“Ralph, you said there was some flexibility in what I pay.”
“You pay $2,500 and make on delivery. For every additional delivery you make, knock $500 off.”
“That seems like a lot, for a low-risk delivery.”
“We find that many of our members will have nothing to do with violence. Not even delivering a shoe box which might contain a nonviolent or violent request. They must pay money, to avoid that exchange.”
“Aren’t you afraid someone will get caught and give us up?”
“Give who up, Bob? All you know about me is my name is Ralph.” He laughed at his own misstatement. You don’t know where I live, what I do, and have nothing to use to trace any of us.”
“What if the local sheriff happened into our meeting?”
“So what? What did he see? A couple of guys talking to other guys about marital issues. It might strike him as odd he’s never seen any of us. He might ask the owner who set the meeting up. What would that give him? I’m sure whoever arranged this is not here, now — and won’t ever be back.”
It was as close to iron clad as I could think of. Certainly, I could not tell anyone what my part had been in anything. I would have attended a few meetings in different cities, made a presentation, given a guy a shoe box, received a shoe box, and given that away.
Someone had gone to great care to design a system which enabled people to get revenge without participating in either the planning or the execution of that revenge. But the revenge didn’t fall off a tree and hit someone. No matter who, or whether I knew who, someone had to plan and execute this revenge. How did that get done?
I wrestled with that thought on the drive home. As I parked my car, I decided it was all the same to me to presume the revenge did fall out of a tree. Why would I want to know more than that?
I gathered the money. I decided to give them the $2,500. I had it in the account and getting the cash out of joint funds was a good thing. The ex could pay her half — which seemed just.
Another meeting on a different day of the week, in a different city, at a different time. I had a new identity and sought a different identity. I saw no one I knew, had no idea what was going on; it was comforting – things were just as they were supposed to be.
I was finishing my sandwich when Jim stood to speak. He said, “hi” we said “hi” and he started into his story. “I am married, my wife has three children, all conceived during our marriage; I fathered the middle one. The only parent my children have in common is their mother, each has a different father.
“Get this, my wife claims she has only had sex with two other men, one-time each, during our marriage. I am pretty sure she would deny that if you could pick up pregnancy off a public toilet seat.