Friday, January 4, 2013

Tox Chapter Seven (complete)

Chapter Seven


September 3

Quinn never heard the bar as quiet as it was now, especially since there were more of the locals here than on last new years eve. The only thing that broke the silence was the intermittant coughs and sniffles issuing from the few people that still had the remnants of the flu. All of the motley crew of regulars were present this afternoon, plus another two dozen or so people who normally only visited the package store side. Until five minutes ago, when the fiftyish or so woman with greying hair reached the podium and started speaking, they were blabbing away like they usually did (obnoxiously and too loudly). Television reception in this part of the state was spotty at best and few of the families here had the extra cash for satellite reception. The cable company had declined years ago to spend the money to lay their line to the small, isolated community, stating it would take too long to recieve a return on their investment even if the households offered them an exclusive five year contract. Everybody wanted to hear first hand the official report on the disease responsible for all the misery and the handful of businesses and homes that had satellite reception were surely as crowded as Jackie's is. Pam had even gone so far as to unplug the juke-box, in mid song no doubt, and instead of someone complaining over losing a quarter they all focused their rapt attention on the television. There was probably more viewers watching this broadcast than had watched the first men landing on the moon, or the last superbowl for that matter. Quinn was sure the same scene was more than likely being played out all over the U.S. as the Surgeon General gave her initial report on what caused the near extinction event of the rodents world wide and the cause of the 'Rat flu' that affected nearly every species of mammal, including humans.
The flu was gone now, only a handful of people were still suffering from the symptoms but the havoc it inflicted on the food chain would ripple throughout the animal kingdom for decades. To say people were curious about what had just swept the globe was an understatement.
"...and after exhaustive research and thousands of hours of careful postmortum examinations we have finally discovered the agent responsible for the unheard of wave of casualties in the Muroidea family of rodents."
The Surgeon General paused, looking down on her notes and then continued, giving Quinn the impression that she had debated on just exactly how much information she would tell the american people, and the world, about this disease.
"What we found is that the affliction is not due to any virus, bacteria or any other of the more common causes of infection but is in fact due to a parasite related to Toxoplasmosa Gondii. Toxoplasmosa Gondii is a single celled parasite that infects the brains of rats and changes their behavior significantly.
The life cycle of the tiny parasite is unusual because Toxoplasmosa Gondii lives in rats and reproduces in the intestinal tracts of cats. It is not only able to survive the cat's digestion process but actually requires it to reproduce. The parasite ends up in the feces of the cat and if other animals come in contact with the excrement it can cause the animal, including humans, to become infected. In Infected rats the parasite makes its way to the brain and alters the rodent's behavior. Once the parasite establishes itself, the normally fearful rat becomes fatally attracted to the smell of cats and cat urine. The rats certainly no longer fear being eaten by the cats and end up becoming dinner. The ingested parasites then make their way to the cat's stomach and reproduces to complete its life cycle.
Scientists and doctors know that humans can be hosts to Toxoplasma, too. People can become infected by its eggs by handling soil and kitty litter. In some places of Asia (where cats are still on the menu) poorly cleaned knives and cooking utensils can spread the organism. In most people, the infection causes no harm. Toxoplasmosis is generally only a serious risk for people with AIDS or if a person's immune system is weak, then the Toxoplasma parasite can grow uncontrollably and the parasite can kill. Pregnant women are also advised not to handle kitty litter, and Toxoplasmosa Gondii is the reason why. The organism can cause birth defects and miscarriages. There are studies that have shown behavioral changes in humans, including slower reaction times and an increased risk of traffic accidents among infected men. There also may be links to schizophrenia, hallucinations and reckless behavior. In most cases, the parasite lives unnoticed in people's brains. Estimates range from a third to half of the people on Earth are already affected with Toxoplasma."
The Surgeon General paused again and calmly took a drink of water from the glass on her podium while three voices from the audience asked questions of her at the same time. Holding up one hand to silence the reporters and assembled journalists she continued.
"Now as I have stated, the agent behind the rodent die off is not Toxoplasmosa Gondii, but is only related to it. This new mutation, which has been tentatively been named Toxoplasmosa Mondus Omni (Latin for 'The bow shaped organism that covered the world'), differs from Tox Gondii in the fact that Tox Mondus no longer requires transmission into a feline to reproduce and that it has of course, proven fatal to over ninety percent of the rodent family Muroidea.
Tox Mondus appears to have evolved and spread from the northern mountains of North Korea by way of airborne transmission of its eggs, which accounts for how the organism spread so far and so quickly.
Since most of the mammal species have never encountered this new parasite before, initial contact with the minute eggs caused an immediate immune response similiar to an allergic reaction.
There is absolutely no evidence that Tox Mondus can survive or breed in any other host besides the animals that comprise the Muroidea family and since most of that branch has unfortunately been eliminated, this pathogen is expected to burn itself out as quickly as it came into being.
There have been very few deaths reported because of Tox Mondus, world wide, and at this point whatever danger this parasite once posed has passed. While there may continue to be isolated outbreaks within the animal kingdom for the near future, none here at the CDC expects it to have any further impact upon humans."
The Surgeon General stopped for questions and the only thing new she had to say during all of it was that things constantly are evolving and here was visable proof.

Murmurs and questions went through the patrons of Jackie's grill, some happy and reassured by the government's assessment and some were confused and still worried by what they heard.
"So what caused the 'Rat flu' then?" Mark asked no one in particular, unsure if he had understood what the woman on TV had meant.
"It wasn't the flu at all. It was your bodies reaction to the nasty little parasite's eggs that made everybody feel sick." George informed him, more than glad to enlighten his less than brilliant fellow citizen.
"Like tiny insect eggs?" Mark's face scrunched up in disgust as he thought of small bugs trying to hatch inside his body.
"Well, I guess so." Suddenly George didn't feel as confident now that he realized that a single celled creature had tried to colonize his flesh.

Quinn watched Pam shrug off any doubt about the future, completely pacified with what she had heard, her spirits bouyed by the good amount of tips she was going to take home today. She was smiling and joking with everyone, knowing today's take home was going to be more than what she normally earned all week.
For all the CDC's reassurance though, Quinn felt uneasy knowing the 'Rat flu' hadn't been caused by a normal, run of the mill virus at all. The thought of a parasite that invades one's brain gave him, and probably most people, a case of the 'wileys'.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Grimoire Chapter three (complete)

Chapter Three


As bad as her despair was of the hell of the public school system, Wendi's home life was even more appalling. Her father was an abusive alcoholic and drug user, never being able to hold down any sort of employment, however menial, for any length of time. Wendi often showed up at school with bruises and marks poorly and hastily covered in layers of clothing or cosmetics in an attempt to hide her shameful situation from the scrutinizing eyes of her peers. Nobody besides Samantha seemed to either notice or care about her unpleasant situation and Wendi depressingly wondered why she even bothered to try and conceal her abuse.
Even the teachers and staff disdained to heed the signs of neglect and maltreatment that Wendi's young body showed, never truly caring at any depth for the strange individual that nobody seemed to like. Only when the harassments inflicted upon her by fellow classmates turned violent did anyone in a position of authority deem it necessary to step in and put a temporary halt to the degradations. Words and small harms only brought forth a silence from Wendi's teachers, as if they felt the same as their students regarding the outcast, only interceding when public demands would have faulted them for not doing so.
Wendi's mother had died when she was still a young child, barely eight years of age. Her loving mother had been suddenly waylaid by a deadly and inexplicable wasting that baffled the medical knowledge of the day. Her father, seemingly rudderless after the tragedy, soon became lost in his own abject desolation and was more often than not absent and seemingly unaware of his duty to his own flesh and blood. For the first year after her mother's death her father seemed to struggle on but soon after that his addictions and subsequent neglect became ever more frequent and longer in their duration. One day Wendi found herself without a father also, he had been replaced by a complete stranger that barely resembled the man she once knew and loved.
With her pater deficient and binging there were many months of her years she spent in that house without electricity or running water; sometimes without both at the same time. Now seventeen and a senior in school, Wendi was alternately filled with anger and despair at her situation.
The book she had found, or been given if she believed in what could only have been a strange dreamlike hallucination brought on by a combination of depression and desperation, gave her mind something to dwell on with its seductive promises. Wendi had begun to become fascinated by the strange and macabre book she had found on that confusing night a week ago and she was both horrified and excited by its contents. The things within the book were subjects of sheer madness and though it held the promise of power and retribution she didn't take it seriously. With it she could curse and bring low everyone she despised and it even included a ritual to summon a devil to barter one's soul to. There were also drawings and diagrams in them, some pornographic in the nature, and Wendi was fascinated by wondering what type of demented mind could come up with such things. The tome became a source of obsession with her and she studied the book and its pages written in its disquieting ink (that gave her the impression of dried blood) with every free moment she had after school. She also knew that most of the world would frown upon the book with its unholy chapters and the revolting requirements for the spells it contained. Most would burn the thing as soon as they laid eyes upon its contents.
With a sense of extreme curiosity she wanted to try one simple spell that didn't require much in the way of components. Unfortunately all of the invocations required a pentagram and a blood sacrifice of some kind and Wendi wasn't prepared to go that far yet.
Wendi's attraction to the forbidden and shunned disciplines detailed within that macabre tome grew and she decided to compare the hexes in the ancient grimoire with hexes and spells from other sources. She started with visits to the town's tiny local library, where she would spend hours searching the internet for any scrap of information that she could find on the subject. Pen and paper in hand she would excitedly jot down any of the spells, charms or divinations that she could find for later comparison and experimentation. Many of those simple spells posted on the 'Wiccan' websites never properly satisfied her and all of the 'white' or 'grey' spells she found were utter works of fantasy, but she was tenuous in her quest, refusing to let go of the subject until she could either prove or fully disprove the truth of her current obsession.
It wasn't until she started digging deep into the shady side of 'Black Magic' on rarely visited sites that she found anything that correlated to any degree with what was within her exotic and demonic compendium. She was desperate to do some experimenting but she lacked even the most basic of regents and materials, lamenting the fact that she could accomplish very little. The second problem she had was being constantly under the harsh thumb of her oppressive father who would completely blow a gasket if he found out. What she deeply desired was a location where her privacy could be assured. None of these things stopped her though; they only delayed her schemes, making her ever more resolute.
The more Wendi was hassled and ridiculed, simply for being who she was, the deeper she obsessed over the idea of becoming a witch and casting terrible dark spells on her enemies. She was determined to discover if there were any scrap of truth at all behind all the occult lore and she eagerly delved down those forbidden paths of knowledge.
After remembering a place she had stumbled across long ago on one of her many excursions far from her father she excitedly found her way back to the site. She had finally found a secluded and suitable place to experiment, on what remained of an old and crumbling foundation only a mile or so from her house where nobody went.
Returning from her successful foray, out of breath and actually happy with anticipation, she resolutely decided that tomorrow she would immediately start on verifying the simplest of blood spells contained within the wicked handwritten and leather bound book of hers. This night she was planning on a quick perusal of the tome to make sure of what she had to do to prepare her new found site.
The corrupt pages in that book detailed more than just spells and recipes for unusual potions. In its tainted leafs there was a page of drawings that explicitly detailed a host of deviant sexual acts. The images, illicit and provocative, were very well drawn with exacting attention to detail and although Wendi would never have normally looked at the images for any length of time and ignored the dirty pictures, today she couldn't resist. Wendi hadn't really paid much attention to them before; the picture was of an absolutely nasty nature that rivaled anything she had ever seen in any medium, including the filth that she found on the internet. Out of an admiration for the hand that drew such incredible pictures she examined the finely detailed pages and although alone, she blushed deeply while she did. The drawing contained a whole page of debauchery, the images overlapping with each other quite artistically as separate groups engaged in every imaginable position possible with any number of partners. All of the people depicted within were lost in the throes of lust and ecstasy and every one of them, without exception, were so detailed that the closer she looked, the more detail she discovered. Even the border itself, upon closer inspection of the fine artistic penmanship, was one long chain of men and women pleasing each other, wrapping themselves along the image's border.
The worn pages held the images of a single woman and man together in the center of the page, surrounded by combinations and groups of lovers engaging in every sexual act, arrangement, position and stance that a man and women could engage in. The further out from the center, the more partners there were in the depraved orgy and participants engaged in a never ending array of deviance. The further away from the center of the lurid and provocative masterwork the more the arousing drawing turned into a study of sexual acts whose carnal depictions made Wendi's eyes widen. In wild combinations that left nothing to her imagination, she knew that even the Kama Sutra paled in comparison. The drawings were wondrous in their exquisite meticulousness and Wendi found herself spellbound and enraptured by them.
Wendi marveled at the sheer amount of time it must have taken to create such an erotic masterpiece. The artist was gifted beyond compare, so detailed were the pictures, drawn in a simple black ink, that if she peered closely enough she could even make out the tiniest of moles on some of the subjects bodies. The minutia was unbelievable and by the time she examined a small fraction of the carnal portrayals she started noting some unusual details. The model at the center of the illustration was drawn with such fine attention that she almost seemed real and her gaze seemed to be looking right back at her. The second thing she noticed, with a small disconcert, was when her eyes returned to one of the lurid scenes, the subjects appeared in slightly different positions than she remembered. The last thing, one that she found she embarrassingly enjoyed, was how the more she gazed at the depictions the more excited she found herself becoming. No porn had ever affected her like this, but then again she had never seen anything like this before. The images were so life-like in their depictions that even though they were in black and white she easily imagined the pictures held color within them. The more she studied them, the more real they became to her.
When she explored and probed the last of the wicked images, her breath had started to come in heavy gasps and sweat had started beading on her body. The writhing orgy of men and women tangled together in a complete abandonment to their sexual desires brought a strong lust into her.
Women and men were coupling together in the most shocking of unions and they were all centered on the pleasure of the beautiful and desirable woman with voluptuous red hair in the center and Wendi silently wished she could join them.
Wendi's eyes were drawn to the intricately detailed piercing eyes of the central figure and started to feel a slow yet all-embracing desire overcome her, getting stronger with every passing moment, and it clouded out everything else. The sensation she felt as she gazed into those eyes blurred everything else from her reality. All Wendi could think of was a craving to be inside that world, to please and be pleased by the gorgeous beings within it that promised such sinful pleasure. She should have been disturbed when the drawing seemingly came to life, when the red haired and blue eyed beauty winked at her but she didn't. Wendi was lost in the book, mesmerized and hypnotized by what she saw. The woman reached out to her and pulled her into the drawing, her touch tantalized and caused a tingling sensation of such eroticism that nothing existed in her but her intense desire. Wendi felt the touch of multiple hands exploring her body and her mind fogged over as she lost control and abandoned herself. She was being kissed, fondled and pleased by the woman and those around her, and while a part of her mind screamed at her that this could not be happening she snuffed out her mind's warnings. Even when she found herself being penetrated and her mind pleaded and warned her to look away from the book, that there was some unholy spell that had been placed on her, she ignored it and instead worked her hips fiercely in response. Lost in ever continuing carnality, as she was taken and pleased in multiple ways by multiple partners, the woman actually spoke to her and she immediately recognized who the red haired and sensual woman was.
"Do you like this Wendi?" Wendi recognized as the voice as belonging to the dark figure from the abandoned cabin that gave her the book to begin with.
Finally Wendi had a face to go along with the voice, a face that had penetrating blue eyes of ice and hair the color of flames.
"Yes." She said between heavy gasps for breath.
"I can give this to you if you want it. I can give you this for eternity if you desire it." The woman promised her as she stroked Wendi's face and kissed her with such a sensuality that all Wendi wanted was more of those lovely lips to touch her again and again and in every more dirty places.
"I can make you beautiful and desired by all that see you if you want." She told Wendi as she teased the ensorcelled girl with her fingers.
"I want it." Wendi groaned, eager to do anything to stay in this place even though a part of her mind was rabid with fear as to what was happening.
"Will you call me?" she whispered as she nibbled and kissed Wendi's earlobe.
"Yes, please yes. I'll do anything you want." The sounds of moans of sheer pleasure from the men and women surrounding her reached a crescendo, her own voice joining them, and she loved the decadent sensation of being filled and thrust into from above and below while lips and tongues caressed and delighted her into ever stronger bouts of shuddering orgasms.
"My true name is Lilith Tabitha Anidios... Don't forget it. Lilith Tabitha Anidios... Call me with the book." She whispered to Wendi with a smile, the seductive voice coming from between sloppy wet kisses to her hard nipples, her warm silken tongue tracing around Wendi's dark aureoles.
Wendi's world seemed to literally explode then in a great quivering reddish pink ball of pure lasciviousness and eroticism as she came so hard she couldn't breathe.
"Remember." The familiar voice told her.
As soon as the word 'remember' reached her, the spell Wendi was under broke and she was shocked and mortified to discover herself on her knees with her face sweatily plastered to the pages of open tome. She was bent over the twisted compendium with its nasty subjects, her hips high in the air and her legs spread far apart. She had no memory of unbuttoning and unzipping her pants, let alone pulling down her underwear, which she fearfully found were both yanked down around her ankles. That wasn't the most horrifying thing she discovered as she slowly came to her faculties again. She ached like she had been violated roughly and repeatedly, both vaginally and anally. Fear crept inside her mind when she found her stomach, thighs, back, hips and ass were covered in purplish bruises and bloody scratches. She found her shirt was open and her bra pushed up to expose her breasts, which were covered with hand shaped bruise marks and scratches that definitely did not match the size of her own palms and fingers. Her nipples, which were still rock hard, were painful and she noted with a growing sense of alarm there were faint teeth marks around her aureoles.
"What the hell just happened?" she asked herself, trying to clear the befuddling and confusing fog that had invaded her brain.
The first thing that came to mind was that somebody had come into the house and had somehow drugged then raped her but after covering herself up and checking the house she found her father wasn't home and the doors were still locked.
She was soaked with sweat and covered in her own juices from navel to knees and while she cleaned herself up and took a shower she thought only of figuring out some rational explanation for the bizarre, yet secretly delicious, occurrence.
In the end she told herself that she must have fallen asleep while gazing at the hand drawn porn and her subconscious mind had created a fantasy world of unrequited desires, seeing how she was still a virgin and so lonely that she sometimes wept. No matter how real the sex had seemed to her it could only have been dream, there was no other possible explanation. As for the bruising and scratches she figured she must have thrashed around did those things to herself in her sleep somehow and she had almost convinced herself that's what happened except for the fact of the mysterious bite marks on her tits (which were impossible for her to have done to herself, she had never been blessed with ample enough bosoms that she could bring her nipples to her lips, let alone bite them). She convinced herself that she had fallen asleep while reading the book and must have begun unconsciously playing with herself once her erotic wet dream, induced by the images of the tome, began to play itself out in her head. It was either that or there was a demon by the name of Lilith Tabitha Anidios trapped within the sinful tome and that could not be possible.
It horribly occurred to Wendi that the stress and depression of her miserable life might be driving her insane. That scenario was far more likely than being seduced and fucked by a lustful devil, however more sad the reality of slowly losing her mind was.

Monday, December 24, 2012

New Tox Chapter 5 (complete)

Chapter Five

August 29

It always seems to turn out like this, Lori thought melancholily to herself, just when things appear to be getting better, the universe throws a monkey wrench into her life tearing everything apart.
She had only days ago worked up the nerve to tell her mother she was with child. She would have had to tell her eventually, it would have been sheer foolishness to try and hide it from her. Her mother wasn't blind, eventually she would notice her bulging belly. Besides, the gossip mongers in this small town were already spreading rumours about her purchases at the town's sole drug store and those malicious words would soon reach her mom's ears. If she hadn't come clean with her by then Lori couldn't deny it, all that would prove was that she was either hiding it from her or that Lori for some reason didn't trust her mother. If her mother heard of her condition from someone else's lips it would mean a loss of trust and respect for herself in her mother's eyes and that wouldn't help her situation one bit.
Her mom was clearly upset with her when she broke the news, lamenting the fact that her child was going to have a child of her own before her adult life had even begun. At least Lori had graduated and thankfully was over eighteen, saving her mother from any shame or embarressment. In all truth, the conversation didn't go nearly as badly as Lori had feared it might have. Her mom's main question was whether or not she had been taking the birth control pills every day like she was supposed to. After all, it was to guard against this exact situation that she made sure her daughter had access to them to begin with. When Lori told her that the prevention measure had failed her, that she had rarely forgotten to take them, her mother's anger seemed to slacken a bit.
Of course her mom knew who the baby's father was, although she asked for confirmation of her suspicions. When Lori told her it could only be her ex-boyfriend, her only boyfriend ever, the vehemence returned to her mother's voice. When she told her of finally talking to Tom about her pregnancy and his outright denial, saying that if she told anyone he was the father he would claim that she was nothing but a slut who slept around just to muddy the waters, she was flabbergasted. Tom even went so far as to tell her he would never submit to a DNA paternity test unless it was by court order and her mother got so mad at hearing that Lori could see the veins on her mom's forehead standing out.
The hostile round of verbal abuse that came from her mother then almost made Lori cry, even though she knew it was mainly directed at Tom. The thought of that low-life refusing to help her daughter raise their child proved what her mother had always thought of him -that he was as worthless as his own drunk of a father was.
The question of whether or not Lori would continue the pregnancy never came up. Even if it had, neither she nor her mother thought it morally right.
In the end her mother calmed down and while Lori broke down and cried uncontrollably into her mother's arms, her mother confided that she believed ultimately children were a gift from God. Evidence for her belief was the fact that despite her little girl's avoidance of the situation, through the use of modern science's contraceptive control, Lori miraculously had a 'bun in the oven'.
They had both ended up sobbing, both of them anxious and worried about the burden and hardships that the future would bring.
Lori was relieved when her mother had turned to the bright side of things, drying her tearful eyes and fussing over the fact that she was soon to become a grandmother. As her mom moved on to wondering happily over just what she had stored away from when Lori was a babe, the full weight of the world seemed to fall heavily on Lori's shoulders.
As Lori helped her mother rummage through the attic for her old crib they talked about Lori's plans for the future. To Lori's surprise her mother was more adamant about her getting her degree than before. Lori would need a good job, she was about to find out first hand just how expensive children were.
Lori was more than grateful when her mother promised to do all she could to help raise the baby when it came, assuring her that she would never abandon her like Tom did.

All she could do was make plans for the future and once again the fates intervened and threatened to rip her world to pieces. The horrible 'Rat Death' had come out of nowhere and steamrolled around the world leaving a massive wake of corpses behind it. If that wasn't a terrible enough nightmare in itself, the rodent plague brought with it a sickness that affected nearly every warm blooded animal on earth.
While Lori felt fine, her mother became sick as a dog. For her mother it started with a runny nose, watery, red, itchy eyes and a small cough that in a matter of twenty-four hours turned into a severe chest cold. Her mother's cough rapidly turned into a booming, flem-filled, hack that left her struggling for breath. When her mother's illness, which Lori feared was the gut wrenching global epidemic, caused her to develop a fever of over a hundred degrees Lori immediatly rushed her to the hospital in L'anse, terrified of the worst. She couldn't lose her mother, not now when she needed her the most.
Lori was a nervous wreck, her anxiety was eating her up inside. Nobody knew what this new disease was, where it came from or how lethal it would turn out to be in humans. All she knew was that this thing was killing rodents and their kin by the billions and was so virulent that it was now spreading its dark wings over all of humanity.
Once people started falling under the pandemics influence they began acting erratic, horrified to think that the plague of the twenty-first century would be their doom. Murders, suicides and crime in general rose in direct relation to the worldwide rise in angst. Over the counter cold and flu remedies are sold out, being snatched up almost as soon as they hit the shelves. Even basic supplies of pennicillion and other drugs are in short supply as people literally beg their doctors for anything that might help them as soon as they notice the first symptoms of what they fear can only be the 'Rat Flu'.
The internet is filled with rumors and doomsday predictions, adding fuel to the rapidly growing blaze of terror. If that weren't bad enough, certain television stations are running shows that prey on the worried populaces anxiety with endless speculation in a blatant grab for ratings.
People are starting to horde, stocking up on what the fear mongers are proclaiming is the coming apocalypse, driving prices up on even the most simple of commodities.
There is an underlying insanity simmering just under the thin veneer of civilization that is threatening to boil over into complete chaos if this epidemic starts to prove itself deadly even in the slightest. Lori witnessed the hidden but barely concealed madness lurking in those around her and she found that terrified her more than the mystery disease itself.

The hospital was more crowded with sniffling and sneezing people than she had thought possible. There were so many sick crowded into the waiting area that Lori couldn't find a seat for her stricken mother. Despondently, Lori had to settle her mother as comfortably as she could on the cold tile floor as she filled out page after page of paperwork.
It was only after waiting for an hour that a seat opened up near her and she had to scramble to get her lethargic mother into it before a middle aged man, who looked far less ill than her weak mother, tried to claim it for himself. With a less than apologetic attitude, the sniffling, bloodshot eyed man relented, at last giving her mother a chance to rest somewhere other than the hard, dirty floor.
Thankfully after another half hour a haggard and tired looking nurse with dark bags under her eyes from a lack of sleep started to make her way towards them. It took her far longer than it should have as almost every person she passed stopped her to ask nothing more than a variation of what the previous person asked.
"How long wiil this flu last?" one worried woman with a sneezey, runny nosed child nervously questioned the passing and obviously overworked nurse to which she responded almost exasperatedly, "It should pass within a week or so."
"Is this disease going to get worse?", an older gentleman with a small cough inquired.
"There is no evidence that it is anything other than a mild flu strain.", the nurse tried to reassuringly smile when she told him that, looking around in the hopes that everyone that could hear her understood that as yet their fears were groundless.
"Is there a vaccine or cure?", someone interjected.
"No, not yet. But rest assured everyone is doing everything they possibly can and it won't be much longer."
Question after question was being hurled at her so fast and from so many mouths that the nurse held up her hands and in a voice loud enough for everyone present to clearly hear her she said, "Please, everybody, listen to me for a moment. Although I know you all feel miserable, unless you have any symptoms other than the standard flu or cold symptoms, there is nothing that we really can do for you. There is no evidence that this is anything dangerous, there have been very few reported fatalities and unless you are running a fever or are having other complications I would ask you to go home, take plenty of clear fluids, and get plenty of bedrest until this thing passes. You are free to remain until you speak with a doctor but as you will find, he will tell you the same thing as I just have. So please, go home, relax and try not to worry to much."
There came a restless murmering from the crowd and a slight look of temporary relief came into the nurses face as she saw more than a handful of people getting up to leave.
"Mrs. Ross?", the fatigued nurse tentatively inquired of Lori's mom.
"Yes, that's me." Lori's mother replied, clearly glad that at last someone was getting around to her.
"One of the doctors will see you now."
"Thank goodness, I was beginning to think I'd be here forever." Lori's mother barely got the words out of her mouth when a huge, thick sounding cough doubled her over with its strength.
"That doesn't sound good at all. I apologize for the wait but as you can see we're extremally busy." There were both concern for her mother and an apologetic tone in the nurses voice as she placed her hand gently on the sick woman's shoulder.
"Do you need help getting up?" She continued, ready to lend a hand.
"No, my daughter is here to help me but thank you."
Lori took her mother's arm, her own legs cramped from having to sit crossed legged in the aisle for so long and guided her mother onto her feet.
"Ok, if you'll just follow me."
With her mother leaning heavily against her, they followed the near exhausted nurse out of the waiting room and further into the hospital to a corridor filled with examining rooms seperated by plastic curtains.
"Have a seat inside and the doctor will be with you shortly." The nurse told them, parting the thick curtain and placing a file into a stand by the entrance.

At least another twenty minutes passed before a different, but also weary looking nurse, came and took her mothers vitals and inquired about her symptoms.
When the nurse stiffled a small sneeze of her own, Lori asked, "Are you Ok? Should you be working when you're sick too?"
"Everybody, and I mean everbody has caught at least a touch of this thing, whatever it is, to some extent. If everyone at the hospital were to stay home there would be nobody here." At first Lori heard a bit of indignate anger but it quickly faded into monotenous tone that could only have come from oft repeated answers to that question.
"What about people like me who haven't caught this bug?" Lori asked, trying to keep any accusation out of her voice, not wanting to upset the nurse who was only trying to help.
"You're one of the lucky ten percent or so that seem to be immune. If you haven't caught it by now you likely never will. Besides, the waiting room, as you saw, is a germ factory for this flu and you would have surely caught it there before I would have had the chance to infect you." The nurse told her matter of factly.

It took another forty minutes for the doctor to arrive and when he came in Lori could see right away that the fiftyish year old man with greying hair had the tell tale signs of the flu himself, though he was doing his best to hide it.
After a quick introduction and a few standard questions he proceeded to give Lori's mother a much more thourough examination.
"While there is quite some conjestion in your lungs Mrs. Ross, I don't think you have anything to worry about. I'm sure we caught this chest cold of yours in plenty of time before it turns into anything serious."
"Is it the Rat flu?" her mother worriedly asked.
"No, even if you have that flu strain this infection in your chest is common for this time of year and nothing out of the ordinary."
Both Lori and her mother breathed a sigh of relief at the news.
"I'm going to write you a prescription for some antibiotics and recommend you drink plenty of fluids, get lots of bed rest, you know, the usual."
Writing out his script the doctor continued, "If the symptoms persist or get worse I want you to see your regular doctor. I understand your anxiety over everything you've heard in the media but I want you to know this strain is being blown way out of proportion in my opinion. At this point, if your illness takes a turn for the worse and becomes a full blown case of pneumonia then we will, of course, admit you but I doubt that will be necessary."
"Do you know anything about what's killing the rats and making everything sick?" Lori asked, so curious and nervous that she felt compelled to.
"Well, honestly, no. You have to realize this agent is so new the CDC is just now finishing its preliminary investigations. In fact the plague thats killing the rodents might not even be related to what the media has termed 'The Rat flu'. The flu virus is constantly mutating and it might be nothing more than a coincidence. It is after all flu season."
The doctor covered his mouth and gave a quick yawn and Lori felt sorry for him, noticing his five o'clock shadow and wondering how long it had been since the physician had slept.
"Whatever strain of virus, however communicable it is, is very mild and the only deaths related to it are more from complications that have arisen from the lowering of the immune system and then allowing something else gain a foothold. Maybe that's what happened in your case Mrs. Ross, but as I stated, we've caught it in plenty of time. You'll be fine in no time. Go home, relax and ignore the media and the crazies, Alright?"
"Ok." Lori's mother said sheepishly, almost sorry she had come to the hospital when she should have just gone to her family doctor even though she felt miserable.
Lori felt a whole lot better after hearing a professional tell her there was nothing to be alarmed about and not the conflicting garbage she heard from some random talking head on the tube who only knew what the teleprompter told them to say.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Grimoire Chapter 2 Complete

Chapter Two


Jonah Cargill hated having to trek so far into the middle of nowhere for these clandestine meetings. The isolated rendezvous point was perfect for his needs though and necessity rendered the annoyance of getting here, which was an infrequent part of his business, mandatory. His family's business was raising chickens by the thousands but his business was something else entirely.
As he leaned against the rickety kitchen counter in the dilapidated farmhouse's kitchen, waiting for his counterparts to arrive, his mind idly thought about the all the difficulty and planning (not to mention the huge expense), it took for him to get this far.
The small farming community of Bethlehem, placid and serene to those few outsiders who wander far from the highways and main roads to unexpectedly find it (as it appears only on the most detailed of maps), would be surprised to find that most of the town was a front for an industry not based at all on the mundane raising of crops or livestock.
Less than a thousand souls live and work in the town's relative isolation, itself part of a sparsely populated county situated in the heavy forests of the Michigan's Upper Peninsula. However quaint and docile the small agricultural hamlet seems to be to the occasional visitors, who are usually relatives who've driven long distances to celebrate birthdays and holidays, there lies a deep corruption just below the thin surface. Though apple and cherry orchards cover many acres of its gently rolling hills, the real source of the town's prosperity comes from another source. Just below the well tended facade lies a nest of criminal activity that has been at the heart of Bethlehem's continued prosperity almost since its inception.
The two lane asphalt road that serves as the town's lifeline to the outside world cuts squarely through the four blocks that composes the small downtown center. Few outsiders note the fact that such a little town boasts its own police force, courthouse and jail while the majority of the other surrounding towns can no longer do so. The economic difficulties faced by the adjoining communities, who have been forced to merge districts and services with the county in an attempt to save precious dollars and resources, seems not to have hit Bethlehem quite so hard. The town leaders like to say that they have always been frugal with public money, unlike the rest of their neighbors who have spent their hard earned taxpayer money without limits or conscience. When there comes obvious shortfalls in the cooked and forged ledgers, which rarely happens, the town's officials pad the accounts with fabricated donations from 'concerned citizens' who supposedly respond to the town's financial woes out of a sense of communal duty. To the state auditors everything appears legitimate and Bethlehem's elected officials take as much opportunity as possible to belittle the outside world with its showing off of how a tight community of selfless individuals can overcome any hardship, although it's all a lie.
The populace of Bethlehem is a close knit community but very few know of how tight those binds that tie them together truly are. While most of the inhabitants suspect there are some shenanigan's going on, it appears to be in the town's interests so nobody complains in the least. Most of the residents are of the opinion that it's actually the moral duty of the Mayor and his team to ensure what needs to be done gets done, even if that means fudging the truth a bit.
The small police force is, and always has been, under severe pressure to keep whatever problem that arises a private affair and they do a remarkable job at it. Not that there are any violent crimes or burglaries here to begin with. Compared to any of Michigan's larger cities, Bethlehem is a sleepy little backwater that would bore most cops to death. Even the state police, whose duties it is to patrol the roads and highways, rarely come through, finding their time is always better spent someplace else. So infrequently does a state police cruiser, with the distinctive 'gumball' on the top of its roof, gets called here on business that few can actually locate the town without the aid of a map or GPS.
It's not merely an external force that applies pressure to the Bethlehem police; they are all complicate to the dirty underside of the town. They keep their mouths shut and strong-arm the rest into doing the same if need be. They pressure the rest of the village, not only to protect others from being exposed and prosecuted, but for their own hides also, for they are as venal and corrupt as any in the tainted community.
The immoral contamination here has been long institutionalized from the beginning with blackmail, bribery and nepotism shoring up the 'Good ol' boy' network that has existed here for generations. Jonah Cargill understands to some extent, this same problem rears its ugly head in every town and city throughout the world, but here it is a way of life.
In Bethlehem, democracy is only something practiced in the rest of America, here a few families rule like dictators, although Jonah likes to think of it as a benevolent dictatorship. Here if one seriously starts to oppose the powers that be, or even mentions exposing but a small part of the town's seedy past or criminal present to outsiders, they can quickly find themselves fertilizing next year's crops from under six feet of sandy loam. Their neighbor's won't help either; a threat to one is a threat to all. Everyone here has a shameful family history and everyone here knows that if the twisted knot of deceit and crime starts to unravel, the whole of the town will suffer.
Looking back through the town's sordid history, from what Jonah understands, it was prohibition that ratcheted up the level of secrecy and deceit. The few hundred people who lived here then found the prospect of easy money too tempting to resist. What started out as small backyard stills made to produce liquor for the private use of their respective owners quickly became an illicit commercial enterprise. Once the quality of Bethlehem's forbidden bootleg became known to those members of organized crime who were willing to transport it to ever thirsting customers in the cities, a vast amount of money flowed in and greased the palms of any that would otherwise frown upon the endeavor. The town's homebrew found itself with an inexhaustible demand from markets as far away as Chicago and even New York.
While the Great Depression raged and destroyed the lives of whole communities and turned many of the small towns in this part of the state to dust, Bethlehem's quality moonshine easily saw them through the worst of it. The community learned that an inexpensive, high quality product will always be in great demand, regardless of its legality. As the stills became larger, and the majority of the local farmer's crops from their fertile fields found a new market to replace those that had dried up, everyone benefited.
The entire community shared in on the profits, including the police force who wisely (in their minds) decided that instead of upholding the federal laws, however unjust they were, and ruining the economy of the town, it would only serve to put them out of work and they would soon find themselves in the bread lines and starving with so many others. The Gangsters took care of their side of the deal, ensuring that nobody talked if they were caught and the Bethlehem police did the same on their end. Everybody kept food on their families' tables and though some hated the idea of working with elements of organized crime, it was but a necessary evil that had to be done during those harsh and troubled times.
After World War II times changed and demand for their hooch dropped off to the point that the town's inhabitants went back to the more aboveboard pursuits of farming and the raising of livestock, however less profitable they were. Still, fortunes had been made and close ties of shared risks bonded everyone together, leading to an informal society of favoritism and bias.
In the late sixties and especially the early seventies, the sons of those enterprising fathers who had made so much money in their heyday, found a lucrative opportunity that they refused to let pass them by. Marijuana has been around since the dawn of time, and most of the youth here who were now taking their fathers positions of power within the rural community saw it as a harmless weed that was only illegal due to the influence of a few powerful business interests and religious fanatics. Eager for the opportunity to make their own fortunes, plots of the proscribed plant started surreptitiously springing up in some of the more out of the way fields.
Everybody here grew up with, went to school with and married into each other's families and the close relations, coupled with the shady history and culture of secrecy, led to another clandestine endeavor. In the span of a few short years, Marijuana became Bethlehem's largest cash crop and it soon brought in more money than all other crops combined. While the front forty showed row upon row of neat and orderly stalks of corn to the unassuming visitor's eyes, the back sixty acres in most farmer's fields were the deep green of pot and money.
Once again the police worked hand in hand with organized crime and for over two decades nobody was the wiser. Once the war on drugs heated up with serious consequences in the late eighties and early nineties, with helicopters and airborne surveillance becoming an inescapable reality, the town collectively agreed to go back to their less unlawful way of life. The town had shared the profits of their decades long misdeeds, with even those who were not directly involved receiving a yearly stipend simply to help placidly keep their lips sealed. The communal sense of togetherness grew in strength and strangers were never allowed to feel welcome because of it.
There still remains a handful of farmers who toss a few seeds in their fields now and then, but their produce only goes to supply the local demand. They also know that if they are busted by the state or feds and they started talking to try and make any kind of plea as to just what the town had done for its prosperity, they and their families would quickly join the small numbers of other traitors in the silence of the fields.
Jonah knew the history of the town, and its crimes went further back but the details are lost to history and only rumors of those days survive.
For the most part, the residents of Bethlehem today are generally law abiding citizens, viewing the town's past as a colorful secret. But not all, times change and so does the drug of choice. Many of the town's business are fronts that launder money and any serious investigation would uncover a complex nest of interwoven companies. There has come another chance to make a great profit. The cycle of furtive and covert production of a simple to manufacture, high demand and even higher profit commodity has come back to Bethlehem. As a farming community, they have ample reason to legally acquire much of the base materials the manufacture needs. This time though, the risks are much too great for the whole town to participate. What was started long ago by great-grandfathers, grandfathers and fathers is now running in the blood of their sons once again. Today a few trusted families harbor a secret, one that makes much more money than any endeavor that came before.
The only obstacle in Jonah's way was the acquiring of ephedrine in large enough quantities to turn a worthwhile profit. Of course the base ingredient had to come from somewhere and as a community of farmers they quickly came to the conclusion that they should bypass buying it from numerous and closely monitored sources and secretly grow the plant that produces the chemical themselves.
Under Jonah Cargill's' family poultry farm lies an underground greenhouse that stretches for almost two acres in size. The plants are grown in long rows and tables that are stacked upon each other in an ingenious design of layered tiers that yield just over four acres of continuously growing plants that produces the hard to get raw component by the gallon. On top of the subterranean hothouse is the chicken farm itself, the heat of the rows of lamps the plants need provides the heat for the stupid feathered reptiles above. Even if one of those heat sensing DEA planes flies above his farm, looking for the telltale signs of hidden grow houses they had the perfect cover-up. The clucking and constantly squawking birds need warmth to survive the harsh northern Michigan winters and the coops have to be heated.
Jonah had sunk the remains of his family's fortune, mainly collected during the town's pot growing days, into the yearlong construction of the underground hothouse that started almost four years ago. Other's, including the Sheriff himself, have invested money into the endeavor as the plant is finicky and took them over a year to establish in its new environment. On top of that it takes two long years for the plant to properly mature and only now can they start producing the drug in quantities that make the risks worthwhile.
Jonah stretched his legs and noted that his allergies were getting to his nose, as it always did this time of year, making it tickle and he frowned thinking the ramshackle old farmhouse didn't help one bit with all of the moldy wood that was rotting around him.
There was no other place within the small town's jurisdiction that their privacy could be assured as well as at this abandoned property. The overgrown plot of land had once been a flourishing cherry orchard. It was isolated and ensured no one could observe or spy on them, even from afar. The farm had been abandoned over a generation ago when the last of the Jensen family had died off. Since the once fruitful cherry trees, with their beautiful blossoms, had been then at the end of their lifecycle, no buyers had been found that were willing to bear the expense of pulling up and replacing the acres of dying trees and then waiting another decade before the costly, newly replanted orchard matured enough to even hold the possibility of turning a profit again.
It took a mile of walking from the main street down the remnant of what was once a private dirt road, which served only the orchard, with the extra hassle of it having been long reclaimed by Mother Nature. Really, only an observant eye would notice that a road of any sort had once cut through here. To either side of a twenty foot wide path, filled with relatively young and fast growing trees, stand ancient and gnarled maples and oaks. The neat and orderly row of dead and dying trees that once proudly lined the road was now interspersed with the disorderly chaos of unattended nature. The wild expansion of the woodlands onto the abandoned orchard lands provided a natural barrier against being surreptitiously recorded or monitored from any distance, which is why this particular location had been chosen for the face to face meetings.
He, Sheriff Miller and Officer Peterson had all driven here in the Sheriff's police car, as this was actually (though unofficially) town business. The Sheriff and he had left the vehicle behind and traveled on foot to the ruins of the old house, leaving Officer Peterson to stay behind and await their guest's arrival.
All three of them were complicate in the town's new endeavor, just as their father and grandfathers were complicate in their own illicit activities before them. The main difference in this money making scheme and the ones that previous generations engaged in was that this particular activity would never be accepted by the majority of the town. This venture had to be kept behind tightly closed doors that sealed out all but the most trustworthy, and greedy, of families and individuals.
Sheriff Miller stood with his bulky frame leaning tiredly against the crooked doorway to the farmhouse's dilapidated interior, visibly straightening himself when his radio clicked twice, the signal that their guests had arrived. He waited, hand on the butt of his service weapon, as he listened for the sounds of men trampling through the brush of the overgrown road that would herald the close approach of the group. As soon as he caught sight of the three men officer Peterson was leading towards him, he resolutely and intently scanned them, looking for signs of anything unusual that his twenty-two years of police work had honed instinctively in him.
"Hold on." Sheriff Miller said authoritatively, holding out his left arm with his large palm facing outward in the universal sign for stop, his right hand tightly wrapped around his pistol.
The three men stopped as they were told and Miller could tell the men were indignant seeing Peterson come up behind them and start patting them down.
Peterson started with the man in front, the obvious leader of the group.
Sheriff Miller had known the man in the Armani suit, confidently speaking to him while being almost intimately searched, since the town's involvement in its marijuana growing days. The man's name was William Theodore Trent but he went by the street names Wily Willy or Wily T.
"You have to do this every time?" The well dressed Wily asked. He was obviously the result of a mixed marriage and he set down the black travel bag he carried with him, even as he raised his arms to submit to the pat down he felt was unnecessary.
"Every time, you should know the drill by now." Sheriff Miller said a bit gruffly as Peterson gave the man a thorough search.
"My mother never even touched me in those places you're so rudely smacking around now." Wily said, directed at Officer Peterson and his rough pat down of his thighs and groin.
Officer Peterson said nothing in return, continuing his pat down, only stopping to uncover a small revolver strapped to his detainee's ankle.
"That's for my personal protection."
"That's fine. I don't care about that unless you try to draw it on us. We'll let you hold it; we just have to make sure you're not wired." Miller told him, nodding at Peterson.
As Peterson pulled his guest's pants leg back down around the weapon and moved on to the next of the three men, he wasn't worried about the twenty-two caliber revolver he had exposed. Both he and the Sheriff were quite sure they could easily kill all three men before they could get their weapons out to do them any harm. The real threat to them was surveillance equipment hidden on their bodies.
As the second of the three men received Officer Peterson's unwelcome and almost rude attentions, Miller scanned the first man with a radio frequency monitor. With the advances in technology he knew it was possible to fit a mic or camera into something as small as a button and have its signal relayed twenty miles away via the airwaves. The hand held device he waved around would react to any transmissions and if it went off he wouldn't hesitate to make a false yet well prepared exhibition of being attacked before murdering the three of them in a supposed show of 'self-defense'.
If the meet did turn ugly and there was a shootout, even if the three escaped, which was unlikely, they would never reach the outside world. They would never get past the town's boundaries. The other officers of the town's police force are waiting in strategic intersections and if they saw the three men trying to leave the village, without the Sheriff having given the Ok signal, his men wouldn't bother to try and stop the car before they unloaded their clips into it.
While everybody here was by nature paranoid and distrustful, they all realized that there was a lot of money to be made, way too much for any betrayal, violent or otherwise.
Peterson's second search subject was a huge man, as solid and thick around as one of the old trees surrounding them with skin the color of a shadow in darkness. The man was a truly imposing figure who could strike fear into anyone with a single glance. Peterson knew him from their previous meetings, the dark skinned man went by the name of 'Big D', short for Demetrious, and was Wily T's body guard and enforcer. The man's size, coupled with his natural fierce appearance, surely kept a lot of the situations his boss found himself in on a civil foundation.
Peterson's pat down exposed a semi-automatic nine caliber hidden and tucked into the waistband of 'Big D's' pants located in the small of his back and Peterson covered it back up at the Sheriff's nod.
"Who's this?" Sheriff Miller demanded as he stared hard at the third man and spent an extra amount of time scanning the airwaves around him with his monitoring device, holding it almost threateningly close.
"That's Lucas. He's my new capo. Lemont had to be forced to take an early retirement from the game." Wily said mater of factly.
Sheriff Miller understood that statement to mean Lemont had come to the end of his usefulness, for whatever reason, and had been put to death. Obviously it was a private matter between Wiley and his crew so Miller didn't question him further, besides he really didn't care to know the details.
Lucas thrust his chin in the Sheriff's direction in a rough acknowledgement but remained silent as Peterson exposed his nine millimeter.
"He stays out here where Peterson can watch him. He won't be joining the parlay until we know him better and he earns our trust." Miller told Wily in a voice that would brook no discussion of the matter.
"Fine. Lucas, you stay out here and keep a watch on things with Officer Peterson."
Only once the search and inspection of all three of their guests was complete to his satisfaction did Sheriff Miller allow the two men inside the ruin of the farmhouse to meet with Jonah.
The familiar duo finally entered the kitchen, the sheriff behind them at their backs and blocking the exit, much to Jonah's pleasure. Jonah had waited over three years for this part of his plan to come to fruition and he was eager to get the ball rolling. Without a word he set the backpack he had carried with him on the worn table in the center of the room as Wily's enforcer did the same with their travel bag.
Wordlessly they reached out and took each others offerings under the Sheriff's steady gaze. Each of them opened and inspected what they had exchanged and satisfied everything was in order they gave each other the faintest of smiles.
"I know you didn't invite me all the way out here to the middle of the hillbilly boondocks just to make a hand off." Wily said to Jonah as he handed the backpack to his associate.
"Can you handle more of the product?" Jonah inquired.
"I'll take every gram you can make. Just how much more are you talking about?' Wily asked with an obvious interest showing in his eyes.
"Going from our current twenty pounds at sixty-five percent purity to two hundred pounds at ninety percent." Jonah said with a wide toothy grin spreading across his face.
"Hmm..." Wily muttered, his eyes momentarily widening at the thought of such a large increase in product and profit.
"Is this real or something you're hoping you can pull off?" Wily continued, his eyes narrowing as he intently thought about all the work and hazards that would come from moving that much meth. Of course the risks were equal to the profits and here was a chance for him to get in the game bigtime and grab two million tax free dollars every single month.
Jonah knew he would have to display proof and was prepared. From his pocket he pulled a Ziploc bag filled with rough crystals and tossed it lightly on the wooden table before his counterpart.
Years ago, when he had started out on this venture he had resorted to having front companies and a small team of individuals traveling the state and even entering into Canada to acquire the ingredients the drug required. After years of meticulously planning and building a clandestine grow house, he was finally able to find and figure out how to grow, from seeds, the plants that provided the main ingredient that the whole recipe was centered around. Now his cooks didn't have to go through the laborious and risky business of buying, mashing up and distilling the chemical from tens of thousands of pills as they had before. It had taken two years for the plants to mature and they needed a dry desert soil that took him far too long to duplicate. Now everything was up and running and the only thing that would hold him back was the distribution end. Wily and his thugs ran that end, just as his gang of thugs had done years ago with the town's secretive cash crop his father had grown.
With a raised eyebrow Willy took up the plastic bag and opened it, inspecting the contents with a professional eye. Motioning to his mountain of a companion he handed it over and watched as his bodyguard's brute fingers deftly took out a small test kit from his pocket and delicately placed a small sample within it. After shaking the small tester, one that Sheriff Miller and all professional law enforcement officers are familiar with, in moments there appeared a rich, deep color change that proved the drug's strength and made both Demetrious and Wily smile.
"I don't think we'll have any problem moving any amount of crystals with this quality, this stuff's so good it'll grow legs and sell itself. That is, as long as the quality stays consistent." Wiley said, glad now that he came out here.
"It will. I want to move to two hundred on the next up. Now we need to talk about an increase in payment to reflect the increase in quality." Now it was time to get to the heart of the matter Jonah thought, happy of how the discussion was going so far.
"I got no problem with that, but just so you know it won't be until after the next up that I can give you a bump in the price."
Jonah frowned sourly at that. Wily saw the look in Cargill's face and didn't want to blow the deal so he explained further.
"Look Jonah, I'm going to be real for a minute to let you understand my position. I got expenses too. Profits from twenty pounds of regs don't cover the price jump I have to cover to buy two hundred pounds of primo. I'm not complaining, I'm happy to do it but also I'm gonna to have to expand my customer and distribution base and that means muscling in on others territory. That's going to take men, money and guns my friend. Until word on the street gets out about your crystals, it's going to take some time for everyone to make your product the product of choice."
Jonah was unhappy with Wily's words and he said nothing, letting his distributor continue to speak his side. He knew some of what the well dressed man across the table from him spoke was the truth but it wasn't going to be as difficult as he was letting on. There was no way he was going to leave the negotiation without getting a better price, he had struggled too hard not to. This new stuff was worth at least a hundred bucks a gram on the streets compared to the old products value of maybe sixty greenbacks per gram.
"Look, Jonah, work with me here. Gimme the first up of two hundred pounds of your new product at our current price of thirty bucks a gram and on the second up I can drop a ten percent increase on ya. On the third I'll drop another ten percent for a total of twenty percent increase in price and then we can discuss it further and do more negotiating after that if you want. That's the best I can do."
Jonah was inwardly pleased with the bump in price Wily promised him, along with the possibility of further concessions, but it wasn't enough. The minimum he was looking for was forty greenbacks a gram, fifty would be better. Outwardly he needed to look as if Wily were getting the better end of the deal and let him be able to save face by getting a big chunk of the initial profits for this gigantic expansion Wily was now going to have to pay for. The game had rules and everyone here had to maintain face. He simply scratched his chin as if he were idly trying to decide.
"I know this stuff's worth a hondo per gram on the streets and I want to keep the fifty/fifty ratio going by the second up, not just agree to negotiate on it." Jonah steadfastly said.
"Yeah, ideally it would go for a hundred, but I might have to push it at eighty retail. The best I'm going to offer is our even split on the third but only if the quantity and the quality stays the same, and that's gonna depend on how much I can get for it on the street." Wily said, shaking his head in a definite no to show Jonah that was all he would agree to.
"Yo J, if you don't like what my man is tellin' you to yo face then good fuckin' luck findin' someone's else to pimp yo crystals." Demetrious said, intervening himself into the conversation for the first time.
Even though there was the hint of anger in the big man's voice and he saw Sheriff Miller's knuckles start to turn white on the handle of his revolver, Jonah wasn't upset with the ultimatum at all. In fact this was exactly how the game should be played. It was all part of the dance.
"Agreed then." Jonah said, reaching out his hand after a moment's hesitation to Wily with half a grin on his face.
Wily had just agreed to pay him an increase from the current two hundred and fifty thousand bucks a month to almost four and a half million dollars a month (plus or minus the difference in what the street value would prove to be) after three months and Jonah and the Sheriff were inwardly very happy.
"Always a pleasure." Wily returned with a wide grin, grasping Cargill's hand in a firm handshake.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Book of Lies (excerpt)

"From hidden chamber in the land of Mede,
Deadly mist covers the Roman see,
Order in ruins with none left to lead,
For the last shepherd there is no election to be."

I have begun my translation of the ancient and hereto forgotten Essene tome entitled 'The Book of Lies'. Although I had no idea as to what the text would actually contain, I certainly did not expect it to be what it now appears. The time worn and brittle papyrus scroll is written (when translated, for in its original it is quite ungainly, amazingly enough) in rhyming verse that fascinatingly chronicals the rise of the final antichrist.
Of course I was initially skeptical, sure that the religious treatise nothing but a flight of fiction but now I am not sure. The above section is the fourth chapter, with the previous pages having astoundingly come to pass. Now before you say that the meaning of such obscure scribblings can be interpreted in many ways and the true denotation of the words something else entirely, in my research the conclusions I have reached are clear. If this future event transpires I will have no choice but to admit that the ancient Oracles of Delphi, Nostradamus, Edgar Casey and the book of Revelations indeed are accurate, however unbelievable such a thing sounds to modern scientific minds.
The above dire sentences I have researched and I lay out the first sentence as 'the land of Mede' as pertaining to what is now called Syria according to 'The Histories' by Heirodontus. 'From hidden chamber' is obviously a reference to a secret facility. As Syria is now in the throes of civil war and they do frightingly have weapons that can be violently aquired, I am terribly sure that this verse is set to pass in the near future.
The more obscure second sentence with 'Deadly mist covers' can only refer to a chemical or biological weapon, terrifying me once I heard that Syria does indeed hold a number of chemical agents that may ultimatly fall into the hands of extremists. 'The Roman see' only has one proper modern meaning, it is a direct reference to the Papal seat in the heart of Rome itself. If the last word of this phrase were translated as 'sea' then the meaning would be different but my research into this dead language proves my translation correct.
'Order in ruins with none left to lead' must hint at the blasphemous idea that the the current Pope Benedict and all the Cardinals and other high ranking officials of the Catholic Church would perish in the attack.
I fear the final sentence infers that there will be only one last Pope, who will assume the title as opposed to being elected to it, before the beast makes his appearance known.
These scrolls plague me and as I dwelve deeper into their mysteries I have the ever paranoid sense that unseen dark forces are watching me...

Friday, December 14, 2012

Grimoire; Chapter 2: part 3

It took a mile of walking from the main street down the remnant of what was once a private dirt road, which served only the orchard, with the extra hassle of it having been long reclaimed by Mother Nature. Really, only an observant eye would notice that a road of any sort had once cut through here. To either side of a twenty foot wide path, filled with relatively young and fast growing trees, stand ancient and gnarled maples and oaks. The neat and orderly row of dead and dying trees that once proudly lined the road was now interspersed with the disorderly chaos of unattended nature. The wild expansion of the woodlands onto the abandoned orchard lands provided a natural barrier against being surreptitiously recorded or monitored from any distance, which is why this particular location had been chosen for the face to face meetings.
He, Sheriff Miller and Officer Peterson had all driven here in the Sheriff's police car, as this was actually (though unofficially) town business. The Sheriff and he had left the vehicle behind and traveled on foot to the ruins of the old house, leaving Officer Peterson to stay behind and await their guest's arrival.
All three of them were complicate in the town's new endeavor, just as their father and grandfathers were complicate in their own illicit activities before them. The main difference in this money making scheme and the ones that previous generations engaged in was that this particular activity would never be accepted by the majority of the town. This venture had to be kept behind tightly closed doors that sealed out all but the most trustworthy, and greedy, of families and individuals.
Sheriff Miller stood with his bulky frame leaning tiredly against the crooked doorway to the farmhouse's dilapidated interior, visibly straightening himself when his radio clicked twice, the signal that their guests had arrived. He waited, hand on the butt of his service weapon, as he listened for the sounds of men trampling through the brush of the overgrown road that would herald the close approach of the group. As soon as he caught sight of the three men officer Peterson was leading towards him, he resolutely and intently scanned them, looking for signs of anything unusual that his twenty-two years of police work had honed instinctively in him.
"Hold on." Sheriff Miller said authoritatively, holding out his left arm with his large palm facing outward in the universal sign for stop, his right hand tightly wrapped around his pistol.
The three men stopped as they were told and Miller could tell the men were indignant seeing Peterson come up behind them and start patting them down.
Peterson started with the man in front, the obvious leader of the group.
Sheriff Miller had known the man in the Armani suit, confidently speaking to him while being almost intimately searched, since the town's involvement in its marijuana growing days. The man's name was William Theodore Trent but he went by the street names Wily Willy or Wily T.
"You have to do this every time?" The well dressed Wily asked. He was obviously the result of a mixed marriage and he set down the black travel bag he carried with him, even as he raised his arms to submit to the pat down he felt was unnecessary.
"Every time, you should know the drill by now." Sheriff Miller said a bit gruffly as Peterson gave the man a thorough search.
"My mother never even touched me in those places you're so rudely smacking around now." Wily said, directed at Officer Peterson and his rough pat down of his thighs and groin.
Officer Peterson said nothing in return, continuing his pat down, only stopping to uncover a small revolver strapped to his detainee's ankle.
"That's for my personal protection."
"That's fine. I don't care about that unless you try to draw it on us. We'll let you hold it; we just have to make sure you're not wired." Miller told him, nodding at Peterson.
As Peterson pulled his guest's pants leg back down around the weapon and moved on to the next of the three men, he wasn't worried about the twenty-two caliber revolver he had exposed. Both he and the Sheriff were quite sure they could easily kill all three men before they could get their weapons out to do them any harm. The real threat to them was surveillance equipment hidden on their bodies.
As the second of the three men received Officer Peterson's unwelcome and almost rude attentions, Miller scanned the first man with a radio frequency monitor. With the advances in technology he knew it was possible to fit a mic or camera into something as small as a button and have its signal relayed twenty miles away via the airwaves. The hand held device he waved around would react to any transmissions and if it went off he wouldn't hesitate to make a false yet well prepared exhibition of being attacked before murdering the three of them in a supposed show of 'self-defense'.
If the meet did turn ugly and there was a shootout, even if the three escaped, which was unlikely, they would never reach the outside world. They would never get past the town's boundaries. The other officers of the town's police force are waiting in strategic intersections and if they saw the three men trying to leave the village, without the Sheriff having given the Ok signal, his men wouldn't bother to try and stop the car before they unloaded their clips into it.
While everybody here was by nature paranoid and distrustful, they all realized that there was a lot of money to be made, way too much for any betrayal, violent or otherwise.
Peterson's second search subject was a huge man, as solid and thick around as one of the old trees surrounding them with skin the color of a shadow in darkness. The man was a truly imposing figure who could strike fear into anyone with a single glance. Peterson knew him from their previous meetings, the dark skinned man went by the name of 'Big D', short for Demetrious, and was Wily T's body guard and enforcer. The man's size, coupled with his natural fierce appearance, surely kept a lot of the situations his boss found himself in on a civil foundation.
Peterson's pat down exposed a semi-automatic nine caliber hidden and tucked into the waistband of 'Big D's' pants located in the small of his back and Peterson covered it back up at the Sheriff's nod.
"Who's this?" Sheriff Miller demanded as he stared hard at the third man and spent an extra amount of time scanning the airwaves around him with his monitoring device, holding it almost threateningly close.
"That's Lucas. He's my new capo. Lemont had to be forced to take an early retirement from the game." Wily said mater of factly.
Sheriff Miller understood that statement to mean Lemont had come to the end of his usefulness, for whatever reason, and had been put to death. Obviously it was a private matter between Wiley and his crew so Miller didn't question him further, besides he really didn't care to know the details.
Lucas thrust his chin in the Sheriff's direction in a rough acknowledgement but remained silent as Peterson exposed his nine millimeter.
"He stays out here where Peterson can watch him. He won't be joining the parlay until we know him better and he earns our trust." Miller told Wily in a voice that would brook no discussion of the matter.
"Fine. Lucas, you stay out here and keep a watch on things with Officer Peterson."
Only once the search and inspection of all three of their guests was complete to his satisfaction did Sheriff Miller allow the two men inside the ruin of the farmhouse to meet with Jonah.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Grimoire :Chapter2 ; part 2

The entire community shared in on the profits, including the police force who wisely (in their minds) decided that instead of upholding the federal laws, however unjust they were, and ruining the economy of the town, it would only serve to put them out of work and they would soon find themselves in the bread lines and starving with so many others. The Gangsters took care of their side of the deal, ensuring that nobody talked if they were caught and the Bethlehem police did the same on their end. Everybody kept food on their families' tables and though some hated the idea of working with elements of organized crime, it was but a necessary evil that had to be done during those harsh and troubled times.
After World War II times changed and demand for their hooch dropped off to the point that the town's inhabitants went back to the more aboveboard pursuits of farming and the raising of livestock, however less profitable they were. Still, fortunes had been made and close ties of shared risks bonded everyone together, leading to an informal society of favoritism and bias.
In the late sixties and especially the early seventies, the sons of those enterprising fathers who had made so much money in their heyday, found a lucrative opportunity that they refused to let pass them by. Marijuana has been around since the dawn of time, and most of the youth here who were now taking their fathers positions of power within the rural community saw it as a harmless weed that was only illegal due to the influence of a few powerful business interests and religious fanatics. Eager for the opportunity to make their own fortunes, plots of the proscribed plant started surreptitiously springing up in some of the more out of the way fields.
Everybody here grew up with, went to school with and married into each other's families and the close relations, coupled with the shady history and culture of secrecy, led to another clandestine endeavor. In the span of a few short years, Marijuana became Bethlehem's largest cash crop and it soon brought in more money than all other crops combined. While the front forty showed row upon row of neat and orderly stalks of corn to the unassuming visitor's eyes, the back sixty acres in most farmer's fields were the deep green of pot and money.
Once again the police worked hand in hand with organized crime and for over two decades nobody was the wiser. Once the war on drugs heated up with serious consequences in the late eighties and early nineties, with helicopters and airborne surveillance becoming an inescapable reality, the town collectively agreed to go back to their less unlawful way of life. The town had shared the profits of their decades long misdeeds, with even those who were not directly involved receiving a yearly stipend simply to help placidly keep their lips sealed. The communal sense of togetherness grew in strength and strangers were never allowed to feel welcome because of it.
There still remains a handful of farmers who toss a few seeds in their fields now and then, but their produce only goes to supply the local demand. They also know that if they are busted by the state or feds and they started talking to try and make any kind of plea as to just what the town had done for its prosperity, they and their families would quickly join the small numbers of other traitors in the silence of the fields.
Jonah knew the history of the town, and its crimes went further back but the details are lost to history and only rumors of those days survive.
For the most part, the residents of Bethlehem today are generally law abiding citizens, viewing the town's past as a colorful secret. But not all, times change and so does the drug of choice. Many of the town's business are fronts that launder money and any serious investigation would uncover a complex nest of interwoven companies. There has come another chance to make a great profit. The cycle of furtive and covert production of a simple to manufacture, high demand and even higher profit commodity has come back to Bethlehem. As a farming community, they have ample reason to legally acquire much of the base materials the manufacture needs. This time though, the risks are much too great for the whole town to participate. What was started long ago by great-grandfathers, grandfathers and fathers is now running in the blood of their sons once again. Today a few trusted families harbor a secret, one that makes much more money than any endeavor that came before.
The only obstacle in Jonah's way was the acquiring of ephedrine in large enough quantities to turn a worthwhile profit. Of course the base ingredient had to come from somewhere and as a community of farmers they quickly came to the conclusion that they should bypass buying it from numerous and closely monitored sources and secretly grow the plant that produces the chemical themselves.
Under Jonah Cargill's' family poultry farm lies an underground greenhouse that stretches for almost two acres in size. The plants are grown in long rows and tables that are stacked upon each other in an ingenious design of layered tiers that yield just over four acres of continuously growing plants that produces the hard to get raw component by the gallon. On top of the subterranean hothouse is the chicken farm itself, the heat of the rows of lamps the plants need provides the heat for the stupid feathered reptiles above. Even if one of those heat sensing DEA planes flies above his farm, looking for the telltale signs of hidden grow houses they had the perfect cover-up. The clucking and constantly squawking birds need warmth to survive the harsh northern Michigan winters and the coops have to be heated.
Jonah had sunk the remains of his family's fortune, mainly collected during the town's pot growing days, into the yearlong construction of the underground hothouse that started almost four years ago. Other's, including the Sheriff himself, have invested money into the endeavor as the plant is finicky and took them over a year to establish in its new environment. On top of that it takes two long years for the plant to properly mature and only now can they start producing the drug in quantities that make the risks worthwhile.
Jonah stretched his legs and noted that his allergies were getting to his nose, as it always did this time of year, making it tickle and he frowned thinking the ramshackle old farmhouse didn't help one bit with all of the moldy wood that was rotting around him.
There was no other place within the small town's jurisdiction that their privacy could be assured as well as at this abandoned property. The overgrown plot of land had once been a flourishing cherry orchard. It was isolated and ensured no one could observe or spy on them, even from afar. The farm had been abandoned over a generation ago when the last of the Jensen family had died off. Since the once fruitful cherry trees, with their beautiful blossoms, had been then at the end of their lifecycle, no buyers had been found that were willing to bear the expense of pulling up and replacing the acres of dying trees and then waiting another decade before the costly, newly replanted orchard matured enough to even hold the possibility of turning a profit again.