I put a microwaveable bowl of frozen macaroni & Cheese on for dinner. While it heated. I found one of those boxes of frozen hush puppies kind of things. The macaroni was very good but the hush puppies was pretty awful. I knew I should have made muffins in the toaster oven. Next time, I thought.
After dinner I watched TV shows on the computer. I caught up on a couple of reality shows from Alaska and a cop show or two. I really watched a lot of TV on the computer but it was at odd ball times. Like the Alaska reality show was from two years before. A couple of the cop shows were from the previous season.
Then of course I went into an adult chat room and played reindeer games. I know it was a sad existence, but I did sleep well.
The first thing the next morning at 5 AM or there abouts I got on the bike and rode for two hours. I went into town, then out to the plaza for a biscuit with the highway patrol guys. I really just spoke to them as I passed I didn’t try to have conversations with them. There weren’t too many things I did I could talk to them about. Well they might find them interesting but I might not like the consequences.
After breakfast I just hung out most of the morning. I did nothing but check out new ideas and research where to buy things till almost noon. At noon I decided I needed to start working on my promise to Bosco about his Daughter. Getting her into the band camp shouldn’t be a problem, I thought.
I couldn’t figure out who owed me a favor, and was in the position to help a high school musician. Since it was almost noon, I began calling around. I wasn’t asking for the favor, I was looking for someone, who knew someone to ask for the favor.
I had exhausted all the other possibilities, so I called one of the people from my past. I hated to do it for more than one reason, but such is life. I dialed what I thought was the best number. “Hello the State Bureau of Investigation locater service.” The voice answered.
“Good could you tell me where I might find Agent Mission please?” I asked.
“I can connect you Ma’am. Who shall I say is calling?” she asked.
“Tell her it’s Sylvia Porter,” I said not being cute. I could have given her an alias, but why bother. The call bounced all over. I would have been surprised, if it had been easy.
“Hello,” the voice answered. “Sylvia what in the world are you doing calling me?” You in trouble?” she asked.
“Do I have to be in trouble to call an old friend?” I asked.
“Sylvia come on, I’m a cop, you were a cop, you know better,” she said.
“Okay, I need to know who can do me a favor,” I said.
“Dare I ask what kind of favor,” she said.
“I arrested a guy a few years back and his daughter wants to go to a state music Christmas camp this year. I need to see that she gets a fair shake in the application process, that’s all.” I said.
“You sure about that being all,” She asked.
“Absolutely sure,” I said.
“Tell you what, have her send me a copy of the application with a note that you are involved and I’ll shop it around. I might can get it looked at by someone who can help, but no guarantees.” She said.
“Then no guarantees next time you come to town,” I said.
“Are there ever?” She asked.
“Not in my experience,” I said in agreement. I made a note of her mailing address.
I went to a late lunch at the cafe on the square. When I finished I went next door to the pub and entered through the rear. “Hey you always leave that door open? You are asking to be held up.” I said to The Brit.
“Nothing worth steeling here yet,” he said with a smile.
“Brit it don’t take much for these dudes,” I said. “Give them a shotgun and they all turn into Rambo.”
“Well, we will just have to convince them they ain’t,” He said.
“That’s true. Well I’m going to go meet Bosco, Is there anything in particular you want me to ask?” I asked The Brit.
“Well you have covered the mash barrel and you have an idea of your first recipe. You might want to know where to but the ingredients without having cops on your ass,” he suggested.
‘Okay. I’ll Come by after the meeting with Bosco,” I suggested.
I picked up a six pack and went to meet my expert. First thing I did was tell him about the application for his daughter. He just nodded his understanding.
“So where did we leave off?” he asked.
“Well I know what I’m going to recommend for a mash barrel. I’m going to suggested a 32gal recycle barrel from Home Depot. One with wheels,” I suggested.
“That’s a good choice I think. Only problem is there is no bottom tap to empty it. Of course that only comes into use to clean it out. You gonna want to keep using it a couple of times or more.” Bosco said.
“Before we get to that, lets talk about the equipment a home brewer would need,” I suggested.
“Well a brewer using that kind of barrel, if he was using it in his garage, would need to get water to it. He would probably use a hose to get water into the mash barrel. He could probably dip it out and into the cooker. So the guy cooking at home would need a plastic cup to dip it out and a fine mesh strainer to pour it through.” he explained.
I made a note as I nodded. I was also recording his statements. “So after our man strains whatever he is going to cook off out of the mash barrel, I assume there will be some left in the barrel?” I asked.
“Well some but if you do it like I always did you cook half of the mash at a time. So if something goes wrong you don’t lose it all. You can also mash a large volume easier than you can deal with that big a cooker.” he said.
“I see, so I should suggest about a fifteen gallon cooker?” I asked.
“ Yes, and you cooker has to be either stainless steel, aluminum, or copper to be safe. I know guys make them out of other things but in a small home still there is no reason to take a chance. Tell them to go out and buy a big ass stew pot with a rubber seal around the top. You know like a pressure cooker. You can convert one of those real easy I would think.” Bosco said.
Then he began to tell me stories about all the things he had used. “Sounds to me like if this is a yuppie, he should probably go with a 41qt pressure cooker either alum or stainless.” I suggested.
“Yeah the big advantage in a cooker over a stew pot is you can get a good seal on a pressure cooker. You won’t be making a lot of pressure inside it so you can use alum but you can get a seal. You need that. All you would need to do is remove the pressure valve from the top and install your worm there. That’s just a 20‘ length of copper tubing. I would think for a ten gallon still 3/8“ inside diameter would be fine.” he said.
“Well that sounds good to me. Tell me some more stories about running it in the woods,” I demanded.
“Well you got to condense the steam back to a liquid before it gets to the end of that worm pipe. To do that the worm has to be inside a condensing barrel of some kind. You know like a big barrel of cold water or a small barrel of ice. Then you just need a bucket under the end of the worm to catch the liquor,” Bosco said.
I let Bosco go one and give me recipes and then tell me stories about the old days for a while. I took his phone number and told him I would call with any last minute questions that came up.
“You are going to brew one batch, just to prove you can aren’t you?” he asked.
“Of course not there is no legal amount you can cook. I’m going to take your word for it.” Of course it was a lie and we both knew it. So that day ended my casual contacts with Bosco.
After I got his information I went home and processed it. I went on line and ordered the cooker. I paid four hundred bucks for it but I thought that was a fair amount. It would pay for itself in one run and I wouldn’t be fighting a piece of crap cooker every time I used it. There were several more hours of daylight so I went out to build a trailer.
I had bought a piece of plywood 3/4 thick and 2‘x 2‘ I decided that it would be the bed of the trailer. I have to admit Tomas told me how to build it. If it had been up to me I would have bought one at home depot but it was kind of fun not to buy everything.
I took the ‘L’ bar of metal to Monk He cut me four pieces 6 inches each. He even pre-drilled them for me. He said he would have drilled the plywood but he didn’t know the location of the wheels. Tomas had told me about trailers he had built in Mexico to carry water. So by sunset I had assembled almost all the parts to build it. I still needed a child’s bicycle. According to Tomas if I drove over to the county dumpster area, I would find them stacked up waiting for the trash trucks.
I fixed dinner that night then drove down to the pub. I sat for three hours explaining where I was on the brewing. I did it very quietly. I really did not want anyone, but The Brit to know.
When I told him about the trailer, he said, “If you don’t get a bike tomorrow, You and I will go buy some wheels. I know a place that sells trailer wheels, they aren’t too expensive. I can also put the trailer together for you, since I bought a few tools for the pub. Just bring the parts by tomorrow.”
I went home and played around on the computer. The difference between me and the men in those rooms was I knew it was all illusion. I knew I wasn’t built like a brick shit house with long blond hair, down to my ass. They should as well, since they weren’t who they claimed to be either. If I told them I was skinny, had almost no tits, and the hair of a teenage boy they would swear I was a fag. Well I wasn’t, but I would have to admit I played one now and then. Both on line and in real life.
After my morning ride the next day, I drove over to the dump area. There I found two 16“ bikes so I stripped off the two front wheels. Yes I had done something right, in that I thought to bring a metric wrench set with me. The front wheels come right off. The rear ones have been more difficult so I was glad I hadn’t had to pull them as well.
I went to home depot and bought exactly the parts on Tomas list. They made no sense, but I bought them anyway.