When, I awoke the next morning Abe was already up and had coffee made. There wasn't too much in the way of conversation till we both woke up. He was like me and couldn't start the day without at least two cups of coffee. I was sipping my second cup when it hit me how much I was looking forward to today. All the papers signed and the ownership of this whole place would be mine. When I came back from Florida I would look into finding some work in the area and check out Gold Gulch and what all it had to offer. I wondered how much I could squeeze out of that company for my property in Florida and if they would settle immediately. I wasn't staying any longer than I had to before coming back out here to live.
"Harry, will I be able to have use of the money by tomorrow afternoon? I kinda had a hunch you would take the place and ordered the stuff we needed to do a bunch of building on the ranch. The contractors will be there tomorrow and I have to pay half up front by cashiers check."
“You should have immediate use of the funds cause its an electronic transfer, and it will be sent immediately into your account, when I give the release number I arranged with my bank. You haven't told me yet what the total price will be with the other thirty acres and the mineral rights for it. I need the total so I can transfer the correct amount and enough for me to do all the fees and taxes."
"The taxes are paid for the year. I always kept them paid for the coming year so I’d not get bothered by the county. You never said how much stuff you have to ship out here. There is a package and receiving company in town that will hold your stuff till you pick it up for a small fee. Everyone around here uses it cause the post office is a hundred miles away and wont accept or hold large shipments. I will take you over there when we get in town and you can make the arrangements and open an account. The biggest pain will be the property clerks office cause they are all retirees and slow as hell. They want to gossip and talk crap instead of working. Everything else will go fast and you will be able to catch the last flight out this evening to go back to Florida. I will leave your Jeep in long term with the ticket in the glove compartment."
"Abe, is there anything else you need me to know? I get the sense that you are holding back on something and I want to know what it is."
"Harry, I promise I will give you the last secret of the place when it becomes yours, and I have the money in my hand. It is not anything that should worry you, its just a little something I have for my piece of mind. Lets go to town and get this shit all done then you can go home and get packed."
It was a whirlwind day and we finally finished up with it all about three in the afternoon. I got the secret and while it scared the hell out of me I liked the idea behind it, and would keep it for an ace in the hole one day if I ever needed it. Abe left me at the diner in town and he said he’d head to his new place and I knew where to find the Jeep. I sat and thought about what I had bought and how little I had to pay for it all. I paid my bill, left a good tip, and headed for the airport. Before I boarded the plane, I called Mark and let him know what time I would be in. He was a little surprised that I was coming back so quick but I told him I would explain when I got there as they were calling for plane boarding, I got seated, and as soon as it lifted off, I went right to sleep.
I woke up when the flaps came down and the plane started slowing. The rest was the usual hassle of getting through the airport and outside. There was a marked cruiser waiting at the curb and I recognized the driver as the corporal I knew and the same one that was at the house for the big dope raid.
"Hey Harry, I was dropping off a prisoner and was told to pick you up on the way back to the office. Mark said that the reality company had been to your house four times since you left and we run them off all four times. The survey crew hasn't been back and other than that it has been quiet."
"I appreciate that you are picking me up but you didn't have to be the messenger for Mark. He will probably be over tomorrow any ways. Have you eaten yet?"
"No, I haven't had time to stop yet. Why, you hungry?"
"Tell you what, you pick the place and I will get the check. I am starving and I sure don't feel like cooking tonight. Mark missed out when he didn't show up to get me so now you can brag about what he missed out on."
"Hey, works for me Harry. Lets stop at that big new Red Lobster by the mall. I haven't eaten there yet and since your buying that's as good a place as any."
That's what we did and spent a very pleasant hour just talking bout different cases we had both worked on and how they had been resolved. All and all the drive and company was worth the price of the check. He insisted on getting the tip so we each spent some money. He dropped me off at the house, it looked quiet, and the motion lights were working this time. I went in, shut down the alarm, and saw the blinker going on my answering machine. I made a pot of coffee and listened to my messages. Three were solicitors and two were important enough to answer tonight. As I dialed the first number, I wondered why she had called so soon after the funeral.
"Hello Shirley, this is Harry returning your call. No I just got in the house."
"Harry, your final check is in the mail and I wondered; since I am the manager now, if I could talk you into coming back to work? Charley's daughter decided to keep the office open and take a few cases for us to work on while she finishes school. She said she wanted to keep you on as the head investigator if you are interested."
"No, I don't think so Shirley, I am moving to Nevada, and will hang out my own shingle after I settle in. I appreciate the offer and all but I think you can handle anything that comes along till you can hire someone to help you."
"Ok Harry, I am sorry to hear that because you and Charley taught me all I know. If it weren’t for you two, I wouldn't have my license because no one else would hire me. I will miss you a lot, and if you ever need me, just call and I will come running. Good luck Harry, I'll miss you."
I said good-bye and hung up the phone before she
started sniffling in my ear. That's one thing about Shirley a good investigator
but she had water faucets for tear ducts. Once she got started, she never shut
it off till she was dry. She was a sweetheart though. I placed the other call,
got an answering machine so I left a message, and set the alarm for, occupied
and went to bed.
I was startled awake by someone pounding on my front door again. “Damnit, why can't people just leave me alone?” I grabbed the thirty-eight snubby from under my pillow and went to the door. Mark was standing there with a shit-eating grin on his face. I shut off the alarm and let him in but you can bet he was catching hell the whole time.
"Will you quit your bitching Harry. You knew I was going to come over to see how the trip went. Sorry its so early but I couldn't wait. So Damnit, tell me what happened?"
I went through the whole thing with him and when I told him about the trout lakes I thought he was gonna drool on his uniform. He told me where he was stationed out there and sure enough, it was at the old chemical plant. I told him where the cabin and lakes were, in relation to the plant, and he said even if they blew up that place, my place would be safe. Any of the agents made or stored there would stay in low-lying areas. All high mountain areas would be out of the danger zone. He also said that it would spread eastward till it either dissipated or maybe washed away by the seasonal rains. He said he didn't know what was stored but a lot of it was very toxic and lasted for years in the air. He said that if it escaped that Reno and Vegas would be sure to go and anything east of there. We were still talking about fishing when the phone rang.
I left Mark at the table and answered the phone. It was the attorney friend of mine and he wanted to know if I was going to be home this morning. When I said I would be, he said he was coming over to talk in about an hour. I agreed to his visit and hung up the phone then went to finish my coffee with Mark. We talked about another fifteen or so minutes then he said he was going home to bed. I watched him drive away and went back to the kitchen to finish my coffee.
I had just finished getting dressed after showering when I heard someone knocking at the door again.
It was Floyd G. the attorney, checking out the land deal for me. I let him in, got my hug, and smack on the back Italian style.
"Well Harry, it seems that you are sitting on a gold mine here. I could not find out what is going to be built here but from all I could gather its going to be a huge project. They have all the property and permits but you have the two most important lots for the whole project. They asked me to talk to you and see what kind of offer you'll accept. Harry these boys won't quit till they get what they want. Have you considered selling or do you want me to file a restraining order to keep them clear from your land?"
"Floyd, I will sell but they will have to meet my price and that will include your expenses and fees.
"Damnit Harry, I am not charging you and you know why. I would be in prison if it weren't for you and your little tape recorder. Just tell me what you want and I will handle it for you."
"I will accept one million dollars and they pay all taxes and fees. I also want you to charge for yourself and your time. I will vacate the premises within one week after receipt of the money. There will be no crews on the property till after the week has passed. They will pay all expenses for my move regardless where it may be and they will pay for a one-way plane ticket to my new home.
Floyd, can you practice in Nevada? If you can I want you to handle any of my cases for whatever if I need you."
"Harry, I am not able to practice in that state because I never took the bar for there. I have a good friend that is in Vegas that I will call and arrange for him to make himself available if you need him. Now give me ten minutes with your phone and I will make your offer to them. I think they will accept without any argument and will settle immediately.
Harry, what are you going to do with your little car? My daughter just loves it and if you are going to sell it, I want to buy it for her. She will get her drivers license this month and she has always wanted me to talk to you about it. I offered her a new car but she is in love with yours and wants it for school. I know I don't understand it either. Hell they don't even make them any more."
With that, he went to use the phone and I sat and thought about what he said about the car. I remembered his daughter as a little dark eyed shy girl with her mother’s beauty just starting to show as she grew. I would have it completely detailed and give it to her as a birthday present. I would never survive the terrain where I was going and I knew she would take good care of it. It was nice to know that someone besides me liked it. I would have the rear window shield put back on and have the front ground spoiler reinstalled for her. I had them taken off because I didn't want the window blocked because of the pictures I took in my line of work. The spoiler was a cosmetic thing and I was worried about hitting a curb and snapping the plastic. I still had both, and her being a young girl I would have the radio replaced with a cd player and new speakers. I knew a guy down the street that would do it all in about two hours and he did good work. His boy detailed cars and had done mine a couple months ago. I had sent them a lot of business over the years and as they became established, they showed their appreciation by making sure that my care came first whenever I took it in for work.
"Harry, the deal is settled and you will be paid a million five for your property. They want to meet in my office at ten in the morning for you to sign the papers. They will pay any expenses you have to move and will furnish a professional truck and driver with a crew to help you move. When the papers are signed tomorrow, they will have all the arrangements made, all you will have to do is to call a number, and the crew and truck will be here within the hour. They also agreed to pay me all costs and expenses for my work on your behalf. Now about the car, how much do you want for it and when can I pick it up?"
"Floyd, I will have it tuned and detailed and bring it to your house on your daughters birthday. I will give it to her as a birthday present from me. How about I bring it by the day after tomorrow in the afternoon just before she gets home from school?"
"Harry, I don't know how to thank you for this. The last time you saw her she was thirteen and I guarantee that you won't know her anymore. She is a beautiful young woman and I wish I could put her under lock and key sometimes. I am like all fathers I guess and if it weren't for her mother I would put her in a convent for my peace of mind."
I laughed at him and we spent the next half hour discussing my move, how to invest some of the money, and since he was a multi millionaire, I told him he could invest five hundred thousand for me but the rest would go in my account and would be transferred to my bank in the Reno branch. He said he would handle all of that for me and split the money into checking and savings. We finished and I told him I would see him in the morning. He left and I set the alarm, went to the garage, and dropped the car off with instructions of what I wanted done to it in the next two days. He assured me that it would all be done and the car ready to deliver on the wrecker at the day and time I expected. I went to the car rental and got a new Cadillac to use while I was on their dollar. I went to Wal Mart then to several other stores before I found the aluminum cases I wanted to pack my stuff for the move in. I had to have something that I could lock, and put my guns and other items in that would be safe till they got to their destination. I bought ten of them in various sizes and the extra locking kits for them.
I took them home and then went to the bank and made all the arrangements with them for the distribution of the money and got a new limit put on my single credit card. I had always only kept it for emergencies and had a very low cap on it. I would now be using it for a lot more things and making sure; I had it covered regardless of what I bought with it.
I had put a big dent in my account with the purchase of the cabin but it surprised me how much I still had for my balance. I hardly ever spent my own money because everything I had been doing for work, it was on an expense account, and I was always reimbursed for what I spent including gas, meals, and dry cleaning of my three suits when they needed it.
I stopped and ate on the way home and then went to the house and started packing the trunks. I wasn't taking anything but my guns and personal items and the furnishings would stay. I arranged for the hospice to pick up everything in the house they could resell. I would be taking my laptop, the files packed in the trunk, along with my tax returns, and other important papers. I looked around and realized that I really didn't have much in the way of possessions and I wondered why I had waited so long to make a change in my life. I had it all packed and labeled in just a few hours. I stacked everything by the front door, set the alarm, and went to bed.
I woke the next morning with that damn crow carrying
on and it was barely daylight.
I was so glad that I was moving and after I left, he wouldn't have a home or an occupant to drive crazy. I laughed at myself as I put the coffee on and went to the shower. I came out and sat down and the phone was ringing as soon as I went to take a sip. I let the answering machine get it and it was Mark saying he would be here in a few minutes. Damn I sure didn't feel like company this morning. I hurried and got dressed and shut the alarm off and made it just as he pulled up in his unmarked. I sat back down at the table and waited for him to come in.
"Hey Harry, I got some news you might be interested in. The sheriff in that town your moving to just died and they offered you the job if you want it. They had your background checked and we were the ones they contacted first. Now you have real reason to move out there. They will appoint you to fill out the rest of the old sheriff’s term and will back you when the election comes up."
"Are you crazy! I can't picture me playing politics with a bunch of rednecks. Hell Mark, I sure don't want the job or the responsibility. Damn I don't even like working with people. They can forget it. Why don't you take the job and move the girls out there. They would love it."
"I never even thought of that. My ex would have a fit if I moved the girls out there. If it hadn't been for you, I wouldn't even be able to see them. I really don't think that would be a good idea at all Harry."
"Think about it Mark, your own department to run and no taking orders anymore. You would be able to hire and fire as you saw fit. I would give it some thought if I was you and the girls would love the different seasons. Hell, you could appoint me as a special deputy and I could work as a special investigator for you on the harder cases. Give it some thought Mark before you say no."
"You sure know how to screw with a man’s sleep don't you? Ok Harry, I will think about it, talk it over with the girls, and make a decision. I have a few days before they contact you and I will let you know."
"Mark, if you do take it hire a housekeeper that can cook. The girls will forever appreciate it if you do. I will be picking them up tonight to go to dinner with me about five thirty so have them ready to go."
"I know that they have been talking about it all week so they will be ready to go. I just hope you know what your letting yourself in for with those two. I will see you later Harry."
He was gone just that quick and I had a big laugh at me being a sheriff at my age. I don't know where that town got that idea but I sure wasn't interested in the job. I went in and got my pistol, set the alarm and went to the restaurant up the road for biscuits and gravy. They had the best in the state as far as I was concerned. When I pulled out from the restaurant, I realized I was mentally saying goodbye to everything I had built for myself over the last seven years.
I made it to Floyd's office in plenty of time and even had a cup of coffee with his wife while I waited. I must be nice to have your wife as your office manager. Even after all the years since I had seen her she was still a beautiful woman.
We talked about her daughter, how she had grown since I last saw her, and how well she did in school. In the short time we talked, I caught up on her family, and all the gossip from the last time I had seen them all. She was a little upset because I was moving but wished me the best and I was to call if I ever needed anything.
I went to the meeting and as usual with lawyers, the language, and terms only they could understand. I spent fifteen minutes listening to some damn suit read the contract and the clauses with all the other bullshit. I signed on the line and they transferred the money to my account then I called the bank to confirm then signed the deed over to them. I transferred the money to Floyd's account before I left telling him I hoped he would be able to triple it in a couple of years. He gave me that sharks grin and told me he would see me tomorrow afternoon. I got the hell out of there before all the oil from all these attorneys rubbed off.
I went back to the bank and had the money transferred to my account in Reno. Of course, the branch here was sorry they couldn't keep my account but the bank in Reno would handle my business without a problem. I walked out of the bank thinking I was a fifty seven year old millionaire and too damned old to enjoy it. I realized that I had two more days before I could fly to my new home. I went back to the house; called the number, and had a van there in about a half hour. I helped to load the trunks and got a receipt from the moving company. The driver told me that my stuff would be there within seventy two hours. They had a truck going that way tonight and my stuff would be on it. I thought great, I would pick it up on the way to the house.
I picked up the girls a little early and had one of the greatest times of my life with those two. The trip and meal at Pizza Hut was one question after another joined by more laughter. I would really miss these two when I left and wondered if I would ever see them again. We stopped for ice cream and again it was more fun than a non-father should be allowed. We got back to Marks and the girls wouldn't let me leave till I came in and helped their dad tuck them in. I got plenty of kisses and hugs before they would let me get out of their bedrooms. I went out and sat down at the table and waited to tell Mark goodbye. He came out and sat down with me and I could see he had something on his mind.
"Harry, the girls had a blast tonight. I wish you weren't moving away cause I will miss you and so will the girls. I have a vacation coming up next month and was wondering if me and the girls could come out and visit with you for a couple of weeks?"
"Mark, you and those two are always welcome in my home and you know it. I will build you a nice a-frame on my property and give it to you and the girls if you want. You have enough time in to retire with a full pension, so if you want to come out there to live I will have it built for you. I will sell it to you for ten thousand dollars and the land it sits on if you do. I would really like to be there to watch those two grow up and see what all they get into."
"Thanks Harry, I really thank you for the offer but in order to get a Captain's pension I have to be in rank for a minimum of six months. I am thinking about a change for me and the girls. This job is getting more dangerous everyday and I would hate to see the girls raised by their mom if something happened to me. Just that thought scares the hell out of me. Your the one that opened my eyes to what was going on so you know exactly what I am talking about."
"Yea I do and I would hate to see it too. I hope like hell you keep your head down till you can retire and get out of here. You could always put me down as a guardian and you know I would keep an eye on them for you. Well I am gonna go so, you stay in touch and let me know what's going on, and learn to cook something besides grilled cheese all the time. They love macaroni and cheese and its easy to cook."
He started laughing as I headed for the door and my car. I would miss them cause they were the only ones I was close to in the area. I went to the house and went to bed thinking about the girls and all the fun we had this evening.