Sheriff Porter 117
I had really enjoyed the dig, but I also enjoyed that it was over. I couldn’t wait to get back to the barge with its hot water shower. I also missed my Canary mornings.
We headed back to the coast with me in the lead. I wasn’t really ready for a nice restaurant, so we stopped at a McDonalds. It was actually very good since we didn’t have one in New Wales.
When we got back to the barge, I rushed to be first into the office shower. I was in the shower at least twenty minutes. Most of that time was spent on my hair even though it is thin I like to feel it really clean. I managed to get back to the bedroom part of the barge and dressed before Wilson came down from his time in the barges shower.
When he was ready for dinner, we went out to Jefferson Island to visit a steak and rib restaurant inside one of the motels. The check was pretty large but like Wilson said we could afford it.
We went back to the barge after dinner. There were no places I wanted to go. Wilson hadn’t found a new hangout by that time, so he drove the Honda to the barge house.
“We need to find someone to give us some information on the stones,” Wilson suggested.
“You call around and find someone tomorrow, while I take the Canary up,” I suggested.
“Fair enough, I’ll call one of those pawn shops to give us an estimate on the gold,” he suggested.
“Maybe one of the old time jewelry stores can tell us about the stones,” I suggested.
“I’ll call around tomorrow,” Wilson suggested.
I slept poorly again. I awoke a couple of times before giving up at 6:30. I went quietly to the kitchen above Wilson’s head. If he could sleep he deserved it. He had actually done physical labor for two weeks. He mostly ran the sluice but that was still more demanding than anything he usually did. I made coffee in the one cup maker then sat for a few moments at the kitchen table getting my head out of my ass, before I began my pedal to the airstrip.
Since Wilson never showed, I rightly assumed that he was having no problems sleeping. I managed to find the tricycle in the almost dark shed. I also found and unplugged the on board battery charger. I made sure the motor was no longer resting on the wheel, then off I went.
Since I knew what lay in store for me when I arrived at the strip, I went by to pickup a biscuit and more coffee for my thermos. The coffee at MrBJ’s was barely better than no coffee at all, but what the hell, I thought.
Once I got to the grass strip I rolled out the riding mower and sat on it’s wider seat to eat. It took me only ten minutes to finish the biscuit, then I started the mower and began driving the mower up and down the grass strip. It took well over an hour to get the grass trimmed.
It was almost 10 AM when the Canary was on the strip with it’s nose pointed into the wind. I always ran all the gas out of the carburetor before I shut down the engine. Like always I had to turn it over a few times before it fired up. When it did, it took only a few seconds to smooth out.
I ran the canary into the wind and she leaped into the air. For the next hour I ran the canary north along the coast. I enjoyed looking at the boats and letting the fishermen look at me. I loved being the center of attention now and then. When I headed home. I did the same things I did on most mornings. I would climb to altitude, kill the engine then swoop and glide for a few minutes then restart the engine. Restarting the engine was always dangerous, but so far it had always restarted. It was the same that morning. Other than the wheels had trouble rolling over the fresh cut grass the plane handled flawlessly.
After I had it tucked safely in it’s hanger, I noticed the Judges hanger was complete and the door open. It had been closed when I left. I supposed the judge had his fancy little plane in the air. I had yet to get a good look at it.
“Hello,” Wilson replied when I called.
“So you didn’t die in your sleep?” I asked.
“No, I am quite alright. I just needed a little more sleep this morning,” he said.
“Wilson you always need a little more sleep. So you want to hold off with the appraisals for an hour or so? I’ll go with you, if you want,” I suggested.
“That would be great, since I know you won’t trust me,” he laughed.
“Who me?” I asked also laughing. After the call I rode the cycle home. I pedaled some then turned on the motor some. The motor pulled the trike a little slower than I pedaled it but not much.
When I pulled into the barge parking lot, I saw that Wilson was in the office on the pier. I plugged the charger in then slipped the trike into the shed beside the plug. Then I walked into the office to check on Wilson. “What you up to?” I asked.
“Just reading our messages and the other email.” Since we got our business by phone 99% of the time, I hadn’t bothered with email.
“Anything of interest,” I asked.
“We have three messages from the Realtor,” he said.
“She is probably prospecting,” I suggested.
“I don’t think it is the usual Realtor you work with. I don’t recognize the name,” Wilson said.
“Let me take a shower, and while I do you check on the email. You might want to check any others that need our attention,” I suggested.
“Roger that,” he said.
I spend significantly less time in the barge shower than in the office shower, but I felt clean when I finished. I decided to wear one of the black tee shirts with the red screen print of the scrawny wolf or dog on it. That I paired it with a cut off camo fatigue pants from the sheriff’s uniform. All those had been cut on with ragged ends. I had no idea what I would do come winter. Probably look into more jeans.
When I got to the office my hair was wet and i mean everywhere. It had gotten long enough over the last few weeks so that it need some attention. I made a mental note to stop by the barber shop. It was one I had found in the watchtower section. The shop was located in a trailer on the side of the road. The man who did the haircuts was a retired barber from Philadelphia. The violence and general degradation of the neighborhood where he had the shop was just too much for him. He took his retirement and headed south. He got only as far as New Wales.
“So you ready to go or what?” Wilson asked.
“I’m ready to go,” I replied. “I will drive.”
“Not that truck though,” Wilson said.
“Alright wimp,” I said with a grin.
“One of us should look a little like a business person. You are dressed like an old hippy, it will have to be me.” he suggested.
We bickered like an old married couple all the way to the pawn shop that advertised they bought gold. The old man behind the counter spoke to us first.
“Hello there what can I do for you?”
“We have some gold we want to sell,” Wilson said as he handed over the plastic bag.
“We don’t see much gold in this form. We mostly get rings and chains. Let me examine it with a loop then weigh it.” We agreed.
He looked at it with a ten power loop, then he weighed it. “25.3 grams,” he said.
“I got 26.5 on my scale,” Wilson said.
“Okay we will call it 26 even, how is that?” the old man asked.
“That’s fine,” I said.
“It’s a little over a thousand dollars an ounce. After my broker fee, I can offer you five hundred and fifty dollars for this lot,” he suggested.
“We would like to get one more figure then we will make a deal,” I suggested.
“Could we make a deal now at five hundred and seventy five dollars?” he asked.
“I think so, what do you think Wilson?” I asked.
“Sure why not,” he said. We took our cash and walked out to the parking lot. Well we didn’t strike it rich today,” he said.
“No but we had very little overhead. The old man buying the equipment means we didn’t lose anything and we got a five hundred dollar profit,” I said.
“Yeah but that was for two weeks work of two people, hardly a worth while endeavor,” Wilson said. I had to agree with him, but I didn’t say it.
“Well let’s go talk to your gem man,” I suggested. The drive was all the way to Ellisboro. It took five minutes for him to tell us we had some nice quartz, but it was worthless. He did find one small and flawed emerald.
“Now if this emerald was perfect, it would go a carat. It might be worth seven hundred dollars. As it is it is worthless,” he said.
“Well we were just curious. Thanks for looking,” I said.
“Hold on they use emeralds of this quality in manufacturing. It has a value of about twenty dollars. I can give you that for it.”
“No thanks we will hold on to it for a keepsake,” I said. I looked at Wilson to get his approval.
In the parking lot Wilson said, “That was humiliating.” He started to laugh after he said it.
Screw it we are miners, just for the hell of it not to get rich,” I said.
“Speak for yourself. You are already rich,” he said.
“Okay, so do you want to stop being my resident genius and start mining for real?” I asked.
“I kind of enjoyed it. It’s like a computer or lab problem. You have to pick at it until you either beat it or you admit it beat you. I don’t like losing,” he said.
“I guess there will always be people in trouble,” I said. “Okay then use your big brain and find us something to try next,” I said.
“There is no reason to think our last supposition was wrong. The second power dam would have some minerals which went over the spillway of dam one, every time it flooded. Then the feeder creeks coming in from the sides all the way down to the second damn in the line would bring whatever minerals wash into them. As we found with dam one, some of them would have settled out. It will take a more extensive operation to really see what is there,” Wilson said.
“So what you are saying is we need to find dam two and buy the land so we can really mine it?” I asked.
“I guess I am,” he said. “If we find the site of damn two and manage to buy it, most likely it will be winter. I am not running around pumping water through a sluice in 10 degree weather. I don’t care what they do in Alaska.”
“We could buy it get it set up while the weather is bad then start mining in the spring,” he suggested.
“Then Mr. Wilson you are in charge of finding the dam and negotiating for the land. This time no leases, we buy the mother fucker,” I said remembering being run off in the middle of the night.
Edited by Walt