markwildyr.com, Post #100
|Courtesy of documentjournal.com|
Had some comments on last week’s Red Rez posting, so decided to give you a second look. Hope you like it.
After the third interdiction of a large shipment of drugs two months running, Amadeo gathered his Red Rez crews early one Friday afternoon for a powwow. Hawk marveled at how adept his squat, stolid leader was at conveying his feelings without moving his facial muscles. This was going to be a serious talk.
“I called you all in today ‘cause we’ve had some itel. Seems we’re hurting the cartel, and the word is, they intend to do something about it. I huddled with the big wolves over at Border Patrol this afternoon. They figure nobody’s gonna take on the federal government direct, so they’ll come after us. We the ones taking them down anyway, not the feds. So everybody’s gotta be on guard.”
“How good’s the scuttlebutt?” Hawk wanted to know.
Amadeo shrugged. “As good as any, I guess. But we can’t afford to ignore it. Nobody solos, understand? I’d like to increase our teams to three men each, but we don’t have the manpower for that. But I want an experienced man in charge of every patrol.”
The Rez boss paused before approaching the next subject head-on. “Hawk, you’re not gonna like this, but I gotta split you’n Grover up. Don’t make sense having my two top dogs running together. Starting tomorrow, Robert Tanara’s gonna partner with you, and Cooch Abazado’ll hook up with Grove. Hope you boys don’t fight me on this, ‘cause that’s the way its gotta be. Hawk, you stick with your territory; Grove, you take the section Robert and Cooch been patrolling.” The man brought the meeting to an end when he got no reaction. “Well, that’s it. Watch your backs, boys. They’s bad guys out there painting targets on them.”
Hawk slouched outside trying to control his displeasure. Understanding that Amadeo was being logical didn’t make it any easier to accept. Besides, he wasn’t feeling very logical at the moment. And Robert Tanara of all people! The big Indian recalled the night Robert tacitly offered himself while Grove was gone last year. The kid was so fucking good-looking Hawk had almost yielded to temptation. Later, Robert had obliquely apologized for his conduct without confirming his intent.
“Hawk!” the young man followed him outside while Grove stayed behind to talk to Cooch. “It’s great we’re gonna be teamed. We made a pretty good bust that time we partnered last year.”
“Yeah, and you got shot up for your trouble, as I recall,” Hawk replied dryly.
Robert absently clutched the fleshy part of his left arm. “Yeah. Hurt like a son-of-a-bitch. Not likely to happen again, though. I’ve learned a lot.”
“If you’ve learned to keep your butt down, you’ve learned it all.”
“That’s not the way you do it,” the handsome fucker shot back at him.
Already weary of the nascent hero-worship, Hawk made his voice sharp. “Robert, I put on underwear every morning just like you do.”
“I know, I know,” the kid gave an infectious grin. “I get your point. You’re mortal like the rest of us red asses. But you got the experience, man. I like to team with someone I can learn from.”
“Okay. Then I repeat lesson number one. Keep your butt down. You don’t, I might get mine shot off along with yours.”
“Gotcha!” Robert said, spinning on his heel and walking away with a little strut in his stride. “See you in the morning.”
“Early!” Hawk called. “I wanna get out early!”
Grove caught up with him at Hawk’s old Dodge pickup. “Well, it was bound to happen,” he groused.
“Yeah. Makes sense, but it doesn’t make me happy. I’d rather have you watching my back than any man alive.”
“Same goes for me. But the druggies are bound to know we’re responsible for two of the last three big busts, so maybe splitting us up is smart.”
Hawk looked deep into those big, brown eyes. “Wish I could believe that.”
Both men were subdued that night. They watched a little TV, played some cribbage, and turned in early. Even their lovemaking was toned down, but no less satisfying. Grove returned to his own bedroom when they finished.
Well before the sun was up Saturday morning, Hawk rose, slipped on trousers and T-shirt and took his coffee out into the cold, predawn darkness to commune with the Morning Star. He settled into a chair in the deep shadows of the front porch, tipped back, and was so still and silent he might have been a shade himself.
He smiled as he recalled the origin of his habit. It was something his mother’s brother had done in the years after Hawk’s father abandoned the family. He recalled sneaking out on the porch and sitting near his uncle as the man studied the bright luminescence in the distance.
“She likes to be greeted,” the man had said quietly, startling him. Hawk hadn’t realized his uncle knew he was there. “She’s a proud lady. You let her get to know you, and she’ll help out when she can.”
Prophetic words, he realized now. During the dark, troubled, misty blur of his teens when he willfully embraced the patient, seductive Alcohol, Hawk woke from one of many drunken stupors, stumbled outside the party house of the moment, and flopped onto the ground. And there she was. Morning Star. As beautiful as ever. She called him out of the depths, ripped him from Alcohol’s ghastly grip, and saved his life. She set him on the twelve-step course and was always there even in his worst moments. So it became a habit. She was his confessor, his intermediary to the Higher Power, the visual evidence of a powerful, mystic Savior.
The faint, distant purr of a well-tooled motor pulled the Indian out of his reverie. The engine died. He waited for the sound of a door opening and closing. It did not come. But his senses were alerted. There were no close neighbors, and that hadn’t been the rough, ancient motor of Old Man Higgins’s rattletrap a quarter of a mile down the road or the diesel pickup of the family in the other direction.
He sensed movement in the faint moonlight before he heard furtive noises. Silently, he traced the almost invisible progress of the stealthy figure as it reached the driveway snaking around behind the little house. The intruder paused before the mailbox at the end of the drive. The small door gave a shriek of rusty protest as it opened.
“Hey!” Hawk shouted. “What the hell are you doing there?”
The figure lifted his head, and by the light of a weak, horned moon, he glimpsed a young, panicked face before the intruder bolted back down the road. Barefoot, Hawk raced after him, but the man recovered his car, kicked over the motor, and tried a U-turn without turning on his lights. Forced to reverse when he ran off into a ditch, the car’s back-up lights gave Hawk a split second glimpse of an emblem on the trunk. The driver gunned the motor and roared away. A mile down the road, the car’s headlamps went on, cutting a pale yellow swath through the inky darkness
“What’s going on?” Grove demanded from the front porch. Hawk dimly made out his lover’s naked form cradling his trusty Remington.
“Fucking intruder,” Hawk called. “He got away.”
“See who it was?”
“Too dark. But he fiddled around with the mailbox. Bring a flashlight, will you? I’m not about to open something I can't see."
Grove went inside and returned almost immediately with a four-battery flash. Despite the situation, Hawk couldn’t resist illuminating his roommate’s fetching groin.
“Hey!” Grove grumped, shoving the light away.
“Sorry,” Hawk lied.
“You think it’s a bomb?”
“Dunno, but if it is, I yelled before the fucker could set it. He took off like a shot. He was young, but that’s all I could see…except the emblem on the back of the car looked sorta like a ‘C’ or an ‘L’.”
Gingerly opening the hinged door, the two Indians peered at the fat, brown envelope inside the box.
“Give me your handkerchief,” Hawk said without thinking.
Grove snorted. “Like I don’t even have underwear on, so how am I gonna give you a handkerchief?”
Smothering a snicker, the big Indian slipped out of his T-shirt and grasped the envelope, seeking to preserve any fingerprints the fucker might have left.
Back inside, Hawk slipped a knife under the flap while Grove went to throw on some clothes. Hawk’s subdued curse drew his partner back to the kitchen table in a hurry.
“What is it?” Grove demanded.
“Money!” Hawk said. “More money than I’ve ever seen before, and a fucking letter that’s going to put us away for a long time if we aren’t careful.”
“What does it say?”
Still carefully avoiding touching the paper, Hawk pressed it flat on the table using salt and pepper shakers.
Hawk and Grove:
Here’s the payment we agreed on. Appreciate your help. But we’ve got to set up a safer way to make the payments. Give it some thought.
As for the smack, it’ll be delivered in the usual way. Hope you two love birds have fun with it. Understand it makes things way better, if you know what I mean.”
“Shit, fuck, and damn!” Grove yelped. “Burn the motherfucker! Right now. The cops could be on the way right this minute! How the hell did they know? We’ve been careful. Nobody knows about us. Nobody!”
Suddenly paranoid, Hawk motioned Grove into the bathroom, closed the door, and turned on the shower.
“We’re being watched. Spied on.”
“So? We haven’t done anything out in public to tip our hand.”
“They must have the place bugged. Maybe even cameras.”
“Naw,” Grove objected. “They had pictures, they’d be in that envelope.”
Probably, but we’ve got to assume we have no privacy anymore.”
“Shit!” Grove swore. “Then give me a kiss before we burn that damned letter. Might be the last I get for awhile.”
Hawk drew him close, feeling the tension vibrating through his lover’s body. Sadly, it wasn’t the right kind of tension. Their kiss was long and tender. When they drew apart, Hawk fingered Grove’s erection and spoke.
“But we’re not going to burn the letter. We’ve got to get it to Amadeo. Turn it in right away.”
“But…but,” Grove sputtered, “it says—”
“I know what it says, but it’s the only way. What if they sent a copy to the cops? We’ve gotta get this on the record. If we don’t, they’ll jam us up for sure.”
Grove took a deep breath. “Go give him a call. Shit! They probably got the phone tapped. They’ll hear every word! Fuck, I can’t believe it. Stuck in the bathroom whispering over running water. I feel like I’m caught in some frigging forties spy story!”
The Red Rez boss man was already up and agreed to meet them at the headquarters in thirty minutes. Hawk figured it would take that long because he intended to take the long way about. He wasn’t interested in driving into a fucking roadblock somewhere between home and Rez headquarters.
Uh-oh. The cartel’s setting them up. Will it bring down two of the Red Rezes best? As you might be able to tell, Red Rez is the second novelette about Hawk and Grove. The first one, called Huntinghawk was originally published years back. I don’t know about you, but I like these two guys.
Now a plea for my work. Amazon permits you to read a short passage of my novels, Cut Hand and Johnny Two-Guns. I also believe the STARbooks-published River Otter, Echoes of the Flute, and Medicine Hair are still up. I sure would like to get the final book in the Cut Hand Series, Wastelakapi… Beloved, published, but it’ll take some help from readers to get Dreamspinner interested.
My contact information is provided below in case anyone wants to drop me a line:
Website and blog: markwildyr.com
The following are buy links for CUT HAND:
DSP Publications: https://www.dsppublications.com/books/cut-hand-by-mark-wildyr-420-b
And now my mantra: Keep on reading. Keep on writing. You have something to say, so say it!
Until next time.
New posts at 6:00 a.m. on the first and third Thursdays of the month.