Go West

GW looked across the desert. He had sweat his last drop of moister. All his food and water and been consumed, and the jeep was completely out of gas. He pats the side of his backpack. A flask of scotch was tucked away in the side pocket. He Thought, ” Better save that for later.” The sun would set soon. Just a few more hours left in the day. He stuck near the jeep and planned to find shelter in the rocks about a mile or so east of him. It was a mystical place, and GW had always spent time there when he had a mental quandary to work out. Something about the vibrations of the place. Maybe it was the isolation. Whatever the reason he thought, it was just the perfect place to be stranded.

With the sun finally setting and the possibility of someone coming along to rescue him diminished until daylight, he picked up his bag. He threw it over his shoulder, grabbed the empty steel water bottle, and began to walk. The dark this night was the darkest it had been in a long time. There was no moon out, and the stars filled the sky. GW took his time sneaking past the cholla cactus. The last thing he needed was to have his legs all balled up with jumping cactus. An owl hooted as he walked past a huge mesquite tree. He had almost hit the ground. “Hey there!” he said, allowed. The owl flew away. He had thought it was a little guy. Not the big ones further up in the elevation of the mountain. Continuing on his way, he passed the stack of rocks used to mark the way to his desert hideout. The huge pile of boulders began to silhouette its self. The Giant house size boulders stood piled on top of each other about 250 feet of the desert floor. GW had spent years exploring all of its caves and tunnels. He had built himself a small hideout in one of the caves and came to it often.

After scaling the first few boulders, he climbed into his hideout and got the fire lit. He unzipped his bag and rummaged through the contents. A folding GI-issued shovel, a small first aid kit, his journal zipped up in a camouflage journal case made of canvas, and a CZ 75 handgun with a full magazine and a bag of extra bullets. Then he checked the smaller pockets. A flask of whiskey, a compass, and a hand full of guide pamphlets with information on animals, astronomy, and plant life. Lastly, he had a copy of an old Hemingway novel. The novel had been started several times never fished, though. He unscrewed the flask lid and took a big gulp of the scotch. It went down smoothly, and he thought, “Ahhh, just as good as water.” He took another drink, spitting some in the fire and swallowing the rest.

He sat back and unzipped the case that held his journal. It opened to a page he had been sketching birds on the bird wasn’t the page wasn’t named. It was brown on its back and yellow. He had written in some approximate measurements around an inch and a half tall and two and a half inches from tail to beak. All around the birds was a journal entry about a trail ride with his girlfriend, Judy. He remembered the trip fondly; however, Judy had a rough time being that it was her first trail ride, and the trail was more than technical. GW reminisced about all the exploration he had done all over Arizona. He wondered how it could have come down to him hiding in a hole out in the desert, on the run like a coyote. Everything left in his position was in his backpack. He imagined that eventually, they were going to come for him.

As the night went on, he was in and out of sleep, awake just long enough to throw another piece of wood on the fire. He would dream of combat and drill ceremony, then about later when he was out of the army and how he had tore around Arizona in an old beat-up land cruiser leaving civilization for weeks and months at a time. His dreams centered on the solitude he had become accustomed to. Being inside his own head or outright alone for a very e long time.

Around three or four in the morning, he woke up. The fire had gone out. All the wood was gone, and he shivered. Late spring in the desert had hot days and cool nights. His sweat-soaked clothes made it hard to stay warm in the cold night air. He stood up and looked around. His stuff had been packed back into his bag. A habit he had learned while in the military. The smoking embers of the recently extinguished fire next to his bag. A beam of the moonlit the entrance to the cave, and he crawled through it and then up another shoot to a spot perched above his hideout. The moonlit the entire valley in front of him. It was peaceful but eerily quiet. He could see the lights of cars on the interstate that was so far away the cars looked like little fireflies. To the west, he could see lights headed his way. He didn’t feel anxious he knew they would come. He just thought it would be much later. By his estimation of their distance and how rough the trail as he had about two hours. He chuckled, “That’s when the French and Indians attack.” he thought.

GW climbed back down into his hideout. He pulled the pistol out of his bag and stuffed it in his belt. He took the extra bag of bullets and put them in his cargo pocket. Then he picked up his hat, put it on his head, and started climbing to the top of the rock pile. He had figured that he would make them work for it if they wanted to come to get him. The Moonlight gave the rocks a glistening effect, and he thought, this is good I can hide in the shadows of the moonlight. He found a crevice and stuffed himself as deep as he could inside it. He could still see the headlights, and they were getting brighter and brighter by the minute.

GW was full of trepidation. He knew they were going to catch up eventually, and now here they were. He went over all the ideas in his head, all the schemes and plans for when they finally caught up. None of them seemed like good ones now. “Trapped like a Rat,” he said aloud. Two trucks pulled up. The dust blew past them as they swiftly stopped. “How the…?” They knew where he was immediately. GW had figured they would at least have to search. “Give it up!” One of the men shouted into the mic, and it blared through the loudspeaker mounted onto the bumper. “Come Down with your hands up!” Again the man spoke into the mic. GW popped his head up out of the shadow of the two rocks he was hiding in between. the moonlight struck his face. “You’ll never take me alive!” he shouted down. Crack…Pzzzewee, the bullet hit the rock next to him, ricocheting off and splashing rock shards all over him. He quickly ducked back down. “I always wanted to say that!” he shouted from his hiding place. She must have told them about my hiding spot, he thought to himself. “That dang woman!” he said allowed.

What was he going to do? He began to think. There was no shooting his way out. There had to be at least six guys down there. He couldn’t run. The valley behind him was miles of flat open terrain. They started up the rocks. They were moving silently, but still, GW could hear their feet dragging and their tactical gear rattle and cling against the boulders in the tight spaces between them. As they drew closer and closer, GW’s heart began to beat. It was pounding so hard he was sure they would hear it. I crammed himself deeper into the crevice. suddenly a man stepped up and straddled the crack that GW was hiding in. “There ya Are,” he said as he pointed his rifle at GW. He was sweating, and the drops were dripping onto GW’s face and all down the barrel of the rifle. GW could see that he was visibly shaking from the intense climbing and possibly the fear of being on such unstable terrain. “Alright! Nice and easy.” the man said. GW shouted, “Wolverines!” the man looked confused, and GW sprung up, still shouting, and grabbed the barrel of the man’s rifle. Crack, the rifle went off just over GW’s shoulder as he pushed hard, causing the man to tumble backward and knock the other two men standing behind him down the rock face. WHeeeeeeee. GW’s ears rang. He couldn’t hear anything but noticed little white puffs of dust popping up all around him. All at once, he realized they were shooting at him. he scrambled down toward them, ducking into small caves and cracks in the rocks. He pulled out his pistol and fired back, holding his hand out of the cover he was in, not really aiming, just squeezing the trigger. “Don’t waste all your bullets, you idiot,” is said to himself as he shook his head. He could hear the men talking. “Did we get him?” “no, he’s a hidden up there still” “no, you go up,” the last three men on the ground spoke to each other. GW’s slowly and quietly slithered through the pile of rocks and on down to a Creosote bush next to one of the trucks. The men GW had pushed down the cliff face crawled to the edge of the ledge where he had landed. “Did you get him?” He shouted down, “No, Sir. Well, Sir. I don’t think so,” they shouted back up. The man on the ledge shouted back down. “Two of you grab the first-aid bag and get yer asses up here,” then he shouted again, ” Tell Tim to stay down there and guard the trucks.”

GW waited tell the two men set out up the boulder pile and then picked up a rock. He threw the rock, meaning for it to go past the man and distract him. GW was a little drunk from sitting in the cave. His aim was off, and the rock hit the man left at the base of the mountain. Tim fell to his knees, put his hand on top of his head, and fell face first in the dirt. GW whispered, “Oops,” and chuckled. Waiting tells the men made their way up to the ledge. He snuck over and peaked in the bed of one of the trucks. A wood crate, “C4,” printed on the top of the box. “What the fuck” GW chuckled again. As quietly as possible, he managed to lift the lid off the crate. Again GW was surprised. The crate was full of C4 explosive bricks. And a small bag of blasting caps with long lengths of wire spooled up and stuffed in the bag. He dropped his backpack on the ground and started taking bricks out of the crate and neatly putting them in the bag so that he could fit as much as possible. Zipping up his bag and putting it back on his back. The weight of the bag made his shoulders droop; it was heavy. He reached over the bed rail and grabbed a few more C4 bricks. Quickly and quietly sneaking around, he placed the bricks of C4 between the truck frames and the truck’s body, pulling the wire out of its coil and sticking the detonators in the bricks, then pulling the wire over to the back of the motor where the starter is bolted in. He pulled the wire off that came from the ignition switch. He stuck the detonator wire in his mouth and bit down, pulling the wire at the same time to strip off the plastic housing of the copper wire. He put the detonator wire on the connector sticking out of the vehicle starter then pushed the ignition wire back on. “This ought to give em a little surprise,” GW said. Then Immidetly said “too soon” as he laughed.

Running back towards the valley, he stopped. GW concluded that he should probably wrap this up, time to tip the first domino, spring his trap. About fifty yards away from the truck, he turned and shouted, “Hey, you fucks!” the three men on the mountain sprang up and looked in GWs direction. GW put his hands up to his mouth. “Eat shit and die!” he shouted. The men began to argue, but GW couldn’t make out what they were saying. Then they began to hobble back down the boulder pile. GW felt the excitement swelling within him. Not because he had potentially condemned these men. He was excited to see if his plan. The one with the C4 would even work. Who could tell he wasn’t a demolition effort, and any experience he had in the service with C4 more or less revolved around a crazy lieutenant the put all of the platoons C4 blocks under his seat in the humvee and the discussion of if that was a smart idea. The idea never got tested in GW’s time overseas, though.

As The men made it back to their trucks, GW was around a hundred and fifty yards from the trucks. He stopped and fired off his 9mm. As he turned to look back and check how far he was away. BOOM…BOOM…BOOM. All three trucks were on fire. One of the trucks was turned over on its side. GW did a little dance. His plan had worked. The men he thought are probably dead. “Its regretable” he thought “better them than me” GW said aloud “To quote pablo escobar, Nosotros somos banditos.” We are bandits was the translation. GW did a full turn and sat down on the ground where he stood. He slid his bag off again, opened the pocket, and pulled out the flask of whiskey. He took a long pull of it and whipped his mouth with his sleeve.

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