By Cindy and Walt
Two days after we went back to work on the recipe Bart declared it acceptable. I celebrated by taking Bart out to dinner. Since I was buying I got to choose. We went to a family style steakhouse in Williamston.
After a heavy meal, I settled down with a cup of tea and the computer. I didn’t slip into the chat room until Bart was up in what had become his part of the studio. It was his part, even though I managed to navigate the open stairs at least three times a week for showers. That and the boxes at the end of the open stairs held my clothes. At least I no longer had to ask him to bring fresh panties down to me.
My leg had healed enough so that I could go without the cloth bandages long enough for a careful shower. That made it a lot easier to stay sweet smelling.
The next day I planned to break down the lab. We had setup it up in the display area of my studio to test the recipe and that was done. I had no idea what my plan was exactly but I was tired of being surround by tools. I wanted my studio back to do with as I pleased.
That night in one of the three chat rooms I visited, I met an older man. He had the screen name of ‘Dark Daddy.’ When he messaged me, I expected him to ask, have you ever dated black or did I like men with huge cocks. When he didn’t ask either I was curious. I made it a habit to let the men tell me what they wanted to share. I also shared a glamorized version of my life. At least as much as he seemed interested in knowing. The man called ‘Dark Daddy’ really managed to capture my imagination.
We traded experiences. I cleaned mine up a little and I expected he had exaggerated his a little. His sounded a little unbelievable, I thought. He and I discussed sex until I was pretty turned on. I quickly left him so that I could masturbate. After I left the chat room I turned off the computer, then went to bed. It was in the bed where I masturbated to the memory of the mysterious Dark Daddy.
Over breakfast with Bart at the Dairy Queen I remarked, “Since yours was the final judgment, we can now move on to the manufacturing and marketing stages of the Irish tea. We have two blends of Irish tea. So we advertise it on area TV. We organize a website and solicit comments on the site. “Then use those in our advertisements. It is going to take a while, but if we stay with it we will be okay.”
I suddenly heard the ghost say, “You can’t go wrong with an investment in sin.”
“Where the hell have you been,” I said quietly so as not to scare hell out of Bart.
“Around. You have someone looking out for you. Just keep moving forward girlie,” Liam said.
“Girlie my ass,” I said. But I looked up to see Bart staring at me smiling. “Okay I talk to myself some.”
“So what do we do about making this Irish Tea?” Bart asked.
“Let’s keep our overhead down till we know what is what,” I suggested. “What do you think?”
“Yeah, what we don’t need is to invest a lot of money into a product we can’t move,” Bart agreed.
So we manufacture two days a week for a while. We did that till we could judge the demand and then meet it. We don’t have any packaging equipment so we farmed out a simple package. Once it was delivered we did our own packing by hand. We even carried them in my truck to a pickup point for UPS.
We did need an industrial kitchen steam cabinet or two. Just to breakdown the fiber in the stalks, so we bought five of those from the Industrial Kitchen Supply company. That and the chopper blender is all we really had to have to start the manufacturing of the tea.
So when the cardboard boxes and the envelopes, which held the tea, arrived from the private printer in mobile everything was ready. They cost at least twice the amount we could have made them ourselves but it was down to a cost of business and moved on. It was likely we would always farm out that kind of thing. I doubted we would ever want to invest in machinery for that kind of thing. It would be a lot of machinery we might just have to turn around and sell. Things might not work out or we just might want to change packaging we were still feeling our way along
Then again it was like Liam had said, “Nobody ever went broke investing in sin”. I could use that to justify buying anything I really wanted for the business.
It could be a long time before we were profitable, but we wouldn’t be draining our bank accounts either. Our only continuing expense would be Hannah, if we kept her on after she finished with the chopper, which was only a day or so away.
“So what do you think about Hannah?” I asked.
“What I think is that neither of us wants to do all that shit ourselves. You aren’t well enough to stand there feeding stalks into the chopper, and I’m not going to do all the grunt work myself.”
“So are you saying I should pay her to do what I should be doing. I mean I kind of see that, but then it is also a business expense.”
“So we keep her. If nothing else she will help with our tax problem next year,” Bart said. “I figure we can put out one to five hundred boxes of tea a week with just the three of us.
The Diary Queen breakfast should have been deductible since we did a lot of planning there.
The orders trickled in for the first several months. The business grew slowly but we were satisfied with the rate of growth. Then something happened that we didn’t plan.
One of the big Hollywood action stars came to Alabama a few months after we began manufacturing and distributing our product. Neither Bart nor I read the newspapers, so we didn’t know that a movie crew was down in the swamps making a picture. They had chosen the early spring hoping to avoid the bugs.
It was one of those movies where one man is running from a drug cartel kind of things. They had set the last scenes of the movie in the swamp. While the big ol movie star was in the area, he tried a box of our tea. It was in one of our first months, but he wasn’t interviewed on one of those Hollywood entertainment talk show till we had been in business several months.
The host asked him about his new movie. “So Matt what was the thing that you enjoyed most about filming in Alabama?” the host asked, expecting an answer about the swamps.
“That’s easy, the swamp people, and the Irish tea. That stuff makes one kick ass cup of herb tea, if you know what I mean. I can’t find it here so a man we met down there sends me a box every week.”
Before anyone could stop it the social media went ape shit over Irish Tea. One of the major networks came down to interview Bart and me. I avoided them, but Bart and Hannah had no problem at all talking about Irish tea.
“Now you know I can’t tell you the secret, but we do things a little different. They say it makes Miss Sadie’s tea a great bedtime drink for the ladies, and Boxer’s tea just plain kickass,” Bart said.
The next day orders started to pour into our little factory which put the little town of Mossberg on the map again. There was a lot of chatter on the net and a lot of people waiting when the empty shelves got replenished in the government owned stores.
During all those months my online friendship with Dark Daddy continued. He seemed to know just the right things to say to me. He offered me advice from an older man. I recognized that he was much older from his references to things that happened before I was born.
He began to flirt with me. It was gentle at first but it got pretty serious now and then. I truly enjoyed it. It was like a sexually charged Liam type relationship. We both were definitely masturbating while we talked. I didn’t ordinarily do that because it takes so much more concentration for me to orgasm then it does for a man. The chat is usually distracting. However for some reason it wasn’t at all distracting with Dark Daddy.
Since the business was picking up I didn’t have a lot less on my mind, so it was probably easier to relax and just let it happen, than to go looking for sex. Either way I was enjoying the single minded sex. Of course I was also missing the touch of a man or even a woman.
We had seen summer change to winter while we worked the plant with just Bart, Hannah, and me. By the time spring turned to winter the orders were pouring in. Other government stores around the country were putting in orders. We actually got to the point where we couldn’t get enough stalks to fill the orders.
We still made our plans at Dairy Queen, then Bart and I had our lunch most days at the diner. We also had several members of Miss Sadie’s family working for us as casual labor. Life was good by the time we could finally relax for a change.
“You know we are working too damn hard,” I said. It’s time you flew Rita in again,” I said.
“So does that mean you need to see Jeff again,” Bart asked.
“I think it does,” I agreed.
“So if Rita flies to Williamston we can have the place to ourselves,” he asked.
“Yes it does,” I agreed.
I had been driving the truck for a month or so. Jeff had been bugging me to either meet me in Williamston where there were at least acceptable motels, or drive to the Georgia college town.
Most likely he was out of money again. I had made him loans which would never be repaid, I was sure. His methods had built the business and the loans were small enough. Just a couple of thousand a year. Usually it went for buying books, so they came at the beginning of the two semesters.
I planned to leave at end of the shift on Friday. We had been up and operating almost eighteen months by then. We were running at full capacity. We might as well have been printing our own money. There was only one other player in the weed tea business and their tea was disgusting.
Before I left to meet Jeff, Bart came into the office. “I want to run something past you and just have you mull it over.”
“Here we go again. You are going to say we need an addition and I’m going to remind you of Kodak,” I said. “If the demand dries up, we could be stuck with buildings all over town.”
“It isn’t that. You already know how I feel about that. It’s about buying our own pot allotment. We are at the mercy of the guys who grow the weed. The price on the shit they used to throw away just keeps going up. It’s just stupid since we are about the only buyers the honest operators can find to sell to.”
“I hear there are some moonshiners who will buy it. We are the only ones who have a license to buy it,” I agreed.
“Since it is a buyers market, it looks as though they would keep their prices down, but we use so much of it now that they have us over a barrel. We can buy up the whole supply of everyone in the state and it still wont keep us working.”
“Bart, I’m not sure we can grow enough to keep us going either,” I said.
“I think we can get enough to add to what we buy now to make up the short fall. It will also be a wedge in their control over us. Rita has read the law on weed allotments carefully and tells me it only limits the amount of acreage we can use. If we can put all that acreage under grow light and greenhouses then we can grow year round. We can sell the leaves to pay for it. The waste we can put through the tea factory. Every chance we get we can add acreage until we are independent of the other growers,” Bart explained.
“The pot business isn’t going anywhere. The tea may lose favor, but not the smoke business,” I said in agreement. “However if I read the rules right we can’t own the production and be a grower business as well. The law was written to avoid monopolies. Since you have your lawyer friend involved in this I am sure you two figured a way around it.”
“I buy you out, or you buy me out. Either way we use the cash to buy an old farm that has an allotment then pump money into it. Whoever runs the farm is guaranteed a customer for their waste. You are never going to have any problem selling the leaves,” Bart said.
“You are bringing this up as I leave for Georgia, why?” I asked.
“Because it’s Rita’s excuse for being here next week. We are going to walk you though it,” he said.
“Bart you know that your half of the business is worth a hell of a lot more than the hundred grand you have invested,” I said.
“So is yours,” he replied smiling. “That is why I insisted on going half on everything. I have no regrets on what it is going to cost either of us to buy out the other.”
“Alright I’ll think it over,” I said. I knew that Bart was going to go through with it. He could cut me out by simply making my life miserable, so that I was willing to sell my share to him. Rita no doubt would be pushing him along. Not even a lawyer could pass up a chance to make a million bucks without doing the work we had put in. So it looked as though it was simply a matter of whether I wanted to buy or sell.”
“So you will give it some thought?” Bart asked.
“How can I not think about it. Most likely you have managed to ruin a perfectly good fuck,” I said angrily. I was angry because he had made all these plans without me. I wasn’t completely angry, because it made good sense to me. I was tempted to make the decision before I left town. I had to force myself not to do it.
During the drive to Georgia I thought of nothing else. Since I had lived simply I had enough money to replace the money Bart had in effect loaned me. The business was worth much more than that. That’s what really pissed me off. The only mitigating circumstance in his favor was that he had to start the business while I was more or less a complete gimp.
I still walked with a cane because after a few minutes standing I had to use the cane or sit down completely. It wasn’t much of a bother but it did mean I was out of the undercover operative business. At least as I had known it before the accident.
There was nothing less sexy than a woman with a cane, unless it was a woman in a wheelchair. Yes a woman in a chair could still be sexy. She would also turn off a lot of men because they didn’t want to deal with the baggage attached to a relationship with her.
The four hour drive to Georgia was filled with trying to decide what I wanted to do. I had a nice comfortable life where I was. I really wasn’t looking to change it, but it could be done.
For one thing the county was going to auction off Sam’s farm. He had been a farmer before he started the catfish business. I could buy it for a reasonable price, I expected. Then it would be a matter of building greenhouses over the old catfish ponds and then setting up grow stations inside them. I was sure Jeff would know all about hydroponic farming.
I supposed I could fuck him good enough to pick his brain again. It actually sounded like fun playing Mata Hari one last time. So that was the plan for the weekend. Simply put I wanted to use poor Jeff for all kinds of things. Fuck his body and his mind. “God am I getting crude,” I said aloud inside the empty truck. “I am spending too much time with Bart.” It had been years since I lived so closely with any man. He and I had been together longer than any lover I ever had. We were never intimate, so maybe I only drove lovers away, but maybe I could hold on to a friend. That was somehow comforting.
The problem was now he wanted to put some more distance between us. I supposed he felt different about our relationship. It didn’t matter I had Jeff to occupy my mind for the next two days. I knew I could stay longer, but I really didn’t want to do that. Even that feeling said something about me as well.
I had another thought I had been avoiding. Jeff was obviously too old to live in a dorm, so what exactly were his living arrangements. Did he live in an apartment alone, did he live in an apartment with a roommate. If so was it a male or female. I was inclined to believe it was a female since he never mentioned whoever it was. It seemed unlikely that he had avoided mentioning a male roommate unless, oh my god, could Jeff be bisexual? I asked myself.
I knew that I was about to ruin my relationship with him. It didn’t really matter, since it wasn’t much of a relationship anyway. I made up my mind as I entered the town limits that things were going to change everywhere. My life was filled with constantly building things and then burning them. It was a cyclical thing. It looked as though I was headed for the burn it to the ground point in the cycle.
Of course I didn’t plan to burn it down until I got laid. Yes I am that selfish, I thought. I even laughed about it since I knew myself so well.
“You don’t know yourself at all,” Liam said.
“Why do you only show up before a crisis?” I asked.
“Because those are the times you really need me,” the voice said.
“This seems a minor event hardly worth of a visit from you,” I declared.
“Jeff isn’t the reason I’m here. You will understand when it is over,” he said.
“Couldn’t you just explain it and save me all the heartaches,” I asked.
“That would be too easy and you know it. For you girl the thrill is working your way into and then out of things,” he said.
“So what about Jeff. Do you have any insights?” I asked.
“Think back to the sex you have had. That should tell you something,” Liam suggested.
“Shit he is bi,” I said remembering his love of oral and anal sex. Also how much more he enjoyed my new androgynous look. I could actually pass as a guy, if I wrapped my chest with an elastic bandage and wore a loose top.
When I hit town I stopped at the drug store for the bandage. The top I wore was tight so I rummaged through my backpack for a button up blouse to hide my top. I even found my knit toboggan. I wore to run in the mornings but it would hide any female features. I knew that when I looked into the ladies room mirror, I would see a gay man looking back at me.
I met Jeff at one of those fancy lunch restaurants, which abound in a college town. When he came to the table he looked disturbed. “You look different,” he said. He was probing to see if I knew how I looked.
“Oh, different how?” I asked. I was determined to make him say it.
“You know don’t you?” he asked.
“I don’t know anything. I have wondered. I suppose it is part of your mysterious appeal. So why don’t you tell me all about it,” I suggested.
“His name is Simon. We have been together since my senior year. He is the reason I stayed for grad school,” Jeff said.
“So do you consider yourself bi or gay,” I asked.
“I suppose you make me bi,” he replied.
“Oh I doubt that. Mostly you can pretend I’m just one of the boys,” I admitted.
“That is true when we made love I thought of Simon,” he said.
“I certainly can’t say that’s what I wanted to hear,” I said. “So which of you is the most butch?”
“Oh I am for sure. He is more feminine than you,” Jeff said.
“Does he know about me?” I asked.
“No, but don’t worry, he would cry at the most, if he found out,” Jeff replied.
“Well we can’t have that. Let’s try to be sure he doesn’t find out,” I said. “Do you want to end this?” I asked.
“No I really enjoy our time together and frankly you are a better lover than Simon. It’s like why a guy with a beautiful wife goes out with a less than perfect woman,” he said.
“Gee thanks,” I said smiling.
“You know what I mean. I love my life with Simon but sex with you is amazing. I am really glad you know about Simon and don’t seem all that upset,” he said. “I should add that you look amazing.”
“Do you think you could take me to a gay bar and not be embarrassed?” I asked.
“I wouldn’t have been embarrassed before, but now I would be thrilled to take you to Rosie’s Place,” Jeff said.
“Good, then we can do that after,” I suggested. He didn’t even ask after what he knew.
Since Jeff was there and the heavy part of the discussion was over I asked, “So what did you tell Simon?”
“That I had a lab experiment that was going to run late. He won’t be expecting me till midnight,” Jeff said.
“You know this a good chance for me to meet Simon. Tomorrow you can tell him I am a visiting technician or something, then introduce us. See what his reaction is to me.”
“You want to fuck us both,” he said with a laugh.
“Of course I do. I have never done that. I would definitely like to try it once,” I said.
“Well you can’t tell him you are a woman. He thinks all women are out to steal me away. I’ll tell you what, let’s you and I go do our thing, then tomorrow I will feel him out. If he is willing we can all meet somewhere. The downside is that if he doesn’t want to do it, we won’t be able to see each other tomorrow night,” Jeff said.
“That is an acceptable risk. I am sure you will be convincing. I will try to give you some really good reasons to be even more convincing,” I said squeezing his penis under the table.
“You do make a good argument,” he said.