“Relax guys, it’s a long car ride. Did any of you see ‘The Wolf of Wall Street?” They all nodded. “Well, despite efforts to clean it up, the penny stock world is still pretty much that way. Oh, the boiler room operations like that have been, mostly, closed down. The original on-line Usenet newsgroups for penny stocks and the original form of Raging Bull are gone, but, there is still enough out there for those who will look. Current regulatory efforts are all about shutting down things like ‘The Wolf of Wall Street.’ They aren’t really focused on money transfers.”
“What do you mean money transfers?” asked Giant.
“It requires a grain of truth. The bigger the grain the more you can transfer. A big enough grain of truth will let you transfer more than you put in.”
“How so?” asked Slim. Yeah, he was pulled in too. Even Stretch seemed to be doing more listening that driving.
“Before I get into that, can one of you tune into some NPR station low on the FM band and turn the volume down?”
“Yes, but why?” asked Stretch.
“I like these cars and want to know what shape this one is in before we get into a situation we need to get out of quickly” I responded. “If one of you has a blue tooth ear piece, pair it with that phone and call some generic number, listen to the background.”
“What is it you seek?” queried Stretch.
“I like these cars. I know a bit about them. That 160 on the speedometer is not there for show, but, if we try it with the tires that are on this car, we are dead. The shocks are shot too. Even if the tires held up we would roll in a turn.”
“It rides like a dream!” exclaimed Slim.
“Trust me. I’ve been in a lot of these. Completely wore out the suspension will give you a smooth ride, but, if you push it hard you will die. Putting new quick struts under this comes in at 12 book hours plus the price of the quick struts.”
“Quick struts?” asked Giant.
“What got put on at the factory, the coil spring and strut all in one assembly. It’s a massive labor bill so nobody puts them on. The previous owner definitely did not. They put regular cheap touring tires on this car instead of the Z-rated rubber required for speeds above 130 MPH. Ah, you don’t need to pair an ear piece. Just turn the radio up.”
Stretch clicked the steering wheel controls and pretty soon everyone could hear the tick.
“What is that?” asked Stretch.
“At least one of the coil on plug things is bad. We might as well splurge for a new set of plugs too” I stated.
“We can just get another car once we get to your storage locker” Stretch offered.
“Nah, this will do. We have a few days. Whoever has an ID matching the owner will have to drop it off at some national chain store once we get where we are going and we will do without it for a time. Perhaps we will have someone else use an ID to get a rental.”
“You’re talking about sinking a lot of cash into this ride” Slim stated.
“Just over four thousand” I responded. “It’s a life insurance policy. Unlike my other policy this one is there to help keep me alive. My contacts and knowledge of where we are going are a bit limited though. Don’t know of a safe place to put that kind of cash on a prepaid card.
“After we clean out that locker we will have to start putting BP premium in this thing” I continued.
“You do know that is a waste of money, right?” asked Giant.
“For mileage you would be correct. Other forms of premium don’t seem to work well in these cars, but, on BP premium, they run like the wind. The mileage actually goes down, believe it or not. At one time I had a Jeep Grand Cherokee with the 4.7 high output engine. It was almost an exact opposite. Shell’s top of the line made it get better mileage, but everything else didn’t work any better than base gas.”
“Why are you so into cars?” asked Giant.
“I’m a guy from a time when cars were special” I responded. “I’m also a guy who likes to stay alive. This isn’t the movies. You can’t just grab a car on the street and expect it to hold up during some Jason Borne style driving. You have to prep it. Oil change, air filter, suspension, tires and brakes. You can shut the radio off now, I know what needs to be done to this. The first place we stop after hitting the locker will be a chain auto maintenance place. Get a new set of plugs, synthetic oil, air filter and have them replace whatever coil on plug thing is bad. Get tires from a different place farther down the road.”
“You trying to turn this into a five day drive?” asked Stretch.
“Yeah” I responded. “I need to know what Henry is going to do. Best way to find that out is to show up late with a vehicle that can get me the Hell out of there. Henry is a cheap-ish bastard. He won’t spend money on clothes or cars, but, he’ll drop a grand on a meal without batting an eye. He will either be dead or those they sent will be dead. If there isn’t a really nice place to eat, I mean Michelin 3-star rating nice, he might not even touch the money.”