Ever and Always
Chapter 8: Things get Strange - August 2021

Copyright© 2015 by Banadin

Rick went down to dinner with Marsha that evening. She asked how he was doing with his finances.

He replied with a grin, "I have over sixteen hundred dollars from the last six weeks. That is pretty darned good. I am turning out to be a decent street person. Don't think I will be asking if you want fries with that."

"That is excellent Rick, where are you keeping your money," she said?

"It is on the top shelf of my wardrobe cabinet, beneath my underwear."

"That is too risky. It would be easy to steal, and you should get it into a bank account."

"Marsha I can't open a checking account without some form of ID. How are you doing at the office?"

"Not very good, unfortunately Silvia has excellent work habits and never leaves those files unlocked. I'm getting desperate and about to do something radical."

"Marsha, really be careful," Rick exclaimed. "We don't get to many shots at this; if you get caught, they will never trust us again."

Marsha said with a small smile, "I have an idea that is so radical I don't know why we didn't think of it before. I am going to ask her!"

"What," Rick spluttered, "What do you mean."

"I am going to ask her if we had any ID accompany us. All she can tell me is she won't look, or if she finds them, not give them to us. I have been working there for five weeks now and don't see any other way."

"Hmm, the only downside is that if she says no, she will be more conscious of about leaving the files unlocked. Since she is so good at that now it makes no difference. Go for it."

The next morning Marsha did exactly that. She asked Silvia if she could have a minute during their coffee break.

"Silvia, do you know if Rick and I had any identification like a driver's license when we were admitted? As you know, Rick has been out and earned some money, too much to leave lying around. It should be in a checking account."

Silvia thought for a second, "I don't know Marsha, but if you do it is in your files let's take a look after break." Marsha didn't know if she should shout for joy or cry because it took her so long to do the obvious.

She settled for a mild, "Thank You."

After their break, Silvia led her to the files and unlocked them, pulling Rick's and Marsha's files out. Both files contained their social security cards and expired driver's licenses.

There was also a transfer form from Northeast Rest Home. Silva said, "There is no reason you shouldn't have these, we only retain them if the person isn't competent, both of you certainly are. Here are yours, I have to hand Rick's directly to him."

She then said with a smile, "Of course the way you two have been acting lately that might become moot."

"What do you mean," asked Marsha?

"You don't fool me girl. I see the way you look at him."

"Silvia! I do not! And besides we are too old for that."

"You are still breathing. You're not too old," rebutted Silvia.

"It's really not like that," Marsha replied half-heartedly. "I just admire the man for the way he has gotten his life back and is out trying to do things instead of whining about it."

"Right," said Silvia, "and you just lie around doing nothing all day. I'm not certain who is in my office helping me for free every day."

At that point, Marsha realized that she was on the hook to work in the office or Silvia would know what she had been trying. Her face must have given her away.

Silvia laughed, "I wondered how long it would take you to ask. Ruth and I had a bet going. She thought it would be two weeks ago, I said last week. So the bet is off. You do not know how hard it was for me to remember to keep those files locked."

Marsha looked at Silvia and started laughing (it would never do for an eighty-six-year old woman to giggle), "Okay you got me, but I would still like to help in the office."

"Thanks Marsha, we need it, and you have really taken a load off of us."

While this conversation was going on Rick had been walking to work. Since Charles asked him about seeing any drug deals he varied his walk to check out the surrounding area.

On his fourth day of doing this, he saw a man loitering near a street corner. A car pulled up, and a man handed what could have been cash out the window. A brief conversation ensued. The car pulled away, and the loiterer made a call on his cell phone.

"Bingo," Rick thought. He continued on his way.

Every day for the next week, he used this route, several times observing cars pull up and the same routine happening. He was careful to use an old man's shuffle and kept bent over.

The more non-threatening he looked the better. He hadn't given it any thought until then, but his walk had become a much younger man's stride, and he was standing taller.

On the fifth day, there was a difference, when he was almost up to the man, a car pulled up, and in a reverse of the previous stops the man handed an envelope to a passenger in the back seat. As the car pulled away Rick took note of its license plate.

It was a vanity plate so was easy to remember. He kept on like he had not seen anything.

The next Friday he approached Charles.

"Charles you asked me if I have seen any drug deals going down, I think I have." Rick then went on to explain what he had been observing and the license number.

"Thank you Rick, I will take it from here. I don't want you to go near that corner again. You have probably figured out I am working undercover to watch this area. You have moved us up the food chain with this plate number. We will handle things."

Rick was relieved. He had figured Charles was an undercover cop, or from a rival drug gang, but not which. A man he considered a friend had asked a small favor, and he had helped. He was still glad that he was on the side of the angels.

Marsha was very excited when he returned to the rest home later. "It worked; Silvia gave me everything of mine she had. She will give you yours directly. She can't give them to me because she does not have a HIPPA permission slip from you."

She neglected to tell him Silvia's other comments. They both had a good laugh over Silvia's and Ruth's bet.

Marsha asked, "I'm not sure how this helps that much, a social security card and an expired driver's license will not be enough to open a bank account."

Rick replied, "I have been thinking about that. I will just have to renew my license."

"Won't you need to take the actual driving test again and can you pass the eye test?"

"Yes and yes," Rick said. "My eyes have always been good. I think I can get the use of a car for the test."

"How would you do that?"

"Well the Baltimore police owe me a little," Rick told her, knowing full well the grief he had coming. After telling his tale, grief it was, Marsha felt like he was taking too many chances out on the street.

To her surprise, Rick agreed with her.

"Marsha the longer I keep going out there the higher the chances are that something will go wrong. I know that, I just have not figured out how to break the cycle. I could work at McDonald's. It is certainly honorable work. It just would take about ten times as long, and I'm not getting any younger."

The next-day Rick saw Silvia and got his license and social security card. She seemed to be very curious about his and Marsha's plans for after they had established themselves.

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