April 16, 2024 – Chapter Six of “The Bad Seed”

Here we go…..

Jay left the police station with a few answers and more questions brewing in the back of his head.

He looked carefully at the oncoming traffic before pulling out onto it. There were no black SUVs heading his way. Once he was on the road he looked into the mirrors often as he drove, to see if he was being followed. Driving his bright blue Corvette now made him nervous. It stood out like a neon sign.

As he came up to the cafe he could see David Bleaker’s car already in the lot.

The restaurant looked to be very old but well taken care of. It had probably been a fixture in this town for years. It had a steep shingled roof with long overhanging eves. Mature plants grew all along the front of the building. The windows opened out in that old style with cranking handles. The entry was recessed and in the middle of the long side facing the street.

As Jay walked in he saw David sitting at a table up against the back wall with a clear view of Oscar’s. David seemed to be looking intently at the brown building across the street while he was drinking a cup of coffee. He didn’t notice Jay coming in at first.

He had a plate sitting in front of him that showed the remnants of a breakfast of off eggs and perhaps bacon. The plate was smeared with egg yolk. David looked up and saw Jay. As he entered the door made a bell go off somewhere in the back of the cafe.

Jay could see two people working in the kitchen as he passed by the window that separated it from the long counter with green swivel chairs and the booths lining the walls. The booths were covered in the same old fashioned material. The floor was a light green asbestos tiles and clean. Sun shinned in from the windows facing Garfield Boulevard. Most folks just called the large street, “The Boulevard. The booth across from David was cold and smooth to the touch as Jay sat down on the other side of the table from David.

“How was your day David?” “Fine, I did a few runs and then came in here and have been watching that place across the street ever since. I’ve had a gallon of coffee during and after my breakfast. I’m kinda surprised they haven’t asked me to leave yet. I told them I had a friend coming to join me.”

Jay thought that it was nice that David considered him a friend and wondered how many other friends David might have. If worse came to worse, having David think of him as a friend might be a good if things went south.

“What have you seen going on across the street this morning?” “Not much, but it’s early and their main crowd doesn’t come in there until after eleven or so. I drive by that place all of the time. I have actually been in there once or twice.”

“What’s it like in there?” “Typical dive beer bar. Very dark with no windows worth mentioning. Two pool tables, a bar with about twenty stools and a few tables scattered around. It cranks up pretty well on a Saturday night. The juke box selections are varied as is the crowd. Bikers now and then passing through and the local tough guys looking to flex their muscles once in a while. It’s a rough crowd if I do say so myself. Lots of fights after too much drinking. You know, nothing out of the ordinary. I don’t plan on going back in their anytime soon, unless asked.”

“Well, you might be asked by me once I look it over. If I can see most of the place while meeting this guy I’m hoping to meet, you might be able to stay outside. Otherwise, I might need some back up. I’ll know better once I give it a once over.”

The waitress came over with a big smile and asked Jay if he wanted or needed anything. She was tall and around fifty. Jay figured it was a husband wife team running the place. He was right. It had been the dream of her husband for years. She had cooked forever and decided to go into this venture only if she didn’t have to cook much. So far it had worked out well enough to keep at it.

“Just a Denver Omelette and some coffee please.” Jay looked at her name tag and added Nancy to the end of his sentence. “Coming up sir.”

She walked back to the window and placed the order slip on the stainless steel wheel and went back to cleaning tables and arranging items on the front counter. About eight minutes later Jay had his breakfast sitting in front of him along with a cup of steaming hot coffee.

Jay poured in some cream and sugar as the two men talked about Oscar’s and then about each other. Then the door rang again.

“What the heck was the first word that came out of Jay’s mouth as Susan Gardner entered the place carrying a large yellow purse and wearing a yellow dress with a white, long sleeved, blouse.

“What the heck are you too fellows doing in my favorite breakfast spot?”

“Great minds think alike Susan, come join us. We are just eating breakfast.”

“I didn’t see my car out front, but I thought I saw your blue thing parked out there. I’m not much of a plastic car fan.”

“That’s not a plastic car Susan, it’s a fiberglass masterpiece. If I do say so myself.”

What do you think young man? What do you think about that car of Mr. Kirby’s?” she said as she got settled.

“Oh, I think it’s really nice. I’d love to have a car like that one day.”

“Well, that’s something to aspire to I suppose, for a young man that is. I’m more of a Cadillac gal myself. May I join the two of you?”

“Of course Miss Gardner, I think you already have.” “Call me Susan, Jay, as you have already a few times previously. I’m fine with that. What are you two boys cooking up in here?”

“We’re just having breakfast Susan. Just talking a little sports and all.”

“Sure, Officer Kirby.”

Jay’s face showed his surprise. He had no recollection of this woman as he sat dumbfounded in front of her and looking down into her sweet face.

“I’m sorry but I think you have me confused with someone else.”

“Not likely, Jay. You were one of the cops who came out when some of my cars where stolen at my last rental agency that I owned with my ex husband. He and his girlfriend screwed me over and then left me holding the bag. It took me some time to straighten it all out. Now I’ve started over with my small operation. Why did you really rent a car from me when you have a lovely plastic car already?”

David looked at Jay as Jay tried to formulate a coherent answer. Several seconds passed slowly. David sat and waited, looking first at Jay and then at Susan. Jay squirmed in his seat a little. Now he felt what some of his arrestees must have felt one time or another when he looked them over with suspicion.

“I know that it involves Oscar’s. That’s very apparent, Jay. I’ve seen you drive by there several times in my car. I have insurance, but I don’t want any bullet holes in that car if you can help it. My rates are already sky high since my ex worked me over. He sold four of our cars and disappeared with his young sweetie pie and the money.”

“You sound a little bitter Susan.”

“I think I have every right to be bitter Jay and then you come along and try to pull something over on me. I’m not going to have that happen again. Tell me the truth if you have it in you?”

“Wow Susan, calm down. I’m just trying to do a little of the lord’s work, so to speak. My family has been pulled into a mess by a gang of criminals that work out of Oscar’s. They beat the crap out of my nephew in his mother’s own home. I am just using my connections and skills to help the police. They’re good with that arrangement. It’s strictly above board.”

“Do you have a decent plan?” “We’re working on it now as a matter fo fact Susan.”

“Good. It’s a good thing I’m here to help you two dolts.”

“Wait a minute Susan, this could be a little dangerous.”

“It’s going to be very dangerous, Jay. They killed my son through their drug sales. He got caught up in that crap and now he is gone. I was working on something myself before you two came along. Perhaps the three of us can do something that the police can’t or are afraid to do, if you get my drift.”

David spoke for the first time in minutes, “Holy cow!”

Susan answered him, “Yes David, holy cow. Jay, what’s your plan so far?”

“Well,” he hesitated for a moment not knowing if he should share his ideas with this strange woman. She seemed determined in her own way to exact some sort of revenge on the same people that Jay was hunting, but at the moment Jay was afraid to include her. On the other hand, if he didn’t include her perhaps she would do something stupid and ruin his plans.

“I have an informant who has given me the description of a fellow in the gang that I might meet at Oscar’s. He is more than just a soldier. I am going to act like I am a drug dealer looking to buy or sell some weed to them and see if we can develop a connection of one sort or another.”

“That sounds fine. I see the need for my car now. Your blue thing isn’t a great choice for discretion or secrecy. Are the two of you just going in there looking like you do now? That seems like a stupid move.”

“Well actually, I was going to go in and have David watch the guy in the alley near the parking lot.”

“Yes, he’s always out there. I could keep him occupied if you like while you two go in and check things out. David here, could watch over you while you talk with this guy your trying to meet. When is the meeting going to happen?”

“Well, he seems to be there everyday after noon or so.”

“Yes, I have noticed that. He’s the big guy with the hat and the cowboy boots, right?”

Jay was surprised. Susan had been keeping a close eye on Oscar’s also. “But for how long,” he wondered. “Yes, that’s the guy.”

“Yes, he drives a black Cadillac Escalade as a few of his cronies do. They love those things. They aren’t that great as far as I can tell. Their ratings in Consumer Reports are lower than some others.”

Jay was surprised by a few things about Susan now. She seemed well informed about cars, though she didn’t like his Corvette for some reason and she had been watching Oscar’s, that was evident.

“Well Jay, what’s the plan then after the meeting?”

“I will try try find out where all the principals live and go from there. Their boss seems to live near my sister. I know that already. That’s how all of this got started in the first place, a big blunder by two loaded drug curriers.”

“Well, you can’t go into Oscar’s without a disguise, obviously. If this is going to be a drawn out affair and I think it will be, you will need to protect your identities. I can take care of that, quite easily. I do make up in community theater and have won a few awards. I am this close to getting a gig in Hollywood if all goes like it should. I have a few connections too, Jay.

Why not come by my house after dinner tonight and I’ll do up both of you with some fake beards and mustaches. That should do the trick for a while. Let me give you my address.”

Susan wrote down her address on a napkin for each man and then smiled.

“Can you read my writing fellas?”

Yes, Jay answered back. you have lovely handwriting.” “Thanks, I try to keep it neat and simple.”