LIFE LOG: Life in the Raw: VOLUME 12

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
The bottomless bounty of human life never fails to astound, sadden, comfort, and amuse in an endless variety of settings. Truly, what next?

Submitted: May 22, 2019

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Submitted: May 22, 2019




Life in the Raw

Short Short Stories

Nicholas Cochran




Robert put on his best suit and made an appointment to talk to the owner of the restaurant about the work Angie does as a sommelier, but mainly to see what the policy is regarding the amount of alcohol (glass,  ½ glass, ) given in the ‘tasting’ sips’. Reginald Forebear, (Reggie to the rich customers) tells Robert that there is no specific measured amount in the sips either by law or by restaurant policy. It seems that if Angie wanted to pour Cass a thimble full or a 37D cup full of wine then that is Angie’s discretion. Reggie pointed out that Angie—at least under his observation—seems to pour the same amount for everyone. To him, it looks like she has some mysterious power to pour the sips within an unmeasurable difference to everyone.

Robert is very skeptical about Reggie’s observations and confidence that the sip is the same amount almost to the drop for every patron. Robert asked the Chief if he could send over Jack (who is a great-looking guy) to the Golden Dream restaurant and send Brooke (who is a stunner) alone at different times and see what drops into their laps—sorry glasses—by way of Angela’s ‘sip’ pour. The Chief plans to go on each of the nights with his wife and take in the whole scene as well as put on a superior nosebag. 

Jack and Brooke are going with those tiny pen video cameras; I think they are 1080P HD numbers. Robert is going to wear a spy watch as well, a Kronos 1080p HD watch camera. Wow! Didn’t know they had things that small; and video too!! Brooke says she’ll wear glasses, Kestrel Covert Camera ones. Wow! again. This is getting like James Bond more every day. The tension is very high around here as Jack and Brooke (and the Chief and Jane) start the ‘discovery’.

UPDATE: Wow! They all got the ‘gulp’ sip at the Golden Dream last night. The Chief and Jane said they had three sips of different wines and were so oiled that they only ordered a glass or two with dinner. However, they did buy three bottles of their best Chardonnay. Hunh.

Jack reports that his first two sips were real gulps. He recorded them. But after Angela made her rounds and came back to Jack, the last two sips were much smaller, about what he expected. They were just “normal sips” is the way he put it. Hmmm. I wonder if Reggie tipped off Angela about Jack. Like he figured that following Robert’s meeting, Reggie expected a single guy to come over and test the sips. Jack says there was one other single guy and from what Jack could see, the other guy’s sips were normal; all four. 

So now we have Brooke up to bat. The Chief and Jane are going tomorrow night to see what a single woman gets. Should be interesting. 

UPDATE: Geez! This is turning into a soap! Brooke was there last night, alone. She pretended she was waiting for her fiancé. While she scanned the menu with her specs, she recorded all four sips. They were monsters. And get this. Angela told Brooke what time she got off work and maybe she’d like to have a drink with her at the Hubris Bar down the street. Oh yeah?

The Chief and Jane were at the next table and watched the pours. They too could see that they were monsters. Brooke was tempted to meet Angela, hoping that Angie would tell her how the Golden Dream purposely oils people up with glug-size sips and then sells them a few bottles before they leave. But she thought better of it because of the tone Angie used in her invitation. Brooke thinks she might be gay??? But she and Cass were out together to the Warriors’ game and she poured him some doozies, so, I don’t know. The Chief thinks she’s bisexual. Now how would he know that . . .? Maybe Jane used her gaydar and told the Chief. There’s a meeting about this whole case tomorrow morning.

UPDATE: Jack asked around and it seems that Angie is bi (Bi?). I didn’t ask how all this knowledge was collected, but I can’t imagine any gay or bi woman not being “returned” is the way I think Kramer put it. . . or was it George, in that Seinfeld episode. George pushed them to the other side and Kramer brought them back. And Jack is a hundred times better looking than both Kramers; Cassidy and the Seinfeld goofball. And Jack is very intelligent as well. Hmmmm. Sounds like I’m confessing to my husband. No worries. I think I’m at least 16 years older than Jack; and he has every woman in the City after him, including cougars my age; and even older.

UPDATE: About the snapping tree, the tree surgeon for the homeowner cleared the driver, Cass. He says the tree was a rotting skinny thing and ready to fall. There’s good news. Now if we can only get Cass and Angie squared away. Although Cass’s B.A. was a .22 (gulp!) the D.A. cut him a deal. Apparently, the CHP put in a good word for him. He’s a heavy contributor to the CHP 11-99 Foundation. It didn’t hurt his case that he was able to perform all the field sobriety tests. In fact, both officers said they couldn’t believe how well he did. It seems he aced them. Hard to say anything but the BA nicked him. I heard from Lance that they’ll do all they can to get a minimum fine and some community service. They might even try to have his record expunged because he clearly was not ‘under the influence’. Full of booze but not under the influence even though he fell asleep and rammed a tree !!? oh well, helps to have friends in the CHP . . . and to contribute to their foundation. Later.


We left this one where Jeri was with her buddy, the mortician with his kooky river-dragging vehicle, winch and all, for hauling bodies out of rivers. They were going back to explore the river banks around the spot where Grandma and the eight cats (shouldn’t that be nine cats?) stopped last night.

Well Jeri and Eugene (nice name for a guy who makes a living tarting up the dead) thought they’d have dinner first. I wonder if Jeri has ‘plans’ for Eugene. She says he’s a knockout version of Clark Gable. Hmmm. So. After dinner, they went out to the river while it was still very light out. Near the spot where Cat Woman stopped her John Deere, they found some traces of a peculiar dust or powder. Gene, as he likes to be called, (like Autry) took samples back to his icebox workplace. He’s examining them today.

But continuing about last night. Grandma and the nine cats (not eight) rolled up about 2am with no lights on. She must know that spot really well. Okay. So Gene and Jeri leave the water-body wagon a few hundred yards past Grandma’s spot so if she did find the light switch on the tractor, the BD vehicle would not be seen. As she approached her area next to the river, she was singing at the top of her lungs, Roll out the Barrel, followed by If you’re Irish, Come into the Parlor. Whoa. Anyway, she first throws all the cats down near the river.

Next thing Jeri heard was a hell of racket of screeches and yowls coming from the site. Geez. She says three of the cats had a huge river rat the size of Delaware in their combined mouths. Yuck. The rat was fighting like hell to escape but he/she was for it. The other six cats proceeded to demolish the rodent. Jeri had to look away. Gene laughed and gurgled while he watched this ‘nature red in tooth and claw’ drama being played out before him. Grandma cheered or whatever you’d call it. She must be a great person to have at a party.

Not to be outdone, the other six cats, some of them darned near as big as the dear departed Uncle Rat, rushed to the river in search of more prey. Dammed if they didn’t dig up another one. By this time, Jeri was ready to barf and call it a day. Eugene only ramped up his chortles and bugged his eyes with delight. Now I’m not so sure Jeri has pegged Gene as a significant other, but love is love.

So. After another round of ‘pin the teeth on the rat’, Grandma gets off the tractor and goes to the river’s edge where she strides into the river about waist-deep and ducks her head under the water for a few secs. Then she pops up again, all bubbling  and spitting. Jeri thought she was going to bite a fish or, God forbid, another river rat. Whew! Not a rat; or a fish, just a thick piece of rope with weights on it.

Gene and Jeri crept closer to zero in on Grandma’s find. Granny turned back and dragged the rope behind her to the river’s edge Jeri saw weights hanging on the rope at various intervals. As well as the weights, there were foot-long packages of some kind. There were about twelve of them. Grandma then detached the packages and carried them to the back of the tractor where she lifted some sort of door or panel; maybe a box. Anyway, she put all the packagers in there and returned to the river to collect the cats. They were pretty well bushed by now from all their activity and their midnight suppers. Once all nine were in the bucket, Grandma, still soaking, turned the tractor around and started back toward the main road.

Jeri and Gene went to the exact spot where Grandma had waded into the river, carefully avoiding what remained of four rats, and shone a couple of heavy-duty flashlights, Crees I think, over every inch of Grandma’s activity. They found some wet substance, which Gene thinks is the wet version of the dry stuff they found before Grandma sang her way to the river.

Jeri couldn’t believe it. Gene jumped into the river in the exact place where Grandma had been. He ducked his head in the water and came up with the rope and weights. He saw the rope was attached to something at the other end. There was a spring mechanism or some such at the other end of the rope because when he tried to haul it in, there was too much resistance and when he let it go, it skipped along the water at a real speed before the weights took it under the water. Wow! Jeri thinks it must be some sort of hiding place for smugglers but is waiting for Gene to tell her what the mystery substance is. So are we.

UPDATE:  Well I’ll be. Gene says the powder, both the wet and the dry, is saffron. Hunh? Yeah, saffron. I just thought it was something for cooking; well, never really thought about it at all. Turns out the spice is worth $10,000 dollars a pound; that’s right; 10 grand a pound. Jeri figures the waterproof bags Grandma was pulling off the river line weighed maybe 2 to 3 pounds each. Don’t know for sure yet how much the waterproof bag weighs. Still. There were about twelve bags. I wonder if they were all filled with saffron. If so, we’re talking a quarter of a million on just this rope load alone. But why is Grandma hauling this stuff out of the river? Why is it even in a river?

UPDATE: Jeri and Gene have done their research and made a ton of calls and here’s the scoop. Saffron is probably included in the sanctions the Prez just reordered on Iran.  Added to that, apparently Iran has a bunch of restrictions and penalties on the export of saffron. J & G figure that if Granny and her supplier are getting bootleg saffron from Iran, then somebody is making a ton of dollars. I mean, even if the stuff is second rate, it sells for anywhere from $5000 up to the top of $10,000. Jeri and Gene are thinking that Grandma has an ace in Iran who is illegally exporting it, and someone here who is illegally importing it. Avoid all the taxes, tariffs, and all—say Jeri and Gene—and you have in twelve bags, minimum of over a hundred thousand dollars !! That’s right, $100,000! So who puts it in the river and who does Grandma give it to?

Well, all this explains why Grandma was out in the wee hours. And we all think the cats were there to prevent river rats from gnawing through the rope holding the weights and the saffron bags. Geez. How do we get into this deal? It’s not weapons, or dope, or things like that. It’s only a spice. Well, Gene read that saffron is still used to dye materials; even in Fez, Morocco. So. I need to ask the Chief how far to pursue Grandma’s gig. Nobody wants to blow her cover for her 6 figure enterprise, but if she has that much money, maybe we can squeeze her for some more cash for poor old Dufus Doo. Or would that be extortion? Duh. But, can you extort from a criminal or criminal act? Need to get our ex-PD on that. Well, only if he wants to. I’ll talk to the Chief first.

End of Volume Twelve.

© Copyright 2019 Nicholas Cochran. All rights reserved.

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