Good Afternoon Ted and Jody:
Thursday the tire store put a loaner tire on my Ridgeline until the correct tier got here. It is the same size and roughly the same tread pattern, however, that slight difference, I could notice in the way the truck handled and sounded on the road. I was happy they did that rather than putting on the spare for that would have been a big difference since it is one of those 300-mile tires. This morning, they called and I went in so they could put the matching tire on the front. It did make a big difference. It is funny how that works. It tends to give me some reassurance that all that education and training the tire and auto designers and engineers have actually made things better.
Speaking of better, you may recall last year when you were here I was about to put out electronic mosquito traps. At that time you suggested I make the connection with extension cords and then spray rubber (Flex Seal Liquid Rubber TM) over the connections. I did that after you left, and the connections held and still hold. I was out early this morning and late the other day and I can not recall seeing, hearing, or feeling a mosquito. The traps are supposed to handle a ½ acre each. We have .666 acres, but with one in front and one in the back, I suspect our neighbors reap some of the benefits (if they ever go outside). I guess we could be a testimonial for DynatrapTYM.
Warmest regards, Ed
020 July 4, 1926, Visit a Graveyard
Fiction in 913 words by T. Edward Westen, 2017
Someone was banging the screen. Mrs. Calkins always thought it strange that folks did that, but considering there wasn’t much to knock on when confronted by a screen door, banging it did let the people inside know someone was at the door. When she got to the door, Sheriff Matthew Gilbertson tipped his Stetson and said, “I brought Deputy LeLoup. There is something you should see and then we can show you the Rodeo if you are of a mind. The Deputy can man the telephone switchboard for the couple of hours that you are away.” The Sheriff chuckled and said, “I brought my wife as a chaperon.”
Mrs. Calkins suppressed a laugh and said, “I would be delighted, Sheriff. It will take me a few minutes to get ready. You all come in and have some ice tea while I change.”
The Sheriff, Deputy LeLoup, and the Sheriff’s wife filed into the house. Mrs. Calkins. Offered her hand to the Sheriff’s wife and said, “I’m Aida Calkins. Your husband and his deputies have been life savers for me.”
The Sheriff’s wife said, “Call me Punkie, everyone does, my mamma named me Wanita-W A N I T A. I figure she hated carrying me to give me that name spelled like that.” Wanita Gilbertson turned the handshake into a hug by pulling Mrs. Calkins toward her. The hug was the longest and warmest hug Mrs. Calkins had ever had. “You have been through so much, I can’t tell you how everyone is pulling for you and you have all our prayers.” Then standing straight, Mrs, Gilbertson said, “You go get ready, I know where Norma Rae kept things, I suspect you haven’t moved them much. I’ll organize the ice tea.”
Mrs. Calkins gave her a serious thank you look, patted Punkie on the arm and said, “Thank you,” and went upstairs.
The automobile ride took about 15 minutes to a secluded cemetery. Punkie chatted most of the pay pointing out who lived where. Mrs. Calkins had worked the board long enough to recognize the names and even some of the observations. Punkie made about her neighbors. When they climbed down from the automobile, Punkie stopped talking and walked behind Mrs. Calkins and her husband the Sheriff. The trio stopped at the far side of the cemetery and the Sheriff pointed to a wooden cross. “That is where Norma Rae is. She has no kin that we know about. She moved here in, as I recall, ’98. Never visited anyplace and never talked about family. Since you were the intended victim I volunteered Norma Rae to perform one last good deed. She was always there when someone needed something. She would have wanted this.”
Mrs. Calkins said, “I don’t understand.”
Sheriff Gilbertson pointed to the wooden cross, “Go up and read the inscription.”
Mrs. Calkins approached the cross and stopped four feet from it and put her hand to her mouth. The inscription read ‘Aida, Mrs. Frank, Calkins, born ?, Died June 17, 1926.’
The Sheriff walked up behind her and put his hand on her shoulder and said, “The weekly paper will carry your obituary tomorrow. This way the bastards who shot Norma Rae will have some evidence of your death other than your clothes. I think Norma Rae is helping to make it safe for you to stay here.”
Punkie had walked up and took Mrs. Calkins’ hand and said, “I have talked to everyone in town. Everyone agrees you are buried here and there is a new operator because Norma Rae left town to help a sick aunt.” She paused and then added, “We all miss Norma Rae, but keeping you alive is important. We will give her a proper grieving later, when Matt solves this case.”
[Two years before the present day.] Agent White materialized in any ally across the street from a bank. She crossed the street, walked around the block and carefully scrutinized the parking lot. She checked her list and the time and thought, ‘I beat them this time. Last time I got there just as they did. Third time is a charm.’ She climbed the five steps to the bank. She could see the SUV pull in to the parking lot in a reflection in the bank’s front door just as she entered the bank. Just as she had in the first two banks she went to a standing desk and appeared to be filling out a deposit or withdrawal slip and was so acting when the same man entered, filled out a deposit slip in the same amount and same name but with a bank account number for this bank. She only wrote down the bank account number on a deposit slip which she folded and put in here purse. She waited until the man finished the deposit and left the bank before she went back outside to pivot to the next location. Having already pivoted back after the second bank to let Special Agent Fleishman and the detectives know what she was doing and give them the first two account numbers, she thought, ‘Now I know what they mean in the detective stories when they say follow the money.’
As the bank’s door closed behind her a man’s voice said, “With all the fast moving around we are doing, your being at the first two banks we visited this morning isn’t a coincidence any more than your being here is a coincidence lady.”