April 27, 2024 – Chapter Ten of “The Bad Seed”

I’m starting to know and understand these characters pretty well. Susan is still a bit of a mystery to me at the moment, but still waters run deep. We might find out a little more about her soon enough. She is more than meets the eye, as with most women. I have decided this after much thought and interactions with the fairer sex, over a long life.

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Sam Cornell thought about what he had said to his attorney, Jack Peters, and called him right back. The phone was answered by a female with little grasp of the finer points of English. She sounded like she was from Eastern Europe, perhaps. Peters was newly divorced and had an eye for the fine points of feminine beauty. “That was part of the reason for his recent divorce, no doubt. I hope this one is worth all the trouble coming Jack’s way,” Sam Cornell thought.

Sam Cornell was a man’s man as well, but knew better than to stray. He loved his beautiful wife of twelve years. He already had plenty on his plate running a large illegal drug enterprise without having to deal with more than one angry woman at a time. And besides, his wife came from a Latin American cartel family and she knew how to handle herself and a gun. She also knew how to get out of the country before the cops showed up, if necessary. She had many connections in her family just on the other end of a phone call. So there was that hanging over his head if he ever thought of being unfaithful. “She was a Latina as well and if you have any brains at all, you know not to mess with those women,” he thought wisely.

“Listen jack, I’m coming over to Oscar’s tonight to check the numbers, so have those two guys delivered over there instead of my home. Can you reach Jason and have him do that?”

“Sure Mr. Cornell, I will arrange that.” “Thanks Jack, it will make my night’s work a little easier.”

Sam put the phone down and then picked it up again. He dialed a number from memory and soon Cheeto picked up the phone. He was lying near his pool in the shade of a large umbrella. His girl friend sat next to him reading a magazine. “Cheeto, it’s Sam. I need you and a couple of guys at the club tonight to do a little work for me.”

“I was heading over there later today as usual. I can pick up a couple of guys on the way. What’s up?”

“Thomas and the other guy from the botched delivery to my house are coming by Oscar’s tonight for a little chat with me. I want to find out what happened to my weed and the fifty grand. We need to persuade them to talk.” Cheeto felt a wave of fear pass through his body. He knew what might be in the offing. He had seen it before down in the basement under the office at Oscar’s.

That room was another world set apart form whatever was happening above. The walls were thick concrete and the ceiling was made of 16 inch rafters with plenty of room for insulation. The drywall was covered in another layer of sound proof board and then cork tile that both insulated and added a nice touch to the decor was put on top of that. A table with four chairs, a cot and a sink were all that were down there. A kitchen or what ever one needed could be improvised easily.

Loud music played most of the time above and drowned out any noise, as well. Cheeto didn’t want to ponder what might be in store for the two men. He hoped their explanation would satisfy Sam Cornell.

This building had been built nearly a century ago during the time of speak easies and prohibition. At the time that it was built it stood as a solitary structure in a vast, flat wilderness along the highway to L.A. running from the east where weary travelers might stop on their way to the streets of California, supposedly paved with gold. A farsighted person had seen the opportunity at hand many years ago and built the building and a gas station. Sam saw the same thing in the building but thought that it could be used in a few different ways, many years later.

Alcohol was still available on the sly in remote locations like this one for some years after the prohibition laws. It had made the man who built it a great deal of money. Now the secret room was a perfect place to question someone who might not be too cooperative. Usually the questioning would wait until after two am when all customers above had stumbled off to wherever they might call home.

Sam Cornell left the house after a kiss from his wife. He drove a nearly new black Bentley convertible. Sam had many seemingly honest business ventures going around the state. His life style looked completely normal for a man of his standing.

Making money was the least of his worries. Getting rid of money was his main problem. These many businesses with mortgage loans, payrolls and other expenses helped to launder the money he was bringing in from his large drug running scheme.

Jay called the front gate after he woke up. He sat at his desk looking out the window. The gardeners were gone and the yards looked perfect.

“Gate Guard, how may I help you?” “This is Jay Kirby. I want to put David Bleeker on my permanent guest list so that he might enter through the gate at any time. I sometimes have him work on things in my office here when I’m not home.” “Sure thing Mr. Kirby. I just put him on the list.” “Thanks. What’s your name by the way?” “This Bob, Bob Sexton.” “Thanks, Mr. Sexton.” Just call me Bob.” “Alright Bob, thanks a lot.” At least now David could come in if needed to check on the house of Sam Cornell if Jay wasn’t around. David’s eyes might come in handy.

Jay walked out to his car garage and checked the gun he had been carrying. His gun was in the gun safe in his closet. This gun in his hand was the one taken from his sister’s house from the guy that had been arrested there, beating his nephew. It was loaded. He put two more clips in his pocket. “I sure hope I won’t need this,” he thought as he got into his car and backed it down the driveway. He drove to his brother’s market well within the speed limit. He had plenty of time to change cars and get to Susan’s house for dinner.

The Nova started on the first try. The car was hot inside and Jay put the air conditioner on high and rolled the windows down. If his wife was there she would have told him it was a stupid way to cool the car down. She wasn’t there and it wasn’t stupid.

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I’ll be back on stage at Malainy’s Bar and Grill in Long Beach Marina on May 6th to tell another short true story. There will be many others there as well. Come around 6:30 pm for the best seats. It’s a small venue.