Dog and His Boy
Chapter 10: Money Money Everywhere

Copyright© 2011 by TC Allen

The next morning Henry looked even worse. All notions Steve had to use the Storms to dispose of the gold were forgotten. Ellen bathed his forehead with cloths dipped in ice water to keep the fever down. Steve borrowed the Storm's van to transport his family and Dog to St Paul. Linda had made a list of the jewelers in the phone book with the largest ads on the theory they would have the most money to buy gold.

Gage spent a few minutes on line and came up with a list of five coin dealers who wanted to look at the coins. One could barely hide the excitement he felt at the prospect of seeing two mint-condition "Atlantis Coins." He showed the list to his father.

"This looks like we can get the two coins sold and out of our hair," Steve showed his approval of his son's efforts.

"Honey," Linda said, "These are the biggest jewelers in the phone book who buy gold. And here," she turned the page over to a list on the other side, "is a list of the ones with small, plain ads listed under 'Precious Metals Dealers.'"

Steve nodded and told her, "We'll start with the smaller list of gold buyers."

Vikki presented a longer list of plant nurseries and herbal dealers and health food stores. In three cases the same company was on all three lists. "I think I better go too and help carry stuff." She followed the Larsens and got in back between Gage and Dog.

Gage showed her a small, magnetic chess set. "Want a game?" he asked as he set it up.

"Now will I be playing you or Dog?" she asked.

"Oh, you'll be playing me. I want to try an idea I have. I learned a whole lot from Dog for sure. But it's just I want to play you on my own."

When the big van pulled up in front of the first coin dealer on the list Vikki griped, "You play a dumb game. You don't concentrate on a single style of defense yet you seem to whittle down my pieces. Where did you learn to play this way?"

"It's my idea," Gage answered, "I look at the board and see where the power is flowing and try to," he paused a moment, grinned and said, "go with the flow."

"You're weird, you know? She shook her head in frustration and made her next move carefully.

"I hate to disturb things, but we're there." Steve got out and came around and opened the passenger door for Linda. Vikki and Gage got out after the adults were on the sidewalk.

"She has you in about six more moves," Dog told Gage's he stretched his body.

"I don't care," Gage replied, "I wanted to find out if my idea would even work. It does which is all I care about. I'm not good enough to play her to win."

Dog looked around, "I smell trouble." The neighborhood they were in was run down and seedy looking in West St Paul. As they crossed the sidewalk a voice called out, "Whatchoo doin' here, man?" Three young Hispanics in gang costume stepped out from between two buildings and approached the grouped Larsens.

"Hey, stupid, it's none of your business what we're doing," Gage answered.

Dog crouched low to the broken sidewalk while Vikki looked at the leader of the trio and asked, "What are two stupid looking creeps like you doing out here without a baby sitter?"

Dog roared and gave a great leap at the one who jerked a small Skorpion automatic pistol from under his jacket. The gangbanger screamed when Dog's teeth crunched down hard on his wrist. The big animal snapped the weapon out of the air before it could touch the ground.

Vikki did a spin kick and her victim was down. Gage yelled and jumped, throwing a body block on his opponent. They went down in a heap. He quickly came to his feet and began to jump up and down on the fallen enemy. Vikki elbowed Gage aside and dispatched the one Gage had attacked by slamming his head to the sidewalk.

"Why don't you learn to fight, Short Stuff?" she asked. "It would make things more simple."

"I got you, Xena, who needs more?" He slapped her on the back. "You're pretty good yourself. Let's go do our business."

Steve smiled at the two young teenagers and shook his head. "You kids better be more careful, now. You could get hurt fighting." He couldn't get over the changes Gage seemed to go through almost daily.

A stranger opened the door. A man, a Hassidic Jew opened the door wide and looked at the three punks on the sidewalk. "Come in, please. I have called the police."

"If they are like the ones out our way, they'll get here some time later." Steve groused. A St Paul PD cruiser came to a stop at the curb behind the van and Steve changed his mind. "Oh, these guys are different."

"Give the man the gun, Dog, please," Gage said aloud in a very theatrical voice. Dog came up to one of the two cops and growled his greeting. As the cop stepped back in surprise, Gage told him, "He wants you to take the gun, sir."

The other cop exclaimed, "You're the ones who stopped the bank robbery. I saw you on television. You want a job? It's got low pay, long hours and a great chance to grow ulcers."

"Naw," Gage told him, "We already have jobs bugging our parents."

"These three are the ones who robbed me last week," the Jew stated angrily. "Please arrest them."

"What for, Mister Feldman? It's your word against theirs and the rest of their gang will just swear in court you are lying and racially prejudiced. You been there before." The older of the two policemen shook his head in frustration.

"I smell drugs on all three," Dog said.

"How about we all swear they tried to stop us, and this guy here threatened us with his gun? You now have probable cause to search them for more weapons. The fruits of said search will inad ... ad ... advertantly turn up the illicit drugs." Gage smiled as he delivered his speech to the astonished cops.

"Yeah. I like it," one officer exclaimed. "Don't grow up and become a defense attorney, kid. You would be awesome."

"Try the shirt pocket of the one over there," Gage said and pointed to the punk with the broken wrist. The cop named Evans squatted and checked the moaning gangbanger.

He withdrew a small baggie containing a quantity of yellowish crystals. "Hey, look at this. If it proves to be anywhere near pure at all, we have possession for sale." He paused dramatically and asked, "Officer Custis, would you not say this constitutes probable cause to search these other two suspects?"

"Oh, indeedy I do, Officer Evans. Shall we cuff 'em?" Quickly they handcuffed the uninjured but dazed pair and completed their search.

The three gangbangers were forced into the back seat of the police car. The cops took statements from Vikki and the Larsen family and left. "This was such a nice neighborhood when I was a child," Feldman lamented. He led the way inside to a small office and waited for everyone to get settled.

"Well, I guess you want to see what we brought you." Steve reached in his jacket pocket and removed the pair of coins wrapped in tissue.

"You have brought me peace of mind and..." His eyes got round and then narrowed as he stared at the now unwrapped coins. "Do you know what you have here?"

"Yeah," Gage grinned, "Two mint condition Atlantis coins."

"I offered another dealer in Las Vegas forty thousand dollars for the two he has acquired, and these are even better. How much?"

"Mister Feldman, you make us your top offer. If we like it we'll take it. If we don't we'll leave." Linda looked up at him and smiled.

He stared at the two coins and thought a moment. "Sixty thousand. I shall make a profit at this price."

"Done," Steve said and handed the man the two coins. "We want cash."

Feldman smiled and nodded, "Naturally," he said. He returned moments later with a small flight bag half filled with hundreds. He handed it to Steve.

"Mister Feldman," Gage asked, "Who buys bulk gold who is as honest as you?"

"Why I do, young man. What do you have, a ring?" He smiled benignly at Gage.

"No," Vikki interrupted, "About ninety-six pounds of gold nuggets if the bathroom scales are correct." She laughed at the expression on the merchant's face.

"You want me to bring it in?" Steve asked.

"Ah, yes please," he answered, dazed. "This is such a surprising day."

Steve left and reentered with the bag as soon as Feldman buzzed him through the entrance. He dropped the bag on the floor in front of the man and opened it. "This is pretty pure stuff."

Feldman excused himself and returned with a small box of test acids. He tried various ingots and finally told them flatly, "I cannot dispose of this quickly without too many questions being asked. It will take a while to discreetly sell this amount. Can you wait?" he looked at Steve and then Linda.

Gage broke the silence, "Sure, why not?" His parents nodded in agreement.

"I'll give you our name and address and phone number. We want cash and you can have it delivered when you are ready," Steve told him.

"Why are you so trusting. My instincts tell me you are anything but gullible," Feldman cocked his head to one side and waited for an answer.

"Easy," Vikki answered. "If you cheat them Dog here will eat you."

"Please remind me not to be dishonest with you. I would hate to be eaten, even by such a noble looking creature.

Dog woofed his acknowledgement of the praise and offered to shake hands. "He likes you," Gage told the astonished man.

They made their goodbyes and took the van through town to the first plant nursery on the list. Steve, Gage and Dog went in while Vikki and Linda guarded the cash.

Dog led them up one aisle and down another as they filled his "prescription." He would sniff the herbs one at a time and choose the best, healthiest plants by placing a paw next to the ones he wanted. Finally he chose the jojoba plants he decided were the best and they left after paying.

Last came the bicycles. They went to the "Trail Bike Headquarters" and Steve ordered six twenty-six inch bikes and two of the largest framed twenty-seven inch bikes they had in stock and brought out the pictures of the modifications called for in the drawings. "How will you pay for this," the clerk asked, "We don't accept food stamps."

Steve laughed at the food stamp joke and asked, "You accept cash?"

"Do you have it all in your pockets?" The clerk decided these were time wasting nuts.

"Nope," Steve said calmly. He opened the bag Gage was carrying and counted out twenty thousand dollars. He tossed the bundled cash on the sales counter. "You get the rest when you deliver the bikes. Three days from now I want two or I want my money back. Overtime is no problem." They waited for a receipt.

"What about the engines?" the salesman asked. "We have some great air cooled two cycle engines available. I would suggest the hundred fifty cc four-cycle Korean built engines. They are compact and can be muffled for in town riding.

Steve handed the salesman the last two drawings. "You use BW electromagnetic clutches and do the whole job in your shop. We want two day after tomorrow and the rest next week. Okay?

"Overtime okay?"

"Like I said, as much as needed. We want them for a special job." They shook hands and left a dazed salesman behind who was overwhelmed by the sight of so much cash.

They slowly began the drive home. Just as they left Elk River behind Steve decided, "We need a van too. We're doing too much running and we should have something we can haul stuff in and still look anonymous. We also need to talk to Henry." Gage and Vikki played chess in the back seat while Dog dozed. He almost had his strength back. He sensed he would need everything he had to survive the coming days.

Ellen hurried out of the house as they pulled up in the driveway. "Henry is worse. I'm afraid." She looked at first one adult Larsen and then the other.

Dog slipped quietly out of the van and hurried toward the house. He found Henry Storm in the living room. "Quick, ask Ellen storm to bring a hot cup of black tea in here and help Henry drink it all down. Bring the herbs and jojoba plants into the kitchen. Vikki and your mother are to prepare the first dose now." Dog hurried back outside as Gage relayed his instructions.

Linda ran stripped stalks of jojoba plant through her juicer until she had collected almost a quart of the gooey juice. She chopped up the herbs in her food processor in the amounts specified by Dog through Gage. Finally the whole mass of chopped vegetation was mixed with the Aloe sap and slowly cooked. Her juicer was ruined.

Dog returned with a few stalks of another plant. Gage took them from his friend. "Bake these dry in the oven and crush with a rolling pin. It gets sprinkled on top of a cupful of the soup you just made."

The stuff smelled like soured swamp water and essence of skunk. Ellen gave it to Henry to drink. Weakly he sipped and swallowed until it was all gone. He closed his eyes and rested. Ellen fussed worriedly over her husband while Gage and Vikki went for a ride on the purple carpet. They soared over the area of the farm and looked down, searching for more intruders. There were none. When they returned Henry was awake.

Dog sniffed the air around him. "Quickly now, get the bathroom door open." He ordered Gage, "Henry is going to be in a hurry any moment now."

Gage barely got the door open when Henry staggered past and knelt on the floor. "Oh, how gross." Gage said.

"Those are the poisons manufactured by the bacteria leaving his stomach." Dog told him and chastised his friend. "It is never 'gross' as you put it to purge the poisons from your body." Gage was sorry for his reaction.

A minute later Henry came out of the bathroom looking weak, yet somehow refreshed. "This has been some experience. It seems to have helped. I feel a little better." He returned to the recliner. "I also feel a little bit hungry."

"Chicken broth only," Dog ordered.

"Dog says chicken broth is all Mister Storm can have right now," Gage told the adults. "Man, I'm glad I'm not sick."

Vikki told him, "Your dumbness is only exceeded by the looseness of your big mouth." Dog transmitted a cartoon picture of Gage with both his feet in a suddenly enlarged mouth.

Gage wandered outside with Dog while Vikki and her mother fussed over Henry. "What's wrong with everybody? Every time I open my mouth lately everybody jumps all over me."

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