Raven’s Run 122

Ten minutes later I had found a place to hide overlooking her crop. She spent almost two hours pruning and watering. Sometimes I could see her at work; sometimes she was out of sight and I could just hear snipping and rustling. The dogs went to sleep in the shade of a marijuana plant.

Eventually, she went back to her shack and I stayed where I was.

Now I knew that Alan Davis owned at least one pot farm; by extension, the sixteen other plots were each probably just about like this one. I was no closer to knowing who was behind Alan and Susyn, or to knowing how to get him to leave Raven alone. Maybe the woman in the shack knew; maybe she didn’t. I could go down and try to scare some information out of her, but I knew I wasn’t going to. I had gone a little way down that road, years ago, and I didn’t like it.

It starts with frustration. You find yourself in a blind alley, unable to discover some vital fact, and the person who has the answer isn’t talking. So you lean on him. It might be a physical threat, or a threat of bringing in the police. Maybe you find something he doesn’t want known and you let him know that you know. It might be as subtle as a look, or a blunt as a plainly spoken threat. And it works. It is surprising how often it works, and how easy it is.

But when you walk away, you have stolen a bit of your victim’s humanity and bartered away a piece of your own. I would find another way.

*       *       *

Two hours later I was cruising the town again. William Johnson’s place was on Acacia Street, three blocks from the High School, a small one story ranch style house with a lawn that needed watering. No one seemed to be home. James Davis’ house was similar, and deserted. I knew that he wasn’t coming home, but I had wondered if he had a live-in lover or a maid; either one would complicate my life.

I cruised by twice, then drove back to the motel to think things over. The Chicano gang in San Francisco seemed to know who I was, so someone had spread my picture around. I might be spotted any time. The next logical move was to get a new operative from Joe Dias and stake out Johnson and Davis’ houses, but I didn’t want to do that. You get a sense about situations if you work at this kind of thing long enough, and this felt like something I had to do by myself.

I could go down to the High School and snoop around, but that didn’t seem like such a good idea. Too pushy. The opposition – whoever he was – was into bulldozer tactics. I would try for a little finesse.

So I went down to Jim Davis’ house and broke in. more tomorrow

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