Sheriff Porter 130
Like Martin said, I didn’t need the money, but I still enjoyed staying busy and feeling like I was earning my way in the world. “Martin Email me the details of the job. I think I’m ready for a nice quiet job.” I expected that a quiet gig would help to pass the time and help me get past my depression.
There was a damp chill in the air that cut down on my plane’s performance, but it was still above simply adequate. It was fun even if I was bundled up like an Eskimo princess. I sat the plane down and rushed to my truck to warm up before I put it away. It appeared that I might just put the plane away. I had flown it a long time without a heater but I didn’t think I would be getting enough enjoyment out of it for the frostbite I might get. The cabin was closed in but it was still cold with no heat. It also leaked air around all the joints where the canopy touched the plastic body.
The air was also driven pretty hard by the prop wash that beat against the canopy from the rear. All things considered I decided to wait until I was warm again, then drain the gas from the carburetor and tank. It took me about an hour to do as much winterizing as I knew how to do.
I was back on the barge by noon Christmas day. It was just another day to me. I hated that about myself. I had obviously lost my faith in everything. Maybe not everything but everything in which the average person put their faith.
I was surprised that the barge was empty at noon on Christmas day. Then I guessed that Wilson had gone to visit his daughter. I wondered if he would take Mel, who was most likely younger than Wilson’s daughter. “Merry Christmas honey, I want you to meet your new future step mom,” I started laughing at that image.
Since the Bar and the restaurant were finished as well as the apartments, I had nothing to occupy my mind. I checked the messages on the office landline. “Sylvia,” the first one said. “I am calling all of the cast of the Old Man Enterprises show. I wanted to let everyone know the first episode is airing today. It’s going to air twice once today as part of the home channel’s disgustingly sweet Christmas Marathon, then again on Tuesday for real. If you want to see the sneak preview it is on tonight at 9 PM. Oh it’s Lois,” she ended with a laugh.
Well I could always watch the Old Man Enterprises premiere I suppose. Probably not though. I really didn’t care how the show went. I was out of it and not all that sad to be.
Message two: “Merry Christmas, from Allen and Jeremy. We will be seeing you on New Years Eve won’t we?” It was The Brit’s last big party in the pub. Most all the Church Camp staff and probably their charges would be there. Hell I wouldn’t miss it for the world. I could leave right that minute for County Seat. I had a place to stay, but then I had a place to stay right were I was.
Message three: “Sylvia this is Sam from the Old Man Toy Shop. If you are looking for something to do tonight, come on over to the warehouse. We are going to have a dinner catered by your friend Mel and then watch the premier of the show.”
Well that explained where Mel was. Wilson was probably with his daughter. I hadn’t seen either since I shut down the office the week before Christmas. The big plan was to reopen sometime after New Years. Wilson and Mel had moved into the new apartment over the restaurant while the paint was still wet. Mel couldn’t wait to get her own place, she said.
Message four: “Sylvia it’s EZ just calling to wish you and Wilson a Merry Christmas. Call me anytime.”
I had to admit that I was bored and lonely, so I went down to look at the bar. It looked very unassuming from the outside except for the doors which had gold leaf letters stating that it had been the 1st Bank of New Wales and it gave the dates of operation. The sign projecting from the wall said simply BEER. It was just understated classy enough that I loved it. I expected The Brit would as well. The more flamboyant Jeremy might not, but fuck him. I had built it to lure The Brit down to New Wales.
I hadn’t done anything to the gift shop. I planned to allow Jeremy a free hand with the building. I had already had the two apartments over the building finished. There were five apartments in all. The one above the bank/bar was a luxury apartment, while the other four were small one bedroom units. The big draw was the communal deck. There was no way for the tenants to separate it. It they wished to use the deck they were going have to get along.
I walked through the restaurant next. It had tables Mel hadn’t liked at first. I think they had grown on her. The frames were black iron and the tops were stainless steel. It was the motif of the whole place. Black wrought iron and stainless steel was everywhere. Very industrial looking. It contrasted nicely with the old wood and plaster walls. I did just as little new construction as possible and refinished and re-purposed all that I could. Mel decided that people would be tired of turkey quickly. She planned to open two days after Christmas. It was also the day after ‘left over day’, she called it. She had trained her own assistants and according to her they were eager to get started. My guess was eager for the paychecks to start rolling in.
The boat shop was closed of course, as was the whole town. The hotel had lights on so I knew they had finally gotten the face lift done. The new owner had poked along till I started on my renovation. Since then the work had been going full speed with long shifts to finish the work. The top two floors were going to be condo units and the lower four floors were going to be luxury apartments. All the amenities with a flash of nostalgia. It was also one of my plans. Oh well, I thought.
I wasn’t ready to join the party yet, I wasn’t sure I would be at all to be honest. I walked down to the city dock. There were a handful of boats moored there even though they could only stay three days. Someone had come down for Christmas obviously. I could only imagine it was to visit family or maybe employees of the motels.
I know beach town Hotels should be empty and running with a skeleton staff. They would for sure be empty after New Year’s Day for at least a couple of months. Jefferson Island ran specials right through New Years day. All kinds of things like Bowl Game Specials and Christmas Family Rates. Anything to make a few more bucks before they had to close.
“Hi there,” a voice came from one of the boats. It was just about too large for the slip it occupied.
“Hello,” I said in reply.
“Are you staying here,” he asked.
“In a manner of speaking I live here. Not on one of these boats but I do live on a houseboat of sorts,” I said. “It just isn’t anchored here.”
“Oh I see, well could I interest you in some eggnog?” he asked.
“You don’t really have eggnog do you?” I asked.
“No, but I’m sure we can find some somewhere on Jefferson Island. They are making a big deal out of the traditional Christmas celebration,” he said.
“It’s supposed to be a family Christmas. I’m not sure that would include alcohol laced eggnog,” I said.
“Since you live here do you know of anyplace?” he asked.
“Hold that thought,” I dialed Mel’s cell phone. “Mel are you making eggnog?” I asked.
“I hadn’t planned on it. There is a bar set up in the corner but I wasn’t going to do anything,” Mel said.
“Well do you know how to make it,” I asked.
“Sure, get me some things from the store and I can whip you up a batch,” she said.
“Give me the list,” I said. I was surprised how few things were in eggnog. Well at least in Mel’s version. I turned my attention to the boat owner. “Come on we have to find a convenience store with milk, eggs and nutmeg.”
“Forget it lets stay here and drink bourbon,” he suggested.
“Let’s go to the party and drink eggnog. That was the offer I am considering,” I informed him.
“Oh alright,” he said. “Where are we going to get this stuff?”
“I have no idea, but let’s go look,” I suggested. I drove off in the candy cane truck in search of eggs, milk, and nutmeg. As I expected the large convenience store in Watch Tower was open. Watch Tower had managed to go more commercial than New Wales even though it was cut off from everything.
We got eggs and milk but no nutmeg. I got two pounds of sugar, a dozen eggs and a half gallon of milk. Mel had just said sugar, eggs and milk without telling me how much of each. Evidently the old men had enough bourbon with which to spike it.
“So my name is John,” the middle-aged Mediterranean looking man said. I sure hoped he was a Greek Tycoon or something. His boat was no cruise ship but it was no fishing boat either. Probably middle level management, I decided.
He and I pulled into the parking lot at the warehouse with plastic bags filled with eggnog makings. I introduced John around to the people I knew and they introduced him to other people. By the time I finished the introductions the Eggnog was ready. Mel filled two glasses for us and a couple for people who had asked for it. It was good and I didn’t even miss the nutmeg. We went through the table with fancy hot dogs and all the fixings. Mel had done another rehearsal for the opening of the restaurant in a week.
Then the TV show came on and it ran for an hour. There were old men sawing and cursing the wood, the patterns, the saws, but not each other or the kids who just happened by. I thought it was awfully contrived, but I didn’t say anything. When it was over they were waiting for someone anyone to say something.
“From what I have seen all these reality shows have really bad acting. If that is what it takes to make a hit, you have a blockbuster. Merry Christmas,” I added.
“Yeah what she said,” the old man who had been with me the longest said.
Then everyone dismissed it and went back to the party. “How about you and I go back to the boat and drink some real liquor,” John said.
“Sounds like a terrible idea. I’m in,” I said.
Once we were on board his boat he turned the lights off so we could look out the window at the boat with the Christmas light go by. One of the old men said that boats all lit up like that would sail by all night,” John commented.
He kissed me. It had been so long I almost ripped his clothes getting them off him. “Slow down Sylvia I want this to last,” he said. That’s when I realized he wasn’t Mediterranean at all he was Columbian. I almost asked him how the weather was back home. Truth is I wondered where the bodyguards were hiding. Then he kissed me again and I didn’t care about any of that.
Edited by Walt