She examined all of it every time it went through her head. If only this. If only that. If only the other thing.
“I shouldn’t get sour with you, Tuck. I guess you were good for me. I needed somebody. Everything in the world turned so flat, you know? You were very sweet and I appreciated it. Of course, you can be mean as a snake too. But I don’t know, I think when Cordell hit the tree I lost my luck. It wasn’t a good move to marry Buddy Yoder. I think you tried to tell me that, Tuck.”
“All I think I told you, if I remember, I kindly told you that Hubbard Yoder, Attorney at Law, ain’t too playful.”
“Well, it’s over. He doesn’t think it is but it is. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I’m doing pretty good. I’m making money. This afternoon I’m showing the old Crown house to some people who want to turn it into one of those bed and breakfast places, very elegant, like the best in England. I’ve worked up all the figures on it and I know what they have to come up with to make it bankable, and I worked up all the expenses they’ll run into including the rezoning, and I had Jeanie run off a pie chart on the PC. It’s very nice-looking. I think I’ve got a good chance. This is the third time I’ll have been over it with them. They want to dicker the commission, but there’s a place I won’t go lower than. I figure I’ll net ten or eleven thousand out of the deal, and I bet you’ve put in a hundred hours on that sucker so far. I have some leverage on them because I had them put up five hundred nonreturnable on a two-month option so nobody would steal it out from under them, and I had one hell of a job talking old Mrs. Crown’s legal guardian into taking such small money. Hey, I’m getting hoarse yelling at you, Tuck. And you don’t want to hear all this dreary stuff anyway. Who’s that coming?”
“Looks like Jersey Joe in the African Queen. Yeah. He’ll e going fifty or sixty miles out working red snapper. Even ” he’s into a million of them, another boat shows on the horizon, he pulls up and moves. Joe don’t share. He’s got eight stations for those big electric reels of his.”
“So excuse me,” she said and went below.
They passed close enough to wave. Soon the mainland shore was in view, and Loomis made a course correction to hit the markers at the mouth of Alden Bay and the Alden Kiver. His most successful residential housing development was six miles up the river. Parklands, a two-thousand-acre complex northeast of West Bay. He went up the narrow channel dead slow against the current, enjoying the look of the old trees with the beards of moss, the gentle roll of the countryside, the children of summer playing in the river and n the Fawns. He liked the summer smell of the land, a hot and slightly acrid fragrance. His headache was gone.
Soon he was inside Parklands, heading for the yacht club, Passing the elegant homes on both sides of the river. Gate guards, large lots, golf course, country club, tennis courts. He Was comfortably aware of the five hundred acres of land not yet subdivided and marketed. Money in the bank. Parklands was the best address within miles of West Bay. All the bankers and lawyers and doctors and politicians. Fred Pittman and Colonel Barkis had been in with him on that one, right from the beginning. Big plans. Big loans. It had started strong and then after the first year it began to stall out. And the interest had begun to eat them up.
Fred and the Colonel had lost their confidence in the Parklands project. They kept at him all the time about spending too much money. But he knew it would work. And he wished he had the money to buy them out. He tried to borrow it. He tried to talk them into taking his personal notes. But then the project began to pick up, began to move, began to prove itself out. He had learned to handle his deals by himself from then on. Except, of course, when you wanted to cut somebody into something nice, just as a favor for a good friend.