item to handle. In the two weeks I held the coins their value increased almost enough to pay for the auction.
I transfered $1,800 from pay pal to my bank. I had pulled $300 out for the locker so it had cost me 2oo so far to do the deal. That wasn’t too bad, I figured. Later Mary Ellen came through with $220. Which was my cut of the locker’s junk. She had a way of making money on them. I didn’t ask her how. I knew that now and then she put some things in her store, but it had to be special.
The call came from out of nowhere. I had a auction planned for the weekend, but I had closed out the one on line fortunately. I could call Mary Ellen and tell her something came up and to give Joseph the week off. But I would miss class till the job was over and I didn’t want to do that at all.
I guess they thought they could trust me. I had ten hours warning that I was needed but not what it was. The ten hours ran out and Mikey Spillman came up my drive carrying a very large coffee cup made of some kind of thermal plastic. I knew this because I had one just like it in the cabinet and it’s little sister in my hand. Switching to the single cup coffee maker forced the change.
“Well if it isn’t Mikey Spillman,” I said to the almost 30 year old man at my door.
“What?” he asked.
“Come on inside to talk.” Once he was in I continued. “Since none of you guys down there have names, I make up my own. You have a coffee stain on your shirt and a cup in you hand therefore Mickey Spillman,” I said.
“Oh I see, but you have a name,” He said.
“I don’t work for you. take me off the shelf dust me off send me out to do a specific job, then put me back on the shelf,.” I said smiling at him.
“I don’t know about that but I have orders to pick you up and take you to join a crew in New Orleans.” he informed me.
“You are going to be part of the crew I assume.” I said.
“Yes I am going to be part of it, but you worked with the crew chief last time out.” he informed me. “So we need to go now the pilot doesn’t want to take off after dark.”
“No rush he really doesn’t mind at all.” I said.
“Boss said to pack like it is Miami all over again.” he said
“Not to worry I always do,” I regretfully didn’t get to pick up my .38 and put it in my cargo pants pocket. I hated to travel so light, but alas you have to trust someone.
The first flight was to a regular commercial airport where we hopped a plane, after I tossed the box cutters into the trash, to New Orleans. I slept all the way to New Orleans. We were met at the airport there with the sunrising. I had no idea planes flew all night any more. The ted eye was alive and well it seemed.
Mickey Spillman and I were met by a by a younger version of the Sergeant Major. He had the same stick up his ass. “He a Brit?” I asked Mickey.
“How can you tell,” he asked.
“The real question is do they all have sticks up their ass?” I asked.
“Now that you mention it, I think that is pretty much true,” Mickey whispered.
“Sorry you two we can’t leave just yet,” the Brit said. “We have another pick up.”
“I hope it’s a rocket launcher,” I said.
“I was under the impression you could make do with a pencil,” he said almost smiling.
“I don’t have a pencil, which is why I’m so testy,” I said.
“Oh tell us what you have in your sock,” he asked.
“I see killer Karl talks too much,” I said.
“All part of the debrief,” he said. “Don’t worry we will stop at the arts and crafts department of a big box store for you to tool up.”
“Thanks I might be able to save your life one day,” I said.
“I sincerely hope not. If that happened it would be because I made a mistake and I don’t make them often.” he stated.
I was just about to make a remark about giving him a blowjob, when passenger from another flight emptied into the terminal. “Ah there you are,” he said to a middle-aged blond.
“Yes here I am, so what the hell do you people want now,” she asked in her own British accent.