Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Bean Counter

The  bank took notice that Ada Mae claimed the house, and decided not to intervene. Quietly they knew, worse case scenario, Ada Mae would live there quietly. If she decided to fix it up, the FHG&E Board would handle that. 

Ada Mae was not going anywhere. If her 'title papers' didn't prove authentic, she was a permanent resident by squatter's rights. Sheriff Quinton just took her as part of the 'station' when they first moved in. Her comings and goings at all times of the day and night just became the norm. Unless she engaged them, the Sheriff and his staff carried on as if she did not exist.

His reminiscing ended when Mary Lou knocked on his door. She told him 'Larry from the State' was there. He looked at his watch, "Of course, he is. Just in time for lunch. And I'm sure he thinks I'm going to treat him."  Mary Lou came back a minute or so later and brought Larry into the office. 

The Sheriff stood up and greeted him. "Please tell me we are finally ready to start construction."

"We will be eventually."

What else should the Sheriff expect from the geeky looking middle aged man standing in front of him. His white shirt was stained, from what looked like, coffee. No doubt he had a pocket protector and a slide rule in the overstuffed canvas bag he carried. 

Trying to be casual, Larry said, "Now Sheriff, I know I am here at lunch time. Don't let me stop you getting lunch. I can go on my own. That hamburger I had last time I came was one of the best I've ever had."

Larry was pulling Sheriff Quitman's last string. Very curtly he said, "I've already eaten," as he sat back down in his chair.

"Oh, oh good, I ate on the way over here." Larry just stood there, like a deer in a headlight.

The Sheriff remained quiet just to make him more nervous.

Finally, Larry spoke. "Sheriff Quitman, can we walk over to the proposed site. There is something I need to look at."

"No, problem."

The Sheriff got up from his desk, grabbed his hat, and asked,  "Exactly, what do you need to look at?"

"Well sir, the contractor has a question about the grade on the eastern slope of the property."

Rascal was excited about a new station. How many former Sheriffs in Gallagher had waited for this day to come. Meanwhile he was walking down the street with Larry, the Bean Counter, who looked as if he had slept in his ill fitting clothes.

The new site was a vacant area, once the location of an old cotton gin that mysteriously burned to the ground one Halloween night. Since the building was over insured and the cotton market had tanked, the family took the loss as 'serendipitous'. The Sheriff tried to make small talk, but he found it painful with the socially awkward guy. At the corner, Larry asked,"What is that building?"

"That's the old Peavy Feed & Seed. The Peavy family ran it for over 150 years until there were no more Peavys willing to carry on the family business."

"So they sold the business?"

"Oh, no, they just had a large sale to get rid of all the merchandise. They shut it up and moved to Florida."

"Is it for sale?"

"I doubt it. Someone tried to buy it years ago. Said they planned to start a chain store."

"What kind of chain?" The Sheriff just looked at him. Larry kept talking, "You know bicycle chains, roller chains, timing chains?"

"No, more like a K-Mart, a Piggly Wiggly, or a Wal-Mart."

"No, I meant like a store that sells chains. I think they were also going to stock rope and wire."

"So its available?"

"I don't know. Probably so."

"I want to see it. Can you get someone to show it to us?"

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