Even though it was getting into evening, they was still working at the quarry. Lots of noise, lots of action, guys moving around setting up dynamite to blast into the rock, the quarry like a great big wound in the ground, a huge scooped out bit of earth.
The thing was, there didn't seem to be any organization. They was all running around doing they own thing, the guy in the suit with the hardhat was yelling into a phone, and up where I was, just off to the side a worker was hammering on the door of a trailer, screaming for the "drunken old bastard to come out and run his fucking quarry!"
"JUSH BLOW THE FUGGING FIN'!" came the reply from inside the trailer, and the worker shrugged and lifted his own phone, talking to the guy in the suit way below to set the explosives. Shit, the dynamite was about to blow, I had to get down there fast if I wanted to get my hands on it. I turned and looked up at the gravel parking lot, spotting a big, sturdy looking Slamvan.
"WOAH! You all right, buddy?" shouted one of the Quarry Workers as the Slamvan righted itself and I stepped out. I'd been strapped in with the passenger side seatbelt wrapped tight around my arm, holding me in place, and apart from a sore arm I as fine. I ignored him, moving straight for one of the big Dumpers, jumping up inside as the worker yelled after me, wanting to know what I was doing.
What I was doing was riding the wheels of the truck right up to the edge of the crates of dynamite and stopping, applying enough pressure to shatter the reinforced crates holding the dynamite. I drove around and shattered all four crates as quarry workers ran around shouting at me and the guy in the suit screamed into his phone, words drifting to me across the air and past the Dumper's engine.
".....hat dru....ot again?....tally unprof.... d enou....his!"
I jumped out of the Dumper, running for the exposed dynamite, pulling it clear of the wires snaking around the quarry and tucking it under my jacket.
"YOU DON'T HAVE CLEARANCE FOR THIS AREA!" shouted a fat security guard shining his flashlight in my direction,"......uhhh... STOP!"
"THE BOSS SENT ME!" I yelled, playing a hunch.
Just like I'd hoped, that set them all off. Arguments broke out between security, workers, and the guy in the suit, all of them yelling and shouting about what was going on, wasn't going on or might be going on. It seemed like whoever owned and ran this place was a bit of a fuck up, and I was able to run around collecting up the dynamite while they arguing amongst themselves.
"I DON'T CARE IF THE FUCKING PRESIDENT SENT HIM DOWN HERE!" screamed the guy in the suit at last, shutting everyone else up,"I HAVE A CONTRACT TO BLOW NEW MINING SECTIONS AND I'VE PUT TOO MUCH MONEY INTO THIS TO HAVE MY CONTRACT GO UNHONORED AT THE LAST SECOND! STOP HIM! THAT'S MY DYNAMITE AND HE'S NOT GOING ANYWHERE WITH IT!"
Okay... this was a complication.
Okay, I looked around, seeing guys advancing on me, the exit blocked. I spotted a Sanchez resting beside some of the mining equipment, but that was useless if the way out was sealed.... and then I looked around and realized something. How do you block the exit to a quarry when it's just a giant unsealed hole in the ground?
The answer is.... you can't.
A wind was blowing sand in from the desert as I reached the drop-off point where Suzie was waiting to collect the dynamite. It was gritty on my face thanks to riding the Sanchez, but it had also covered up my escape pretty nicely, and kept anyone nosy from spotting the dynamite when I handed it over to Suzie.
"Delivery for Woozie," I said, grinning as I saw him taking it carefully from me,"Hey, you be careful with that..."
Suzie popped it into a box in the trunk and closed it with a sigh of relief, then turned to me and wiped his forehead clear.
"I hate explosives," he said.
"There much money in quarries?" I asked him,"Can't see that there's much call for ripping a big asshole in the ground."
"Plenty of money, mining is what built the wealth of this country," Suzie said, stepping away from the trunk of the car like that would make any difference if the dynamite suddenly decided to go off,"That quarry is a joke though, the owner - George Hunter - he's a drunken old bastard who inherited it from his Father in the sixties and has let it run downhill ever since. He got too tied in with the mob during the 70s and it was mostly used as a dumping ground for bodies, then in the eighties business picked up and he sobered up, ran it okay for awhile before falling off of the wagon. He runs through entire crews in less than a month now, then hires a new one when they get sick of his shit.... why?"
"Just thinking about.... diversifying...." I said, trying out the word.
"Hell, you don't want to go into partnership with Old Man Hunter," Suzie laughed,"He'll drink up all the profits or snort it up his nose... and he wouldn't take a partner on anyway."
"We'll see," I said,"I figure he's going to be looking for a new crew after tonight anyway, maybe I'll start at the bottom and work my way up."
"You're crazy, Carl," grinned Suzie, then hopped into his ride and drove away, leaving me and the Sanchez in the sand storm, thinking about the money that could come out of a hole in the ground.
Time to go to work.
I knocked on the door to the trailer after taking a look over the edge of the Quarry.... place was deserted, equipment left lying wherever the fuck the workers had been when they decided enough of this shit.
"Yo! Anyone home?" I yelled.
"WHAFUCKYOOWAN!?!" demanded a bleary eyed, hugely fat old cracker, pulling open the door. He smelt like shit.... actually, like shit and whiskey.... and had big food stains down the front of his undershirt, which looked like it hadn't been washed in at least a month, maybe more,"I PAID EVERYONE YOU FUCKS LASNIGHferfuckssake....."
"Mr. Hunter?" I asked, taking my watch cap off and holding it between my hands,"I was wondering if you had any work available? See I just got laid off from my job at the plastics factory and I've got a wife and three kids to fe-"
"Arrrrhhhh!" he let out a slow moan, waving his arm weakly at me before heading back into his trailer and sitting behind his "desk" (a shitty adjustable wooden table he'd probably picked up for 10 bucks), unscrewing the cap off of a whiskey bottle. There were crates to his left filled with more whiskey, and more crates to his right filled with empty bottles. He poured a shot into a filthy glass, knocked it back, then glared up at me.
"Fukken ingrates come to melasnighnsaaa..... come to me and say I fukked up with the explosion? Wha explosion? Donevenknowwhathefuktheymeaaan..... what the fuck they mean.... you wanna work? Go clear rocks down to the quarry, they in the fucking way! IN THE FUCKING WAAAAY!"
"Yes sir! Thank you sir!" I said, turning and leaving him to drink. Jesus, he was even worse than I'd expected. But that was good, that was perfect.
"Yo, Mr. Hunter!" I called out, heading back to the trailer,"I cleared those rocks, what ne.... Mr. Hunter? What the fuck, man?"
He was crouched down behind his table, which was overturned, wheezing and panting hard, tears running down his cheeks, his whiskey bottle shattered on the ground.
"Buh.... bombs!" he moaned,"Bombs!"
"Bombs? What the fuck man?" I asked.
"Those bastards at Prendergast Mining," he sobbed,"They've planted BOMBS around the quarry!"
".....okay," I said at last,"When they do this?"
"I saw one outside the back of the trailer when I went out to have a smoke!" he moaned,"They're gonna blow up my beautiful quarry!"
"You just relax, Mr. Hunter," I said,"I'll go get the bombs, okay?"
"They're in yellow barrels," he managed to squeak out, grabbing at a fresh bottle,"Look around the rest of the quarry, find them! Don't let them blow up my quarry!"
I shook my head and walked out, looking behind the trailer. There was a yellow barrel there alright, but it looked like it had been there for months, maybe years. Checking it out, I saw it was full of chemicals that MIGHT explode if they were superheated and then someone threw a flame into one of them, but they wasn't bombs.
Still, if that's what he wanted, that's what I'd do. Anything for the "Boss".
I collected up all the "bombs" I could find and pushed them together in a section of the quarry where they wouldn't damage any equipment. I stuffed a gasoline soaked rag into one of the barrels and lit it, driving the dozer away as the "bombs" exploded with a dull thud and a bit of black smoke. I rode back up the quarry road to the entrance, and stepped in to let Mr. Hunter know that I'd "saved him", and found a completely different man.
He was still in his food crusted jeans and undershirt, but he'd thrown an old leather jacket on, stretching against his bulk, and he'd wet down his hair in the sink he had in the little bath room inside the trailer, which had a sink, toilet and shower.
"I blew up the bombs, Mr. Hunter," I told him.
"Exce-<sniff>-excellent, son," he grinned, and I realized he was flushed and on a high, he'd snorted something or shot up something, and now he was bouncing,"Hunter Quarry isn't finished yet, we'll make the old man proud yet, eh?"
"Uhhh.... yeah?" I said, and he laughed and slapped me on the shoulder. Damn, he was a fat son of a bitch, but there was some muscle hidden down deep in there somewhere, he was a brawny fuck.
"Sit down, son.... what's your name anyway? Sit down and share a toast to Hunter Quarry and the downfall of Prendergast Mining!"
"Carl Johnson," I told him, sitting down opposite him as he poured two shots, my glass a little dusty but not filthy like his. I knocked back the first one, but each one he poured after that I let slip onto the floor, and he never noticed, too busy drinking himself. He ranted for a little bit about Prendergast Mining, then shifted into stories about his heydey in the 80s, sometimes seeming to forget that this WASN'T 1986, but the whole time insisting that he would never let Hunter Quarry fall without a fight. I sat there and listened to him for hours, pretending to be interested, going from "son" to "Carl" to "my friend" to "little buddy". And finally, after hours of this shit, as the sun was coming up, I found out why he'd gone from freaked out to happy, and it wasn't because of the drugs he'd taken.
"I caught the bombers!" he told me, excited,"While you were clearing up the bombs, they came around in disguise and I caught them! Got them tied up over in one of the worker shacks down deep in the quarry! Gonna interrogate them! Wanna join me?"
Oh shit, there was no bombers, so who the fuck had he caught?
"Uhhh, sure," I said,"I gue-"
I was cut off by the sound of a Dumper's engine firing to life, and I was up to my feet in a second and looking through the thin window looking out one end of the trailer. Someone I couldn't make out clearly had hotwired one of the two Dumpers sitting up in the gravel parking lot and was desperately trying to back it out of the lot.
"One of those fuckers got free!" Mr. Hunter shouted, lumbering up beside me,"Don't let him get away, Carl! He'll get reinforcements from Prendergast!"
"I'm on it," I sighed, moving out the door,"Don't you worry, Mr. Hunter, you can count on your little buddy."
"Good," he said, and pulled a small piece from out his leather jacker, cocking it,"I'll "deal" with the others."
Oh man, he was fucking crazy.
"HEY MAN!" I yelled through the window, waving at him, trying to get him in sight. Every so often he'd turn to look out at me, and I'd see flashes of a panicked white face,"PULL OVER! I JUST WANT TO TALK!"
Suddenly his arm shot out of the window, holding a piece, and he fired at me, causing me to flinch and pull back into the cab.
"OH FUCK YOU THEN!" I shouted, pissed, he could have fucking killed me!
I headed back to the quarry, but Mr. Hunter wasn't in his trailer anymore, though he had left a note. He told me he was happy with my work, but he had "business" to take care of, so I could head home for the day.
"Thank fuck," I said, exhausted. I'd made faster progress than I thought I would, and I couldn't deal with him anymore today. I read the rest of the note, that asked me to come by about 8 tonight to "shift some more dead weight", and I sighed and took the note with me. He wasn't as clever as the drugs and booze were making him feel, and a note like that was like a signed fucking confession. I didn't need him taken away by the police...... not yet, anyway.
After some blissful sleep, I headed back out to the Quarry, and once again got to see one of Hunter's wonderful moodswings. When I'd first arrived at the Quarry looking for work he was drunk, surly and pathetic. Then he was a crying, moaning piece of shit. Then he was a feverish, excited old loon. Then he was a creepy would be torturer/executioner. Now he'd skipped the drunk and surly stage and gone right back to being a crying, moaning piece of shit.
"Oh God, oh God little buddy, what have I done?" he moaned as I entered his trailer,"The police... the police are going to come and ruin me!"
"Calm down, man, what's going on?" I asked.
"I tried to interrogate Prendergast's men," he sobbed,"But they kept saying they weren't working for him! They kept LYING!"
After waking up and having my shower before coming out here, I'd done some quick research. There WAS a Prendergast Mining, and they did compete with Hunter Quarry.... but that was in 1986, the company had collapsed in the 87 crash. Old Man Prendergast had committed suicide in 1990.
"Okay, they kept lying, huh?" I asked,"Then what?"
Suddenly his pathetic broken down old fat man's face went hard and I could see what it might have looked like when he was young if he hadn't been a fat spoiled brat even back then - dangerous.
"I took care of them," he said, a hard little grin on his face, but then it collapsed again and his eyes went wide,"But I forgot about the noise, people must have heard, the must have called the cops! They'll come to investigate and they'll find the bodies and I'll... I'll go to jail! I can't go to jail! They RAPE MEN IN JAAAAAAIL!"
"Calm down man, calm down," I said,"Ain't no one gonna rape you, and ain't no police gonna find nothing, where are the bodies?"
"Other side of the quarry, in the back of a Dumper," he sniffed,"But it's too late, the pol-"
"Listen to that rain," I told him, and he stopped to listen to the sound of hard rain pounding down on the roof of the trailer,"Big storm out there, police will be busy, and even if they are on their way out here to investigate a "noise", they'll be coming slow. We got time, I can make this right.... you can rely on me, Mr. Hunter."
"I don't know what I'd do without you, little buddy," he sniffed, pathetically grateful.
"Don't even think about it," I said, and stepped out into the rain.
I hopped off of the Sanchez and looked up in the back of the Dumper to make sure the bodies were there, and..... oh shit.
"Oh shit," I said.
Stepping backwards from the Dumper, I almost skidded back onto my ass due to the rain on the gravel, and the near-fall helped me get my bearings back. Okay, so Mr. Hunter was crazier than I thought, that was okay, that was good, that would help me get what I wanted. But still....
I hopped down out of the Dumper to make sure the bodies were burning. Some of these old mine fires could burn for weeks or months, feeding off of gas released by the mining process, and they'd eat up the remains easily enough. This was how bodies had been dumped here during the 70s, and none of them had ever been found. That wasn't what worried me though - I'd know that whoever these "bombers" were, they hadn't been Prendergast's men. What I hadn't known though, was what they would be.
I went back up to the trailer, where Mr. Hunter was snorting up a line of coke off of his filthy fucking table, looking like he was over his last panic attack. There was still no sign of the police, it looked like no one had heard the shots or cared if they had, and 5-0 wasn't coming. If they'd gotten the call they would have, because it was 5-0 that Hunter had killed, thinking they was Bombers when they'd probably just come out to investigate the theft of the dynamite a couple of nights back.
"Little Buddy, I knew I could count on you!" laughed Hunter, pouring me a shot. I flung the contents over my shoulder and out the door and he didn't even notice, just pouring me another which I held as I sat down across from him and watched him drink.
"You happy in this business, man?" I asked him,"Seems like it stresses you out some."
"Ahhhh, my Daddy left me the business," he said, as if that answered everything,"Always said I'd never amount to anything, so I was determined to prove him wrong."
"But if you could, you'd leave it behind?" I asked.
"Oh sure, sell up and go to Barbados, maybe," he laughed,"But I owe so much in way of debt on equipment that the only way I can afford to service the debt is to keep involved in the quarry."
Yeah... and maybe if he wasn't blowing all the rest of his cash on blow and booze and constantly hiring new crew he could be living in Barbados right now. But this was a guy who killed fucking cops thinking they was saboteurs for a company that went out of business five years ago, he wasn't exactly thinking straight.
"So I guess no one wants to buy you out, cause they'd have to take on the debt too?" I asked,"Man, that sucks, huh?"
"Ehhh, I do okay," he shrugged,"Not everything comes in over the counter, you know what I mean?"
"A little something the taxman doesn't want to know about, huh?" I grinned,"Like what?"
"Well...." he said, leaning forward and lowering his voice to a whisper,"I've taken delivery of a new shipment of explosives to replace the TNT my crew lost... but then I repack the explosives in old barrels and return the new barrels full of old stock and claim they were duds. I get my money back on the explosives twice!"
"Hey, pretty clever," I had to admit,"You know I don't mind a little pay under the table, maybe I could deliver the explosives for you?"
Of course so far I'd only been paid in cash by Mr. Hunter, but his brain was so pickled that the idea of paying me MORE money and not being taxed on it made him think that he was coming out on top. He knocked back another shot, then opened a drawer and pulled out a map.
"Here's the location you're delivering too!" he grinned,"Do you know it?"
"Oh," I said, surprised at what I saw,"I know it all right."
I hopped out of the Dumper and looked around. According to my instructions, a car would be waiting to pick up the explosives, and would signal me by flicking they headlights on and off. Once I was that I was supposed to drive away.... but I didn't see any headlights.
My phone rang.
"Carl, what the FUCK are you doing there?" Toreno demanded.
"Toreno? Why the FUCK are you using my airstrip?" I demanded straight back.
"......whose airstrip, Carl?" he said after a moment, caught by surprise. The moment I'd seen that MY airstrip was being used as the dropoff point for the illegal purchase of explosives, I'd figured he was involved.
"My airstrip, Toreno," I said back, calm,"Bought with my money, legally in my name. I'm here because I'm working on a personal operation, and I assume you're doing the same. You really want to press further and find out what I'm doing? You want ME to press further and find out what YOU'RE doing?"
He was quiet for a second, and then I heard him start to laugh, low and quiet.
"Touché, Carl, well fucking done," he said,"Ask me no more questions, I'll tell you no more lies."
"Ditto," I said.
"Have a good night, Carl."
"You too... Mike."
"Oh Carl, you're making me wet," he laughed, and then he was gone, headlights flashing up from the darkness in the desert, giving me the cue to get my ass out of there.
When I got to the quarry the next day, just after noon, I found Hunter sitting out in the sun, drinking straight from the bottle, in another depression. What the fuck was it now? Jesus Christ.
"What's the matter, buddy?" I asked him.
"THERE YOU ARE!" he snapped at me, looking like a kid throwing a tantrum,"This is all YOUR fault!"
"Oh yeah?" I asked, used to his mood swings by now,"What's that?"
"I had to shift the old explosive stock myself because YOU weren't here this morning, and somehow the Dumper's load wasn't secured and it spilled out along the train tracks. Now some train is going to come along and hit them and set off an explosion and derail and the police will track it back here and shut down my quarry.... ALL BECAUSE OF YOU!"
"You... you left explosives on the train tracks?" I asked, unable to believe it, watching as he sat there drinking direct from the bottle, a spoiled brat in the body of a 60+ year old fat alcoholic drug user,"Where? WHERE!?!"
"That way," he mumbled, waving his arm in the general direction of the tracks,"Train is due in a few minutes, then my lovely Quarry will be taken from me.... sniff, why do these bad things always happen to ME!?!"
I didn't answer, I was too busy running for the bulldozer and praying I wouldn't be too late.
Oh thank fuck for that..... Jesus Christ.
Now I had a new problem though, I'd saved the Quarry.... but now Mr. Hunter was pissed off at me, how the fuck was I going to get back into his good books. Luckily for me, it turned out that getting into his good books was as easy as getting into his bad books. It wasn't necessarily what you did, it's what HE did.
And in this case, that was kill another cop.
"I KILLED A COP, BUDDY!" sobbed Hunter, who I think had forgotten my name was Carl and thought it was Buddy now,"I KILLED A FUCKING COP!"
"Calm down, man," I told him for what felt like the millionth time since we'd first met,"Tell me what happened."
It turned out that this time he'd actually been sober enough to recognize the cop AS a cop when he'd come calling, and sober enough to chat with him without raising suspicions. The Copy had explained to him that some officers had come to investigate the missing dynamite report, worried because dynamite could be used for any number of bad things, but they'd never returned. Hunter hadn't had to act confused, he still honestly thought he'd killed "bombers", so he truthfully told the cop that no Officers had come to investigate, and he lived on site, sleeping on a small bunk in his trailer. He'd done that for months now, since problems with rotating crews had lead to a lot of minor theft - which in turn had increased his paranoia.
They'd ridden down to the Quarry, Hunter on a Sanchez groaning under his weight and the Cop on his HPV, and Hunter had let the cop snoop around. The mine fire was still burning of course, but the dead officers were basically ash now, they bones mixed in with black wood and metal and iron, so the cop didn't see anything out of the ordinary. Finally he'd said he figured they'd never made it to the Quarry, something else must have diverted them and he feared the worse.
"So what was the problem?" I asked,"Why'd you kill him?"
"I got... I got confused," he admitted at last, miserable,"He was making small talk as we walked towards our bikes and he mentioned all the Mafia disappearances in the 70s.... I got confused, it happens sometimes, and thought the bombers you killed-"
"-were the Mafia guys that used to get dumped here in the 70s.... I thought he was on to me and I grabbed a wrench and swung it and hit him and hit him and then I remembered what year it was but I couldn't take it back I COULDN'T TAKE IT BACK I KILL A COP I KIL-"
I slapped him across the face, hard.
"....wha... what?" he said, surprised, raising a fat hand slowly to his cheek.
"Shut the fuck up and stop panicking," I told him,"How many times do I have to tell you, you can count on me.... now, how long ago did you kill him?"
"Just after midnight," he sniffed, looking pouty again, eying his bottle of whiskey,"I ran back up here and I called the number you left me, they told me they'd get hold of you."
The "number" was an unlisted number in a Triad Bookies, and they'd put the call through to me at my hotel suite, waking me up to tell me some panicky junkie was asking for me.
"Okay," I said,"So he's working the night shift, so they'll be expecting to hear from him, and they'll trace back his steps till they get to us. That means we have maybe a couple of hours at most to dump the body and the bike, so we have to move fast."
"What do we do?" he asked, nervous, fidgeting, wanting to drink.
I rang Suzie, asking him to get the papers that I'd asked Woozie to write up and meet me here in two hours. After that, I hung up and looked over at Hunter, my eyes hard. I was in charge now, he'd pushed himself too far and was in no state to question anything I told him, which was just the way I needed him.
"I'm going to deal with the problem," I said,"You're going to straighten this place up, toss out the empties, shower and shave and get into the best clothes you have here. You're going to get an unopened bottle of whiskey and three CLEAN glasses, and you're not going to drink a drop until I get back. Understand?"
"Ye.... why, buddy?"
"UNDERSTAND!?!" I shouted, and he jumped, flinching.
"Yes Daddy!" he shouted, and I just shook my head and headed outside. My time was limited, and I could easily pull a fade if the police showed up too early, but if my timing worked out, then this week wouldn't have been a waste.
The police didn't show up until the morning, we'd had plenty of time, and so for a few hours me and Suzie worked on Hunter, double teaming him with talk from one side and then another, explaining the situation he was in, the way it was spiraling down, hitting his addled, paranoid mind with shot after shot of how his life was going to inevitably end up... and the one smart way out for him.
Finally when the police arrived, we'd broken him down, using the information he'd given me himself over a week of drunken, drugged up talk. At no point did I threaten him to give me what I wanted, because I didn't want him coming back later and causing problems, but he was broken down as well as if he'd had the resistance beaten out of him - perfect for us when the cops finally arrived.
I opened the trailer door looking surprised and a little concerned but not guilty when they knocked on the door, four of them coming in two cruisers, looking nervous themselves. They explained they were looking for a missing officer who in turn had been looking for other missing officers. Me and Hunter both said we'd never seen them, they'd never come around, while Suzie explained he was just here on business this morning. We offered to take them around the quarry, but they begged off, explaining they were worried because in the early morning the body of one of the officers had been found washed up downstream. It was the cop who had run and jacked the Dumper of course, though I hadn't known he was a cop when I killed him. Because he'd drowned and not been shot, and since he'd been washed clear of the Dumper, all the cops had to go on was his body. They seemed to think maybe the original group of officers had somehow gone off-road and into the river, and they were worried that by some cruel twist of fate the same thing had happened to "Jenkins" who had come out last night looking for them. Of course they'd find his body washed downstream in a few days and figure that was what had happened until they did an autopsy and found out he hadn't drowned. But why would they suspect a Quarry owner of killing them? They'd just figure the cops had found a gang or other criminals and been killed, and then Jenkins had tracked them down and followed the same fate. The case would get investigated for awhile, then join the hundreds or thousands of other "unsolved cases" that the LVPD had sitting on they backburners.
At least, that was what I was hoping.
"I'm sorry to hear about your problems, Officer," I said after we'd been through all of this,"But we have some business to finish off. Mr. Hunter here has agreed to sell me the Quarry."
"Really?" asked the Officer, surprised,"You want to buy the Quarry?"
"Mining is what built this country," I grinned, taking a line from Suzie,"Mr. Hunter here is going to retire and spend his golden years in the sun."
"Going to Barbados," agreed Hunter, who had slowly come around to the idea that yes I really WAS happy to take on his Quarry AND the debt.
"And if you please," said Suzie, looking at his watch, the legal witness to the signing of the document,"I have another appointment in an hour."
I sat down across from Hunter and Suzie asked if he was satisfied with the wording, and as we went on with our signing the Officers seemed to realize they we'd already put them behind us and slowly walked out, mumbling amongst themselves, most of them saying I was buying a pig in a poke.
"That was perfect," sighed Hunter at last when the cruisers pulled away,"Guilty men wouldn't be sitting here signing a contract!"
"Please sign, Mr. Hunter," said Suzie calmly.
"Sign it, buddy," I said, just as calm.
He looked at us both, nervously licking his lips, looking down at the contract that would sign away his Daddy's inheritance, then looking over at the still untouched whiskey bottle. Finally the bottle won out, and he signed.
The Quarry was mine.
We sat in the trailer that night, me and Suzie, sharing a drink of whiskey, the last one left. Hunter was already gone, I'd driven him to the airport myself and seen him on the plane to Barbados. I didn't know how long he'd last there before some combination of booze, drugs or his own insanity saw him locked up, and I didn't care. He'd fucked over a literal goldmine here, killed people, helped mobsters.... and he'd had nothing to show for it by the time he was in his sixties. As far as I was concerned, I'd done him more than enough favors.
"You do realize of course that the debt owed by this Quarry is fairly substantive?" asked Suzie,"How do you intend to pay it off?"
"I don't," I said back, calmly.
"An.... interesting.... strategy," he said,"I do believe there are laws against such a stance."
"Collateral," I said back, smiling as I put my feet up,"Hunter owed on every piece of equipment he had in use. I'll just sell the equipment back to the companies and pay off the remainder, which won't be much - alot of this stuff never even got used."
"But... how will you run a Quarry with no equipment?" asked Suzie, intrigued.
"That's my little secret," I grinned,"Let's just say there's someone out there who I think will be VERY pleased to NOT do business with me."