Chapter Two Excerpt
Rough and Ready is a small Californian town that seceded from the union in the 1800’s largely due to avoid paying mining taxes. They returned rather quickly to join the party after alcohol was heavily taxed as an import fee. But, there is a seedy underbelly that still favors to return to its old rebellious ways. The local populace is generally aware of these miscreants and tend to ignore the local thugs; they are largely unorganized and are reliant on petty theft and morphine sales. However, in the past few years a leader has risen Jack Fenton, a con man and voodoo practitioner.
Jack is a tall lanky man with greasy hair and rather tan, his fingernails are chipped and have a bit of mud in them from years of working in the fields in the south. Jack is always poorly dressed with raggedy clothes and stink of tobacco. He generally wears a large hat to cover his face and spare him from the hot sun. His teeth are bleacher white and have a small gap that gives him character. Jack has a smile that will charm anyone and could convince a person to sign over their house in a short minute. He talks slow and deliberate like a southern gentleman, when he cons a man he talks even slower and his eyes gaze into his soul like an old friend desperately needing a small favor.
While Jack may seem harmless, he is just as quick to violence and threats. He is known to beat his subordinates out of spite or entertainment. However, he is on a mission this time. Jack knew John from his days in Mississippi. Jack needed a lawyer to help him out of a con gone bad. There was a widow that left Jack a great deal of money and all he needed was someone to deposit the money into a fake account. Once the court found Jack’s claim to be fraud, John helped the police to capture Jake. This would have been the end of the story. But, Jack was released early last year and had several decades to enact his revenge.
His small band of thieves was a rag tag group of people. They were generally high or drunk most of the time. They were mostly disheveled and smelled like a mix gasoline and a dead carcass. The wore jeans and ripped shirts with flannel or some form of baseball hat that was ripped and burned. This didn’t really matter to Jack. He used their vices as a form of motivator. He also needed to teach them the art of voodoo and to plant the Jimson Weed he was so found of.
In order to grow Jimson Weed a small lot of property needed to be procured. Money was always easy to get but they needed something long term that did not raise suspicion of law enforcement and was near water.
In the town there are two lakes, on the back side of the mobile home park there was a small lake the other was near the Post Office. Fearing the government and out of caution, the other location seemed far more beneficial. The land near the mobile home park was owned by a middle age man and wife. Instead of violence, Jack convinced them to rent part of their property to his merry band to be part of a new venture of precious minerals that was on their property. They believed that a high abundant amount of quartz that would be used to make computer chips was to be found. He convinced the couple to keep quiet about the venture and tell their friends they were cousins down on their luck.
Now that Jack had a place, and a group of followers he could begin his surveillance of Troll Knoll. He had his men dress as delivery drivers to keep watch. He knew John would not expect this coming. But, he had to be careful not to make the same mistake as before.