“Well he would be wrong. I mind my own business and expect the cops to do the same, especially the Sheriff and his crowd.” I said.
“You need to lay low a while,” The Brit said.
“Good play, and what should I do with the twelve gallons of hooch I have left?” I asked with a smile.
“Well for one thing, I’ll take a gallon from you,” The Brit said.
‘You know a gallon of this shit is $75 for you.” I said with a smile.
“I can afford that,” he said.
“Good, be careful who you give it to, Be double careful who you sell it to.” I said.
The Brit was back in town and things had pretty much settled down. I found buyers for all the booze, so it was a good time of year. Things in the liquor business occupied me till well after Christmas. It was cold in January and I got bored easily around the house. I hung around the house bored and hating it. There was nothing I hated worse than being bored.
The dead of winter boredom set in after Christmas. I had a feeling it was the same every year. Not many new things started. I peddled a little shine, the twenty gallons hardly made a ripple so nobody was really out looking for me.
I even bought a few storage lockers looking for jewelry and of course I spent my retirement money. It was all rather routine through the winter.
By the end of February all of the shine was gone. Well all except two gallons I had flavored peppermint. I kept that for me. I really liked that and most folks didn’t seem to like it as well. The liquor business just kept me out in the mix of people. I wasn’t really a player. I was far too small and didn’t really want to be any bigger.
You see The Brit and I both understood that we could be bigger, but what would be the benefit. More money, but we didn’t need any more money. More money would not make our lives any better. The only thing that would make my life better was, if it was less boring. I really didn’t want to stumble through the jungle on a daily basis, but I did like things to be interesting. I just hadn’t figured out how to do it.
There was’t any real heavy weight crime in Warren County. So there was nothing in need of fixing which the Sheriff couldn’t handle. We were surplus and the only way to be useful was to go to some shit hole and do some jobs not worthy of us. I just didn’t want to do it any more. I could tell I was getting antsy, but I didn’t want to admit it.
I would love to go out and do something in the United States. Surely there is some job here that is worth doing. It would be even better if it were legal, but not absolutely necessary.
I searched for something of interest for months and found nothing. The most exciting thing I found was a piece of land for sale adjourning my home place. It was an almost ten acre parcel of woodland that was in need of cleaning of it’s underbrush. I wasn’t sure I wanted to clean it, but I knew I wanted to buy it. I entered into negotiations with its current owner.
“The current owner was trying to unload his share of the family farm, His real estate agent called all the neighbors looking for a sale. The parcel of land did have a two and a half acre meadow on the property otherwise it was in woods replanted when the area was clearcut ten years earlier.
I would own almost twenty acres if I could swing the purchase. The real estate agent and I met for lunch the day after his first call. We met at the Cafe’ on the Square for lunch. It wasn’t fancy but the people who knew me knew I wasn’t impressed by fancy.
The Realty agent was a man, a fact which I supposed was a bit unusual in those days. There wasn’t a lot of heavy development going on, so fewer men went into it. The reason I got a man is that he was less than dynamic. He mostly just wanted to slide into the sale. He could hardly bring himself to close the sale even thought I was begging him to take my money.
It took almost another week to get all the details handled. Anyone who ever bought real estate knows there are all kinds of details that seem to pop up along the way. In the end I owned the property and it seemed like a good thing. The piece of land I had bought had been in something called the Warren County land bank.
The Previous owner had six out of the almost ten acres in the land bank. Those were the old farm fields. He plowed and planted them in crops provided by the land bank. Then at the end of the season, but turned them under. It supposedly made the soil stronger. I had six acres of really fertile soil but I didn’t want to plant anything on it. Hell I knew I was no farmer. Another reason the land was cheap is that it had no road frontage and was useless for development, but it did attach to my land at the wooded area.
The thing that had made me most interested was that the ten acres included about three acres of the fast and deep running stream. The spring fed stream wound it’s way across those several acres of over grown woods.
I knew that if I wanted to actually cook off liquor, I had a really good place to do it, but I also knew I would lose everything if I was caught manufacturing there. It was really a lot more involved than I wanted to be, I did love having the option. Owning that land was really about the options for me.
It was two weeks after everything was finalized, before I made the final decision not to make moonshine on my own property that year. To be honest I didn’t like the risk benefit ratio of the enterprise. I felt the day to day risks were just to high at the moment. Things might change at any moment though.
My background was all in high risk for short periods of time. Then the risk was over. It would never be over, if I was in the liquor business. There would always be daily smaller risks in that business. Even though they were small, there were constant risks just the same. It seemed like it was asking for ulcers to become involved in it. The act of making liquor was a constant low level of risk, but it would still be a threat. Where as the kind of risk I was used to was a high level, but when we walked away, we were completely away from it. Okay it was more or less completely behind us.
I could live without the money, but I wasn’t sure I could live without the adrenaline fix. I had never been able to do it before. I wasn’t sure I even wanted to do it. I had always admitted the reason I did what I did, was over half because I liked the thrill of it. The money and the good that I did became secondary to how it made me feel. I never, ever denied I was an adrenaline junkie. Dealing with the underworld characters delayed my need to put it out there. I wouldn’t be long before I needed it all on the line again.
I took a couple of days to look for something to do. Anything that had some excitement but nothing came up at all. I began looking for something, anything to do that would occupy my mind. I was about to give up hope and leave town for a few days, when The Brit called me.
“Silvia,” he said to me. “We have a bit of a problem.”
“What kind of a problem?” I asked my heart beginning to beat faster.
“I have Marsha Blane the school mistress on the cell phone,” The Brit said. He made her sound like the school marm of a one room school. She clearly wasn’t.
“Brit, that isn’t a one room school house we have in Warren County. I know it would be more romantic for you and Jeremy, but we have an area school. The Southeast Warren County school district is what we have.”
“Yes I suppose that is true, but she called me anyway,” The Brit said.
“Did she want you to sponsor the dance troupe.” I asked.
“How did you know she was the dance instructor,” he asked.
“Brit every body knows she is the dance instructor. She is also the biggest Pollyanna in the county. Give that girl nuclear waste and she will paint watch faces.” I said.
“I agreed to put an adv in the program,” The Brit Said.
“Good for you, If I ever go into a legal business I will advertise in the local high school publications.” I said.
“That’s nice but she also mentioned she has some of her dancers being approached by the boys from the county and even over in Dobson. She wanted to know if we could discourage the boys from hanging around.” he said.
“Good God Brit I would rather battle the falling of darkness, than to try to get a teenage boy to leave a teenage girl alone.” I said.
“If she is right Sylvia, it is a gang of boys who are well organized doing the harassment.“ he said.
“Is the Sheriff looking into it?” I asked.
“Of course he is and it will go absolutely nowhere,” The Brit added,
“Yes Brit, but you and I can’t go all vigilante on their asses,” I said.
“Why not? It is our town. If we know something is going on and we can stop it, why shouldn’t we?” he asked.
“Because the Sheriff frowns on it. We could end up in the jackpot,” I suggested. “We could kill the culprit a heck of a lot easier than we could do an intervention.”
“Well,” The Brit said.
“Brit we would pretty soon be handing every little problem that way. It wouldn’t take long till someone noticed.
“I suppose you are right.” he said. But I did tell her that if they had a problem at the school house to call us. If we were in town, we would be faster than then state police.”
“Well I’m sure the Sheriff’s people will never let us inside a locked down school building.” After that I immediately forgot it. and went about my own business. Which was mostly monkey business.
In my wildest nightmare I never expected a terrorist act in out county school system. The problem was in progress by the time I found out. There was nothing I could do to prevent it, since the terrorist was already inside. The Sheriff, and highway patrol, had the place on lock down before The Brit and I found out about it. We did get to listen to the progress on the dance teachers cell phone.
They wouldn’t even let us near the buildings, and I could understand why. There were probably two hundred parents, with guns in their pickups, who wanted to get their hands on that madman. No one in the area knew exactly what our specialty was. So we were overlooked.
When it happened, my phone rang, and I drove into town. I drove right past the Sheriff’s office to the pub. My cruiser/van held a shotgun and a pistol. I didn’t have any idea I could get near the school, but I was going to be armed, if it came to that.
Brit and I sat over a pot of coffee and listened to the meeting we hadn’t been invited to. The dance instructor named Marsha Blane had the Brit’s number, She had placed the call to which unknown to everyone present we listened.