Sheriff Porter 123
The old men sat quietly for the most part. The oldest of them hadn’t been part of the business from the beginning. The others had been brought in when it started to need more hands. His input was as important as anyone’s.
“I personally wish Sylvia would stay and be our go between on this thing,” he said. “If it weren’t for her we would all be sittin’ on the porch with a finger up our ass. Don’t seem right to do this without her.”
“Duke the plan was always to turn my share of the business over to you when the company repaid the loan. This yahoo’s money will do that for the company,” I said.
“You keep saying that, but it ain’t what we want. Hell, we don’t know what you do, when you do your work. We don’t want to know, but we sure need you to deal with these outsiders,” the first of the old men said.
“Anytime you need me to talk for you, I will, if you all agree. I won’t charge you a thing for the negotiating either.” They all shook their heads. Then Mel are you interested in doing this show as a walk on?” I asked.
“Hell yeah,” she said with a smile.
“What are you willing to pay her and these guys wives if you want them on,” I said.
For the first six shows while we see how the audience feels about them, a thousand an episode,” he said.
“No way, I’m sorry that puts all the risk on Mel. You are going to have to do better than that if you want a sexy chic to walk on,” I said.
“Two thousand then,” the producer said smiling.
“And the old men get approval of anyone else you bring in to show their ass on the show,” I said.
“We will have a camera crew here within a week,” he said shaking hands. The assistant was busy making notes. They had the run of the old men’s share of the warehouse for their camera crew to do their work.
They did not have permission to film my part of the warehouse and definitely not to film me. That was written into the agreement. “Email me that file before you leave and I’ll have my attorney take a look at it. Since we both agree to everything it will be just to make sure you don’t have any lawyer speak that harms my friends’ interest,” I said.
“Fair enough,” the producer said to me. I was pretty sure he told the assistant to find out what she could about me, if he hadn’t already. It wouldn’t be hard to find out. Well the work I did for Swamp Dog might be.
I spent Sunday afternoon working on the image of Dog in the swamp. I tweaked his image and washed out the swamp some. In the end Dog really stood out. I saved the file for my first attempt at engraving.
It was late when I finished so I decided to go to bed without Mel’s breathing to keep me company. I assumed she was with Wilson again. Maybe they were at the Karaoke bar. I did know that Wilson loved to sing. I also knew he liked the ladies. Since he didn’t know Andrew, maybe it was all for the best.
Monday Morning I awoke at 6 AM. Again there was no Mel in the room. I was dressed and headed out when I rode the trike by the Honda. Next to it was parked Mel’s several year old Hyundai, so I figure she was sleeping with Wilson. That was going to be a problem. I hadn’t been concerned that he slept with her once, but that they were sleeping together regularly. Spending nights together on the barge was more like lovers, than horny kids.
I rode the trike out, and then flew the airplane. When I landed it felt like the grass was high, so I stopped to cut it before heading home. I went into the warehouse where the Old Men were busy making tool chests. I went into my part of the warehouse. I found everything covered by sawdust. Something Wilson and I never imagined would be a problem inside a closed area.
I made a note to tell Wilson we needed his girlfriend the builder. That should make him squirm. I know it was dirty pool, but hey I needed the work done.
I dusted all the parts, then removed the small thumb drive from my pocket. I added it to the hard drive of small computer. It was meant only to hold the programs to operate the engraver and the ones I added to it for reproduction. I loaded it into the print program then chose the size disk from the on screen menu. It instructed me to insert the disk and secure it in place then close the case. Once all the hoops were completed, it began to hum and I could see through the cover that it was working, even if I couldn’t tell what it was doing. There was an admonishment not to open the engraving compartment printed on the outside of the case, so I paid attention to it and waited.
I drank coffee and watched the old men work through the window in the door which separated the two areas. I wanted to go out and speak to the men, but I thought they might prefer that I didn’t at the moment. I wasn’t sure how they felt about me pulling out so suddenly. Since I was still trying to help, they should cut me some slack. I had no idea if they would or not.
What I finally did was just wander out and begin putting knock together tool or toy boxes together. It was my way of saying I’m still here till I’m not here any more.
I was greeted with smiles, which was all I wanted from the old men. It took a half hour to cut the disk because it was so difficult. When I finished it was beautiful. It was also time for dinner. I had missed breakfast and lunch again. It wasn’t unusual, but it did leave me ravenous.
I also hadn’t showered or returned the trike to the barge. I called Wilson’s phone but got his voice mail. I tried Mel and got her voice mail as well. It was only five, but I was hungry. I would really like a hot dog I thought. That’s when I decided that I was going to have a hot dog restaurant. Mel had her chance to contribute, but she couldn’t make up her mind, so hot dogs it was.
To get a hot dog I would have to go out on the pier on Jefferson Island. The restaurant at the land end of the pier served hot dogs. They were just adequate, but they were hot dogs.
I rode the trike to the barge instead of going to the pier. There I showered and dressed. Mel and Wilson were still nowhere to be found. I was a little concerned they were my friends and could be in danger for that reason. I dialed Wilson’s number yet again. He finally answered his phone.
There wasn’t any noise in the background. “Wilson where the hell are you? You know I worry when my friends aren’t where they are supposed to be.”
“Mel and I are in Ellisboro we have been looking over the restaurants here,” he said.
“Good, I hope you have come up with a workable plan, because I have decided what I’m going to do if you haven’t,” I said it rather impatiently. “We can talk about it when you get here.”
“We were planning to stop for an early dinner at the next one, then go to the movie here,” he said. “Do you need anything.”
“No, but it’s time you get back to your own job Wilson. Let Mel take care of her plans without your help,” I said. I had known all along what a lousy idea him sleeping with Mel was, but I said nothing at the time. Now I was having to say something, before it became Osborn all over again.
“Did you have something you needed me to do?” Wilson asked.
“I needed to tell you that you need to send for your contractor friend. The part of the warehouse where the old men work needs to be sealed off.”
“Maybe you should just move your equipment into one of those storefront buildings,” he said.
“I don’t own them yet, but you might have a point, so don’t call your friend, but remember our office hours are nine till seven five days a week,” I said sternly. I didn’t want him to think he could just do as he pleased.
“Okay Sylvia, I will be in the office tomorrow at noon. I will stay till seven or until you tell me I can leave,” Wilson said. His voice was filled with sarcasm.
“Good, I will look for you tomorrow at noon,” I said sounding a bit like a hard ass.
The phone rang twenty minutes later. I saw that it was EZ. He couldn’t have picked a worse, or better time. I guessed it would have depended on which of us you asked. “What do you want,” I snapped at him.
“Jesus, are you ever going to forgive me?” he said.
“I’m not the one holding the grudge,” I said.
“If you aren’t, lets go to dinner?” he asked.
“Why would I want to have dinner with you?” I asked.
“I hear you are having a bad week. Maybe I can help,” he said.
“Not by taking me to dinner,” I admitted.
“Well, do you want to fuck?” he asked.
“Gee as romantic as that invitation is, no thanks. Have you got a car or pickup or something like that?” I asked.
“I am all caught up on cars and boats. Sorry nothing nasty you can help out with,” he said.
“Then I’m going to pass on seeing you tonight,” I said.
“I guess Wilson was wrong,” he replied and hung up.
What the fuck did he mean, I asked myself. I didn’t hang around the barge, even though I meant to do so. I went to the “Hundley” club instead.
“Hey, I know you. You are the Osborn chic’s friend,” the kid with the whitewall haircut suggested.
“Not so sure about friend these days, but yes I know her,” I said.
“Did you know she got cut up in that hospital where she works?” he asked.
“No I hadn’t heard that. How bad is she?” I asked.
“I don’t know to be honest, one of her boyfriends was here the other night. He told me about it when I ask where she was. I think she is back home now, but I don’t know about that either,” he replied.
I search through the memory of my cell phone and found Osborn’s number. When I rang it she answered. She wasn’t bubbly, but sounded strong. “Well Osborn what have you been up to?” I asked.
Since you called you obviously heard. I got myself stabbed,” she said.
“Are you still in the hospital,” I asked.
“They sewed me up, gave me a handful of Vicodin, and sent me home to heal. Off work for two weeks,” she said.
“Do you need anything?” I asked.
“No, I’m sure you have already filled my position, so it would just be charity. I really don’t need that,” Osborn said.
“Listen to me Osborn, I’m pretty much out of the business now. I’m starting a bunch of new small businesses. I put up the money and take a stake in it. When the money is repaid with interest, I sign over all interest in it. If you would like to be a small business owner give me a call. Promise me you will think about it,” I said.
“Maybe I’ll come down and talk to you, when I feel a little better. After all I am only fifty miles away,” she said.
“Absolutely,” I said then rang off.
Edited by Walt