tagLoving WivesThe Irish Glen Ranch

The Irish Glen Ranch

byGrey Eagle 286©

It was a hammer blow to my upper left chest. I clutched at it with my right hand. The ATC slowed rapidly, pitching me forward against the force of the blow, but not enough to keep me from flying off the bike. I landed on my back. The pain was excruciating. Heart attack? No, the hand clutching my chest felt sticky hot wetness. Blood! I had been shot!

I lay in a slight depression. The ATC idled quietly twenty feet away. I raised my head a little but it dropped back in the dirt from the pain. I felt a lot of blood. I gritted my teeth and twisted to pull my little day-pack around to where I could reach it. I put my hand inside and felt around until I found the clean dry T-shirt. I pulled it out, then I found my knife and cut off a sleeve. I shoved a small wad of the sleeve in the hole in my chest. Damn that hurt! I half cut and then ripped a strip from around the bottom of the shirt.

It was a struggle but I fastened a wad of the sleeve over the entrance hole using the strip from the bottom to hold it in place. I looked to the south and saw the clouds boiling up. I could hear the rumbling getting louder and louder. It would be on me soon.

That might save me. The shooter had to be waiting for another shot. The only place he could be was about two or three hundred yards in front of me. There was a cypress hammock there that would hide a hundred men. I needed to hide but I was on mostly flat land, no cover. None! And he was good; he had just missed a heart shot on a target moving about ten miles an hour from a couple hundred yards. Damned good! I didn't want him to have another shot.

A few raindrops hit near me. I heard an engine start from over behind the cypress. I heard an ATV move slowly off, staying out of sight behind the cypress. I crawled to my Honda and pulled myself up on the seat. It was raining harder now. I could see the trees and brush along the road on the north perimeter of the ranch.

I could no longer see the cypress hammock. I pressed on the thumb throttle of the Honda and we moved off to the north. I felt myself getting weaker. As I neared the road I looked for a break in the brush along side the fill ditch beside the road. I knew I couldn't get the ATC across the ditch and the guardrail beside the road. Ahhh! I hit an unseen bump that really got my attention. I thought I was going to pass out from the pain.

I saw an opening and eased the ATC down into the ditch. There was only about a foot of water in the bottom. I turned and rode up the ditch for a bit until the bike was hidden. I slowly crawled up the side of the ditch and struggled over the guardrail. Now the rain was coming down like a cow pissin' on a flat rock. I sat on the ground and leaned back against the metal guardrail. I had to rest a second.

I felt warm and comfortable. I tried to turn on to my side and I couldn't move. I opened my eyes and looked into the biggest blue eyes I had ever seen. The eyes were set in a very cute little face framed by golden braids. There was a delightful sprinkle of freckles across her little nose and rosy cheeks. She turned and ran. I heard her call out, "Momma, Aunt Peg, he's awake. Come see."

I looked around and saw I was in a hospital room. There was an IV in each arm and a cannula blowing oxygen up my nose. Two older versions of the girl followed her in the room and looked down at me.

"How are you feeling?" one of them asked. I thought I was seeing double so I closed my eyes for a second. I popped them open and there were still two of them. "Are you twins?" They laughed and I noticed one had a tiny scar on her lip. Her eyes seemed to look right through me. I saw only her. She was truly beautiful, long blond hair in a ponytail, big blue eyes, and a sensational body.

The other woman said, "I am Doctor Peggy Martin and this is my sister Pat Douglas and her daughter Sally."

"I am very please to meet all of you. Sally's lovely face is a delightful sight to see when one awakens and is totally lost."

Pat grinned at me. "She thinks she owns you because she saw you sitting along side of the road and made me go back and check you out. I thought you were dead at first, but you still had a pulse. A passer by helped us get you in the back of my pick-up and we brought you here to my sister."

I looked at Sally, "Of course I belong to this beautiful little lady. I owe her my life."

"No!" Sally said, "you belong to Momma, she gave you mouth to mouth and stopped your bleeding before we brought you here."

I looked at Pat. "I owe you then, I always pay my debts."

Dr. Peggy smiled at me, "We removed some small bullet fragments from your chest. You were darned lucky. The bullet hit the strap to your pack where it was folded over three times and broke it up some. It nicked your top rib and there were four exit wounds and several pieces that stayed inside. We got them all out. You are going to be all right. Because it was a gunshot wound I have to turn you over to the tender mercies of the law. This is my sister Lieutenant Pat Douglas of the Sheriff's Department."

I looked back to Pat. "Am I under arrest?"

She grinned, "Of course not Sir, we arrest the shooter not the shootee. I do need to question you when you feel up to it."

"Now will be fine." She lifted a clipboard and asked my name.

"I am Hamilton Adams Murphy. I live on the Irish Glen Ranch."

"I know who you are now, you are 'Hambone' Murphy, you own the ranch."

"Yes Ma'am, please just call me Ham."

"Ham, who shot you? Do you know?"

"No, I have no idea. The only person who might want me dead would be my ex-wife. I don't see her doing it unless she would profit from it in some way. I don't think she would shoot the gun then, she would get someone else to do it."

"Well we are going to transfer you to the county hospital in Arcadia. Perhaps tomorrow."

"Please let me stay here, I can pay. I am afraid the fact that I am alive will get out and the killer will try and finish the job. Have you told anyone I am here?"

They looked at one another, "No, no one knows you are here."

Pat looked at Dr. Peggy, "I think he is right. Can we keep him?"

"I guess so, it won't be cheap though. This is just a little country clinic. We can do it though."

Pat advised me, "I have to go to your ranch this afternoon. They filed a missing persons report on you. I am going to investigate."

"Listen, my billfold is in the center drawer of my desk in my office. It is sitting on top of my S&W 9mm pistol. Can you bring them to me? I would feel safer with them."

"I don't see why not. I will collect them as evidence and give them a receipt for them." said Pat.

Everyone left and Sally returned with some soup for me. She fed it to me like an expert. I was impressed and told her so. She smiled her wonderful smile and told me she wanted to be a Doctor someday, like Aunt Peg. She told me her mother was a certified Emergency Medical Technician and a Registered Nurse as well as a Sheriff's Deputy.

"Wow, you mother is an amazing and beautiful woman. What does your father do?"

"He died a long, long time ago. I don't remember him. I only know what Momma told me. She never talks about him anymore."

"Sally, can you keep a secret?"

"Oh! Yes, I love secrets."

"I think your Mother is the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. Now, listen, you must promise to never tell her I said that. OK?"

"I won't tell. I promise! I think she is beautiful too. Aunt Peg is beautiful too!"

"They are twins aren't they?"

"Yes, they love being twins. They are best friends too."

"I think I would be more comfortable sitting up. Could you ask Aunt Peg if it would be alright?" Ten minutes later I had several pillows behind my back and was feeling much better. Sally and I talked for hours. She was a very bright and perceptive girl. I really enjoyed talking to her. She was going to be a real heartbreaker in a few years. She was a virtual doll.

Pat joined us later that afternoon. She looked at me, "I never realized you had such a big place. I thought all of it was where the office is. Heck, it is spread all over the place. You guys sure keep quiet about that place. No one seems to know much about it."

"Yes, it is spread out quite a bit, it spreads over thirty square miles. That's 19,200 acres, a pretty good-sized chunk of land. When I am better I would love to show you all of it. It is a very interesting ranch, at least I like to think so."

Pat smiled, "We would love to see the whole thing. Is the housing development down on the state road part of it?"

"Yes, that's the worker's village."

"Wow, that's a beautiful place with nice homes. Your ranch foreman seemed like a nice guy, he was very helpful and really concerned about you. He said you were too damned tough for anything serious to get you."

"That was close enough for me."

"He gave me the surveillance DVDs for the headquarters area. I haven't had a chance to look at them yet."

"That TV over there takes DVDs, let's look at them together, I may spot something you would miss. OK."

We watched until I was seen entering the office. I told Turk, the ranch foreman, I was going to ride my old three-wheeler up along the north part of the ranch to look for a site for an aquaculture farm. I wanted someplace close to a road, and not usable for much else. I needed a couple of hundred acres. I pointed out the area I was going to be checking on a large map.

Pat asked me if I noticed the man standing off to one side. He looked very interested in what I was saying. I told her he was a ranch hand. Been with us for about three years. His name was Farrell Thompson or Thomas or something like that. We all just called him Farrell. I walked out of the picture and out the door. Farrell waited a few minutes and then furtively went to the big map of the ranch. He looked at it for a few seconds and then asked Turk if he could have the rest of the day off, he said he didn't feel well. Turk said there was no problem. He told Farrell to call in the morning if he was still sick. Farrell went out the door.

We watched that tape for a bit then changed to the camera that covered the front of the building outside. After a while we saw me leave and walk out of camera range. A while later Farrell left and went to his truck, which was visible in the parking area. There was an ATV in the back of the truck. That was not at all unusual. Most of the hands had them. They used them like old time cowboys used a horse.

Pat and I watched the rest of the pictures and didn't see anything suspicious. She turned and looked at me, "Ham, I think that Ferrell has to be a suspect, he sure acted funny."

"I have to agree with you, but why. I normally have very little contact with him. He really works for Turk, not me. I don't think I have ever even talked to him, except to say hello."

"I'll have him watched. I thought I saw a rifle in the back window of his truck. Let's go back and look."

We rolled back to when he came out and saw him walk to his truck again. Pat said, "Wait, look, he is talking on a cell phone. And look here is a rifle in the back window gun rack."

"Hey, Pat girl, good eyes. Gives him everything he needed except a motive. I bet she calls him 'Sugar'." I reached over and patted her hand. She looked quickly at me and smiled. I said, "I need to call my attorney and see if there is any way he, or my ex could profit from my death." I told her to hand me my little daypack. She did and I pulled out my cell phone.

Pat said, "It won't work here."

"I know, but I don't remember his number, I have it programmed in the cell phone and here it is. Would you dial it on that phone while I read it off?" She did.

"Hi! Jack, Ham here! How are ya?---What? They are?--- Listen buddy, don't tell a soul, someone almost killed me. I want them to think I may be dead.---Right! Here is what I need you to do, go over my divorce papers and see if there is any way Nancy could profit if I were killed?"

"I know, but just reread it and see, OK? I'll call you back in a little while, OK. Right then, a half an hour. Thanks." I looked at Pat, "His office is in his home. He can do it."

She looked at me, "Has to be Jack Yancy, he is good."

I laughed, "Do you know every Attorney in the area?"

She smiled, "You bet I do. I see all of them sooner or later. They all have to come through me to get papers served by a Deputy in De Soto County." I patted her hand, "Lucky guys!"

"What?"

"You heard me."

"Listen, Sally is here with your dinner. I'll be back later."

"Please don't leave me, I'll have a relapse and die."

"Ham, you are being silly."

"Am I? Can you eat with me?"

She looked at me for a long time, and then smiled. "Let me go see if I can beg a meal. The meatloaf does smell good."

Pat and Sally both ended up eating with me. Dr. Peg stopped by and changed my dressings and said everything looked good. I called Jack back and he said he was very upset. He told me what it was. I was upset too! When he was through I looked at Pat. "We now have a motive."

I looked at her, "Jack says he never reread the complete divorce agreement carefully after he got it back from her. She had it for several days. She had signed it and had her signature notarized. He says someone inserted a clause saying that if I died in testate, she would inherit if I were unwed at the time of death. He said that on careful examination, the page that insertion was on was printed on different paper than the rest of the pages."

"Wow! She has to be the one gunning for you."

"Boy! I am sure glad you guys hid me. I think you saved my life again. I really belong to you now."

"Really?' she smiled. I smiled back, "You are going to have a real hard time getting rid of me now. '

"Ham, You are a really nice guy, I know all I would have to do is ask and you would be gone. Right?"

"Yes, you are right. Please don't ask."

She leaned over and softly kissed my lips. "Sleep tight now, Ham. I'll see you tomorrow."

I lay there and thought of Nancy, my ex-wife. I had loved her and thought we had a perfect marriage for the first several years. Then our lovemaking dropped off. She was always either tired, had a headache, or some other excuse. I started noticing some things she said about her activities didn't really add up. Nothing was so far off I could put my finger on it; just a nagging suspicion lingered in my mind.

Then I scheduled a trip to Guatemala to visit an Aquaculture installation growing bullfrogs for frog legs.

I asked Nancy to accompany me. She refused saying she hated frogs, and wasn't about to spend a week walking around looking at them. It seemed reasonable to me at the time. Now, I am not a totally stupid and foolish man. I knew she was very active on the Internet on her own personal computer.

About a week before I was due to leave she went into town to have her hair done, she was always gone several hours. I had procured a new hard drive for her computer. While she was gone I copied her hard drive onto the new one. Then I replaced the old one. After I installed the hard drive in my computer I called an old friend and had him connect to my computer and run a program that found all the passwords to her various files.

It was a real revelation to read some of her E-mails. She was evidently having a very active sex life out side our marital bed. Her messages setting up these liaisons were evidently never erased and were kept as some sort of trophies. Follow up discussions of the affairs were very graphic and it was evident she had many partners who were well aware she was married and her remarks about my sexual inadequacies were embarrassing and humbling. One of the partners was not given a name I recognized. He was just called 'Sugar'. Her communications with him were very sexy and she professed her deep love for him and swore she would marry him when her problem was solved.

The last few messages made it clear that she was planning a large party the weekend after I left on my planned trip. I cried with the hurt until I realized most of her descriptions of me were completely false. She evidently needed to have the blame for her cheating to be my fault. She even said in several of her last E-Mails that I had refused to let her go with me on my trip. Naturally, unknown to her, I canceled the trip. I left the ranch as planned and got a Motel room nearby and stayed out of sight until the weekend. I rented a pickup truck with tinted windows and found a spot where I was hidden and could monitor the people entering the house. By about eleven that night there were about twenty people there. There had been no new arrivals for the last hour. I left my hiding place carrying my camera gear and slipped up to the house and went out to the back. There were sliding glass doors opening from the living room onto a small screened in porch. I had to ease through the landscaping bushes that screened the porch from out side view.

There was a full-blown orgy in progress. People fucked other people or groups of people here and there. I carefully set up my video camera beside a little clump of small palm trees. I was getting a great shot of everything going on in the large room. Nancy was the center of attention and was directing the action. She was yelling that she needed more cocks over where she was and told the guys where she wanted them and how they were to be used.

There was a naked guy wandering around with a large camera filming the whole thing. I wanted to get my hands on that film or tape. Thank God I had found her E-Mails and had had several days to think about them and was prepared for the scene before me. Things in the orgy seemed to be slowing down a bit around midnight.

I walked in on the screened in porch and stood in the open door to the house, I had my Smith & Wesson 9 mm automatic pistol in one hand and a spare 14 round magazine in the other. I fired two rounds into the ceiling of the room. It was followed by dead silence. I yelled, "Everybody except Nancy get up against that wall of the room. SHUT UP the damned screaming unless you want me to shut you up." I looked at the guy with the camera and told him to gently place it on the floor. Nancy just stared at me then burst into tears. She started to get up. I snarled at her, "Stay on your back with your fucking legs spread you bitch. Just stay in your natural fucking position. Listen up now. Each of you in turn, starting from the left, go find your clothes and carry them back here. When you are dismissed leave here as fast as you can. I don't want to have to hurt anyone so please cooperate." Nancy tried to say something and I told her to shut up, "You have gotten these people in enough trouble, don't make me hurt any of them. Keep your fucking mouth shut. You have nothing I want to hear, now or ever."

When the first person, a woman who looked familiar, came back with her clothes in her arms I told her to take her billfold from her purse and remove her drivers license and place it on the floor in front of me. When she put it down I glanced to see that it was her license. While I was looking down I caught a movement from the people in front of me and looked up to see a guy lifting a lamp. I fired a shot that hit a few inches over his head and sprayed he and several others with plaster. He dropped the lamp. I looked at him. "That was a warning. I could have as easily killed you or just shot your balls off. Right now I really don't care which you fucker. Don't try and test me. I am the meanest and deadliest man you have ever seen."

The woman ran out the door. I pointed to the next person and he ran to get his things. He was back quickly. "You know what to do. Now get!" The line grew shorter rapidly. One man turned to look back at me and saw my pistol pointed directly between his eyes. I said, "Freeze! In case you don't believe me, watch those three wall-lamps on the three different walls." I put the pistol in its holster on my side. I drew. POW POW POW All three lamps shattered and fell. There were a lot of wide eyes now. The cameraman came in with his clothes and dropped his license on the pile then looked at his camera, then at me, I grinned and shook my head. When there were only two men left I asked them if they were each driving a separate vehicle. They both nodded yes. I had them each get their clothes and contribute to the ID collection. When they were done I told Nancy to get up on her feet.

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