One of the miracles of youth is that every person is as new and as full of promise as a sunrise.
One of the tragedies of youth is that it is easy to judge. A dearth of life experiences is a narrow foundation from which to assess others.
Jarrell leaned strongly toward the “miracle of youth”. His family life had been chaotic and he had no inclination to use that as a basis for how things “should” be.
His university and early corporate experiences had been a whirlwind of different people and experiences. Since he was labeled “high potential” all of those experiences had been with the best-of-the-best, the winners and exceptional achievers. And they had been wildly different and diverse, united only in the passion they brought to the workplace.
So Jarrell discounted the tongue clucking of the friend-of-the-friend that told him about “Don”.
Don, the pilot, treated nearly all forms of electronic communication as toxic. He considered email, text messages and even voice-mail as toxic and as eternal as plutonium wastes.
Jarrell left his smartphone and laptop at home. That is why he was using a legal pad to sketch-out his Gantt chart. Somehow he felt holding a pencil elicited ideas from his brain that fiddling with a mouse did not. He was going to have to remember that.
Don had been watching Jarrell on the video monitors for ten minutes. Jarrell was fully absorbed in his task. Don decided to risk it.
“What do you want?” Don asked with a blunt tone.
Jarrell looked up and said “I want to talk to you about business.”
“And what kind of business do you think I am in?” Don asked.
“A mutual friend, Holly Snodgrass, informed me that you have connections that might be able to arrange to have a package moved from Texas to here” Jarrell said.
Jarrell didn’t share the other things Holly said.
“Holly has a good imagination” Don said.
“That is a risk I am willing to take” Jarrell said, unconsciously quoting Lord Farquar from the movie Shrek.
“I am not saying I have those connections” Don said. “But if I did, how would you pay me?”
“Beef” Jarrell said.
“Talk is cheap” Don said, just short of a sneer.
Jarrell, who was half Don’s age didn’t say a thing. He laid his legal pad on the gravel and stood up. Walked to the back of the Jetta and popped the trunk. He pulled out a cooler and laid it on the ground.
“The contents are for you if you think there is a chance you can make it happen” Jarrell said.
“What is in the cooler?” Don asked.
“Ten pounds of prime, aged, Angus tenderloin” Jarrell said. “Call it venture capital or a retainer. The payment is a side of beef from the same farm that supplied this.”
“I don’t transport drugs” Don said. “Ain’t gonna happen”
“The package is not drugs” Jarrell said. “It is rubber. About sixty pounds of it.”
“Rubber?” Don asked.
Jarrell shrugged. “It is not like the mail system is running.”
Don was inclined to tell the kid to pound sand. He was instinctively distrustful of the younger generation. The only thing staying his hand was that the kid was not pushy. That, and he said he brought beef.
Jarrell had no idea how lucky he had been to stumble into Don. Don was the only game in town, for that matter, the only person within seventy miles who had the where-withal to fly down to Texas and back.
Don had read the tea-leaves and had a aero-diesel engine installed in his plane. It was not cheap. By the time the “i”s were dotted and the “t”s crossed it had cost more than a new house. But Don could fly as long as there was diesel, and diesel could be made from soybean oil. People who needed 100 octane aviation fuel were grounded.
Don was in a position where he could command any price he dared ask. There was no shortage of people who had business to do and didn’t want to show up on the Government radar.
“Lemme think about it” Don said. Then, pointing at the beef in the cooler “Do I get to keep this?”
“Venture capital” Jarrell said. “Yours whether you accept the job or not. Proof that I am good for the payment.”
Don decided to take the job after he and his girlfriend ate a couple of inch-and-a-half thick steaks. They were as good as any he had ever eaten. Then he weighed the package and it was still well over twelve pounds of beef.
Don had a trip scheduled down to Texas next week. Jarrell’s package would only add two hundred miles by air from his route.
Jarrell had given him enough information. There was no need to contact him and create more trails the Government could sniff out. Don would just pick up the package and drop it off.
A side of beef! Some things are better than money.