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Awakenings Chapter 3: Explorations, Page 4

DeMario grinned with pride and handed Ed a key. “It has 3-inch pipes, start it up and see.”

Ed slid behind the steering wheel, depressed the clutch, put the key into the ignition, and turned the engine over.  The car responded with several brief pops and settled into a deep primal growl.  Ed yelled over the sound of the engine, “You can really hear the competition cam.  Is this beast smog legal?”

“It is exempt from smog controls, that is why I picked this year of car to build up”.

“Are you planning to race this?” Ed turned off the engine.

“Maybe, I have a racing suspension in this car.  However, I would have to add a full roll cage.  I am thinking about it.  As you can see, it is only painted with gray primer at this point.   If I race it, then I can put on a flashy paint job with racing stripes.”

DeMario said, “Get your stuff and let’s go in to eat.  I think dinner is about to be ready.”  He then limped slightly with Ed as they walked back towards the house. Ed had asked DeMario about the limp on a previous visit.  DeMario had told him that it was an old war injury from when DeMario had been in the Navy.

Entering the house, Ed set his traveling bag in the foyer as DeMario led him to the dinning room.  There, a melee of a couple of children and a couple of teenagers was setting the table as Elena, DeMario’s wife, brought out steaming platters of food.  DeMario re-introduced his children one by one.  “I think that you remember from the wedding Roberto, Tina, Carmen, and Eduardo. Rosy, my oldest daughter, the one who was married, is now over in San Jose.  She is in her third year of study in Mathematics at Stanford.   Her husband is on a path to a fellowship at Sun Supercomputers.  Angelo, my oldest, is starting his fourth year at the Navel Academy in Annapolis.”

As dinner progressed, Ed brought up the wine shipments of the Fairchild Group.  DeMario glanced directly at Ed.  “We will talk about this after dinner out on the back patio.”  Ed got the drift and continued with other topics of interest.

After dinner, Ed was barely able to waddle from the table out to the patio.  DeMario guided him to a table and a couple of chairs where they sat down to view the distant lights of Fresno above the glow of an infinite edge pool below the stars of the late summer sky.  DeMario set out a bottle of tequila with a couple of shot glasses and brought out a box with huge cigars.

DeMario poured Ed some tequila. “There is something suspicious about the trucking terminal where the cargo container contents are being transferred to tanker trucks.”

Ed took a sip of tequila as DeMario handed him a cigar. “It is pretty suspicious that cargo containers are supposedly hauling grape juice from Big Sandy to be unloaded into tankers in Fresno”
DeMario took a puff on his cigar and looked at the stars overhead. “That is not even the half of it.   My friend reports seeing guards with prison tattoos. There is an unsavory element there.”

Ed blew a smoke ring. “Do you think it is safe for us to go nosing around down there tomorrow?”

DeMario looked Ed in the eye. “I think that there may be something much worse going on there then mystery grape juice. I want to go see for myself.  I am licensed to carry a piece.  We will take the ‘stang in case we need a quick getaway.  If you had some military training, I would go down at night with night vision goggles.”

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