Sheriff Porter 104
Again it’s complicated. If I can get it cheap, and I might before the Hotel conversion starts, maybe we can afford to take it down and turn it into a park. That city maintained dock would be a great draw for boaters on the intercoastal waterway. You did know the bay was part of it?” I asked.
“Of course I knew that. I just don’t know that high class apartments with short term leases would appeal to boat owners on the waterway. I also doubt that they would buy a condo here,” he said.
“You do know there are two and three million dollar houses on the north end of Jefferson Island. The condo with a nice bay view should be easy to sell for a quarter of that. We probably would fill up with blue haired old ladies, if you ran a piano bar there,” I suggested.
“Oh and I suppose that is how you are going to farm me off into retirement,” he said with a laugh.
“Not a chance, but you know if they let you sing you would be there every night. We might have to have a fancy wine list though. I really hate places that have more then two red and two white wines on the menu,” I said.
“Yeah those are so fancy,” Wilson said and laughed. “You are a reverse bigot.”
“Well that is entirely possible,” I agreed. “Anyway all that can wait. We need to start reading the papers to find some action.”
“Yeah let’s try to get something that pays this time,” Wilson said.
“Well even if we didn’t get paid, we had a good resolution to the drug/rapes,” I said.
“Yes I will agree with that,” Wilson said. “When we get back to the dock, I will crank up searches. Anything in particular you would like to try next?”
“I’m adaptable, just make it interesting and make it soon,” I said.
Wilson had a rule no cell phones on the boat. I sorta had to agree with him. I carried my cell phone in the Chickadee since I never went far from home. There was a chance I might need to say my last goodbyes.
I mention this because we had messages waiting for us after our three hours fishing expedition. Mine was from the warehouse man I had spoken to that morning. I really hadn’t expected him to call so quickly, but I was on a roll.
“Miss Porter, I spoke with my dad and he would like to sit down and discuss our property on Bayview street,” the voice on the phone message said.
“A meeting is a fine idea. When would you like to have this sit down, and do I need to bring my lawyer?” I asked when I returned the call.
“No need for lawyers yet, but if things work out, you might need a lawyer,” the voice suggested.
“Make it afternoon when we meet and I’ll sit down any day you like,” I agreed.
“Okay how about tomorrow?” he asked.
“Okay 1 PM for coffee at MrBJ’s,” I suggested even though I hated their coffee.
“Not my favorite place, but it will do for a neutral space,” he said.
“I thought the same thing, and their coffee is shit,” I said just to relax him.
“Yeah we been living here a long time, and there are not too many places in New Wales to get a decent cup of coffee and Jefferson Island isn’t a good place to discuss business.”
“I like the coffee on the pier there, but you are right there is no privacy. So I’ll see you tomorrow at 1 PM at MrBJ’s,” I repeated.
“While you were talking to the Bean, I was talking to your friend in South Carolina. His friend in New Jersey is insisting we escort his diamonds. His friend isn’t so sure that the South Carolina connection is secure,” Wilson said.
“How long did you guys drive last time?” I asked.
“Twelve hours and that was eating from the seven eleven type stores, while we filled up the car. It was miserable. We were scared to death that someone had followed us,” Wilson said.
“Yeah this time it is most likely that, if they still want the package they will figure out who has it. Find out how much they are willing to pay us to deliver their goods,” I said to Wilson. I didn’t mind making him work for his share of the money. Besides he seemed to like being involved.
“Negotiate with them and get as much as you can. We have to have a minimum of 20K for the job. If they pay it without a fight the people who were after the diamonds are still after them. If that is the case, it is risky, but I have an idea or two. We are going to Ellisboro this afternoon.”
I drove the truck the hours drive to Ellisboro. At the Wal-Mart store I bought a really nice mountain bike. I paid almost $250 bucks for it, but I expected it to be a nice ride. When we left, I picked up a lot of other things, just to make the trip worthwhile. But the bicycle was the biggest item.
I spent the later evening checking out maps and gathering other information before I made the plan. The next morning I rode the bike to the airfield. I flew the ultra light for an hour and a half before I brought it down in what was almost a dead stick landing. The engine was ready just in case but I tried to land it as a glider and it worked just fine. I used the mower to tow the plane to the hanger. I stored it carefully and then used the smart phone to call EZ’s mechanic who made house calls. He agreed to meet me the next day after noon at the strip.
I rode the new bike back to the barge. I showered then dressed for my meeting with Beans, father and son. I wasn’t looking forward to it, but I still needed to make a decision about the warehouse. The final decision about the hotel depended on getting the warehouse. It also had to be cheap enough or it might be a no go for both parcels. I just hadn’t decided which way I would go.
I drove the candy colored pickup to MrBJ’s. I was looking forward to their bad coffee. Even bad coffee is better than no coffee. I hadn’t stopped my research in time to eat lunch so coffee was important to me.
I recognized Josh who was sitting with what I presumed was his dad. I sat down with the two of them and the said, “Hi Josh is this your dad?”
“Yes I’m the Senior Mr. Bean,” the old man said very formal. I could tell it was going to be a long coffee break.
“I hope I will be able to say it will have been nice to meet you, after this meeting is over. So have you decided you want to sell the building and land?” I asked.
“First of all let me tell you we ain’t interested in any bargain basement offers,” the old man said.
“Then let me tell you the market value is based on a good economy and this isn’t a good economy. So let’s see if there is any room for negotiations,” I suggested.
“The market value is $78,000,” the old man said.
“Sir I don’t want to contradict you but that was the value five years ago. Today it would be closer to $60,000 according to the real estate appraiser,” I said. “And frankly I’m not willing to pay that much. So if you consider $50,000 for a clear unencumbered deed a bargain basement price, we are through here.”
“Well I do consider that less than the place is worth, but I also know getting cash in this economy is hard, so you pay off the bank of 33k and change and give us 20k for our equity and we can make a deal,” the old man said.
“Josh are you going to be good with this?” I asked.
“Yeah, we need to move the operation nearer to the boat docks on the Tomahawk River,” he said. I hoped it was the commercial docks near Ev boat yard he was talking about. That at least wouldn’t make the truck traffic increase farther down river where my marina was located.
“I’ll have my lawyer make the required moves to get this done. Gentleman it’s been a pleasure,” I said as I stood to leave.
In the parking lot of MrBJ’s I made the call to Rita. “Rita, I’m going to buy some more real estate. I’m just giving you a heads up. I will have Wilson email you all the relevant information tonight. You should have it in the morning.”
“Is this going to be one of those rush things?” she asked.
“Not really, but don’t drag your feet either,” I said.
“When are you going to invite me down there anyway?” she asked.
“I got one more parcel to buy. After that maybe we can work something out,” I said.
When I got back to the barge it was mid afternoon. The fishing boat was gone so I assumed Wilson was fishing. I went back inside and worked on Google for most of the afternoon. Wilson came in before dark, but not too much before dark.
“How was the fishing?” I asked.
“I didn’t catch anything I wanted to have stuffed, but it was fun,” Wilson said. “So do you have a plan worked out?”
“I think if we can get the money we want, I have a plan,” I said.
“What if your friend in South Carolina wants the details?” Wilson asked.
“Tell him no. I can only be sure it is secure if only I know the details,” I replied. “Find out when the shipment is due.”
I slept fine for the first time since I returned from Mexico. I knew there would be money coming in even if I didn’t go play with Swamp Dog. When I woke the next day I pedaled the bike to the strip and flew the plane south. I had enough power to get back, but I still killed the engine and rode the northerly air currents along the coastline.
I went directly home to shower and dress. I met the Mechanic at 1 PM after more research on the net. He did a complete check up on the Honda Engine I used to power the Chickadee. He changed the two plugs and checked the compression on the cylinders. He didn’t make many changes, so I felt like it might be a lot of smoke and mirrors, but I paid him the just over $75 for the tuneup.
When I got home Wilson was awake and sitting on the deck. “Your man in SC called earlier. The shipment is coming in.”
“Send him these instructions and make sure he understands his part in it. He isn’t off the hook, till I have the stones in my hand. Then it becomes our responsibility.
I laid out Wilson’s part in the plan as well as the Diamond Importer’s. His reply was, “The boat will be in after midnight. The importer will have the stones by 3 or 4 AM.”
“We can be ready, You need to be sure he knows his part. You stay the hell away from that freight office. You have more important things to do.” Wilson and I left for the Importers about five PM. We didn’t ride together, but we arrived pretty nearly the same time.
“So how was the drive,” I asked walking to the truck.
“Good, you been waiting long?” Wilson asked.
“About ten minutes is all. So much for saving time by flying,” I said.
“That might be true, but it is an elegant plan,” Wilson said.
“If it succeeds, it is,” I said with a smile.
Edited by Walt