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"The Annual Fear" 4 by Rolly A. Chabot
The Fireside is open this evening as the fire crackles quietly in the background. Quigley is all spread out after a day of hiking and climbing the hills up and down and spening time fishing with Dad.
Last night I tossed a fish up onto the sand on the beach and she found it and I think tomorrow is bath day because she is rather noticeable. Maybe a shower with Dad is in order.
A quiet day here today and just enjoying he smell of the tall cedars and the decay in the forest. Nothing like this time of year. The few popular, Birch and Willow trees have started to turn colour and the countryside is filled with an array of beauty all around. Gather around and lets take a peek at Chapter four of The Annual Fear and see what Dan Sidon and his town are doing.
If nothing else comes along from reading this know that you are dearly loved... Hugs
Chapter Four: "Crested"
It had been another week of patrols and checking doors and the people and homes left vacated. In total 19 homes had been flooded, this would bring on many contractors coming in to mop the mess up. Many of the owners were forced to carry insurance but once there was a claim. They would find some excuses and would never pay out. Dan had taken them on himself one year. It would be a lean year for them and Christmas would be close to impossible for many.
Some of these homes were on the verge of being condemned as they had flooded so often. Mould was always a concern and the health of those living in them.
Wanda was also a local Real Estate agent had been attempting to buy much of the land in the lower reaches of Center Street. Quietly she had gone to many of the homeowners and made offers. Her offer was far below market value. Some people had come and complained about her tactics and it had raised a red flag for Dan as well.
He had done some investigation and there were plans in place to apply to have the Middy diverted controlling its flow through town. It would be a massive undertaking but the plan was to cash in and create a massive shopping and condo area. It was some highflying developer out of the Vegas area that was funding the whole thing. He knew that Wanda had some ties back too Vegas but was not all that sure about the connection. All he knew was leave well enough alone and a snake would always come out from under its rock.
There had been nothing illegal to this point but that kind of construction would mean the need for big money and Wanda would fall short there. Dan had made a few calls and he learned she was connected to some shady people in Vegas. Some with some colorful pasts and he decided he would wait and see what happened.
The “River People” had formed an association, a low-key operation to hold each other accountable each time she would approach. They had been very effective within their ranks but she would still try and sell them short. It did not take long for them to connect once an offer had been made. They would openly share the amount of the offer and the prices were starting to be upped a little as no one was taking the bait.
Wanda had been getting more and more insistent this year after the annual flooding. Dan learned many of the permits were in place and there were rumor’s running throughout town. Word had gotten out on the street. Some big developer had plans to expand the area. There had been a few that sold, chunks here and there. Wanda had been a driving force in attempting to claim this land as unfit for people to live. She had attempted to use every bylaw possible to get them evicted but the battle was starting to heat up.
Dan had sat through a meeting of the town council, the Mayor at the head of the table and many of the town’s people. He watched Wanda closely and never once did she let on she knew anything about what was happening.
She stood several times throughout the meeting walked to the front of the stage; she was dressed as always to accent her figure to the fullest. The green dress she wore was far too short; too tight and the low cut blouse she wore was cut far to low. She looked out into the crowd and spotted Dan, smiled and blew him an imaginary kiss. When she sat again she made sure she exposed just enough of her legs to stir interest in all the men.
She was good at playing her cards and admittedly she was playing with a full deck and there were no other lady’s in this town that could hold a candle to her as far as looks and appeal.
She fielded the questions in a professional manner and never gave any inclination of her inside knowledge. As customary after the meetings many would gather at the local watering hole called the “Green Wiener.” It was a hopping pub that had brought some trouble to town. Tom Reardon was a man who had come in bought and older building on Main Street a few years ago. He had invested a great amount of money at the time. Little was known about him but Dan had learned he was connected to a gambling syndicate from Vegas.
Dan slipped into the smoke filled bar. Stood quietly in the back and took in the scene. Wanda had herself perched on a stool and was circled with men. He recalled the words of the judge, “Watch her claws.”
He laughed but as he watched her he was reminded of seeing a female cat in heat, knowing she could have any man there. There were many vying for a position. It was obvious she had a few drinks under her belt already as the music started. She accepted the offer to dance with a local man, Pete Tennyson, a family man with three children and a wife at home.
Wanda ground her body up against him; it was obvious the man would do anything for her. Wanda was shameless once she had a few drinks in her. This was a regular routine for her; to begin with it had been in the nearby towns. Now it was right here at home, in full public view.
Another man unknown to Dan stepped forward and wanted to cut in to the dance. Pete shoved his hand out of the way. In just a few minutes a fight erupted. Wanda stepped back and just watched she was in her glory. Men were fighting over her and just loved it, goading them on.
Dan stepped in and tossed Pete out the door saying, “Go home to your wife and kids and you, he said to the other man are under arrest for assault, you tossed the first punch.”
The man stood back saying “Well might as well make it worthwhile, bring it on small town pig.”
The man stepped forward threw one punch and immediately his world went black. It was over that fast, Dan drug him out and threw him in the back of the cruiser.
He went back inside picked up Wanda’s jacket and her purse and said “Come along lady, you are done here tonight, you are heading home. She went to say something, he held up his hand and said. I have two cells!
She pouted, her bottom lip came out. “Best pick up line I have heard in a long while. The bar erupted in laughter and she added. The law always gets its man but tonight the lady gets hers.”
“Well maybe when hell freezes over will you get this one.” His comment started a roar in the bar and Wanda cut loose with some of her colorful language giving those around her a taste of what lay under all the fancy clothes and excessive makeup she wore.
Wanda made sure her long legs were in full view as she slid into the front seat next to him. He reached in and fastened the seat belt around her pointed a finger and said, “Stay” like she was a dog.
The ride to Wanda’s was intense, she spouted off verbal abuse after verbal abuse. “Men want me all over, no matter where I go but not you. Must be gay or something.” He slammed on the brakes in front of her house got out reached in unbuckled her seat belt and again the leggy flash. He bent to get her purse and jacket and she managed to get her lips on his again.
Bile rose in his throat at the taste of her breath as he shoved her away. “Get in the house before I haul you down to the station. Keep those lips to yourself as the record of where they might have been is not something I want too be seeing anytime soon. Get out of here before I loose my temper.”
“Must admit you want a piece of this” she patted her behind. Turned and staggered toward the house. She stopped and blew him the second kiss of the night as he turned and spat out the vile taste she had left.
He called back “When hell freezes over Wanda, that’s when I will take you up on your offer.”
He was met with a finger and another volley of creative verbs; he even learned a few new ones as he drove to the cells.
His prisoner started to come around as he opened the back door. “Take all your stuff out of your pockets, remove your belt and shoe laces. This will be home till I figure out what to do with you. Assault is an offence here in Cedar Ridge and one punishable by law.”
The man was Billy Joe Wesson, after he was cooling in cells Dan ran him for a wrap sheet and the pages started to flow from the fax machine. Billy had been in and out of trouble with the law on many occasions, this would be yet another. He would deal with all this in the morning. He called in Gus the night security guard on call to look after this bum.
The entire thing was starting to fall into place. The land offers, the opening of the Green Wiener and the applications to have slot machines installed. Now Billy here in town, and at the head of the entire mess was Wanda. Yes the judge had been right and so had he from the first day he spotted her he knew there was something he disliked.
If he could tie her to the gambling organizations and her involvement they could have her impeached from office for conflict of interest, influence peddling and many other charges. Yes he would investigate now for certain. His first contact would be the police chief in Vegas whom he had met a few years before. He had come for the fishing like most.
He was reminded again of what many would think chance meeting. He instantly like Ronny Jessup, he was indeed a man of integrity. He had come out a few times and stayed with his family at the farm and gotten his fill of catching fish.
What had struck Dan was one evening the entire family was sitting around the fire and Ronny was reading from the Bible just as his own dad had done with them years before.
Dan had mentioned it to Ronny and his testimony of his past he shared had touched Dan. No doubt this was a man of God who could be trusted. The friendship had grown and a bond had been formed. Dan could not help but think this was all from God, chance meeting, no it was a Godly appointment to help stop the corruption that was about to attempt to take over the town.
He would call him in the morning from his private home away from all the ears and start the ball rolling on that end.
Dan stopped at the Center Street Bridge and checked the water levels again and it looked like the river had finally crested. The marker had not set off the alarm for several hours. He drove slowly up and down the lower streets checking properties. The multi directional lights shone deep into many homes left empty.
He thought about what the area would look like if the development were to go ahead. It just did not fit into his plans and he would do all it would take to stop it. Tomorrow was another day as he started to head west toward the farm. For now he needed some downtime.
It was late by the time he ate, another TV dinner, Jake his old faithful dog at his side in the event there may be a scrap left over. Dan showered and slipped into bed and slept soundly until 4 am.
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