By Cindy and Walt
I spent the day cleaning up my affairs. I arranged for the management of the rent property with the bank’s Property Management Department. The rent payment would go directly into my bank account. Carlos would be in charge of the maintenance. The Management Company would pay him for his work. The sale of the unused land in the Village to Carlos and Juan was also arranged by the bank’s Trust Department. The land also included the building materials that were lying about on the site. The price was one dollar US. The bank was so small both Departments were headed by Selena Martinez.
I arranged with the Realtor, who had been in charge of the Village sales, to sell the Country Store as well and the remaining houses. I gave Selena, the power to sign the sales contracts with the money again going directly to my savings account.
Then on the advice of the people at Church Camp I took the trike and disappeared. Oh they didn’t say get out of town by the end of the week, but it was clear people would be looking at me seriously. That is, if they could find me. My records at the state prison farm had been expunged. My prints misplaced inside the state department of corrections. The National Database had someone else prints under my old name. So the prints that Homeland Security had obtained should be of no use to them. However no one could get them out of the system this time. Best thing that could happen for me was to disappear. I was in the database again as Jane Doe.
“Run fast, run far, and leave soon,” the voice in my head said.
“So you came back. You couldn’t stand to leave me in peace,” I said.
“You forget girl. I have twice the life experience you do. Some of that is in how to avoid being found,” he said.
“Well I may run far, but I won’t be running fast. I am dropping off the grid for a while and it won’t be around here,” I said.
“Even I can figure that out. Actually your way may be better,” Liam admitted.
I decided to take the trike so I took the motor and battery holder off the bicycle and installed it on the trike. The trailer for the bicycle is not suitable for travel since it was mostly to stabilize the bicycle.
“I want a light weight trailer, but I don’t have time to wait for it to come,” I said.
“Then we need to get you out of town with what you have, then get what you need while we are on the road,” Liam said.
“What’s this we shit, you has been mercenary?” I asked.
“Some one has to keep you out of trouble and give you good advice,” he said.
“I should write a book, ‘Advice From the Other Side’,” I said.
“You do that and they will have you in the mental hospital. Homeland Security will know right where to find you,” he said.
I left as the sun rose on the day after I finished closing down my tiny empire. I had lots of things going on, but as the man said I needed to leave right the fuck away, the sooner the better.
I planned to travel 75 miles to the east the first day. I had to use old deactivated state highways. They had been re designated as county roads in some cases or secondary state roads. I rode 75 miles to make it less than fifty miles as the crow flies.
I found a motel in the small town which was my destination. I checked into the small motel. I check my big battery before I went to dinner. I switched the battery on the trike from the 40ah to the 20ah one then plugged the charger in on the 40ah to start it charging while I was gone. I also read it for amount of usable charge left. It appeared that I might have had ten more miles left on the battery. The crazy terrain was playing hell with the calculations, but I had the spare along just in case I had to switch them out. Fortunately I hadn’t needed to do that on day one.
I paid cash at a local burger type restaurant then took the giant burger back to the motel. On my laptop I had two different ways to get to the Internet. One was on any WiFi I could hijack, and the other was on a dial up IP. That particular motel clerk agreed to let me use the phone in my room to connect to the Internet long enough to check my email. So I used it. After that chore I watched a landline TV provided with the room, until I fell asleep.
I was up before sunrise. I was also sore as an open wound that morning. The pedaling though minimal had been almost continuous. I opened the bottle of OTC pain meds and took two. I still wanted to get down the road farther before I took a break from the Trike.
I had breakfast at the same burger restaurant, before I left the small town. I rode and pedaled through two more small towns. I found a small convenience store early that morning. I purchased several packages of crackers and filled my two cup stainless steel coffee thermos before I left. Just as I expected I didn’t get to a town of any size until 5 PM. I could have traveled three more hours but I was exhausted and I wasn’t sure how my batteries would hold up. I also didn’t know if there would be a motel in the next town.
The night went the same as the one before. Liam didn’t bother to talk to me, so I slept like the dead again.
The days began to run together as I rode the trike east. I could travel the distance in a day that a person in a car could travel in an hour more or less. It was not an efficient way to travel, but it suited me at the moment. I was just trying to stay out of sight and one day get to a warm climate.
On the fourth day I rode under an interstate highway, so I decided to stop at a chain motel with high speed WiFi. The room price was twice what a Mom and Paki motel would have been but I could use all the Internet I wished.
I used the time to do some window shopping on line. I wasn’t anywhere I planned to stay long enough to have a package delivered. So looking was all I could do at the moment. I had been drawing since I left home for New York. By the time I checked into the motel I had a leather envelope half filled with sketches. I was tempted to mail them to Luis but decided against it. I had to stay disappeared for a while longer.
I checked my bank records and found that my account had the transactions I expected to see. That meant that the automatic deposits and withdrawals were being made as I had set them up to be. I had brought the twenty two thousand bucks from the grease pit along plus I put another twenty five thousand in the account with the debit card authorization. All that meant was that I had fifty thousand bucks that would be hard to trace. Even if they figured out where to look.
I wasn’t too worried about my personal safety, but I must have given it some thought because I had traded one of my two shotguns for an old colt .38 snub nose revolver. I doubted I could hit a house at twenty yards, but if the bad guy was that far away, I would just run. That being the case I was pretty sure I could hit a man in the chest at ten feet if I stayed calm and I usually did stay calm.
After a full week and a day, I pulled into a small coastal town. It was a hundred miles from where the boat I worked on back in my early days with SBI had been berthed. It was a picturesque town with a short walk from downtown to the inland waterway. I decided that it wasn’t the right place to settle for a month, mainly because it was too close to home. I needed to be farther south before the winter arrived. It was mid September when I checked into the motel whose lobby smelled of Curry. I had to consider where I would be on November First.
I did stay two days before I headed south. It was a long two day ride to Myrtle Beach but there were interesting things to see along the way. All along the way Iris Martin was a curiosity with her trike and backpacks.
The first time I used it Liam showed up to comment. “So you are using one of the Church Camp IDs?” he asked.
“Sure why not? It was a phony made by Wilson before he decided to use real people IDs,” I whispered silently.
“It won’t matter if the Feds run you back to Farmer’s Grove,” he suggested.
“Thank you for your input Mary Fucking Sunshine,” I said and laughed so that only he could hear.
I had pulled out the Iris Martin ID only after I was seven days out of Farmer’s Grove. The only thing I used it for was checking into the Motel, which sometimes required a driver’s license. The fake one would hold up for a motel, but not a traffic stop. If that happened I would use the Rose Seabold ID. Truth is nobody seemed to do anything but blow their horn and wave. I had a few jerks cut me off, but it wasn’t too bad. I just yelled ‘asshole’ and continued to ride.
“You know old girl if you settle in somewhere for a while, you could get another battery kit and travel twice as far in a day. The landscape is more bicycle friendly here,” Liam noted.
“I know but by the time it arrived, I would have lost the whole month. I will do something when I can settle somewhere warm for a month,” I said. The riding conditions changed so drastically that I could make it from Myrtle Beach SC to twenty miles past Savannah Georgia in three easy days riding.
Two weeks of traveling after I left Farmers Grove I was crossing the Florida State line. Then of course I got rained out for two days. It couldn’t have been in a hotel that provided Wifi, so I had a miserable day looking out the window of a cheap motel. The owner did let me pull the trike onto the walkway near the room so I could watch it better and keep it somewhat dry. I also had a clear plastic cover, which would find its way to the trash when I left. Those could be purchased for a couple of bucks, so weren’t worth packing. They never would go back in the package anyway.
Four weeks after I left home, I arrived in Fort Myers Florida. I was thrilled to find a small town with all the good stuff, and not too awfully large. I found a suite motel that rented for well under a hundred dollars a day. My plan was to stay just long enough to get a second 40ah battery delivered and have a trailer built for me.
I figured ten days minimum a full month maximum. When I sat down in the Econolodge long term suite, the first thing I did was tap their WiFi and order a new battery. I paid for it with PayPal which could be traced back to the bank in County Seat. That was if Feds knew who I was. I had the battery shipped to the motel with my exact address.
Then I did my routine bank account and email screens. The Realtor advised me that all the houses were sold and everything else turned over to Carlos. Luis was given the deed to his house as per my instructions. The email from the bookkeeper told me that they were making his collections on the rent houses and making the deposits. All appeared to be right with the world in Farmer’s Grove. I went to bed feeling pretty good about myself.
“So you have enough money to do anything you want and you have done a good thing for your friends. So what now?” Liam asked from the chair at the end of my bed.
“I still have a lot left. I think I’m going to try spending some of it,” I said.
“So what do you have in mind?” Liam asked again.
“Why don’t you hang out with me and find out?” I suggested.
“So you don’t have any Idea?” he asked.
“Not a clue,” I replied and then drifted off to sleep.
When I awoke, I knew that even though I was settled I was going to have to ride the trike. I would need to ride at least a few miles a day to stay in shape when time came to move on. I hadn’t had to think that way for several weeks. I found myself back in almost my regular schedule. If I didn’t workout I would probably blimp up as well, I thought. I had actually lost ten pounds over the last couple of months. I kind of liked the well defined me. With that in mind, I left the battery packs on the chargers and pedaled the bike to breakfast. Even without the motor it was easy to manage the ride, way easier than I was used to, so it became a two hour ride after breakfast as well.
While I was at breakfast, I used their WiFi to look at the online yellow pages. I looked up machine shops and found one only a few miles from the restaurant where I ate breakfast. I decided to go home and get the small battery since it got used a lot less than the big one. It could use a thorough draining.
I rode the bike to the machine shop. “Hi there,” I said to man sitting on a stool welding.
“Just a minute I’ll be right with you,” he said.
“You need to go wait outside. That welding torch will fuck up your eyes,” Liam said.
“So I hear,” I replied.
“What?” the welder said.
“Nothing, just answering the voices in my head,” I suggested.
“Okay, I can let this wait a minute, so what you want?” he asked a little too nice.
“I need a light weight bike trailer.” I had downloaded the plans for a trailer that I liked. Since it wasn’t available except by special order, I figured I could have it made easier. I handed him the tablet with the plans and material list as well as the snapshot.
He took a look, “How soon do you want it?”
“How soon can you do it?” I asked.
“A week,” he replied. “It’s not gonna be cheap.”
“What do you consider not cheap,” I suggested.
You deliver the wheels and metal to me and I’ll charge you two hundred bucks,” he said.
“That’s too much. I can buy the parts and the tools to make it cheaper,” I said, “And I would still have the tools.”
“I don’t think you want to do that. It will mess up your manicure,” he said laughing.
“Look it’s going to be a few drill holes and then bolt it together kind of thing. We both know you can do it in an hour max,” I suggested.
“Two,” he said.
“No,” I replied turning to leave.
“It might take me two hours. Tell you what, make it one fifty and I’ll provide the frame material you just bring the wheels.”
“Fair enough,” I agreed. On the ride back to town I passed a goodwill store with a few bikes parked out front. I walked the line of bikes. I found one that would do, so I went to the cashier. “How much for the black 16 inch bike out front?”
The paint was a spray job and the seat was ripped. It also had some rust on it but the wheels had turned free. “Twenty dollars,” the cashier said.
“I’ll give you fifteen and you can keep the frame for your metal pile,” I suggested.
“Okay, fifteen it is.” I paid the lady and opened the small black bag with the bike tool travel kit. I made quick work of removing the wheels. They barely fit in the trike’s basket. Even then I had to tie them on. I made it back safely to the machine shop.
“Come by in a couple of days it should be ready,” The owner informed me.
I rode the trike through the center of the historic district of town. I loved the older buildings nestled in the shadows of high rise hotels. It was quite an adventure, when I parked the trike to walk the streets. Interesting shops and fancy restaurants were all over the River View District. Of course I loved the historic buildings and residential neighborhoods.
Best of all the weather was still terrific for shorts and little tee tops. Except for my buzz cut, I looked great. It was even beginning to grow out. It was a little over a quarter inch in length.
It took me a full week to get tired of Fort Myers. I didn’t know anyone and I had no desire to make any kind of commitment to anything there. I rode the trike all over town and just spent my time sightseeing. It was fun but it wasn’t anything that really excited me. I did learn to sleep late, since I rode the trike all over town anyway that time didn’t matter. I left the battery pack in my motel room most of the time, so that I had to work my legs and keep my heart pumping.
I picked up my trailer and it was what I hoped it would be. It was lightweight with twelve square feet of storage space. Best of all it was strong. The plastic bed sat on the frame. I figured it would hold a couple of hundred pounds easy. I had no where near that amount in mind. I had no real need for the additional 40ah battery, since the land on the gulf coast was flat as a pancake. I knew that once I bought it, I would get some use out of it, sometime.
I easily had a hundred miles of battery power already, but hell who knew I might get the twenty miles an hour I had been promised. If I rode the trike ten hours at a stretch, which I could easily do by that time, I could go well over a hundred miles in one day. I just had to get the new battery pack in then decide what to do with it.
I had at least another week to wait when it happened. I was in the convenience store waiting to buy peanut butter crackers when the two Hispanic guys came in. They went behind the counter, pushed the little girl, who was waiting on me out of the way, they opened the register and took several bills out. Then they smiled at me and walked out the door.
“You are going to call the cops?” I asked.
“No, please don’t do anything,” she said as she saw me looking at the cell phone I had used it to make their pictures.
“You can’t let them get away with it. If you do they will just keep coming back to their piggy bank,” I explained.
“You do not understand, if I do anything they will come back and burn the store. They may even have my parents deported,” she said.
“It must be hard to make a living with them robbing you. How often do they come in?” I asked.
“They come in every Monday,” she said.
“Then you need to give me a part time job. Just for next Monday,” I suggested.
“So you are getting bored being a world traveler?” Liam asked. I just nodded to him.
“You can not stop them. You are just a woman like me. They are big men,” she said.
“Well if it is a gang, they may come back, but if it is just a dick head and his baby brother, we will end it Monday,” I promised. “If I lose tell them I was trying to take over the territory from them. If I win I’ll tell them.”
All week I checked back on the little convenience store on the edge of town. I went to the dollar store on Sunday and bought a pack of number two wooden lead pencils and a sharpener.
When Monday came I was behind the counter helping out. I was ready for them when they came in. I took a deep breath.
“Out of the way puta,” the larger one said to me.
“No,” I replied. Then he drew back to slap me but I was faster. I stabbed him in the chest with the number two pencil. I wanted to miss his heart but get a lung. It would have worked if he hadn’t moved. When he did the pencil went directly into his heart muscle.
The man with him tried to bring a pistol into play but he was too close and was too concerned about his brother to be effective. I hit him in the throat hard. My hand was small enough that he got the full force of the blow on or near his Adams apple. The two of them lay on the floor behind the counter when I called the police. There would be “CCTV film of the attack I knew. If it hadn’t been a clear case of self defense I would have destroyed the file.
I wasn’t going to have anyone help me to disappear, so I stayed and waited for the ambulance. I had released the pencil once I realized it didn’t go where I expected. It was blocking the blood flow or the bad guy would have bled out quickly.
First the cops came and found me unarmed and waiting patiently. Then the ambulance came and took the two of them away. I leaned over the one gasping for breath since his throat was constricted. I asked him, “Who’s the puta now?”
The cops took our statements. There were even witnesses who weren’t even in the store. They were ready to testify that the men ran a protection racket and had started the fight. The kicker was the CCTV file. I had to remain at the police station till the cops and DA decided I was harmless. After all, my ID as Rose Seabold was clean.
I was careful not to touch anything, so my prints didn’t wind up in the system. I had worn blue mechanics rubber work gloves while I tended the register. “Why officer, I was worried about germs,” I explained.
“You are lucky the man you stabbed didn’t die. He was serious but the doctor also said if you had removed the pencil he would have bled out. The other one is just going to have a bruise. We are just surprised that you resisted.”
“I just wanted to keep my job, it was my first day,” I said. “You have no idea how upsetting this is. I am afraid they will come looking for me. Everyone says they are bad men.
“I would be very surprised if either of them wanted to deal with you again,” he said.
“I hope you are correct about that. Can I go now? I have been here for four hours,” I said.
“Yes but don’t go too far,” the detective said.
“I won’t, but I think I will look for work somewhere else,” I said.
I went back to the motel. Every day till my battery came, which took almost a week longer, I checked on the store. No one seemed to want to move in on the brother’s turf. The one with the bruised throat was in jail and his big brother was in the hospital. It looked as though it was at least a temporary victory.
When the battery came I went to a local discount store to buy a couple of tarps and lightweight sleeping bag. I packed them and the two spare batteries into the trailer. Bright and early the next morning I set off in the direction of New Orleans. I wished the kid in the store well, but I couldn’t babysit forever.
It took me another five days to get out of Florida. I half expected the State Police to find me and arrest me for something or other. Truth is no one bothered me. It was just a long boring ride from Fort Myers to New Tampa. It was over ten hours but I was determined to get past Tampa before I stopped. I could have stayed in a motel but I chose to sleep on the ground. I did it just in case the cops were looking for me.
The campground was a private one, so sleeping on the ground wasn’t much for status, but the trike got a lot of attention. I managed to use the campground plug in to charge my battery over night. I checked my email before I left Fort Myers so I figured I would be fine for a while.
Since there was nothing holding me in New Tampa, I hit the road at sunup. I stopped before long for breakfast and to fill the stainless steel thermos with two extra cups before I returned to the road.
It took all day to drive from New Tampa to Old Town were I spent the night in a mom and pop motel. I managed to get on their phone to a dial up Internet provider. I checked my email and didn’t see anything out of the ordinary, so I went to bed with a light heart.