I developed three different negatives which I had shot but had not yet processed. One was a bust from the word go. The tools and the image of my singer were acceptable. Those I hung in the closet to dry. I stayed up reading on the net until I was totally exhausted. At that point I fell into bed and then into a restless sleep.
The next morning I got a call from Susan's receptionist. I drove over to Williamsport. I stopped first at Susan's office, then I went to the Seymore Group's office. I got kept waiting there, while Mary finished a client interview.
"I see you found the coffee pot. I was worried that you might have forgotten where it was." Mary was cheerful of which I approved.
"Oh lots of things I do forget these days, but where to find free coffee is etched on my brain. So what do you have for me."
"Mostly routine stuff, but I do have one that should be a challenge. He has been avoiding service for a month. I can't prove that he is selling off assets, but I would bet my next years salary that he is."
"Well be sure that I have all the information you have and I'll give it a shot."
"Oh, I have no doubt you will get a handle on it. After all you're my hero." she did grin to make it more of a joke. I left the office feeling good about Mary's mental health.
Most of the papers in Williamsport were simple. Without a previous attempt by a professional process server at his or her door, most cooperated with the Lightening Express Courier quite well. I had one dummy check type envelope which I waved around some of the time, and the old tube which could have contained plans that got waved around now and then as well. It was sign for the dummy package and get the court order instead. Reusing the same old packages over and over kept me from make a new dummy prop every time.
I stopped for a late lunch at a diner a few blocks from the office of the mooch who had been ducking service. I very carefully backed my old ford until it almost touched his Beemer. As I walked by his car toward the building, I gently rocked it. Of course,The car alarm went off. Lights flashed and the horn sounded every one around noticed.
"Hi," I said to the receptionist in the lobby. I think I have a problem. I bumped into a black BMW sedan outside. The parking space has the name Jarrell on it."
"Oh God, me Jarrell will have a fit. You stay right there, I do not want to take the blame for this." She made a call to someone presumably upstairs in Jarrell's office. It took about three or four minutes for the man in shirtsleeves to come rushing from the elevator.
"You might want my insurance information," I said handing him the envelope. He was steaming as he took the envelope from me. "By the way," I added. "You have just been served. See you in court." I tried to walk away, but the little fat man grabbed my arm.
"What the hell is this all about."
"It's about finally handing you the court order. I have your picture with it, by the way. I took it with this little key ring digital camera. It won't be a really good image, but it will do." Then I looked down at his hand on my arm. "Now take your fucking hand off me, or I'm going to break it." He removed his hand. "And have a nice day."
"You bastard," he called as I walked away.
"An accident of birth for me, you had to work it out all by yourself." I laughed as the receptionist giggled. I hoped that Jarrell couldn't fire her. I would hate for him to take all his frustration out on her.
I fought hard not to ram his BMW. I knew it would only cost me, so instead, I pulled carefully away. When I was far enough away to shoot an image of his car with the key ring camera, I stopped and made the picture. I made damn sure that he saw me documenting the lack of damage to his car.
I only had one service in Carthage and it was anti climatic. I just handed the paper to the owner of a beauty salon/spa. The woman was a bit of a redneck but she took the papers without an angry word. Her lawyer had told her to expect the papers and to accept them.
I made right at two hundred bucks for the half days work. It was enough to repay myself for the batteries I had ordered.
I made a picture of Molly for my one shot of the day. Molly was not the beauty or free spirit that Misty was, but she had some interesting mannerisms and cute expressions.
I met Mary for lunch three days later to pick up a couple of more papers to serve. "Is there some reason I can't hold these to do along with next week's batch?" I asked. It was my not to subtle way of asking if the second pickup was really necessary.
"Sure you can hold them, I just wanted to get them into your hands in case you were around the area, you could work them into your schedule as you see fit." She had obviously rehearsed the answer,
"Good, I always enjoy seeing you." I was surprised that it wasn't a lie.
"Good, we should do something fun sometime," she suggested.
"I was thinking about a picnic," I said laughing.
"I love picnics."
"How would you feel about sneaking into the park here some night at midnight for a picnic?"
Her laugh was unladylike, but genuine. "I think I would love that. You decide when and call me. Now I have to go play lawyer. I have court in a few minutes." When we got to the parking lot of Steve's Place, she kissed me quickly. She was gone before I could react.
My days fell back into a routine, even though the routine changed every few days, it was still a rut. A rut didn't have to be the same thing everyday of your life, like working on an assembly line, it could be choosing things from the same small list every day. I guess that is to say I wasn't all that upset when they came.
"Yes," I said. There were two of them standing on my stoop that Wednesday morning. Two guys in cheap suits usually meant cops, but then again I wasn't taking any chances. I kept the snubbie behind my leg as I opened the door.
Two badges, and I D cases magically appeared. "Mind if I hold one of those a minute?"
"Yes ,we do mind," The smaller of the two said as he put the badge away.
"Then get your ass off my porch and then get off my property. Unless I can verify that ID, you are not welcome here, therefore you are trespassing."
For a change I had thought to pick up my cell phone before I went to the door. I made a big deal of opening it and pressing 911. I held off pressing enter while they turned to each other. The larger man handed me his ID.
"Now what would the State Bureau of Investigation want with me?"
"We came to talk about your dead partner, but considering your attitude, maybe we should extend the investigation to include you." The little one said.
"Sonny, you need to work on your technique. Bullying some people just won't work." I pushed a number on the speed dial menu and the private phone, in the private office of Herbert Seymore rang.
"Mr. Seymore, I have two men at my door. They are allegedly from the SBI and they want to talk about Charlie, but are threatening to investigate me.
"Good to talk to you John, now why would they want to include you?"
"Something about not liking my attitude. I expect. What would you suggest I do?"
"I suggest you let me handle it, give the alph cop the phone please. By the way thanks for taking those papers. Mary seems like her old self again.
" Yes Sir of course. Give Mary my regards." I handed the phone to the smaller of the two.
"Hello (Pause) Agent Hopkins (Pause) Yes sir, we will call for an appointment (Pause)" He handed me the phone.
"We will be talking to you again."
"In a better mood, I hope." I said it closing the door in his face. I knew how pissed he was. I had the exact same thing done to me by a gambler ten years before. The phone was a wireless house phone not a cell, but it worked exactly the same.