This one is a departure for me. Pretty dark stuff including a revenge-driven path of psycho-sexual murders, compromised people, bloody redemption of a sort, nice guys finishing last and getting old. Oh, and language. Lots of bad language. I waited until my parents had died before writing this little stinker.
If you are squeamish or easily offended you might want to give this one a miss.
BTW: No household pets or infants were harmed in the making of this book.
Myrtle Beach, SC.
At her desk, The Woman was speaking into a phone, “Hey Buff, can you shake loose around two this afternoon? I finally got the map. We’re meeting him in some god-forsaken shit hole out past Conway,” she paused, listening, and spoke again, “Yeah, I know. Get Numbnuts to take the shit to Carmen, but tell him not to bother Evangelina again, or she’ll change his name to NoNuts.” She listened again, laughed, then said, “We’ll be done for the day by the time we get back. Why don’t you just meet me at the Hardees in Conway, You can leave your truck there and I can drop you off on the way back. We’ll be pretty close to your place.”
At two-thirty that day, she met the man known as Buffalo Bonnet at Hardees, next to a half-completed strip mall. Buffalo sighed. She was driving that goddamned 1973 Mustang. He managed to squeeze himself into the passenger seat without a word. He found the map on the console and opened it up.
“Huh” he said This is a NOAH geographic map. These things cost a fucking fortune. Usually, only the Army, Game Wardens, and local PDs can get one.”
“Just tell me where to go,” she said, waiting for it.
“Well, fuck me,” he said, “What kind of career criminal can’t even read a map?”
“You’re right, Buffalo. I’ll either have to learn how to read a map, or plainly state I don’t read maps on my fucking Career Criminal Resume.”
“Besides,” he continued, “an M-82 is damn near five feet long. I don’t know how we are supposed to stuff it into this toy car of yours? Let’s take my truck.”
She replied, “Tell the truth Buff; you just drive that damned thing to piss off white people, don’t you?”
Buff grinned, “Maybe. They do go totally apeshit, especially when they see a hot white girl next to me.”
“And that is why we take my muscle car,” she said, “now where the fuck do I go?”
Twenty-five minutes later they were on an abandoned logging road.
Buffalo cleared his throat, “You ain’t said anything about the other night. Are you OK?”
“I don’t know what to say, Buff. I mean, it went just the way I planned it. I was awake all night and Friday I was just wiped out. But I gotta keep it moving fast before somebody figures things out. So, I’m good to go today.
“I sent Mitzi your packets today. Three weeks from now, we will all be drinking Margaritas in Costa Rica and learning Spanish.”
Buffalo said nothing.
“Tell me that’s not it,” she said as they approached a large derelict concrete block building.
“Nope, this is the place. I think my cousin Johnny worked here about thirty years ago. He was a mechanic for Wayerhauser and this was a maintenance shed. Johnny says some wild shit went down here at night.”
“Tony said to pull around back.”
Buff snorted looking at the ruin, “Well shit, there ain’t nothing to pull up to in front.”
A lanky, sallow man with sharecropper eyes was lounging against a garage door when they rounded the building. The Woman stopped her car nearby. The man approached them with an arrogant slowness. She ran her windows down.
He bent over the window and appraised her and Buff, and finally spoke, “Mm. Nice tits. Who’s the brute?”
“You dying or something honey? You don’t smell so good. Brute ‘n me, we’re just some friends of Tony. So how ’bout it? You friends with Tony too?
The man stepped back, made a sound that might have a nascent laugh which quickly became a deep gravelly cough. Finally, he spat and said, “Come on in then. Lemme get the door.” Amazingly, he pulled out a remote control and a junked-out door opened silently. Kacie noticed a pistol butt in his belt as he replaced the remote, and wondered if he’d noticed the snub nose .357 she kept between her boobs in her concealed-carry bra. She pulled into the garage.
She parked next to the man’s truck, a standard working man’s Ford F-350. It was slightly lifted, and had the tell-tale hydraulic hose running to the rear axle. A smuggler’s truck. The tailgate was open, and a large, flat box lay across it.
They got out of the Mustang and approached the box.
The man asked, “So you, big ‘n, you the shooter?”
Silent, Buff shook his head and nodded towards The Woman.
“Shit girl, whuddya weigh? ‘Bout a buck fifty I’d guess. Have you ever handled a weapon like this before?”
“Like what?” I ain’t even seen it yet.”
Carefully, the man opened the box. “See if’n you can shoulder it.”
Fiercely now she picked up the rifle, careful not to stumble. “Damn thing is heavy.”
“Yeah, it goes about thirty pounds.”
The goddamned thing is a cannon, she thought. “So where’s the stock?”
“‘Taint got one. Least, not a wooden stock like you’d expect See this square piece here, push that against yore shoulder. That’s your stock. I hope you’re not thinking about shooting this thing standing up. I’ve seen grown men twice your size get their shoulder broke plus getting knocked on their ass trying that.”
“I don’t plan to be standing. Isn’t that a bipod on it?” The man nodded, and spit again.
He asked, “How far are you gonna be when you take the shot?”
“Pretty close, maybe fifty feet”
He snorted, “You do realize, this thing has a reliable range of about a mile?”
Her smile was poison when she replied, “I do appreciate your concern there Mr. Crockett, but it’s gonna be dark and I’ve got to be pretty accurate. Now, I want to shoot this damn thing.”
“Crockett, huh? You can call me Davey. I’d like that”, he smiled and climbed into the truck bed, “I’ve got that shooting bench set up over there. You’ll need one for that kinda shot.” He took a paper target from his truck box, and taped it to a wall at the far end of the garage.
Seventeen minutes later, The Woman decided that her hearing seemed to be returning and her shoulder wasn’t broken after all, and there was a two-foot hole in the concrete block wall. Davey Crockett had just demanded six thousand dollars for The Barrett .50 M-82. Tony had warned her about the price, but she gave haggling a try anyway.
“Six Thousand Dollars?” The Woman swallowed, and continued, “Shit, his truck didn’t cost that much!”
The sallow man said, “Tony said you wanted something guaranteed to seize the engine on a farm truck. This is it.”
“I heard you can crack an engine block with a .45 pistol,” she said.
“Yeah, I hear that one a lot” the man spit on the concrete floor causing a small poof of dust, “I ain’t never tried it but they tell me a .45 might crack the block if’n you hit it just right coming from just the right angle. If your truck is moving or if it’s dark, you might crack the block, but it might not. Or the vehicle might get a mile down the road before enough oil runs out and the engine seizes. All you gotta do with this weapon is to hit the engine compartment and the ride is over. They don’t pass go or collect two hunnert dollars.”
“Still, six thousand dollars.”
The man seemed to be trying to stare through an ancient garage door window caked with at least twenty years of dust, rust, and webs. He spat again and spoke, “Lady, the only reason we’re talking is ’cause Tony asked me to help you out. He says you are a serious person. This is a serious weapon, a Barrett .50 M-82 Sniper gun. I carried one like it in SouthEast Asia. I was Marine Recon. You want a guaranteed truck stopper, this is it. There ain’t but a few of these to be bought anywhere. If your deal goes ok, maybe, I’ll buy it back from you assuming it don’t get fucked up. You still gotta pay for the new barrel though,
“Shit, Can’t I just rent it then?”
“How much to rent it?”
“Six thousand and you still gotta pay for the new barrel.”
“Have you got anything cheaper that’ll do the job?”
“Shore. I got a bazooka with a couple of rockets for thirty-five hunnert”.
“Fuck. I don’t wanna blow the truck up, ya know. I got other plans for him.”
“I’d go with the rifle then if it was me”, he said.
The Woman spoke, “About the six thousand though, I’ve got five or six smoking hot girls who’d love to spend a weekend on the beach and in the President’s Suite with you and each other. They will change your life, especially the Mexican one. They will do things you ain’t even heard of, if you’d consider knocking a couple thousand off the price.”
“Hmm,” he replied, “There can’t be much I ain’t at least heard of,” He paused, “I’m thinking.”