Thursday, February 10, 2011

Rugs or drugs?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Written on Tuesday, September 15, 2009 at 4:13p

Running around today like usual trying to get my dang building permit ; ) but in the midst of the running, while waiting at one of the hour long stop lights we have here in No. VA, I noticed a small, decrepit house/building across the intersection. It sat all alone. Wasn't in an industrial park or near other houses. Just there . . . molding all by itself. It had deep brown water stains running down the front. The gutter was loose on one end. The roof had a sag in the middle, probably from the droppings that the two huge trees overshadowing it produced year after year. There was a green tinge to it- couldn't tell what it was from a distance but I figure it was moss or something similar. On the front hung two huge signs- both heavily weather worn displaying the fact that rugs were the commodity being sold there. One even claimed they had thousands in stock but I doubt it as the whole building didn't look more than 20 ft. long and about the same deep. 

One question that immediately popped in my head- how could thousands of rugs fit in there? Was there underground storage of some sort? I imagined this old dude, wearing the same clothes he's worn for 40 years, surrounded by paperwork and rugs. I could just smell the sour tinge of old pipe smoke. He sat in a space carved out just for him- No room to breath, let alone move. Made me smile.

Second question- how has that place been in business so long? There's no way this guy was getting heavy traffic or doing internet sales. By the look of things, their footprint has been there for a LONG TIME!

Third question- There were two cars outside, 1) a pretty new Mercedes 2) and a brand new Audi (one of the expensive sport ones- how could this guy own these cars or were they customers?

And then the story starting unfolding in my head. This wasn't a rug place at all. Nope- this old guy has been running a mob business for years and using this location as a shell to run the money through. I could just see two young greasy guys, both with thick accents, meeting with the "godfather" to discuss current dealings about some hot, new illegal Europeans imports. Topic of discussion today was whether or not they should include one of the local customs agents at Dulles in the latest deal so it'd make things easier.

That's what this place was- all the characters straight out of a James Patterson book. And then the light changed . . .

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