markwildyr.com, Post #114
Okay, I surrender. More of Curt Huntinghawk this week. And this one’s for my friend, Rico. That’s okay, you don’t have to thank me.
As usual, my Hawk stories are too long for a single setting. So I’ll publish weekly until it’s finished.
By the way, last week’s “Punk and Shorty” got a boatload of hits from Hong Kong.
Curt Huntinghawk stood at the edge of the municipal swimming pool burning with humiliation and cursing himself for letting Grover Whitedeer to talk him into coming. Not that he didn’t enjoy the water, he did. But he’d overheard something when he went to take a leak in the men’s room that set his teeth on edge. Two teens whispering at the back of the restroom failed to notice him when he walked to the urinal.
“Did you see him!” one young man squealed… actually squealed. “He’s gorgeous. I’d give an arm and a leg for his body, but I’d die for his face! Did you see it? Beautiful!”
“Im-PRESSIVE,” the second said. “And he’s with another gorgeous hunk? Did you see him?”
“Yes, but I’ll take the bigger one, sweetie. What are they? Mexicans?”
“Indians, I think.”
Hawk’s urine stream dried up. These two faggots were talking about him! Him and Grove. Seething, he moved to the sink to wash his hands, conscious of sudden and total silence while four predatory eyes examined every detail of his anatomy. He stared them down when he went for a towel to dry his hands and then stalked outside followed by snickers and muted cries of “Fabulous!”
Hawk hit the water and made ten frantic laps of the pool. Shit! They weren’t saying anything he wasn’t thinking about Grove Whitedeer. What made the two things different? For one thing, he knew and liked and had feelings for Grove. Those two were just looking for a lay. Crap, if Grove had any inkling of how Hawk felt about him, he’d react this same way. His anger under control, Hawk exited the water in a graceful power-lunge right up the side of the pool.
“Whoa! Stop raining on us!” Grove laughed from the lounge he shared with his girl, Berry. “Where’d you disappear to?”
“Went to drain the radiator and took a few laps.” The sight of Grove in a pair of trunks that barely covered the essentials was almost more than Hawk could stand. “You ready to go?”
Grove pulled a handsome frown. “What’s the hurry?”
Hawk swiped his chest with a towel. “That’s okay, I’ll find a ride back.”
“Don’t worry about him, Grove,” a plump, dusky girl in the adjoining lounge said. “I’ll take him home.”
That was the last thing Hawk wanted, but he could see no way out of it. “Thanks, Sheila. Appreciate it.”
Grove came into the dressing room as Hawk was changing. “What put a burr under your saddle, man?” he asked, casually rolling his trunks over his lean, muscled thighs.
"I don’t know. Just out of the mood. Sorry if I’m spoiling the party.”
Grove gave his patented smile, one that melted hard hearts and narrow minds. “No sweat. Berry and me’ll go eat and then head over to my place.”
Hawk laughed. “Is a piece of ass all you ever think about?”
“Hell, no! Booze is important. And work’s up there in the top half-dozen.”
Hawk jabbed his arm playfully. “One of these days some gal you chase is gonna catch you, and you’ll find out what life’s all about.”
As Hawk knew she would, Sheila wanted to come inside with him. As he ushered her through the door of the small adobe he rented, Hawk sighed and decided he might as well get something out of it. After a meal of green chile stew and buttered tortillas, he took her to bed. Knowing she and Berry would compare notes later, Hawk gave it his best. He silently offered prayers of gratitude when she left around nine.
After he cleaned up and retired for the night, Hawk couldn’t let go of the incident in the men’s room. Although he recognized his anger as fear, he wasn’t certain what he was afraid of. There was nothing effeminate about him, he couldn’t sound or act like those two if he tried. He’d been with a hundred women but been intimate with four only men. Ramon Aquila, a young illegal alien, who’d saved his bacon in the desert after a drug runner’s shot grazed Hawk’s head. They fell into an affair almost by accident. The intimacy with Brit Guerrero, the drug runner known as Wolverine who had shot him, began as a contest of domination and ended in mutual respect and satisfaction. Both of those affairs were deeply satisfying, but in different ways. Two casual one-nighters on a vacation trip to Phoenix had proved more unsettling than gratifying.
The thorn in his backside at the moment was his confused feelings about his best friend. Grove Whitedeer was his working partner and running mate, but Hawk’s deepening emotional attachment to the handsome young man would cause problems sooner or later. At times, he was tempted to confess and pass the responsibility for their future relationship over to Grove, but Hawk carried his own water… and dug his own grave, apparently.
Hawk was up with the morning star, a habit adopted when he came to this southwestern country a couple of years ago. The cold Sonoran Desert nights were growing chillier, so he donned his long sweats to take coffee on the front porch. He loved studying the icy firmament, discovering something new and glorious almost every morning. Contemplation of the heavens cleared his mind of earthly concerns.
An hour before he was to report for work, the phone rang. Amadeo Tomé, the head of the Border Patrol’s all-Indian force of trackers officially known as the Rezagados Colorados and commonly labeled the Red Rezes was calling everyone in early. Hawk pulled into headquarters, curious as to what was going on. Grove arrived at the same time, looking as if he’d had a hard night of it. They walked in together.
“Listen up,” Amadeo growled even though only four of the crew had arrived. “DEA raided a house in Sombra del Monte early this morning, and there was a shootout. Six of the traficantes got away. Found their car stuck in the sand about five miles east of here. Tracks led off into the desert. They’re running for the border. We’ve been asked to help. Nobody’s been killed yet, and I don’t want any of us to be the first.”
Amadeo sent two of his men to the DEA agents waiting at the bad guy’s car to track them from there. Hawk and Grove, he dispatched to Big Willow Wash to see if they could pick up a trail.
“Make sure the radios in your four-bys work,” Amadeo cautioned. “One of these days maybe the cheap bastards’ll give us some shoulder units. When the others come in, I’m gonna put them further south and east as backups. Okay, move!”
Grove usually drove because Hawk had better eyes for the distance although Grove could spot a footprint in the road as quickly as anyone. They not only tested the radio in the truck but also the inexpensive walkie-talkies they’d bought with their own money to keep in contact when they split. The gizmos worked fine if there weren’t too many hills in the way
Big Willow Wash ran northwest to southeast so the fugitives would have to cross it at some point. Its wide, sandy trough made tracking easy if the bad guys didn’t pause to cover their sign. At the stunted, scraggly tree that gave the deep arroyo its name, they did some calculating. It was unlikely that the traficantes had already crossed the gulch. The two scouts climbed the closest hill and spent five minutes wordlessly scanning the vast flat spread out before them. Spotting nothing, they decided to split up. Grove drove across the desert south of the gulch while Hawk walked the wash looking for sign. He shucked his sidearm and took only his rifle, canteen, and walkie-talkie, setting a steady, ground-eating pace he could maintain all morning if need be.
Two hours later he found tracks, but they were all wrong. Too many, and going the wrong direction. Illegals. He climbed out of the deep gully and raised Grove on the radio.
“Yeah, I saw them,” his companion affirmed. “But they’re not our guys, so I ignored them.”
“They’re illegals and maybe a mule or two, but I’m worried about the bad guys trying to take them as hostages. You raise Amadeo on the truck radio. In the meantime, I’m gonna track the illegals.”
“Okay, but don’t get out of range. These little fuckers don’t talk very far.”
Hawk signed off and started after the group of seven people at a trot. Judging by the footprints, they were about an hour ahead of him. He halted when Grove’s faint radio voice told him Amadeo was calling the INS. Hawk was to stay on the trail of the group while Grove maneuvered around Big Willow and joined him. At least one of the traficantes they were chasing had been spotted headed their way.
An hour later Hawk topped a rocky hill and saw the wetbacks two hundred yards ahead of him. From his position he also saw what they could not, a green La Migra van coming in from the west followed by two four-wheels. The illegals spotted the dust the vehicles raised and began to break up. Hawk pointed his rifle into the air and pulled the trigger. The sound of the shot cracked across the dry desert air; the group halted as if they were a single living organism. Then they broke in all directions, but the arriving INS agents fanned out and ran them down.
After helping round up the prisoners, Hawk heard a laboring motor and saw Grove bouncing recklessly across the desert. He’d started walking out to meet Grove when something brought him to a dead stop and left him fighting to hide his surprise. Seated cross-legged at the back of the sorry little group was Ramon Aquila. The handsome youngster saw him, but kept his mouth shut. After too long a pause, Hawk turned to find Grove trotting toward him, his eyes curiously searching the group of Mexicans to see what was so interesting to his friend.
“Hawk! Let’s go. I spotted one of our guys headed south!”
Hawk raced for the truck, trying to dislodge the image of the young kid he’d assumed was safely in Denver.
Well, well… it seems as though Ramon Aquila, Hawk’s first gay lover, has returned. Will this complicate his growing feelings for Grover Whitedeer, or will it allow him to cool his jets? But Ramon’s in the clutches of the Border Patrol. Can Hawk even reach out to him?
Care to take a guess?
Please consider ordering Cut Hand and Johnny Two-Guns from Dreamspinner Press. I’d like to convince them to publish the rest of the Cut Hand Series, including the unpublished manuscript Wastelakapi… Beloved, 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 post at 6:00 a.m. on each Thursday of the month until this serialized story is completed..