By Molly Halloran
We ended the last episode with
“A license to do business,” Maggie answered.
There was total silence in the café. For at least thirty seconds.
“You aren’t looking for tax breaks?” Gamboge asked, incredulously.
“Nope,” Maggie replied, with her trademark wide smile—widening.
“Road improvements?” asked an equally incredulous Sam Silverthorn.
“Don’t see the need,” Maggie replied.
“Just the license?”
“Yep,” Maggie, now smiling very wide indeed, answered, “And some kind of flat parking fee arrangement those willing to provide space. We’ll include the fee in the voyage or tour ticket price.”
“OK then,” Hiram Silverthorn said, “If you’ll excuse us, we’ll discuss the matter and get back to you in the morning.”
The Sparrow folks left the townspeople to their deliberations, and went down to the bay where the Sparrow was moored. Ines, not part of the Sparrow operation nor a townsperson, remained on the boardwalk outside.
She was enjoying the cool Big Lake air and the fragrance of the lake and nearby pines when she saw Shadbush standing in front of his bar across the road. Ines crunched across the gravel of the parking lots to Shadbush’s.
“Excuse me sir,” she announced as she approached Shadbush, “I don’t mean to bother you…”
Shadbush, completely taken aback by this lovely apparition approaching out of the night, interrupted, “It’s not a bother, what can I do for you young lady?”
“I—um—,” she began, “was wondering why you left the meeting?”
“Because I know,” he replied with a touch of anger in his voice, “that the town will agree with those people, and soon we’ll be just like the Cities—gangs, welfare, crime—like everywhere else those people show up! I’m sellin’ out. I’m 75 years old, its time I retire anyway.”
Sensing an opportunity, Ines worked mightily to keep her Venezuelan blood from boiling—and succeeded—for the most part, and then said, “Would you consider selling to me?”
“Sure, but,” Shadbush replied, “do you have any idea what you are getting into?”
“I’m from Miami,” Ines replied, playing on the man’s misunderstanding of big cities, and then asked, “Do you have a price in mind?”
Shadbush, not exactly believing his good fortune, thought a moment, and came up with what he thought was an exorbitant price.
“Good grief,” Ines thought, “that’s chump change in Miami!”
“Fair enough,” she said, “Deal!”
“Really?” Shadbush exclaimed, thinking that maybe he set the price too low—still he wanted out. “I’ll ask Sarah to draw up the papers in the morning.”
As Shadbush was speaking, Ines observed Sarah leaving Silverthorn’s and driving towards the bay in her vintage red pick-up. The meeting appeared to be over as the townsfolk left the café. She excused herself and thanked Shadbush for his time.
She crossed the gravel lot to her little blue roadster, and followed Sarah down to the bay where she found…
TO BE CONTINUED…Hint:
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