Digging the Ditch Deeper – First Draft Theater

“I have been pissed upon from a very great height.”  Wayne wondered why Russell always talked like this. 

“What the fuck are you talking about?”

“Wayne, you assume I am just a local businessman with a repair shop and a community bank operation.  You assume somewhat incorrectly.  I do own a local repair shop, but my loan business is not local.  I am merely a branch of a much larger bank.  Do you understand what that means?”

“It means you work for somebody just like everybody else in this shitty town.”

“Very true.”  He stopped and took a drink from his McDonald’s smoothie.  “It also means I am not the one you need to fear ultimately if you don’t pay back your money.”  Russell stopped again and took another sip from his cup.  “Yeah, there’s the look.  The look of, ‘Oh, shit.’  That moment you realize your problems are much bigger then you thought.”  Russell turned up the cup and finished his smoothie wiping his lips clean with his thumb.  “As I said before, I will not harm your daughter.  The gentlemen I work for however have no such reservations.  You can run from me.  Me and my guys have a limited reach.  Get farther past Gastonia, Gaffney, Forest City, or Lincolnton and you’re pretty much out of my territory.  The problem is this, Wayne.  My employers have a much longer reach and fewer emotional ties to any one community.  So, I again ask you to get me my fucking money.  Otherwise things leave my control.”

“I’m trying to get the money.”

“Work faster, try harder.  There is your pep talk.  Figure it out.”

Tommy and Nathan escorted Wayne out the door by arms barely letting his feet hit the ground leaving him in the dusty parking lot.  He squinted at the noon sun and walked over to his car.  He opened the door and a burst of hot air rushed into him.  He rolled down the window and started the air conditioner.  He pulled onto the road and drove towards Ashley’s school.  He now had two problems.  One, he still owed $50,000 to Russell and now he had to protect Ashley from someone scarier than Russell. 

School doesn’t let out for another 3 hours, but he felt better sitting in a parking lot across from the school watching anyone who passed by.  Cars passed and his mind started turning the situation over and over in his head.  Russell wasn’t the ultimate problem.  The guys who control Russell are the ultimate problem.  He had to deal with them.  First, he had to find them.  Sam’s police contacts could help find them.  He pulled out his phone and dialed Sam.

“Hey, it Wayne…Wait, don’t.  I need your help…I know. I…Look, just meet me at the place…It…It’s about Ashley.  Just meet me there in a 20 minutes.”  He threw the phone down on the passenger seat and looked down the road both ways.  He hadn’t seen Sam in 3 months at least.  Not since Ashley’s surgery.  There is a little coffee shop a couple of blocks from the hospital they used to go to get some air after being inside for hours waiting on doctors and keeping Ashley entertained. 

 

He walked into the coffee shop and Sam was already sitting at their table in the back drinking what Wayne knew to be black coffee.  She dressed as simply as she drank:  jeans, blue dress shirt, sports jacket to hide the Walther PPK she carried.  Her hair was longer almost past her shoulders now and she was wearing lipstick. 

“What kind of shit are you into now?”  Wayne hadn’t even pulled his chair out to sit down before his sister started in on him. 

“Good to see you too, Sam.” 

“Goddammit, Wayne.  I don’t have time for this.  I actually have a job.”

“I’m sorry.  I owe money.”

“Is there something new we are going to discuss here.”

“I owe fifty thousand.”

“That’s what Ashley’s medical bills were.”  Wayne looked down at his coffee and didn’t answer.  “Dammit.  I told you I would help.  Who did you borrow the money from?”

“Russell Allen.”

“You borrowed from Russell.  I outta shoot you myself.”

“I was hoping you could help me find out who he works for and maybe I could talk to them.”

“Mama used to get drunk as hell, but she was never drunk enough to drop you on your head when you were a baby.  What the hell is wrong with you?  These are not the kind of people you just go talk to.”

“So you know who they are?”

“Oh, God.”  Sam sat back in her chair and crossed her legs.  She stared up at the ceiling and then closed her eyes.

“Are you dating someone?”

“What?”

“You let your hair grow out and you’re wearing lipstick.”

“I met him at some classes I had to take in Charlotte.”

“He a cop?”

“No he is a teacher and quit changing the subject.”  She leaned forward.  “These guys moved into this part of the South a few years ago, up from Miami.  They’re some kind of conglomerate.  They are more like McDonald’s then criminals putting franchises everywhere.”

“Do you got a name or something?”

“A name?  No, I don’t have a name.  I don’t even know where they work out of around here.”

“Just get me one name.  I’ll take care of the rest.”

“Yeah, you’ll take care of the rest.”  Sam stood up and finished her coffee.  “I’ll call you in an hour.”

“Thanks, Sam.”  Wayne sat finishing his coffee.  He tried to think of what he would say to the guy Sam found for him.  

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