Ever and Always
Chapter 28: Now what do you say happened? – June 2024

Copyright© 2015 by Banadin

After the FBI agents left, they made certain that the security cameras were recording. Next they locked the house and checked that all barns and sheds were locked. They then went to the diner for coffee. As expected the diner was abuzz with rumors.

The rumors went from a propane tank explosion to an all-out war with tanks and bombs. There were no dead to over a hundred killed.

All of this washed over Rick and Marsha, the more confusion the better. The item that left them cold was told to them by Mary.

"I hear there is a crime scene unit over at the Krashinski Airport taking tire impressions; I wonder if that is linked?"

"Where did you hear that Mary," asked Rick?

"One of the State Troopers that was on his way off shift mentioned it. He was doing traffic control for the FBI unit."

"It's been awful dry to leave tire prints."

"That's what I told the Trooper. He told me about a new method that picks up the oils left on the pavement by the tires. Some chemicals and a special type of light and they can get pictures of any tire tread less than two days old if there aren't too many tracks."

Rick laughed, "Ain't technology great. What will they think of next?"

When Mary left the table, they exchanged glances. They both knew enough that they calmly finished their coffee, talked to a few neighbors before they left. Rick had to lift his foot off the pedal several times on the way home. He finally gave up and turned control over to the car.

"What are we going to do with that chipped up rubber," asked Marsha?

"I don't know yet. We can't take it out of the workshop, there might be overhead cameras. Burning it inside will create such a stink that it would be weeks getting it out."

They decided it wouldn't be real bright to put the trash bags with the chipped up tires out for the garbage pickup truck. The simplest thing to do would be to use the chipped up rubber as mulch in the flower beds Marsha planted around the house.

They then decided to sacrifice a set of four snow tires they had in the workshop. They had no miles on them. Rick bought them in an overabundance of preparing for any eventuality. Marsha teased him periodically about these, now he may be vindicated.

When he got home the first thing, he did was help Marsha mulch the flower beds with the chipped up tires.

He then cut up the snow tires and placed them in trash bags. He loaded the bags on a trailer and hauled them to the landfill. He was dog tired when he got back to the house but felt he had done all that could be done.

In the morning, Rick couldn't believe how well he felt. He was over eighty, and had no aches and pains. He should be in agony after all that he had done yesterday. He and Marsha talked over a hearty breakfast.

"This will be interesting," said Rick. "I have heard that the FBI will go through your trash.

This will give us an idea how seriously they are watching us," added Marsha.

"I hope we are being overly cautious, but there isn't room for error in this.

Several days later, they went into town to the Diner to hear the latest gossip. Mary wanted to know right out, why the FBI was asking about them. Rick and Marsha exchanged glances, and both shrugged their shoulders.

"No idea Mary," said Marsha.

Mary let it go at that, but you could tell she wasn't satisfied with the answer.

They had finished their breakfast and were about to pay their check when a suited man approached them. He was middle aged but looking at him; he spelled Authority in large letters.

His suit wasn't an off-the-rack model. His tie, belt and shoes all screamed power dresser. This was someone that had to be taken seriously, or he was the biggest fraud going.

They found out very quickly that he was no fraud.

"Sergeant Major, Mrs. King may I join you for a minute?"

Looking around Rick realized that no one was sitting near them and that there were several men standing near the door. They had come in quietly and had them boxed in without them even realizing what was going on.

These were professionals. Neither of the men by the door had the look of muscle. They looked like competent killers. Rick knew their type from the service.

"Agents Dawkins and Stevens aren't happy with either of you; they spent all day in protective clothing at the dump."

Rick and Marsha said nothing, just waited.

"They are especially hunting for tires, which may match some partial prints, magnetic signs for an out of business horse farm up in Kentucky, some stolen license plates and the metal carrying frame for a CG-10C Snow Goose."

"There are also some upset agents up in Alaska, seems those boys from Dakota are mining in a pretty remote location. One of the agents broke a leg getting there. That's the bad news; the good news is that they have found nothing. The powers to be have pulled the plug on the investigation. It appears it was an accidental propane explosion that started it all."

Rick and Marsha just sat there and waited.

"You have taken care of an enormous problem for us, and Uncle Sam still needs your help."

Marsha got her breath back first, "What problem?"

"We backed the wrong horse, and it was about to become a major embarrassment."

"Like in Major Watkins," asked a confused Rick?

"Exactly, some agencies in the government realize that the country is about to fail. There is too much debt, too many problems in the world that we won't be able to contain much longer. At one time, we could have, but we just don't have the financial resources or the military in place to control the outcomes.

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