The Big Blow
I slept rather well that night. It was almost worth giving the pig a blowjob just to give him a beatdown. I didn’t enjoy the blowjob, but I did enjoy the look on his face as he lay gasping for air. I really shouldn’t have. His only crime was supply smuggled Chili Peppers. I honestly just didn’t like him and he threatened me. I acted more on instinct than anything else.
A few days later I went for my morning run, since it had set into rain for a couple of days. When I got home, Wilson stepped from the kitchen unit onto the deck. I walked the plank onto the barge, when Wilson called down to me. “Hurry Sylvia you need to hear this,” he said.
The ‘this’ was a weather alert running on line. Some weather girl, who was almost completely dressed, advised that a tropical storm was riding the Gulf Stream north. It wasn’t supposed to make landfall where we sat, but it might be a brush by. Since Wilson and I had never been in the middle of even a ‘brush by’, I was concerned.
“So how about we call someone for some advice,” He suggested.
“I don’t know let me think. I would feel a lot better, if those plants at the garage were more rooted,” I said. They would keep the wind away from the bottom of my hanger. It might prevent it from taking off like the weather girl’s umbrella.”
“Fuck that, I’m more worried about rain damage to our electronics and even the houseboat,” Wilson said.
“Wilson if your girl friend Margo did a good job on the roof, it should survive a brush by storm. If not, we will have a problem for sure. We are far enough up river that we might get some flooding, but not a full storm surge. Not unless we get a direct hit. If it comes ashore here Jefferson Island is a barrier island. It will slow the winds down some. It will take the storm surge, but we will most likely be up to our asses in flooding from the rains.”
So what should we do to prepare?” Wilson asked.
“I don’t know, if we need to do anything. We are tied to some post on the shore line that are embedded in concrete. I know the posts will hold. The cables are hurricane rated, so we are going to move around some, but stay afloat,” I explained. The line to the dock may need some loosening. Otherwise we should be fine.
“You hope,” Wilson said giving me a knowing smile. Since I knew he didn’t know anything, I let it pass.
“Well there will be no biking or flying till the storm passes,” I said.
“So you are going to sleep late tomorrow?” he asked.
“Maybe but now I’m going out to the airfield to check the garage out there and tie down the plane just in case the roof comes off,” I said.
“You want some help?” Wilson asked.
“As a matter of fact I could use some help. After that we can get those plywood pieces that fit the windows. They should be in the shed with my trike. We really do have a lot to do,” I said.
“The plywood is just for the big window in the kitchen and the patio doors. The doors connected the dinning room to the outside deck. They shouldn’t take long to put up. All the doors and windows in the office have shutters,” he said.
“Well let’s get busy. We can batten down the hatches today and have a ‘watch the progress of the storm’ party tonight and tomorrow,” I said.
“Right you are,” Wilson said.
Wilson and I spent most of the daylight hours standing in a rain storm. We got the airplane secured while it was just a drizzle. It didn’t matter much. We were inside the hanger/garage putting the weighted five gallon buckets in the fuselage of the plane. We removed anything that could go flying about. I knew a direct hit could throw the riding mover like a baseball but I decided to take a chance. I put one of the extra five gallon concrete filled buckets on the seat pretending that would help.
We drove the Honda back to the barge. “Well let’s get the covers on the barge then we can decide where the computers will be safest,” I suggested.
“It’s not the computers I worry about those are backed up on our server, and in the cloud. We have a ton of very expensive surveillance equipment. Not to mention the lab equipment,” he said.
“Okay make sure everything susceptible to water damage is stored above four feet high. Empty out those lower cabinets of anything valuable,” I suggested.
If it gets waist high in here, it is going to ruin your new electric trike,” he said.
Nothing I can do, but put some cinder blocks under it and hope for the best.” I did wrap the motor and batteries in a couple of black garbage bags. Between the blocks and the tires the batteries were about two feet off the ground.
I put in a call to the tool box factory, “Hey you guys ready for the storm?” I asked.
“This ain’t no storm. I can remember hurricane Hazel when I was a kid. Now there was a storm went right up the Tomahawk River all the way to Capitol City. But to answer you question, we got all the raw lumber covered. Long as the winds don’t get too high and there isn’t much storm surge we are good. We’re gonna shut down soon and go home. Do you need anything?” he asked as an after thought.
“I think me and Wilson have it covered,” I said. “Well hang in there. See you when this is all passes.”
“Yeah, see you then,” he said.
I had a bottle of rum that I hadn’t opened so I opened it for our ‘impending storm’ party. “We certainly aren’t going to be driving in this crap, so let’s get plastered. At least then we can sleep,” I suggested.
After two drinks I was feeling pretty darned relaxed. “What you think is going to happen with the B&B now that Chrissy is in the wind?” I asked.
“Her mama told me to expect some major changes. I have no idea what that means,” Wilson said.
“Well keep me informed. If she decides to sell out, we might be able to do something with it,” I suggested.
“You gonna own this town, if you keep this up,” he said.
“Keep what up?” I asked.
“You rehabbed the old warehouse into a woodworking factory. You put EZ in business in the property management and recovery business. You helped his uncle get his boat shop and tug boat service back on an even keel,” Wilson said.
“I don’t get your point I don’t own any of those businesses,” I said.
“No but you have enough financial interest in them so that you can keep them going in the right direction,” he said. “Speaking of which I read that email about the tool box market becoming saturated. What you going to do about that?”
“Handmade wooden toys. Not the kind that do anything but let kids use their imagination, such as trains, maybe a circus train. We might even go for a carousel. I don’t know but something to keep the guys working till they decide they have had enough and want to retire for keeps,” I informed him.
“There are always going to be folks on social security who need a part time job,” Wilson said.
“Then when the two guys who are there now want out, I’ll buy them out and let you manage it,” I said.
“Like hell, I would go crazy the first week. EZ’s recovery business might be fun though,” Wilson said.
“Wilson there are far to many petty confrontations for either of us. We would be under arrest within a week. People would provoke us hoping for a damage suit against us. EZ is on his own. That is why it was a loan I made to him, not an interest in the business. Nobody needs the situation a litigation happy client could create.
“Yeah I figured that. Why the dealings with EV, the way you did it?” Wilson asked after some time passed.
“He had something I wanted and his business plan was awkward. So I took the easy out.” I said.
“Ahoy on the barge,” I heard EZ call out. “Permission to come aboard.”
“Come on over,” I said as I stepped out onto the deck.
“We were just talking about you,” I said.
“I have been meaning to come by and say I sure was pissed when I heard you investigated Ralph without telling me,” EZ said.
“I couldn’t tell you EZ. I was going to investigate you, if it hadn’t solved itself.” I said it knowing he was going to be even more pissed off.
“You thought I might be a rapist. I’ll tell you this Bitch. I don’t have to drug women to get laid,” he said.
“Now I’ll tell you this EZ, you have had your one and only outburst that you are allowed. If you want to talk rational, we will. If you don’t, then fuck you, get off my barge,” I said just as cold and unemotional as I could. That voice usually shut an angry man down.
“What you going to do throw me off,” he said his voice a little more calm, but not nearly what I would have liked.
“You don’t want to find out what I’m capable of doing,” I said.
“If you can’t trust me, we can’t work together. You can manage your own fucking marina,” he said turning to leave.
I spoke before he got out the door. “I’ll see that the bank gives you a loan for the wrecker, so that you can pay me off.”
“You don’t need to do that. I’ll have a certified check in the mail,” he advised me.
“Well thanks for everything,” I said as he left. Then after he was outside in the wind and rain I added, “Asshole.”
“I can’t believe that couldn’t wait till after the storm,” I said.
“There goes one business interest,” Wilson said with a laugh. “At least you didn’t kill him.”
“The day is young yet,” I said.
“No it’s not,” he said then added, “Oh I get it, just an old saying.”
“Yeah, something I heard from a game warden once,” I replied.
“You sure know a bunch of different people,” Wilson said.
“Yeah, I even know a geek or two,” I said taking a sip of the rum and diet coke.
“So the wind is picking up. Let’s see what the news says,” Wilson said refreshing the screen on a weather channel site.
“Well at least their weather girl is dressed,” I said.
“Yeah but would you look at that knit shirt. It is about two sizes too small,” Wilson answered.
“Sex and the weather, it’s a killer combination,” I said.
The cute little redhead was giving us all the information on the storm. It was predicted to make landfall on the coast a hundred miles south of us. The expected landfall was in about an hour.
“So all we have to deal with is the torrential rain and a sustained winds of thirty miles and hour gusting up to fifty miles per hour. It should be a loud night,” I said.
“Well fuck it, let’s have another drink,” Wilson said. “The river is going to be over its banks for sure. I’m glad we moved the cars to the airfield.” That does nothing for my poor truck,” I said.
“I will pray for your truck,” Wilson said and burst into laughter. “Forgive this ranger for its part in the sins of its owner.”
“Maybe the waters will flood out the GPS chip,” I suggested, “Then I can sneak up on you and find out what you are up too when you aren’t here.”
“Talk about a waste of time. Sneaking up on me would be worse than tracking Randy Ralph for two weeks,” he said.
Edited by Walt