Resurrection 19Posted: November 7, 2016
This is a chapter of the book I am writing for NaNoWriMo. If you want to read it from the start, click here for the chapter index.
The “nature or nurture” debate has gone on since the mid-20th century. Nurture would be the most likely explanation for Ricky Farmer.
Ricky was born to a 16 year old single mother 28 years ago. She told him he was named after his father “Richard,” though Ricky never met him. Ricky’s mother dropped out of school to raise her son.
“Someone who will always love me,” she told her friends. He was her doll, her toy, her pet.
Ricky, like any child growing up, needed. He needed to be taught right and wrong. He needed to learn the value of work. He needed his mother’s love. Sadly, Ricky got none of those.
Ricky’s mother found the only work she could, cleaning houses. It was an erratic income. His childhood was a mixture of run down trailers, evictions, disconnected utilities and regular hunger.
His mother wasn’t abusive to Ricky, she just wasn’t a mother at all. Ricky raised himself.
By high school, Ricky had already had petty run-ins with the law. Shoplifting mostly. He was rarely violent, despite being 5′ 11″ and sturdy. He said he would use his “mind” to get out of fights. He thought of himself as clever, no one else did.
After high school Ricky drifted through manual labor and other low paying jobs. His longest time on the job was just over six months. That was at the plastics factory. He lost that one from a failed drug test.
Marijuana is Kentucky’s biggest cash crop and brings in more revenue each year than all other crops combined, even tobacco. The Daniel Boone National forest covers eastern Kentucky and it’s easy for growers to stake out a remote patch and grow weed.
Ricky first smoked a joint at 9. His mother gave it to him so her boyfriend at the time could see what he would act like. By 14, he was smoking pretty much every day. After he got fired by the plastics plant, he decided to make it a “career.”
Ricky wasn’t any better at selling drugs than he was at anything else. He had regular customers-the people he had grown up with-but once he bought the pot, what he didn’t sell, he smoked himself. That left little profit for him to live on.
Ricky’s wholesaler Teddy felt a bit sorry for him and would give him jobs, usually delivering gallon ziplocks of weed to other dealers. They would use a dead drop in the woods. Ricky would leave the pot in a specified place and the dealer would pay Teddy for the location.
Over the next couple years, Ricky was doing more and more drops as well as other “transportation duties.” He proved himself reliable.
One day, Teddy rang Ricky’s latest burner.
“Yeah Teddy. What’s up? Got another drop for me?” Ricky said, answering the phone.
“Rick, I have an opportunity for you. Pays two-grand. You interested?”
Ricky’s drops typically paid $300, $2,000 was more money than Ricky had ever seen in one place. “Hell, yeah I’m interested.”
“OK, here’s the deal. My wholesaler in Cincinnati is looking for someone to drive a load of pot from Cincy to Knoxville. His driver just got locked up. Beat his ol lady or sumthin. You in?”
“When?” asked Ricky.
“You needs to leave right away. They’s already behind. Come by and I’ll give you the directions,” Teddy said.
Ricky drove his spray painted black F150 over to Terry’s. Terry had already written out the directions. Ricky was to go to an industrial area and park his truck inside a particular building. Then he was to call a number for further instructions.
It took Ricky three and a half hours to drive up I-75 and find the industrial park. He was careful not to speed, even though he wasn’t carrying, he had learned it best not to be stupid when you’re often carrying pot.
He called the number Terry had written down for him.
“Yeah,” answered the voice at the other end.
“I’m here, what do I do now?” asked Ricky.
“Yeah, we know. We saw you drive up.”
A bit of a chill ran down Ricky’s spine. He wasn’t in Inez any more, these guys played hardball. He wondered if they had a rifle pointed at him now.
“You see that 55 gallon drum over against the wall?” asked the voice.
Ricky looked to the wall to his left.
“Not to your left, on your right.” They were obviously observing his every move.
“Yeah. Yeah, I see it.” Ricky walked over to the drum, trying not to look scared. What if he’d done something wrong? What if they brought him up here to kill him?
“On the top of that drum is an envelope with your driving directions. Load the barrel into the back of your truck, use the straps next to it to secure it. Do not, under any circumstances, open the barrel. The barrel is sealed. If the seal is broken, the boys in Knoxville are not going to be pleased with you. Do you understand? Do not open the barrel.”
“Yes…yeah, I understand.” Ricky was feeling a bit panicked.
“You are to follow the exact route in the directions. You are not to deviate from that route. Do you understand?”
“You are not to stop between here and Knoxville. Take a leak now if you need to, but once you leave here your next stop is Knoxville. Do you understand?”
“Yeah, I won’t stop.”
“When you deliver the parcel safely to Knoxville, you will receive your payment.”
The voice disconnected.
Ricky pulled his truck up to the barrel, dropped the tailgate. The barrel was pretty heavy, so he had to tip it against the tailgate and muscle it onto the bed. Once on the truck he got it upright again and strapped it down with the “come-a-longs” laying next to the barrel.
Before leaving, just to be safe, he decided to take a leak. He was sure they were still watching him, so he huddled in the corner to pee. Even then, his bladder was a bit shy. It’s not easy when you think someone might have a gun pointed to your head.
Ricky climbed into the cab and opened the envelope. They weren’t taking him back down I-75, they were having him drive the whole distance on 25W.
It took almost seven hours for him to arrive at the drop off point, what looked like a closed auto garage just outside of Clinton on the north west side of Knoxville. It was 4am. He called the number on the paper.
“Yes.” a different disembodied voice answered.
“I’m here.” Ricky said, feeling the fear of a hidden sniper again.
“Go around to the front door of the building. At your feet you will see a planter. Under the planter is a key. Take the key, unlock the garage. Do not turn on the light. Back your truck up to the door, unload the barrel into the garage.”
“Once you have completed that task, close the garage door, replace the key. Then you will be advised how to collect your payment.”
At this, Ricky considered protesting. Why should he leave the barrel without being paid? Then he realized the situation he was in and thought better of it.
The second voice disconnected.
Ricky backed the truck up to the door, retrieved the key and unloaded the barrel. He made sure to leave the straps as well. Then he closed and locked the garage door, raised the gate on his truck.
His phone rang.
“Wait five minutes.” The voice disconnected.
Ricky pulled out a Pall Mall and started to light it. Then thought better of it. He put the cigarette back in the pack and the pack back in his pocket.
In the dark, Ricky saw a light go on inside the garage, peaking out from under the crack in the door. He immediately turned away. He could hear the barrel being opened. He pretended he didn’t.
His phone lit up again.
“Go back to the front of the building. You will now find an envelope laying on the concrete right in front of the door. That contains your payment. You are done now.” Disconnection.
Ricky walked back to where he had retrieved the key and there was an envelope, laying right where he had stood 15 minutes before. He saw there was a mail slot in the door and he figured they dropped it out from inside. He picked it up, didn’t open it.
He got back into the cab, heading down Merchant’s Avenue toward I-75 and home.