Sheriff Porter 73
OH shit not EZ
“So, let’s see if we can buy it.” I said to the Deacon before I walked back to the seller.
“Well sir my friend drove your truck and said this particular model with that engine and transmission configuration is due for work,” I said.
“Some others have said something similar. I think it is a tactic to beat me down,” he said.
“Well, if you aren’t willing to negotiate, I’m sorry I wasted your time,” I said.
“So what did you have in mind?” he asked.
“Frankly I would feel comfortable buying it at $65,000. My bookkeeper has been told to be ready to expect to make transfer to your account this afternoon,” I said.
“Lady I have turned $65,000 down twice already,” he said.
“Well then you know it is a fair price for the wrecker. I have made you a reasonable offer in keeping with the market. So shall we get down to negotiate this deal and be done with it?” I asked. “You want seventy five and I think it’s worth sixty five so were is a place we could meet and both be unhappy?”
“Okay I’ll come down two hundred,” he said.
“And I’ll go up two,” I said.
“$70,000 and I’ll feel like you screwed me, but better you than those other guys,” he said.
“You drive a hard bargain, but I’ll do it,” I said.
After that it was take care of the legalities. The money movement was the easy part. I ran around getting things changed. I had three phone calls to Rita before it was all settled. It was also after five when I finished, so the deal would still mean a trip to the DMV the next day before it was settled.
“EZ this is Sylvia sorry to miss you, but I have paid for the Wrecker, so you can pick it up tomorrow and take it to your place. The paperwork will be done by noon. I just have some papers for you to sign, so stop by here and get the keys some time in the afternoon tomorrow,” I said.
I hung up and went into the office to see Wilson. “So Willie, how many did the bastard pickup at Marshall’s?” I asked.
“Apparently he doesn’t repeat that often. The only other one I found from Marshal’s was three year before. The guy had hair in that one. The victim did say he was big though. Hell that was all she could remember. He was a big man,” he said.
“So, you mean tall and strong large or…?” I left it open.
“It was the or something else,” Wilson admitted.
“Did anyone else mention that,” I asked.
“It was a part of the description of all but Dana,” Wilson said. “She was also the most foggy about everything. She might not have noticed.”
“Or she might have been embarrassed and remembered it later. She had received such lousy treatment no wonder she didn’t bother to call back,” I said. “There might be other things after all. You up for a road trip?” I asked.
“Tomorrow?” he asked.
“Probably the day after. You need to find exactly where she is living now,” I demanded. “While you do that, I’ll go get take out,” I said.
“Are you kidding there is no take out here,” he said.
“Well not as much as the plaza, but there isn’t that much highway traffic to pump up sales,” I said.
“I really would like a McDonald’s hamburger,” Wilson said.
“I can get you a cookout burger. They are pretty good,” I said.
“I know but they aren’t McDonald’s. Okay get me two of their little burgers with onions,” Wilson demanded.
“Fair enough,” I said as I walked out of the office and headed to the Cookout Hamburger Stand on the beach. As long as there was one place that served a decent burger, I wasn’t likely to go into the restaurant business. There were plenty of upscale restaurants. There were two pizza take outs, and one of them had a dining room as well. The other delivered and the quality was the same. I could live without the rest I guessed.
The burgers were inside the greasy bag when I walked onto the dock headed for the barge. I wasn’t sure what to expect because I noticed EZ’s fancy pickup truck in the parking lot. Wilson’s head popped out of the office as I walked by it. “Your boyfriend is here,” Wilson said.
“Oh okay,” I said as I turned to go into the office.
“I’ll take these,” Wilson said headed onto the barge with our dinner. I nodded and continued on into the office.
“So I guess I wasn’t clear. I can’t have your paperwork ready till around noon tomorrow,” I said.
“I know, I just came by to tell you how much I appreciate this. If you ever need anything or just want to talk please call me. I promise I will be all business, if anyone is around no matter what happens between us,” he explained.
“EZ nothing is going to happen hon. I’m going to help you because you seem like a good guy, who needs a break. Please don’t read anything else into it.” Now I need to lock up, and my burger is getting cold. Be available tomorrow afternoon. I’ll call as soon as I have the paperwork complete.”
“Okay, I am sorry. I just wanted you to know how much I appreciate your helping me out,” he said.
“Duly noted,” I said as I escorted him out.
“What did the hulk want?” Wilson asked.
“He wanted to say thanks for the wrecker. You will see him again tomorrow, when he comes to sign the paperwork and get the keys. After he does, we can head out to find Dana. You do know where we need to look?” I asked.
“She is living in Rocky Hill,” he said. “It’s a town about three times the size of New Wales. It was larger once when the cotton mills were running,” Wilson informed me.
“What did you call EZ?” I asked.
“Hey, I didn’t mean anything by it, but he is kinda dumb acting you know?” Wilson commented. “I mean throwing himself at you as if you might be interested.” Wilson laughed at the thought.
“Wilson, I want you to make a picture of EZ tomorrow, when he comes to sign the papers. I might like to have a memento of the wrecker deal. Proof that he signed the papers,” I said. I also want you to find his resident address back five years.”
I didn’t like the thoughts I was having about EZ. I would never have considered him a suspect, but then Wilson wasn’t looking at him as a friend. I was the one with the bias in this case.
EZ had lived here all his life on and off. He knew how things worked in the tourist community. He probably knew they would try to cover up anything. If Brian had any connection to EZ, I needed to know that as well. I sure hoped I was wrong.
I had decided at the last minute to take EZ’s picture with me to visit Dana. Well that is if I could get EZ to pose with me. Then get Wilson to help lie our way out of it. I didn’t want to tell Wilson why, till I had eliminated EZ as a suspect.
I felt I might need a little additional muscle now and then. On the routine things I would never call Swamp Dog to back me up. EZ would be fine for it. He was big enough. I assumed he was bad enough to discourage any trouble. That was always the best thing. That had always been cooking in the back of my mind. But I had to eliminate him as a suspect first. There was a pretty good theory cooking in my head. Even if EZ wouldn’t fit it, someone else might.
EZ or not, it had to be a local. Someone who was here every summer for at least five years, I thought as I went to bed. The next morning I pedaled the tricycle down to the license plate office. I had waited until 7 AM to start my day, so that I could get to the DMV local office when it opened at 8 AM. I had to go there to transfer the title and buy a plate for the truck.”
By 8:30 I was on the trike headed home with the plate resting in my girlie basket, which I had installed myself. Most of the thirty minutes I spent standing in line EZ probably could have done it, but it did require my signature on several different documents.
I got home with no breakfast for Wilson. He was not happy about having to drive into town, but since he didn’t want cereal, he had no other choice. It was almost 10 AM when Wilson returned. He had been gone over an hour so I assumed he went to the B&B for breakfast.
He ran the background checks I wanted while I made some calls about a grass strip. I wanted one at least the length of a football field. The first one proved to be impossible. It had the electric transmission tower running across it in two places. So I moved on to the second spot on my list.
The second one was about the same distance as the first, but in a slightly different location. It had been a peanut field or a yam field most of the time. It was at least a hundred yards long probably more the Realtor assured me. I told her I would try to get out to walk the property in a couple of days. She could either give me the GPS corner coordinates, or she could meet me.
“Let me just give you the GPS signatures now,” she declared. “Then you can go out and walk it at your convenience.”
Unlike everyone else in the world I carried a piece of notebook paper folded into a pocket sized square. I unfolded it till I found an empty square. I got the coordinates and hung up the phone almost abruptly. I did promise to call by the end of the week.
I knew that if I bought the grass strip, there would be no turning back. I would own a barge and an airstrip in this area. I could move the barge, but I couldn’t move the airstrip. Still I wanted to fly, so the decision was made for me. To fly at my convenience, I had to own a plane. If I owned an airplane I needed a place from which to operate it.
With that decision on the way, I went up to the deck. My phone rang as soon as I sat down in my cut off baggies and bikini top. The call was from EZ. “Sylvia, I know it’s a little early but I hoped we were ready to go with the wrecker. I wanted to make sure, when I needed to sign a contract this afternoon.”
“Yes we are ready, but I should warn you I have to take your picture for the insurance company. Something to do with leases and such. You are the only principle in your company right?” I asked hoping for more information.
“Yes, it’s just me, for the moment. I have some friends I can use now and then on a job by job status. Like when I go out to pick up a car,” he explained. “It can be a little dangerous.”
“I can understand that. Tell you what, come on over and bring their names and addresses with you,” I insisted.
“No problem,” he said.
When I hung up the phone, I decided to go to Wilson for an update before EZ came for his keys.
Edited by Walt