I spend a fair share of time buying and selling miscellaneous things on Craigslist and on eBay. Much of the stuff I hunt for is what I call local meaning I can get there within 3 hours or so. I have buying and selling like this for years and tend to travel a bit to pick different items up. Rarely, if ever, do I have problems with anybody because the people I buy and sell with are doing the same thing I’m doing which is buying stuff to fix/repair and then resell more often than not. I try not to get myself into deals that are too far away because then that just becomes more expensive in the end.
This trip would lead me to Lake Charles Louisiana to pickup a 40s Ford pickup (pictured below, picture provided from Craigslist ad) which I thought would be a good truck to finish off my 4×4 bastardization truck using my restored 70s Bronco chassis (pictured at bottom). Anyway, I had spoken with an older gentleman (spoke with a heavy Cajun accent) twice about the truck and a price of $1100.00 cash was agreed on by both of us. He told me that his nephew would contact me with the address and a good time to meet. Yesterday, Thursday, ended up being the day. I pushed for Saturday or Sunday but the nephew was hell-bent it had to be when he said. So be it, right.
The trip from my house to Lake Charles is about 2 hours so I figured it wouldn’t be too bad of a trip during the week to make. I loaded up my truck and trailer and set off to Louisiana. I wasn’t familiar with the address I was given but I did know the area of town I was going. When I arrived at my destination (as said to be correct by my GPS and the GPS in my cellphone) I was presented with the house (pictured above). Thinking there was a mistake I reset my GPS. Apparently I was at the address I was given. Thinking there was a mistake I took a picture of it and sent it to my wife to let her know I was sent on a wild goose chase. She wasn’t happy with me to say the least and explained to me I needed to figure out what in the hell was going on.
After 20 or so attempts I was able to get ahold of the nephew who explained to me that I sounded like a white cop on the phone. He further explained that they didn’t do business with white cops. I was given the address to the abandoned house so I could be checked out by friends of his. When I asked if there was a problem with me being white he told me no as long as I had the cash and wasn’t a white cop. He told me he was sending his friends over to the house to check me out in person and if I checked out then they would escort me to his uncle’s house to pick up the truck. He informed me two of his friends would be there shortly and I was to give them the cash. Once they had the cash I would get a call that it was okay to follow his friends. I was warned I better be legit because this was the wrong place to be a white cop.
Once I hung up with him I decided to just leave. In my head I ran down the scenario and it ends up with me being robbed and killed, leaving me to rot in the abandon house. Even though I did have my twins (Desert Eagle .50AE x2) accompanying me on this little excursion I was not prepared to be in an ambush gunfight with an unknown number of people. I headed out shortly before sunset to return home. I will never know who showed up for the meet and greet last night. Tell you the truth I really don’t care. I haven’t heard from the man with the heavy Cajun accent or the nephew and I don’t suspect I will either. Sad, if you ask me, that this all played out the way it did. Perhaps my wife was right, the deal just was just too good to be true. Apparently so.
I have had some time to analyze this whole thing. Since I was troubled with heavy concern that allot of assumptions were made, inaccurately I might add, about me. Okay, they assumed one thing that was right, I am white. I won’t do them the same disservice by assuming I know what race my new friends are because I never met any of them in person. Accents, slang, and how someone talks are not tell signs of one’s race. Being I was bothered still by the events, I contacted the local sheriff’s department for that parish in Lake Charles where I was given a very hardy “yeah, yeah, yeah, we’ll look into it when we get an officer freed up”. Who cares, right? No harm no foul, right? Sure, I guess so.
Now that this bullshit is over all I can think is how sweet that old beast would have looked when I go done with her. So, my hunt will continue and sooner or later I will get the body I was always looking for. I think what pisses me off the most is that I never would have guessed that junk sellers would be scamming people or trying to roll people for that cash. Makes re-think how I will do business in the future for sure. What a stupid reason to get killed. But, my optimist side has thought that perhaps I drove away from a fantastic deal and there was nothing to be worried about. My realist side says I made the right choice.
I have been trying to get a friend of mine to give me permission to tell the story about her secret part-time job that she had for six years or so. She fought me for the most part over the years, begging me not to ever mention anything about any of it because she didn’t want it to ever come back and bite her in the ass. A couple of days ago I got a phone call out of the blue from a number I didn’t recognize so I sent it straight to the voicemail. After a few moments I got a notification that I had a new voice mail. I went ahead and listened to it because I do have stuff for sale on Craigslist so it could be an inquiry. I was shocked, it was my friend I haven’t spoken with in about two years. She informed me this was her new number and that she was living in the Houston area now. She wanted me to call her so maybe we could get together and chat a bit. I returned her call because I was curious why she had called me and why in the hell she moved to Houston. And, how in the hell did she get my phone number. Amazingly enough she still had the voice of an angel, very pleasant to listen to, no matter what she was saying to you. So, after about a 30 minute conversation we decided of talking we decided to meet on this past Sunday. She hadn’t changed much since I had seen her last which was about seven years ago.
The jist of it all was she was looking to start a new life now that she was out of the Army. She was in the Army for 17 years and finally got fed up with it. She had never gotten married because her “schedule”, in her opinion, would not have been good for a marriage. She did mention that she never had a hard time finding no strings attached relationships. I can only imagine why. Well, that’s not true, but not how y’all are thinking, but we will get into that in a bit. Why choose Houston? She has no family here and as far as I know I am her only friend. not really, she knows other people here, but no real friends, no one she has a “history” with to speak of. She used a part of her retirement bonus to buy a nice house south of Houston on a couple of acres of land. She had heard through the grapevine that I had a few connections at the club I used to bartend at and wanted me to share them with her. Share? I don’t share. I don’t refer. I don’t recommend. Well, that is how it was when I worked there because I never wanted to get the stink eye if I recommended someone and they didn’t work out well. I figured what the hell, I don’t work there anymore what can it hurt to make a phone call. She was interested in being a waitress. Really? I never expected that from her because now at age 40 I think she could show those young ones a thing or two stripping. But, then again, that is just my own opinion, of course. Jokingly I asked what was in it for me and I got asked what I wanted for the favor. So, I told her that if I could get her an interview that she had to tell me, in detail, beyond what I already knew, about he secret part-time job she had while she was in the Army. After an awfully long sigh, her rolling her eyes, and a giggle, she decided she would tell me about it. She figures that now, even if certain people could put two and two together that it couldn’t effect her life now, not that it was something illegal, just the military, in general, frowns upon moonlighting. Plus, her part-time job could be deemed as being of the sexual nature type. When I asked how she got my phone number she just said she had her ways. By having her ways means that she went to the club, laid a sob story on someone I knew pretty well, and they gave me up, as well as pointing them to my blog and Facebook to check on me if she wanted to. Really? Damn.
Before we ended our conversations I made my phone call. I arranged for an interview. She spoke to my ex-boss and everything is set. My turn now. When do I get what I want? She said that the story would be too long to just sit and tell, just let her write me an e-mail over the next few days and I can go forward from there if I choose to. It has been a long couple of days and frankly I didn’t think I would ever get her story. I was way off the mark on that assumption because she did e-mail me, she did give a great story, and she did want me to grant her anonymity in the ways of changing her name, locations, and so forth. Easy enough, that’s what I do. As you can see, I did have permission to state the simple facts that she is now 40 and she recently retired from the Army, so from this point forward all y’all know is that we know each other personally. The fortunate and unfortunate part about this entire story is it is a bit lengthy but I have trimmed the “fat” off here and there. She approves of the rough draft so I suppose I am ready to roll. I left out most of the background stuff and will just jump in feet first landing with the idea, conception, planning, and the birth of her secret part-time job.
In her early 30’s Grace was still going strong in the Army, she was gaining rank at the expected pace, and she was expecting to make this the only career she knew. As a female officer in the Army she always struggled with actually looking like a woman. Eventhough she did her best to look great in BDUs (Battle Dress Uniform — camouflage uniform to make it simple), she always wanted to show just a little bit of skin, she has always been a little tease, it’s just who she is. There came a point where money became an issue and she found herself getting the odd part-time job which never lasted because she would deploy to different places all the time. Her job kept her traveling all the time, but when she was here or there she would always have spare time, but her schedule rarely fit the schedule of potential employers. Grace and a few of her girlfriends were out at the bar one night, talking about the money issues and what each of them had tried. Grace, at that point, realized that she had the perfect idea and they could all work from “home” and make some decent money. She explained her solution to her friends and was shocked that they all were very excited because it seemed like easy money. Are you asking yourselves what it could be yet? Just wait, it’s coming.
Grace considered the fact that many people were just like her, that had their smart phones, tablets, and laptops, which they use to stay connected to the outside world. She wanted to use this to her advantage and she wanted to make money while she did it. With zero experience in “marketing” Grace and her friends had to hope that what they were creating would be search friendly. After a little business planning, pricing what their time is worth, and a little psychological preparation, they figured they were ready to launch. On the first night, each of the six women got ready to flip their “on-line now” switch and open up for business. Each one of the six women waited patiently to see what would happen and who would stop by. The bigger question was would anybody even stop in to see them or would anyone even stumble upon their website as it was suspected they would. After about 30 minutes Grace received notification that the first person had entered her virtual room and had a valid credit card to process transactions. It was now time for game on. After a few moments she began typing to introduce herself and what they had to offer. The person on the other end began to chat back, they discussed show pricing, duration, and content. Within about another 30 minutes their activity has grown to over 100 people wanting to see what they could see. The women offered four membership packages or membership subscriptions from which visitors could choose. They wanted to keep everything “pre-paid” and from the start they got exactly what they wanted. The package subscriptions were as follows. The “Hourly Subscription” was $25.00 for 30 minutes of group chat and show. Private shows spurred off at an additional price of $25.00 for each five minutes. The “Silver Subscription” was $100.00 for four hours of time which had to be used in 30 days from time of purchase and the private shows were offered at the per 5 minute rate. The “Gold Subscription” was $250.00 for ten hours of time which had to be used in 30 days from time of purchase and the private shows were offered at the per 5 minute rate. The “Platinum Subscription” was $500.00 for 30 hours of time which had to be used in 30 days from time of purchase and a person had 20 “free” five-minute shows to be used within the 30 day subscription period. All subscriptions, with the exception of the hourly subscription, automatically re-billed every 30 days for the customer’s convenience.
Grace recalls the first night, collectively between all six women, they had 329 visitors. 194 of them went straight for the Platinum subscription package, 39 did the Gold package, 64 went for the Silver package, and the remaining 32 did the hourly. If you have been following with a calculator you will have noticed that the very first night they went live the grossed well over one hundred grand. She explains that after “hosting” cost were deducted that each one of the six women would make just under $17,000.00 based on one night’s subscriptions. This was just the beginning, before long, by the end of the first month, they invited a few more women (all stay at home moms or single) to make them a team 15 strong. They could now operate 24/7/365 with no down time. Are you wondering why “chat” is so expensive yet? It’s special. This is chat with benefits and a happy ending. Some of y’all know what I’m talking about and for the rest I will explain. They all start off in fully clothed chat mode. Then, when the money begins to flow they begin the “tease”, showing a little skin here and there. The more money, the more skin, until one or more people throw down the “cash” for a private chat show. Most of the time it is “user” controlled as to what happens, the women fulfill requests including fetishes all the way to the out right bizarre. Grace never confirmed or denied the use of farm animals so that part is still a bit fuzzy and unclear.
If y’all are asking how I know Grace I can put all of your inclinations straight to rest because I never saw a show. Now, I did know her while she was active duty and I was fulfilling my active guard commitment for the Air Force. For some reason we did become friends, we did drink together, and she always eluded that she had a “hobby-job” that one day she would let me in on. She left me hang just like that for a considerable amount of time. But, now that I look back in reflection I can believe it. Since she spilled the beans and really provided me with any proof except her word, she did provide me with contact information for three of the other original woman, two of which confirmed her story, and one which has yet to return my call. I was also provided with a couple of screenshots of her performing private chat so I’m convinced I suppose. All in all, I was really surprised, but then again I never really knew what to expect with her confession. If I had to take a wag (wild ass guess) at it I would have said she did the adult toy parties for the Army wives. Makes me think that the increase in personal revenue might have been the reason she retired early from the Army. Just a thought that cannot be confirmed or denied unfortunately.
***Top picture (tank crossing) provided from Grace, no location given. The bottom picture was obtained through a Google search.***
No matter what I get involved in it always seems that I get asked to drag my smoker out and do what I do best. Some people cook, some people grill, but only the best can smoke. For those of y’all new to The Sting Of The Scorpion all I can do is recommend that your do a category search for “Smoking” and catch up. For everyone else this in just another day in my life. I’m not sure if I have ever posted pictures of the “other woman” (as it is called by my wife) so here she is. I have more smokers but this one is my oldest and my favorite. I built this trailer smoker back when I was in high school in the year 1985 based on a smaller project I had completed in shop class earlier that year. My smoker was built-in my parents garage using leftover metal from other projects. The trailer was bought at a yard sale and then modified and beefed up to make sure it was up to the task at hand. Since its conception and completion this smoker has been in my family ever since. When I joined the United States Air Force in 1988 I made sure this smoker went with me all over the planet, wherever I went, she went. Anyway, back to the present.
This past weekend was the annual neighborhood yard sale. Around 200 houses and businesses participate and it is generally a real big deal for this community. My baby sister happens to live here in this small country town southwest of Houston and they participate year after year because she invites all of the family and in-laws to participate. I always have two specific jobs, I smoke and I play cashier. This year was a little different because I actually brought some big things to sell like a leather living room set, dining room table with 8 chairs and three 2 foot leafs, two different Arachnid (brand) electronic dart boards that I had restored (circa 1982), an adult go-cart, washer & dryer, and an ass-load of clothes. When I pulled up at 5am with my trailer-load and smoker in tandem tow I was greeted by my parents, my sister, and some early morning “shoppers”. In the end, the only thing that made it to be sold in the yard sale was the clothes. I had made $8800.00 before it ever began. I unloaded the trailer onto 4 different pick-up trucks and I was basically done. I wasn’t expecting it to be that easy, but it was, and it made the rest of the day a breeze for me. Over all, selling 90% of the clothes brought in another $413.50 making my grand total for the day $9213.50 which wasn’t too shabby in my book. I got a whole lot more money like this than I would have seen using Craigslist. So, I had a great day. The rest of the clothes were given to my mother to donate to their local Goodwill.
I would like to discuss the people who came here to buy “other people’s junk” because the range at the yard sale was better than I could ever find at the mall. There are three types of people I saw that really stood out. There were the “lookers and fondlers” that basically had to see everything, did through everything, yet bought nothing. Then there were the “hagglers” who wanted to get a better deal than the best deal offered. These are my favorite because they have the most money to spend and they are trying to get as many deals as they can for their buck. Luckily, for me personally, I only had to drop off my price for one item which was the adult go-cart, I was asking $3500.00 since I paid $3500.00 for it. It was ran hard and I know it, but it was clean and well maintained, we settled on $3400.00 and the old man thought he got a bargain on the 5-year-old cart. I guess it is time to go buy me more toys for Christmas. The last group was the “in a hurry” people because they move at high speeds hoping one won’t see something or something will get missed. Are they scamming, probably not, but if something was overlooked they wouldn’t say anything in my opinion. But, they never haggle, just pay how much they owe, which is super easy for me. When I price something I always go high with it because I know people will want to work the price down, which is the game we play, but everything has a bottom dollar they won’t budge from.
Pictured above was load number two of the meat that was smoked, ribs, brisket, and sausage. Earlier I had smoked 80 sausage links and sold them for $3.00 a piece as sausage on a sticks. Since the meat was provided (donated) by my sister’s father in law, he wanted all proceeds to go to the “kitty” and divided up between the 6 families that were there, so we all got an extra $40.00 to boot plus I basically snacked on whatever I wanted all day long so I didn’t go hungry. In the end it was a good day, I went home with an empty trailer, a pocket full of cold hard cash, and a full belly. Anyway, that was my Saturday what did yours look like.
I spend quite a bit of my time in my shop doing different things that need to be done. I don’t think I have ever shown any pictures of where I do so much. I had run to the hardware store to get a few things I thought I would be using Saturday. When I came back my attention was drawn to my driveway. I wondered to myself when it started looking so bad. Why it looks so bad I can answer because I drive allot of heavy stuff across it on a regular basis. I never thought I would be needing to re-do the driveway anytime soon. I have had repairs to it done earlier this year because my truck was wider than the drive in spots. I made the mistake of getting by with what I needed versus spending the money and getting what I wanted. Why do we do that? I actually took the picture to send to my wife to let her know I was going to get quotes to have the drive redone. She replied with whatever I want to do is fine with her and she doesn’t see any problem with the way it is. But, when it was a gravel road she hated it and now that the asphalt is getting tore up she is fine with it. This is an area where we always disagree and probably always will. Sadly I let this conversation with my wife distract me from what I was actually on my way to do. It happens on occasion, I see things I want to get done, they get put on the “list” and sooner or later might get done. I try to keep my list in check but there are times it gets blown out of proportion. The purpose of this particular weekend was to just relax, stay off my foot, and continue to recover. But, eventhough my wife and kids were out-of-town I just couldn’t sit still and do absolutely nothing, it’s not who I am and it’s pretty much impossible for me to be still.
When I got out to my shop I was reminded again that I need some kind of pad around the building because it gets a little messy getting in and out at times. Trust me, it’s on the list. This weekend was no different, we got a fair share of rain. Luckily for me, the ground around the building drains pretty well and really fast. Maybe that is why it is always on the back burner. I figure I will probably take the time to grade it out and do it all in gravel sometime this winter. I could do it now but my clutch foot is still full of stitches. I found it was sort of a mistake to drive something with a clutch when I took my truck in for an oil change before running errands to get what I needed. I never knew how much I depended on being able to use my left foot. It’s a challenge to drive but also a challenge to walk. Forget picking anything up heavier than a pillow as I found out. Maybe I should have just planted my but on the couch in front of the television this weekend. There’s time for that later. I’m here now. I’ve returned from the hardware store. I have what I need now and it is time to focus and get it done.
At the beginning of the summer I was given some re-claimed cypress planks from an old house that was torn down a few miles from here. I accepted the wood as payment for helping out doing a bit of tractor work for the guy doing the demolition. He got his truck stuck and he had walked to the back of my property and noticed I was down by the creek and asked me to help him out. There wasn’t much of the cypress wood to salvage but there was enough, I found, after cleaning it all up, to make two doors. This picture does no justice to the size of them since each one of them are 36″ x 84″. They were actually purpose-built, I had the full intention of using them here on my building to replace both of the single person entrance doors which are metal. However, as I get them done I wonder if it is what I really want to do with them. Do they deserve to be more than just shop entrance doors? I took the picture and sent it to my wife for her opinion and she asked me what in the hell I was doing working and why I wasn’t resting. That wasn’t the answer I was looking for but it was the answer I received. So, there they sat for the remainder of the day, staring at me in a way that I could feel the doors asking me if I wasn’t sure of what I wanted to do then why did I do it. Valid question I guess, even if it was from the doors. Perhaps the fumes were getting to me. They aren’t finished yet anyway because I don’t want to completely finish them until I know what they will be used for. Maybe I can just cut my losses of indecision and just sell them, I’ve done it before, made things for the house and decided that it wasn’t what I was looking for. I have began to ask myself why I do it in the first place. Still waiting on the answer by the way.
I spent the rest of the day straightening up my shop, putting things away, and sweeping the floor for the most part. I tried not to move anything because I really don’t want to muck up my foot after 2 1/2 weeks of nursing it back to health. All I know is the sutures come out Wednesday morning if the surgeon “feels” they are ready to come out. Anyway, I happened across some boxes I had put out in the shop over a year ago that should have made it into the attic but ended up in the corner instead. It goes to show I get sidetracked very easily. There was no need to look into the boxes because I knew what was in them. Fortunately they weigh about 100 pounds a piece so they get to stay where I found them. I piddled around in the shop for the remainder of the day. Around dark-thirty I get a text from my wife letting me know they where home and that the gate was stuck open again. So, I closed up shop, jumped on my ATV, and headed up to the gate to see what was up. As I suspected, the linkage had become undone again. I guess it is time to go ahead and replace it this time instead of the band-aid repairs I have been giving it over the last year. Quite honestly I had completely forgot about having it fixed since I personally haven’t had problems with it. But, I had to do another band-aid fix this time and will mess with taking it off tomorrow to have a new one made at the place I bought it from originally. On my trek back up to the house I decided to skip going down to the shop to put my tools up. As I rode up the asphalt drive it hit me again that I didn’t put on my list to get a quote for the replacement of it. Pretty soon I think I need to chuck the list in a bucket and set it on fire. I don’t know why I do lists anymore because I don’t follow what I can’t keep up with. Well, I figure that sooner or later it will all be done. When I get to the house I was informed that I need to light the grill, which was good because I was beginning to wonder what was dinner.
And, by the way, I have decided to sell the doors. I decided this while I was cooking and thinking I was not looking forward to doing a swap out. I will put them up on craigslist later. Meanwhile, if anyone is interested just shoot me an e-mail. Price? the price will completely be based on who is wanting to buy them. Amazing how a little smoke can clear the clouded mind!