Monday, June 4, 2018

Installment 6.4: Chad judges a book by its cover

Beanie came roaring back from Bakersfield about noon.  Chad was glad to see that she had brought back a couple of helpers.  His joy was muted when he saw they were an elderly, oriental couple.  He had been hoping for a half dozen, big, beefy farm boys.

Beanie said, “This is Akio and Akemi Tannii.  I ran into them at the farm supply store.  They were both working there.  She is a vet.”

“I am sure she is.” Chad said.  Then looking over at the tiny woman, “I thank you for your service.”

Beanie said, “Not that kind of vet.  She is an animal doctor.  She got all excited when I explained our problem.  She said she would be more help than a human doctor.”

Chad looked a little more interested.  “In that case, I apologize.  Let’s start over.  My name is ‘Chad Izzo’ and I am the commander of this sorry, messed up situation.”

The tiny woman’s eyebrows shot up.  “You wouldn’t happen to be the Chad Izzo who farms near East Orosi, would you?”

Chad nodded.  “Yes I am.” mystified that she could know anything about him.

“Can we talk in private?” the woman asked.

“Sure, we can take a little walk but I am mighty busy.  You are going to have to cut to the chase.” Chad said.

“You have a student-helper named Hua Yang.” the woman stated. 

Chad said, “Yes.”

“My name is really Lucinda Yang.  I am Hua’s mother and that man is his father.  I used to work in the Department of Agriculture and it became wise for us to disappear.”

“I was originally trained a vet.  I used to work in confinement facilities…factory farms.  We would get epidemics and we have ways of dealing with it.” Lucinda said.

She looked around at the camp.  “This camp is not fixable from an epidemic standpoint.  We need to spread out and we cannot do that alone.”

Chad shook his head regretfully.  "I have nothing to give you to get that done.  You see I don't have manpower and I don't have money to pay for help."

Lucinda said, "Then we will have to look to the enemy to find the sinews of war.* And that is something we can help with."

“I need to get up to this farm’s offices so I can get the ball running.  Do you have somebody who can give us a ride?” Lucinda asked.

“Hey, Kenny!  Are you busy?”  Chad asked.

“Naw.  I’m just waiting for Bucky to get back to me.”  Kenny said.

“Can you give this couple a ride up to the farm offices and then bring the truck back here?” Chad asked.

“Sure.” Kenny said.

Entering the building, Lucinda asked the receptionist the name of the farm planner and where she could find his office.  Walter politely followed behind her.

The planner was a fifty-year-old man named Mick Scerba and he was loudly berating somebody on his phone when they entered his office.  They remained standing until he severed the connection and acknowledged them.

“What do you want?”  he asked.

“I want to put some money in your pocket.” Lucinda said with a very calm voice.

Mick was taken aback.  Nobody had ever entered his office and asked to do that.

“Sit down.” Scerba said.  “Who are you and how,” he asked, “do you plan to do that?”

“Our names are Akio and Akemi Tanii.” she said as she pointed first to Walter and then to herself.  “The Cali forces tore up several of your fields.  How much do you estimate the damages to be?” Lucinda asked.

“Maybe a half million callors.  It is going to torpedo our bottom line.”  Mick responded.

“I just got back from looking them over.  Figuring in soil compaction and the cost of alfalfa seeds, I think you are looking at 700, maybe 800 thousand callors.” Lucinda said.

“I won’t argue with you.” Mick said.

“My associate is going to give you a 26 digit, Cali Government account number and he is also going to give you a six digit key code.  It authorizes you to transfer 800,000 callors into your account for 'bio-hazard remediation'.  I would like you to do that now so you don’t think I am blowing smoke up your ass.” Lucinda said.

Ten minutes later Mick Scerba leaned back in his chair and said, “Well I will be Gawd-Damned!  It showed up.”

“It would be wise to move the money.” Lucinda said.  “Sometime overzealous clerks try to claw back funds before they know what is going on.”

A big, toothy barracuda grin appeared on Mick’s face.  “I am a crack accountant and a pretty fair farmer.  If there is one thing I know how to do, it is make money disappear.” A few more strokes of the keyboard dispersed the funds to several different accounts.  Most of it was going to payroll and there was no way anybody was going to recover those funds because they would be spent in a thousand different shops within a few days of being dispersed.

“Now, is there anything else I can do for you?” Mick asked in a much more expansive mood then when they had first walked in the door.

“Well, actually there is.  Transferring that money was a demonstration that I have some clout and follow through on my promises.” Lucinda said.

“I need to have a meeting with you and the planners from three other farms.  The farms need to be big operations, they need to be close and the planners need to be people you respect.  I want to have that meeting at four this afternoon.  Can you swing it?” Lucinda asked.

“I won’t be able to keep them away if they find out you can snap your fingers and make nearly a million callors appear.  Do you want to meet here?” Mick asked.

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