Family

Leaving Lake Riverside, Chapter 2: The Land Scam

This is the next chapter of my book, entitled Leaving Lake Riverside. To read the previous chapter, CLICK THIS LINK. For the next chapter, CLICK THIS LINK. To start at the beginning, CLICK THIS LINK. Thanks for reading!

The Land Scam

From time-to-time, Britt worked for a man named Tom Marcial, who owned a string of horses. They would haul these horses to various venues, where people in attendance could ride them, for shits and grins.

Tom knew a man whose last name was Beaumont, and Beaumont was a scam artist. He was setting up a shady land banking scheme and wanted someone to help him portray a sense of the Old West. He thought this could lure investors to a tract of desert land that he was conspiring to hype up and sell at inflated prices.

Tom was a natural at this because he always tried to pass himself off as an old cowboy. He was only around 40 years old, but to hear him talk, you’d swear he once rode the range with Buffalo Bill and Wild Bill Hickock. Tom signed a contract with Beaumont’s flaky business, Beaumont & Associates, and hired Britt to work for him at this job.

Around this same time, Britt and my mother married after only about a month of fooling around in the sack. Britt was a Mormon, so he got a bishop to marry them in a little office room at the Mormon church in Oceanside. The wedding was very small, with just a few witnesses, Britt, my mother, and three of her five kids attending. I remember we all barely fit into that small office. It was no kind of ceremony, just a few words spoken and some papers being signed.

And now there was work to do, so no time for a honeymoon. Well shit, they’d already had their honeymoon anyway.

Britt and Tom had to set up a riding stable at the real estate tract. And this site was located in a very remote area about 50 miles northeast of Oceanside. It was near the foot of the San Jacinto mountains, and in the shadow of a massif known as Cahuilla Mountain.

Cahuilla Mountain, with Lake Riverside in the foreground.

The riding stable was meant to provide diversionary entertainment for children of potential customers, while their parents got on with other, more lucrative-seeming business. The business of being scammed. And Tom and Britt would be accessories to this scam, literally helping to take the marks for a ride. Or rather, the marks’ kids.

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