I awoke the next morning at 5AM and rode the bike out of the drive and across the plank that was over the trench just to allow the bike across. I rode the two hours and felt better for it. I was sitting in Hardee’s with a biscuit and coffee when my phone rang. I had a pretty good idea who would call me so early in the morning.
“It raining here this morning, but very warm springtime is upon us,” the man’s voice said with just hint of a Latino accent.
“Sounds nice, it’s still chilly here in the mornings,” I said.
“So, I hear you are making a change,” he said.
“It’s a very large change, not a small change,” I said. “I’m sure the priest told you.”
“Oh yes he did. He also said you might be going into politics,” he suggested.
“Well I’m opening a trading company first, but I might dabble a little one day,” I said.
“Well I do hope you do. We could always use a friend in politics,” he said.
“Sorry, but we aren’t friends now, and we aren’t going to be friends, if that happens. You won’t be treated any worse than anyone else, but no better either. Just the same as everyone else.” I said.
“Have you thought that position through?” he asked.
“I have and I hope you think your position through as well. I don’t know what, if any arrangement you currently have here, but if I were to win, all you get from me is a fair deal. Just like the local gas station. First do no wrong and we will get along fine,” I said.
“That’s not what I hoped for, but we will have to wait and see,” the voice said.
“That’s true. We will have to wait and see,” I suggested.
“You do know it’s hard to keep anything secret in a campaign,” he tried one last time to convince me.
“Well do what you have to do, but you might want to remember, I might win. I admit it isn’t likely, I do have a skeleton or two in the closet, but you just never know, when it comes to an election where mountain people vote,” I informed him.
When he broke the connection, I felt like I needed a shower more than ever. The camera revealed nothing, so I took off for home. I decided if I did run and were to lose, I was going to move the gate about ten to twenty feet onto my property, I would also have to post notices that the field on either side of it was mined. That should stop people from trying to drive around the gate. I had no intention of doing it for real, just of posting the signs. What I would do was to line the drive with well hidden spike strips. Not as deadly a solution, but maybe a distant second to the land mines. I know I was beginning to really get paranoid but I had enemies.
I rode the bike home and rode it up to the empty still house. It had a heck of a lot of space inside it at the moment. I could put the inventory of the trading company in it. If the inventory wasn’t to valuable. I couldn’t see putting guns in the storage box.
What I needed to do was to go out and buy things with my ill gotten gains. I also had at least ten gallons of the Green Dragon in my dry well. Some of it was the last batch I had brewed for the Colonel. That stuff was either going to be a kick ass batch, or just the same as the others. I couldn’t measure the THC level, so it was purely a guess, but I hoped it was a higher level. I left the alcohol proof at one hundred and twenty.
I thought about it and knew I couldn’t keep really bad ass stuff in the dry well. I couldn’t for instance keep guns and knives in one, but I could keep thing that were unlikely to interest thieves. There were probably things I would come into contact with that I couldn’t even imagine at that moment.
I went to the house and sat around trying to decide what I could possibly do to occupy myself now that I wasn’t cooking all day. I really hadn’t realized how much of my life revolved around cooking liquor, till I stopped.
I rode the tricycle into town. It wasn’t all that far, but it took about twice as long on the trike than it did in the cruiser but I didn’t mind. What else did I have to do with the time. I was back to being retired and it sucked. I thought about buy some aluminum and silver wire and going back into making jewelry. That morning the best I could do was sit in the pub and bitch,
“Like someone once said to me, find something you want to do and get on with it,” Jeremy said. “It doesn’t even matter, if you are really good at it, or not.”
“Damn that makes good sense,” I said. “I want to start a trading company, make jewelry, and run for Sheriff.”
“Well that’s a hell of a list. Why don’t you go into business with Jeremy?” The Brit asked.
Jeremy was sitting on a stool behind the bar where The Brit stood. “It really would be a nice tie in, hand made jewelry and my art work. You could have a couple of display cases for your estate jewelry and other items. We could work out a fair rent.”
“Jeremy sweetie, I know I can trust you, but Allen will try to have me paying all the rent, if I let him.” I said with a laugh.
“Well don’t let him,” he said.
“Tell you what let me think about it over the weekend,” I said.
“My God Sylvia, it’s only Wednesday,” The Brit said.
“Alright, now you have told me that, I might need a little longer,” I said with a laugh.
“We could run the shop part together and be in our studio or out buying stuff separately, or together,” Jeremy suggested.
“How about I think it over and make you an offer, if I decide to go the retail store way,” I said.
When I left the bar I rode the Trike home. I always got a lot of attention when I rode it. If I did run for Sheriff, I could put a poster on the back of the trike and one on th back of the Cruiser micro mini van and ride around town. The primary wouldn’t be for several months but registration had already started. There were three names on the ballot already. I liked that. It would water down the vote. I decided to toss my hat in the ring on the ride home from the pub. I put the trike away and went on line. I had decided to do it, but I had not decided to do it that day. It would wait, the same as the decision to go into a retail venture with Jeremy and The Brit.
I wanted to see Kara, but I knew better than to call her. She made it pretty clear what the rules of our relationship were going to be. If I didn’t want to follow them, then it was over. I could live with that, since I did not expect the relationship to last long at all. It was more a very secretive thing. One that by it’s very nature made it both dark and sinister, but also thrilling in its nature. There was a mystery about Kara. A mystery that I knew more about than she thought I did. Kara was a hooker but a hooked on her own terms. That was interesting to me. When I made the definite decision and made the first move toward running for Sheriff, I would have to end the relationship such as it was.
I also had to do something about all the cash I had on hand. I had half a million dollars that had not been cleaned. That was going to require some doing in order to account for it. I wouldn’t mind turning it into something easier to deal with than a little over half a million dollars in cash.
I expected I could buy a hundred dollars worth of gemstones with good money, and a thousand of gray money at the same time. By co-mingling them there was a good chance I could confuse the IRS. Jeremy and I needed to go shopping again. I would love to wait till we could hit yard sales and flea markets as well as auctions, but the weather still wasn’t good for those.
I spent a couple of days trying to decide what to do before the phone rang. “Sylvia,” the voice on the phone said.
“Yes, what can I do for you?” I asked.
“Do you not recognize the voice luv?” Liam asked.
“Of course I do. I am just not thrilled by the sound of your voice. I’m not disappointed either. So as I said what can I do for you.”
“I called to see if you would like to go visit a small port city down here. There are a few cargo vessels that were damaged in the hurricane last year. They are just now getting around to auctioning off the cargo. You told me you liked to bid on that kind of thing.” Liam said.
“Well I have never bid on marine salvage before. I guess I could take a chance. Got any idea how much money I would need to get some of it.” I asked.
“To be honest the way it works is they sell it off in sealed cartons. You buy it off the dock and then if you are real lucky, there are other people there to purchase it from you. If purely a gambol, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. It is a quick resale usually.” he said.
“So how much money do I need to bring, and when is it?” I asked.
“Twenty thousand would get you a couple of lots. They tell me two lots is the minimum you want to buy. From that one should be a winner and cover the cost of a loser. Like I said it’s a gamble.” Liam said.
“So when is it?” I asked.
“Saturday at noon,” he said.
“Short notice but okay I’ll go by the bank and get some money this after noon,” I said. “Where do you want to meet me?”
“That old 1940 retro tourist cabin thing. Vickie’s Villa in Marksville,” he said.
“I remember it. It is about five miles from the swamp compound on the road to the inland waterway.” I confirmed.
“Yes that is the one. I will be there after 6pm tomorrow,” he said.
“Fair enough,” I agreed. I also hung up without saying goodbye. I wasn’t real pleased with Liam. He had no idea what was required to maintain a relationship. That why there was no relationship.
No one had any idea what a trip to my bank required. I waited until well after dark. Then I used a very low strength light to find my way to a specific tree. Then I walked three paces from it toward the creek and started to push a sharpened wooden stake into the ground. When it hit the plastic top of the storage container about eight inches under ground, I used a gardener’s hand trowel to remove the few inches of dirt.
When I had it exposed I removed the top of the box and opened the plastic garbage bag and removed thirty thousand dollars. I took a little extra just in case I needed it. Truth was I had five plastic boxes buried around the property.
How that happened was simple I put the cash payments for the liquor business in the storage boxes. When the box got full, I took them out by the light of the moon and buried them. They were all on my property, so there was no worry about someone digging them up by mistake. I could still swear I knew nothing, if the IRS or ABC agents found them. Anyone could have buried them was going to be my position.