Chapter 15 Water, Whiskey & War

“I’ll know more in a few days as the situation in Luanda develops. I’ll have to go back to town for news in a couple of days.”

“Tom? You in?”

“I dunno. Sounds dicier than working a gold dredge on the Yukon,” I answered, reflecting on passed up opportunities. “I’ve got a job on the hook hauling fruit back east. Then there’s driving truck on the haul road for the pipeline.”

“That’s real work,” said Halftrack.

“Yeah, but the wages are good. Just hauling heavy equipment up there pays 25 cents a mile, loaded or empty. That’s like $1000 a week.”

“What do they pay you now for hauling fruit?”

“Three-fifty a week.”

“And you’d pass up like a thousand a week?”

“At least I’m home for a week in between. Susan and I would be on a good schedule and we could see each other every other week.”

“You’d pass up good money for a woman?”

“So it would pay a thousand a week,” said Q, as though nailing Halftrack’s offer to the door. “That’s not enough.”

“Like I said. It’s negotiable.”

It seemed that we weren’t going to get anymore out of Halftrack and the conversation waned in the gathering dusk. We’d about finished the cigars and two shots of whiskey when we heard the chorus of voices of three excited women coming up the road.

“Wow! I can smell the cigar smoke half way across the pasture,” said Trish.

“They’re going to hang Harriett’s work in the gallery. Isn’t that great,” chimed in Susan. “Second show of the season and it’ll still catch the tourist trade.”

“Come on, open some more windows.” Trish just couldn’t get past the cigar smoke.

Sandy slipped over toward Halftrack and said quietly, “Well did you make a deal?”

“We’ll see in a few days,” he answered.

Susan and I went out to the bus and I lit the Rayo lamp. Susan didn’t like the Rayo. I was bright but with low grade kerosine is smelled.

“Why don’t you get the perl kerosine at the hardware store?” she asked. flaring her nostrils. “You might as well be burning diesel.”

“Because it costs twice as much.”

“Well, light the little lamp. We don’t need the Rayo anyway. And take that outside before you blow it out.”

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