Lights in the Night

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Chapter 11: A Place to Work From

Now with a sense of urgency and purpose, Trevor spent the next couple of hours, first inspecting, then tracking down the owners of the more suitable storefronts. Two incidents propelled him forward. The first was Crystal Knight and her shop. She was the beachhead, the vanguard. Might she be a valuable ally to the gentrification of this little burg? Of course, he was not undertaking this project for altruistic reasons, he was in it for the cash. The other was her van load of customers, they came from somewhere. Like locust, he was sure more was about to follow.

It is amazing the doors a little cash will open. What could’ve taken days or even weeks to secure, he did in hours. Obtaining the keys and permission to use an empty appliance store next to Eddington’s. This made things very convenient. He texted, Cuff, Link and the delivery company the address of their new base of operations. Now all he needed to do was wait.

Trevor sat at the bar across the street at Junior’s. Patiently waiting for the drink, he had ordered, humming a little song to himself.

Junior arrived with a woman’s severed head, propped in a large bowl. Oversized straw sticking out of her cranium.

Revolted, “What the hell is this?” looking at Junior who had morphed into an Armadillo standing in front of him.

“The Bloody Mary you ordered,” Junior Armadillo hissed with a snake tongue.

“This is obviously a Bloody Maria. I can smell the tequila!” pushing it over to Butch and Casey, who both nodded as they inspected the bowl with their eyestalks and trunks.

Shocked awake, “I need some sleep badly. I must be hallucinating.”

He must have dropped off, while in the back surveying his temporary digs, he heard the front door open. Then a deep masculine voice called out, “Anybody home?”

Rubbing his face trying to focus.

Sticking his head out of the doorway, first thing Trevor eyed was the badge. Honestly, the only thing he saw was the badge, “Good afternoon, can I help you?” Like a light, he switched to the smooth operator mode he strove to project.

Standing before him was the county sheriff. Smoky-bear hat in hand. Tan and green uniform, with a Berretta on his hip. Unlike city law, it was easy to tell this man wore no body armor. Peacekeeper would be a better title, there was very little lawlessness in this area.

Sheriff Rodriguez grew up in Marysfield. One of the few that went away to college, started a career, eventually deciding to bring his growing family back to his hometown. He wanted to give his children the quality of life not found in a normal large city. The oldest son, he knew the family obligation to be around to help his parents with their little ranch as they aged, La Familia obligations ran deep.

The Sheriff’s family lived in Texas, since before it was Texas. Growing up listening to stories about the Tejano’s and their fight alongside the Americans for Texas independence, the Texas Rangers and even stories of Judge Roy Bean. Two things ran through his spirit, Texas pride and the rule of law.

He wasn’t a tall man. Not even particularly broad. What he lacked in stature he made up with a quiet strength of conviction in doing the right thing and doing it well.

Standing right inside the door, hand on holster, taking in the scene of Trevor and the empty room.

“I’d heard someone rented the old Blackburn’s building,” he offered his hand, smiling a genuine friendly smile.

“Thought I would come by and introduce myself. I am Sheriff Rodriguez.”

Taking his hand, Trevor noticed the strong grip, and shook his hand back with a firm grip of his own, “Thanks, Sheriff. You can call me Trevor,” taking a step back Trevor crossed his arms. Giving the Sheriff the next move in their little game of cat and mouse.

Walking around inspecting the dust covered floor, “What type of business did you say you were going to run out of here?”

Quick to answer, “I didn’t say actually. Listen, Sheriff I have nothing to hide. But news travels fast around this town. I want to keep this information private if that’s possible,” smiling back keeping arms crossed.

Chuckling the Sheriff replied, “Yeah, news can be like shit through a goose, ’round here. Tell ya what. I give you my word not to let anything you tell me leave this room.”

Trevor walked over to the window, with the pretense of checking to make sure the coast was clear. Playing charades as if telling the Sheriff, a huge secret, “I represent a film company, Swindle Productions. We are here scouting for locations to bring in film shoots that need a certain feeling.”

“You mean run down?” the Sheriff added.

“We prefer to call it rustic, but yes. We are checking the viability of some of the properties around here, to see if we can find a working solution, for set locations.”

“We are an awful long way from Hollywood. Seems like they could find someplace a lot closer.”

“Film companies are always searching for new places, new styles. They will fly an entire company to Europe to film a series, don’t you think they would fly to Texas for one? Take for example, the business North Carolina and Vancouver has taken away from Hollywood. Things work out right this could be a boon for your town.”

Trevor anticipated this from the very beginning. Hard to walk into a town, throw the kind of cash around he planned to throw, and not entice the local constable to start asking questions. Most of his plans were perfectly legal if not morally sound. His brother taught him well. Barney even created a shell company under the name Swindle Productions based in the Cayman Islands, his back story was solid.

Trevor was used to watching the fat cats play the system. First, he would try being cordial. If needed he would bribe the officials, if that didn’t work. He could always use Cuff and Link, never wanting to resort to Cuff and Link.

Trevor handed the Sheriff a business card. Leaning back taking a photographer pose, his hands to form a viewfinder, “Have you ever thought about being in the cinema? Ya got the face for it. Like a young Clint Eastwood,” of course, that was total BS but Trevor knew how to use the lines to gain what he wanted.

Sheriff shook his head, chuckling at the thought, “Not sure what you are selling Mister, but I am not buying,” pocketing the card. “I will keep the card though. In case I need to reach you,” placing his hand on his holster again.

Continuing, “Look you seem like a nice enough fella, I just wanted to stop by and introduce myself. I’ll keep an eye on your property for you. Keeping the town safe, of course,” he smiled as he finished. All friendly and proper.

Trevor was no dummy, he got the hint but kept playing the game, “Thank you, Sheriff. Surely, there can’t be that much crime around here?”

Shaking his head, “Not much. I tend to keep a close eye on things. Kids growing a little weed here and there. Drunk driving from time to time. We haven’t had any snake oil salesmen here in ages,” he turned and headed for the door, Trevor followed. Stopping before leaving, the Sherriff motioned with his finger like an idea just struck him.

“You might head out and speak with Big Jim. He has some areas on his place that might work. It is very peaceful out there. You might get lost and no one would ever find you again,” some might’ve taken that as a threat, Trevor did.

Trevor was holding the door for him, trying to move him out, “Thanks for the tip. I will look him up. Is he listed as Big Jim or does he have a last name?”

“Jim MacAllen. Old family in these parts. The biggest land owner around after the Government,” and with that, the Sheriff stepped over the threshold.

Closing and locking the door, Trevor spoke through the glass, “Thanks for the Information. I will check on improving the security here, and I will call on Mister Big,” he waved a friendly wave and walked away into the back room.

Mumbling to himself, “Is everybody in this town a denim stereotype of a Redneck flipping cliché?”

He started rubbing his temples when he heard a rather loud banging on the glass door, “Oh, bloody hell. I get the idea you are watching me!” he came out the door to witness the Sheriff’s car pull away and a burly man in a cowboy hat standing at the door with a clipboard. Arriving at the door he was met with the comment.

“I got a delivery for a Trevor Swindle. Where ya want it?” holding the clipboard up to the glass.

“It’s pronounced Swindell... around back there’s a dock,” was Trevor’s reply as he started heading to the loading dock and the roller curtain door. The driver headed to his panel van pulling up his pants as he crossed the street.

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