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  • [This is a short story with multiple episodes. The seed of this one is That Digging Sound.]

    My daughter Iris and I had repaired to the trailer that housed us. Responding to my gentle interrogation, she had confessed to me how she and her young accomplice had found and then ditched (literally) a gym bag full of illicit drugs. Now DEA agents were swarming around the compound, seemingly searching for said substances.

    Then Annie came in, along with young Trevor and his parents, Ted and Tammy. As soon as they had shut the flimsy door, Trevor glanced at me and said to Iris, "Does he know?"

    "I just got done telling him," said Iris, and ..."

    Trevor interrupted her. "This is pretty intense!" He said. "When those agents started going around I followed two of them. They went right around the common house and straight to the back porch. One of them played a flashlight around underneath it, and then he crawled in. He looked all around there, and then the other guy handed in a box. I think it was a crime kit they use to take samples, you know like in CSI."

    Ted opined "It seems like they knew where to look, almost like someone had tipped them off."

    Trevor puffed out his chest and said, "But we beat 'em to it!" Ted rolled his eyes.

    Then I asked, "Did any of you visit the burial site? Did the agents go there?"

    Ted replied, "No, I did not want to call attention to that place. But I did not see any of them head up there."

    I asked if anyone knew what the feds were up to now. Annie told me that they were gathering again near the vans, probably debriefing each other and looking at images captured by the drone and their other toys. She thought they would leave soon unless they decide to do another search.

    As if in response, we heard engines starting. Ted peeked out the door and confirmed that the vans seemed to be heading up the road to the highway. That was good, but probably not the end of the story.

    Now we had a big decision to make. Do we tell the community what we know or do we let the evidence stay buried and pretend nothing had happened?

    The two kids were in favor of keeping it quiet. Made sense, given that they were responsible for covering up someone's crime. It was a heavy burden for a couple of young people, and it would be hard to explain if the authorities ever found out what they did.

    Ted said he understood how they felt, but he believed what we need to do depends on what we think is going on. Given the quantity of drugs that the kids stumbled upon, either someone in the community was dealing drugs and got traced, or someone had planted them and tipped off the Feds. Tammy responded that she knew the community well, and could not think of anyone in the group who would use or sell drugs in such quantity. It was inconceivable to her that anyone in Wellconomy would try to raise money that way.

    Then I remembered something Jim had told me early this morning, when he mentioned a man who walked into the village claiming his car had broken down. Jim had offered to let the man sleep in our trailer, but wasn't sure he did stay the night, because in the morning the man was gone and there was no car parked on the highway. "Could that man have planted the bag during the night, then split?" I wondered aloud.

    Annie responded, "Wow! That's very interesting. OK, let's say he did. That would mean either he or whoever put him up to it tipped off the DEA, probably anonymously. But, as they say in acting school, what's the motivation?"

    We puzzled over that silently for a moment. Then Trevor spoke up. "I think that someone has a grudge against Wellconomy or perhaps Marjorie herself."

    Iris immediately added "And whoever did it was somehow able to buy a lot of drugs and send someone in to set up a phony crime scene. It costed them a lot of money and they broke the law."

    "Right," said Ted. "Who would go to all that trouble?"

    Like a contestant on quiz show with his hand hovering over a buzzer, I said "What is a threatened financial institution?"

    Continued in That Cash Flow Sound

    [The original seed of this series is On Sustainable Power, May 31, 2012.
    To identify all the stories in the series, click the tag That Sound beneath the map.]

    @image: UW-Madison University Communications
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