Chapter 20 Hypnotic Vines and Snakes

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Dahl —Sunday, 12:43 PM

Sucks to leave Mercy just as I begin to relax. Benny rushes my way for an intercept midfield.

"Hi John, Gomez said to tell you," he pauses, erring in translation on the side of politeness, "Move your butt, the M.N.R. is here."

"Ah, good stuff." I join his side and dig for common topics. "Can you grow mustard here or only in Earlton?"

Jackpot.

"The summer is longer every year, maybe soon. I kind of want to try growing some now that you mention it."

"I wonder if it's native to that area, Benny?"

"No. Like most plants nowadays, they rely on animal or human assistance to carry their seeds, for pollination, propagation, etc."

"Neat... that's neat."

I spot the government goon standing by the trucks with his hands on his hips and head down, like he wants to scare the guy dating his daughter. His ginger hair and beard are short and wild. His monotone khaki slacks and button short-sleeve make him look like he should be at a zoo with his head in an alligator's mouth.

"How was your lunch, John?"

"I had to cut it short, Benny, to come back here, I'm ready for that lobster tonight. How was your lunch?"

He shrugs, subtle, but obvious, "Warm, the meat tasted funny..."

"I know, sorry, my man, I'll try to remember that ice pack tomorrow."

His hands tossing in the air might be a dis, might be a 'no worries'... I dunno.

"Maybe we'll get some shade and it'll get cooler in the next couple of days."

"That'd be nice. Hopefully not on the seventh though. That's what we call the Full Flower Moon and I'm hoping to see it this year."

I'm still catching glares from the ministry guy. Gomez's grin is no mystery, he can't believe this guy standing next to him. I offer him a shake and he hesitates before taking it. Awkward.

"John Dahlson, special project field supervisor, Cannicare."

"Regis Levesque." He looks like a big leprechaun kicked out of Ireland for being sour. "You got some type of operation here, John."

The way he presses on certain words rubs me the wrong way. This guy serious?

"That right, Rege? You know I called you, right?"

The staring contest challenge he initiates doesn't last. Ti Guy is attracted to stupidity and lumbers over, eager to participate, whether he understands it or not. Two curt horizontal swipes of my fingers under my chin command him know to 'cut it'back off. Maybe 'leprechaun guy' thought I'd be intimidated—he'll adapt quick.

"You want to explain that container leaking chemicals into the soil?" He springs and points at it like a bloody knife with my fingerprints.

"For real?" any notion of adult-speak fades, "you're trippin' over some phenoxy? Are you new?" I mentally peruse my notes, then deliver the coup de gras, "It's a harmless herbicide. It mimics indole acetic acid to promote unregulated growth to kill weeds. Harmless."

I feel like I am handling myself well. Gomez nods his head, keeping score.

"You have your samples and paperwork up to date?" His tone loses traction, now it's just a front.

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