Sheriff Porter 56
“So what are we going to change?” I asked.
“Well,” Wilson began, “We are going to take the tiny office back there and make it a secure storage area. It is no bigger than a walk in closet.”
“That’s ain’t gonna cost much,” Margo said. “Just a more secure door.” Your biggest expense right now is the new roof. Yours leaks and it has some structure damage that has to be repaired. It has got some floor damage which has to be replaced as well. Then Mr. Wilson here wants some reinforcing for the floors. I can see that they are settling some.”
“Yeah I can agree with all that for sure,” I said.
“Once we get it dry and stable, you are gonna want to get an electrician in here. If you don’t know any, I know a good one,” she suggested.
“Okay, I can go along with that,” I said.
“Then we want to come back and insulate the walls. The best way is to blow in shit from the outside cause we’re gonna want to put real siding on the wall not that crap that is on there now. What we can do is drill holes in that shit for the insulation then put the new siding right over it. You need a new door that opens from the parking lot and get a more secure door that opens onto the dock. That is required by code these days.”
“Okay you figure to paint the inside and insulate the room and floor?” I asked.
“Yes that means a new ceiling, but you don’t have one at all now, so that wouldn’t be a big deal. We can put drywall up. It isn’t a very big space, so no big deal,” Margo promised.
“Well Margo you go work up your price for everything we talked about and itemize the estimate. Wilson and I will discuss it,” I promised. I can estimate this before I leave. Give me a few minutes alone with my phone and my laptop,” she said.
“Fair enough. Wilson, let’s leave her alone and let her work,” I said. When we were outside I asked, “You have been here less than twenty four hours and you are sniffing after two women, what the hell is wrong with you?”
I have to admit for a man over sixty he was really not bad looking. If he worked out a little he would be every old ladies dream. His hair was white, but he had it all. He stood straight and walked with a stable gate. He also had his own teeth another good trait. Wilson also seemed to be tall and trim, though not really fit. He was just a good height and weight ratio. There was quite possibly a shortage of eligible men who lived in town year round. Especially good looking ones who spoke English and had gainful employment. Employment, that might sound exiting to the B&B owners or a contractor.
Margo came out on the dock and called over to the barge. “Ahoy on the house barge.”
I came out onto the deck. “That was quick,” I said.
“Well this isn’t a huge job. I could probably build you a new building for pretty near the same money,” she said.
“Yes and I could probably have a storage container in place for less,” I said with a smile.
“True that might be the way to go since you live in one,” she said. “Anyway if you decide to repair this one here is your estimate.”
I walked down and took a look at it. $8,600 dollars?” I asked, “Is that firm?”
“It is unless you want to add or subtract something. I don’t know anything we could do cheaper unless we don’t insulate. We have to add doors anyway. Everything else is repairs mostly.”
“Wilson is this what you need?” I asked.
“Boss the computers need to stay dry. The same with any samples. We need a secure place to store the stuff,” Wilson said.
“Okay when can you start and when will you be through,” I asked.
“I can spring a couple of guys loose to fix the roof and the rot by Friday. We can have it ready for the electrician on Monday,” Margo said “If I can get my insulation man out we can do that while the electrician is working. Say we walk away from here before next Friday.
I decided to put Wilson on the spot. “Can you live with that?” I asked.
“If that is the best they can do, I’ll have to live with it,” he said.
“Margo is our first contractor,” I said.
“Hell, we would waste more time talking to someone else than they could save us,” Wilson said.
“Margo you add a hundred dollars a day penalty after next Friday and we are good to go,” I said. The hundred bucks meant nothing to me, and I doubted that it did to her. It was just a matter of principle.
“How do you want to pay me?” she asked.
“I have a bookkeepers to answer to, so how about 50% down in a check. Another 25% upon half completion and the balance when we get the inspection if there is one required,” I said.
“Fair enough. So give me a check for $4,300 and I’ll have men here on Friday or before,” she said.
After she had gone I said to Wilson, “It’s too late to go to Ellisboro today but tomorrow we have to go look for computers.” Ellisboro was a town north of us with a few stores including an office supply house.
“Jeeze boss where you been the last ten years? You don’t buy computers in the office depot any more, at least not serious computers. We need to go on line and have them built, if they don’t have what we need in stock. This is not going to be cheap,” he informed me.
“I really didn’t expect it to be cheap, but my idea of cheap may have been upgraded. So what are we talking here for the whole bit and I mean as black ops shit as you can come up with?” I asked.
Okay you want a $1,000 computer in the office, but since I know what you mean by black ops, we need an off site server dedicated to us. Say another grand minimum. Then there is the software to do the black ops type jobs. That shit is all custom you can’t go to Wal-Mart for that.”
“Come on Willie give me a figure,” I said.
“Five grand,” he said. “Then I’m going to have to go to Capital City to hide a server in my daughter’s house. I’ve got a shop up there where I can hide it. I can have a phone line and Internet connection put in. She probably won’t know what I’m doing. A four hundred dollar laptop and I can reach the server or the big mama computer in the boat house, or on the road.”
“This is the most important thing,” I said. “You update the server everyday and you dump the computer memory every night. I don’t even want the programs left on it. I want the hard drive back to factory setting every night but of course I want us to be able to reload it every morning,” I said.
“Shit boss, are you fucking serious?” he asked. “For that we need to clone the drive to the off site server, then clean the hard drive completely every night. Then we rerun the drive clone software every morning to restore it. There is a program that does a military grade clean but it ain’t cheap. Are you serious about this?”
“Serious as thirty five years in prison,” I said.
“Let me hook up my laptop and I’ll start ordering. I can put on a simple backup program to send everything to the server, but the military grade to delete files everyday is a bitch. There won’t be anyway to get back to the server without at least the operating system on the computer.”
“I put puppy Linux on those burner laptops, because I could do it from a cd or even a flash drive. Can we use that to recover the data and the good operating system?” I asked.
“And I thought you were a complete technophobic dummy,” he said.
“I have my moments, so get to ordering. When you are sure you have everything, call me and I’ll put it on my old pay pal account. Do that for each vendor you need. It’s time I change my address with pay pal anyway,” I informed him.
Willie, as I had come to think of him in those first few days, went to the piano bar almost every night for the next week. He also slept till 9 AM. He said if he was awake he was at work so I didn’t complain. I still had memories of not being able to find Osborn.
Margo started on time and the shit Willie bought started to trickle in. We stored it all on the barge since I wasn’t sure I wanted even boxed up shit in the office while Margo and her crew worked on it.
During the time Margo worked on the office Willie enjoyed a short visit with his daughter. While there he set the server for our off site storage. I spent some time with the guys building the old wooden style tool chests. I checked on my investment as promised to help them with the project. For a 15% stake in the company, I fronted all the money and helped with the advertising. During that time the two retired guys built the chests in their garages.
They thought I was crazy when I asked them to deconstruct completely the last one they had built that day. I also ask them to save all the hardware. They had it done in just a few minutes because they didn’t use any glue to produce them.
“I want you to give some thought to producing that as a kit. You know what you need to put in it. It’s right there in front of you,” I said.
“Do you think we can sell them?” the oldest of the two asked.
“Only one way to find out. Have you ever heard of ‘Our State For Sale’?” I asked in return.
“No,” the same man said.
“It’s a TV show that runs on the cable news network. The segment is live on Sunday morning, but they rerun it all week. The news lady there got a heck of a lot of stories on me, when I lived in the mountains. I bet I can get this on her show,” I said. “We can take orders and I will finance it. All it will cost you is the time.”
“Do it,” the old man said. “I want to leave my kids something.” The other retired man nodded his agreement.
They cut kits for two weeks ending the week after my new office was complete. I went on the statewide news program, and explained what the project was and about the men who were building the toolbox kit.
I also had agreed to explain about the money, which had suddenly found itself in my possession. “It was a lucky fluke. It just happened, when I most needed it most.”
The interview was harmless and it worked out really well. On Monday I called Swamp Dog. “Hey,” I said to the woman who answered the phone. “Would you give the Colonel a message for me?”
“And you are?” she asked.
“Sorry, I’m Sylvia Porter,” I said.
“Oh yes the Colonel has been expecting you to call hold please?” she asked and was gone before I could object.
“Sylvia how the heck are you?” the Colonel asked.
“I’m good, I just called to tell you that Wilson and I are just about ready to go,” I said.
“Sylvia I have done some checking on Wilson. Honey he is going to be of almost no use to you in an emergency.”
“That’s why I’m planning to take care of him,” I said.
“You should consider taking The Brit with you as a helper,” he said.
We are on different ends of the state,” I said.
“He can stay with you for a while, until you see what is what. It’s just a thought,” the Colonel said.
“Thanks, I’ll keep it in mind. Just let me know if you need anything,” I said.
“Something is always coming up Sylvia. It just depends on what your conscience will let you do,” he said.
Edited by Walt