Eidetic Sunshine

Eidetic Sunshine

Friday, August 1, 2014

Chapter 7


Danny was dozing in her garden chair when Ronnie came running in.  “Danny!  Danny!” 

Danny jumped awake and almost snapped until the huge grin on Ronnie’s face registered.  “I won!  I won!  I memorized the most Bible verses!!” 

With a grin for the boy’s benefit Danny said, “See?  I told you that you could do it.” 

“I got a ribbon and everything.  Boy did Mrs. Hockstetter almost wet herself though when I told her that you were the one that helped me and made me practice over and over.  That was almost as good as getting the ribbon.” 

Danny shook her head trying not to let a grin slip.  “Ronnie …” 

“Oh I wouldn’t tell that to no one else but I know she says nasty things about you behind your back.”  Ronnie looked like he’d never won anything in his life and truth be told he hadn’t.  “So now I know the books of the Bible and all those memory verses, what comes next?”

“Well if they do it the same as they used to, they’ll probably want you memorizing whole passages and not just individual verses.  Or maybe it will be the begats … the genealogies.  Hard to say for sure.  Mrs. Gifford will likely know as she usually helps organize that stuff.” 

“Oh yeah, almost forgot … Mr. Gifford told me to give you this.  He said it is a list of things his son needed his second term at the academy and he figures if you have it then maybe you can be on the look out in case Tito is too careful to ask for stuff.” 

“Thank you Ronnie, this will definitely help.  Now why don’t you run over to the kitchen.  I put some lunch for you …” 

He was off before she could even finish.  Talking to herself Danny said, “Just like Tito and Joey … a bottomless pit.” 

Not expecting an answer Danny shot to her feet when a voice said, “You could have asked me.” 

“What?  What are you doing out …” 

“Watching you.  Never really paid any attention to back here.  Didn’t know there was so much of it.  And you could have asked me.” 

“Asked you what?” 

“For a list of what Tito would need.” 

“No I couldn’t.  Never mix business with personal … you made that plain and clear.  I’ll go and see if there is a note for you at the tavern.” 

“I’ll go.  Need to check my horse.  Don’t even know …”  Butch swayed. 

“Sit down before you fall down.  Your horse is stabled.  Probably enjoying his day off and gossiping with the other horses for a change.  I’ll go see if anyone is looking for you.” 

“Daniella …” 

Danny sighed.  “Fine.  Go.  And when you get half way there and fall flat on your face you can just lay there until someone else scrapes you up off the ground.  I took my turn last night.”  Danny prepared to go back to sleep. 

“You’d like that wouldn’t you.” 

“I don’t care either way Butch.” 

Danny was nearly asleep when there was creak on the bench beside her and she jerked awake once again.  “What?” she snapped. 

“I’m sorry.” 

“Excuse me?” 

“I said I’m sorry.  I … shouldn’t have jumped to conclusions … about what happened last month.  Turns out that guy that attacked you has a record for doing the same thing in several other places.” 

Danny wanted to spit in his face for bringing it up but finally let it go.  “Whatever.  It happened.  It’s over with.” 

“But it isn’t.” 

“What’s that supposed to mean?  If you expect me to stand up in court and get laughed at …” 

“No … no he got transported out.  He was a three striker that had run out on his probation officer.  I saw him get on the prison ship myself.  He’ll be doing time on the barrier islands along the panhandle.  Danny, the thing is  ….  He’s got syphillis.” 

Danny shuddered.  “Madre de Dios.” 

“Danny … did … did he …” 

“No.  But if it gets out and people thinks that he did …” 

“It won’t get out.  It didn’t show up until they were doing the physical exam before boarding.  When he found out … he tried to hang himself.  They put him in special cargo and he went to a quarantine island.  He’ll receive what treatment there is but since he has no idea how long he’s had it …”  Carefully he asked, “Do you know if any of the other girls …” 

Danny sighed.  “Yes, I’m aware some of them like to party but Cindy is the only one that is really loose and not even she would sleep with a complete stranger like that.  The guy had only been in town less than a day and only wanted to get a drunk on until he was to catch the wagon to Leesburg the next day.” 

“You’re sure?” 

Danny stood to walk off but Butch grabbed her arm.  “I have to ask Daniella.  It’s my job.” 

“Then ask someone else.” 

“I can’t always count on other people telling me the truth.  You do even when I don’t like it or want to hear it.” 

Danny looked at Butch and scowled.  “And what’s all of this about all of a sudden?” 

Butch sighed and let go of her arm.  “We have moles.” 

“You have … excuse me did you just say …?” 

“Moles Danny … traitors … in the local militia … and through out the state if my information is correct.” 

Danny was shocked and horrified but covered it with anger.  “So you just want more information from me.” 

“No.  I want you to stay out of it.  Don’t hear anything.  Don’t see anything.  Don’t say anything.  This goes pretty high.  Maybe even out of state.  And these people, whoever they are … they’re vicious.” 

“Are they the ones that beat you up?  You think they know about me?” 

“Not because I said anything to anyone.” 

“You wouldn’t.  But if things are bad … Hunter?  I know he’s your commander but …” 

“Hunter?  No.  In fact when I passed him my information last night he was so livid I thought he was going to stroke out.” 

Several ideas started coming together in Danny’s head at once.  “That raid … the big one six months ago … that wasn’t supposed to happen was it?” 

“What makes you say that?” 

Ignoring his question she said, “Forget it.  I can see it on your face.  Someone is very, very hacked off.  They must have lost a lot of scrip … lost other people’s scrip.” 

Kicking himself for even discussing it Butch said, “Scrip?  Hell try oil and coal certificates.” 

“Which makes sense.” 

“Why do you say that?” 

“There’s a doctor staying at the tavern.  He was talking about how there’s a new virus popping up all over the place and they can’t figure out how it is being transmitted.  It’s the human trafficking part of the picture that gave them away isn’t it.  They’re losing their camouflage or whatever you want to call it.  And where it is popping up is revealing … Mobile, Rhode Island, that big shipping place up in Vermont, and those are just the ones that have made the news.  That’s where the smuggling barons have their strongholds if gossip is true … even some popping up in DC which means that there are more than likely some politicians involved in this.” 

“Danny ...”  Butch glanced around.  “Don’t say another word.  Understand me?” 

Ignoring Butch’s caution Danny said, “Tell me truthfully … did you come back to warn me that I’m marked?” 

“No.” 

“Swear it.  Swear it Butch.  Because if I am I am going to … I need to make sure nothing happens to …” 

“Ease up and breathe Daniella.  I got people watching the boys and that brother in law of yours turns out to be so straight even my grandmother would have been impressed … at least he is these days.  The whole family is.  They have their own compound and its run like a small city-state.  Good people; security is real tight.” 

Danny relaxed then jumped.  “Ronnie.  The Maddox’s.” 

“Stop.  Like I said, there’s no reason to think anyone knows anything.  The posse should really knock the pins out from under some legs but … it’s going to make a few people more dangerous, not less.  And if you see or get word of Barry Bartolo …” 

“Bushel Britches?  So he’s mixed up in this too.” 

“To his harry eyeball but only as a small player … a lot smaller than he apparently thinks he is.” 

“Which means he doesn’t know who the big bosses really are … he thinks he is one but he’s being played.” 

“Pretty much.  But that doesn’t mean he isn’t dangerous.  So mind me.” 

Absentmindedly Danny said, “Do I look like a dog to be called to heel by the likes of you?  I go my own way.” 

“Stop looking to make a profit off of this Daniella it is too dangerous.” 

Danny nearly slapped him.  “Stop insulting me.  You are going to do it one time too many and I’m going to flatten your head.  I’m a businesswoman, not a fool.  But I do have my interests to cover and people to protect.” 

“What? That … that isn’t …” 

Danny shook her head.  “Don’t ask questions you don’t want the answers to Butch.  I’m not doing anything illegal by state law or federal for that matter.  I have to fly under the decency committee radar but that’s because they try and impose rules they have no authority to impose.  But authority or no, they could still ‘cause me grief.  I’ve never stooped to blackmail before but I won’t stand by and let my family or those I do business with be in danger.  I’ll do whatever it is that I have to.” 

“Daniella …” 

“And stop saying my name like it gives you a headache.  There isn’t a thing you can do to stop me.  I will do my best to keep you and everyone else out of it just like I always have.  But whoever they are they better not mess with me or mine … or there will be hell to pay.” 

Butch, despite himself, shivered like a goose had crossed his grave.  There was just something about Danny that made him want to shake her … yet something that was scary as hell at the same time.  He just wasn’t sure what would come of it this time.  All he could manage to think was God help whoever it was that eventually sets her off and following that he thought, “I sure as hell hope it isn’t me.”
 

3 comments:

  1. Thank you! me thinks things could get very .... uhm..... testy? lol! sparks flying all over the place!

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  2. I can't wait to see who sets Danny off lol

    ReplyDelete