I was on the road home when I realized that I had committed a cold blooded murder. I knew I should feel some kind of remorse but I didn’t. What I thought was that I was sorry there would be some other piece of trash who would take over. The business would go on because they needed the business it really didn’t need anyone of them to continue. The business would always be there in some form to pray on the innocent trying to cope.
The only way to kill the business was to kill the customers and no one was ready for that yet. If it ever came to that cut the junk with rat poison. and tell them it was cut with rat poison. Those who weren’t too far gone might find the strength to quit.
Well, one of the rats was gone for sure. I had no idea who the cops were looking for but I thought it was a gay guy on a bike. I was within an half hour of County Seat when I realized I should be getting a birthday party ready. Not just any birthday either it was my 30th. My god how old that had sounded to me at my twentieth.
I remembered that I had turned twenty wearing Air Force Blue. I even did a tour on the gate of a forward Air Base that day. No I can’t say anything happened except I got laid. As I remember it the party was for me but several guys got presents that night. That was the thing about serving in a predominantly male area. Every thing was about them in the end. Well what doesn’t kill me makes me strong I thought. I would have to inspect my face for lines tomorrow, after all I was over thirty now. Hell I was no longer trustworthy, I thought.
Of course a local drug dealer had not make the radio news, not even on the all news station based in and covering all the state news. Hell so many drug thugs died on any given day it was hard to keep up. I was supposed to have visited a storage facility auction the same day I had followed them all around. I followed them so that I knew where things where when I began the operation.
I often went that far for an auction and I often returned with nothing, so I was okay in that part. I was always doing something and covering it with something else. Even I didn’t know all I did that was just for show, and that was okay.
I got home about 2PM and was interested to see how my house had done without me. It had taken five days to end Jerrome’s reign of terror. I had been away three nights so I was curious how the house had managed. Since the Gas furnace had been installed almost a year earlier, it had been the first trip that I had left it running. I half expected it to gut the insides of the storage units. Of course I wasn’t disappointed that everything worked just fine, just surprised,
I went inside and looked around. I didn’t stay I got on the bike and rode it into town. I was tired and I needed to wear the edge off my nerves. I parked in front of the pub I got there just in time to greet The Brit as he opened it up.
“Hey Brit,” I said as I walked by him toward the bar. I chose the bar because when you sat in the middle of the room you knew just how close everyone was to you.
“Well did you buy anything,” he asked.
“Yeah I got what I wanted. You can’t really get the choices here you can down there. Did I tell you this is my birthday?” I asked. I was a little disappointed he didn’t say anything.
“Really?” he asked.
“Yep, it sure is. I wasn’t sure I would make it back in time,” I said. Then I opened the menu and saw it. There on the menu was a tiny burger made on a standard dinner roll. It was really a smashed down meatball with a little tomato sauce with chilies. The new sandwich was called the Porter Burger, I swear I almost cried. “Damn Brit thanks,” I said.
“Nothing special we needed something light in the ass for you little farts. Tomas’s daughter started making Mexican meatballs, so I figured what the hell.” Then he did something totally out of character he leaned over the bar and kissed me. “Come back at nine for the party,” he said then went to clean the glasses.
Tomas’s daughter came out front. “Hey would you fix me a porter burger or is it too early?”
“For you anything,” The teenager said.
“Why aren’t you in school?” I asked.
“I only go half a day. I can’t go to college, so I go to school to learn what I need to know to work. You know in places like this one.” The young girl said cheerfully.
“If you really learn how this place works, you can own one like it and have those college kids wash your car.” I said. What I didn’t say was, or do twenty years in prison. She could run the legitimate parts of our business, but some things she should stay away from.
The burger was very good. I would have enjoyed it regardless just because it was named for me but it helped that it was made with ground beef and rice and lots of chillies. I hung around an hour drinking that one dark beer then I rode the bike off for home. When I pulled into the yard I was greeted by the sight of a strange car parked beside my box house and behind my cruiser van.
Oh shit, I thought. I really wanted to go in and just catchup on everything thing. There are always things that need my attention. If nothing else I could slip in a adult chat room and get some tension worked off. So instead of that, I was going to have to deal with someone who I didn’t know. Whether it was a cop or a con who wanted my attention, I had to respond. Most likely it as someone in between the two.
I put the bike onto the covered deck. I leaned it under the front window of the house and walked to the edge of the porch. The vehicle was actually a old muddy pick up truck. It would certainly not stand out in the rural mountain community. The individual who got out of it was a lot like me. She was headed toward middle aged and yes had a youthful attitude somehow. It could have been the filthy jeans or the tight top she wore.
“Can I help you?” I asked.
“I got your name from Mary Ellen a while ago,” the big tall blond said. “She was planning to introduce us, but she never got around to it.”
“Oh do you have a name?” I asked. “Maybe she mentioned you.”
“You don’t seem much like one of us,” she said. “But my name is Vivian the last name won’t mean anything. Everybody knows me as Vivian or Viv.”
“You must be right Mary Ellen never mentioned you. I could give her a call and ask about you.” I suggested.
Now that would be difficult to say the least. Sure you haven’t heard, everyone has heard?” she said in a very annoying voice.
“Well whatever I’m supposed to have heard, I must have missed. So why don’t you tell me,” I suggested.
“A fisherman found Mary Ellen’s body in the reservoir a couple of years ago,” she said looking for a reaction.
“I’m sorry I hadn’t heard. Were you two close?” I asked.
“We did some business together. She and her friends bought some product from me,” she said.
“Oh really well I don’t move anything but jewelry, I hope you didn’t think I wanted to take over her business.” I said.
“Yeah, I thought you might. I managed to lay off some of the product with some friends of hers. That biker guy Monk and a guy named Boyle managed to fix me up but they thought you might be interested in buying some surplus product,” Vivian said.
“Don’t know nothing about that and I don’t know either of those men,” I said.
“Oh I think you do, and if you will give them a call I think we might do some business,” she said. Then she got in her muddy truck and drove away. I watched her go and wondered what the hell that had all been about. She obviously wanted me to ask Monk and Jim Boyle about her. She seemed very sure they would provide her bona fides. I supposed I could give her that. After all the new project was not going to be a money maker. If either of us made a profit on the project, he was likely to become a target for it.
Doing something off the books to finance something off the books struck me as the way to go. I just wouldn’t all mayselt to make a direct profit from our charity work. So I would be looking for something to finance the operation of my part of the business. I had to have clean accountable money as in the money I spent on real things, but I also needed some money that couldn’t be easily traced to me. Money I could used to be get from one place to another without leaving a trail. Or money I could use to buy a law missile if I found one for sale some day.
So when I arrived at the Essex Pub, no that wasn’t the official name for it, I found Monk almost as soon as I found The Brit. “Happy Birthday Sylvia, When you gonna give me my present?” The monk asked.
“Monk, you have it wrong, I’m supposed to be the one getting the presents,” I said with a laugh.
“Okay Sylvia, I will force my self to give it to you. Wanna come on out in the parking lot?” he asked.
“Maybe later, so how you been Monk?” I asked.
“I been doing okay. I wish you would stop by the club over in Dobson. Owner would like to see you, if you know what I mean?” he commented.
“Yeah I know, tell me something Monk you know a big ass blond named Vivian.” I asked.
“This her?” he said showing me a picture on his smart phone.
“Yeah, that’s her,” I replied.
“She told me you might be asking about her. She is going to be suspect one in the Mary Ellen killing I think.” he said.
“Oh really, why is that?” I asked.
“She wants to add Mary Ellen’s business to her own?” he said.
“Okay, but you haven’t told me what her business is,” I replied.
“She is a pot farmer. Not so much her personally, but she owns some wild ass land up here near the national forest. Word is she grows pot up there. Word also is she sells it wholesale. Most of it went Mary Ellen this year. She’s trying to replace her on the customer list.” Monk said,
“Well Monk she is the one who told me about Mary Ellen,” I said. “She kind of told me you would vouch for her, if I wanted to buy something from her,”
“Sylvia I have known her for two years and she has been all around the edges of the pot business but not in the distribution part. She is a wholesaler and I know why she wants to do business with you. She asked me if I knew anyone who could make use of her stalks after they harvest.” Monk said.
“And you gave her my name, you bastard,” I said.
“No she had your name, she wanted to know your bona fides cause you was a cop,” he said.
“Well if you would tell her I’m not safe I would feel better,” I said.
“Well that’s up to you, but I know you can afford a small still and you don’t have any problem running liquor and some green dragon would be easy for you. It’s something you could run a small batch of and make a ton of money.”
“If you get busted they gonna get you for everything,” I said. “I get ABC and DEA both after me.”
“You know it’s twice the profit for the same risk.” Monk said.
“You sure she ain’t an undercover cop?” I asked.