17 August 2019

Hannah Thomas Live @ Rooster's! 7PM Tonight, Saturday 8/17/19

Hannah Thomas, guitarist & singer extraordinaire and TPC fave will be playing out in good ole Mansfield, GA at the Old DDC - Rooster's Drive Inn. 

From the crew at Rooster's: 

Nashville recording artist and local celebrity, the great Hannah Thomas will be performing at Rooster's Drive Inn Saturday night, show starts at 7 o'clock. Hannah is truly a young rising star and we are honored to have her play and sing for us at Roosters. Check her out on Facebook and see her in person Saturday night. See you there, Thanks

TPC had a chance to catch up with Hannah & asked about tonight's show & what's up for her the next few weeks: 

 I’m going go definitely throw in some new originals. Will be covering everything from classic  rock bands like Allman Bros/Steve Miller, to John Prine, 90s Alt tunes and rock renditions of pop tunes.  

I’m heading to North GA at the end of the month as well as North Carolina, Johnson City and Augusta. 

I also asked what she'd been spinning lately (h/t Melissa P.): 

What have I been spinning lately? Love the latest KT Tunstall album “Wax”. Some other acts I’ve been listening to: Jade Bird, Lissie, Amy Shark, The Highwomen and Ruston Kelly.
Hannah Thomas

Folks, Hannah is truly one of the best music acts you'll ever see. We highly recommend you attend! Again, that's 7PM tonight at Rooster's in Mansfield, GA.

- TPC 

Covington Councilman Josh McKelvey to Seek Reelection

Image result for josh mckelvey covington ga
Josh McKelvey

Josh McKelvey announced Thursday that he intends to seek reelection to the East Ward City Council seat he currently holds.  McKelvey said,”It has been an honor serving the City of Covington. My decision to seek re-election did not come easy. From being elected at 27 years old, to today, my life has changed dramatically. Over the last few weeks, I’ve received numerous calls from concerned citizens encouraging me to continue. I believe I owe it to them to keep the momentum going. My hope is that the voters of the City of Covington will entrust me once again with the honor of being their representative, and once again provide me the opportunity to be a part of something much bigger than myself.”

When asked what he was most proud of during his first term, he responded,”The promises I made in my first election were always at the front of my mind when making decisions.  I promised to bring greater transparency to the City of Covington. We’ve organized town hall meetings, ensured that information was communicated through multiple channels, and we are now broadcasting Council meetings live over the internet.  I promised to work to create an environment that was attractive to both business and young families. That goal has been a major focus of my first term. Finally, my promise to support public safety has been kept. We’ve made great strides towards providing our first responders with the manpower and technology they deserve. I ran on these promises and strive to continue keeping these promises.”

McKelvey was elected in 2015 and was supported by many across the political spectrum.  When asked why he thought his message appealed to so many, he said,” I think it is because people understand that my goal is not to rule their lives. My goal has always been to listen to everyone and try to reach a consensus. There are times where I have to remind myself that I’m not always right. You can thank my wife for teaching me that!”

The Councilman went on to say,” In today’s world, social media makes it difficult to ensure that everyone gets the real story. There are people that are willing to twist the truth to fit their personal agendas. It is my job to remain engaged with Citizens, even when we disagree. It isn’t always easy to listen to them, but being a representative means you have to hear from all sides and work through issues together. Our community is important enough to seek common ground.”

When asked about what he considers his signature accomplishment on the Council, McKelvey sheepishly grinned, “Probably getting the pension removed for future elected officials.  My thought was that if we aren’t willing to give a pension to the employees of the City, elected officials should not give it to themselves. Our work on that issue was a great win for the citizens.”

Josh is married to his college sweetheart, Allie, and is father to 3 children.  McKelvey says his family is his biggest reason for seeking re-election. “We’ve got to make Covington more attractive for young families. I don’t want my children growing up, leaving, and never coming back. We have gotten some good things done since 2016, but there is still more work to do. I can assure the people of Covington that I will not seek re-election after a second term. My children are growing up quick and I never intended on this being a career. I am more committed to Covington than ever, and I look forward to serving you for four more years.”


15 August 2019

A Letter to the Editor from Bill Nash: Why is the Pace St Project Moving So Slowly?

The Piedmont Chronicles
Your Source for the REAL Story

To the citizens and customers using Pace street between 278 and the Square:  

The Businesses along Pace street dislike the slow progress of recent construction even more than the general public does. When we see few (if any) workers on this project daily, we cringe at how slow this project is progressing and negatively impacting traffic flow and making it difficult for customers to reach our stores. 

Please contact City of Covington Planning Dept. at (770) 385-2020 to voice your displeasure of the slow progress and few daily workers not getting the project done quickly. Using Federal/State Grant Money, with Matching $ from the City, ask why is this project already so slow?


Bill Nash 

13 August 2019

Perrin Lovett: The Timely Demise of Jeffrey Epstein


The "Suicide" of the Pedo-Bankster. ABC News

Suddenly, following the Saturday “suicide” of Pedo-Bankster Epstein, everyone is a conspiracy theorist. I’ll examine a few of the more popular ones in a moment. For now, I’m not endorsing (or worrying) about any of them. At the outset, I think he’s really and truly dead. No, I don’t automatically buy the suicide angle. It’s the official story from the government, which means the extreme likelihood is that it is not correct. And, Epstein was a psychopath. They don’t normally like harming themselves, their own personal being whom they consider the most important person alive. 

A few of the conspiracy theories, or theories about conspiracies:

The Clinton Crime Family whacked him.

Possibly. Probably would not be the first time. Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea were all very well acquainted with the decedent. They are connected via their own webs to that network of Epstein’s. There are tons of people who would have rather silenced Jeffy than see him name names. Two problems I see: One, the material disclosed in the ongoing civil suits does not paint Bill in any negative light. Two - and this is important for more than a few of these theories - I would guess that Epstein was exhausted of what he knew. The main focus now is on Ghislaine Maxwell and other players.


Trump and “Q” MAGA’D him.

Possible. But, I’m not so sure. Trump, even more so than Bill C., was practically exonerated of wrongdoing via the newly released documents. Then again, Trump is the sitting president with an active duty to protect the country. The prosecution was nominally his way of doing that. If nothing else, in the unbelievably unlikely circumstances that Jeffy had been acquitted, rather than Milosevic him in jail, Trump could have sent him to GITMO as an EC threat.

Trump Sent him to GITMO.

Why? Again, the main sources of information about other links is now people not named Epstein. And, the Southern District essentially had him dead to rights. If not them, then the District in Florida could have opened the old case (with additional newer charges). Or, the State of Florida could have prosecuted him. Or New York. New Mexico. The USVI. 

The CIA “spirited” him away.

See the foregoing.

Mossad spirited him to Tel Aviv.

Most unlikely. While it’s most likely he worked for the Mossad, they only wanted information out of him. They, under no circumstances, wanted him in Israel. (They have daughters too). It would have been difficult to keep a character like Jeffy underground in such a small country.

The NYPD, the victims, or someone else had him terminated.

Possible. Most understandable. But, why now? Maybe if his trial was going south and a release was becoming a possibility. But, as in most cases, revenge can wait.

Here are just a few of the fun facts that keep on coming out in this case:

  • The death happened the day after those civil docs dropped;
  • Epstein was on suicide watch;
  • Then, he wasn’t;
  • He said someone was trying to kill him;
  • The guards broke protocol repeatedly regarding his 24/7 monitoring;
  • The cameras inside the cell didn’t work;
  • His cellmate was transferred out only hours before the event;
  • Former inmates, familiar with the cells, say that suicide therein is impossible;
  • The pictures of that blue-faced man being wheeled into the ER looked (to me) like Jeffy. Some say it wasn’t him.

Whodunnit? Who cares? We are cautioned that “the wages of sin is death; but the Gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23 (KJV). Epstein completely rejected the Gift and his wages were heavy and due. My theory is that justice happened Saturday. 

12 August 2019

Bess Tuggle's Memoirs of Surviving Children: The (semi) Empty Nest

Empty-nesting is a long, arduous process.  I don’t think it ever ends, but it continues to be a learning experience.

I ended up in the position of needing to buy a house, and I was –picky-.  By this time it was just me and my baby (Thing 4 was in high school then, the youngest, the biggest, stubborn enough to match his oldest brother…), but I shopped well – and I hate shopping.  I did my searches online (sorry, Marshall) by price, area, school district…  Then I’d go on Google Earth to check out the neighborhood before driving out to see it.  

This house, now our home, was purchased with a carefully planned empty-nest.  It was big enough for me and Thing 4 to be comfortable without butting heads, in the right school district and small enough that none of the kids’ could move home for an extended time comfortably.

Hind-sight is always 20/20.

Thing 3 lived at home just long enough to turn 18 and be required (a minimal) rent.  So he moved out and my husband and I –finally- moved in full time.  That’s when it finally became “home.”

It took a while to finally move in and get settled, but wouldn’t you know it, another Thing moved in for a while (like, a year while).  Still miss him being here – no fuss, no muss, just happy.  Probably happy because the rent was minimal, the food was good, he had Mama to help with his laundry and leave candy on his pillow the 1 time a week I opened the door to vacuum and dust.  

We’ve had kids come and go on a regular basis.  Each time someone moves our garage and storage building gets full and we become the free family storage unit that we’re –still- trying to sort out.

Therein lies the problem.  Now we WANT them to come home to visit – just a VISIT, but they come with baggage.  My husband and I have 6 kids between us, 6 grandchildren (2 more on the way).  Baggage being friends (with spouses more often than not), children, loads of dirty laundry, good meals provided, hot showers (kind-of – don’t take a shower –after- Thing 3).. I’ve had home packed from wall to wall with bodies.  Marines.  Stack ‘em in like cord-wood and bring it on!  It’s home to many, but some house rules still remain:

Do not fart in my kitchen.  I CAN still spank you, and I don’t care what your rank is.
You can choose your own friends, but I get to choose who is welcome at our home. 
Don’t touch my chocolate.

Last but not least:

 You’ve got a key to the house, or know where one is.  Use it wisely – call first or bang on the door LOUD to give us notice you’re home.  Otherwise you might be subjected to “old folks running around naked.”  You just can’t un-see that.

- Bess Tuggle 

10 August 2019

Past Piedmont Chronicles: Georgia Courthouses

*Ed. note: originally ran at TPC in 2013.

Here's my latest column from the upcoming Father's Day/Sunflower Festival issue of About Covington to Madison magazine. Hope you enjoy it - MM 

Greetings. Hope everyone is well out there. First off, I’d like to take a moment to thank you for all of the kind words after my last column. It’s great to be back, and I’m so glad that so many of you are excited about it.

Hancock Co. Photo by Keith Hair. From GA Info.

In the last column, I talked a good bit about courthouses. Well, I thought I’d expand on that a bit with this column. I received an email from a fellow by the name of Brant out of Oxford, GA. Brant, like myself, seems to be an enthusiast of Georgia courthouses, and he made a very good point: perhaps one of the best looking courthouses in our state, especially in terms of the view as you approach it, would have to be down in Sparta, GA (Hancock Co.). That is a great courthouse. As I responded back to him, Hancock’s would
probably be in my top 10 (maybe even top 5). Built between 1881-1883, it incorporates a Second Empire architectural design (the same as Covington) and is absolutely beautiful. Hancock Co. is an old county. It’s been around since 1793 which makes it a good bit older than Newton or Morgan, although not quite as old as the original 8 Georgia counties that were created in 1777. Hancock Co. and the city of Sparta, isn’t that far from us, just on the other side of Putnam Co. And as Brant said, Sparta might be Covington in another universe (as Covington portrayed the city of Sparta, MS in the famous show, “In the Heat of the Night”).

As a Courthouse enthusiast, I have found a wonderful online resource for those of you who share an affinity for this subject. Go to: http://georgiainfo.galileo.usg.edu/courthouses/contents.htm. From this site, you can visit links to all 159 Georgia courthouses complete with pictures, design style, and background information. This resource is called GeorgiaInfo and is offered by GALILEO and the University of Georgia Library system as part of the Digital Library of Georgia. In addition to the courthouses, there is a plethora of other historical information available on the main page: http://georgiainfo.galileo.usg.edu/ Check it out sometime – you’ll be glad you did.

Some of my favorite courthouses in Georgia other than Newton, Morgan, and Hancock are found in the following counties: Colquitt, Jasper, Talbot, Washington, Oglethorpe, Upson, Lincoln, and Meriwether. A bit of trivia: the oldest courthouse still in use in Georgia? That would be Columbia Co., in the city of Appling,
Talbot Co. Courthouse. Photo by Keith Hair.

built in 1856. And the oldest one still standing that’s not in use? That would be Fayette Co., in Fayetteville, and was actually built way back in 1825!

There are several different types of architectural styles found in Georgia’s courthouses but most fall under these designs: Beaux Arts, Greek Revival, Italian Renaissance Revival, Neoclassical Revival, Second Empire, Modern, and a few others. I’m partial to the Second Empire and Neoclassical Revival styles, myself.

Georgia is very fortunate to have so many courthouses. Our fine state has 159 counties and therefore can lay claim to 159 courthouses as well. Only the state of Texas has more counties than Georgia does and obviously Texas is a much larger state. Why does Georgia have so many counties? That’s a good question. The explanation for that is as Georgia grew over the years, it was decided that the county seat of every county would be within a one day round trip for anyone on a horse or in a wagon. So, naturally, that lead to a rather large quantity of counties as the state expanded. And as counties are the primary political subdivision in our great state, that meant anyone needing to conduct county business with the Ordinary (now called Probate Judge), Sheriff, Clerk of Court, or anything else would be able to do so without having to leave the farm for more than one day. Of course, these days we have cars, so perhaps having so many counties would be considered a bit outdated, but I sure wouldn’t want to change it. I think it’s pretty neat that we have so many counties. Have you ever tried to name as many Georgia counties as you could from memory? Try it sometime – it’s pretty tough. As a quick aside, a buddy of mine and I are planning on publishing a book about Georgia’s courthouses. Maybe one day that will come to pass. I sure hope so.

Well…I guess that will about do it. I’ve got some exciting things coming down the pike. I’m hoping to revisit the Rutledge area and do a story on the Ebenezer community and some of the old plantations and home places there. Also, I’m hoping to finally do an interview and a corresponding column on someone I’ve
wanted to write about for quite some time. I won’t reveal the name right now, but I’ll give you a couple of hints: the letters A, R, and S and the city of Doraville. Any guesses? If so, send me an email. Thanks for reading, guys. Until next time…


08 August 2019

A Guest Commentary by Ryan Ralston: Haranguetans


Note from the author: The following is a relatively lengthy and antagonistic story. The kind, like
it or not, based on fact. Minimal narrative license was applied. Names, characters, businesses,
organizations, places, events, and incidents are not the product of the author’s imagination.
Although he wishes they were. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or
locales is entirely intentional. With that said…

- Early January 2015, Chicago, IL, USA, CST

Jeremy Gorner, writing for the Chicago Tribune, reports Chicago ends 2014 with fewer
homicides (407), the lowest reported number since 1965. However, shooting victims were up
Billboard Top 100: Number 1 song in the country - Pharrell Williams, Happy.

- Late June 2015, Post 9/11, USA

Facebook: “Tristan got caught looking his last at bat. The pitch was way outside. Not even close
to the SZ. Don’t worry, Mama Bear let Blue have it! Jesus. Take. The. Wheel. It’s the bottom of
the 5 th and we’re down by two.” #momneedsaxanax
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (while campaigning for president): “I mean what I say, say
what I mean…”

Politico: “Jeb’s wealth to riches story…”

CNN: “Hillary and Huma on the campaign trail…”

Twitter: "@ChipB: Like him or not @realDonaldTrump says EXACTLY what he thinks and doesn't
beat around the bush. And that's admirable. #Election2016"

- July 2015, San Francisco, CA, USA, PST

José Inez García Zárate is from Guanajuato, Mexico. Prior to July 1 st , 2015, he had been
deported from the United States five times. A homeless, drug-addicted immigrant with no
lawful status in the United States, a seven-time convicted felon on probation out of Texas, was
living on the streets of San Francisco. At the time of arrest, Zárate was believed to be 52 years

Kathryn Michelle "Kate" Steinle was born on December 13 th , 1982, in Pleasanton, California.
She is a graduate from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, with a degree in
communications. Her funeral was held July 9 th , 2015. She was 32 years old.
Their paths intersected at a blistering 1,100 feet per second on July 1 st , 2015, along Pier 14 in
the Embarcadero district of San Francisco. Zárate, allegedly under the influence of sleeping pills
found in a trash can, pulled the trigger of a stolen Sig Sauer P239 handgun. The fragmentation
of the .40 caliber round ricocheted off concrete decking, tearing into Steinle’s back, slicing her
aorta. The shooting was witnessed by her father. She cried out to him for help. She died in a
hospital two hours later, surrounded by family.

US Senator Ted Cruz, a republican from Texas, introduced H.R. 3011. A 2015 Act Establishing a
Mandatory Minimum for Illegal Re-entry. It was known as Kate’s Law. The bill authored by Cruz,
was never taken up by the Senate for vote. Years later, a modified, less restrictive version was
signed into law.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump: “My opponent (referencing democratic
presidential candidate Hillary Clinton) wants sanctuary cities. But where was sanctuary for Kate

Brad Steinle, brother of Kate Steinle, while speaking to CNN anchor Anderson Cooper, spoke
out against Trump “sensationalizing” his sister’s death while campaigning for president. At the
time of her death, San Francisco was, and remains to date, a sanctuary city.

- January 2016, Chicago, IL, USA, CST

As reported by Josh Sanburn of Time: In 2015, Chicago led the nation in murders with 468, an
increase from the previous year by 12.5%. There were 2,900 shootings in Chicago in 2015, a
29% increase from 2013.
Billboard Top 100: Number 1 song in the country – Bruno Mars, Uptown Funk.
Facebook: “Mama Bear. ISO a vet. Fido has a puss-filled boil over his left eye that needs
draining. TIA.” #yuckypup

Any national republican (speaking out against gun violence in Chicago): …

Any national democrat (speaking out against gun violence in Chicago): …

Mayor of Chicago (speaking out against gun violence in Chicago): …

Governor of Illinois (speaking out against gun violence in Chicago): ...

US Senator from Illinois (speaking out against gun violence in Chicago): …

US Congressman from Illinois (speaking out against gun violence in Chicago): …

US president (speaking out against gun violence in Chicago): …
Citizens of Chicago (speaking out against gun violence in Chicago): “Please help us…”

- June 2016, Orlando, FL, USA, EST

On June 12, 2016, 29-year old Omar Mateen, killed 49 people and wounded 53 others in a mass
shooting inside Pulse, a predominately gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Orlando Police
Department officers eventually shot and killed him after a three-hour standoff. His wife was
later implicated.

Facebook: “Mama Bear is sending her thoughts and prayers this evening to the city of Orlando,
the victims of the Pulse Nightclub shooting, their families, and all first responders.”

President Barack Obama (speaking about the Pulse Nightclub shooting): "Here in Orlando, we
are reminded not only of our obligations as a country to be resolute against terrorists, we are
reminded not only of the need for us to implement smarter policies to prevent mass shootings,
we're also reminded of what unites us as Americans, and that what unites us is far stronger
than the hate and the terror of those who target us.”

CNN: “49 killed, shooter pledged ISIS allegiance.”

NY Times: “Worse mass shooting in US History.”

PBS.org: “Law makers aim to designate site of Pulse Nightclub shooting a national memorial.”
Republicans (in general): “Thoughts and prayers go out to...”

Democrats (in general): “Along with our thoughts and prayers we need stricter gun control
laws. Enough is enough. It’s time to act.”

Libertarians (in general): “Let us all pause and reflect, tragedy such as the Pulse Nightclub
shooting, can lead self-serving politicians to make hasty decisions and sponsor bills that
potentially violate the 2 nd Amendment to the US Constitution.” #shallnotbeinfringed

07 August 2019

[Perrin Lovett] - The Awesome, the Statistical, and the Fictional

Three things of note, from across the fruited plain:

The Awesome: Cometh the Corvette Hypercar

The wait is almost over. Maybe. Maybe, next year. Early. Late. Sometime...

(Screengrab from www.chevrolet.com)

It was supposed to be out by now. Why can’t we have it yet? This may be the coolest excuse in automotive history: Too damned powerful… She’s a mid-ship engine car (engine in the back). The souped-up V8 is under a glass bonnet for showing off. The higher-level options produce so much power and torque that they bend the frame - to the point the show window shatters! We’re hearing rumors about the top model exceeding 1,000 HP. Yes, 250 horses more than the old, 90’s custom “Sledgehammer” than tracked 260 MPH.

None of this firepower would negate the horrible knees and back-killing erogoNOTmics of the previous generations. Then again, what if they’ve redesigned that too? I could get used to a Vette with a Gallardo’s cockpit. I hear even Tom Ironsides is interested - which takes us down to part three, below; skip part two (especially if you are reality averse).

The Numbers: Two Mass Shootings, Saturday = 250+ Mass Shootings in 2019?

The crew at Freedom Prepper called for a look at the media’s 250th shooting of 2019 proclamations. Is the number true? Depends on who you ask. Or, how you count.

And now, some Ironsides fiction:

The Fictional: Ever wonder what it would be like if Tom Ironsides rolled into Covington?
It’d be like this:

The Great Good Friday Delivery
A Tom Ironsides Story 
(partly concerning Covington, GA…)

Atlanta, Georgia, Good Friday, April 19, 2019, 11:57 AM…

‘Is that your radar detector? Damn! You need one.’ Ariana felt a little car sick as her uncle punched all 840 horses, firing out of the exit ramp from the Downtown Connector, onto I-20, like a bullet from a rifle. 
‘No. That one’s a multi-spectrum jammer. Supposed to confuse laser too. Diffuse it,’ he said, indicating to one switch in a row of custom toggles, below the touchscreen and beside the red START button. ‘That one is a smart scanner. Watches the Po-Po before they can watch us. THAT one is an EMP. Standard stuff.’ 
He rocketed into the HOV lane, headed East at triple-digit speeds, the SRT Demon purring throatily. 
‘What are… cal...trops?’ 
‘For when the EMP doesn’t work.’
‘Is all that legal?’
‘As legal as these idiotic speed limits.’ 
‘Why the hurry? And, what were you doing back there?’
‘Just want to put a little distance… Yeah, you’re right. There’s no need to rush quite so fast. Not my business any more really.’ He slowed … slightly.
‘And… What business was that, Uncle Tommy?’
‘Did you get everything you needed back at Emory … Emory Hospital?’
‘Yes. Again. Not me. It was for the med school roomies. I don’t like hospitals anymore than you do. Was having a nice talk with that cute boy when you flew up like a bat out of hell. So… You were coming from where?’
‘I agree. Traffic’s not quite LA, but it vies with DC or New York.’
‘What were YOU DOING?!’
‘Dropped something off at the Federal Reserve.’
‘Something like a bomb?’ She laughed even as she considered that with this particular uncle, anything was possible.
‘Not yet. Oh, wow. Yeah, it’s time. Hey…’ He pulled out his phone and handed it to her while glancing in the rearview mirror. ‘Can you. This app. Press where it says fly, F-L-Y, and then let me know if it says okay or turns green or… I gotta watch that car. I hate roof racks on sedans. Ski racks. Looks like the damned cops from a distance.’
‘Okay…’ She tapped the “FLY” button and waited. ‘Alrighty. Turned green. Says… “drones launched?!” What the hell is this?!’
‘Swarm. Microdrones. For eavesdropping…’
‘You’re spying on the Federal Reserve?!’
‘No. Not me. Just doing a favor for some old friends.’
‘The CIA is… What’s going on?’
‘Steinberg Island.’
‘What does that weirdo have to do with the Fed... He’s dead, right?’
‘And burning, one would assume. You know about the island. There’s a few things the media has been a little less than forthcoming about. Things they probably don’t know either. And, there are a few things the Company would like to understand a little better.’
‘That’s! The CIA? In Atlanta? Is THAT legal?!’
‘As legal as that private central bank…’
She was aware that Tom had quickened the pace again, perhaps in an effort to evade the ski rack. Or, maybe he was just having fun. She pressed him on the special delivery: ‘How were they even open today? A holiday.’
‘Those Pharisees don’t observe Good Friday! Hell, I’m surprised our schools did. Good thing. Company wanted those little boogers deployed ASAP. I just got them last weekend. I hate robots, but gotta admit, they’re kind of cool. Hover around. Obey voice commands too.’
‘What do they do?’
‘Fly around covertly, looking and listening. The big ones plug into USBs or something. They’re looking for a link. Links.’
‘You’d rather not know. Besides, I was just doing a favor. Call Langley for details.’
‘Uh, no. I’d rather not know.’ She looked out the window as they blasted under the I-285 overpass. ‘You still get paid for doing those favors?’
‘For honor and country. Pay enough for his patriot,’ he said wryly. He noticed her cock an eyebrow. ‘Sometimes cash just shows up. Little here, little there. Like old times.’
‘How much is a little, here or there?’
‘...uhm… yub n. mo fan enbuf bor fa nub sopp….’
‘MUMBLE a little louder!’
‘Maybe enough to buy thousand-horsepower, mid-engine Stingray replacement for this slow heap? Definitely enough to buy my favorite niece an ice cream! Oh. And, could you turn that phone off - it’s not my usual, more of a burner - just put it in the duffle bag in the back? Really, I’ll buy you an ice cream…’
His perpetually amused (or flustered) favorite niece powered the phone down and reached back under the roll cage for his bag. ‘Uncle Tommy. What exactly is this black metal thing in here?’
‘In the bag?’
‘M4 with an M203 attached.’
‘Like an assault rifle.’
‘Assault. Yeah. That big tube is the grenade launcher.’
‘You say that like… Only you, only you.’
‘Hey. I mean, it was the Federal Reserve. You never know. Couple of handguns and a subby might not be enough.’
‘Never a dull moment. My family…’
‘While you’re back there. Uh. You know Lorna pretty well, right? Redhead. Irish. Insane. You think she’d fit back there if I was on top of…’
‘You are the most horrible … MAN! GAWD! You do owe me an ice cream.’
Tom reckoned he did owe her something. Lunchtime was upon them and he thought he’d spied just the place.
‘Amici!’ He exclaimed.
‘There’s always something going on at Amici… That’s what the billboard just said. Some kind of I-talian joint. Covington. Like the next exit. That, or one in Madison, wherever the hell that… Here we go!’