After midnight I was on the road to pickup the liquor. There were twenty gallon milk jar filled with liquor. I unloaded it at the storage building. Long ago I had bought shelves for the storage building. I had put in the wrong kind so I had replaced them from the storage units I bought. The walls were completely lined with shelves. The twenty five gallons didn’t even come close to filling them.
I left the liquor to rest while I went to the closest large town. In the Sam’s Club I bought several cases of water, several cases of fruit punch. The punch was a mixture of an orange juice base and a pineapple base.
After lunch in the larger town, I drove back to County Seat. When I drove there I unloaded at the storage facility by myself. There wasn’t that much, so even with the fucked up hand, I could do it. Making it and distributing it was a problem for me, but it had to be done. Well it had to be done, if I wanted to do anything on the edge.
The law would be looking for me, or for whoever was responsible for a fact. They didn’t care that it was me. Now the bootleggers would be looking to crush the competition. They could be a bigger problem, but that was just the way it was, We might have a skirmish or two. It was just business nothing personal. If one of them beat me up, it wasn’t personal just business. If I blew up one of their shipments, it was just business. If wasn’t good for anyone, but it had always been done like that,
Last year had been my first year out there with new products. Since there wasn’t any competition I had gotten a lot of warnings but there was nothing to replace my stuff. I expected there to be other projects like mine this year. So there might be placement issues. It could get messy even though I didn’t want it to.
I started by cleaning my mixing vats. They had been covered, but not cleaned. I had three ten gallon vats. If I decided to run them at capacity, I could mix half the twenty gallons at once easily, so that’s what I planned to do.
I took them to the house where I filled the ten gallon water colors with boiling water and scrubbed them. Then I went to a huge amount of trouble to rinse them clean. When I finished they were spotless. I carried them back to the spotless building. There was no chance they could make anybody sick, so I was ready to go into production.
I mixed over one gallon of raw shine up to make two cases of punch in 8oz bottles. I left it in the storage box until eight o‘clock then I loaded it up and left on my run. I only had two stops on my run.
First I went to Monk’s Biker Bar owner friend. He was glad to see me, which made me feel better. He agreed to sell, and setup an introduction this year to his business associates might sell the punch. It was a pretty good deal. It was a little labor intensive for someone who hadn’t really worked a day in recent history. Still the work wasn’t hard and I didn’t have a boss, so I just rolled with it.
By 2AM I was finished with the bars, where I knew people. From that point on I would be risking jail time. Even so I continued on and sold out all I had mixed up by 3:30AM. The beer bars who sold only beer and wine were good spots for small sales. They would take ten bottles just for themselves. Guys liked to buy the liquor for their dates. That of course suited me fine.
I knew there was a string of liquor houses that were in no way legal, but I had no idea how to get in with them. So I went home after my first round, not thrilled with my take, but it was good enough. Since I wasn’t dealing with preachers, I carried the .22 mag in a upside down shoulder holster. The shotgun was legal so I carried it right out in the open.
The Brit came in after a couple of months. “Hey,” he said to me.
“Where the fuck have you been?” I asked.
“Somewhere back in South America, teaching the government how to fight gangs.” Brit said.
“And how did that work out?” I asked.
“About like you would expect. When the training broke down so completely, that we were leading strikes in the field, I knew the writing was on the wall.” he said.
“Did it get so bad that the most corrupt ones in the room were on your side?” I asked.
“Pretty much yeah,” he said.
“You gotta just hate that,” I replied agreeing with him.
“So did you get your little project started?” he asked.
“Yes I did, It is just a hobby though. There is no real money in it.” I admitted.
“But it keeps you from working the streets,” The Brit said.
“Yes it does keep me from wandering the streets,” I replied. “I really don’t care much for it. If I could find something more fun, I would close down the next day,”
“Well I’ll tell you right now, swamp dog is taking some rank jobs.” he said.
“You mean rank dangerous or rank you can’t tell the good guys from the bad without a program?” I asked.
“Both,” The Brit said.
“Then you need to start getting ready to retire, You knew this wasn’t going to last surely you saved your money,” I suggested.
“Yes but you know I can’t run a pub. I’m far to deep into the life for that,” The Brit said.
“Then it will kill you,” I said. “And you want even have your good intentions to wrap yourself inside.”
“Well, it was never idealism for us you know that,” he said.
“No but it was never a matter of asking myself whose money had the most blood on it either,” I replied.
“Yeah there is that,” he said.
“So to change the subject, you going to keep the bar now that you are back running Swamp Dogs errands again,” I said.
“Yeah I’m an errand boy and to be honest I don’t know what I’m going to do next.” With that The Brit changed the subject. “Has anyone been around asking any questions?”
“Just you now,” I said smiling.
“Good then,” he said returning my smile. “So tomorrow during the day are you doing anything fun?”
“I’m going to stay home and try to relax. Sometime I have to round up some new customers, but I’m not looking forward to it. Monk’s friends are moving some of the stuff for me, but I need to deliver it right to the retailer myself. This distributor thing brings too many people into the distribution chain.” I said.
“Where the fuck did you learn all this business stuff?” he asked.
“Hey I wasn’t always a soldier,” I said. “But I am willing to do most anything you want to do.”
“I don’t have any ideas, but one day doing nothing is more than enough for me. So I am going to think of something you in?” he asked.
“Shouldn’t you go with Jeremy?” I asked.
“We will take Jeremy if he wants to go. Otherwise you and I will do something. Let me figure out what I need to do,” The Brit said.
“Alright but if the kid wants to come along, you two go. You don’t need me tagging along,” I said. What I didn’t say was that I didn’t want to be trapped with him.” That is how is sounded to me though.
That very night I went out on a date. One of the guys from the Warren County Sheriff’s department invited me to dinner and a movie. We drove over to Dobson because there was no movie theater in County Seat.
When I met the young deputy for dinner, he asked, “So what you up to these days Sylvia?”
“I am back checking out storage lockers Robbie,” I answered.
“So you buy those abandoned things?” he asked.
“I buy some of them, if the price is right,” I said.
“Do you have a place to sell them?” he asked.
“Yes I have a partner who spends his weekend at the warren county flea market. In the summer it’s at the fair grounds and at the winter there is a flea market run by some guy in an old high school over by Dobson,” I explained.
“Do you ever go with him?” Deputy Roberts asked.
“Why all the interest in my business?” I asked.
“Just trying to figure out how you spend your time,” Robbie replied.
“This whole date thing was a set up wasn’t it. There is something else at play here. So what is it Robbie.” I asked.
“I’d like you to try to buy some pot for me,” he said.
“What I’m not known in the drug circles. If they did know me they would know I am a police informant. Those guys would never tell me anything except to kiss thier ass and good-bye, I not popular in the drug trade.” It was true. I might could help him with the bootleg business, not that I would, but I really couldn’t help with the drugs.
“Sylvia there are all kinds of rumors going round about you,” Robbie said over dinner.
“Don’t believe rumors,” I said.
“I don’t usually, but I think there is some truth in these,” Robbie said.
“We have a problem Robbie. There is no truth to the rumors going around about me. If there were I would roll out of here in the morning. I have a pension from the state. It is so small I am force to live in a metal box. I do this and that when I can for extra money, but I’m not involved in any criminal enterprise whatsoever. I do a little consulting with various law enforcement agencies. I also buy some storage lockers for the jewelry and electronics in them. The rest I sell to a man in the flea market business. That Robbie is all I do for income.”
“That’s not the word around the county,” he said.
“Then maybe you need to arrest me for something,” I suggested.
“Wait a minute, I didn’t mean to imply you were a criminal. I just wanted to know if you could be a source of information for me.” he said.
“No Robbie I can not be a source for you. I really think I’m going to pass on the movie. Dinner was about all of you I can stand. I want you to drive me back to County Seat now.” I said.
I went back to the box/house and worried about being on the police radar until the sun came up. When it came up I drove to The Brit’s pub. I beat on the door till Jeromy opened it. I sat at the kitchen table while they showered and dressed. Well I did make coffee for them in my old coffee maker.
When The Brit came in he asked, “So what’s going on?”
“The cop who asked me out last night wanted me to be his snitch,” I said.
“Shit what did you tell him?” The Brit asked.
“I told him to bite my ass,” I said. “If I had one, I would have told him to suck my dick. Everybody who ever met me knows I’m no snitch.”
“He might have though because you were a cop, you would roll over for him,” The Brit said.