After a mountain breakfast of eggs, pancakes and sausage I started by studying Molly's records to try to understand the how and when. By afternoon I was pretty sure that most money disappeared during peak sales periods and that it was strange that it never seemed to be recorded anyplace. So unless you had excellent inventory records like Molly had you would never know it was ever supposed to be there. That would not be so puzzling if she hadn't already had people look to catch anyone pocketing cash or even running a second register that they brought in themselves.
That evening I asked Molly to tell me who these store clerks were.
“Mostly they are young people just wanting to be ski bums and ski bunnies and so they work here so they can be on the slopes when they are not working. Most work for a couple years and then move on.”
“Are the three in shops that don't seem to have a problem any different/”
“Yes, they are local and have worked for me since high school.”
“Well, I see the pattern, now just to figure out how they do it. Something high tech I bet.”
That night someone shot me!
When I came to I was being worked on by EMT's right where I dropped on Molly's back deck.
“What happened?” I asked.
“Someone shot you with a stun dart.”
“A stun dart?”
“Yeah the kind they use to capture wild animals.”
“How long was I out?”
“About five hours.” “You'll have a hangover for awhile so take it easy.”
I had gone out to enjoy the night and that's the last I remembered until now.
“You scared me half to death I thought you had a heart attack or something.”
“Molly, someone doesn't want me here and that was their warning.”
“What will you do?”
“Be more careful comes to mind.” “You've heard the expression 'let sleeping dogs lie' well they woke me up and now they'll wish they hadn't.”
By mid morning my head cleared and I felt a whole lot better so I got on the phone and called Erik
Erik was my friend since childhood. He was a professional hunting guide and an ex Navy Seal. He also watched my back when I needed him. When I told him what happened he said, “Mary and I'll be there in forty-eight hours so keep your head down until then.” Mary was a professional hunter too and in some ways as dangerous as Erik.
Molly insisted she rent a cabin for Erik and Mary and I was sure they would love it. We made sure it was close by. To tell the truth it's a little unnerving to be shot that way.
By early evening we were done with everything and Molly said, “Lets go down to the Cowboy and have a few beers and a sandwich.” The Cowboy is a famous bar in Jackson that has saddles in place of bar stools along the long hardwood bar. After a couple beers I was starting to relax and make jokes about being hunted like a cougar or a bear. A few more beers and Molly and I were both very relaxed.
When we got home we were singing cowboy songs, or what we remembered of them. Once in the house Molly took off her boots and jeans and threw her arms around me and Texas two stepped me into her bedroom where she shoved me down on the bed and proceeded to undress me. for some reason I thought of the saying, “Save a horse, ride a cowboy.” After a while she begin to cry “God Jake I was so afraid” and then the night got hot and happy.