I survived my first night back in the apartment. It wasn’t hard, I had been there before when it was even colder. I got the small heater out of the storage box to heat the bathroom. While the Ceramic heater worked it’s magic, I fixed the only thing in the house there was to eat. I reheated a left over donut from Granny’s. You didn’t really think I only bought a dozen for the Sheriff’s office did you.
It was still not quite sunup outside , so I fought the urge to run. I hated to run so it didn’t take much fighting. I had the bike under the shelter of the balcony, but with my wing broken, there wasn’t much I could do with it. When I got the tricycle today, there would be more I could do tomorrow, I though.
The stale coffee and the reheated donut were gone before I tried the bathroom again. I found it warm, but in a different way than the rest of the apartment. The heat just seemed kind of surface heat, it didn’t really penetrate. I don’t know how else to explain it. I was still cold deep inside, but my skin was warmer somehow. Probably my imagination.
I ran about eight inches of water into the tub, then I put the little plastic step stool into the tub then climbed in. With a kitchen sponge I washed my body with a new bar of soap. That one bar of soap was doing double duty as a coffee cup sanitizer until I got my stuff from the camper. I was going to the compound over two hundred miles away that very day come hell or high water.
I dressed in clean underwear and a blue striped tee shirt from the Russian commandos. I had recently acquired several of them off ebay. Since I didn’t get a letter of authenticity, I figured they were Chinese knock offs. I was wearing them, not collecting them so I didn’t care. They looked great with my skinny jeans.
It was still chilly in the mornings, so I struggled into the shoulder rig and the thin nylon parka. I didn’t look a bit like a game warden that was for sure. Since I was ready, I went to the drive and backed the truck into the narrow street. It was difficult, but I managed not to hit the curb on the other side.
I knew how to get on the highway headed east, then just follow the signs to the coast. The interstate highway would come within fifty miles of the compound. With that in mind I made my way to the plaza. When I pulled onto eastbound I40, I turned on the music which I had downloaded onto the recorder. It was the same one I had used to tape the bad guys and some of the good guys as well. I had thirty minutes of music and then it would start over. That is why I only downloaded music I could stand to hear several times.
The trip began with me singing along, “Get your motor running, get our on the highway, born to be wild.” It just continued on with traveling music for half an hour. I had California Dreaming and Leaving on a Jet Plane as well and fifteen more driving songs.
As I rolled by some large cities the traffic would be terrible and the roads confusing, so I had to pay attention. Even with all that crap, I found a quiet stretch of road where I could call Hugo safely. “Hugo how you doing?” I asked.
“Terry, how the hell are you. Me and Helen have been worried sick about you.” He said.
“I’m fine Hugo. I would have call much sooner, but they have kept me under sedation, probably so I wouldn’t talk to anyone. Hugo we need to talk and I need my stuff. I’m a couple of hours away and doing the back stroke down to the compound, can you meet me there?” I asked.
“You bet your ass. I also have all your shit including your tools,” he said to ease my mind.
“You are the best Hugo,” I said.
“Helen wants to know if you are going to spend the night?” Hugo asked.
“I hadn’t planned on it but I would like to take you two to dinner, if you will drive,” I said.
“Now that sounds like a plan,” Hugo replied.
“Good, I can’t wait to see you. Right now I’m doing 70 mph, so let me concentrate. I should be there in a couple of hours. bye,” I killed the connection. It was great to have friends. I would never have thought that Hugo and I would get along, let alone become hard friends. We were so different, he and I. He won my respect by his attitude. Hugo took no shit from any of them on either side of the badge.
I stopped in the convenience store where I left the highway. I put almost a hundred dollars worth of gas into the truck. I took to the smaller state highway rather than go back onto the interstate. Later I would be on a county road before I pulled onto the compound driveway.
When I finally pulled down the long driveway, I was very happy to see the place. It looked some different since someone had pulled the camper away. It was a good thing that I had Hugo remove my things, or the state boys would have been all over them.
“Hugo you doll, god it is good to see you,” I said when he came limping out. I had forgotten that I wasn’t the only one banged up. “Helen it is good to see you too.”
“My god, Hugo said you were injured, but you look even skinnier, if that is possible. Not to mention your hand in the big old cast.” she said with what looked almost like tears in her eyes. “Shit, I should have been a nurse with you two around. I guess sex is out of the question.”
“Only if you two say so,” I replied with a grin.
“We will see,” she said. “Come on in and have some coffee. Rest a while before you load the truck.”
“Yes Ma’am,” I said to her. Then to Hugo, “Is she always this bossy?”
“We are divorced aren’t we,” he laughed.
“You can’t prove it by me,” I said to them both.
Over the coffee we laid the plan. Hugo and I would load the truck, while Helen went shopping. We could also start a fire in the giant fire pit in the back of the office. It was decided that we would grill steaks instead of going out. It was also decided that I would pay for dinner. That took a little persuading but they finally agreed.
The menu would be simple, good steak, a fancy salad, and of course some kind of fancy bread. So we were going to send Helen to the farmer’s market for salad material and bread. After we finished loading the truck and laying the fire, Hugo and I would go buy the steaks.
It was 2PM when we started the days chores. Loading the truck was easy at first. The sheets blankets and the like were easy enough. The table top appliances weren’t any real problem either. My computer down there had been a refurbished one from Walmart. I kept the drive clean, I’m sure the state would have liked to track me with it, but Hugo rescued it from the camper, Which meant they would need a warrant to search it. They either hadn’t bother or were refused a warrant. Either way it was still there. I took it up front to the cab of the truck.
I tried to give Hugo my microwave, since I had one in County Seat, but he refused it. The counter top toaster oven I planned to keep. I didn’t have one of those in my apartment over the carriage house. At the compound I had used it almost as often as I did the microwave.
The last thing we loaded was the trike. That proved to be a real mother. We found an old piece of plywood to use for a very steep ramp. We finally managed after some trial and error to load it. We were forced to back it up the ramp. The rear two wheels had to go in first and then front wheel. I steered while Hugo Muscled it up the ramp and inside the truck. He even gave me the plywood, we had used as a ramp, so that I could unload it when I got home.
After the trike was on the truck, we took off in the state bronco for a butcher shop. It was the first all meat and chicken retail store I had ever been inside. They sold meat fresh on day one of it’s slaughter, and then flash froze what they didn’t sell. The flash freezer held all kinds of meat at 20% off the fresh price.
“So, you got any preference for the cut?” Hugo asked.
“Not really, what about you?” I asked.
“Well, Helen likes fillets, so I usually just go with those,” he said.
“Well hell, since we want to get in her panties, let’s go with the fillets,” I answered with a laugh.
“Works for me,” he said with a grin.
The man cut us three with one being a little smaller, since I’m not a big eater. “God those look good,” I said.
“Hell, they are good,” Hugo agreed.
“So you want wine with your steak?” Hugo asked.
“Hugo, I am a liquor kind of girl. Get wine for the two of you and I’ll buy some liquor for me. There is a liquor store in Blane isn’t there?” I asked.
“Yeah, but I confiscated some really good shine, it is so smooth you wouldn’t believe it.” Hugo said.
“Where did you get it? I asked.
“A boat in the waterway had an unopened gallon jug. He swore he never saw it before. The state wouldn’t have convicted him because it was a rental boat so I just confiscated a two hundred dollar jug of shine. Cheaper than a lawyer for him, but enough to teach him not to do it again. It only takes a couple of ounces to get mellow as hell.” Hugo said.
I didn’t say anything but it sounded a lot like Green Dragon Piss. “Hugo, be careful who you tell that story to,” I said.
“Hell Terry, If I can’t trust you with a secret, who can I trust,” he said.
“On that note let’s go home and have a cook out,” I said.
Hugo’s fire pit was a hug cast iron stew pot. We left it burning some small spruce logs. Well they were split logs, but they hadn’t burned down to complete ashes in the two hours. Hugo added more wood and let the fire build a little by covering it with a large aluminum dome.
“Where the hell did you find that,” I asked.
“Believe it or not some jackass was pulling it behind a boat. He donated it to the forest service, when he found out he couldn’t control it. Seems he almost hit several boats, who reported him. So he donated it.”
“You seem to get a lot of shit that way,” I said. Far from thinking it was a bad thing, I was in awe of him even more. It was just common sense that he brought which government employees were not known to bring to the job.
It was 6PM when we started to cook.
“I think I will do the cooking, you two just go fix the drinks. I’ll have a glass of the red with first,” Helen said.
“Yes dear,” Hugo said. “Terry you want the wine, a mixed drink, or a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon Bock Beer?”
“You have bock beer? Well hell that it the drink of champions, of course I’ll have that.” So that’s how the evening began.