Chapter 61

By this point, everyone was awake and starting to get out of bed. 

Now that the novelty of telepathy was somewhat worn off, it was a mixture of vocalized and unvocalized comments, but there were no longer any secrets among any of them from this point.

Elliott and Chianna were quick to offer their hospitality.

“How about if I take the drink orders and Elliott takes your meal requests?”

Everyone was famished and parched, and nothing that was available at ‘Chez Monroe’ was off-limits.

“How about if I help with the food ?” Aimée offered. “What-cha say, Boss?”

“Do you mind giving me a hand with the beverages Jedidiah?” Chianna gave him a mischievous look; she had never called him by his full name before, and ‘Jed’ just sounds a little bit too “Jethro’ for some people, including Chianna.

“Well, there’s no reason that Rebecca and I should just sit here like company, so how about if we take care of setting the table and whatever else needs done as we get ready to eat.” Leigh-Anne remained cheerfully oblivious of anyone else’s agendas.

“Yeah, I’m not much of one for being waited on, myself,” Rebel added.

(“I’ll tell you what…I have absolutely no problem with being waited on…and in fact, considering that I’m not well-equipped to assist anyone with meal preparation, I’ll just wait in the dining room so I don’t get underfoot.”)

Mordecai seemed to always be in the cat-bird’s seat.

All discussions about anything other than idle conversation was tabled until after the meal.

Once finished, over coffee and a few smokes, they began to brainstorm how to accomplish their goals.

First, Jed and Leigh-Anne were going to do some foraging for supplies directly related to seeing to it that Elliott would be able to brew and distill on a continual basis.

They had a ten-wheeler secreted less than half a day’s ride away on their ‘bikes,’ so that when they returned, they could drop off the truck, fully loaded, thereby giving them another vehicle at the Colony to shuttle either supplies, or finished product as needed.

Sugar had never presented any insurmountable obstacles, because in Florida, especially on the edge of the Everglades, sugarcane grows everywhere, and it’s not that difficult to produce and doesn’t need all that much refinement to be usable for distilling, but having a plentiful supply without foraging would keep Elliott focused on just one thing, without distractions.

By re-pitching previous batches of yeast, and keeping a ‘culture’ going for each next batch, Elliott had developed a ‘house-crop’ that was quite successful, but Agave requires very specialized yeasts that are resistant to a very long list of opportunistic bacterial contaminants that could literally kill your best batch almost overnight, but saccharomyces cerevisiae was the hands-down favorite in North America, and Jed already had a line on a very large source, as well as many gallons of raw agave syrup, some in fifty-gallon drums.

In Mexico, it was originally not even necessary to add any yeasts because they are present naturally on the surface of the plants, or even in the air in their native climate, but even the commercial distillers had been using yeast cultures for several decades since the standardization of Tequila long ago.

Now Elliott would not only have plenty of yeast, but he would have enough of it to keep a  culture brewing for each next new run before it was even started.

Although they had started transplanting and cultivating as many agave plants as they could find, there are some fifty different varieties of Maguey that can be used to produce some type of Mezcal, or Raicilla, only Mexican Weber Blue Agave can be used to make true Tequila, but then again, it had to be made in only one state in Mexico, and that is a very, very long way from the Everglades.

Jed had already started making arrangements to secure tons of Blue Agave, both cut and ready to ferment, or plants in various stages of growth and development before arriving at the Colony, and with the free acreage all over their established territory, plenty of space to grow it.

Plans were being made for both long-haul and short-term goals and deadlines.

Jed had also planned on having his mentor secure enough copper sheeting to built a free-standing three hundred gallon alembic pot still. Although it would involve certain obligations on their part, it also meant that they had a steady market for most of what they could produce, although when Jed and the (now) Four Winds went on the road, they would also have plenty to market while on their travels.

It also meant that the father and son that did the metalwork and brazing for the new still would receive compensation to be determined by mutual agreement of all concerned parties, whether it be ‘profit sharing’ or single disbursement or barter.

This added value to the new liaison that was being proposed to the residents of the Fourteenth Colony.

Chianna was more than a little conflicted with this decision however, because she had envisioned herself traveling with Jed and the rest of the group right away, but the charter that the other members of the Fourteenth Colony had set up two years ago required that all new residents would have to be approved by vote to become permanent residents, and preparations for their new housing would also need their attention.

And although she suspected that she would have no problem getting Jed to invite her along ‘for the ride,’ that would involve leaving Aimée and Rebel alone to their own devices, and as much access to Elliott as they wanted.

It’s ironic how people in the midst of their own peccadillos, still feel pangs of jealousy over those that they would possess and control, if left to their own selfish whims.

Chianna liked Rebecca quite well enough, but she couldn’t escape the fact that when Aimée was around Elliott, she feared that Amy’s desire for her husband would threaten her relationship with a man whom she loved, but did not desire…at least until she thought that someone else wanted him.

Although Aimée had done everything to make it perfectly clear to everyone that it was not her intention to become involved with Elliott, Chianna found herself doubting what might happen without anyone to prevent it.

Had she not been so enthralled with her infatuation over Jed, she would not have been so quick to let the three of them re-unite without her supervision, but it just seemed like a natural sexual revisitation, which was something that had been encouraged by both parties since before they were even officially a couple.

Besides, Chianna would be necessary to present Aimée and Rebel to the other members of the Colony. The men could agree all that they wanted about the rational reasons why such an affiliation would be great for the other members of the Colony from a completely rational standpoint as a matter of business and commerce, but if their wives and significant others did not hold the same point of view, it would be hopeless.

Oddly enough, Leigh-Anne had managed to not only appear to be oblivious to the controversies and machinations of all that romance, but as a result, no one had any suspicions about her intentions.

Not even Chianna.

It had always been that way for her. Not that she wasn’t attractive or sexy enough to have any man that she wanted, but she always seemed aloof or above such goings on, and that had always worked to her advantage in the past.

Leigh-Anne was the eternal enigma of the group, but when she laid her cards upon the table, there was never any doubt.



Chazz Vincent

copyright  ©  March 11th, 2021  

Fish swim with the tides, in and out of the lagoon as it empties itself, receives from, and flows back into the sea.



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