Sheriff Porter 52
It was close to midnight when I got back to the motel. Osborn still wasn’t in. I had a message, but I hadn’t seen her for any amount of time since we arrived in town. I decided that I would phone her and request her presence. I need her to do some background checks on the major players in our move. I didn’t want to call in Swamp Dog, when she could do it just as well. Okay not just as well, but well enough.
I called her cell. As usual there was no answer. I went to bed even though I was a little concerned about Osborn I wasn’t too concerned. Since she had come home every night, and she looked fine when I left the room for my run that morning, I had to assume she was doing well in her new home.
I was a little concerned when I went to bed but I fully expected her to be in the second bed come morning. When I awoke and she wasn’t in the bed, I was concerned but still not in a panic. I expected her to call me and say she met a man or something.
I ran knowing 7 AM might be a bit too early to expect a call from her. When I finished the run about eight, I took a shower. I still was not overly concerned about Osborn being among the missing. It had only been 24 hrs since she I last saw her.
I went to the Mr. BJ Burgers and Biscuits as the sign announced. I guess the national Bo Jangles threatened him. He was still known by his old name among the locals. I got a breakfast biscuit with all the cholesterol included. It was really quite good. Not as good as the Hardee’s at home, but the biscuit did taste like a biscuit. Now if I could do something about that awful restaurant coffee. I was convinced that it was made with the coffee sweepings from the floor at the end of every blending shift.
A coffee thermos and a cigarette lighter and plug in heater was in my future, I could tell. I would have to stop by the local department store where the coffee maker at home was purchased. Better still Ebay would work fine. Of course I didn’t have a shipping address at the moment. Okay either the local department store or up to the big city to a Wal-Mart. I could send Osborn, if I ever heard from her again, I thought.
After breakfast I stopped by the shipyard. The dry docking of the barge was almost complete. I didn’t get out of the car since there was nothing I could do. Since I couldn’t do anything, and there had been no call from Osborn, I pulled up the map to the closest Wal-Mart. I had stolen the WIFI signal from the shipyard in order to access the Internet. They evidently didn’t expect anyone to do so since it wasn’t password protected. I had fully expected to have to go back to the motel for my research.
So I found out they sold coffee warmers for the car at the closest Wal-Mart store. It had one of those ‘buy it today and pick it up at the store today’ symbols, which meant they were in stock. I made the purchase and got the email immediately that the item would be ready in one hour for pickup. That being the case I drove the thirty five miles to get one. I also got a stainless steel one-quart thermos.
When I got back to the motel to make some coffee one cup at a time there in the bed lay Osborn. “Hey Osborn wake up,” I said shaking her.
“What?” she asked about half awake.
“I don’t care what time you come to bed but you need to be up and ready to work at 8 AM vacation is over,” I said shortly.
“What do you want me to do?” she asked.
“It’s almost noon. I want you to get out of that bed, take a shower and get your butt ready to work. Osborn I like you but I will have no qualms about firing you, if you prove to be of no use to me. You do not hold a passenger ticket on this train,” I said.
“Whatever,” she said.
That is when I started to fume. “What the fuck is wrong with you. Are you on drugs or something?” I asked.
“You are just being a bitch. It’s like Ron said, you are just jealous,” she replied. She had changed completely. “You might want to reassess your position. Believe it or not you do not work for yourself. You work for me. I know you left your job at the Sheriff Department to come work for me. The operative word in there is work. The second most important words are for me. So get your ass in the shower and get your head clear because you have work to do. From now on be ready to start work at 9 AM. That means shower dressed and fed, do we understand each other.”
Osborn looked shocked. “I’m not sure I can do this,” she said.
“Then pack your shit in your car and go home. I’ll call acting Sheriff Simpson, if you want. You did a good job for him, he will probably take you back.”
“I don’t want to do that either,” she said.
“Okay what do you want?” I asked.
“Ron asked me to move in with him. There is a job as head of security at the regional hospital. I think I’m going to apply for that, and move in with Ron. He lives up there and it wouldn’t be much of a drive,” she said.
“Well, I can call Eddie and have him give you a glowing recommendation and of course I will as well. I probably owe you three grand in wages and severance pay does that sound fair?” I asked.
“Yes very fair. I think I will move in with Ron today. I’m sorry,” she said.
“Don’t be, we will both do fine. You will have a more stable job and Ron. Don’t worry I will find someone else.”
Just like that it was over. I wrote her a check even though I had to search for the checkbook. I almost never wrote a check. I usually just did a bank transfer. She didn’t have a bank account with any local bank. She would have to drive to the large town thirty five miles away. If I had known it was coming I could have just gotten her cash when I bought the coffee warmer.
I left the room with four cups of coffee in the thermos. I put my gun case in the truck. Osborn agreed to leave her key on the table when she was finished packing up. It was obvious that in taking the gun case, I wasn’t sure they would be secure as she packed to leave.
Money was just money but if she used one of my guns in a criminal act, the cops could be sitting on my door. I trusted her, but not that much especially in light of her new attitude.
I put the gun case in the passenger side of the truck and drove it to the parking lot of the boatyard. I called the geek at Swamp Dog. I asked him to check the background of everyone involved in the boatyard, the Trust Management Company and EZ.
“Give me an hour Sylvia and I’m going to have to start charging you my standard rate for this kind of thing. You knew I was on contract with Swamp Dog. I’m not their employee. They were picking up your bills, but this is personal, there is a difference.” he said.
“So Martin told you, since he was going to contract with me, you were going to have to get your pound of flesh from me direct?” I asked.
“Something like that yeah,” he said. “Winning the lottery didn’t hurt either.”
“Okay, how much for the owner of the boatyard, the head of the Trust Management Company and EZ character?” I asked.
“I charge $500 an hour on the computer. I can do them all in an hour, if I stick to the usual sources,” he said.
“Do it then,” I said. During the hour I had to wait I drove around the town of New Wales. It was actually a nice little town. It was just about the same size as County Seat but the downtown was alive with more touristy stores. They had enough visitors to support the town. I was glad to see it, since there was nothing I felt the urge to do. The town didn’t need me to help it stay alive.
I completed my tour with a walk through the downtown. I really did love the downtown. It was about three blocks long and two blocks wide. From there it became free stranding building surrounded by parking lots for a three or four blocks in either direction. It was just a quaint old town with modern shops in the historic old buildings. There was almost no business out side that eight or ten square block area. No Wal-Marts or superstores of any kind. There were certainly no malls, not even a plaza as there had been in County Seat since there were no super highways to anywhere.
A few hours after I called Eddie to tell him Osborn had decided to go her own way, Wilson called.
“Wilson what can I do for you,” I asked after he identified himself.
“Well frankly I heard that your friend Osborn deserted you,” he said.
“Yeah, she wanted to try her wings I guess,” I said. I was sitting in the parking lot of a convenience store just outside the downtown. I was just about to enter the store to get a refill for my thermos.
“Well, if you are going to interview for a new partner, I’d like to apply,” he said.
“Wilson what are you talking about? You have roots in County Seat,” I said.
“If that’s your way of saying no thanks, just say it.” Wilson sounded a little peeved.
“It’s not my way of saying anything, but you have family there,” I said.
“Not anymore I don’t, I’m on my own now. The only family I really had here was my wife. The kid is grown now,” he said.
“So how is your wife going to feel about you running off with a bitch like me,” I asked.
“Sylvia, my wife has Alzheimer’s. My daughter put her in a nursing home since I work so many hours here. She was right to do it, but she put her in one down in Capitol City where she lives. I signed everything over to her and now there is nothing here for me.”
“Wilson how old are you?” I asked.
“Don’t tell me I’m going to have to file an age discrimination suit,” he said with a laugh.
“Hardly,” I replied.
“They are going to put me up for forced retirement next year,” he said.“ I’ll be sixty five.”
Edited by Walt