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Thread: E&E

  1. #1

    6 E&E


    Chapter One

    I didn’t have any love for any of the Laws who guarded the Prison. I was locked away without just cause and they were the ones who stood between me and Freedom.

    Don’t tell me that some of them were ignorant or “Just doing their jobs”. That wouldn’t be a mitigating factor. That would be an aggravating factor.

    Thing was, I had no love for any of the other clients either. I’d have mown down dozens of guards or clients with equal fervor and indifference if it would transport me outside the walls.

    If the untermenschen who accosted the Law named Riemann had been working toward their own escape or even pursuing vengeance, then I’d have left them to it.

    Their objectives were rape and torture though—and while I didn’t give a rat’s derriere about Riemann, rape—particularly homosexual rape—offended my sensibilities.

    I came up behind one. It isn’t as easy to break a man’s neck with a quick Chiropractic style twist as they’re always showing on TV. It can be done though, with the right technique and plenty of “Oomph!”

    One down.

    The second one was easy too. He had his pants down around his ankles restricting his movement and giving me a great handhold.

    I reached between his legs from behind, with my right hand and secured a firm grip on his scrotum. That’s another thing that’s rather demanding—picking a man up over your head, with one hand on his neck and the other on his crotch. I’m uncommonly strong though.

    I swung him down so that the full weight of his body and my swing came down right on the top of the head—broken neck number two. A booming kick to the crotch of the third, hard enough to rupture both his testicles and there was only Riemann and me against two demoralized untermenschen.

    Riemann had regained his pepper spray and thoroughly soaked one of his clients. I loathe the idea of risking my hand by striking someone’s bony head with my fist—but I’d spent years developing a powerful open-handed slap. It’s much more effective than one might think.

    I was busy slapping my last client unconscious when several of Riemann’s fellow gang members came to his rescue. They didn’t cut me any special slack. They come in expecting to do some tenderizing with their riot sticks.

    That was okay by me. The Laws were no better than the clients as far as I was concerned. I neither expected nor counted on leniency because I’d been nominally on Riemann’s side during the brief pleasantness.

    I stepped inside one Law’s over-handed blow and delivered a powerful poke to both eyes. There is always the possibility of poking out an eye with this maneuver—though it is used to temporarily blind and incapacitate through pain.

    Must have been on a roll though, because my poke ruined both the Law’s eyes…

    He shouldn’t have been trying to brain me.

    I plucked his club from his nerveless fingers. I had about six inches of hardwood club sticking out the thumb side of my hand. I closed with a second guard, grabbing him with my free hand as I did so. I pulled him close while pumping five or six very hard shots into his solar plexus and midsection.

    My left forearm blocked a blow another Law aimed at my head. Never mind feeling. I could hear the Radius and Ulna snap. I brought my own club down as hard as I could on the top of his head in retaliation. I got in a mediocre follow-up shot to his temple and then the World went away.

    I came to in the prison infirmary. My left arm had a cast on it. My right eye was swollen shut. I had no idea if I still had a right eye or not. The tissue around my left eye was swollen enough to make everything very blurry.

    Someone had stomped my right hand into the floor after I was down. A couple fingers were splinted and there was a patchwork of stitches across the back of my hand. I felt bruised and battered all over.

    Riemann came to see me a half day after I woke.

    “You could be in a lot of trouble,” He said.

    I let that lie. I was doing thirty to life. I already had trouble.

    “You killed two of the Prisoners. One of the others lost his nuts,” He said.



    “Don’t call them prisoners. They were my clients.”

    “Well, fortunately you didn’t kill any of your guard ‘clients’.”


    “Don’t feel too bad. Schmitt is blind. Johnson lost his spleen and his gall bladder. He’s never going to be the same. Dixon has some brain damage. He’s going to be more or less palsied for the rest of his life. I’d say that you got your licks in,” Riemann said.

    Riemann called the prison Doctor over. He was a real MD and he was doing a very long sentence—maybe life—over some sort of drug trafficking. I never cared enough to find out the details.

    “How long until this man is well?” Riemann asked him.

    Doc shrugged.

    “We generally leave a cast on for six weeks. The splints can probable come off his fingers sooner, but they’ll be one of the last things to fully heal—if they do fully heal,” Doc said.

    “Would anabolic steroids or the new super healing drugs speed up his recovery?”

    “Probably and definitely, if we could get some.”

    “You have steroids. You peddle them to the muscle heads. You have plenty of morphine—you sell that to the other prisoners too.

    “This man will not lack for pain medication. He should be blissed out throughout his stay. You will start him on the appropriate dose of steroids at once. If that leaves you short—O well…

    “I’ll try to get you some of the new drug and nanites combos within a couple weeks.

    “I know that you’re protected. I don’t care. If this man isn’t taken proper care of, I will beat your kidneys into a Christmas pudding.

    “Verstehen Sie?”

    “You ain’t gonna buy my gratitude Riemann,” I said

    “Skew gratitude!” Riemann spat back.

    ******************* ****************** *********

    Four weeks later I was moved from the prison hospital to a rather spacious cell in an unused part of the building. It was Spartan but it was a definite step up from the average cell accommodations.

    I had a rather weak hand gripper and a nice loose foam rubber ball to exercise my broken fingers. I could do a few partial squeezes on the sponge-rubber ball with my casted hand.

    I did a lot of deep knee bends, sit-ups and leg raises and flexed the muscles of my arms—particularly the muscles partially immobilized by the cast—several hundred times per day. It was a form of isometrics or dynamic tension.

    I wasn’t at the top of my form yet but I was improving.

    “Your arm bones are probably healed already, but we’re going to leave the cast on for the full six weeks, just in case. The new healing nanites speed the body’s recuperation a great deal, but we didn’t get any into you until partway through the third week.

    “Anyway, they affect different people to varying degrees,” Riemann told me.

    “You’re too good to me,” I said without emotion.

    “Zin, you’re a killer,” He began.

    “Got that right.”

    “You know I hesitated over what I’m going to ask you. Why did you help me?”

    “I don’t like to see the strong sticking it to the weak. It’s the way of things—Nature’s Law—but I find it unaesthetic,” I said.

    “Don’t be fooled though. I don’t love you. When the day comes that you stand between me and a way out of here, I’ll drop you like a bad habit,” I said.

    “But you keep your word, don’t you? You have Honor?” Riemann asked.

    “I have Honour,” I replied.

    It’s easy to express in writing. I spelled the words for him.

    “ ‘Honor’ is what other folks give you. It can be based on Right-Action. It can also be based on deception or other’s misinterpretation of the facts.

    “ ‘Honour’ is necessarily genuine. It comes from within and takes no account of what other’s think. I have Honour,” I stated firmly.

    I would only say it once. If he chose not to believe, I didn’t care enough about his—or anyone else’s—opinion enough to try even the feeblest attempts at persuasion.

    “If I could get you out of here—set you free—would you do me a small favor?

    “Actually, I need a really big favor from you,” He said.

    “Don’t know. No homo stuff—and I won’t kiss your Bass—or your Catfish either.

    “Do you want someone killed?

    “I’m not an assassin. I’d have to be convinced that they deserve it,” I said.

    “You guys don’t realize it. Y’all eat fairly well in here, even if most of it is sugar, starch, vegetable oil and textured vegetable protein.

    “People on the outside though—they’re going hungry more and more often. This drought just won’t let up. There’s rationing, black markets and more and more riots. We’re facing mass insurrection,” Riemann said.

    “Don’t look at me. I’m not the Prophet Elijah. I can’t get God to make it rain.

    “I know about hungry people. My neighbor threatened to kill and eat my Dog. I told him that if he killed my Dog that I’d kill his whole Damned family.

    “I came home and my sister was crying her eyes out. The fat Lopslicker had come into my backyard shot my little Dog and had taken him home to cook,” I said.

    “What did you do?”

    “I kept my promise.”

    “His wife, his two sons and his daughter didn’t kill your Dog,” Riemann objected.

    “If you already knew the story, why did you ask? His youngest child was fourteen. The boy shared in the meal and he knew the consequences.

    “I left the old man for last. He got to see his whole family precede him into death.”

    “Why didn’t you run? Or resist arrest?”

    “There were two other Dogs and my sister to consider. Besides, I felt called upon to explain myself—once—without special emphasis or pleading.

    “The reprobate judge and the degenerate jury sent me to prison.”

    “And your sister?”

    “She died about eight months later, resisting the confiscation of her stored food and the murder of her Dogs—our Dogs—by lawfully constituted authority.”

    “I have a daughter. She’s fifteen. I have a place that she could be relatively safe with a rather large amount of stored food. I know a couple of the other guards in the same fix.

    “We can’t afford to lose these jobs…

    “But if I could get you out of here and get you Guns, gear and food—would you be willing to escort our children to my Retreat? I’d want you to stay and protect them—For an equal share of the food?”

    “I’ll think on it. Meantime, what weapons can you get me?”

    “You’d be surprised. Times are hard. Money is tight. Most weapons are contraband…

    “But I’ve read your old blog online and we Laws have our sources. You’ll be surprised how well we’ve managed to accommodate most of your weapon preferences,” Riemann said.

    “It’s sounding better all the time. By the way, thank you for the Spam.”

    Meat, even commuted meat was a rare thing in the prison. I’d always loved Spam, and Riemann had arranged for me to get a can every day.

    “What about the eggs?”

    I shook my head once—from side to side.

    “Don’t eat eggs—but the trustee brings me a Roast Rat or Song Bird every few days in exchange for letting him eat my eggs.”

    “Well this should be a treat,” Riemann said.

    He handed me a dozen packages of M&Ms and a small can of Peanuts.

    “You do eat candy?”

    “O Yeah!”


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    My beloved SW Missouri
    You've set the hook well, RVM45... Keep-up the good work!

    OA, out...
    "Make haste- slowly." -Marshall Wyatt Earp============ "Slow is smooth, smooth is fast." -Kyle Swanson, US Navy SEAL

    Eternity is Hell, Without Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior...

    Condition "0," Code Red to Black- ALWAYS!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    My m&m bag is empty. I need MOAR! This sounds like its going to be another great story. Thanks for posting it.

  4. #4
    SWEETTTTTTTT, like the start, need more RVM45, I am thinking a brace of Dectonics Scoremasters to start or Wilson Combats

  5. #5


    I'm thinking something a little more Spartan.

    Despite the unique beginning, I'm wanting to do a relatively simple and straightforward Bug-Out story for once.

    My own taste in Weapons goes something like: A good combat automatic, a spare combat automatic, a good .22 LR for harvesting small game, a back-up .22.....

    Then maybe a Magnum Pistol suitable for big game/defense against bears and maybe a hide-out or two.....

    And then there is the question of a Rifle.....

    And for those who say multiple Pistols/Revolvers aren't doable: I often used to carry two full-sized Colt 1911A1s and a Smith and Wesson .357 Magnum (a 3" Model 13) Concealed.

    I've also carried two and three .44 Magnums. (The third had an 8 3/8ths inch Barrel.) A big man can carry a Long Barreled .44 Magnum concealed inside the pants-but it isn't comfortable, and isn't fully discrete.

    You sure can't shove anything else in one's waistband with it!

    Carrying three N Frame Smiths is for cooler weather where one can use a Shoulder holster for at least one of them.

    I digress.

    Zin might be a Firearm Fanatic, but the Laws who are grubstaking him will be a bit more Frugal.....


  6. #6
    well maybe a brace of Glock34s and a Ruger Mark II Target with silencer, just messing with you RVM45 love your stories

  7. #7


    Actually, one of the Guns was going to be a rather Customized Bull-Barelled Ruger Mark II.....

    {Mark II-- ; Mark I--Okay; Mark III }

    And just for you, it's going to have a Silencer.

    No need for an Escaped Convict doing Thirty to Life worrying about NFA Violations.

    As for the Glocks, I don't foresee a need for Trotline Sinkers anywhere in the Story yet...

    Last edited by RVM45; 08-31-2012 at 10:21 AM.

  8. #8

    6 Chapter Two

    Chapter Two

    Riemann took me to a small suite of rooms that the Laws were using for an Armory. Funding had gotten mighty tight and even the unimaginative cival masters were having to improvise.

    Haney had taken a bullet to the spine when the Hobnails came to bust him on weapons charges. Fortunately he could still stand and get around with leg braces and crutches…

    He was one of the best though uncelebrated Gunsmith/Machinists around. The Laws had gotten him some pretty good, though used, equipment: LeBlond Lathe, Bridgeport Mill, both Gas and TIG Welding Gear, a very large Compressor and quite a few smaller Machines and Hand Tools.

    I say “Fortunately he could still stand”, maybe not. Haney was a rare find. If he’d been stuck in a wheel chair, they’d have just figured out some way to build the floor up to get him high enough to run the Machines.

    He had two assistants and the three of them were sort of unofficial “Super-Trustees” living in luxury with the run of the whole damned place.

    I hadn’t even heard of him until that day and I never expected that the Hobnails were running their own clandestine armory.

    Riemann told me that not only did Haney keep their Guns in top-notch shape and customized their personal weapons for them—But they traded Haney’s products to other Laws in order to accrue “Favors”.

    Haney held up a Nickel Plated Smith and Wesson K Frame.

    “This is a Model 19 Smith and Wesson .357. It has a six-inch Barrel. In accordance with your oft-quoted preferences, the Butt has been converted to the round configuration and the Hammer has been bobbed.

    “It has Elk Stag Grips and a stainless Tyler “T” adapter. They aren’t selling Stag Grips anymore but Elk Horns are. I made these myself. It has the smoothest double-action pull you’ll find on a Combat Revolver anywhere,” Haney said.

    I took the Revolver with trembling hands.

    “This two-inch Model 10 is the best that I could do for a Hide-Out. It’s been Round-Butted and dehorned. The grips and finish are identical to your .357.

    “What happens though, if you run out of .38 Special? I could have simply reamed the Chambers to .357 and warned you to only fire .357s in it in dire extremis. That wouldn’t have been a bad solution but it wouldn’t have been ideal.

    “Instead I swapped the reamed .38 Cylinder with a .357 Cylinder a State Trooper wanted to have refinished. It was a Four-Inch Model 13 by the way.

    “This is a five-inch Bull-Barreled Ruger Mark II .22 Automatic. It is Bright Nickeled, has Stag Grips and is externally threaded for a Monoblock Suppressor. There is a nice thread protector for when you’re not using the Suppressor.

    “Incidentally, your suppressor is also Bright Nickeled. You have a thing for Bright Nickel, don’t you?”

    I was admiring my Smith and Wesson Revolvers and my Ruger when he continued.

    “I Nickeled one of our .30 Carbines for you. I made the stock of Birdseye Maple and checkered it special for you.

    “No, the fancy stock wasn’t necessary, but it won’t hurt anything. I know you like fine woods and Maple is one of your favorites. I rarely get a chance to do really fine work for someone who knows the difference.

    “I made that custom Leather Dual-Magazine Pouch on the stock. There is also a Belt-Mounted six-pack with six fifteen round magazines in it. There’s eleven of the special tuned and Nickeled fifteen rounders altogether. There are also three thirty rounders but you’ll have to carry them in you possible bag or in your pack,” Haney continued.

    The .30 Carbine had a nice three-point sling along with a special sling attachment to let it be carried fairly well concealed muzzle-down under the right arm. The Leather was all a Rich Red-Burgandycolor.

    Finally Haney had a Marlin Model 336 .30-30. He’d converted it to Takedown. He’d given it a one-inch Vortex Flash-Hider. The Magazine tube had been replaced with a thicker walled tube.

    {The Tube on Tubular Magazine Guns is a bit of a weak spot.}

    It had Ghost-Ring Aperture Sights, Finely Checkered Birdseye Maple Pistol Grip Stocks and the Gun had been Engraved—Some very fine German-Style Oak-Leaf and Acorn Engraving along with running Bucks, Pheasants Rising and Hunting Dogs.

    The Barrel was Satin-Nickeled per my Blog-Published Preference and the balance of the steel was Bright Nickeled.

    It had a Burgundy Leather Cheek-Piece to hold nine rounds and a Burgandy Sling.

    “Thank you,” I said to Haney with a catch in my voice and a tear in one eye.

    “No, thank you. That look in your eye was all the thanks I’ll ever need—and the only payment.”

    Haney was a real artist with Metal and Leather and Wood. Only sometime later did I notice The Carbine also had some tasteful Engraving. The leather on my 2” Model 10 Holster and the Rugers holster were also Stamped.

    The 19 rode in a Shoulder Holster and wasn’t a good platform for Stamping.

    I never saw Haney again and I’ve often wondered what became of him. I Honour his skill and his memory.

    I didn’t get out for another month, but Riemann let my keep my weapons in my cell for plenty of drawing and dry-fire practice. No one who wasn’t in on Riemann’s plot was supposed to know that I was hidden away somewhere anyway.

    Lots of people were already in trouble if a non-initiate found me anyway, never mind the Guns.

    Riemann took me three times to a Makeshift range he’d set up in a Basement Tunnel. It let me get the Rifles fairly well sighted in—though a bit closer than I’d like to have sighted them at.

    The last time he handed me a small package. There were two Buck Lock-Backs rehandled with Stag. Each one had a Stamped Burgundy Colored Leather Sheath. There was a Handmade Damascus Steel Bowie, Stag Handled, with a Big “S” Shaped Hilt Guard, Brass Backing on the Spine and a Razor-Sharp Blade patterned after the Old Western Bowies that I’d admired so much but upsized to a thirteen-and-a-half-inch Blade.

    There was a note: “I’d never done Damascus before. I wanted to be sure before I got you excited.”

    The note was signed simply “Haney”.

    Riemann handed me another small gift—An old time H&R Breaktop—a Five-Shot .32. The Barrel was cut back to 1 and 7/8ths Inches. It had a modern style Ramp Front Sight and a beefed-up Rear Sight.

    The finish was Bright Hard Chrome. The old steel was a little soft. The Hard Chrome should partially protect it from undue wear. Best of all, it had Mother of Pearl Grips.

    It was a true tiny “Pocket Pistol”—only it wasn’t a Pistol. It was a Revolver.

    I had enough ammo to try several Cylinders full and still have a good stash. Face it; if I had to shoot the Tiny Revolver very often, I was doing something seriously wrong.

    ****************** ************** *************

    I got to start the first 45 some-odd miles of my journey riding. Riemann’s daughter lived in a little town called “Medaryville” just South of Michigan City.

    “I get the girl one month every Summer, starting the first of July. If I tried to get her away sooner, my ex-wife would turn me in—the GCB!”

    GCB means “Good Citizen Bass-surd”

    Only maybe with his ex-wife being a female—one might hope—the “B” might stand for “Witch”; or “Itch” or some such…

    There are three extra Carbines—Though mot as fancy as yours. One is for my daughter and the other two are for the daughters of the other guards.

    “I can take you about ten miles further South, but then I have to head back. The other girls are in Indianapolis, but I’ve made arrangements for them to meet you outside of town,” Riemann Said.

    “It would save days, if you could drive me to Indianapolis,” I said.

    Riemann shook his head.

    “I’d like to, but there is satellite tracking on all official vehicles and most others aren’t allowed on the roads. I got permission to come get my daughter and a ten mile discrepancy can be explained, but not much more.”

    ******************* ***************** *********

    Riemann’s State-owned van hadn’t much more tha gotten out of sight when sissy, Riemann’s recently turned sixteen year old daughter, through the .30 Carbine at me like a Marine Drill Instructor.

    “Take this old-fashioned POS!” She snapped.

    She also threaded the holster bearing the four inch Model 13 Smith and Wesson .357 that her father had spent two month’s pay getting her.

    “And take this relic of the OK Corral!”

    “What! Are you like one of those Sissy-Psycho Vegan Anti-Gun Pacifists?” I asked.

    She gave me a look like I was a piece of Dog Spritz stuck to her shoe sole; then she raunched around in her Pack. She came out with a Short Barreled Rifle with a Folding stock.

    “This is a Short-Piston PDW IN .17 Fireball,” She told me with the air of trying to explain Calculus to a Baboon. “It has a 14 inch Barrel—including Flash-Suppressor—it has three-shot burst capability and fires from a 24-Round magazine or a 50-Round Drum.”

    “Where on Earth did you get that?” I asked.

    “Where do you think that I got it, you cretin? I made it!”

    She started strapping on a Big Black Pistol.

    “Did you make that too?”

    “Hardly, this is a 5.7x28mm FN Five-Seven.”

    “Where did you get it?”

    “I made some Homemade Semtex for some Freedom Fighters.”

    “Yeah well, you’re going to carry two of these .30 Carbines. I’m already carrying two Long Guns and most of the victuals. One extra Carbine is load enough for me,” I said.

    “And what if’n I don’t?” She sniffed.

    “I’ll put out your right eye, take all the grub and leave you on your own. Those two young girls in Indianapolis are counting on me.”

    “Skew those inner-city hussies!”

    “Do you want to carry these Carbines or do you want to be called ‘Lefty’?”

    I wouldn’t have looked that disgusted, if I’d had to carry a bag full of Rattlesnakes and Copperheads—but she slung the two Carbines over her shoulder.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Sounds like she needs to be knocked down a peg or three. Maybe those other girls will show her a thing or two. Glad I'm not him having to deal with her.
    Thanks for the chapter.

  10. #10
    very good love the FN5.7 and the tude

  11. #11

    6 Chapter Three

    Chapter Three

    In theory, covering the ground to the Guard’s Retreat was simple. Travel at night—we’d be far less visible than by day. Don’t travel on the roads. The potential for ambush was unacceptable.

    Anyway, walking in the open with Long-Guns at port-arms would have attracted the notice of any Laws patrolling the highways. Martial Law was in effect. There was a curfew and some severe restrictions on travel. Guns were widely prohibited. It just didn’t work.

    Then again, to anyone watching the roadway from a safe vantage point, the possession of arms—and packs—would be a fair indication that we were worth the trouble to kill and rob.

    On the other hand, I had no real familiarity with the ground I had to cover. Riemann had given me plenty of satellite photos of the general area—and a reasonable amount of side territory, in case I was forced to sidestep and improvise. He’d given me road maps and contour maps as well as GPS Coordinates.

    Thing was, it probably wasn’t wise to have maps leading right up to the door of Riemann’s retreat as well as maps to all (or many) of his caches. I wasn’t entirely sure that Riemann wasn’t holding back some of the good stuff. I certainly would have in his place.

    It really didn’t matter. Riemann didn’t want me to end up alive and loose, still in possession of my wards, but with the map to the kingdom and all its riches in someone else’s possession.

    Couldn’t fault him there. I didn’t want that either.

    I’d spent six weeks pouring over the maps and memorizing. Then Riemann had given me one of the new drugs that was supposed to give one total recall of everything that happened during the few hours the drug lasted…

    And I went over every scrap of “Google Maps” data as well as contour maps, county road maps and Precise Longitude and Latitudes of the Hideout and Caches.

    The drug lasted long enough for me to go over everything three or four times—look at photos of selected sites—though several years out of date—and to read a few things that I’d always wanted to “rememberize”.

    Riemann had me memorize as much as possible before giving me the memory enhancer, since he didn’t quite trust it. Should the artificially enhanced memories fade at some point, I should still have what I memorized earlier…

    And obviously, I couldn’t do a creditable job of memorizing stuff that I’d already downloaded via chemical enhancement.

    The best that I could tell, the drug did an admirable job of burning stuff into one’s memory—just as advertised. It had a vicious comedown though. I felt as though I’d been beaten and then shot full of Thorazine for a couple weeks.

    Just about the time that I started feeling halfway like my old self, Riemann wanted me to take one more dose. This time he had me wear Virtual Reality goggles and he fed me a double dose.

    I was out of it pretty much the whole time. Riemann claimed that they had Speed-Downloaded virtually every bit of Geographic data available for all the states East of the Mississippi and several states that bordered the Mississippi to the West, only stopping when the monitors told him that the levels of the drug in my blood had slipped too low for more super-fast downloads to be effective.

    But that was just something to fill in what would otherwise have been a bunch of wasted Memory Drug Bandwidth. The main thing that I was supposed to memorize was a complex pattern of Map-Colored points and lines.

    The pattern was meaningless in and of itself. I had an Atlas though—as broad and long as a wire-bound notebook, with thick nylon covers and almost three hundred plastic sheet pages—as thin as a page from a Bible, impervious to moisture and advertised as impossible to tear by hand.

    The pages were uncommonly tough. I didn’t try to put my full strength into tearing one since I was satisfied they were tough enough and didn’t want to chance ruining a page.

    The maps were very detailed—but they detailed places that existed nowhere on this Earth. Stare at them while summoning up the random pattern though and they became perfectly good maps.

    The scheme wouldn’t work with anyone though, unless they were an eideticer or you’d spent several hours studying the pattern while high on Memory Drug.

    I still hadn’t fully recovered from the last use of the drug though. I think that’s why the stuff was so tightly regulated. I wasn’t at all sure that it hadn’t wrecked my brains delicate biochemistry with just three doses (a single and a double dose).

    I was in no mood to be doing forced marches though the chigger weeds. I wasn’t in a fit mood to do anything but sit and sulk gloomily—but I had to go on.

    I medicated myself with Caffeine and Benzedrine to get going along with more modest doses of Opiates to try to sooth my battered endomorphin systems.

    And Sissy raising hell every step of the way wasn’t helping.

    “Why do we have to walk through the weeds? There is the Highway right over there,” She griped.

    I called a halt.

    “We’re walking here because anyone can clearly see us walking down the center of the road. We’ll be right on top of someone staking out this side of the road before they can react.

    “Someone on the far side of the road may miss us completely.

    “That is if we’re quiet. If you keep bellowing like a calf in a hailstorm, blind folk a half-mile away will know that we’re passing.

    “Shut up!”

    I wasn’t in any type of top shape myself and humping a pack through the weeds is hard on anyone. I didn’t figure that the Drama Queen had ever attempted anything like it.

    I was hoping to get close to ten miles per day, but the first night I settled for about four.

    The East was just turning light as I finished the camp.

    I pitched a small tarpaulin—what vulgar people inexplicably refer to as a “tarp”—to keep the blazing hot sun off of us and to shield us in the unlikely event of rain. The tarpaulin also shielded us from casual aerial view—though if they started searching for us with top of the line satellite and aerial surveillance gear, we’d be what is known in old Sanskrit as “Skewed!”

    I gathered enough sticks to start a small fire in a Coffee-Can Stove and cooked us a brief meal of instant Oats along with some Beef Jerky-Jerky.

    Oats are good for you, no doubt, but I put more faith in the ounce of Wheat Germ, the third of a cup of powdered milk, the big hunk of canned butter and the generous heap of Brown Sugar that I stirred into each bowl.

    “Eat this,” I said.

    “I don’t care for Oats, especially with a glob of fat in them, “ she sniffed.

    “Pond and Honour! You don’t like them or you just don’t care for them?” I asked.

    “What do you mean?”

    “ ‘I don’t care for it’ means ‘I could eat it but I’d just as soon not’…”

    I stopped to look at her meaningfully.

    “My grandmother always tried to get me to say that I didn’t care for something, when the bald fact was that I didn’t like it.

    “ ‘I don’t like it’ means that I wouldn’t eat it with a Gun to my head and that if, for some bizarre reason, I tried to eat it, I’d heave my guts up before I got it halfway to my mouth.”

    “Well then, I just don’t care for it—though I’d imagine that you’d eat most anything with a Gun to your head,” Sissy opined.

    “I wouldn’t eat any sort of Fried Egg to save my life, or Mayonnaise. I could eat a Boiled Egg or a Raw One with sufficient motivation, but I wouldn’t at Gunpoint.

    “I wouldn’t eat a beautiful Combo Pizza with a Vanilla Malt to wash it down, if I was under duress,” I said.

    “Humph!” She snorted largely through her nose.

    “Sissy listen, we took it easy today, but we’re going to have to travel hard and as fast as circumstances allow. You need Calories. You really need Fat in your system.

    “You don’t have to eat your Oatmeal. I’ll be happy to eat it for you. Thing is, if you force it down, you won’t suffer nearly as much tomorrow. If you pass up this meal, you’ll be feeling the after-effects for two or three days.

    “Tomorrow morning you’ll be hungry enough to wolf your Oats down, but today’s Oats will be gone—and you will miss them.”

    She considered that and started eating her Oats with little pleasure.

    “Take off your shoes,” I said to her when she’d finished.


    “You have blisters. I can see you limping,” I said.

    As I had feared, her feet were soft and tender—without any signs of calluses or hard conditioning.

    “See, you have some rather large blisters. A blister can’t even begin to heal until all the fluid is let out. Thing is, the skin under the blister will be very raw and tender.

    “I learned this trick from a book about Israeli Paratroopers,” I said. “It’s a good trick. We take a sterilized needle threaded with a nice sterile cotton thread.

    “Pierce the blister here—pull the thread through—and out here on the farthest side of the blister.

    “The thread will wick the moisture out, but we’ve only compromised the tough blister skin at a couple of points.

    “We tie the ends together like so…

    “Tonight we’ll snip the thread and pull it out. A really big blister like this one may take two or three threads running at various angles.

    “You will still lose the skin in a few days and it will still be a bit tender, but nothing like it would be if we took the skin off today,” I said.

    “Are you a Jew?”


    “You said that was an Israeli Paratrooper’s trick.”

    “What, are you getting your prejudices all lined out? No, I’m not a Jew. Even if I were, you’re not in a position to look down your nose at anyone.

    “Try to sleep. I know It’ll be hard in the open like this, in broad daylight, but do try. At least close your eyes and rest,” I said.

    After about an hour she said,

    “Zin, I’m not Anti-Semitic. My mother was Jewish, though she wasn’t practicing…

    “Does that matter?”

    “Pond and Honour! Sleep!”

    *********************** ****************** *****

    As it turned twilight I stowed most of our camp gear and cooked us a Supper. Dehydrated Beef Stew, if you can imagine such a thing. I fortified it with some Jerky-Jerky and some Mashed Potato Flakes—and of course—a big glob of Butter.

    I used five of the stew packs—two for Sissy, three for me. This was a forced march, not a Weight-Watchers Convention. The food was calculated to last us through our journey even with our high Caloric intake.

    “I don’t much care for Coffee,” Sissy said.

    “Try to drink it. Drink it for the moisture and the Caffeine and the Sugar,” I said.

    “Can you put some of that Powdered Milk in it then?”

    “Sure. Take one of these with it, “ I said.

    “What is it?”

    “Caffeine Tablet. I’m not sure how hard the Coffee’s Caffeine will hit you buffered with Milk. I’m neither going to poison you, nor drug you without your knowledge,” I said.

    “While we’re at it, here are some Vitamins: 1000 mgs of C—some evidence suggests that big doses of Vitamin C can prevent or alleviate muscle soreness. 100 mgs of Niacin, Folic Acid, Vitamin D, A B-Complex combination and 1000 IUs of Vitamin E.

    “We’ll take some more C, B-12 and Iron when we stop. Iron eats Vitamin E, so it isn’t wise practice to take them together.

    “Here, take a couple aspirin too. That will help out any minor pains that you may have and helps the blood run more freely,” I said.

    “You mean that it’s an anti-coagulant, don’t you?” she asked.

    “You got it.”

    “What if I’m shot?”

    “Try not to get shot,” I advised.

    I took the threads out of her blisters, got her to grease her feet with Vaseline and double sock—Cotton inside, Wool outside.

    “My feet feel squishy and greasy,” She complained.

    “In a half-hour they won’t. In an hour, you’ll have forgotten—until tonight, when your feet aren’t so blistered.

    “Now please, try to keep quiet tonight. Our luck can’t hold out forever, if you keep talking nonstop.

    “Let’s try to get at least eight miles tonight,” I encouraged.


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Great chapter. Never heard of the blister and string idea before. Does it really work?
    Thanks for more.

  13. #13
    Great chapter! I'm loving this story. I've also really come to like your cadence - it just took a while for me to settle into your storytelling style. Sorry for being critical a month or two ago.

    A friend of mine taught me the thread trick in college, and it has worked for me every time I've tried it. I don't always lose the skin on the outside either, sometime it just calms down nicely after draining the fluid.

  14. #14


    For me, with really big blisters--say silver-dollar sized--it sometimes takes two or three consecutive night's treatment to get the blister fully and permanently dry.

    I also found that with really big blisters, I really needed to cut a small--BB-Sized hole with a pair of clippers to really drain the thing.....

    But yeah, on smaller blisters--smaller than a half-dollar--it works great.

    Read that in the Autobiography of the one Israeli Paratroop who was killed in the Raid on Entebbe (Mostly composed of letters he'd written.....)

    I think his name was "Netynahu(?) or some such.....

    Like to give the fellow full credit.


  15. #15
    Thanks rvm, am enjoying this, good to know about the blisters.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Thanks for answering my question about the blisters. Ummm--may we have some more story time please?

  17. #17

    6 Chapter Four

    Chapter Four

    We made pretty good time the second night, almost nine hours. Sissy did a good job of marching without a constant stream-of-consciousness dialog.

    We could have gotten ten or a bit more—but water was getting to be a bit of a problem.

    You know, there are deserts in the World. There are Nomadic Peoples—mostly hunter-gatherers who live there even today. They are relatively few of them though and they move around constantly to avoid over-stressing their resources.

    I’ve always been amused at PAW Fiction that depicts drinking water selling for as much per gallon as gasoline does. O granted, as a short-term expedient in the desert and dying of thirst, a gallon of water would be worth a Gold Krugerrand—several Gold Krugerrands.

    Long term though, with comparatively many people living in an area, if you’re paying a quarter-ounce of Gold—or equivalent value—for every gallon of water you drink, how in the seven burning hells are you growing food?

    Far more people will starve to death in any sort of reasonable Drought than will die of thirst.

    No one in America was going thirsty yet—well, maybe some folks in the cities when their utilities were interrupted. That was happening ever more often and only a few seemed motivated to save old plastic bottles and stock-pile a few days worth.

    There were quite a few hungry folks in America due to the Drought; there were few dying of thirst.

    Sissy and I were an exception. We were traveling and sweating a lot—even through the day, under the tarpaulin. Water is one of the heavier of life’s essentials. It is all but impossible to carry more than a very few days worth of water on foot.

    And one can’t do without it more than two or three days at most—two or three miserable days at drastically reduced performance at that.

    Years ago, Google used to send out scores of cars—maybe hundreds—I’m not sure—to take ground photo’s of millions of ground level American scenes—partly as an adjunct to their Satellite Maps.

    Some worried about the potential for privacy violation—which was a perfectly valid concern. Any information the Hobnails requested should only be handed over grudgingly at a Judge’s orders—if then.

    Too many people lack the stubbornness to emulate Thoreau or G Gordon Liddy and flatly defy the old transvestites with hammer fetishes.

    No! No! They want to fall to their knees, lick the toe of the boot that stomps them and sell out before they’re even asked.

    Thing is though, the State has vast data gathering apparatus while real people do not. The Google street surveys might have been bad in principle but once they were out there, I spent many happy hours vicariously tooling down small town streets or country roads—either in places that I’d never been, or places that I hadn’t revisited in years or decades.

    With everything falling apart, most of the street-level surveys were years out of date—but the satellite photos were updated regularly. There is a lot of planning that goes into trying to maximize food production and other things during a Drought—and not just by Government planners but also by farmers and entrepreneurs.

    And it was like:

    Really Man! Be for real! I’d spent many hours studying the satellite and street level surveys, and I thought that I knew a small farm where Sissy and I could walk right up to a very large water spigot next to a barn and shielded from view by anyone in the small farmhouse.

    And fill our bottles with little risk of exposure.

    Are you familiar with Quatrain #57 of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam?

    Oh Thou, who didst with Pitfall and with Gin
    Beset the Road I was to wander in,
    Thou will not with Predestin'd Evil round
    Enmesh me, and impute my Fall to Sin?

    Leave out the theological arguments about Predestination—that’s a thorny metaphysical question that isn’t germane to my story.

    Look at the first two lines though:

    “Gin” is an old timey term for “Bait”—though some dictionaries define “Gin” as the trap itself. Many old English trapping and hunting regulations prohibit using “Gin” to lure game birds.

    Well Sissy and I weren’t in Old Gentrified England but that large, highly visible spigot was a Pitfall and a Gin—and it Beset the Road—or lack of Road—that we wandered in.

    I slung my .30-30 over my shoulder. It was loud. I screwed a six-inch long suppressor onto my Carbine and the little five-inch suppressor onto the Ruger .22.

    “That Carbine is Supersonic,” Sissy told me condescendingly.

    “Yeah, I know. It does capture the bulk of the muzzle-blast though. That lowers the signature and makes locating the source problematic. It is also one hell of a flash suppressor and easy on my ears,” I replied.

    “What are we doing here?”

    “Gonna try to get some water,” I replied.

    “I have a filter. Can’t we get some out of a stream or ditch?” Sissy said.

    “Love to. Do you remember crossing a stream or creek so far that wasn’t dry as a bone yet?”

    I could tell that she was grumpy again. O Well…

    “There are pros and cons but I’ve decided to take you with me. Don’t want to take the chance of us being separated. I know that you’ve probably never tried to stalk anything but do try to be as quiet as possible,” I said.

    “You’d be surprised!” She sniffed.

    And then to my total amazement, she pulled out an old Beretta .25 Auto—the Single Action. I always get the “Minx” and the “Jetfire” confused. One is a .25ACP the other is a .22 Short.

    She proceeded to screw on a rather thin Suppressor—maybe three-quarters of an inch in diameter, but almost a foot long—onto her mouse-gun.

    “You do know that even if you wait until you’re at arm’s reach and shoot for the head, that is a rather marginal weapon. It’s as likely as not to bounce off a skull rather than penetrate.

    “Shoot for eye sockets, the ear holes—or that general area—or through an open mouth. Fire a three-shot burst while you’re at it. And be braced in case he comes at you in spite of your shooting,” I said.

    “HMMMmmnnphhh! That’s what you think! This little baby is loaded with homemade armor piercing bullets—turned on a Lathe from Beryllium Bronze and double coated in Teflon. They’re loaded hot too,”

    “Not too hot, I hope. Be a shame to blow up a nice old Gun like that—even though you’ve gommed it up with that Parkerized finish,” I opined.

    “Idiot! Would I make a mistake like that? Besides, that’s flat black Teflon, not Parkerizing,” she hissed.

    Pond and Honour! I thought. Truly, a man can only be happy and have peace when he’s alone. Men and women both put up with all sorts of annoyances because they think that they can’t get by without sex or they want to pass their genes to another generation.

    Fortunately my libido had left me completely free in my middle years and I’d given up the idea of passing my genes on as highly unlikely—certainly nothing to cause me to alter my path.

    But I was stuck with Sissy and the two girls that I’d yet to meet. I was obligated to escort them to Riemann’s retreat in the Hoosier National Forest and to continue to guide and protect them there.

    Truth be told, I’d be far happier if I could occupy that retreat all by myself. I had a little retreat of my own across the Wide And Beautiful River—that was a comparative trickle nowadays—but only enough food to last me a couple years.

    If the Drought continued to worsen, then growing food, hunting and especially fishing would be a no-go.

    Besides, I’d given my word to stay and protect the girls.

    Perhaps if I’d been a bit less absorbed in my glum musings, maybe, just maybe I’d have sensed the trap.

    They were smart. They waited until I’d had a big long drink and filled all our water bottles and bladders. I thought I had almost gotten away clean…

    No matter how cautious you try to be, that is when you’re most vulnerable.

    A bullet plowed into the concrete surface at my feet and ricocheted off with that telltale whine. I dove for cover. The grasny shabnasticators proceeded to shoot all the water containers that hadn’t been firmly attached to me full of holes.

    Right then I didn’t much care if they shot all my containers as long as I wasn’t in line with one of them. I had more immediate concerns. It did show a shocking lack of respect for property that they might have put to good use and a startling lack of fire discipline.

    I stayed under cover and hoped that Sissy might weigh in soon, from the strategic firing point that I’d left her at. That hope vanished when one of the clients walked into the lighted barnyard with a Double Barrel Sawed-Off Shotgun firmly planted under her chin.

    “Don’t shoot tramp! I got your old lady right here,” He said. “Drop your weapon and come out or I blow her head off.”

    “Go ahead. I’ve never been that fond of her anyway—but then you die. I’m psychic and the only way out of this that leaves you alive, is to let her go,” I said.

    I was going to take the shot eventually, but a few words first gave me time to study things a bit.

    I saw another dim figure trying to flank me. I shot Sissy’s captor with a three-shot burst to the head and then I turned and put three rounds into the torso of the stalker to my right.

    I think that the suppressed Carbine confused them momentarily. When Sissy’s captor dropped though, it clarified the situation immediately.

    One fellow raised his head to survey the scene, and a quick headshot dropped him. Sissy still had her FN—sloppy prisoner handling there, but it was apparent that we were dealing with idiots—though heavily armed idiots.

    She had dropped when I shot the client but once she had the bulky Pistol out of the full-flap holster, she emptied a magazine all around, aiming at muzzle flashes I suppose.

    Then she reloaded and made a very short dash towards her Miniature Assault Rifle. Once I realized what she was about, I tried to help.

    Once she was under cover, I swapped the Carbine for the .30-30. I aimed at the fellow behind some weathered 2”x10”s. The .30-30 penetrated the boards with enough power left to take him out of the fight. I’d fired a two-shot burst just to be certain.

    I topped off the tubular magazine by feel, while keeping my eyes on the scene.

    One fellow broke and ran and Sissy shot him down with three three-shot bursts from her .17Fireball. Then she started hosing everything in sight with three round bursts. She’d insisted on starting our mission with a 50 round drum inserted in her Gun, so I had hopes that she wouldn’t go dry anytime soon.

    I never saw much use in peppering the mound someone was cowering behind or the air over his head, with precious bullets.

    On the other hand, one fellow had taken cover behind one of those big yellow plastic barrels that they use to haul water to construction sights and such. If it had been full of water, or one of those big three or four hundred gallon tanks, then he’d have probably been safe from my .30-30…

    But this was a small tank; maybe thirty gallons and it appeared to be empty.

    I know that my first round struck him, but it must have lost too much oomph pushing through the barrel. He staggered but held his feet. I’m not sure exactly what happened to the second round. Maybe it fragmented. Maybe it drove some pieces of the plastic back at him, but as I later learned, it took out both his eyes.

    He stood holding his hands in front of his face, blood streaming down and screaming. He moved to fast for me to line him up in my sights and then he fell.

    I put a single round into the only part of his body still exposed—his thigh. A single round of .30-30 shattered the Femur and severed the Femoral Artery. I could tell by the fountain of blood that briefly erupted.

    Every light in the place went dark and I heard someone firing a large caliber semiautomatic Rifle—an old H&K .308 I later learned.

    “All the bounty hunters are dead friend. I have Night Vision Goggles. The Dip-Spritz fired off a Magnesium Flare for some stupid reason. You can bet that will draw the Laws here soon, even if all the Gunshots don’t,” an unseen voice proclaimed from several speakers set up around the yard.

    “Who are you?” I said.

    “This is my farm. I saw you coming and I was willing for you to get some water and go in peace—then these scum showed up.”

    “I’ll be going, if you don’t object,” I proposed.

    “You can go, but they’ll be beating the bushes looking for tramps for the next few days. Let me hide you,” the voice said.

    God knew what Hannibal Lector games this dude might be into. Still, I knew that I’d probably be captured if I left. This dude was an unknown variable.

    Do you know how “Double-Dealing” works? I’ve never been into gambling but the mechanisms fascinate me.

    There is a way to deal, where you get a quick glimpse of each card before you deal it. If you are about to deal yourself a particularly poor card, or if you’re about to deal your opponent a rather good card, you deal one from the bottom of the deck instead.

    Of course there are a hundred chuckleheads getting beat up for attempting double deals for every pro cheater who’s really mastered it. Even a skilled cheater can get caught with painful results.

    That’s kinda beside the point. You can’t see the bottom card as you deal it. You might still deal your opponent a fine card or deal yourself a hiss-poor one.

    The Mathematicians who study Game Theory will tell you though—it is always better to accept a chance of a bad event happening, as opposed to accepting the absolute certainty of a bad result.

    You know, a good Mathematician could probably tell you how much Double-Dealing raises ones odds in the long run—be interesting to know.

    At any rate, my knowledge of Game Theory prompted me to accept the chance the farmer was planning something wicked, because I knew that the Laws were up to no good. At least the farmer wasn’t asking us to disarm.

    I’m not a trusting soul though. When he asked Sissy and I to step into a hidden storm shelter until the Laws left, I pulled the pin on one of the two hand grenades that Riemann had been able to get for me.

    If he gassed us unconscious, I’d drop the grenade and hopefully Sissy and I would be deader than Judas Iscariot.

    I’d prefer death by hand grenade to waking up strapped to the table in someone’s dungeon. My only misgiving was whether there was enough oomph to reliably off both of us.

    I didn’t know it at the time, but with all the homemade explosives that Sissy was toting, he would have lost a fall-out shelter, but gained a fair-sized catfish pond…

    If he could only fill it with water and stock it…


  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    State WA
    Thank you I am all caught up now.

  19. #19

    6 Chapter Five

    Chapter Five

    Sissy and I sat down to a banquet that Farmer’s wife had made for us—Heavy on Pork and Homegrown Onions, Tomatoes, Green Beans and Okra. There was Cherry Pie for dessert.

    I didn’t fully trust Farmer but I was reasonably sure at this point that he wasn’t going to poison us.

    The stuff was very tasty and it let us conserve our own supplies.

    “Where do y’all get this stuff? I thought that there was a Famine,” Sissy said around a mouthful of Mashed Potatoes.

    I was beginning to think that tact wasn’t her long suit.

    Farmer shrugged.

    “You might say that I’m a collaborator. I’m one of the few farmers that get irrigation water hereabouts—and in exchange; I sign the bulk of my crops over to the State,” Farmer said.

    He had a good chuckle.

    “But I can do miracles with the water I’m allotted. That gets me extra—much more than you’d think. That lets me eat very well, make some cash on the side and have plenty to bribe the local Laws.

    “That’s why the Deputies were so quick to accept my story that I’d been attacked by Marauders rather than jumped into a shootout between Bounty Hunters and Tramps.”

    “What is the deal with these “Bounty Hunters” and why are we referred to as “Tramps”? Makes me think that I’m in an old time movie about Hobos,” I said.

    “To ‘Tramp’ is to walk. That’s how the term came to be used for itinerant wanderers. They ‘Tramped’ from one locale to another, looking for work or handouts—depending on the individual and the circumstances.

    “Today, lots of people are unemployed and/or hungry. They got some kinda script playing in their mind, that there is manual labor waiting to be done in the farmlands and that they can eat well, and make a little money for the road by doing it.

    “Of course, some just want to beg or steal food from the fields and a few are just desperate to get out of the Cities and Townsteads,” Farmer explained.

    “Big G is afraid that too many loose cannons roaming around the countryside will bollix crop production…

    “So there are all sorts of laws against itinerants wandering around free. Bounty Hunters are folks—generally folks with nothing constructive to do—who either make their living capturing Tramps or more likely, pick up a little spare cash from part-time Bounty Hunting,” Farmer said.

    “What about Marauders?” Sissy asked.

    Farmer gave a brief shake of his head, as if he found the subject unsettling. I know that I would find it very unsettling in his place.

    “They blitz farmhouses. Sometimes they come with Semis and rustle livestock, any good food on hand and anything of value—Gold, Silver, Firearms, Ammunition, Antiques—anything portable and valuable,” Farmer said.

    “Tilt! Something doesn’t track Farmer,” I said. “With all the satellite surveillance going on, how can anyone move a Semi-Truck and Trailer or a convoy of Semis without being tracked?”

    “Maybe they wait for overcast or rainy nights,” Sissy said and laughed long and loud at her own cleverness.

    “More like they have someone on the inside and only move with tacit State approval. Sure will get the attention of farmers or ranchers trying to do things ‘Their own way’,” Farmer said.

    “What about you?” I asked.

    “I only defy the State discretely and as I’ve said, I have friends in medium-high places—at least locally.

    “But hell, often times the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing. I live in fear of he day that the Marauders come for us,” Farmer said.

    It was provocative, but I had to say it.

    “Cowards theorize with the idea of staying alive firmly in mind,” I said.

    Farmer shot me a hard look.

    “Is that from ‘The Hagakure’? Well, I’m not afraid for myself. Let me show you something,” Farmer said.

    Sissy and I had kinda had the run of the house—much of the house—but we hadn’t been into all of it.

    Farmer took me into a very impressive home library. There were ten-foot tall hardwood shelves filled with books, a neat step-ladder/stool for fetching books down from on high, a huge unabridged dictionary sitting on a wooden podium and a homemade hardwood card catalog.

    There was a small girl inside.

    “This is my granddaughter. She’s twelve, but small for her age. I want you to take her with you,” Farmer said.

    I was a bit shocked.

    “But why Farmer? Surely you’d rather keep her with you and your wife,” I said.

    “It’s not safe here anymore.”

    “And it’s safe on the road with us? Dodging Laws, Bounty Hunters and run-of-the-mill psychopaths taking advantage of the general confusion?”

    “This is really ‘Need-to-know’, but it’s nothing that you couldn’t figure out on your own.

    “I’m part of the Underground—hiding in plain sight, so to speak…

    “But I know they’re onto me. They may come in a day, a month, a year, maybe even a week…

    “Maybe never…But that’s highly unlikely. I know who you are. I watched your trial on TV. You killed that man and his whole family and willingly went to prison for it—Just because you’d given him your word.

    “Take her. Teach her to be strong,” Farmer begged.

    “I know you’re on your way to somewhere safe. Is Sissy the Warden’s daughter—or one of the Guards? Never mind. Don’t tell me. I don’t need to know.”

    “What’s your name little one?” I asked.

    “Jerri,” She replied.

    “Can you shoot? Carry a heavy pack ten miles every day? Do what I tell you? Kill someone if it’s called for?” I asked.

    “I am proficient, “ She began, “With small-bore rifle, minor Gauge Shotguns and most any Pistol.”

    She held up a six-inch model 66 Smith and Wesson .357. Lo and behold, someone cared enough about the Gun to polish it bright and fit it with some very attractive Horn Grips. Her Gun was also Mag-Na-Ported.

    “Just like yours,” She stated.

    “Well, not exactly but close enough. That’s a very big Gun for a small Girl. And by the way, it isn’t a Pistol. It’s a Revolver.

    “Can you handle it?” I finished.

    “I sure can,” She assured me. “Not everyone makes a distinction between Pistols and Revolvers, but since you do I’ll use your preferred terminology.”

    She said all that with a most agreeable smile.

    “She’s precocious,” Farmer shrugged.

    It turned out that Farmer had an M1 Carbine he’d fixed up for the girl, along with the traditional two 15 round magazines on the stock, she had a Mini magazine carrier to carry three more as in the manner of M-16 Magazine carriers.

    Farmer gifted me a bunch of what he assured me was just slightly hot 110 Grain Hollow-Points in .30 Carbine. He gave me a few extra magazines for her Carbine.

    Face it, a Carbine and a K Frame Smith and Wesson was already a big load for such a small girl. And Farmer got her a canteen of her own, and insisted that she pack a wool blanket, poncho and about three days worth of freeze-dried rations in her little pack.

    It got worse. She had a 28 Gauge that Farmer had cut down to eighteen inch Barrels. Farmer had loaded some small game loads for the Gun along with some home brewed Buck and Ball loads…

    A fifty caliber Punkin Ball was loaded on top of thirteen Buffered and Plated BB Shot (.13 Diameter).

    Then as she prepared to say her final good-byes, Farmer gave the girl a Double Gunfighter Rig with another K Frame Smith at 11:00, in the Belly Button Cross-Draw favored by many CASS Shooters.

    This one had Ivory grips…

    I almost wanted to sit down and cry. I’m a firm believer in “No Gun left behind”; but I had visions of having to carry Jerri and her arsenal piggyback on top of my ALICE pack.

    “O no! Not your Model 17!” Jerri said and then she hugged the old man and cried.

    I think she had gathered for the first that he didn’t hope to see her again on this side.

    I had no family left, but I grimly decided that I’d carry the little girl and her bizarre arsenal how ever far I needed to when and if it come down to it.

    I was in for another surprise. Farmer told all of us to get into the back of his truck—one of those big multi-axle farm trucks and gave me a ride to Indianapolis.

    “You could have given us a ride out of the beaten zone five days ago,” I said as Farmer let us out.

    “I needed to get to know you a bit, before I trusted my granddaughter to you,” Farmer explained. “And I had a gift for you that took a few days to arrange.”

    I reached for my .357 as he pulled something out of a Bag.

    “Do you remember the Sawed-Off Shotgun that the Bounty Hunter held on Sissy?”

    I remembered—a nice Stoeger Double Barreled 12 Gauge that had the Barrels crudely amputated at about thirteen inches—the stock uncut, leaving it look like an old timey Blunderbuss.

    Farmer had the Barrel trimmed down to twelve inches, a small plate silver soldered into the gap between the barrels exposed by the shortening, a nice big Brass bead in the middle and two modest Brass beads on each Barrel as if for a single Barrel Shotgun.

    The stock and the abbreviated fore-end were very fancy grained Walnut. Farmer assured me that the trigger pulls were the lightest and smoothest possible on a Stoeger Double.

    It came with it’s own low-riding holster and Farmer included a couple dozen rounds of 00 Buck and a Dozen .69 Caliber Punkin Ball Loads—backed up by three 00 Buck.

    I’d dreamed of a Sawn-Off Double ever since I’d watched “Roadwarrior” the first time, though I’d refined my vision a bit over the years. This Gun was the perfect embodiment of my dreams.

    “By the way, those beads are pure Gold,” Farmer said.

    I guess that I lied about them being Brass—but who would have suspected?

    “How on Earth…?” I began.

    “I read your Blog.”

    “Is it still Online?”

    “It’s available if you dig enough. I used to read it in happier times though.”

    At least, I told myself, Farmer had the Smith and Wesson Model 17 .22 LR Revolver’s Barrel cut and crowned back to five inches some years ago. That ought to save at least an Ounce…

    ********************* *********** *************

    I popped one of the new three-dollar coins into the payphone and dialed a fast number.

    It made the skin between my shoulder blades crawl just to be in a Truck Stop close to a town.

    After a quick sign and counter sign, I delivered the curt message.

    “It’s on.”

    We had to travel about four miles to get to the rendezvous.
    Sissy wasn’t complaining, but she was having a real hard time moving.

    Before I knew it, Jerry had talked her into letting her carry Sissy’s two surplus M1 Carbines and she asked me several times if I wanted her to scout ahead.

    The little girl seemed tireless and she could move like a ghost.

    *************** **************** ************

    I moved to the meeting place and clapped my hands semi loud. Never could whistle worth a damn. The handclap wouldn’t travel far and locating the source of the uncouth sound would be problematic.

    Three people strode out of the small shed they’d been hiding in. I let them get close, them I pointed my new Roadwarrior at them.

    There were supposed to be two girls, not two girls and a boy.

    Sissy didn’t pick up on anything, just came sauntering into the open. With Sissy out in the open and not pointing her weapon or doing anything else useful—Jerri decided to run up at close range and point her 28 Gauge right at the three, baking up my hand.

    “What is the matter?” Sissy bellowed.

    “Who are you?” I asked them.

    “I’m Trinity Armstead and this is my cousin Joandell. We were supposed to meet you here,” A very tall black girl said.

    “So who is the Basketball Player with the long blond hair and the Delta-Stocked M-16?” I demanded.

    “That’s my boyfriend. When I said goodbye, he wanted to come along to protect me,” Trinity said.

    “How old are you, Rasputin?” I asked Chuckles.


    “Aren’t you a little old to be dating Trinity?”

    “I’m nineteen, “ Trinity added hotly.

    “Thought you were seventeen,” I said.

    “That’s me!” Joandell interjected quickly.

    I knew their ages, but I was checking to see how well they could match my cover story.

    I got rid of the extra M1 Carbine and a large compliment of magazines and loads with a sigh of relief. Sissy emptied her pack of .30 Carbine stuff, and was glad to be rid of the extra weight.

    Jerri surrendered one of the Carbines, and elected to continue to carry the extra one that we had between us due to Sissy having brought her own weapon. I don’t think that Jerri would have been unhappy or felt she was over-burdened, if I’d asked her to carry both Carbines and their ammo and magazines all the way to the retreat.

    As we started to get ready to make a few more miles before sunrise, going wide around Indianapolis in the process, Rasputin came close to me. He leaned close enough to kiss me, had that been his intention.

    “The name is ‘Larry’ and that’s not an M-16; it is an AR-15.

    “ I built it myself, from a parts kit and I’m not a Roundballer. Basketball is for tall skinny kids without the musculature, brains or intestinal fortitude to Wrestle!”

    “Cool. What’s that Revolver you’re totin’?” I asked.

    “That’s a Colt Python. It cost me six month’s pay a few years ago,” He replied.

    “And Joandelle?”

    “She’s packin’ a Glock.”

    Pond and Honour! Just when I thought that things were going so well…

    Hate Glocks!

    Hate Glocks!

    Hate Glocks!


  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    State WA
    Well nothing like making me drool over a shotgun lol. Thank you for the new chapter.

  21. #21


    The Roadwarrior or the little girl's 28 Gauge?

    I'd like to have either.

    I have a 28 Gauge, but I need two--One to Mod and one to not.....


  22. #22
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    State WA

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Sounds like they are going to have their own little army. Hope there is enough supplies to take care of all of them. Thanks for more story.

  24. #24
    Good stuff, RVM!

  25. #25

    6 Chapter Six

    Chapter Six

    It was just getting dark and I sat eating my Oatmeal.

    “How far are we going to travel tonight?” Larry asked.

    I don’t mind a modest amount of talking during mealtime. I lowered my spoon to answer because I thought halting halfway to my mouth like a Pitcher balking on the mound, would underline his lack of consideration—causing me to “check swing”.

    “Whatever comes without too much effort. A lot depends on the micro-terrain between here and where we stop tomorrow morning,” I said.

    “Are we getting close to our destination yet?” Larry persisted.

    This time I did stop with the spoon halfway to my mouth. Surely he’d catch the hint to let me eat in peace.

    “We’re quite a few miles closer than when we started,” I said.

    I didn’t want him to know too much about our destination. There was no reason to trust him. He didn’t need to know.

    “Where is this place anyway? Why are you so evasive?” He said.

    This time I held the spoon close to my mouth and stared at it. I twisted it this way and that as if trying to figure out how to get it into my mouth while still talking.

    “Why are you so inquisitive? Are you writing a book?”

    “I want to know where the retreat is—in case something happens to you,” He persisted.

    “What in the Seven Burning Hells is the matter with you? Can you not see that I am trying to eat? You keep jabbering like a Chimpanzee and ruin the enjoyment that I should be getting from my Oatmeal—such as it is,” I snapped

    “You inhale your food,” He said.

    He’d said the wrong thing. I’d put up with my father criticizing the way I ate for over four decades. I owed my father a certain measure of respect and I loved him.

    I owed Larry less than nothing. “Inhale your food” was one of my father’s favorite expressions. Word choices are very important to me.

    I understand Hyperbole, but I always found the mental image of Apples, Oranges, Peanut Butter Sandwiches, and Pieces of Cherry Pie along with Thick Slices of Ham being sucked through my nostrils like some kinda cartoon runaway vacuum cleaner extraordinarily annoying.

    I calmly reached for the Oatmeal still in the pot. It was hot enough to really burn. I threw it right in his face. When he jumped up in consternation, I stepped close and planted a fist in his Solar Plexus.

    When he bent over, I got a breaking lock on his arm and forced him to the ground.

    “Now tell me Smart Bass, how does one suck food up one’s nostrils? Do you want some Oatmeal brought over so you can demonstrate?”

    When he didn’t answer, I increased the pressure on his arm dramatically and he screamed in pain.

    “That was not a rhetorical question. I expect an answer,” I said.



    “No I don’t want to try to snort any hot Oatmeal up my nose,” He said.

    Sissy seemed lost in her private World as usual but the two Indianapolis Girls moved as if to intervene. Jerri ran between us and held them back with her .357 Smith and Wesson in one hand and her .22LR Smith and Wesson in the other—pointing one at each.

    “Would you like satisfaction?” I asked him.


    “You’re left-handed. I have your right arm. Say the word and I’ll let you to your feet and give you an even break,” I said.

    I had no idea how fast he might be. That’s the point. Living and dying don’t matter. Another man can defeat you only when you back down from him. Being killed is meaningless. It proves nothing.

    He was a coward though and he indicated that he didn’t want to draw against me.

    “Never speak to me again,” I told him.


    “Never speak to me again,” I said, while twisting his arm painfully.

    We covered fifteen miles that night. I pushed hard hoping Larry would try to speak to me again. He was too cleaver—or scared—for that though.

    When we made camp that night, I told them there would be no morning meal, since we needed to conserve food.

    I caught Jerri’s eye and motioned for her to eat something out of her pack. I stayed awake all day to make sure no one except Jerri sneaked any food.

    “Why are you punishing the girls along with Larry? They didn’t do anything,” Jerri asked me.

    “They came running to take his part. They were as guilty as he was,” I said.

    “They thought you would kill him,” She said.

    “What if I had? That still wouldn’t excuse them taking his side instead of mine,” I said.

    “Sissy didn’t do anything,” Jerri argued.

    “Exactly! Sissy did nothing. He who isn’t for me, is against me,” I said.

    I announced that we wouldn’t be eating an evening meal either.

    We barely made four miles that night.

    But something happened to me as I marched along angry and hissed at the Whole Wicked World.

    All the Data that I’d uploaded into my memory while under the Total Recall Drug—it had always been there—only now, all the multiple topographic features that I’d “Memorized” had somehow become fully functional.

    I didn’t need to call remembered maps into my consciousness—instead I felt as if I were in a 3-D Holographic projection superimposed over what my eyes and other senses told me was “Out There”.

    I knew without thinking about it that there was an irrigated farm just ahead. I knew that as even precious as water was that nonetheless there was a small drainage ditch and that we could fill all our water containers there.

    There was also a rather lush bit of woods—maybe an acre’s worth—bounding the irrigated field on one side and benefitting from the small run-off.

    America hadn’t quite turned into a desert. There was rain enough to keep most of the trees alive—though leaf size and particularly seed or fruit production was way down.

    This little woods had done better than most wooded areas.

    I called a halt and pitched the tarpaulin and then started cooking some Oatmeal for everyone.

    “Is everyone hungry enough to eat and not jabber?” I asked.

    Larry nodded while everyone else assured me that that was the case.

    “Don’t nod or shake your head at me Larry,” I told him. “That is a form of communication—and I don’t want you to try to communicate with me. But I’ve noticed you being totally silent. You’re welcome to talk to the others—just don’t speak to me.”

    After everyone had eaten, they lay down to sleep. They’d be struggling for the next few days; recovering from the ordeal I’d put them through. I didn’t really care. I was coming to hate them.

    Jerri was the exception though. I respected her fortitude.

    All the heretofore recalled but jumbled recollections of Drug Enhanced Memories seemed to have unblocked my mind…

    It was like when you’re ill but don’t realize how clogged your sinuses were until they start draining big-time.

    Certainly, I was within my rights—Still without the fuzziness, irritability and the general crankiness the comedown from the Memory Drug gave me, maybe I wouldn’t have been as hard on the girls.

    Maybe it was time to stop downloading opiates to sooth my Memory Drug jangled nerves.

    I screwed the long suppressor onto my .30 Carbine. I could have screwed off the Flash suppressor from my custom .30-30 and used the suppressor on the Marlin. The suppressors were designed for multi use.

    The rather small suppressor wouldn’t have done as good a job stifling muzzle blast on the bigger Rifle though. It wasn’t even One Hundred percent effective stifling the .30 Carbine’s Muzzle Blast—quite apart from supersonic crack.

    The .22LR could have been very quiet with subsonic ammo—and I had a box of subsonic .22s—although generally, with something as feeble as a .22, I prefer to use supersonic for the power and accept a bit of sonic boom.

    I was after a bit bigger game than I liked to tackle with a .22LR Pistol.

    I lay watching the field where the others slept—or at least laid around. It was hard to sleep during the hot and dry days.

    There I spotted him—a nice fat groundhog—living off the soybean leaves and the greenery in our small oasis. I’d spotted the tracks and other sign earlier.

    There was a muffled crack accompanied by an odd whiny ricochet-like note as the 110 Grain Hollow Point sped on its appointed round. The groundhog was hoggish and only took one shot. A less greedy animal might have taken more than one shot to put him down.

    Roasting the groundhog would have created a smell that a blind man in a fish cannery could follow.

    Instead I dug a pit about two feet deep. I shoveled in about six inches of hot coals and heated stones. On top of that went a thick layer of leaves. I stuck to leaves that I knew well—mostly Maple Leaves, Sassafras, Dock and big handfuls of Clover.

    I’d seared most of the hair off the Groundhog and carefully shaved off the rest. The singed hair would smell—but only momentarily.

    I’d carefully gutted the carcass and carefully saved the intestines and kidneys in a Zip-Lock Bag. I rubbed Salt, Pepper and Garlic both inside and outside the carcass. I reinserted his heart and liver inside the body cavity along with the garlic.

    The carcass went on top the leaves, then another thick covering of leaves. Then a GI Canteen’s worth of water and then still more hot coals and heated stones. Then I filled the pit back up even with the ground.

    Finally, I moved the fire over the pit—not really essential, but it couldn’t hurt.

    Up until then, Larry and the girls had only seen me cook with very small fires built from pencil-sized sticks and confined within my Coffee Can Hobo Stove.

    I could tell that they were all curious, but no one questioned me, so I let them wonder.

    I slept for about six hours. When I woke, it was almost dusk. I raked the coals off the pit and dug up the groundhog.

    The hot steam poured out and I leaned way back to avoid singeing my face. I waited a half hour for the excess heat to dissipate and raked the groundhog out of his last hole.

    I raked the remains of our fire into the pit and stomped it back as flat as possible.

    There was a festive mood as everyone got a big piece of groundhog and some of the baked potatoes and onions that I’d also inserted. Farmer had given the onions and potatoes to me to raise morale when it needed to be raised the most. No one else knew that I had them.

    It had been quite a challenge to insert six extra big potatoes and six medium onions into the body cavity surreptitiously with everyone watching me—but I’d managed somehow.

    After everyone had a good meal, I asked, “Is anyone hungry?”

    No one answered.

    “You’re sure?” I persisted.

    “Okay, everyone hand me your canteen cups,” I said.

    Everyone got a Four-ounce jigger of Scotch. My own load—minus the Potatoes, Onions and the Scotch was going to be noticeably less than previously.

    “People, we’re very close. We’re going to take today off. That liquor should help you to just relax and lay around, if you let it.

    “ ‘Silly’, I don’t care about, but we can’t afford to be noisy. That shouldn’t be enough to make anyone drunk—particularly if you’ll sip it on top of a full stomach.

    “No one is required to drink it if they don’t want to,” I finished.

    Later Jerri came to sit beside me.

    “Do you want this? I couldn’t finish it,” She said.

    “You are kinda light, but I wanted too stress you’re on the same level as the others,” I told her.

    She’d consumed more than half of it though. I finished what she’d left in a single drink.

    “Why are you giving us a day off?” Jerri asked me.

    “Out of the goodness of my heart?”

    She laughed.

    “You are one of the least goodhearted people I know,” She said.

    “Well then, from the badness of my heart?

    “No, we should be at the retreat in a couple days. It is supposed to be fairly well hidden but folks aren’t blind. If it’s near several small springs as Riemann claims it is, the local vegetation will be richer. There will be a bit more game.

    “We may find squatters on Riemann’s land. I want everyone ready for what we’ll need to do, if that’s the case.”

    “What will we do?” She asked.

    “No one with any sand would walk away from an area like that. We’ll have to shoot them and if anyone gets away, like as not, he’ll try to recruit a gang to come repossess what he’d already stolen.”

    “Sounds grim,” She said.

    “It will be,” I assured her.


  26. #26


    Got a couple negative comments.....

    Please keep in mind:

    Zin is fresh from prison--where his rather inflexible attitude caused him to spend many days in solitary confinement.....

    And although he found the situation rather soothing, nonetheless it is mind altering.

    He was recently beaten badly enough to be knocked unconscious for several hours.....

    He was put on fairly heavy doses of Anabolic Steroids to promote faster healing (that's what they were designed to do).

    One eight week cycle shouldn't turn anyone into a Raging Steroid Monster, But.....

    Then they gave him an experimental Healing Drug. Anything that can triple or quadruple the rate of healing is bound to create ripples throughout the system.

    Then he was pretty much obligated to take The Total Recall Drug and Download huge amounts of Data.

    The Drug is known to seriously mess up one's Endorphin Production.

    The Doctor told him that his best course of action was to take Morphine tablets to soothe his frazzled nerves until he gets to a place that he can afford to crash.....

    And now he's on an Evade and Escape mission with a very annoying cadre of people.....

    When he craves solitude above all else.....

    So he's somewhat irritable.


  27. #27
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    State WA
    tried to read this last night but as you know there were problems. Thank you.

  28. #28
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    NE Iowa
    I was thinking I needed to print this out to re-read between posts but then you added a synopsis of what brought our hero to this point. Thank you. Well, I may still print it out. I can't seem to keep the stories straight some days. This one is really keeping me thinking, however. Thanks for sharing your vision with us.

  29. #29
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    mmmm---sounds like they all got their bellys full of groundhog. That boy better mind his p's and q's. Wonder why he was really asking all of those questions?
    Need more story. Really enjoying this. Thank you.

  30. #30
    I don't know - teenage boy, knows probably that Zin is a con, but may not know why. Takes a lot of faith to just follow someone without knowing details. Some people have reasons that they don't trust or have faith in others.

    And, well, TEENAGE boy.... nuff said!

  31. #31

    6 Chapter Seven

    Chapter Seven

    We’d broken camp and left the small woods where we’d shared the groundhog. We’d covered perhaps two and a half miles when all sorts of Laws showed up.

    There were multiple cars driving up and down the road shining their spotlights this way and that. Worse yet, there were at least two helicopters doing sweeps back and forth across the highway.

    If they had night vision or infrared we’d have been skewed…

    Well, maybe not with the night vision. Even the best night vision devices give a monochrome view a good bit narrower than normal vision. More than likely, one could sit tight and remain hidden from folks with NVG Devices—Especially folks flying by at least fifty feet in the air in helicopters.

    Passive infrared is different though. It actually “sees” one’s body-heat. I think that skin temperature is about ninety-two degrees. Yeah, I know all about ninety-eight point six. That’s core temperature. Skin’s a bit cooler.

    The nighttime temperature was hovering in the nineties, so perhaps a warm body wouldn’t have stood out that much.

    But in all probability, if the Laws had IR Imaging they wouldn’t have been flitting around shining spotlights every which way.

    I think the whole thing was a make-work feel-good project to assure someone that the Laws were doing their best to apprehend indigents.

    The “Chang Tzu” says that you can do a bang-up job hiding your net inside your Johnboat—do such an excellent job that no one will ever find it…

    And it all goes for naught when someone steals the whole Damn Boat!

    We could get caught—even in a very crude net—If we happened to luck out the wrong way.

    I had everyone cover up with several yards between each of us and we simply waited the hounds and hares game out.

    They stopped a couple hours before dawn. Were they through? Did they move their search to another area? Was it a cleaver trap?

    I had everyone sit tight until dawn. I made my way to each of my wards and told them to dine on Jerky-Jerky, Raisins, M&Ms and Hardtack. We weren’t going to risk a fire.

    It was a long hot summer day. Come night everyone was more than ready to move.

    “Guys, we aren’t going to cook tonight. Eat some more Jerky-Jerky. We really need to make some tracks and get out of this beaten zone.

    “We’re going to leave the Highway behind and travel cross-country. It’ll be harder going. Up until last night, I thought that it was reasonably safe to parallel the Highway—and it was.

    “I don’t know if the Light-Show last night was a rare occurrence or the new SOP…

    “But we’ve come too far to get netted like a bunch of Fish.”

    “What does ‘SOP’ mean?” Joandelle asked.

    “Nah, that’s okay,” I headed off Sissy’s sharp retort. “If you don’t know, ask. ‘SOP’—Standard Operating Procedure.”

    Larry half raised one hand.

    “Speak,” I told him.

    “What about me?”

    “You can talk to me if you want or need to. Maybe I was a bit too hard on you.

    “Listen guys…

    “I hate to say this—It makes me feel like a Drug-Dealer, but we have to lift-off and lift high and lift fast.

    “Have any of you ever taken Speed?”

    Sissy, Larry, Joandelle and Jerri raised their hands. I raised my eyebrows at Jerri.

    “I was on Ritalin for a couple years before I went to live with Grandpa,” She explained.

    “Everybody gets ten of these Phentermine Tablets. We used to call them ‘Yeller Jackets’. Take two to start. Two or three hours later, if you’re getting tired—take another.

    “I wouldn’t take more than two at one time. Those big white lozenges are Vicoden. I imagine that your backs, knees and ankles are very sore by now.

    “You have to exercise a little more discretion with those. We don’t need you falling out by the wayside grooving on an Opiate buzz.

    “Take those pills, save them for a souvenir or shoot them out of a slingshot. I don’t care. I don’t want to know. It’s between you and your better judgment.

    “I will say that Sissy’s father gave me the pills—in quantities that presupposed that we might all need them.

    “The only other thing that I’m going to say is, ‘Keep Up!’ “ I said.

    Several days later we arrived at the Riemann Retreat, Hunting Camp, Vacation Home—Whatever.

    ******************** ************** **********

    Riemann’s Retreat was in the Hoosier National Forest—North and East of Derby.

    I’ve never quite understood how that works, but much of the land that falls inside the green “Hoosier National Forest” area on the map, isn’t public land. In fact, most of it isn’t.

    Riemann had found some land fairly cheap, because it was on the side of a hill, and way too steep to do anything with.

    They call that kinda terrain “Corduroy Land” in Kentucky.

    If you read Horace Kephart’s “Our Southern Highlanders”—a classic book about the Appalachian Clans—he talks about folk trying to cultivate land that was so steep that it was hard to even stand on. He told of one fellow who’d tumbled out of his Cornfield while trying to hoe and broke several bones.

    Nowadays America as a whole is too well fed to make farming Corduroy Land necessary or even marginally profitable—so most of it goes fallow. Besides, when you do try to grow crops on it, erosion is a Woolley-Bear Worm to deal with.

    During the spectacular Drought it made even less sense to farm extra-steep ground. Whatever rain does fall upon it, runs right off of it—like water off a duck’s back.

    There are ways to deal with steep land though. The people who built Machu Picchu knew about it. The Chinese have been doing it for millennia. They did it in Oman. “Mother Earth News” is filled with cleaver examples.

    The solution is to build a series of level Stair-Steps down the side of your hill. It’s called “Terracing”.

    I used to puzzle whether one started building a terrace from the top down, or vice-versa. Then one day I got curious enough to look it up.

    Start at the bottom of a hill and build a stone-wall. Make it however high that you think convenient. Riemann’s walls were about seven feet tall. He’d used two walls of Flemish pattern red bricks about a foot apart and then he’d put rammed earth between them.

    You’ll want to put some kind of drainage on the inside base of your wall. Then you dig from the rear and backfill against the inside of your wall until you have a level section going back, and there isn’t the height to contain anymore dirt with your wall.

    Right where the level piece ends, that’s where you build your second wall—Backfill and so on.

    Riemann had used a lot of salvaged materials and apparently he could work many long hard hours. He had seven terraces going up the side of his hill. He’d written that the bottom two terraces weren’t his, but who would care about someone improving their property, even if they cared enough to come look?

    He also went quite a few yards beyond his property gradually tapering off his terraces and letting the topography revert to normal hillside.

    Riemann had about three acres of his own in terraces and another couple acres that he had expanded his terraces into and was “Squatting” on.

    There were stairways between the Terraces and they were wide and gentle enough to take a large Roto-Tiller up and down them. He’d spent a lot of time and money building up the fertility of his soil.

    There was several tons of charcoal per acre carefully turned into the ground. He had added manure and some pulverized Terra Cotta grout that he’d picked up as landscaping material. He’d bought truckloads of mussels from the fellows who dredged the river to keep the waterways open. He’d pulverized the shells, meat and all, in a homemade tumbler.

    It had stunk to high heaven, but he’d turned it into the land. Then he’d grown crop after crop of good Alfalfa Hay and plowed it under.

    The old “Terra Preta” that the soil scientists were so excited about owed most of its super fertility to the charcoal it contained, and from whence it acquired the black color. But the studies that he’d read said that there were also noticeable amounts of Terra Cotta pottery shards and beaucoup fish bones.

    Riemann’s homegrown Terra Preta covered his own tillable land from six to eight inches deep—and he’d used a post-hole digger to run four-foot deep shafts of the charcoal-rich soil deeper into the ground every so often.

    He’d also planted some Apple, Pear and Cherry trees both at the crest of his own hill and on the backside of his terraced hill. He owned a couple one-acre plots on the far side, but nothing like on his strong side.

    He’d limited himself to a few partial containing walls and a few strategic fruit trees planted in their own mini-island of Black soil.

    There was an old converted school bus that Riemann had converted into a pretty nice hunting camp quarters—but there was a trap door in the floor and a fairly extensive underground home.

    Living on the side of a steep sandy hill solved most of the dampness and water seepage problems right at the beginning.

    Dwelling underground can be problematic without electricity or kerosene—or something for illumination. Riemann had solved the problems with skylights. He didn’t want his underground property to show when he wasn’t there though.

    The windows were covered with thick telescoping slabs of concrete lowered with hydraulic jacks and buried beneath the soil. All you had to do to make the underground compound livable, was to dig out the dirt and lower the concrete shutters.

    ******************** ************* ********

    “Your father put a lot of work and money into this place,” I said to Sissy.

    “He had two brothers, a cousin and the cousin’s son. They all worked on it as much as possible, but his cousin and his son lived here and worked on the place full-time,” Sissy said.

    “About fifteen years ago, both my Uncles died in a car crash. The younger cousin died in Iraq and his father lost interest in life and grieved himself to death.

    “I’ve only been here a few times, when I was little. We were on vacation and just kicking around. I didn’t even know about the underground part and the hidden food, weapons and ammo,” Sissy continued.

    “So he really hasn’t done much to the place in the last ten to fifteen years?” I asked.


    “How will we grow food during the Drought?” Trinity asked.

    “Well, we won’t grow much of anything this year—it’s too late in the season,” I said.

    “Next spring…well, you see how there is a large unterraced section of hill at the top? That water will flow downhill to the first level.

    “Each level slopes backward a bit so it tends to absorb every bit of rain instead of letting it run off. When it finally does run off, it goes to the next terrace below it…

    “And there are a couple hillside springs—little more than a trickle. You’d be surprised what a trickle running twenty four-seven can amount to.

    “We can’t get by with no rain at all—but we can get by with a lot less than some flatlanders,” I explained.

    “And until then?” Larry asked.

    “We’ve got some stored rations,” I said.

    I didn’t tell him that according to Riemann, there was enough stored grub to support us in style for twelve to fifteen years. He just didn’t need to know that.

    “Come on guys, listen up,” I said. “We are going to need to keep a low profile. There are both animal and vegetable products that can be harvested from the woods even now.

    “We can’t live here without leaving some trace that a good woodsman could find—especially come next spring when we start to plow.

    “But we don’t have to make it easy for them. We’re going to have good light and noise discipline.

    “If you meet someone in the woods—well, first of all, be very cautious. Keep a weapon to hand. Don’t turn your back. Certainly, don’t accept any food, drink or something to smoke.

    “Don’t tell them Jack Spritz about what we have, say, do or plan. Just don’t say anything.”

    “That’s harsh,” Trinity said.

    “Let me tell you a story that I read about maybe twelve years ago. This little bald-headed guy with a pot-gut approached a woman in a parking lot to ask directions.

    “When she turned away, he held a handkerchief soaked in chloroform over her mouth and nose till she passed out.

    “She woke up in a little six foot by four foot concrete room that the old pervert had built about twenty feet below the ground. There was a mattress and one blanket and a five-gallon bucket to urinate and defecate in.

    “There was just room to sit, but not to stand. She was in the dark much of the time and her ankle was chained to the wall.

    “The old man came by every day or two to feed her—mostly crackers with a little peanut butter along with Kool-Aid. Then he’d have sex with her.

    “He made a point of telling her that he never had the key on him—so even if she killed or overcame him, she’d still be chained to the wall.

    “Finally after seven years of this, he chloroformed her again and left her lying naked in a field.

    “She turned the old bass surd in. Two or three previous detainees were too broken by their experience to even turn him in.

    “Imagine the horror of being imprisoned far below ground—to never see the Sun or breath fresh air. You’ll live there. You might die there.

    “What if your captor simply loses interest in you? What if he dies suddenly?”

    I stopped to let them carefully consider.

    “Now this happened in relatively civilized times, when there were Laws to investigate disappearances and such.

    “Do you think that there are no foul and filthy perverts around now that society is coming apart at the seams?

    “We can trust each other to a degree—but we can’t trust anyone else.

    “Trust no one! I mean it. If that makes you seem arrogant, hostile or mean spirited—so be it.

    “Just because you’re Paranoid doesn’t mean that folks won’t try to take advantage.

    “I used that story, because to me it is particularly disturbing. It’s more likely that the local psychopaths will simply want to rape you once then kill you—or just kill you.

    “Even nominally sane people will be wanting to steal food.

    “Does everyone think that they fully understand?

    “I’m going to keep repeating my lectures, to be sure that you understand and remember.

    “No one is ever completely safe—not anywhere. A Warrior knows this. He expects treachery at every turn.

    “If he meets treachery, he meets it. He lives or he dies. If he cannot live, he at least strives to take his client with him—or failing even that, a piece of his client.

    “One thing that it never occurs to a Warrior to do is to complain. He knows that enemies surround him. He knows that they may succeed in ambushing him, in spite of his best efforts.

    “He has long since come to accept that life often isn’t fair.

    “He lives or dies with courage and without complaint,” I said.


  32. #32


    Zin is a Verbal Literalist.

    The silly nursery rhyme about sticks and stones breaking bones, but words being harmless certainly doesn't apply to Zin's way of thinking.

    Words have weight and color and texture to a Verbal Literalist.

    When Larry accuses him of inhaling his food—first of all, Zin feels a very vivid impression of things that are far too large to fit being forced through his nostrils.....

    But he also feels as if Larry had stroked him with those words—as if he had a very raw patch of skin about a foot square, and Larry rubbed his hand very roughly over it with malice of forethought.

    One Verbal Literalist once held that anyone who'd ever had sex with a woman without Verbally asking her permission, was guilty of rape.

    She might have kissed him, torn his clothes off, and clung to him like a Brazilian Jujitsu Practitioner.....

    It might have been very plain that she was ready—even Anxious.....

    But actions can never take the place of words.....

    In fact, actions are rather unimportant compared to words.


  33. #33
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    State WA
    Thank you, look forward to each chapter.

  34. #34
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Thank you for this story, I'm anxiously awaiting more!

  35. #35
    RVM45 where are you, need moar

  36. #36
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Quote Originally Posted by 223shootersc View Post
    RVM45 where are you, need moar
    I was wondering that myself.
    Visit me on Etsy: ModernMaille

  37. #37


    More soon.

    Decided that I wasn't getting any younger (55).....

    And that if I ever wanted my Art Career to take off, that I'd better start devoting some time every day to my Drawing.

    Three hours every day was what I resolved to do.

    Been over two hours almost every day.

    Even got three a three or four times.

    Still, I know what happens at least for the next two or three chapters and hate to keep it hanging.


  38. #38
    thanks for the info and good luck with the art, but we need Moar

  39. #39

    6 Chapter Eight

    Chapter Eight

    Fall and winter came and went without anything worthy of note and then came spring.

    Riemann had two big Troybuilt Rototillers cached in his oddly methodical and secretive way—along with plenty of Heirloom seeds. I wasn’t sure how old the seeds were, or what percentage of them was still viable.

    Beside which, I wanted some livestock—rabbits, chickens perhaps a pig to fatten at the very least.

    A small town was. Money—or at least Gold and Silver were. The problem was buying without making myself a target.

    I went to Church that Sunday—a small black Pentecostal Church—good people. I’d been several times getting the feel of the place and the Pastor.

    I buttonholed the Pastor after the service.

    “Money is tight,” I said.

    “Yes, but God provides,” He said.

    I placed a small suede bag on his desk. It had $50 worth of the old Silver Kennedy Half Dollars in it. I saw his eyes widen as he saw what was within, but he sat there and counted and checked each coin to verify that it was silver.

    “Spend that where it will do the most good,” I told him. “Now I need a little something from you.”

    He’d known that other shoe was going to drop—He just didn’t know how hard that it would land.

    “I need laying hens, rabbits and a small pig. I might be in the market for a milk goat if the price is right—and a bull calf, not a steer.

    “I have Silver. I came by my Silver honestly but who wants to come under government scrutiny at the moment? Or to have his neighbors look on him with covetous eyes?

    “Hook me up with people who will deal honestly, keep their mouths shut and not flash their newfound Silver around flamboyantly,” I said.

    “And on second thought, I’ll need some building supplies too.”

    ***************** ***************************

    I was currying the young bull calf to get him used to being handled and led around with a halter.

    “Let me know if you need help cutting him,” Larry said.

    He sounded almost turned on by the idea.

    “He isn’t going to be cut you flip-silly bastard. If I’d wanted a steer, I’d have bought a steer.”

    “What is he for then?”

    “I’m going to use him for a saddle animal,” I said.

    “Is that safe?”

    “Nothing is safe. Any animal large enough to carry a man is dangerous. They can break bones or kill you without even intending to.

    “Some folks—most folks who break cattle to ride believe that Bulls are a worse risk than a cow or a steer, but I won’t ride a castrato,” I said.

    “Ever train a Bull?”


    “What if he kills you?”

    “Then I’ll be dead.”

    I didn’t really get the question.

    “Do you have a saddle?”

    “No but I’m going to talk to a man today who believes that he can make a Bull Saddle.”


    “He’s a good leather worker. He tans his own leather and makes holsters, belts, even cowboy boots. He actually took a class in saddle making once and he has plenty of books.”

    I saw Eli coming down the road pushing his handcart and broke off to go talk to him. I had about exhausted my limited patience with Larry and his endless stream of questions anyway.

    “Is that the Bull?” Eli asked.

    “That’s him.”

    “I’ll have to wait till he’s grown to measure him,” He said.

    “Obviously. What I want now is something vaguely saddle-like that I can tie around him to get him used to the idea of being saddled—and I’d like it to be able to grow with him—at least for a while.”

    “Yeah, I can do that. Listen, I didn’t have to push this handcart all the way out here to talk to you about a saddle,” He said.

    “No, certainly not.”

    “But my wife makes some of the best wines around—ask anyone. And I do a bit of distilling to make some brandies. I’m on the road peddling my wares,” He said.

    I bought a few gallon jugs from him. The concentrated liquor could be used in a number of home remedies and wine is a spirit lifter occasionally, when used in moderation.

    “I have some herb too,” He said—a bit shyly I thought.

    “That’s okay. I don’t have glaucoma,” I said.

    “I’d sure like to have some,” Larry said.

    I paused to consider. Marijuana was illegal. On the other hand, so was home brewed brandy, most Firearms and come right down to it, I was an escaped convict…

    No, I don’t guess having a little grass around the place would dig my hole any deeper.

    “Number one, you go outside to smoke it. I don’t want to risk the slightest bit of a contact buzz. Keep it put up and don’t get too wasted to help out around the farm,” I said.

    I paid him for a half pound of the stuff—all dried and tightly packed. I also bought a small pipe for Larry.

    As we walked over to see the calf Eli spoke to me out of Larry’s hearing.

    “I know a woman that grows poppies. If you ever need opium let me know. I can also get meth, not some semi-toxic crap—pharmaceutical quality,” Eli said. “Didn’t want to speak in front of the boy. You’re going to have trouble with that one.”

    “Yeah, tell me about it. I’ll get back to you on the other. Might be prudent to lay in some good pain reliever,” I said.

    “Just let me know. I don’t carry that stuff around with me, unless there is a prearranged purchase.”

    ******************* *********************

    “I been thinking about something,” Larry said at dinner.

    “Don’t strain your brain,” I said.

    “Why do you hold all the money and make all the final decisions on everything? It’s not fair,” Larry continued.

    “Well this retreat belonged to Sissy’s father. While he’s not here, that means Sissy is the owner.

    “However, Riemann made me a full partner in exchange for escorting Sissy here—so I own half this place.

    “Trinity and Joandell were part of the deal Riemann made with me. Where that leaves their say in anything, I’m not sure…

    “Somewhere below Sissy and me.

    “Jerri’s grandfather asked me if she could come along—so her upkeep is my responsibility.

    “No one asked you to come Larry. You just kinda crashed the party.

    “You know you do have a point though. Everyone should have a little money of their own. I’m going to start giving everyone an allowance to spend any way they choose,” I said.

    “Well I think we all ought to vote on how things are run around here,” Larry said.

    “When I care to know your opinion Larry, I’ll ask you.

    “I would be well within my rights to ask you to leave.”

    “Trinity and Joandell would go with me, wouldn’t you two?” Larry asked.

    Joandell looked down at her plate while Trinity looked from one to the other faces, seeing how everyone was reacting. Jerri had her hand on one of her Guns under the table, just in case…

    I couldn’t see the Gun and I didn’t know which one she had. I just could tell by her posture and the look on her face.

    Sissy seemed lost in space considering some abstruse and abstract puzzle.

    “Besides, if I get kicked out, I’ll turn you all over to the Laws,” Larry said.

    “Have you ever killed anyone Larry?” I asked.

    “No, but…”

    “I have—with my bare hands and with a Gun. The next time you threaten me…

    “I don’t care how innocuous or innocent a threat it might be. If there is any possible way that it can be construed as a threat…

    “If you so much as threaten to put coal in my Christmas stocking…

    “I will kill you on the spot. Now are we clear?”

    He sat and glared at me, but he wouldn’t answer.

    “That’s okay Larry. You don’t have to answer. If you somehow fail to comprehend and it gets you killed, then it’s on you.

    “Get whatever else that you might want to eat and go somewhere out of my sight to eat it. I’ve had enough of you right now.”

    After he was gone, Sissy spoke to me.

    “Are we really partners?”


    “I want two or three more nanny goats and a ram. I want to start making cheese on a fairly large scale. And next spring I want you to buy enough pigs that we can raise our own and not have to trade for one

    “I’d also like you to see about getting me some tools. I always wanted to be a Gunsmith,” Sissy said.

    “A Gunsmith? Okay, but don’t we have plenty Gunsmithing tools?”

    She started to get that look on her face, when she was getting ready to say something really cutting and sarcastic—and then she just mellowed out.

    “Machine tools, I mean,” She said sweetly.


  40. #40
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    State WA
    Oh wow thank you for the new chapter. Larry isn't going to last much longer I don't think lol.


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