The hotel and how to use it
“Do you think we have seen the end of them?” Wilson asked.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if we had to disappear someone,” I said. Then I laughed showing him I was kidding. Wilson didn’t need to know all the things I had done. I went outside and checked the small boat we had bought. It was really a flotation platform more than a boat. Still with the small electric motor it would do just fine for most of Wilson’s fishing needs. I expected them to last about a month, certainly no more. Wilson was reacting to his two ladies being lost to him. I was sure it was no more than that.
“You want to drive down to see the Railroad hotel?” he asked.
“Is it open?” I asked. I only knew that I hadn’t bought it.
“No, there are no takers, not even at 250k. There are just too many renovation to turn the hotel into anything else,” Wilson explained.
Well it can be done, I’m sure of that. The managers of the trust are checking the dollars and sense for me now. It might be ours in a few days, if the price is right,” I suggested.
“Do you really think you can turn it into long term rental suites and make a profit?” Wilson asked.
“It isn’t about a profit. It’s about maintaining the building. If we get it up and running and if it is self sustaining, then we can handle it,” I said.
“You mean you can handle it. I’m not putting any money into it,” Wilson said.
“Fair enough,” I replied with a laugh. Then added, “Wimp.”
We did ride down to the hotel to take a look at the area at night. One thing I noticed was without the warehouse sitting behind the hotel there would be a great view of the bay. With a little landscaping it would be a nice park as well. There wasn’t all that much land under the concrete parking lot so I was willing to bet it all could be bought for a fairly good price. I was almost sure the owners of the warehouse would be willing to listen to a reasonable offer. Maybe even a not so reasonable one.
The dock at the end of the warehouse was maintained by the city as a public dock. The warehouse had once received small packages from the commercial boats that docked there. These days they were not allowed to use the city dock, so the warehouse was trucking from a small dock located in the mouth of the Tomahawk River. I expected he would be more than happy to make a move out there, if he had an offer on his warehouse downtown.
I had an idea, but I needed the hotel building. I was mostly stalling till I felt like the owner was hurting. I was going to own the property sooner rather than later. That was, if no one else wanted it.
“Come on lets go to that fish camp for dinner,” I suggested.
“Sylvia, everything there is so greasy. Couldn’t we go to The Grill House, if you want fish?” he asked.
Damn Wilson having you around might save my life,” I said. “Sure the Grill House it is,” I added.
The Grill House was filled with tourist, which is why I hadn’t chosen it. Wilson chose it because he liked to ogle the younger women.
“Too bad they don’t allow the women to wear their bikinis,” I suggested.
“I certainly agree with that. You are going to allow them to wear them in the New Improved B&B aren’t you?” he asked.
“I don’t have it yet, but no I’m not going to allow bikinis in the lounge or dining room,” I replied. “Well, if the woman is old and looks worse in a bikini than I do maybe.”
“Like you said no bikinis in the lounge or dining room,” Wilson commented with a smile.
“Just for that I might not let you in either,” I said.
After the charbroiled seafood platter I went back to the barge. I stopped for a box of fried apple pies. They probably filled my quota of grease for the day. That night I ate apple pies and drank coffee. I also masturbated on the Internet. I really missed that when I went into the boonies for Swamp Dog. It was probably the real reason I said no more. That and I was frankly getting a little old to be running around playing rangers and ragheads.
When I awoke the next morning all the windows were in place in the office, so I rode the trike out to the airfield. It was a beautiful day even at 6:30 AM. I took the plane up and sailed as much as I used the Canary’s large Honda engine. I spent two hours up there sailing around. When it was time, I hit the starter and the Honda fired right up. I turn the prop to the wind and engaged it. Without even a complaint the Honda had the plane moving at its top speed of about 75 MPH. Not much of an improvement over a car, but there was a lot better views from the tiny plane, than from the tiny truck.
I got back to the barge a little before 10 AM. Wilson was still asleep as far as I could tell. I didn’t want to wake him because we had unofficially decided that office hours, when we weren’t on a case, began at noon. So for the next two hours I did nothing but think about the hotel. I decided that I was going to buy it no matter what anyone said. With that in mind I drove to the warehouse behind the hotel.
“Hello in there,” I shouted to the people inside, if there were any. The overhead doors were closed, but the walk in door was unlocked.
“Hey, What can I do for you?” the man in his thirties asked.
“Hey, my name is Sylvia. I was wondering what you guys did in here?” I said. “I have an idea, but I’m not positive.”
“Sylvia, my name is Josh Bean and we are in the import business. We import glassware,” he said. “You know like wine glass and such.”
“Oh okay, do you own this building?” I asked.
“The bank owns most of it. Why do you ask?”
“I was wondering if you were interested in selling it, but I guess you aren’t,” I said.
“Well, we need the space,” the guy said. It was obvious he was alone in the building. He probably didn’t have any employees.
“Sure, I can see that you have a lot of inventory,” I said while looking around.
“We don’t right now, business is slow, but it will come back,” he explained.
“Okay, well I guess I better be going,” I said.
“Do you want to buy the building?” he asked.
“I might, if the price were right. What’s your equity?” I asked. I knew he was going to ask for his full equity. I also knew I wasn’t going to buy anything that day and definitely not for full asking price with the economy the way it was.
“We would probably need to get 50k, and you payoff the loan,” he said with a straight face.
“Well that ain’t gonna happen for sure. You are on a 10K lot and the building is a prefab knocked together piece of crap. I figured 50k is about the market value.”
“No the market is 75k for sure,” he said.
“Well good luck with you glass business,” I said. I turned around again. “You think it over, and I will as well. Maybe with more thought, we can get together.” I left him a business card identifying me as a real estate investor.
When I got back to the barge, Wilson was sitting on the deck with a cup of coffee.
“So what’s up?” I asked.
“Waiting to see, if you want to go fishing?” he said.
“Sure we have nothing better to do,” I replied. As I had instructed when Wilson picked up the boat, he also bought me a telescoping fiberglass fishing pole. Before I got on the boat I added some very lightweight cotton kite string. It couldn’t be rated more than ten pounds if that. The cotton line was waxed only because Wilson had taken a candle and run the line over it. The candle had grooves where the line had cut into the wax.
The motor was nothing more than a super trolling motor. It did maybe five miles an hour at the most. But then we really weren’t in any hurry. Wilson had already scouted a few spots he claimed were killer. I would believe it when I saw it.
“So what are we going to use for bait?” I asked.
“Let me show you the Wilson farm,” he said. I followed him under the shed roof attached to the side of the office like a pimple. Under that roof was stored my trike minus the battery pack. And several other things that were impervious to the weather. Along the back wall were two very large plastic storage containers. They were on concrete blocks to get them off the ground. Inside one of the boxes was topsoil.
“If I dig down there are hundreds of worms. I just come out and scoop up a handful and go fishing. Some old man who used to sell bait to the pier came by while you were out of town. He convinced me to buy five hundred red worms, so now we have our own worm farm. Just enough for you and I. Well maybe our friends from up north should they come down.”
“Well if you build it, they will come,” I said with a smile. “Let’s go fishing.”
“It’s the middle of the day. The really good fishing is early in the morning and then again at dusk. But sure, I’m always up for fishing. I put my collapsing fishing pole onto our little rectangular ‘sort of’ boat.
Wilson captained the boat as it went upstream at a ripping 5 miles an hour. Going back down stream even if we had to paddle wouldn’t be a problem. We pulled into the mouth of a feeder stream. I settled into bait fishing. It is called that because I used live bait and also because the fish I caught were, for the most part, suitable only for bait. Now and then I caught a perch or bream suitable for a fish fry. Since neither Wilson nor I wanted to work that hard for our dinner, we released them back into the river.
“You ready to tell me your plan for the hotel yet?” Wilson asked.
“I honestly don’t have a plan, or I should say I have several possibilities in mind. First of all I would like to use it to preserve the downtown. The City and County have chipped in with a private citizen, not me, to preserve the old railroad terminal. They did that even though the line is no longer used. It has some historical significance, but it was never marketed correctly,” I said.
“So you think you can restore the hotel and people would want to stay there. People are not going to walk down the hall to use the bathroom,” Wilson replied. “Chrissy and her Mom knew that even.”
“You are absolutely right. That’s why I thought the suite idea was a good one. Lately I have also been thinking condo units. Something that could be sold to people with too much money, in which case I could get the hell out of it, after I renovated it. Since they did some half-assed renovations the completion of it would be easy.”
“I suppose that is a viable possibility since you don’t care about making a profit,” Wilson said.
A few minutes later with no bites he asked, “So why are you interested in the warehouse?”
Edited by Walt