Of clones and birds
I got back to the barge at 8 AM. Wilson wasn’t awake at the time, so I made coffee. Then I went to the deck above his bedroom. I knew that I was walking around on his ceiling, but I made no effort to be quiet. I had been awake for two hours and he could damn well get his ass out of bed. I don’t think one can giggle mentally, but I did something akin to it at the thought of stomping around on his ceiling.
“Alright Sylvia, you woke me, are you happy now?” he asked.
“If you go put some pants on I will be,” I said.
“I’ll make you a deal, you go to Mr. BJ’s and get our breakfast, and I’ll take a shower. I’ll be all sweet smelling and ready to go to work, when you get back. Then you can take a shower get some of that disgusting exercise stink off you,” Wilson said.
“Deal,” I said heading to the parking lot. The round trip took less than a half hour. When I returned Wilson was dressed and talking to some man in the office. I dropped off his biscuit and stayed to have a listen, stink and all.
“Sylvia this is Mr. Alvin Thomas. He owns a landscape company,” Wilson explained.
“I’m really one of those guys who didn’t go to school for it. I just love plants and the outdoors. I can’t imagine doing anything else,” he said. He looked like the light bulb in his head lit. “Oh, I should have said that Mr. EZ sent me over.”
I should explain that Alvin was black. “Well Mr. Alvin Thomas, did EZ tell you what I needed?” I asked.
“He said it might be a big job that’s about all. I kinda work alone, so I’m not sure I can do anything real big. I guess I could work on it everyday, but probably not all day. I would put in a full day when I could,” he explained.
“Let’s me and you ride out and look at the site,” I suggested.
“Yes Ma’am that would be fine,” he said.
“Can you spare about twenty minutes while I shower and dress for the day?” I asked.
“Shore, I need to make a few phone calls. I can wait here with Mr. Wilson while you dress,” he said.
I rushed around choking down the biscuit while I pulled clean clothes out of my net bag from the washer lady’s bag. After a quick shower and an ever faster dressing of the body I was ready for the drive to the soon to be airfield. It really didn’t take long at all to drive there. Most of the time was in finding the property. I had a satellite view but no map to it. Finally I found it.
“Well Alvin, I need you to take down the three derelict chicken houses. Try to level out the field once it is empty, then seed it with grass. Something that grows fast to prevent runoff,” I said.
“Miss Sylvia, if it’s all the same to you, I have no idea how long this will take. I need to bill you by the hour. As I said I can’t spend all day everyday because I got regular customers I need to take care of too,” he said.
“Okay how much do you want per hour,” I asked.
“I usually base my price on twenty five dollars an hour, but if you let me work during times I would not be working, and work you into my schedule I would do it for twenty dollars an hour.” he said.
“Okay, but I should warn you Alvin I am going to verify when you work. You need to keep track of the times of day you are here,” I said. “If that is acceptable then working by the hour is acceptable to me. That price does include use of your equipment?”
“Yes ma’am it does. How about I take the metal roof off and the metal awnings over the windows and recycle them. I can burn the wood from the walls since the trees are a long ways from the houses. If I do them, one house at a time, it shouldn’t be dangerous.
“I have a better idea. Take the roof off and the shutters, but leave the framing up. I will call the volunteer fire department and see if they would like to burn them for training. At least I can pay them to stand by, so we don’t start a brush fire,” I suggested.
Wilson didn’t have anything on Brian. Either Brian was clean or he was way smarter than I thought him capable. I let it stew till after the chicken house fires were complete.
It took a week for the firing of the chicken house to work itself out. The county fire department agreed to do it and to have their men stand bye to put them out a few times each. When the day was over the chicken houses were three piles of ashes and I donated five hundred dollars to their Christmas fund.
When the chicken houses were down Alvin went to work leveling the field. While he did that, I returned to the office and Wilson.
“So Wilson have you got Brian yet?” I asked.
“No and you ask me that every day. I can tell you are losing patience with me. I just can’t find a thing. He calls girls and his mother. He is also trying to find a job,” Wilson said.
“That begs to be explained,” I said.
“What does,” Wilson asked.
“What is he using for money? If he has no job, where is he getting his spending money and money for his car payment?” I asked. “He has to be into something illegal.”
“There is no indication,” Wilson said.
“Fuck,” I said.
“What?” Wilson asked.
“We cloned the wrong fucking phone. He has a burner for his transactions that are shady. He didn’t have it when he thought he was going to a real job interview. Afraid it would ring and he might somehow blow his chances. It was probably in the car,” I explained.
“That would explain it,” Wilson said. “I should have thought of that.”
“No Wilson, if I hadn’t been wrapped up in the airfield shit, I would never have allowed this thing to stew so long. I would have figured it out a lot sooner. My bad,” I explained. Having over a million in the bank didn’t make me more or any less stupid. I only had that much till the taxes were paid for the coming year then God alone knew what I would have. The last tax bite had been almost 50% on the four Million I had after I paid Rita off.
Since the settlement I had been on a spending binge. It could have been a lot worse I knew people who blew through their lottery winnings in a couple of years. Take out the tax bite and I was pretty conservative. I had something to show for it all. Even if it was a crummy marina complete with a barge boat, and now an airstrip.
Even so I had been the victim of a drug induced rape. That had to be my number one priority. Wilson find out when Brian is going to be at the bar to see Chrissy. We will clone his burner then,” I suggested. “He probably calls her on the fancy Smart Phone he can’t afford.”
“If not, I’ll catch him on the video feed from the bar. We can rush right over and clone his burner.” Wilson looked pissed that he had made the mistake. I blamed myself not him, but he didn’t see it that way. I was glad he was that conscientious.
It was two days later when Wilson found him in the bar of the B&B. I was out getting our take out dinner. We were on lock down till the prick was cloned. I was on my way back when I got the call from Wilson. I retrieved the scanner from the lock box under the seat while in the parking lot across the Street from the downtown the B&B.
I went in the bar stood beside Brian while Wilson worked his magic. With Brian cloned again I went to the ladies room to check that it was done. I walked through the bar on my way out to the car.
“Hey Sylvia you want to go upstairs again?” Brian said.
“Just so you know. I want you in me a hell of lot less than I want a yeast infection,” I said to him.
His reply was, “What?”
“Ignorant bastard,” I said under my breath as I walked out the door.
I was back in the car, when I called Wilson. “So do we have him?” I asked.
“Oh yes, we have him good. I have been reading his text messages. It looks as though he is a petty criminal, but not a drug dealer. He is a boat thief,” Wilson said.
“I have no idea if that is good or bad news,” I said.
“There is more bad news. He calls EZ at least once a week, every week,” Wilson said.
“Well, we aren’t the cops, but maybe we should tip them, if you can do it so it’s untraceable. Don’t mention any suspicions about EZ, just put it on Brian,” I said.
“That wont be a problem, I have been working on software to reroute message through a server in Russia. They don’t even suspect it, since I chose a non secure server. I could never have done this during the cold war, but things are less secure now. They still won’t cooperate, but they are hackable,” Wilson said as if I cared. “I am going to wait until I have Brian setting up a boat to lift. I think I can at least get him before he changes the numbers on his next one.”
“Well if we can get him on grand theft boat, it’s better than nothing,” I said.
“What about EZ?” Wilson asked.
“Well I never asked if he knew Brian. After the arrest goes public I will ask him, and see what he has to say.”
While I was waiting for Brian to incriminate himself, I began thinking about the plane I was going to have to buy. I spend lots of time checking out ultralight aircraft. It seemed there were aircraft builders all over the world spitting out five or six a year.
Most of the homemade builders were using aluminum frames and fabric cover to keep the weight down. Recently there had been a change. A couple of factories were making composite bodies that resemble the old bell helicopter with fixed wings. It had what amounted to a plastic bathtub for a cockpit, A molded clear top which folded back to allow access. It also had the long almost sewer pipe that went back to the tail assembly. The little package made every aircraft mechanic an airplane builder in his spare time. The thing to do was find one you trusted and arrange for the build.
Or if you were lazy and couldn’t wait, you could find one an aircraft mechanic had built and was ready to sell. In my case it was the mechanic/builder at Hanford Air Service. He called me again while Wilson and I were in the process of waiting Brian out.
“Ms Porter are you still interested in an ultralight aircraft?” he asked.
“I’m very interested as I told you two months ago. I have just been preparing a field from which to fly it,” I said.
“Well I have one for sale. Actually I have had it for sale since I last called you. It’s a little pricey for most buyers, but I hoped you would see the value in it,” he said.
“Did you build it,” I asked.
“No my brother built it. I checked his work every step of the way though. I know for a fact it is right. He built it for himself then his wife found out his life insurance wouldn’t cover him, if he crashed it. So he is selling it.”
“Can you email me pictures. I can do the initial inspection online to save me a trip up there,” I suggested. “I’ll also trust what you say about it.”
I probably should have told him if he screwed me I would make his life hell, but there was no sense starting off on the wrong foot.
Edited by Walt