Randall had few belongings, so the only evidence he left behind in the fire station was the used cola can and the empty Milwaukee Best beer bottle. Chief Hogan briefly shined the light on the bottle. ‘Damn, I got bums. The least he could do is clean up.’ He knew only one bum that liked to drink Milwaukee Best. He picked up the trash and tossed it into the trashcan. Quickly checking and locking all the doors and windows in the building, he secured the abandoned fire station and returned to the bay to tag then weigh and count the evidence. By this time, Officer Carlos Steadman arrived at the fire station to help with the evidence. By three o’clock the next morning, the chief, Sergeant Milner and Officer Steadman finished counting the enormous shipment. The final count was fifty-nine thousand nine-hundred and eighty ten-pound packages of marijuana. Most of it was in twenty large bundles, however to get an accurate count and weight, the chief and the officers broke them opened. The total weight of the shipment was less than three tons of top-grade Purple Kush marijuana. The entire load carried an estimated street value of one-hundred and fifty million dollars. Chief Hogan had no idea that was the biggest drug bust in the history of Alabama. Because the chief discovered the trash Randall left, he assigned Officer Steadman to stand guard at the new evidence room.
Because of his divorce and bad habits, Randall lost the house he and his wife bought. Soon, he started neglecting his personal hygiene and health. He slowly opened his tired eyes and rubbed his hands through his hair. Last night was a long night; he sold all he had bagged and made a lot of money. He and Bobbie spent some of the money on beer, alcohol and food but he still had most of it left. Randall that night forgot about buying any crack because he was making so much money. Slowly, he dragged his tired body across the carpeted floor of the old doublewide trailer. Seconds later, he entered the opened door of the bathroom. The reflection in the mirror greeted him as he flicked the light switch on the wall. Still hazy from the lack of sleep, he doesn’t recognize himself and thinks someone else is there. Surprised, he let out a loud scream and a tiny stream of urine down his leg, ‘Ahhhhhh,’ and bolted out the bathroom into the hallway.
The loud ear piercing noise woke Bobbie from her sleep. Startled, she jumped out of her bed, grabbed her robe off the chair by the bed and ran barefooted into the hallway. In the hall, Randall stood with his back pressed against the wall and his head buried in the palm of his hands. ‘What’s wrong with you,’ she questioned as she tied the belt around the front of the flowery satin robe. ‘Randall, you got the Jones bad.’ She knew about his crack habit and thought he was just in need a hit. Speaking gently she leaned toward him and asked, ‘You want me to call Jackson and get you a hit?’ She reached out and stroked his hair with her fingers.
‘Nah that’s not it,’ he said. He wiped his bloodshot eyes. ‘I saw my reflection in the mirror and scared myself. Why didn’t you tell me that I looked so bad?’ They laughed together for a moment. Walking back into the bathroom, he stepped on the bathroom scale to check his weight. The dial stopped on one hundred and thirty pounds. He screamed again. ‘Shit, I lost seventy pounds. Damn, I’m skinny and a fucking crack head.’ He stepped off the scale and washed his face in the sink. Leaving the bathroom, he walked to the back bedroom and took twenty dollars from inside the gym bag. Shouting down the hall, he asked, ‘Hey, I’m walking up to Shorty’s; do you want anything?’
Bobbie, now in the bathroom inside her bedroom and getting undressed for a shower, replied, ‘Yeah, bring me two of those breakfast sausage and biscuits and an orange juice.’
Randall stepped out of the trailer into the bright sunlight and strolled down Pickens to the corner store. It was still early in the day, but the heat was stifling. Tiny semi transparent slivers of heat rose from the hot asphalt. Stepping on the small concrete step of the store, he peered at his reflection as he slowly opened the mirrored glass door. His pants looked baggie and the shirt he wore draped over his torso like a sheet. Damn, I’ve fucked myself up. I look like shit. You got to stop drinking and everything and get back in shape, Randall. He entered the store. ‘Hey, where you keep the sandwich bags,’ Randall questioned Jessie Mitchell, the store clerk. Without saying a word, the graying old man pointed to the rear of the store and continued to help the customer at the register. Returning to the counter, Randall purchased the sandwich bags and the other stuff he came for and left.
A few minutes before Randall left the corner store; Jackson Walker left a friend’s house on Bridgeport Drive and ventured west toward the corner of Jackson and Pickens. He needed to get rid of some of the crack he had just cooked and was looking for a sell. Turning onto Pickens, he spotted Randall coming out of the store. Seconds later, Jackson slowed the classic Ford LTD down to a crawl and rolled down the passenger side window and turned down his stereo. ‘Hey man, you looking,’ he asked.
‘Nah, man, I am alright,’ he lied. Randall’s body screamed for a hit. He could almost hear it calling to him. Nevertheless, after seeing himself as a crack head, he was not going to use anymore. He continued to walk down Pickens.
‘Well, you got my cell number. When you need, call me first. Say, do you have any of that Purple Kush you had last night.’ Jackson stopped the car in the middle of the street.
Randall stopped. ‘Why am I lying to this punk?’ Walking to the car, he leaned on the door and peered at the drug dealer and said, ‘Look, Jackson, I am going to be straight with you! I’ve decided to quit because I’ve started looking bad.’
Jackson interrupted, ‘Yeah, you do. I will admit that.’ He laughed and continued, ‘I know you won’t quit though because you need this stuff like a fish needs water.’ Reaching under his seat, he retrieved a clear plastic freezer bag full of tiny packets of crack. ‘Tell you what, since it’s a money thing, trade me a fifty for this.’ Taking three nice size rocks out the large freezer bag, he offered them to Randall.
Badly wanting to accept the offer, Randall instead lied, ‘I sold out last night; I might have some more later on today. I will see if my boy will front me some more first. I can’t trade, though. It got to be cash.’ The two men finished talking and Randall walked to Bobbie’s trailer. ‘I am back,’ he announce after stepping inside.
‘Okay, I’m still in the tub,’ Bobbie hollered through the closed bathroom door. ‘Put my sandwiches in the microwave and put the drink in the refrigerator. I’ll be out in a minute.’
Randall put everything up and placed the sandwich bags he bought on the table. Walking to his bedroom to retrieve the rest of the open bundle, he returned to the kitchen and dumped it on the table. When he packaged the remaining weed, Bobbie came from the bathroom into the kitchen. Randall was not a weed smoker, but Bobbie smoked almost everyday with her girlfriends. ‘Hey, what’s Purple Kush,’ he asked.
‘Oh, that’s some good weed and it cost. I mean it cost like one hundred and sixty dollars an ounce for that stuff. I had a blunt of it when I went to New Orleans last year to visit my daughter. Why?’
Smiling, he said, ‘Oh, nothing; it’s just that’s what I’ve been selling. You know how much money I gave away last night. My dime bags should’ve been twenty and the twenties should’ve been forty or fifty. I won’t make that mistake again.’ This was the first time anyone in Marion had ever smoked Purple Kush; so the marijuana sold like crazy. It took Randall and Bobbie less than three days to sell the rest of the weed from the first ten pound bale.
In New Orleans, Frank Riggers quickly strolled into Scott McLean’s body shop on Canal Street He sat his large two hundred and thirty pound frame in the chair in front of the large oak desk inside Scott’s office. ‘Scott, I got troubles. Some hick town sheriff in Alabama confiscated my shipment. I need you to go down and see about it. Take some of the men and some money and get my dope back.’
Scott was an ex Army Ranger that discharged from the military five years ago and moved back to his boyhood home in New Orleans. After his father died, he took over McLean’s Auto Body shop, the family business. However, it was a small shop and New Orleans had an abundance of larger body shops. To survive and stay in business, he did odd jobs for Frank, one of his boyhood friends who became one of the major drug dealers in the city. ‘Oh, okay Frank, but what about the two drivers,’ he asked.
‘See, if you can bail them out. If you can get them out, bring them to my house in the Bayou for my gators to eat.’ Frank got up from the chair, walked to the white Bentley idling in the parking lot and returned with a briefcase full of money. Here is one million dollars. When you return with the shipment, I will give you the other half.’ He slid the briefcase across the desk. ‘The finder’s fee sounds unreasonably large.’
“Well, you made an offer and I set the price; just remember you get what you pay for.” Opening the large briefcase, he thumbed through a couple of the stacks. ‘Consider the job done and the boys dead.’ After Frank left, Scott stored the money inside the big safe in the office. Searching through the desk, he looked for some numbers. ‘This job must be important for Frank,’ he thought. ‘He never paid me that much before. I got to get some good men because it is going to be a fight to get that truck back.’ He decided to call ten of the members of his old Ranger squad. Twelve hours later, Scott had a well experience recon team assembled, heavily armed and ready to go. The team loaded the two black Ford F-350 trucks with the equipment and headed for Marion.
Five hours later, the two trucks pulled into the Marion Motel parking lot. ‘Man, I’m glad we’re finally here,’ Freddy Masterly stated from the rear seat of the truck Scott drove. ‘I’m too old to be stuck in one position for a long time.’ Jumping out of the open door, he stretched and yawned. They were exhausted from the trip. However, there were a lot to do. They needed to get busy checking out the town; someone had to find out where the U-Haul truck and the dope were stored, and figure out how to get the boys out of jail. But, the first thing was to rent some rooms and get something to eat. Scott strolled into the lobby of the quiet motel and rung the bell on the desk.
Silvery haired Martha Melton walked to the front desk, ‘Good evening, how may I help you today.’ Her family owned the motel for generations and she took over ten years ago after her father and mother became too old to continue to run it.
‘Yes, Madam, I need to rent four connecting rooms.’ He wanted to make sure everyone was together so no one got lost.
‘Well, I got two rooms that connect and two more that is right next to them, would that be okay,’ she inquired.
‘That will be great.’ Scott replied. He pulled a large wad of crisp hundred dollar bills out of his Levi jeans pocket.
‘The price is sixty-nine dollars per night. How long will you be staying?’ She slid the registration card across the counter. Looking outside at the trucks, she asked, ‘So, you have family here or are you coming for the fishing tournament over at Lakeland Farms.’
‘Yeah, we’re here to fish.’ Scott lied. ‘We’ll be here for a few days; I’ll pay for three days. If I stay longer, I’ll come back and pay some more.’ He paid her in cash and gave her the fake ID he brought with him.
She looked at the Id and checked it against the name on the card. Ok, Mr. Wilkerson. The rooms are numbers 120, 121, 122, and 123. Now room 121 and 122 are the connecting room.’ She handed him the blue plastic door cards. ‘To get to the room, just turn left and drive around the main building to the rear.’ Pointing at the map of the property on the desk she continued, ‘and the rooms are right in the middle the building you will be looking at. I hope you enjoy your stay here in Marion.’ She put the cash in the cash register and watched Scott leave.