In Over My Head
I recognized immediately that I was in over my head. There could be no mistake about that. Let’s face it, I am a school teacher, and school teachers make notoriously bad crooks. It says so in the manual. Do not rely on the mealy-mouthed actions of a school teacher, with a sponge-spine, to be able to withstand the rigors of an active crime life.
That being said, I still wanted to come out of the whole thing, solvent. The way things were going, I was liable to end up back at square one or even worse off, because it was a long winter ahead, on the salary of a school teacher. It all came down because I have a partner with a brain the size of a peanut, and a mouth the size of a watermelon.
We had this pretty successful grow going, with all of the essential components in place: a phat parcel, beaucoup water, and the finances to back the gig, through to its completion. I had been in on operations, where the loot gave out in August, leaving a crew one of two options: go to work (gasp) to cover the bills until ship-come-in time, or try to scrape by on the goodwill of the local merchants, relying on past practices to stave off starvation, until some early judicious haircutting, would produce an early infusion of much-needed loot.
Believe me, the first of the two options is best, because the second one sucks, big time. Just try and convince my partner that we actually have to pound some nails, or mix some concrete, and you’d think I had suggested that he sacrifice his first-born. School teachers do not get paid in the summer, for services they are not rendering, with the little darlings of the ‘Ville.
Whatever. Ultimately, it becomes time to either shit or get off the can, and when push comes to shove, I pretty much get out of the way, preferring to take the course of least resistance, and build a redwood deck, or a stout retaining wall, to get me through to October, when the good times generally roll in with the bad weather.
Even at that, I got us a mellow job, doing a remodel of one of those log cabin kit homes, but one that was originally erected during the Depression. It had a severely sagging roofline, and the west end of the house, dipped down approximately eight inches, so that if you set a little rubber ball down on the floor, pretty much anywhere, it would gather enough speed while rolling along the floor, that it would bounce nicely, when it got to the end of its journey, and hit the west wall.
Though daunting, the task of repairing this kind of problem is very straightforward, simply requiring a heavy duty hydraulic jack, to be able to raise the corner of the house on the west wall, to be able to replace the existing foundation, with a more capable model, so that one could recline on the floor, without the blood rushing to your head.
So what went wrong? My partner started to flap his jaws to people who would stop by, and he attracted the ear of a local no goodster, named Jake. Jake was just plain bad news, being a low-principled man, who would as much rob you at gunpoint, as look at you. He was a rooster of a man, with a way of strutting his bow-legged frame, that made me want to retch. He had the emotional maturity of tad-pole, and about as much direction in life, gyrating his way through the low-life sector of the ‘Ville with impunity that amazed even the old-timers.
“He’ll get his,” is all they would say, but unfortunately he got a lot of others’ first, and it galled some of those same old-timers, who shook the collective gray beards, and repeated, “He’ll get his.”
So Dick-Brain, my ex-partner, gets to hobnobbing with this Jake, and the next thing I know, he’s telling me that Jake “has a line” on a buyer for our earliest haircutting efforts, and the price sounded too good to pass up. I tell D.B. (Dick-Brain) to cool it, because our distribution is already in place. It was nothing fancy, it did not pay top dollar, and it wasn’t especially fast, but it had been in place forever, and that wasn’t going to change now. Unless D.B. had his way, that is.
I could see where this was heading, but to save my life, could not figure out a way to avoid it, unless the technology for a brain transplant, was developed quickly enough to influence D.B. That failing, I listened as the plan was revealed to me, a plan that sounded as jenky as my right knee. Everything was wrong, including the time (too late), the location (too remote), and the amount (way too high).
I saw visions of unmitigated disaster floating around indiscriminately, and decided to nip it in the bud. I loudly proclaimed exclusionary privilege, that I was not interested in playing games with tweekers, and that D.B. should do anything he chose, providing he did not come weeping to me, when the shit hit the fan. Because, I told him, you better believe it is going to make a mess, and one that I had no intention of cleaning up. Before I stormed off, I made sure I knew all of the salient details of where, what day and what time.
There’s not much else to say. The proverbial die was cast. I was either going to sit back and watch fate, in the form of my brainless partner, dictate terms, or I would step in, and realign the temporarily misplaced rule of order. It made so much more sense to conduct the orchestra myself, so I was waiting when Jake came out of the cabin, with my reefer, my money and a big fat smile on his face. D.B. would wake up about five minutes from now with a bump the size of a walnut above his left ear, and a headache. That’s where Jake clipped him with a hunk of oak, that he appeared to be adding to the wood-stove. I don’t think I could do it myself, knock someone over the head with a piece of oak.
It just takes a little too much machismo for a school teacher. No, I prefer my little hand pistol, the one which has been in my family since at least the time, when my great-grandfather came over from the old country. It shoots accurately, if infrequently, and it makes a hell of a statement, especially when the other guy’s weapon is a piece of wood.
See, Jake didn’t figure he needed anything more than a hunk of oak to deal with D.B, but he did not take me into consideration. Mot people don’t, because, well, I am a school teacher. But I didn’t get to be a school teacher because I was stupid. And before I was a school teacher, I ran with an interesting crowd in East San Jose, and I learned how they do it there. They do it quickly, quietly and cleanly.
When I had buried Jake, plenty deep enough so that the coyotes could not get him, I went back in and made some chamomile tea for D.B, to help that headache that he had, and set about to grade those vocabulary essays, that had just been turned in. Maybe I could get D.B. to listen and give an opinion, as I tried to choose my “author of the week.”