125 The beginning of the end.
I was on pins and needles while I waited for Martin. The other two had no idea why I walked through the room a dozen times. Each time I glanced at the monitors. The one covering the cook shack was my only interest at the moment. Any minute it should go out. Mike would think the Atwoods had found it. But Martin would disable it, while he blew the cook shack.
I knew that when the camera went out, the cook shack would be gone within minutes. It was at that time, when the shit would really start to fly. I didn’t want Mike or Gwen to know what was happening. If they didn’t know, they couldn’t roll over on us. It was a need to know situation, and they definitely didn’t need to know.
At ten minutes after ten Mike said, “Shit they found our camera.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“See for yourself,” he said as he backed up the player. When he clicked on the play, the image of the cook shack came on the screen. A few seconds later the camera shook as if someone had picked it up, the the image went to static. “Can’t you get it back?” I asked.
“Not unless Martin is willing to go back and plant a new one. They will be expecting him, so I doubt that he will do that.” Mike said.
“He would be an idiot to do it,” I suggested to keep the conversation on the dead camera, not the exploding building.
“Where is Martin anyway?” he asked.
“I sent him to Walmart for some of those OTC painkillers I am taking. I’m about out.” I said. “Well keep an eye on the driveway. Since we don’t have the cop outside, I’m more than a little paranoid. The Atwoods are going to know we are onto them.”
Before Martin left, he had retrieved my weapons stash. It looked as though I wouldn’t be needing the bowie knife after all. I was just as glad. Knives are really messy. You have to be close enough to smell the blood and crap when you gut someone. I just never felt that it was something I would enjoy.
I was carrying the 10mm Glock semi automatic pistol in and upside down under arm holster. It was really too big for me, but compromise was the name of the game when safety was at stake. The glock was big and clumsy compared to my concealed hammer .38, but it was nothing compared to the Colt .45 M1911. Hell every gun collector, of any statue at all, had to have at least one model 1911 in his inventory. It was the last handgun I had brought. My two Glocks were in use at that time. If I lost another pistol it would be the 1911 for me next. I didn’t look forward to that.
I had my .22 mag sniper rifle with the 20x scope and the .30 caliber Koren war carbine. My .30 caliber carbine was supposed to have been used by an officer at the Inchon landing. I could never prove it, but it made for a good story.
I paced the floor and eyed the new Mossberg 12 gauge pump gun. If Martin didn’t come back soon, I would take it and go looking for him. That should be interesting moving through the woods in the dark with a loaded shotgun. I hoped it wouldn’t come to that. We were just as likely to shoot each other as anything else.
I was sitting on one of the folding chairs glancing at the computer screen, when I saw his car pull into the drive. I was extremely relieved. The angle of the camera made impossible to see, if he got out unharmed. The important thing was that he was back. Even if he was injured, we could take care of him. Mike was in the kitchen fixing himself a coke, when Martin left the car. I saw the two dogs bounce out of the car with Martin following behind them. Damn they switched masters quickly, I thought.
I went onto the porch to greet him. He showed me the cloaking device so I knew the mics were off. “What happened?”
“Well the plan didn’t work exactly as you laid it out, but the cook shack is a pile of ashes. No human or dog was hurt, but I seem to have adopted two guard dogs.”
“They must be male, no loyalty,” I commented with a smile.
“They have good appetites for sure,” he replied.
“Well, tomorrow we can buy them a dog house and some food. We can take care of them until we leave, then I don’t know but hell we might all be dead before that happens,” I suggested.
“My thinking exactly, besides we can use them as first alert.”
“Better than trying to watch those monitor 24/7.” I said in agreement. “Mutt and Jeff,” I suggested after studying them a few seconds..
“Works for me,” he replied.
They probably aren’t house broke, so let’s leave them outdoors. If they take off, then let them go. We will take care of them as long as we are here.” I suggested.
“We fired the first salvo of our little war tonight. I guess tomorrow we will see how it works out.” Martin said.
“Yes for now don’t leave the TV kids alone, there may be hard times coming,” I paused a second then asked, “By the way, was there a cool explosion?”
“And a cute little fireball as well,” Martin said. “I set it by throwing the flare on top of a five gallon plastic bucket of acetone and running like hell. The dogs wanted to chase me, but when the explosion went off, then jumped in the SUV and wouldn’t leave.”
“I guess we need to look for a new target.” I suggested.
“How about his pretty little Italian sports car. I can get a Barret M107. Do you have any idea what that would do to Blain’s lil bitty sports car?” Martin asked.
“Actually I do. I saw that weapon demonstrated. I never fired it, but it looks awesome.” I said. “I like the car idea, but the rifle would be like a finger print. Keep thinking,” I demanded.
“How about a can of hairspray on the muffler?” I suggested. Then added, “We can’t do that someone would have to be driving the car. We could easily kill them.”
“And the problem is?” Martin asked.
“You know damn well what the problem is. That is pure murder and they can prove it.”
“So you want to hurt them, but not kill them?” Martin asked.
“Exactly,” I replied.
“So exactly what is the point?” he asked.
“We want them to ask for the sit down.” I said. “It’s a subtle thing but it puts us in charge if they call for the truce.” I said.
“Truce means we are at war. In a war people die,” he suggested. “When people don’t die it’s called peace.”
“Not in this kind of war.” I said. “We are going to out think them.”
“Trust me, it’s easier to out gun them,” he replied.
“Well let’s work out a plan for tomorrow before we do anything else. Now the shack is not in the local cops jurisdiction, If he tries to arrest or question us, we do not cooperate and we do not leave this house without a fight. That is unless he brings a state police officer along. We can’t call Marshal until the cop tries something If he does, we are going to have to hold him off without killing him.” I said.
“If he comes here and tries to take us away, I’m going to knock him on his ass,” Martin said.
“You can defend yourself, if he tries to manhandle you. We are not in his jurisdiction and neither was the shack. So anything you do with an appropriate amount of force is fine.”
“Good, are you expecting that?” he asked.
“I am expecting anything, up to and including grabbing one of us to drag the others out of the house. So keep an eye on the TV kids,” I demanded.
“Fair enough, if they try that, they are paid for. I don’t care what you say Max.” Martin said.
“I didn’t stop you last time that people needed to be fought off, and I won’t next time either. Just make sure it’s what we really need to do.” I suggested. “We don’t overtly instigate anything, so swallow your macho instincts and lets get this thing done.”
“Alright, but I still say it would be easier to just off the sons of a bitches,” he suggested yet again.
“You are tired of Gwen whining and I’m getting tired of your psycho killer bullshit,” I said without any humor. “We are going to do this my way, or you are going to leave. It’s that simple. It might shock you to know that there is nothing you have done, that I couldn’t have done myself.” I finally had enough of Martin’s Macho bullshit.
“Is that anyway for a slut to talk to her man?” he asked with a smile.
“Just for your further edification, I’m not anybody’s slut. I might be a generic slut, but I don’t belong to any of you. So you just ended any chance you had of getting me to screw you again.” I said it, then I smiled sweetly at him.
“You weren’t all that good anyway,” he said.
“There you go proving you are just a typical man after all. You don’t get things your way, so you lash out. Well Martin, I don’t give a shit what you think of my sexual abilities. So just keep digging your grave deeper with that mouth of yours.”
“I’m not even going to tell yo what you can do with that mouth of yours,” he said.
“Maybe you are learning something after all,” I said sarcastically. “Now if you can be a good little soldier we are cool. If not, you need to head on back to Swamp Thing. I’m sure they will be glad to see you.”
“Believe it or not, my job here is to keep you alive. That is my job period. I will help out, if I can, but my real job is to keep you alive.”
“That’s real thoughtful of your boss, but I don’t want or need a babysitter. So you probably should head on back to HQ.” I said angrily.
“That’s not what it is and you know it. I’m just here so that someone has your back. These are bad people and those two are useless in a firefight.” he said.
“Bullshit, you just think that because we weren’t Seals or wore Green Beanies, we are helpless. Get over yourself.” I said it because I had finally had enough of his condescending attitude. He seemed to finally get the message. He walked away and didn’t look back.
I will not be surprised to find him gone in the morning, I thought.
It was Gwen who came out to talk to me. I was cold but not ready to go back into the house. “He did something to that cook shack didn’t he?” she asked.
“I honestly don’t know. You would have to ask him. In the meantime try to round up some food for these two dogs. Anything we have laying around should do. Also get one of those big plastic storage boxes to give them water. We can get whatever else they need tomorrow.
“We heard your shouts. Not the words, but I know you were fighting. Do you want to talk about it?” she asked.
“No, it will work itself out,” I suggested.
“Okay,” she said that as she went inside to take care of the dog’s needs. I sat on the edge of the wooden porch and waited to see if the two mutts would come to me.
“You guys are kind of like me. Nowhere to really call home. Well we can make sure you eat and have a warm dry place to sleep, but we won’t be staying. You find a place for tonight and tomorrow we will get you a dog house.” I knew that it was a waste of money to buy them a dog house for only a few days. But damn it I was not going to see them out in the cold, when there was something I could do to help.