A Quick Summary
Well, our anti-hero Bobby/Billy just can’t say no to a friend. This time, a co-worker is being blackmailed and threatened, and those two things just don’t set well with Bobby Fix-It. He promises to look into the matter, but he’s also got Genna to think about, and let’s not forget his daughter, scheduled to be born in two weeks.
What’s a man to do?
A Quandry for Sure
“I’ve settled on a name for our daughter, Billy, one that will set your mind at ease over the whole black, Irish name problem.”
She was smiling when she said it, making it sound like she was teasing, but I knew this wasn’t up for debate. Besides, I had bigger fish to fry, so sounding supportive was tactically a good move. I smiled.
“Let’s hear it, hon.”
“We’re going to name our daughter Jade. It’s not black, it’s not Irish, or it could be black and it could be Irish. It’s the perfect non-descript name for her. Besides, I think it’s a pretty name.”
“I couldn’t agree more, darlin’. Jade it is. Perfect!”
That’s when I got the look, the one that said she didn’t know what was up but she was certain I wasn’t telling her something. She’s learned quite a bit about me since we were forced together on a windswept beach in Florida with lead flying around us and dead Mexicans falling in the tide.
“That was way too easy, Billy. Spill it right now. What’s on your mind that you want me to agree with?”
So I told her about Mike at work, Mike being blackmailed for a crime he was a part of a long time ago, Mike with the pretty wife now threatened by a con with vengeance and payback on his mind.
She was quiet for a few minutes. I knew enough to keep quiet and give her thinking space. Finally she walked to me and knelt down in front of me. It took some effort, her being so pregnant and all, so I shut my mouth and waited for it.
“No guns, Billy! Promise me right now, however you decide to handle this matter for your friend, you will not use a gun. If you can promise me you’ll solve this dilemma without killing someone then I’m all in. If not, I’ll raise Jade by myself. What’s it going to be?”
Daddy didn’t raise no fool. I made the promise and sealed the deal with a kiss.
“Now tell me what you have planned,” she said, so I kicked around some ideas and she tossed around some fine-tuning. Between the two of us we worked out a reasonable approach. My hope, as I left the house, was that “reasonable” equated to staying alive.
Stalking the Quarry
Take on an ex-con, one who has threatened people with bodily harm, and discourage him from continuing, and do it all without the use of my Glock…..
Sure, no problem!
First things first. I dialed the number Mike had given me and prepared for an enlightening discussion with Max Piceen, former prison bitch, current blackmailer. He answered on the second ring.
“Mr. Piceen, you don’t know me, but I’m a friend of Mike’s. He tells me there’s a problem with you, a problem involving joy rides and stupid kid stunts. He also tells me you were stand-up in prison, and I respect that, but then he mentioned blackmail and threats and I gotta tell ya, Piceen, that troubles me greatly.”
His laughter did not warm my heart.
“I didn’t catch your name, friend of Mike’s. I guess it doesn’t matter. I did my time, paid for the crime, and now it’s Mike’s turn. Thanks for the social call, but I really don’t give a shit that it troubles you. Tell Mike this phone call pisses me off. He now has two days to give me what I want, or me and his wife are going dancing.”
“Mr. Piceen, you misunderstand the purpose of this call. Mike really doesn’t want to meet you again, so I’m his go-between. I’m going to meet with you and pay you, and then you’ll slide back under whatever rock you call home. Now give me a time and place and let’s get this over with.”
There was that laugh again.
“Works for me, Mike’s. Let’s say two tomorrow afternoon, the old quarry out on state road eleven. Don’t be late now. I don’t like being disappointed.”
Sometimes it’s just too easy!
After I hung up I called Mike and told him about my conversation with Piceen.
“Tell me what he looks like, Mike.”
“Shit, Bobby, I haven’t seen him since I was eighteen. There’s no telling how much he’s changed since then.” He was quiet for a good thirty seconds. “He’s a big guy, about six-four. When I knew him he weighed close to two-thirty, sandy blond hair, light blue eyes….oh, there was one thing….he had a scar over his left eye, a nasty looking thing he got playing youth hockey.”
“That’s good enough, Mike. I’ll find him from the scar. You just sit tight for a couple days, go about your normal activities and try not to worry. I’ve got a meeting with him tomorrow but I think I’ll take care of matters tonight and skip the meeting.”
“How are you going to find him, Bobby?”
“No sweat, Mike. Predators never stray far from their watering hole.”
In Search of a Watering Hole
Piceen was from Jackson. That made him vulnerable. Most likely he had family nearby. He had favorite haunts. We’re all creatures of habit. All I had to do was learn about his habits and meet him near his lair.
I went to the library and asked the nice lady behind the service desk where they kept the old copies of the local newspaper. She led me to a back room where micro-fiche machines were kept. She asked me the dates I was looking for and I gave her the dates immediately after Piceen was arrested for the crime.
You’d be amazed just how easy it is to peel the layers off anyone’s life.
Piceen was living at sixteen-twenty-four West Buford when he was arrested, but the actual arrest took place at the Rancher’s Bar & Grill where Piceen was having dinner with his fiancé, Patty McLain.
I thanked the young lady at the desk, went out to my car and called Matt Stairs, my foreman at the ranch. Matt’s been in Jackson for quite a few years, seems to know everyone and, most importantly, owed me big time for saving his sister from a religious cult. He answered after four rings.
“Matt, it’s Bobby. Let me pick your brain. Do you remember a local by the name of Max Piceen, got sent up to prison for assault and robbery charges about ten years ago?”
“Hell yes I remember him. I used to bowl in the same league with the guy. I knew his fiancé better, though. Her name was Patty McLain, cute little thing, she was friends with my wife. She’s still in town, working over at Jackson Hole Real Estate. I ran into her the other day and shot the shit with her, and before you ask, she didn’t mention anything about Max Piceen. Why are you asking?”
The less Matt knew the better.
“It’s nothing major, Matt. Just a problem I’m working on. You’re better off knowing very little about this. Thanks for the info. I’ll see you on Monday.”
Sometimes it’s just too easy.
Jackson is a relatively small town. Sure, there are tons of tourists coming and going, but when tourist season ends and it’s just the locals, Jackson is just one of those “he knows a guy who knows a guy” kind of towns, with hundreds of old-timers who are walking encyclopedias of local lore.
It was time for me to see a lady about buying a house in Jackson Hole.
Until Next Time…….
Bobby against a con in the con’s home town…..no problem, because when it comes down to the push and shove of a situation, our Irish mutt anti-hero strikes first, strikes fast and strikes hardest.
Join me next week as we watch Bobby get into position for his next strike.
2016 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)