Miracle Trees: Neighborhood Watch

“No, he was acting jittery – not right at all. He kept trying to see past me. Must have tried to sell to the whole neighborhood as long as that car was there.”

I looked out the window again. That vaguely familiar vehicle was gone. Without looking away from the window I asked, “Did he give you a card?”

“No. That was another thing I thought was weird, but people do so much of stuff with their phones now.” She shrugged and shuffled over the couch. Plopping down onto the sunken cushion she said, “He wanted to come in and check the ceiling for leaks. Kind of strange to be doing door-to-door sales so late.”

“Did he give you his name or a company name?” I asked, wincing against another twinge of pain.

She shook her head. Then started to rock on the edge of the couch to gain momentum to stand up. “You’re getting old if your neck is bothering you like that. I’ll get you some liniment.”

“Actually, I’d rather some ice.” I paused for a moment to come up with something believable. “I miscalculated when I got out of the SUV and cracked my head on the door frame.”

Mom had almost managed to stand up. Calling over my shoulder as I walked to the kitchen, I said, “I can get the ice. You relax.”

Once I settled at the kitchen table with the ice against the growing lump, I checked my email. There was new one from Cora:

I just went through the backpack. Where is it? Did you keep it? Did you give it to the cops? Did you give it to your employer? I need it back. How much do you require?

What is this ‘it’ she’s talking about? Before I could stop myself, I tapped out a short response:

I told you before I’m self-employed. What is this thing you claim is missing? If it’s the seeds, Alex had them on him and the cops confiscated them.

The headache was making me particularly irritable. I laid my head on the table and tried to process the past couple of days.

I never thought returning a back pack would put my life at risk. Guess I deserved this for getting rid of it so quick. Maybe I should have given it to the police and let Alex deal with the fallout. What would have happened if I hadn’t gotten rid of it? Alex, what kind of trouble are you in?

The phone buzzed. It was a response from Cora:

You know what I’m looking for – the SD card with information about the trees and the payouts. This isn’t something you want to be involved in.

An SD card is miniscule. If it fell out of his bag, it could be anywhere – even in the BWCA where Lowry trashed my SUV. Maybe Alex had it.

I wrote a reply:

I’m not involved in and don’t want to be. That’s why I gave you the backpack. I haven’t seen an SD card. If the police found seeds in Alex’s pockets, isn’t it possible he had the SD card on him? The police likely have it.

I hit send and then put my phone in airplane mode. My head couldn’t take anymore emails tonight.

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