Mad Crab Mojave: Chapter 62

In which Jones marshals his available resources

Bugs arrived at Jones’ detective agency just as dawn broke. Despite the early hour, he looked calm and energized. Bugs dropped a heavy backpack on the floor and collapsed onto Jones’ couch, ignoring the sweaty, crumpled sheets.

“I’ve always wanted to visit the Hoover Dam,” he said. “But here’s the thing. The potato truck is basically toast. Louie thinks it’s the alternator. I’ve been thinking, alternative fuel, can we run cars on potatoes? Either way, I do not think it can handle the drive.”

“Is the autonomous car network still down?” asked Jones.

Bugs nodded. “What about that freelance vehicle you were working with?”

Jones shook his head. “Marvin is a Fed.”

Bugs frowned. “You gotta call your secretary. This is her job, Jones.”

Reluctantly, Jones agreed, and called Amelia. She answered on the first ring.

“I don’t like this pressure from the Feds, Jones. We really need to wrap this case up soon. Do you think this call is bugged?”

“Offensive!” yelled Bugs, in the general direction of the receiver. Amelia ignored him.

“Probably,” answered Jones, “I don’t think anyone has time to listen or care. Agent Moss seems very busy with the insurrectionist fringe. Look, I’m close to wrapping up this case, Amelia. I just need to get to the Hoover Dam.”

Amelia gasped. “An audacious plan! Breach the dam, and flush Mad Crab out of the valley. You’re not worried about the collateral damage?”

“No,” said Jones, annoyed. “I’m not going to breach the dam. I think that Mad Crab is at the dam with the military grade quantum supercomputer.”

“Why don’t you just tell Agent Moss let her deal with it?”

“I don’t have her number anymore,” said Jones. “Do you?”

Amelia ignored the question.

“You know what really ribbles my gibbets?” she asked. “I’ve got all these funds, liquid, less liquid, very liquid, and what am I supposed to do with them? Where do I move them? Will we still have government backed currency tomorrow? What about next Monday? No one knows.” She paused, her voice slowing for dramatic effect. 

“I got a guy who, for twenty thousand dollars, will give me twenty-four thousand hot plates. That’s less than a dollar a hot plate. If the gas supply disappears, it would be an incredible hedge. But what if the electric supply disappears? I know, solar, but are there twenty-four thousand solar customers in the Bay Area? And are they going to have alternative currencies to pay me in?”

“Not if Mad Crab has their way,” said Jones. “That’s why I need to go to the Hoover Dam. Immediately. If they are able to carry through their nefarious scheme, they may wind up in control of the entire money supply.”

This got Amelia’s attention. “Where are you now?” she asked.

“At the office. Where are you?”

Amelia ignored the question.

“A vehicle will arrive in 30 minutes. You need to get six gallons of water ready, and 24 ounces of coffee.”

“Why coffee?” asked Jones. 

“Because Bugs is going to have to do the entire drive without stopping, and the Hoover Dam is eight hours away.”