Since my name was still on the bank signature card I could withdraw as much money as I needed. I figured that my credit and debit cards were now non-functional so I needed some of that old green stuff, you know with a dead President on each bill.
There was more than enough money in the account to pay next week's payroll but I didn't want my staff to suffer. I only took out a couple of thousand. I also raided the petty cash drawer and left an IOU for my ex-wife and her stud.
I now had to act like the beaten man that I was. The thirst for revenge was starting to become a fire in my gut and consume me. Somehow Rebecca, Joshua, and Ronald had to pay for what they had done. Why Ronald? Come on, do you think the bitch and her old lover would stoop to destroying me? I figure Ronald was pulling the strings and was orchestrating the whole thing. Otherwise I would have been served three weeks ago and I would have gotten a local attorney. The judge would have been fair in his or her judgment. No, Ronald was behind the whole thing. He had never really wanted me to be his son-in-law and now, with his daughter's permission, he was going to make me pay.
Late in the afternoon Rebecca and Joshua deigned to come to the office and take over. They showed Stacey, the secretary, the signed court documents showing transfer of ownership to a new corporation and that I was now just the manager instead of the owner/manager. Thankfully they didn't publically humiliate me by announcing my new pay. Except for Stacey, who had to know to cut the paychecks, no one else knew they were making more money a week than I was.
I knew Stacey would let everyone know but, for the moment, the business was to continue as before. When the gruesome twosome showed up I made my excuses that a client needed me to come to his office and left. I wasn't about to be thrown in jail for violating the protection order. That also would play right into their hands.
At least the protection order only forbade me from coming within a hundred feet of any of them. Any larger range in our small town and I might as well bunk under a bridge outside of town.
After work I stopped at one of the local bars. The owner was one of my clients. I had computerized his point of sale system so that even his taps were integrated and could give him reports and automatically order alcohol as needed. He met me at the bar. "I am sorry, Ted, but I can't serve you. The word is out. Anyone who serves you, sells you something, or even talks in a friendly way will have their loans accelerated and no one can handle that. You will have to leave."
He gave me a wink and nodded toward the back door. I knew where the blank spots were in his security camera system so I nodded and left. I hugged the wall and slid around to the back and met him outside the back door. He had a twelve pack of my favorite beer under his arm. "Ted, I am sorry. Take this as a peace offering. Hopefully Mains will get over his snit and quit this bullshit." That was all he said before slipping back inside.
I hugged the wall again and walked back to my lonely little apartment. When I got there I found a used, but still serviceable mattress, box springs, and Hollywood frame leaning against the back door. Whoopee, I didn't have to sleep on that airbed again. After putting the beer on ice I wrestled the bed up to my apartment and got it set up. It was a better night sleep aided by five or six beers and a mostly comfortable bed.
The next day I went to Ned's for some groceries. I got to the checkout lane and was then escorted to the door without my supplies. Ned himself came out to throw me out. "Ted, I like you and your family but I can't buck Ronald Mains. He would shut me down in a week if he even knew I was talking to you as I threw you out. I am sorry. Give my regards to your mother." He made a face like he was pissed at me, I guess for any witness and the security camera, and gave me a shove at the door.
That evening all of the groceries I had picked out were sitting in a wood box with a padlock on it next to my back door. The key was on the driver's side front tire. I emptied the box and left it outside. I tried to move it and it was damned heavy. When I examined the bottom I found steel plates attached to it.
I guess my unknown benefactor didn't want someone stealing from the box. Yeah, it wouldn't stop someone who was really trying to fuck with me but at least the average person wouldn't do anything.
I went out of town for a couple of days to service a few other clients. A germ of an idea was starting to grow. I couldn't get what I wanted locally so I stopped at a small out of town service station and purchased some small fuel cans. I bought regular gasoline and some diesel fuel.
Each trip out of town I purchased a couple of items that I needed to complete my plan.
During this time Rebecca and Joshua tried to make my life hell. I had to change my phone number as she would call me multiple times a day. Then a cop would stop by to harass me about violating the protection order. I would show that I never answered so I could not be in violation. The cop would tell me to quit fucking around and leave again.
It got so I couldn't even fuel my car, a company car, mind you. I would have to send someone else to fuel up just so I could get my work done.
My plan came to full fruition when Mains Federal Bank started to harass my mother. She was getting multiple calls per day asking her to come in and take out a reverse mortgage. The county claimed they had not gotten her tax payment. When I called the tax assessor he whispered into the phone that Ronald Mains was leaning on him to fuck with my mother.
Now the bastard had to pay. He couldn't threaten mom about a mortgage but was harassing her in other ways. She didn't need the stress. A week was all I needed to get ready. It had to be middle of the night when there was only a couple of cops on duty and usually sleeping in their cruisers. I could prepare then. I would steal away and drive to another town during the day to catch a nap in my car.
I also purchased an old rattle-trap pickup from a farmer about forty miles away. I didn't immediately title it as the plates were still good for a few more months. He brought it to an old abandoned house about a mile out of town and stashed it behind the house for me.
I put the plan into motion just after all the businesses in town closed for the night. I made the rounds to make sure they were all dark before I started. I wanted no one to get hurt but, well, maybe a few select people could get physically hurt and I wouldn't care.
Time to act. First I went into the office and remotely turned off the fire alarm systems in each business I was going to hit. These systems were integrated into their networks and all of them had used my business to set up the systems. I didn't mess with the hospital or even the bank as there might be federal laws broken if their systems were deliberately messed with.
I went to the convenience store on the edge of town. A brick sufficed to knock the glass out of the door. I had mixed diesel fuel and gasoline in a bottle to make a Molotov cocktail. I lit the gas soaked wick and threw it in the door and caught the edge of a shelving unit to break the bottle.
I then drove across town and repeated my action at the other store. I could hear the sirens as the volunteer fire department responded to the first fire. I smiled to myself. Ronald had forced his way into being elected the volunteer fire chief and was also on the board of trustees for the fire department. He had always resisted spending money on any improvements. Tonight was going to show the error of his ways.
I went over to the farm supply store. That manager was a nasty shit even when I wasn't being persecuted. There I used three cocktails in various areas of the building to make sure the fire got going. Since the fire alarm and fire suppression systems were integrated the sprinklers went off but no alarm went off. I made sure the fire was too large before the sprinklers could activate. Without a supplemental water supply from the fire department the sprinkler system was soon overwhelmed.
When most of the commercial area of town was on fire I then placed a call to my former house via a burner phone. When Rebecca answered I made it short and sweet through the electronic voice changer I had bought at a toy store. Darth Vader told her that there was an arsonist and that she should take herself and her kids to Ted Meheron's mother's house for safety.
I was sitting down the street and watched as about an hour later Rebecca left with the kids and headed for her parents' mansion. I knew she would do that but she was in for a surprise. I wasn't in any hurry but made sure my old house was well lit up with flames before I walked a couple of blocks to the car.
When she pulled into her parents' gated community, yes our little town actually had a gated community complete with security patrols, she found their house on fire with her mother standing outside wringing her hands.
Guess who handled the computer system for the gated community and their security company? The patrol was off dealing with a break-in alarm when the fire started.
I found out later that Rebecca stood with her mother for a while before they all piled back into Rebecca's car and went to my mother's house as even the motels seemed to be having difficulty with their computer systems and couldn't check anyone in.
My final stop was to park the company car at the office. I opened the door and tossed in my last Molotov and then lit the car on fire. Unknown to Rebecca and Joshua and her asshole father I had cancelled the insurance on the building and the vehicles.
I then walked to the first fire where the fire department was valiantly trying to stop any spread. Ronald was standing next to the lone fire engine with his high dollar white fire gear and matching white helmet directing the half drunk members. Since the police were running all over town trying to see if anyone was inside the other fires, there was no one to even slow my progress down.
There was no other fire department coming to help as Ronald had refused to sign mutual aid agreements and had gone out of his way to alienate other departments. Shits to be him now.
I came up behind Ronald and used the voice changer again. I first stuck a small dowel against his back. Darth Vader again spoke. "Don't turn or jerk or you might get hurt very badly." Ronald froze and started to speak. "Shut up, Asshole, and listen. Your town is burning down. If you don't want it to happen again you had better mend your ways. No one is exempt from retribution. Even your own house is now fully engulfed. Listen and learn. Quit being an ass or further retribution will come your way."
I didn't want him to turn so I shoved him and he landed in a mudhole. Quite the look, his pure white gear now muddy. He started to come up to his knees and I shoved him with my foot and he got a face full of muddy water. I turned and strolled off, disappearing into the crowd watching the futile efforts to douse the flames.
I made my way to the hidden pickup and headed out of the area, a long way out of the area. I assumed I was going to be under suspicion, even a corrupt department sometimes has to investigate crimes and this was a whopper.
I landed in a large metropolitan area three states away from my hometown. I didn't try to hide or change my name or find a false identity. Really, I didn't care. I was prevented from seeing my children. They had been adopted by Joshua. I had no money to send for child support or alimony. I knew the cops would be coming for me so I didn't try to start a new business.
I just applied for an IT job and was soon doing the same work as I had done before. I waited a while before calling Mom on a burner phone. I was so paranoid I actually drove fifty miles away from my apartment in case law enforcement would try to trace my phone.
I guess I didn't need to be that paranoid. Mom was glad to hear from me. She was giddy with her news about the local happenings. "First, I am glad you are alive. Initially it was believed you might have been in the apartment when the building burned but there was no evidence of a body. Somebody finally postulated that you had been very unhappy and had probably left your resignation letter for Becky and Josh and then left town but the letter would have gotten burned with the building. Thanks for letting me know within a day or so that you were alive.
Second, Becky and Josh didn't get married. It seems he was already married in another state and hadn't gotten divorced yet. Becky and the kids stayed with me until she could find a new house. It is actually smaller than the one you guys used to live in.
Third, most of the businesses and homes that got burned were insured by the insurance agency that the bank offered. They took such a hit on the claims that they jerked their franchise. When the insurance investigators dug into the reason for the heavy losses they were not happy that Ronald Mains was the fire chief and the one in charge of preplanning potential fires. The insurance company is suing Ronald for keeping the fire department from adopting modern fire fighting techniques and not having required mutual aid agreements in place.
Fourth, a new bank has opened an office here and a lot of the businesses that burned got loans from the new bank and that has cut into Mains Federal Bank earnings. I didn't know it but there was a board of directors at Mains Federal and they are not happy with how Ronald is running things. He is on a short leash right now.
Fifth, since Becky didn't get married to that scum Josh she pulled the protection order and wants to hear from you. Also, the kids are still yours. Becky went to the judge and begged for changes in the divorce since it had not gotten to the ninety days and finalization. I think you might still be married. The kids still ask for you every day when they come here after school.
Sixth, did you know that Judge Gavin had a car collection? I guess he kept it under his hat but it burned down that night. He looks ancient now. The rumor is that Ronald had basic liability insurance on the cars to keep the judge's expenses down. He only got a couple of hundred dollars for each car he owned. The gossip chain insists he lost over a million dollars and he doesn't much like Ronald Mains any longer.
We are looking for a new police chief. The sheriff has decided to not run again and some of the deputies and cops have resigned.
Becky's parents are looking for some place to live. The house was totally destroyed and there is no apartment good enough for them to live in while a new house is being built. It might be a couple of years before their house is completed. That is if they can find a builder. It seems that no one wants to take on the job. She actually asked if I was willing to sell or rent them my house. I considered it for a minute or so but then told her that their history of mistreating my son made it impossible to trust them with my house. I guess Ronald blustered but since he is in legal trouble even the tax assessor told him to shove it. By the way they 'found' my tax payment. I guess the assessor received a message that night as his cars and RV went up in flames. Suddenly there are a lot happier people now since Ronald's influence seems to be on the wane. Their tax troubles disappeared overnight.
Right now it seems the only ones disturbed by the fires were the business owners and Ronald Mains. Everyone else is of the opinion that fire sometimes cleanses.
So, when are you coming to visit your old mom and your kids?"
I had to chuckle. "I guess I need to plan a trip home very soon. I might have to arrange for a better vehicle, though. My old ride barely made it here. I will see you very soon, Mom."