Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Chapter 9


Landowners Worried Over Concert
Porta-potties in short supply

By: Neil Owens
Northern Idaho Sentinel

May 28 - Landowners around the Hayden Lake area are concerned about refuse and ecological damage that may be left in the wake if a rumored concert takes place in the area. Local residents swarmed into the city council meeting last night, emanding to know what precautions the city was taking.

Mayor Lowell Tallmadge, said that he was not aware of any concert planned for the area. The city had however ordered portable sanitary stations placed on city grounds to accommodate the influx of "Dead Heads."

Police Chief Rick Palmer said, "I've asked for additional funds for overtime. What we need right now is traffic control, and an official presence." He went on to say, "We don't want any drug parties, or hooliganism in our town. If these people are coming here for that, they better go elsewhere."

This reporter was able to contact the agency representing the Grateful Dead. While they would not confirm the concert, they also did not deny it. Their only comment being "No S***."

Copyright, Northern Idaho Sentinel. All rights reserved.

Meyer's flight was right on time as it came into Coeur d'Alene. When I asked about his luggage, my esteem for him grew even higher. He was traveling with just what he could carry on a dead run from one terminal to another. We skipped the long lines at baggage claim, and went directly to the parking lot where my Jeep Cherokee rental waited.

A front was coming in, and the clouds that had been light and puffy during the day were turning thick and gray. The local weather guesser predicted a thirty-percent chance of showers for later that night. The temperatures had dropped into the forties, and Meyer shook like a typical Floridian. His cotton slacks were too thin, and his nylon windbreaker was next to useless. I cranked up the heater in the Cherokee and rolled up my window.

"I don't know how people can survive in these frozen wastelands."

"Don't worry Meyer. We'll have you warm and toasty in no time. We can get you some warmer gear tomorrow. Is Sue Ok?"

"Yes, she and Lenny are doing fine."

"We have reservations at the Clark House on Hayden Lake. That will be our base of operations. I've never stayed there, but I hear it's nice."

"As long as the rooms are heated, I'm sure it will be fine."

We drove in silence until the Cherokee warmed up, and Meyer's teeth stopped chattering. The surrounding countryside was crowded with pine trees hiding most of the suburban sprawl. When we finally pulled into what had once been the Clark Mansion, we were both suitably impressed. The grounds consisted of twelve wooded acres, with a large grassy area stretching from the large white colonial down to the lakeshore. The mansion itself was two stories high with dormers along a steep gray roof. I could easily imagine presidents, princes, and the odd billionaire using the place for private meetings and discrete liaisons. And, the rooms were heated, and nicely decorated. We stowed our gear, then met downstairs in the dining room for coffee. I spread a map out between us, and we studied silently until the waitress came.

"Hi, I'm Dawn. I'll be serving you tonight. Our special is fresh mountain trout almandine with new potatoes. For desert, we have apple strudel. Would you like a few minutes to look at the menu?"

While she was waiting for an answer, Dawn put her arm around Meyer's shoulder and rested her hip at his side, looking over his shoulder. With anyone else, any place else, it would have been out of place. With Meyer, it all seemed as natural as breathing. There was something about him that young women trusted and liked. He smiled at her, and for a brief moment, I may as well have been on the other side of the world. My presence wasn't noticed or required.

"What a wonderful child you are Dawn. What would you recommend that we have?" Meyer asked.

"Have a steak. The trout isn't as fresh as we usually serve."

"Thank you. Bring us large steaks, medium, and coffee to drink. We'll let you fill in the details."

Dawn gave him a wink, and walked away toward the kitchen. All I could do was look at Meyer in awe.

"You know Meyer, if you could bottle that, you would make a fortune."

"It's no secret M. Young women like Dawn can sense when you like them for themselves. It's simply a mater of being interested in them."

"But you don't know her from Adam."

"No. I do not. But I can tell you that Dawn is from a well to do family, in spite of which she is working her way through school. Her fiancée will be here to pick her up in two hours, and he has longish brown hair."

"I'll bite. Where did all that come from?"

"Elementary my dear M. Her shoes were well worn, but high priced; obviously purchased while she was still at home with her parents. She didn't write down our order, which tells me she is bright enough to be in school. Yet, while she is too young to be one herself, she was using an expensive drafting pencil preferred by architects. She is wearing an engagement ring, and she had two strands of long brown hair on her shoulder. You may have noticed that she was a blond."

"That doesn't explain how you knew her boyfriend would be here in two hours to pick her up."

"Don't you pay attention to anything M? The menu clearly states that the dining room closes at 11:00 PM. The rooms here are much too expensive for her to be staying at Clark House, and there were no other cars in evidence that she might be likely to drive home in."

"I'm beginning to think I'm blind. I hope your talents extend to planning sieges."

"Well, let's start with first things first, one thing at a time. What exactly is the target of this siege?"

"A compound owned by the Aryan Nation. I know it's here from what Sue said, and what I got over the Internet. I just don't know exactly where."

Dawn came back to our table then, carrying two cups of coffee. Meyer greeted her with the same smile, and thanked her for the service.

"Dawn, we're looking for property in the area. Perhaps you could help us. We've heard that there is a group of skinheads in the area, and we would like to stay away from the area they are in. Do you know where they might be located?"

"Oh sure. Everyone around here knows where they are. We don't like it much, but there isn't anything we can do about it."

She bent over the table and studied the map for a second, then placed a small "x" on the map.

"That's where their compound is. If you stay away from that, you'll be fine."

Before she left again, I said, "How are the classes coming?"

"Oh great! I just finished my finals and I think I did well. I'll graduate next spring."

"Architecture?" Meyer asked her with another smile.

"Yeah, with a minor in structural engineering."

Meyer gave a little chuckle as she walked away. "Oh ye of little faith." He said.

I looked down at the map, and studied the area around the "x." It was fifteen or so miles out. There were roads close by, but we couldn't tell much else. Tomorrow, we would have to do some reconnoitering, and look for a better map. There should be somewhere around to get a U.S.G.S. topological map that showed contour lines.

We split a half bottle of Chateau Neuf du Pape over the steaks, and then finished up with the apple strudel and more coffee. Just before we left to find our beds, a young man with long brown hair pulled up outside. Meyer didn't say a word.