Jesse's Girl - Cover

Jesse's Girl

Copyright© 2022 by Dyspneic

Chapter 4: Mr. Poopyhead

It was not as easy to obtain records as they first thought. San Joaquin County required formal written requests for many of the property records she needed, so she had to return with signed letters from Linda and wait several weeks before they arrived.

Maia began taking Fuggles for walks around the neighborhood. She met quite a few of the people in the area and became friends with many of them. She also discovered that most of the housing units had the exact same size lots. Two houses to the West lives a nice young couple with a very pregnant female golden retriever. Her name was Fancy, and she and Fug got on famously. The couple, Brad and Sue were also expecting an addition to their family. And Maia gushed appreciatively over the whole thing. She mentioned moving in with Jesse, whom they used for yard work and an occasional oil change. Tina Marie was no stranger either, having invited herself over many times to love on Fancy and decide suitable names for all her babies.

She asked her usual questions about their lot size and property taxes which led to a discussion of Mr. Meanyhead and his nefarious encroachment. Brad was quick to offer the use of a drone (he had several) to obtain arial footage of the two properties. Maia excitedly accepted and they returned to the house that afternoon to do it.

Despite the small size of the drone and it’s nearly silent design, it didn’t take their irate neighbor very long to come out and begin shouting at them over the fence. He threatened to shoot it out of the sky and call the FAA, the police, and the FBI for invading his privacy. By the time he was done complaining Brad had already flown the drone up to 500 feet and captured the images they needed. Just for fun he brought it back on a return course that sent it directly over Mr. Sinclair’s back porch before dropping over the fence into his hand.

“It would have been interesting seeing him try to hit this little guy.” Brad chuckled as he handed it to TM to admire. He and Maia looked over the video and still frames that he captured and then saved them to a memory chip from his tablet. “It’s not an official survey, but you can calculate area accurately with it for your purposes.”

Maia thanked him heartily and went into the house to do just that.

Maia spread out a hand drawn depiction of their property lines, including both houses. She drew a dashed line evenly between the homes as was typical for their neighborhood.

“This is what your property lines should look like.” She told the three of them as they sat around the table. She had drawn the lines upon a clear sheet of mylar that she then superimposed atop a large glossy color print of the same properties, that was captured by the drone. “And this is how it appears now.” She had cut a smaller wedge-shaped piece of construction paper that she laid over both the other images. “And this,” She added as she positioned it precisely, “represents the area of property that Mr. Greedypants stole from you, by moving the existing fence line.”

Jesse whistled. “That looks like quite a chunk.”

She nodded and pointed to her math equations. “Roughly 7% of your lot size.”

Linda shook her head in disbelief. “He seemed so sincere with me when he proposed it and then did all the work himself.” Then she lifted her shoulders skeptically. “Is this all really worth it though? I mean it’s just a small piece of the lot.”

Maia smiled at her and pointed back to her notes. “I went back over all the property taxes you have paid over the last ten years and determined that 7% of the combined total is $7,842. That’s how much you have paid for land you can’t even get to. And looking back, I can see that his property taxes have not changed at all aside from county assessments.”

“That Rat Bastard.” Jesse growled.

“What can we do about it?” Linda asked uneasily. She dreaded confrontation of any sort.

“I have to look into that a little more, but what I think you should do is have me file a small claims suit against him in district court, for misappropriation and monetary renumeration.” Maia answered matter-of-factly.

“But how much will it cost? Don’t we need a lawyer? Is it even worth it?” She balked.

Maia placed a comforting hand upon hers. “If for no other reason than to correct the wrong done to you, it is worth it. I know it’s scary and you don’t want to make any waves, that is why you just need to sit back and let me do it. I am not afraid of that old charlatan, and I know we are in the right here. If you can trust me in this, I assure you that everything will work out.”

Linda saw the confidence and strength in her bright green eyes and swallowed as she nodded reluctantly.

“Okay then, tomorrow I need to go find out what the court filing fees are going to be as well as process serving expenses. We want to pay the extra to have the sheriff deliver the court summons, that way he can’t pull any bull sharks.” Maia stated. She looked at Jesse. “How much money do you have?”

He shrugged. “I dunno. I just take what I need from my stash and add back to it when I earn something.” He explained. “The Bronco has taken a bit more than expected, but I should have some left.”

She smiled at him patiently and gestured to the door. “Go get it baby. We need to see what we have and then we can figure out what we will need, worst case scenario.”

He grumbled as he rose from the table and exited the back door. He returned several minutes later with a cigar box and handed it to her. She found a large assortment of bills within and happily began counting it up. TM’s eyes lit up and she scooched closer to help.

“$785.” She declared a moment later. “We need to figure out how to get some more cash before we do this. One thing we can do preemptively is have the property surveyed before the trial. The court will probably order it anyway, so it is something we can have ready to avoid delays.”

“We could have a yard sale and get rid of all Jesse’s junk!” TM volunteered. “And have a lemonade stand on the side.”

Jesse rolled his eyes at her and walked over to the phone. “Or I can call Grandpa and see if he can help out.” He began dialing the number from memory.

“Hey Grandpa! How’s it going?” He smiled as there was a lengthy response. “You sound like your stalking the ladies in the retirement home.” He laughed back. “Yeah. Actually, that is a great idea, how about tomorrow? You can buy us lunch and we can talk to ya about a little thing we are trying to clear up with Sinclair next door...” He paused and listened. “Yeah it’s kinda complicated so I think I should just let Maia explain it. She speaks your language when it comes to stuff like that—but the nutshell is that Sinclair moved our fence back when we first moved here and took about 7% of our property when he did. So, we are gonna sue his ass and get the land back.”

Maia sat back and gave him a cool gaze at his flippant use of ‘we’. He winked at her and then blushed.

“Maia? Well, she is my ... uh, girlfriend...” He turned red after a moment and shook his head. “Okay, yeah sure we can do that. And bring Fug too? Okay.” He looked back at all the expectant eyes regarding him. “Okay grandpa. We will see you tomorrow then. You go back to your debauchery.” He laughed again. “Okay bye, love you.” He hung up.

“That sounded interesting.” Maia said flatly.

“He wants to meet you, so we are heading up to Sacramento tomorrow to have lunch with him.” He looked meaningfully at TM. “Yes you can go too, he wants to see you.” She launched from her chair and clapped her hands excitedly. He looked at his mom and she shook her head.

“No dear, I think you should go without me this time.” She said quietly. Linda always felt uncomfortable around the father of her ex-husband, who would be in prison for many more years.

“That’s fine. I want to stop by the chrome shop too and see how my parts are coming along.” He replied off handedly.

“There is an Ikea there too that we should check out.” Maia chirped up. “We could use some furnishings in the shop.”

Jesse sighed reluctantly and held his hand out to her. She rose and took it as they headed out the back door, wishing his mom and sister good night.

Grandpa Vincent Latoure was a portly older man in newer blue coveralls and extra wide Nike loafers. He could pass for Santa Clause with a red suit. He wore a permanent smile and his eyes seemed to convey a youth that his body denied. His home was a doublewide manufactured home surrounded by a white picket fence.

When Jesse pulled up to the house the front door opened and an enormous dog, almost as ugly as Fug bounded outside and charged the fence barking loudly. Fug shattered their ears with his own excited yowls and began lunging from one side in the rear seat.

“That’s Ginger,” Jesse explained, “One of Fug’s siblings.” He got out and opened the rear door, releasing the oversized mutt so that he could jump up on the fence and face off with his sister. They both jumped back down and followed each other excitedly along the fence line.

“Heya Jesse!” His grandpa waved from the front porch as the two girls climbed from the Buick and joined him at the gate. He opened it allowing Fug to barrel through and pounce on the other furry giant.

“Hey grandpa.” He said grinning and the ruckus. “Dang that’s a whole lotta dog right there!”

He had to shout over Ginger’s authoritative barking. Fug tried to dominate her by placing a huge paw on her head, which was about as effective as telling a woman to calm down. He wound up getting tackled for his trouble.

By the time they reached the steps, the dogs had taken their ritual to the other side of the house. TM ran up and grabbed the old man in a hug. “Grandpa!” She squealed lovingly. Even though he was not related to her biologically, they were as close as could be. He returned her hug and kissed her forehead.

“How’s it going Tiny?” He replied.

“Grandpa this is Maia, my girlfriend.” Jesse said confidently as she placed his arm around her waist. She smiled brightly at the older man as she took his hand.

“It is a pleasure to meet you, sir.” She said sweetly. Anyone who was not under her spell by then was either dead or a complete jerk, and Vincent was no different. He was smitten with her immediately.

“Well come on in and let’s get acquainted.” He grinned and led her into the house, leaving Jesse and TM to follow.

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