Redwood Nine: Season 02 Ch. 01byRoyceConnors©
Chapter 1: Eye For an Eye
The guys could hear the sirens screaming out the emergency, as they sat in the clubhouse, discussing tonight's run to Stockton. They paid no mind to them, nor could they hear the phone constantly ringing in the office of the garage.
Cindy hung up the phone, once more dialling the number for the garage, in hopes someone would pick up and she could tell them the news. Only Lorraine stood with her in the office, while the others were outside, consoling one another, the sight their eyes had just held, blanketing their minds with the horror.
The first car to pull in, was patrolman Mark Mason, heading for the group of girls. He stopped and got out and was immediately set upon by them, as they all tried to tell him what happened. Despite the chaotic confusion, he picked up all the key words he needed to hear. Murder, gun shots, dead, office.
He made his way past the girls and headed into the office area and saw Cindy and Lorraine on the phone. Mason looked at them and they both pointed in the direction of the living quarters. He went past them and went inside, looking around for any signs of a crime and found none. He walked in further and looked about, then saw the bodies in the bed. He rushed to Marlene and checked her pulse, then went around to Jake and did the same to him.
He rushed back out, up to the girls on the phone.
"Have you called for an ambulance?"
Cindy and Lorraine both nodded, looking at the officer with terrified eyes, as they waited for anything else.
"One of them is still alive and if that ambulance doesn't get here soon, she won't make it."
The girls put it together instantly on his admission of the sex. Marlene was still alive. The officer ran back into the bedroom and did his best to stem the flow of blood, to buy her as much time as he could. Despite the location of the bullet wounds, Mason put his hands over Marlene's ample breasts and applied pressure to the entry wounds, doing his best to keep the blood from staining the white sheets any further. He breathed a small sigh, as he heard the ambulance's siren coming up the road.
Not long after, two more police sirens could be heard and Mason breathed a bit easier again, knowing he could start investigating the crime. The voices let him know the attendants were in the office and he called for them to come back. They wheeled the stretcher in and the first one rushed to the bed.
"He's gone, this one's just barely hanging on. She's been shot twice, I got my fingers in the wounds, stopping the flow."
The other attendant came in with his emergency kit and opened it, taking out everything he'd need. Mason readied his one hand, so the attendant could pull away the sheet and the other could apply a clotting agent and compress. They counted it off and they all moved together, with only a few seconds taken to apply the agent and cover it with the compress. Once again, they readied themselves and the hands all moved as fast as they humanly could and bared the other blood soaked breast, sealing the wound and applying the compress.
IV lines were run and readied, then they pulled the sheet back and exposed Marlene. Critical situation, or not, male eyes couldn't help but quickly take in the sight of her beautiful and sensual body. Hands went under her and shortly, she was transferred to the gurney and the IV lines installed. Oxygen was started and a mask was put over her face. No more than ten minutes after arriving, the ambulance attendants were leaving with Marlene and putting her in the back of the Pontiac ambulance. The siren and lights were started and the driver wasted no time in getting out of there and on towards St Thomas Hospital.
The two police cars raced into the lot and pulled up to the girls, still standing in front of the office. Lorraine and Cindy gave up trying the garage and stood with them, as Mason came out, wiping his bloodied hands with a paper towel. He waited until the two officers joined him and they went inside. They were in for five minutes, then they all came out again. Mason called Lorraine and Cindy over, knowing they were calling someone, when he went in the first time.
Lorraine recognized Unser and showed recognition to him, remembering what Lenny had said about him before, when he was let go and Wayne had covered his costs of new pants.
"Okay, now one at a time, you first. What's your name?"
"Cindy, Cindy MacDonald."
"Okay Cindy, did you make the call?"
"So you were the first to see them?"
"No. Lorraine was. Everyone was screaming, but I ran and called from the office."
Cindy pointed at Lorraine and then looked at the girls. Mason looked at Lorraine next.
"So you were first to see them? What's your name?"
Nervously, Lorraine looked at the officers, as she summoned up her courage to talk about it.
"Yes. I'm Lorraine Nelson. We were sitting in our room talking, all of us girls, when we all heard these sounds that we thought were firecrackers going off, so we all came outside to see. We saw a guy come out of the office and run to his car and he took off fast, squealing his tires."
Mason, Unser and Kiligrew, all became interested at that point. Mason asked the all important questions, after hearing the news.
"What did this man look like?"
Lorraine thought for a moment and recited her memories.
"I remember he was tall and had a good body, like over six feet tall and he worked out, or something. He had a blue sports coat and black pants and I think his hair was dark too. Anyway, he jumped in this black Caddy, a really, new one and took off, out that way and then he disappeared and I don't know where he went."
Mason looked back at Cindy.
"Do you remember what happened, Cindy? Did you see what Lorraine did?"
"Yeah, just like that. I remember him the same way. Never saw his face or anything."
"I don't suppose either of you, or the others happened to catch a plate number?"
Both Lorraine and Cindy shook their heads.
"We were down at unit fourteen, when it happened and we saw the guy. It was too far to make out any numbers or anything."
"Okay, look, thanks girls. You've been a great help. Stick around here and don't leave the motel, we'll need to ask you and the others more questions."
Lorraine turned to Wayne and asked him what was on all their minds, as Mason went to his cruiser and radioed in all the information he had been given.
"Officer Unser, could you do us a huge favour?"
"Sure, Lorraine, what is it?"
"We were trying to get a hold of the guys to tell them, but no one is answering down at the shop. Could you go and let them know what's happened? They're probably in the clubhouse."
"Sure, no problem. Are they all there?"
"Most of them, I think."
"Okay, I'll head over there right now. Kiligrew, seal off the area and take some measurements of the tracks in the gravel and the skid marks out on the street. We got to find out who this guy is and get him off the streets. I'll be back in a minute and we'll start figuring out just what the hell happened here."
Kiligrew went to the trunk of his squad car and took out his kit, taking out the necessary items and went to the door and began taping it off with yellow tape.
Unser turned back to Lorraine, hearing his name called.
"Thanks. We'll all feel better having the guys here with us."
"Sure, Lorraine, you're welcome."
Lorraine's smile at him, made him feel a modicum of happiness, seeing and hearing a recognition of him as a person and not just a cop. He smiled back and got in his car and headed down the road to the clubhouse, running everything over in his head, trying to come up with an easy way to break the news to them and not deal with the aftermath of hostile emotions.
The guys were smoking a couple of joints, when they heard a pounding at the door to the clubhouse. Piney went over and checked it out, opening the door and saw Wayne Unser standing there. Piney took immediate reaction and slammed the door shut. He whispered as loud as he could to put the dope away, that it was Unser outside. No matter how well they stashed the dope, the lingering aroma of the herb hung heavy in the air. The door was pounded on again and Piney knew he had no choice, but to answer it.
He opened the door and stood holding it, waiting for what Wayne had to say.
"Piney, I don't care about the pot you're smoking in there, I need to come in and talk to you guys. Wanna let me in?"
Wayne looked at Piney, trying to decide what to tell him it was about.
"Nothing good, but you gotta hear it anyway."
Piney didn't like the tone of voice or the look Wayne gave him, as he let him in. The guys sat around looking guiltier, than the innocence they were trying for. Wayne almost laughed, if it wasn't for what he had to say. He looked around and noticed one person missing, one he knew would need to hear his news.
"Here's not here right now, Wayne."
"I guess you'll have to tell him then, when he does come back."
"Tell him what, Wayne?"
Wayne looked around at everyone, their faces waiting for the news he had to tell them. He knew once he finished, the looks he was getting now, would change to ones he didn't want to see. He took a deep breath and readied himself for the repercussions.
"Just had a call, to respond to a shooting at the Starlight Motel. I just came from there. Girls want you to get back there to them, they're kinda freaked out, if you know what I mean?"
The guys looked stunned at first, hearing about a shooting at the motel and then hearing how the girls might be involved. Piney spoke their pressing questions to him.
"What happened? Who got shot?"
Unser looked nervous, as he began telling them what happened.
"About an hour ago, we got a call from Cindy. She called to say there had been a shooting at the motel. We arrived and found two people lying in the bed, two shots to the chest each. One is still hanging on and may or not make it, but the other one died at the scene."
"Who was shot, Wayne?"
Wayne could see the faces filled with dire concern, as to who it was. He couldn't look any of them in the face, when he told them.
"The woman, Marlene Brock, she's the one who's in St. Thomas right now. I'm sorry guys, Jake didn't make it."
"Fuck! What the fuck, Wayne? Jake's dead?"
"I'm afraid so, Piney. I can't say anything else at this point. I just came down, because the girls need you back there right now."
There was no more need of words, to make the guys spring into action and rushed out the door to their bikes. Wayne went to his cruiser and waited, as the bikes started pulling out in a line and headed towards the motel. The guys weren't heeding any of the rules of the road, as they sped through the first two stop signs and were speeding up. Wayne hit the siren and pulled around them, escorting them there.
The girls were still in a highly distraught state, unable to come to terms with everything. They froze instantly, hearing the bikes coming down the road, then got up and rushed outside. The guys saw them and rode towards them, as Unser shut off his lights and pulled up to the office again. The guys stopped their bikes and dismounted, immediately needed for comforting hugs. They gave them a moment to feel secure and had to ask what they knew.
Lorraine explained everything she had seen and told the officers, when the black, panel truck pulled into the lot. Everyone saw the word Coroner on the side and the reality came crashing in harder. Piney and Lenny headed up to the office, hoping to find out anything else, as the gurney was unloaded and taken inside. They waited for a bit, hearing the gurney hitting the walls, as they tried getting it outside again. They stopped at the back of the truck and Mason had them wait.
"Do you two know the man who was shot, Jacob Harding?"
Piney and Lenny said they did and Mason asked the attendants to open the zipper on the black body bag.
"Can you identify this man as him?"
Piney and Lenny looked at the face that appeared and knew it was Jake. Once again, Piney stared at the face of death of a loved one. He knew in his heart, the pain he was feeling at that moment, that he did feel a love for the deceased man before him. His voice started breaking, as he answered.
"It's him, it's Jake."
Lenny nodded to affirm it and the attendant zipped it closed again and loaded Jake and the gurney into the back. Once it was locked into place and the doors closed, it pulled out of the lot and Piney could feel something leaving him and going with it. Mason clasped Piney's arm and said thanks, as the officers walked to the cruisers and talked about all they knew at this point. The pair stood looking at the black panel truck vanishing down the road, then Lenny turned to Piney and hit him with a question, that took his breath away, like being punched.
"How do we let JT know about this, Piney? He's already freaked out enough and this is going to make him go ballistic, man."
Piney heard the words, each one unfathomable to the weight they carried. They felt like a ton of steel loaded on his shoulders, with each one. At this point, even he felt like he would lose it like JT and go off the deep end.
"I have no idea, Lenny. No idea at all. I just dropped him off a few hours ago and he was a total wreck and I mean he was out of it. I have no idea what Moon has done for him, if anything at this point. How do I tell him this? It'll fuck his head up so bad, he'll never be right again."
They stood there for a minute thinking, until the voices calling them, got their attention. They saw everyone waiting by the unit, anxious to hear of anything they knew. Slowly they walked down to them, Piney feeling like he was walking the last mile.
Piney told them there wasn't much else that they knew and identified Jake's body for the cops. Piney looked at Mary and hugged her tightly, kissing her head several times.
"I need to go see my parents again, Babe. I'll have to tell them about this and God, I hope they know what to do, because I'm fucking lost right now. I mean, what the fuck is happening?"
"I don't know, Piney, but I'm scared. I never seen a dead person before, not like that."
Piney understood, so did the others, as their women hugged them tighter at Mary's mention of being scared. Troubled times had befallen the club and Piney knew it was up to them at that point, to either pull it together, or call it quits. His own simple reasoning, told him he made a commitment to JT and the club and now he had to decide if it was worth honouring that commitment any further. He looked at the other guys, each one wearing the same cut and patch, each one committed like him, to the brotherhood they formed together.
He felt it was time to put it all to a test and see if what they started, was still something they believed in.
"Wally, I need you to take Lenny and Mary to my parent's place."
Lenny and Mary looked at him, wondering why he wanted them going there.
"I need you two to explain this to mom and dad for me. I can't really ask anyone else to do it. I'm going out to Calaveras to see JT. This, is something only I can tell him."
No one could argue with that, no one wanted to. Wally nodded and patted Piney's back, as he went for his car. Lenny hugged Piney tightly, knowing what he was faced with doing and wished him well in telling JT.
There were wishes by all of them, in hopes JT wouldn't be devastated by this. Uncertainty was worn on every face, as Lenny and Mary got in with Wally and took off, then Piney sat on his bike for a minute, gathering his thoughts, before he started it up and looked at every one, a mix of sadness and trepidation on his face. He rode way and off to Calaveras, to a destination he felt sicken his stomach more, with every mile he came closer to it.
Stan came to the door, after seeing Wally's car pull in the driveway. He welcomed them in and brought them into the living room, where Lorelei was knitting and watching The Rifleman, with him. He turned it off and had the three sit on the couch together, then asked if they'd like anything to drink. Lenny looked at the others and then to Stan.
"Have anything like Jack Daniel's in the house? I think we're going to need it, Stan."
Stan smiled at first, thinking it was a joke, but the somber faces told him the bottle was going to be necessary. Stan went to his cabinet and brought back a bottle of Canadian Club whiskey and four glasses. He sat a glass in front of them and poured a good amount in each, then waited with dreaded expectation, as to what they had to tell them.
"Something bad has happened and Piney asked us to come and tell you."
A wash of relief swept over both Stan and Lorelei, knowing it had nothing to do with Piney, but their concern was still present, hoping it wasn't about JT.
"What is it, Mary?"
Mary started to tell them and stuttered to a stop, unable to say the words from her mouth. Lenny knew she was doing her best to tell them, but she was too broken up to do it. He couldn't think of a gentle and easy way to say it and blurted it out.
"Stan, there was trouble at the motel. Someone came and shot Marlene and Jake. Marlene's in the hospital, they don't know if she'll pull through or not. Jake didn't make it, he died. They don't know who it was yet, but the girls gave them a description of the guy they saw and the car he was driving."
Stan and Lorelei were horrified by the news. They didn't know Jake very well, but for the short time they did, he had made an impression on them, about how he cared for the guys and took them in, how he showed such a great amount of respect to Lester, as well. More and more, the reality of the repercussions were being felt, as the news travelled. Lorelei couldn't figure out why Piney wasn't there telling them.
"Why couldn't Piney come and tell us this?"
Lenny looked at her and Stan, his face a look of concerned worry.
"He's on his way out to Calaveras to tell JT, right now. JT's so fu.., screwed up right now, we have no idea what this'll do to him."
The parents sat there putting what they knew JT's state to be in and from Piney's explanation of him breaking down and taking him out to see the hippies, they became frantic, thinking of what the news would do to him. The frustration of being unable to do anything, fell upon Stan and Lorelei as well, adding to the growing list of people involved and facing the same dilemma.
"I'd like to stay, folks, but we have to get back to the others at the motel and the cops might still want to ask more questions."
"I understand, Lenny. Thanks for letting us know. We have no idea what to say, I'm afraid. All we can do is pray and hope the good Lord finds a way to sort it all out. You need anything, you let us know, okay?"
"We will, thanks. I just pray JT is going to be able to handle all of this. I know I'd have a hard time doing it."
Stan nodded his head in agreement, that what had befallen the young man in such a short time, was more than any man could imagine bearing the weight of. He hugged them all and then Lorelei did the same, giving more of her love and attention to Mary, feeling she needed that support. The three of them got back in the car and waved goodbye, as Wally pulled out and drove away. Stan went back in and looked at his wife. He could see she was barely holding it together herself, so much death and misery darkening her life. He went and hugged her tight and felt the urgency to never let go, until she let him know it was okay to.
Piney rode back along the same route as earlier, avoiding any of the wrong turns he made before and stopped at the gate. He sat idling for a moment, trying to muster all his head had gone over, for the last fifty miles. No matter what he came up with as a way to lead into it, it always ended the same way, miserably. With no other choice, but to face the inevitable, he put it in gear and rolled in slowly to the front of the house and stopped.