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Chapter Twenty-Six – Meanwhile, Back On Earth

Back to Chapter Twenty-Five

“Nice place you’ve got here.” Tucker Price is gazing with interest out the seamless windows, across an infinity pool large enough to paddle board in and towards the fields dotted with workers.

A tall, skinny man with a greying pony tail is digging through the contents of a very large, fancy ‘fridge behind an equally large, fancy granite-topped bar. He pulls out two frosty Lone Star beers and sets them on the bar in front of his stained “Altamont + Y2K Festival” concert T. He’s smiling. “Need a glass?”

“I’ll be fine.”

“Good choice, hombre. I don’t bother with ‘m either. Chips? I think we even got us some fresh guac.”

Watching the other man pop the top off the bottle on the edge of the bartop with a swift hammer of his palm, Tucker does the same. Bottlecaps scatter.

The other man plops himself comfortably down on a well-worn Laz-Y-Boy, angling his flip-flopped feet and cut-off jean’d legs over the arm. Jim sits down on a bar stool and stretches his arms in that sports-coat of his.

“Is that oxen and horses I see out there?”

“Fuck yah, man.” He waves towards the fields and speaks with a soft twang. “Ever see a John Deere gettin’ it on and making little John Deeres? Newp. No sir. Not once. These critters make more of them-selves at night and eat stuff that just grows outta the ground inna the day. That’s called ‘free’ and we like that around here. Now, you bring me what you done promised?” Takes a swig and tips the bottle towards Jim.

Our man Tucker reaches into his inner breast pocket, pulls out a sealed plain white envelope and sets it on the bar.

“You have the product?”

“On the pallets, ready to ship. Wanna see it?”

Tucker taps the envelope on the bar and looks across the fields again. “How many people you got working there?”

A vague wave of the wrist. “Ah, ya know. Hard to keep track. More than enough. How may y’all got stuffing shit into boxes in warehouses?”

Emotionless shrug. “Hard to say, offhand. How are you getting the product to the border?”

“Oh, the usual convoy. My crew will have it there on time. Let’s see what you’ve got for me.”

Without expression, Tucker picks up the envelope and tosses it to the other man with a deft twist of the wrist.

“Naw, that’s what I’m talking about!” He rips it open, pulls out the contents. “AWIS Obsidian Card, reminds me of the Old Days.” Big smile. “Comes w’d uh Amazon Prime Preferred number. Nice.”

Tucker tugs his sleeve and casts his gaze over the guitars and guns hung around the elaborate stone fireplace. “So we have a deal?”

“A deal with Ed Nougat is either a deal with the devil or a deal with god. This American Enterprise and Freedom Zone has been done good for me and mine. Pleasure doing business w’d ya. Let’s rock ‘n’ roll!

Queue up the smiles and handshakes.

Onward to Chapter Twenty Seven