Friday, September 12, 2008

Desert Vengeance continued...

Kathy's parched and sun burnt skin seemed to sizzle as she lowered herself into the cool waters of the natural jacuzzi that nature had provided beneath the overhanging ledge of the rocks in Oak creek. Four hours of hard desert riding had taken its toll on Heather and her riders. Finding respite along the oaks and mesquite trees along the river, Animal had set up camp for the night. Listening to the rolling waters quiet rhythms and Heather's ticking and gurgling as the steel and aluminum cooled, Animal unpacked his saddle bag retrieving drinks and a glass mason jar of chili, packed carefully that very morning. Animal chuckled to himself, “At least I learned some skills in the service.” He was painfully aware the fact that anything surviving after today’s ride was something bordering on a near miracle. He set the jar atop a large sunlit boulder. He'd let the desert sun’s natural heat warm the contents.

Watching Kathy contentedly relaxing in the shade, his mind replayed the day’s events; eleven customers had paid the coroner’s son's tuition to college in the space of an hour. A scrap yard had received a recycler's bounty, the local constabulary’s paychecks just went into overtime, hell’s denizens were dancing the Macarena in celebration of its new arrivals and Heather’s tanks were almost empty of fuel. All for a bunch of computer chips that sat buried a hundred miles from here. What the hell was so damn important on those chips that killing was necessitated, who was looking to gain? And how far was the extent of the threat to Animal and Kathy? Knowing no answer would be forthcoming from the desert air; he got up, undressed and waded out to join Kathy.

Settling beside her Animal breathed a sigh of relief as the cool waters swept away the dust and heat from his dry wind burned skin. Watching with a sly smile Kathy stood up and washed the dirt and grime from his back and shoulders. Low setting rays of sunlight sparkled in the crystals of liquid rhinestones on her well toned form. Droplets ran down her breast and fell from her gold piercings. Her hair gently brushed his chest as she reached over his arms to splash water down his crimson burnt skin. Sliding over to sit beside him she softly said, “Thank you for saving me out there today. If you hadn't come along when you did...,” the expression on her face said it all.

Animal didn't reply with words he just smiled and brushed the hair from her face. Kathy placed her head on his arm as they watched as the sun made it's farewell to the day with a spectacular array of colors in varying shades of orange, reds and purples. The last fading rays reflected off the clouds giving the appearance of neon tipped brushstrokes seemingly applied by the unseen hand of Michelangelo. Animal gently gathered Kathy up in his arms and carried her over to the blanket. Setting her down, he grasped her hand and said, “I'll be right back.” He walked over to the nearby boulder, retrieving the sun cooked chili and reaching into his cooler procured two bottles of beer and some utensils, and then headed back to join Kathy on the blanket. "Hope you like chili and beer.”

“Right about now I could eat lizards raw, but it just so happens I love chili and beer!” smiled Kathy.

After lighting the pile of mesquite surrounded by rocks Animal had set up earlier, they ate in silence watching the stars coalesce into view.
“Tomorrow we will ride to a place a good friend of mine lives. Then we will decide who to contact and what to do about all this.” said Animal.
She nodded in ascent and lay on her back pressing in against his hip. Animal reclined beside her, pulled her in tight and wrapped a blanket around them.

Morning came with the harsh return of sunlight reflecting over the waters of the stream. After putting on the river washed clothes they had left drying on the branches of a greasewood bush, Animal and Kathy erased all traces of having been there, packed Heather for the ride out. Animal pointed out over the desert. “Pop lives about fifty miles past that mountain in the distance. Once we get there we'll be better able to decide what we need to do.”

Heather awakened from her slumber shook and rumbled to life. Animal stepped her into gear and rolled her onto the dirt road leading away from the river. Keeping Heather’s speed slow to conserve what little gas she still had. The miles to the nearby mountain seemed to grow with each passing minute.

Spotting a silvery flash out in the nearby wash Animal stopped Heather, shut her off and speaking to Kathy said, “Wait here.” He dismounted and walked toward the source. An abandoned four-wheel drive truck was resting partially covered by the sand of the dry river bottom. Animal, hoping against hope, twisted the gas cap off the fuel tank, leaned in close and sniffed the fumes emanating forth. Gas!

Looking inside the truck’s cab, he found a three gallon water jug behind the driver’s seat. Pulling it out, he placed it under the truck’s gas line. Opening his multi-tool, he sliced the line and golden liquid poured forth into the jug. Elated at his sudden good fortune, Animal didn't even notice his muscles’ painful protest in carrying the jug back to Heather. He topped off her twin fat bob tanks and tossed the jug back toward the wash.
Animal shoved Heather’s kick start and she responded with her characteristic roar. Not having to conserve fuel Animal twisted the throttle ran Heather up thru the gears and covered the miles ahead in just over an hour.

Arriving at the well isolated ranch, Heather was ridden into the barn and covered over with a hay tarp. Animal and Kathy headed towards the main house. Sitting at the picnic table on the long covered porch, Pop was waiting with three hearty breakfasts and a pitcher of hot fresh coffee.

Animal smiled and said, “You were expecting us?” Laughing, Pop replied, “That old shovel of yours is so damn loud you couldn't sneak up on a Stones concert and Heather's distinctive bellow makes her all the more identifiable. Besides, you two are all over the news this morning, something about espionage? I knew you'd be arriving soon, after all where the hell else were you gonna go?”

Animal sat down and motioned Kathy to join them. She walked over slowly and sat next to Animal across from Pop while he continued on, “I made some phone calls and it seems that you two are wanted for stealing top secret files from the Tucson NSA Agency. There's a million dollar bounty on your heads dead or alive.”

“Are you gonna turn us in?” asked Kathy.

Pop could hardly keep from falling of the bench in laughter at that question. “Animal is more than a brother and son to one will be turning anybody in around here, I can assure you. I will make a few calls and we will have trusted brother bikers up here in no time flat.” Animal finishing off the last bit of corned beef hash on his plate, stood up and said, “I'll go make some calls myself and see if I can get a little more detail concerning the case.” He walked into the cabin and closed the door.

Pop and Kathy continued eating. Kathy looked up at Pop and asked, “How did he get the name Animal?”

“Well what did he tell you?”

“He never said, but I could guess,” she said suggestively.

“Well then, you'd be wrong,” chortled Pop. “I gave him that name myself when he was just a young lad. I found him being jumped by a gang of teenagers, he fought them all off like a caged Animal...the name stuck even after I adopted him as my son.”

“What about his parents?”

“They were killed in Mexico by a drug smuggler for refusing to help bring cocaine across the border.”

“What else can you tell me about him?”

“Nothing,” Pop replied, “If you have any questions about Animal, you’re better off asking him yourself.”

Animal was never known for wasting time when it came to finding the details of a case. Today certainly would be no exception. Picking up the old style rotary phone he allowed himself a momentary smile. Things never change around this house, he thought. Pop was as stubborn and predictable as triple digit temperatures in a Sonoran desert summer. Animal remembered asking as a teenager why they couldn't have a new phone with touch tone dialing and Pop's gruff reply, “Why spend money for new-fangled phone when it could be better spent on our bikes?” Back then, Animal couldn't argue against the logic, thinking to himself, “Still can't.”

Placing a call to a direct line of the head of U.S Border Protection Service using his old undercover alias, the call was placed straight through.

“Commissioner Henderson speaking.”

“George it's me, Animal. I need to know what the hell all these espionage charges are all about. Who is claiming I had any part in this?”

“All I can tell you is they are showing footage around the agency of a biker and his female passenger busting through the gate at N.S.A I checked the footage myself and the chopper’s three exhaust pipes exiting from the front of the engine told me clearly it wasn't you. Commissioner Henderson was a longtime collector of rare vintage American bikes and knew exactly what to look for. “Somebody is setting you up. And they're doing a damn good job of it.”

“What is it they are saying was stolen?”

“N.S.A is being tight-lipped about the details. Our division of Homeland Security is being kept in the dark. Even the White House is keeping silent about this. None of my contacts there will mention anything about it. Whatever it was you stepped in, I hope you have a long snorkel because this is some deep shit. I'll keep looking to see what I can dig up. How can I get hold of you?”

Animal replied, “I still have the satellite phone from the Panama mission around here someplace, call me on that, I doubt anybody will still be monitoring that old frequency. Even if they are, the built in encryption should still hold them off for a while.”

Pop's sudden yell to “Run” was followed by a sudden rain of ordinance that tore half the house to splinters in a fraction of an instant. A growling sound and a sudden boom of a jet engine passing overhead told Animal what was happening: an A10 gunship was firing on the house.

Jumping through an open window he sprinted toward the barn following Pop and Kathy. Once inside they ran to an old horse stall and swept away the hay covering a door. Grasping the clasp and swinging the door ajar, they jumped down the steps to an underground bunker. The bunker had been part of the property when Pop had purchased it in a government auction back in the early seventies. It had been used as an underground hydroponics lab for growing marijuana.

The A10's gun shredded the barn just as they reached the bottom steps leading into the interior. Pop looked at Animal, pointed to the ceiling and said, “I don't know what the hell you got yourself into son, but I can guarantee you there's gonna be some serious payback for this.”


B.B. said...

Hey Big D. I had a miserable day putting myself to work today. I was about at the point that the next person who even slightly annoyed me was going to get a fistfull. I came home and sat my ass down a saw the second part you posted. Man, I feel a shitload better suddenly.

I laughed at the whole "looking at the bright side" in regards to the 11 customers. There indeed is a bright side to everything.

And to top it all off you managed to get my favorite flying cannon, the Warthog A-10 into the story. I really am enjoying this. You changed someone's day. Thanks brother!

FLHX_Dave said...

LOL, sorry Big D. The previous comment was mine. B.B. forgot to log out and since I don't pay attention to shit most of the time I just started typing before my brain engaged. (sorta how I do my talking)

Lady Ridesalot said...

Ooohhh! The plot is thickening! I am so enjoying this. I liked the line... "hell's denizens will be doing the macarena...", too funny man!

Keep it up D! This is great reading!

Ann said...

Babe, this story is kicking ass! I know I'm biased, but you totally rock! I can't wait to get you published!

And I can't wait for more of this story! ILY!

B.B. said...

Wow. I have said it before, but the detail you put into your writing is amazing. This story is the best read I've had in a long time, and I'm not just blowing smoke up your ass. You are so very talented, and I feel privlidged to be able to read your stuff. Can't wait for the rest!

"Joker" said...

I guess if Tom Clancy had been a biker, Jack Ryan would have been "Animal," and this may have been his version of "Clear and Present Danger!"

For some reason the house in the desert being peppered by bullets and the escape underground reminded me of Clint and Sondra in "The Gauntlet." There was no A-10 in that though!

Yeah, this is a good one. Can't wait for more. I'm sure the brothers won't take kindly to the government (or whoever) taking aim at Pop.

Mr. Motorcycle said...

Big D.,
Animal and Kathy are in some really deep shit. This is good shit Bro! Nough said.

Veronnica said...

I agree with Mr. Motorcycle, they are in some deep shit! I love this story! Can't wait for the next Chapter! You do rock man!

aaroneousmaximus said...

once again, another great chapter. A little far fetched, but thats why it is called fiction. I eagerly anticipate the next chapter

Dean "D-Day" said...

That's the fix I needed.

I can feel myself "jones'n" for a little bit more though.

Please, just another hit.

B.B. said...

Hello? Your public is waiting!

Rex said...

This story kicked ass. well this chapter! i can't wait for next chapter you got me on the edge.

Ann said...

Rexxy: don't take offense to all the rice rockets being blown up in Dad's story. We just don't like them! :)