Monday, August 19, 2019
The Shrewd King 5.1: Satish's Store
Satish Shah was puttering in his new store, as happy as a duck in a fresh mud puddle.
Looking at the two brothers, the causal observer would never connect that they were related.
Where Prakash was thin, Satish was rotund.
Prakash was thoughtful and analytical, Satish was impulsive.
Prakash’s voice was wood-winds and flutes, Satish’s voice was a nasal propeller with a bent prop.
The two were deeply committed to each other. They were the only members of their family in the Western Hemisphere. Both received multiple job offers upon graduating from University. They looked at the two sets of opportunities that overlapped and both decided to move to mid-Michigan.
Prakash moved into an affluent suburb along the Lansing-Detroit corridor.
Satish moved to rural Eaton Rapids.
Prakash, being the more social of the two, was the first to recognize the potential of opening stores in Chernovsky’s Annex.
Satish kept the home-fires burning while Prakash and Parin, his wife, started up the first store on the north end of Chernovsky’s Annex.
Two weeks after Prakash’s store was fully up and running, Satish closed up his house and opened the second store.
Satish was putting small baggies of tea on the shelf when the bell on the door rang.
Turning around, Satish saw two men walk in. Looking through the open door, Satish saw a wagon with a team of horses pulling it.
“I am not open yet.” Satish informed the two visitors. They were clearly related. The older man was the larger of the two. He was about 6’-3” and three-hundred pounds. The smaller man was twenty years younger. They both had smiles that bordered on smirks.
Satish chalked it off to genetics.
“I said my store is not open yet.” Satish said as the two men continued into the store. They split up, one moving to his right and the other to his left.
“We decided to pay you a visit to clear up a few potential misunderstandings” the older man said.
“My name is Denny Blastic and this is my land.” the man said.
“I beg to differ.” Satish said. “This land belonged to Mr Strahle and he moved back with his family in Portland. It is abandoned and I am claiming it.”
“You don’t understand.” Blastic said. “I administer this land. I set the taxes and collect them from east of M-99 to a mile east of the river; from Columbia south to Petrieville Highway.”
“The taxes on businesses are 30% of revenue and I am collecting now.” Blastic said.
Satish frowned. "And how will you figure out my revenue"
"Don't have to. We will show up two days a week and take everything you have in inventory. Two-out-of-seven is thirty percent." Blastic said. "Starting today."
Turning to his son he said, “Trey, start loading up all of the corn and wheat you can find. We will put the little stuff on top.”
“Get out.” Satish said. Blastic had just pushed his buttons.
“And what are you going to do about, goat-fucker.” Blastic taunted.
Satish turned slightly and Blastic could see that Satish had his handgun half out of the holster.
“Leave.” Satish buzzed in his nasal voice.
“Hey, dickweed.” Trey called out. “I got the drop on you.”
Satish risked a quick look at Trey. Trey had a gun trained on his middle from a scant fifteen feet away.
Trey locked eyes with Satish, his smirk growing wider.
When Trey looked down, he saw that Satish had pulled his handgun the rest of the way out of the holster and it was pointing at his dad.
“You might get me” Satish said “but I will shoot your dad. I get 72 virgins. What will your father get?”
The tension lasted for a full two seconds before Trey folded. He reholstered his pistol.
“Shit. I was just kidding.” Trey said.
“I wasn’t” Satish said. He kept his gun pointing at Blastic's chest. “Get out.”
The senior Blastic took a placid look around “Nice place. It will be a shame when something happens to it.”