Peril in the Pines Ch. 03byHansTrimble©
LET'S PLAY HOUSE
I went home that night satisfied that we had planned everything we could. I had warned Jan that I'd be getting home late, and when I pulled the Jeep into my driveway I was pleased to see her car already there. I parked the Jeep next to it, and walked in to find her waiting for me in the living room with a glass of wine poured for me and soft music playing. She greeted me with, "Hi, Honey. I saved you the best seat in the house, right next to me."
"I'll be right there," I said. "Just give me about two minutes." I took my gun, well actually the Sheriff's gun, out of the holster and laid it on my nightstand. Then I slipped out of my pants and put on the pants of some nice looking pajamas that I saved for special occasions. And this occasion, I thought, might be the most special of all. My shirt went on top of the pants on a chair, to be worn in the morning, and I slipped on a T shirt that proclaimed "God is great, and I'm not bad!"
I came out and sat down, to be greeted with a very serious kiss. When we came up for air Jan was sitting crosswise on my lap, although I had no recollection of how she got there. Her arms were around my neck and angling down my back, and you couldn't have wiggled a putty knife between us. "Thanks, Sweetie, I needed that."
She backed off a few inches and reached down to the coffee table to hand me my wine glass. It was a White Zinfandel, fruity and sweet, and somehow it was exactly the right thing for me right then. "Hard meeting?" she asked.
"No, pretty good, actually. I gave two of the guys a sample of anticipating and planning when they're getting ready to do something. They're good guys, and they'll catch on with time. When the bad guys are playing for keeps, you have to control the situation so the good guys win."
"And you know how to do that?"
"Yes, and I intend to teach every one of the deputies to think that way. But they won't learn it overnight, and I have to keep reminding myself of that."
"And now you're home for the night. Time to shed the cares of the day and relax with someone you love. Someone you want to hold close. Know anybody like that?"
I set the wine glass down and pulled her right up against me tight. I had to force myself to ease off with my arms. I needed her so much that I might hurt her, squeezing too tight. "Oh Jan, it feels so good to have you here with me. I hope you don't have to hurry away."
"Not as long as you want me here with you. Ever. There's nothing in the universe that's more important to me than you, and your wants, and your needs. I knew you were up to your eyeballs in something important, and you'd need to relax tonight so you could be at your best tomorrow."
I started to explain that I couldn't explain, and she interrupted me. "No, you don't have to tell me about it. I know you have to keep some things secret in your job, but I can sense what you're feeling, did you know that? I'm not a mind reader, I'm a woman in love, and we have special powers."
"Then do you know what I need right now?"
"I could bet it would start with taking all our clothes off. Why don't we pick up where we left off out in the woods, when we were so rudely interrupted?" To add emphasis she grabbed the bottom of my T shirt and lifted it over my head, dragged it off my arms, and threw it across the room. "Your turn"
I pulled her shirt out of her slacks and did the unbuttoning act, pushed it off her shoulders, and pulled the short sleeves down her arms. Then her shirt joined mine. The bra was next and I made short work of that, gradually enlarging the pile on the floor. Then it was time to pull her tight up against me while our tongues enjoyed a little workout together.
She leaned back a little to say something important, and I freed up a hand to pay homage to her beautiful breasts and tasty looking nipples. It turned out that her earth shaking remark was "Aaaaahhh." Her eyes closed and I ducked my head down for a taste. Even though her nipples had already become as erect as little fingertips, in my mouth they stiffened more, and I sucked in as much of each breast in turn as I could. As I let up, she smiled at me and said, "I wondered if you'd keep sucking me into your mouth only my legs were sticking out."
"No, I can't get you inside me, as much as I'd love to. But I can get inside of you, at least partway. Maybe we should go into the bedroom so I can show you how it's done."
"I can't wait."
"Now just a minute before we go any further. I know you're very religious. How do you feel about premarital sex?"
"Well, I've researched the subject. In Biblical days, engaged couples had all the rights to each other that married people had. The engagement was when they committed themselves to each other, and they moved in together and acted just as if they were married. The wedding, which could come any time after that, was like a drunken celebration combined with a business meeting. Gifts were exchanged, including the bride's dowry that her family paid the groom to take her off their hands. So I have no scruples about making love, because we've committed ourselves to each other in the presence of a witness. Now that's settled. I went to see the doctor and got started on the pill, so that answers your other question before you even ask it. Now, remember that song that asks for a little less talk and a lot more action?"
We got onto my king size bed and for the next two hours we were so involved with each other that our bodies seemed to have merged into one. It was passionate and wild, it was slow and tender. It was simply the physical expression of our feelings. And fast or slow, hard or soft, it was intense, because that's how our feelings were.
At last we rolled onto our backs, gasping for breath. "Can you stay the night?"
"Yes. I have my clothes in the next room and my toiletries and makeup, so I can go straight from here to work."
"I'll have to get a bigger mirror for you to use."
"No need. I set up my vanity table in there, along with my padded stool."
"What's your mother going to think about this?"
"Who do you think helped me move all my stuff?"
"Wow! You mean you're all moved in? Oh, this has gotta be the best day of my life!"
The last faint words that came out of Jan's mouth, almost in a whisper, were, "Mine, too!" The last thing I remember was that she rolled onto her side facing me and laid an arm over me. Oh, we slept well that night.
BACK TO EDEN
Everything went according to plan next morning at the Sheriff's Office. At seven twenty I rolled out in the SUV, with Harold next to me and Doug in the back seat. They were a study in contrasts. Both of them were an inch short of six feet tall. Harold had a barrel chest and was thicker through than Doug, who was wiry and quick. Harold's hair was sandy with a slight reddish tinge. He was clearly at ease in our rustic surroundings, and had confided to me that he grew up on a farm and went out hunting deer any time that he had a few vacation days left when the season rolled around. Doug was a city boy, street smart and alert to the slightest sound but not jumpy. I figured I had a couple of good commandos with me, and as our walk in the woods drew nearer I wondered what we'd find there but I wasn't worried.
We got off the road as Tim had directed and I found the turn through some scrubby bushes by following a whole lot of tire tracks. We had a broad, smooth avenue to drive on, where the Burlington Northern guys had graded the dirt to a gradual slope away from the trackbed. The rails were much higher than we were, several feet higher than the roof of the SUV. Half a mile in, there was the whistle post, as promised. I went beyond it and made a U turn to park facing west, ready for a quick exit. We got out and grabbed our stuff. Before we started walking, I gave each of the guys a key to the doors of the SUV, and had them try them. Then I laid the ignition key on the floor mat almost under the driver's seat, and showed them where it was.
I locked the SUV and gave them their marching orders. "If we just go right up into the woods in single file, walking along the marked path, any bad guys patrolling the area can pick us off easily and we'll all go home in body bags. So here's what we'll do. I'll go first, cross the tracks here, and go into the woods ten yards west of the path. As I go up the slope to the woods, I'll crouch down so I'm not making a very visible target. Doug, you come across next, a minute behind me. Cross about twenty yards to the west of me and do just what you saw me do. In the woods you won't be able to go straight because there are too many bushes and small trees in there, so zigzag as much as you have to but keep moving generally parallel to me. About every twenty or thirty yards I'll find a place where I can stand up, and you can see me. If we've drifted apart, then as you advance try to get back within twenty yards of me. Got all that?"
"Yeah, I've got it."
"Now Harold, you do the same except you'll be twenty yards to the east of me. Understand?
"Yeah. So we're going in spread out so they can't get us all at once."
"That's it exactly. Now here's the next part. As we go on, you'll see a big clearing about two hundred yards ahead. That's our objective. About thirty yards before it, I'll signal you to assemble on me. Here's the signal." I demonstrated the hand circling over my head. I'll stay where I am, and you come to me. Don't hurry. Be as quiet as you can. Stay low. When we're together we'll advance a little bit and look all around. Depending on what we see, we'll plan our next advance. Got that?" They both agreed. "All right, here I go."
I walked up to the tracks, gradually crouching lower and lower so I could see across the tracks but no higher than that. Then I sprinted across the tracks and down the slope to where I'd parked the Jeep on the day of the shooting. From there it was a trudge up the slope to the trees, in a crouch. I stepped into the woods and, I knew, disappeared from the sight of Harold and Doug. Then I waited, looking all around for any signs of movement or any sounds of a person doing anything at all. Satisfied, I turned and watched Doug imitating me. As soon as he got into the woods I turned the other way and watched Harold. Then I stood up and stayed up until they had seen me. I signaled forward and went back to a crouch as I started to advance.
We took about twenty minutes getting to the rendezvous point, and watched for signs of movement. Then I directed Doug to go to the right, flank the clearing, and wait at the far edge of it. I told Harold to go straight ahead and wait at the near edge of the clearing. I took off to the left, toward the place where the truck had parked.
I whispered into my lapel mike, "See anything?" Both answered in the negative. "Stay back in the shade of the trees, get down low, and get comfortable. You'll be there for up to a half hour. Keep looking all around, including back the way we came."
I poked around enough to assure myself that there was no ambush waiting for our truck. Then I radioed to Tim and Vince to come on in. I did a slow 360 scan and radioed to Harold and Doug to stay put while I went to guide our truck in. I walked to the place where the truck would turn around to back in to be loaded, and I could hear the truck coming in first gear, grunting from one mudhole to the next. I turned to look down the driveway toward the truck, just as three men emerged from the woods onto the rutted dirt and stood looking in the direction of the truck's noise. One had a rifle slung on his back and an old style walkie talkie that he was just bringing up to his head. Another held a rifle down at his side, and the third was bringing his rifle up toward his shoulder. I flipped the selector on the AR to full auto and raised it to my shoulder. I shouted, "Drop your weapons and lie down!" They whirled around and two rifles were being raised to point at me when I let off a burst to take out the three of them. It made a sound like a loud "BRRAAP" that echoed from the forest wall. The three bad guys lay on the dirt, motionless.
From farther down the driveway came two voices screaming. One said, "Holy shit!" and the other said, "I'm outta here!" These utterances were followed by sounds of bodies crashing though the underbrush, heading some unknown direction but away from where I was.
Vince radioed "You all right, Chief?"
"Just great, Vince. When you come to the three bodies in the road, take their weapons and have the bodies dragged into the bushes."
Next I walked to the three bodies and looked at them. Nothing remarkable about any of them. The soles of their work boots were all badly worn, so I knew they were around the bottom of the organization chart of whatever bunch of criminals we were up against. As I stood there, the walkie talkie crackled and a scratchy voice said, "Joe! What the hell was that?"
I picked up the boxy instrument and pushed the talk button. "That was the Hopi County Sheriff's Office. Joe won't answer your calls any more. Ever. Neither will the two guys with him, and two more just ran away. You are surrounded, outnumbered, and outgunned. This is your chance to come out onto the driveway and surrender. If you threaten to harm our deputies you will be killed." I took the walkie talkie with me as I went back to the place where the truck would have to start backing in. I stepped back from the main track and on into the woods where I could see without being seen. It was time to consolidate our force. I said into my lapel mike, "Harold and Doug, walk slowly to the truck parking place. Stay over to the south side of the clearing. I'll tell you when to stop." I got two affirmative replies and soon I could see them walking toward me. As they approached I stepped out to where they could see me and waved them into the spot where I had been standing. I listened to the truck continuing to approach, and as Harold and Doug were just about up to me the truck abruptly stopped. That should mean they'd come to the three corpses. I allowed half a minute for the guys to get out and then got on my lapel mike to Vince. "All of you stay out except Tim, and walk along surrounding the truck, like the Secret Service. I'll meet you at the end of the driveway, where Tim has to back around into the loading spot. Got that?" He did. "We've got enemy around us and I don't know how many or where. Keep your eyes moving."
I heard the truck start up again and I walked out to take a look. Everything was going as I had ordered so I walked down to join Vince and his crew. I walked with them and told them, "Start circulating around the truck. Different guys, go different directions. Walk fast and then slow. Stop and start. Crouch down and stand up. Don't give the enemy an easy target. And don't get run over. Watch everywhere."
Vince nodded and added a few pointed remarks to a couple of his guys who apparently thought we were being overly dramatic. "Good job with the AR down there, Jack. That spot where they were standing was perfect for blasting us good as we came around that last turn. We'd have had nowhere to go. They'd have picked us off as we got out of the truck. I don't know if these guys realize how close that was."
"Thanks" I replied. "I like this gun. Better than we had in the Army, smooth as silk. Did you grab their rifles?"
"Yes, and two boxes of ammo."
"Great. Pick the most experienced hunter and issue him one of the rifles. I expect some bad guy may play sniper pretty soon from behind a tree and I want him taken out."
I walked up to the driver's window and kept pace with the truck. "Tim, when you come to the end, shut off the truck, bring the keys, and walk with me for a minute. Got that?"
"Right, Jack. Hey, that was a close call for us where you popped those three guys. Thanks for saving our skins."
"That's what I'm here for, Tim. Did you leave that marked up map with the Sheriff?"
"Yeah. I imagine he's going nuts back there trying to guess where we are now."
"Right. I'm coming around to the other side to hop in and use your fancy radio."
As I slid into the passenger seat, Tim handed me the mike and set the selector knob to the secure channel. "Becky, is the Sheriff in the building?"
"Right here," came back the Sheriff's voice.
To Tim I said, "Close the windows." Then, to the Sheriff, "We met no opposition coming in on foot but I had to kill three guys who were about to shoot up our truck and our guys in it. I used their radio to order an immediate surrender but got no takers. Two other guys ran off, and they'll probably try to hitchhike down on Myers Road. I don't have a description, but they're scared shitless. Maybe somebody can pick 'em up.
"I'm pretty sure the enemy will try to stop our truck as we exit with the payload. We'll need some help. Can you get state troopers to drive up Racebrook Road to where this dirt driveway starts and then walk in, preferably with full auto capability? And can they run interference for us on the road when we exit here? You got that so far?"
"Sure, Jack." I could hear him chuckle. "I took a leaf from your book and anticipated that. Troopers are standing by. Anything else?"
"Yes. We're not going back to Myers Road. We'll go north on Racebrook the long way around to the railroad and then take the north side of the tracks going west. The SUV's over there, and we'll pick that up. I expect the enemy to set up an ambush at the jog on Racebrook, so we'll try to avoid them, but it might be a good place to catch somebody."
"Good plan. How long before you exit?"
"I'll call again in half an hour and give you an estimate based on the first few cartloads."
"Good. Keep me posted."
I turned to Tim. "You heard all that. How do we get to the railroad going north on Racebrook?"
"Racebrook ends at Three Trees Road. We go left on that and the railroad's about two miles. From here, it's probably six miles."
"Pretty good road or what?"
"Not bad. Some rough spots, not many. The worst will be getting out of here on this awful driveway."
By this time we were at the end. Tim shut off the truck and we got out. I came around and showed him exactly where we needed the truck parked and what the ruts and bumps were like along the way. Vince already had the tailgate down and guys were pulling out the carts and shovels and heading to the brickyard. "Tim, how's the truck after all that crawling along in low gear?"
"Real good. It's got the towing package and that includes extra cooling. We're okay."
"All right, back it in and we'll get to work."
REENTERING THE REAL WORLD
The brick removal went pretty well. After trying several arrangements, Vince had two carts in operation and two guys on shovels. They could dig the bricks out faster than we could haul them to the truck and load them. As an empty cart showed up, the cart man and shovelers would drop everything to get it loaded and on its way. We had extra shovels, so if a cart man had to wait he'd grab a shovel and help dig. At the truck, the cart man and another guy put the bricks from the cart onto the tailgate, and a guy up on the truck would move them forward and make a nice, even layer of bricks working from the cab back to the tailgate.
Tim was running one of the carts. I told him to pause after every load and take a look at the rear springs of the truck. I figured that once we were down to the overload springs, we'd better stop and get out with what we had. When I guessed that we had about a third of what we'd drive out with, I called the Sheriff again. "After we got a system worked out, we've worked for thirty minutes. I figure we'll leave here with about three quarters of the bricks that are here on the ground, about an hour and a quarter from now, so you can use that time to coordinate with the troopers. I suggest that they post a car with the flashers going at the corner of Racebrook and Myers as a decoy. How does that sound?"