Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Lesson 3: Know Your Surroundings

Now I had people I trusted helping me out and my Meth lab was set up. I got Sammy to practice synthesis a few times and, once he got the hang of it, we both made sure Bill and Caroline wouldn’t blow us up either. While we were still in this practicing phase, I took a lot of time to walk around and make sure I knew the area really well, and I recommended the same to the others. If we were going to be dealing around here, you never knew what kinds of sticky situations we’d get in. It would be useful to be able to always have several escape routes on hand if, say, the cops came down on us.

On this particular day, Caroline and I were walking around the neighbourhood in the middle of the afternoon. “Wow, look at that house, Maxwell,” she said to me. “How would you like to live there?”

I looked the house over. It was a very nice, well-kempt two-storey house. It had the old-world charm of most of the houses in this area, but it was also fixed up; old meets new. “I don’t know. I like the big bay window in the front, but I’m not a big fan of the grey bricks,” I told her. “Hmm...The back yard isn’t too big, but they really have a large, wooden fence back there.”

She stood on her toes, trying to look past me at the fence and yard. “You know,” she added, “I think someone would be able to hide in that yard quite easily, should the need arise.”

She looked back at me, “Okay, genius, what house would you like to live in?”

I looked around at the houses in the area. I wasn’t a big fan of any of the houses. “I don’t know,” I said. “Everything around here isn’t that bad, but I can’t say that anything really jumps out at me.”

“Looks like you can run into that alley and hop a couple fences to get onto that street,” Caroline told me as she pointed. “Let’s take a look where that leads to.”

We turned the corner. It looked like we were on a fairly quiet avenue now. “Not bad,” I said, “barely anyone around.”

“And it’s not that far from Bloor,” she added, “so we can get here quickly if we need to.”

We walked further down the street, and I saw it: a house I absolutely loved. “There it is,” I told her enthusiastically. “That’s the house I’d live in.”

She took a good look at it, and asked me, “Really? But it’s so run-down.”

“I know,” I added, “but it’s got character. It would need a bit of fixing up, but it would be worth it. I love the look of it; it really looks like nothing else around here.”

She considered it, “I guess. Although, I wouldn’t dart into that yard in a hurry if I were you.”

She pointed, and I could feel my eyes widen, “Holy geez, look at the size of that dog.” I paused, “Isn’t that a pit bull? I thought there was some law banning those in this city.”

She laughed at me, “Are you for real? Since when were you such a law-abiding citizen?”

I just laughed, “Well, what do you say we head home?”

She had a huge smile on her face, “Okay.”

On the way home, we passed by the post office, the bookstore next door, and the two-storey apartment building next to that. I stopped walking, and Caroline looked at me, confused, “What’s the matter?”

“You know,” I spoke to myself as much as I spoke to her, “that ‘For Rent’ sign has been on that apartment building for as long as I can remember. I wonder...”

I released her hand, and walked around to the side of the building. I looked up and down the building, and she just stood there looking at me. I walked back to the bookstore, still scanning the buildings. The bookstore was right up against the apartment building, and I noticed a small walkway between the post office and the bookstore. “Come on,” I said, jogging down the walkway.

She followed, and we wound up behind the post office. There was an alleyway with several Canada Post trucks parked in it. I scanned the wall of the bookstore, and saw the downspout of the rain gutter coming down. Next to the spout was a garbage can; I climbed on the can and hoisted myself up so I could grab the rain gutter. With a bit of effort, I hoisted myself up and onto the roof of the bookstore.

I looked down at Caroline, “Okay, give me your hand.”

She climbed onto the garbage can, and held up her hand, at which point I helped pull her up. We looked around. The building was slightly higher at the front of the bookstore, but it was lower where we were; no one would be able to see us from the street. “Aha,” I said, really excited at this point, “Just what I was hoping for.”

I gestured toward the single window from the second-storey of the apartment building. I walked over and tried the window; it budged slightly, but it was jammed. I really yanked on it a few times, and it eventually came open. I stepped into the apartment and helped Caroline in. The room was completely bare, albeit quite dusty. “And here, my dear Caroline, is a very good hiding place.”

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