Thursday, July 16, 2020

Me’n You

markwildyr.com, Post #125
  


Courtesy of Wikiclipart.com
Total change of pace this week. Let’s go back to some adolescent memories and see what we can stir up. Hope the following story does it for you.


*****

ME’N YOU

          “It’s just me’n you, Luther.”
          If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a gallon-full of times. Heck, an oil drum-full of times. But when I say it in front of Mom, she comes right back at me.
          “I’ll swear, Robert, I’ve taught you better than that.” She’s always promising to swear but never does. “That’s lazy speech on two fronts. It is ‘you and I,’ as you well know. I is a nominative pronoun, which can be the subject of a sentence. Me is an objective and can’t.”
          “Yes, ma’am. I know. It’s I and you, But tha—”
          “And that is your second problem. Grammar courtesy requires you put the other person first. So that would mean…”
          “It’s just you and I, Luther.”
          “Correct.”
          Can you tell my mom’s a schoolteacher?
          Anyway, once we got out of earshot, I reverted to being me. But Mom was wrong about one thing. I don’t say ‘me’n you’ because I don’t know how to speak properly. I say it because it says what I mean. “Me’n you,” makes us a team. “You and I” makes us two twerps looking down our noses at the rest of the world.
          And down where it count’s that’s what I want me’n Luther to be. A team. A pair. Buddies. Bros. And something else that I can’t quite get my head around. Heck, I want to be Luther Groveside. Or at least be with him.
          That last one sets off all kinds of bells. Some sing the pure melody of silver chimes; others, an exciting, almost discordant note that seems to promise something to come. I don’t know why, but that’s the way it is.
          “Come on, Robbie, get your fourteen-year-old butt moving,” he called, ignoring the helmet secured to his rear rack as he straddled his bike.
          He likes to mention my age because he’s a year older. I remind him that someday, that age difference will bite the other way, but he just comes back with something like he should live so long.
          I hopped on and took out after him, watching the wind catch his dark hair and play with it. He was already filling out while I remained a stick figure. I’ll swear his shoulders were wider this morning than they were last week. His waist wasn’t any bigger than mine, and I’m practically a scarecrow. And his butt….
          I tore my gaze back to the roadway. Why would I notice his butt? Dunno, but that’s the way it was. I peddled like crazy and pulled up beside him.
          “We going swimming?” I yelled.
          “Not much point going to the creek if we don’t.”
          We were headed for a swimming hole we sometimes shared with water moccasins to go skinny-dipping. We’d rigged up a rope to an overhanging tree branch so we could swing out over the water and let go. I liked to swim, but I didn’t like the water moccasins. But I couldn’t let my fear show. What’s a snake bite compared to losing your friends?
           I was steaming from the six-mile, mostly uphill ride by the time we got to the creek. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky for the sun to hide behind. And the southeastern Oklahoma sun was pretty stout this time of year.
          I’d been half-hoping we’d meet some of the kids here, but there wasn’t another soul around. One side of me said that was great because it’d just be me’n Luther. But the other side sorta wished half a dozen guys were splashing around in the water to chase off the water moccasins.
          We stripped and hit the water, me swinging from the rope and him in a headlong dive. Before long, I forgot all about snakes—poisonous or otherwise—while we raced one another, dunked one another and engaged in general horseplay. When we’d had enough of that, we climbed up on shore to spread out our clothes in the shade of a big water oak. As we lay side by side, I tried to look at him without showing it, his voice surprised me.
          “When you gonna start filling out, Robby?”
          I shrugged, making my neck crack. “When it’s time, I guess. Or maybe I’ll just stay skinny all my life.” The fact he’d taken a look at me made me bold. “You’re filling out real good. But then, you’re a year older’n me.” In for a penny…. “Maybe next year I’ll have a beaver as thick as yours.”
          He snickered “A beaver? What are you talking about?”
          “You know, your hair down there.” My neck got tense as I realized I’d pulled a boner.
          Luther laughed out loud, a good sound even if he was laughing at me. “Beaver’s what you call it on a girl. On a guy, it’s a bush.” He laughed again. Thank goodness he wasn’t looking at me, my face burned like it was beet red. “You like my bush?” he asked.
          I swallowed hard. “Yeah, you know, shows you’re growing up.”
          “Hell, you’ve got one too. Sorta.”
          “Yeah, but I’m a blond. It doesn’t show much.”
          He came up on an elbow and eyeballed me. “Yeah, it’s there okay. And it’ll get thicker.” He flicked me with a finger. “And that’ll get bigger too.”
          “Y-yours sure has. Uh!” A hand flew to my neck.
          “What’s the matter? You getting a crick in the neck again?”
          “Yeah. I guess,” I said, rubbing my bony spine hard. He knew that happened sometimes, but I don’t believe he realized it mostly happened when I was tense. And wow, was I tense.
          “Get up,” he said, rising to his feet.
          I struggled up and stood as he moved behind me. A trillion times Luther’d done this maneuver where he put his hands under my armpits and clasped them at the back of my neck. Then he’d jerk me off my feet, my neck would crack, and I’d be all right.
          But this time he’d forgotten we were naked—or maybe he didn’t care—but when he yanked me off my feet and pulled me back against his broad chest and I felt his groin caress my buttocks, everything fell into place.
          I knew what those discordant bells were. I knew they meant something else was coming. I understood the meaning of “to be with Luther.” As he released me, my hands found his thighs.
          “What’re you doing?” he yelped and staggered backward.
          “Got dizzy,” I said.
          He moved back to my side. “You okay now?”
          “Yeah. I’m okay. I’m better’n okay.”
          “Good.” He started pulling on his clothes. “I gotta tend the garden after the sun goes down, so I guess we better start back.”
          “Luther?”
          He paused with his denims halfway up his bronzed legs. “Huh?”
          My grin about split my lips. “It’s me’n you, right?”
          He flashed a smile in return. “Right, Robby. “You’n me.”
         He didn’t know it yet, but that’s how it would be. Now that I knew what I wanted, I’d figure out a way to get it. Didn’t know how or when, but that’s the way it was gonna be.
  

*****

Isn’t nostalgia a powerful thing?

I don’t know about you, but there’s no doubt in my mind that when Robby judges the time is right, he’ll make a successful move. Probably when he’s around eighteen. Maybe just before the two buddies take off to college somewhere.

We will now return to our regularly scheduled program (1st and 3rd Thursdays).

My contact information is provided below in case anyone wants to drop me a line:
Website and blog: markwildyr.com
Email: markwildyr@aol.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/mark.wildyr
Twitter: @markwildyr

The following are buy links for CUT HAND:


And now my mantra: Keep on reading. Keep on writing. You have something to say, so say it!

Until next time.

Mark

New posts at 6:00 a.m. on the first and third Thursday of the month.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Grove – A Curt Huntinghawk Story (Part 5 of a 5 Part Series)


markwildyr.com, Post #124

The killer is dead, and the last thread holding Hawk’s and Grove’s friendship together has been snipped. What happens now? Do they get new partners and go into studied indifference, or do they manage to patch things over? Here’s our final installment.

*****
GROVE
A Curt Huntinghawk Story

          The whole unit was gathered at Rezagados headquarters when they got back that afternoon. Hawk let Grove do most of the talking. Surprisingly, he related the story over and over again quietly and without embellishment. Still pissed, Hawk figured.
          Amadeo joined his men and filled them in on his report from the sheriff.  “The best the sheriff can piece together, an agent named Halvorsen’s been working for the cartels. Our interdiction rate’s been up this year so much, the cartels demanded Halvorsen do something about it. When he wasn’t able to help, they threatened him, so he decided to take as much of their cocaine as he could for himself before running. Started killing their mules till Hawk and Grove put an end to it.”
          The party moved to the Blue Mesa. Word had spread and everyone in the place was buying the them drinks. Not a good thing, Hawk decided drunkenly around midnight. Grove was drinking, not womanizing. Meant the evening would end with a fight. Probably with him.
          Somehow, they got out of the bar without any women tagging along and made an amazingly rational drunken decision that neither of them was fit to drive. Rather than go look for someone to haul them home, they set out cross-country and walked the two miles to Hawk’s house, arms around one another’s shoulders, each singing a different song in his own native language, Grove punctuating the lyrics now in then in a deep ‘boom-boom-boom’, simulating a drum.
          Once inside, Grove slouched on a chair in a stupor. Hawk had the strength to get in the shower; he just didn’t have presence of mind to get undressed first. When he discovered he was lathering his shirt instead of his arm, he burst out laughing and went slopping into the living room to show his best friend what he’d done. Grove just stared at him through unseeing eyes. Hawk hauled him out of the chair and shoved him into the shower, fully clothed. Grove continued to gaze vacantly. The fun went out of the thing.
          Hawk stripped and dried, but was leery of doing the same for Grove, but it was either that or shove him sopping wet into bed, so he tore the clothes off his unresisting friend. After that he dried Grove with a blanket and tipped him over onto the bed.
          Grove lay unresisting while Hawk covered him with a light blanket and surfaced from his boozy haze long enough to take a long look at the handsome man before snapping the light off. “Night, buddy,” he whispered and moved for the door.
          “Hawk?” He turned back into the room. “…the fuck, I’m gonna have to beg you for it now?”
          Hawk shivered and realized he was totally naked. “Do what, Grove?”
          “You know.” The voice from the darkness drew him to the side of the bed.
          “You’re drunk, my friend.”
          “Yeah. Else I couldn’ta said that.”
          Suddenly sober, Hawk swallowed hard. “I know. Goodnight.”
          “Before all the shit started this morning,” Grove went on, sounding almost sober, himself, “I was trying to tell you that… That… Well, I’ve thought about us getting together too.”
          “You’re drunk,” Hawk repeated.
          “Touch me.”
          “You’re drunk,” he said yet again. “I do that tonight, and you’ll take a swing at me tomorrow.”
          “Fuck, Hawk!” Grove’s voice was suddenly anguished. “You’re the one started it! Now I gotta beg you? Well, fuck it! I’m begging.”
          Hawk couldn’t stop himself. His hands were suddenly on Grove’s cheeks. The light beard at the sideburns and on Grove’s chin tickled his fingers.
          "Shit, man!” Grove gasped at the contact. “What the fuck’s happening?”
           Hawk’s hand moved of their own accord, exploring the hollow of Grove’s strong neck, testing the muscles of the firm chest. Hawk collected his wits when they reached the flat belly with its defined six-pack. He halted.
          “Don’t… stop,” Grove whispered.
           Released, hawk threw back the covers and boldly stared through the gloom at the trim man spread out on the bed. The curve of the wrists, the angle of the head, the cocked knee all spoke of a man’s man. They evoked machismo. Slowly, Hawk knelt beside the bed and touched Grove. Frustrated at wanting his friend and not knowing what to do, he dropped his forehead on Grove’s belly and allowed his hands to wander. He felt the strength of the wiry body beneath his touch and was suddenly jealous of a horde of unknown women who had been given so freely what he coveted so desperately.
          Understanding his role now, he moved his head.
          Grove drew in a sharp breath and groaned. “Aw, Hawk.”
          Recalling how Ramon had done this beautiful thing for him, Hawk emulated his yesterday-lover… and learned the joy of giving joy. Eventually, Grove tensed. His legs stretched like a big cat. He let out a sigh and erupted.
          Neither of them spoke. Grove lay motionless while Hawk’s head rested on his belly. Eventually, Grove pulled him up beside him. It took another long moment before their eyes met.
          “That’s the problem I had with us getting together,” Grove said at length. “What the hell would we do? You’re so fucking macho, Hawk, I never thought you’d help me out that way.”
           “Never did it before,” Hawk said, tentatively stroking Grove’s chest.
          Grove caught his hand and held it against him. “That Mexican kid taught you.”
          “Yes,” Hawk answered easily. The time for secrecy was past.
          “Who else?” Grove demanded. Then his eyes flew open. “Wolverine! You did it with Wolverine, didn’t you? That’s how you knew all about him.”
          “I knew about him because I caught him wearing my stollen boots at a bar one night. I hung around after closing and confronted him. We started playing a cat and mouse game, and it turned out different from what we expected. Grove, you’ve gotta understand something. With me this is different than with women.”
          Grove snorted. “You don’t say!”
          “No, what I mean is with a man, I gotta have feelings for him.”
          “You had feelings for the Mexican.”
          “I loved Ramon,” Hawk said firmly. “But he got crosswise with the law and had to leave.”
          ‘You loved Wolverine?” Grove asked with an air of disbelief.
          “No, but we grew fond of one another. The sex started with, I don’t know, a game of domination, I guess. Surprised both of us when he turned submissive.”
          Grove turned pensive for a moment. “Are you saying you love me?”
          Hawk hesitated and then nodded. “Yes. Sorry if you don’t like it, but you’ll have to deal with it because it’s true.”
          Grove’s glare softened. “Say it. Say it out loud.”
         “I love you, Grove.”
          His friend gave a big grin. “Hell, maybe I sorta like the idea of Curt Huntinghawk, everybody’s candidate for man-of-the-year falling, for Grover Whitedeer.”
          At the end of Grove’s jest, Hawk leaned forward and covered his open mouth with his own. He felt Grove get ready to fight, then surrender. Grove’s mouth opened and his own tongue slid into Hawk’s. Somebody moaned. A full minute later they parted. Grove’s brown eyes were twice their usual size as if he was on some exotic drug. “Shit,” he murmured.
          Hawk wasn’t sure what he meant until Grove pushed him back on the mattress and leaned over him. With a determined look in his eyes, he reciprocated. Minutes later, Hawk felt as if he’d lost control of his own body as his muscles spasmed into the greatest orgasm of his life. Then it was his turn to murmur “Shit.”

*****

It looks as though things might turn out just fine. As I wrote this segment of Hawk’s story, I had the same question that Grove expressed. How would two macho men handle the situation. Obviously, Hawk did it by departing from his usual dominant role, not even daring to dream that Grove would do the same for him. It ended well, I think. Let me know what you think.

We will now return to our regularly scheduled program (1st and 3rd Thursdays).

Tell your friends to order a copy of 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
Email: markwildyr@aol.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/mark.wildyr
Twitter: @markwildyr

The following are buy links for CUT HAND:


And now my mantra: Keep on reading. Keep on writing. You have something to say, so say it!

Until next time.

Mark

New posts at 6:00 a.m. on the first and third Thursday of the month..

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Grove – A Curt Huntinghawk Story (Part 4 of a 5 Part Series)


markwildyr.com, Post #123

Is Hawk’s friendship with Grove lost? At least, Grove didn’t come out swinging when he caught Hawk coping a feel. Maybe Hawk can convince him he was just testing to see if he was conscious or not? Yeah, right. And how close are they to catching the rogue INS agent? Let’s see what happens today.

*****
GROVE
A Curt Huntinghawk Story

          Monday afternoon the sheriff intercepted them as they returned to headquarters. “Can we talk a minute, fellows?” They joined the lawman in his big Crown Victoria. “Got a little intelligence from south of the border. Supposed to be a big shipment coming through here tomorrow morning early. What’s the likeliest way through the desert?”
          “Big Willow Wash across to Dragon’s Back. From there, they could go two or three directions. That’s the way I’d do it,” Hawk replied.
          “You guys been right so far, so I’ll bet on you again. Can you go out on patrol early tomorrow?”
          “Sure. Any luck tracing that tire?”
          “It’s the same tire the INS uses on all their vehicles. Saw the track in the parking lot a couple of times, but so far we haven’t spotted the vehicle it’s mounted on. But it might be too late. Some of my people have shown a lot of interest in the vehicles at INS, so the guy might have wised up.”
          “By dawn, we’ll be in a place above Big Willow where we can park and not be seen easily,” Hawk said.
          “That within radio range?”
          “Yeah, but what good’s that going to be if the guy’s INS? He’ll have all our frequencies. If we need you, we’ll call on our cell phones.”
          It was quiet again the rest of the way to headquarters. After telling Amadeo they were going to patrol early the next morning at the sheriff’s request, Hawk drove Grove home. They agreed to meet at four a.m. in the headquarters parking lot.
          Hawk slept surprisingly well and was rested when he pulled into headquarters in the darkness early the next morning. They loaded into their Rez four-by and headed for the desert. It was breaking light when they parked in a draw that gave a good view to the south. Grove pulled the vehicle into some mesquite bushes to break up the outline of the truck.
         Grove opened a thermos and offered coffee. Hawk gratefully accepted. His hand brushed Grove’s when he took the cup. The electricity was still there. They watched in silence until full light. Grove got out once to piss, and then Hawk took his turn. He was just getting back into the truck when Grove spoke.
          “Hawk, I’ve been thinking—”
          Hawk held up his hand as the sound of a motor became audible, growing steadily louder. A green INS four-wheel vehicle passed within a hundred yards of them and slowly motored to the southwest.
          “I’ll check it,” Hawk said, easing out of the truck. “Not the same vehicle,” he told his partner a minute later. “Or else he got wise and changed tires. They look like a new set.”
          The INS four-wheel hove into sight as it climbed a slight incline. To their surprise, it halted behind a small embankment sheltering it from the south, but in plain sight of them. A tall figure got out of the vehicle and stood peering over the embankment. They took turns with a pair of binoculars.
          “Can you tell who it is?” Grove asked.
          Hawk shook his head as the agent settled down to wait.
          “Uh oh,” Hawk said after an hour. “He’s spotted something. Damn, I can’t see, can you?”
          “No. Yeah! One…two…three…no, four men coming up out of Big Willow. Man, they’re loaded down. If that’s all cocaine, it’s worth a lot of money. Hey! What’s he doing?”
          The INS agent had returned to his vehicle. He drew a rifle from its rack and steadied himself against the embankment. Grove hit the horn and held it down, but the ambusher held steady and fired. One man fell; the three others broke for the wash. The killer didn’t hesitate, he swung around and fired. Something crashed through the trees and starred the truck’s windshield.
          “Mo-ther-fuck-er!” Grove sang, scrambling out of the car. Hawk bailed out the other side. Both men turned rifles on the distant target as the killer broke for his car.
          “He’s running! Put some holes in the vehicle so we can ID it.”
          “Rather put holes in that son-of-a-bitch!” Grove yelled, throwing shots rapidly.
          Both of them emptied their magazines, and the four-wheel seemed to lurch before it disappeared over the rise. “We got a tire, I think,” Hawk yelled, scrambling into the truck.  While Grove tore out of the wash after the wounded vehicle, Hawk got on the raido to relate events on the sheriff’s band, then switching to the Rez wavelength to bring Amadeo up to date. Hawk banged on the dash for Grove to stop and went to help the man who was down. Grove was off again before Hawk even slammed the door.
          There was nothing Hawk could do for the traficante; he was dead. From his armaments, the man was the group’s guard, but they’d been so greedy they’d loaded him down with drugs as well. He hadn’t had a chance.
          Gunfire sent Hawk racing up the long slope. He knew exactly what had happened. The rogue agent had abandoned his vehicle, backtracked, and was trying to take Grove out. It seemed like an hour before he covered the long mile to where the volleys were coming from. He eased up to a big rock at the top of the rise and took in the situation. The agent held the high ground behind rocks and a clump of juniper. Grove had taken refuge behind their four-by. Nobody was hurt, but the Rez vehicle looked disabled.
           Hawk reloaded his empty weapon and poured four rounds into the clump of rocks and bushes where the killer hid. Immediately, return fire came his direction. Grove took the opportunity to shift positions. When he started firing from a new direction, the agent retreated, working his way northwest. Probably where he’d left his stricken vehicle. When Hawk heard a sluggish motor turn over and catch, he raced from cover and gained sight of the INS vehicle as it slowly started to limp away. Hawk threw his rifle to his shoulder and started punching holes in the hood. The four-by stalled.
          More gunfire struck the truck from the back. Grove aimed for the gas tank, and moments later liquid soaked the sand and rocks at the rear of the vehicle. Lead began striking rocks sending up innocent looking sparks as Grove tried to ignite the gasoline. He succeeded. The flames were almost invisible when they first caught but grew and turned orange. There was no explosion, but the leaking gasoline fed the fire until the rear of the vehicle was engulfed.
          Hawk was working his way around to the front when a single gunshot sent him into the dirt. Cautiously, he raised his head and spotted a man was slumped in the front seat of the INS truck. Wary of a trick, but prompted by the flames, Hawk came down out of the rocks and approached the front of the car. Grove reached the open driver’s side door at the same time he did. An INS agent they both knew and liked lay forehead to the steering wheel, not bothered in the least by the building inferno. Several wounds were evident on the man, but the shot through the bottom of the jaw from the revolver still clutched in the dead man’s hand had been what killed him.
          Wordlessly, they pulled the corpse from the burning vehicle and laid it a safe distance away. Then they worked to make certain the flames didn’t spread. The sheriff had just pulled up and crawled out of his vehicle when the back end of the burning four-by gave a loud pop and split itself open. Thereafter, the flames began to die.

*****

It looks as though the killer INS agent has been called to account. But we still don’t know why the man went rogue. Pursuit of that killer was the last thing holding Hawk’s friendship with Grove together. What happens now that it’s resolved? Next week, we finish the story.

As usual when I have a three-part or more story, I’ll post weekly until it’s ended. Then I’ll return to first and third Thursday of the week.

Tell your friends to order a copy of 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
Email: markwildyr@aol.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/mark.wildyr
Twitter: @markwildyr

The following are buy links for CUT HAND:


And now my mantra: Keep on reading. Keep on writing. You have something to say, so say it!

Until next time.

Mark

New posts at 6:00 a.m. on each Thursday until the story is finished. Then we’ll return to first and third Thursday of the month..

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Grove – A Curt Huntinghawk Story (Part 3 of a 5 Part Series)


markwildyr.com, Post #122

What, oh what, is Hawk to do? He and Grove are involved in solving a mystery that might set off a deadly drug war if it isn’t solved. At the same time, Hawk’s fighting a one-sided love affair that the other side isn’t even aware of. And as we’ve seen, Grove’s a very physical guy, taking on a truck driver twice his size over a perceived insult. Read on.

*****
GROVE
A Curt Huntinghawk Story

          Neither Hawk nor Grove was in very good shape when the phone rang early the next afternoon. “Sorry to bother you Hawk, but the sheriff’s calling for you’n Grove?”
          An hour later, the sheriff did a double take when he set eyes on Grove. “Damn, I won’t ask,” He cleared his throat. “Somebody shot up an INS vehicle early this morning. Two agents are okay, bailed out and hit the ground. Feds are holding it close to their vests, but I’m going out for a look around. Figured you might help.” The lawman threw a thumb Grove’s way. Now I ain’t so sure after looking at him.”
          INS and DEA were both on the scene when they got there. Any viable tracks were long destroyed, even so Hawk and Grove found where two men had set up an ambush of the agents. The fact the bushwhackers had picked the low ground was all that saved the two agents. The two Rezes also found the tracks of several men and concluded that the drug mules had armed escorts.
          "It’s a fucking war,” the sheriff mumbled. “No doubt about it.”
          “Why an INS vehicle?” Grove asked through his cracked lip.
          "Losses too heavy, I guess,” the DEA agent with them commented. “Wasn’t going to lose this one to INS or anybody else. This means it’s open season on law enforcement officers. Better warn Amadeo, Hawk.”


          The next three weeks were relatively peaceful, but drug interdictions by the Rezagados were down to almost zilch. It was as if the drug cartels had shut down the flow of the stuff through the area. Then one of the Rez teams stumbled on another body shot through the chest same as the other. The kill was relatively fresh. Hawk and Grove examined the site with the sheriff and a DEA man. The two Indians exchanged glances.
          “Got the wrong man,” Grove said through an almost healed mouth.
          “What you mean?” Reed demanded. 
          “This guy wasn’t running product. He was probably an illegal crossing over.”
          “Why you think that?” the DEA man asked.
          “Look at him. Body hasn’t been disturbed. No sign of a pack or duffel on the ground. Killer didn’t even come all the way to the body,” Grove explained.
          “Damnation!” the sheriff said. “Killing innocents now!”
          “It’s the same killer, though,” Hawk said quietly.
          “Damned right it is,” the sheriff said. “Same M.O…everything.”
          When they walked back to their vehicles, the lawman said he was headed to INS for a meeting with them and the DEA. “I haven’t told them about the tire track we found with the first kill. Gonna do it today. You boys’re welcome to come along.” They agreed.
          After parking behind the sheriff in the far end of the parking lot, they got out of their four-by and joined Reed. The big lot was graveled, but in places the gravel had worn thin and sandy spots appeared. As they walked toward the office, Hawk and Grove halted and called the sheriff back. Trying not to make it obvious, they showed the lawman a perfect imprint of the tire of the killer’s vehicle.
          “Shit!” Reed cursed. “No wonder those traficantes shot up an INS car. It’s an INS agent killing them! Well, this changes things, boys. Ain’t gonna say a thing about tire tracks. How old’s that fucking print anyhow?”
           “Probably made yesterday,” Grove said. Hawk nodded agreement.
          The meeting was a waste of time. Reed wasn’t about to let go of what he had, and nobody else seemed to have anything. Hawk looked over the six white and Hispanic men at the meeting. Was one of them the killer.


          Grove hadn’t been out catting since he got messed up at the Blue Mesa, and it was beginning to tell on him. “Friday afternoon he started agitating for a trip south.
          It didn’t happen. They stopped by the Mesa on the way out of town and never made it out of the place. Grove hit the beer keg and didn’t stop until Hawk drove him to his house and spilled him into bed in the spare bedroom. Once again, he removed his friend’s clothing. His hand touched a nipple, and he resisted the urge to taste it. His hand traced a path down Grove’s chest, his belly and came to rest atop his partner’s groin.
          “Wha…what the fuck you doin’?” Startled, Hawk jerked his hand back and looked into Grove’s confused eyes. The confusion changed to shock and morphed into anger. Grove bounded out of the bed and took a drunken swing at him. Hawk absorbed it on his shoulder and backed away.
          “Sorry, man. Shouldn’t have done that.”
          “Damn right” Grove slurred. “Fucking weirdo!” He forgot his anger in his haste to get into his clothing. Hawk waited in the living room, filled with shame and fear that he’d ruptured the most important relationship of his life.
          Grove stormed out the front door, reappearing almost immediately. “Give me your fucking keys!”
          Hawk tossed them over. “You oughta let me drive you home.”
          Grove didn’t bother to answer, just spun on his heel. A moment later, the Dodge motor turned over, and the truck peeled out of the driveway.
          Hawk took a beer to the front porch and let his eyes rove the heavens without taking much solace from the Creator’s marvels. After thirty minutes, he went inside and picked up the telephone. When Grove snarled a hello into the phone Hawk put down the receiver, relieved his friend had made it home. Then he proceeded to drink every can, every bottle of booze in the place. Oblivion brought peace, even if it was false and only temporary.
          In his dream Grove was beating on him. One unusually hard blow caused him to open his eyes. Through a blurry mist, he made out the form of Grover Whitedeer hovering over him. It was broad daylight and he was lying on the floor. Grove hauled him onto the sofa.
          “Here, eat some of this, you son-of-a-bitch!” A spoon of something hot and tangy got shoved into his mouth. It took three swallows to identify it as his spicy green chile stew. He lurched into the bathroom and promptly lost it.
          That cleared his head some. He sat in a kitchen chair and worked on a cup of coffee while Grove paced the room. “Came to give you your truck back, but you’re too fucked up to drive me home. Shit, I’ll pick you up for work Monday.”
          “Hey, man, I’m sorry about…about…”
          “Shut up!” Grove made a cleaner exit this time.
          Monday morning both of them were in reasonable shape when Grove honked for Hawk. It was uncustomarily silent on the drive until Hawk spoke. “I’ll ask Amadeo to split us up.”
          “Dumb fucking idea. We’re gonna ask for new partners right in the middle of a murder investigation? Yeah. Right!”
          Hawk flared, a little tired of the attitude. “You don’t have to be an asshole about it.”
   
*****

Well, the cat’s out of the bag now, and Grove didn’t react the way we’d hoped he would. All that’s holding the partnership together now is the mystery of who’s conducting the deadly ambushes of drug runners. A rogue INS agent, apparently. But which one?

As usual when I have a three-part or more story, I’ll post weekly until it’s ended. Then I’ll return to first and third Thursday of the week.

Tell your friends to order a copy of 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
Email: markwildyr@aol.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/mark.wildyr
Twitter: @markwildyr

The following are buy links for CUT HAND:


And now my mantra: Keep on reading. Keep on writing. You have something to say, so say it!

Until next time.

Mark

New posts at 6:00 a.m. on each Thursday until the story is finished. Then we’ll return to first and third Thursday of the month..

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Grove – A Curt Huntinghawk Story (Part 2 of a 5 Part Series)


markwildyr.com, Post #121

Last week, Curt finally faced his longings for his very macho partner. But Grove’s a physical guy, quick to anger and quick to love. And Hawk can’t be sure which way the wind blows. So what’s he to do? Let’s see what Part two reveals to us. Oh, and by the way, there’s a real-life mystery going on at the same time Hawk’s fighting these unexpected feelings. A deadly mystery.

*****
GROVE
A Curt Huntinghawk Story

          Midday on Thursday, the truck radio squawked. “Hawk,” Amadeo said, sounding distant. “Sheriff Reed called. Found another body. Asked if he could borrow you’n Grove.”
          Hawk got directions to the site, and twenty minutes late, they spotted the sheriff and four of his men standing beside a patrol car. Reed was apparently impressed with their talents because he hadn’t let any of his own people near the body this time. He shook hands with them grimly and got right to business.
          “Blowed to hell like the last one. See what you boys can reconstruct for me, okay?”
          Hawk took the perimeter again while Grove slowly approached the body, carefully scanning the ground before putting down a booted foot. Thirty minutes later Hawk showed the lawmen where the bullet had been fired from and how the killer had approached the victim afterward. This time, it looked like a backpack was taken. Grove pointed out a small amount of white powder on the ground.
          Hawk summed it up. “Bullet went through the man and entered the pack. Shooter wiped out his tracks like before but didn’t notice he was trailing powder. Same vehicle, at least it’s the same tire. Got that little notch in it. Departed to the east to hook up with the highway, I’d guess.”
          One of the deputies held up a field test of the white substance. “It’s pure-ass cocaine, Sheriff.”
          The lawman swore. “That rips it…it’ll bring in the feds.”
          “We won’t tell them if you don’t,” Hawk volunteered.
          “Naw. I’ll play by the rulebook, but I’m gonna keep my hand in. Thanks, men.”
          After duty the next day, Grove wanted to hit the Blue Mesa so they stopped without even going home to clean up.
          There were times when Grove went to the bar to pick up women, and there were times he just wanted to drink. These tended to be more dangerous because he’d been known to pick a fight or two.
           A big white man with the look of a trucker got up from his table too fast or too drunk and backed right into theirs. Grove caught half a pitcher of beer right in his lap and came up like a shot.
          The man turned around. “Hey, man! Sorry! Shit, made a mess, didn’t I?”
          Hawk breathed easier. It might turn out all right.
          “I like you red-asses, so I didn’t do it on purpose. ‘Scuse hell outa me.”
          “What’d you call us?” Grove asked in his you-wanna-fight-you-got-it voice.
          “Sorry ‘bout that. Meant ta say redskins. There, that better?”
          Grove got right in the man’s face. “No, it’s not! I’m a hundred percent Native American of the Machik persuasion, not a fucking redskin.”
          Shit, ya don’t have to git snotty about it. Somebody oughta teach you some manners. I ‘pologized best I know how.”
          “Your mama didn’t teach you how very good.”
          “You leave my mama outa this.”
          “Don’t tell me you know who your mama is?”
          “Why you son of a bitch! I’m gonna give you a lesson!”
          Before the man could wind up, two bouncers ushered them outside. Others at the trucker’s table trooped along to watch but didn’t show much interest in backing him up. Nonetheless, Hawk stood at the ready, a little worried that Grove had miscalculated this time. The man had the look of a street fighter. Of course, so was Grove, but he was outweighed by forty pounds and outreached by several inches.
          The fight was long and brutal. The man could box, and it cost Grove dearly to get in close to put an end to it. Once the trucker was down, Hawk approached his friend gingerly. When Grove’s blood was up, he’d swing on anyone. But he was hurt this time and didn’t protest when Hawk loaded him in his Dodge and drove him to his rented house. He grimaced as he inspected his friend by the kitchen light. One eye would be black and blue in hours. Cut lip. Swollen nose. Hawk stripped Grove, dumped him in a tub of hot water, and left him to soak while he heated up some green chile stew.
           When he returned to the bathroom, Grove was exactly as he’d left him. With a sigh, Hawk picked up a washcloth and gingerly cleaned the dirt away. Grove lay with his closed, but he was conscious. Hawk picked up his friend’s bruised and torn hands and scrubbed grime from the knuckles. Grove grunted once. Before he realized it, Hawk was bathing Grove’s smooth chest, enjoying the feel of firm muscles. He’d actually taken a swipe across the belly when he caught himself and tossed the washcloth to his semi-comatose friend.
          Grove worked half-heartedly at cleaning his nether regions and allowed himself to be helped from the tub. Hawk dried his head and torso, barely able to keep from taking liberties. He handed over the towel and fled the bathroom, busying himself with preparing tortillas to go with the stew.
          “Shit, Hawk,” Grove complained a few minutes later. “Chile’s not the best thing to serve a guy with a split lip.”
          Hawk released his tension in a gust of laughter. “Taking on a truck driver with forty pounds on you’s not the best preparation for eating chile.”
          “Damn, man! Don’t make me laugh,” Grove said with a painful grin. “You expect me to stand for the man calling me a red ass?”
          Hawk suppressed a grin. “Have you looked at your ass lately?”
          “Oh, no! I’m not gonna play that game. You got me to admit I was a fucking Indian once, you’re not going to do it again. Sure picked on the wrong one, didn’t I?”
          “He did, too, bro. He did, too. You’re an amazing son-of-a-bitch, you know that?”
          “So they tell me. Now bring out the beer.”
          “You’re still flying. But okay, it’s your funeral.”
          Hawk poured Grove into bed around one o’clock and once again found himself undressing his comatose friend. He couldn’t resist stroking Grove’s chest, circling the aureoles with the tips of his fingers. When he found himself cupping his friend’s genitals, he turned and staggered out of the spare bedroom to masturbate.

*****

Wow. Things are about to get out of hand. Masturbation? Hawk hasn’t done that in a long time. So the pressure’s getting to him. What happens next week?

As usual when I have a three-part or more story, I’ll post weekly until it’s ended. Then I’ll return to first and third Thursday of the week.

Tell your friends to order a copy of 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
Email: markwildyr@aol.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/mark.wildyr
Twitter: @markwildyr

The following are buy links for CUT HAND:


And now my mantra: Keep on reading. Keep on writing. You have something to say, so say it!

Until next time.

Mark

New posts at 6:00 a.m. on each Thursday until the story is finished. Then we’ll return to first and third Thursday of the month..

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Grove – A Curt Huntinghawk Story (Part 1 of a 5 Part Series)


markwildyr.com, Post #120

As promised, this week I’ll bow to a little pressure and give you some more of Curt Huntinghawk. I call this a series rather than a short story because after cutting it from near novella length, I still ended up with 5 installments. Beyond that point, I wasn’t willing to go.

*****
GROVE
A Curt Huntinghawk Story

          Four vultures circling over the hot Sonoran Desert caught the two Red Rezes attention. As Curt Huntinghawk and Grover Whitedeer watched, more birds joined the quartet and set up a slow spiral descent.
          “Whatever it is, it’s big,” Grove observed, gunning the four-wheel drive vehicle across the hard desert pan. They were only two hours into their patrol of a stretch of the Mexican border on the lookout for drug runners.
          Hawk’s deep baritone filled the cabin. “Hope to hell it’s not another illegal.” His biceps rolled as he tossed a twig he’d been idly chewing out the open window. The pair seldom used the air conditioner because it made exiting the vehicle more insufferable.
          Grove flapped a hand toward the twenty or more buzzards now wheeling in the sky like a black-feathered tornado. “Where’d they all come from?”
          “They’re just trying to earn a living, Grove,” Hawk joked grimly.
          After Grove halted the truck at the top of the rise, they got out with rifles at the ready. Fifty yards down a wash, something lay unmoving. One turkey vulture contemplating it from a perch on a nearby rock dropped to the ground. Hawk fired his rifle into the air, but the carrion bird only retreated to a more remote roost.
          “Oh, shit!” Hawk said as they drew closer.
          As two-year veterans of the Rezagados Colorados, or Red Rezes, an elite unit of Indian trackers used by the Border Patrol to hunt drug runners along the Mexican border, they had seen dozens of wetbacks left to die on the desert by their coyotes or guides. But this was different. The man lying in the arroyo had been murdered, his chest ripped apart by a high-powered rifle.
          Hawk went back to the truck to radio his boss Amadeo Tomé to contact the county sheriff. While they waited for the deputies to arrive, Grove remained close to keep the vultures at bay while Hawk walked a big circle. By the time Sheriff Adam Reed arrived an hour later, they had a story to tell.
          “The bad guy parked up here, Sheriff,” Hawk explained, indicating indistinct tracks in the hard pan. “After he shot the man, he walked down the slope to the body, keeping to the rocks. On his way back up, he wiped out all his tracks. You can see smudges but not a clear print.”
          The Sheriff grunted. “Left us nothing, huh?”
          “There’s something over here,” Grove said. The something was a three-foot length of tire track where the killer crossed a sandy spot.
          “This far out in the desert, had to be a four-wheel rig,” the lawman observed. “You fellows see any sign of one on your patrol?”
          “Nothing. Not even a dust plume,” Hawk replied. “But see that chink out of the tread. We’ll know that tire when we see it again.”
          Sheriff Reed glanced down the slope to his men working the crime scene. “So you figure the victim was shot first, then the killer went down to the body… for what? To make sure he was dead?”
          “Wouldn’t have climbed down for that,” Grove said. “He’d just pump another couple of rounds into the man. He went to get something.”
          “Drugs,” the sheriff suggested.
          “That’s what we figure,” Hawk confirmed. “We didn’t get too close to the body; didn’t want to mess up the crime scene. But when your people are finished, we can take a look for signs to read.”
          An hour later, the two Rezes searched the area, now thoroughly trampled by sheriff’s deputies and the medical examiner’s people. Hawk was the one who found an impression almost obscured by the deputies’ footprints.
          “Something about the size of a duffel bag was dropped here. That’s what the killer came for.”
          “How you know?” a deputy demanded.
          Hawk eyed him coolly. “Because it’s not here.” Their unofficial part of the investigation over, the two Indians resumed their patrol.
          “Hey, bro,” Grove broke the silence after a mile or so. “Aren’t you tired of living like a monk? How about we go across the border tonight.” To Grove ‘going across the border’ meant only one thing…poontang, as the southeastern Woodland Indian called it.
          Hawk recognized a ploy to get a gruesome murder off his partner’s mind. “You ever think about settling down?”
          “Nope.”
          “What’s the matter with us. Man, we’re twenty-three years old—”
          “Not me, Tonto. Still a young buck at twenty-two.”
          “Yeah, for another month or so. Seriously, why haven’t we found somebody to get serious about and settle down. You know, have kids.”
          “Overrated,” Grove quipped.
          “You got any kids?”
          “Not that I know of. No matter how drunk I get, I’m kinda careful about that.”
          “Don’t gimme that, I’ve seen you ride bareback.”
          “Yeah, if she’s using something.”
          “That’s putting a lot of faith in somebody.”
          “Ain’t that the truth. How about you?”
          “Kids, you mean? Nah.”
          Hawk glanced out the window to study a pile of rocks known as Dragon’s Back where he’d met and fallen in love with a young illegal Mexican national. Ramon Aquila had introduced Hawk to his secret life. Hawk spoke in a near whisper. “Wonder if we’re looking in the wrong place?”
          “What do you mean?”
          Hawk’s mind returned to the truck from wherever it had gone in time to cover his gaffe. “Crap, we find them in bars and on the streets.”
          “Where you wanna find them? In church?” Grove seemed his question serious consideration. “You figure church chicks fuck?”
          "You’re impossible! Every conversation ends up about screwing.”
          “Answer my question? You wanna go across tonight? We’ve got the weekend off.”
          Hawk pumped enthusiasm into his words, but his heart wasn’t in it. “Sure, let’s go.”


          Hawk and Grove frequented Mama Maria’s when they looked for a woman across the border in Mexico because her prostitutes were inspected regularly and thoroughly. They picked a couple of decent looking women of a proper age and got their ashes hauled. On the drive back across the border, Hawk felt prickly and vaguely dissatisfied. While he’d been in the middle of the act with the girl, his thoughts strayed to Ramon. And—he turned to glance at his partner—to Grove.
          God, he looked great! Nothing better’n a good-looking Woodland Indian. Unless it was a good-looking Plains Indian, or… oh, hell, a good-looking Indian.
          “What?” Grove asked.
          “Nothing.”
          “You were thinking about my girl tonight. You wished you were with her instead of the one you ended up with.”
          Close, but not on target. “She did seem like a hot tamale.”
          Grove grinned. “She had a hot little twat, I can tell you.”
          “Hot what?”
          “Twat.”
          Hawk laughed aloud.
          Grove went defensive. “It’s good word. What we called it back home, anyway.”
          Hawk snickered. “What are you, a redskin or a southerner?”
          “Both! No law against that.”
          Hawk’s morale took a nosedive as soon as he opened the door to the rented adobe house where he lived alone. He almost regretted turning down Grove’s invitation to the Blue Mesa, a bar many of the Red Rezes frequented. He’d been afraid to go. Given the wild thoughts filling his head, he couldn’t chance alcohol unleashing his tongue.
          He missed Ramon Aquila… longed for the boy with every fiber of his body. But Ramon was gone and wouldn’t be back. He was a fugitive from the INS, and risked prison if he returned. So Hawk had sent him back to Durango, Mexico, ending that sweet part of his life forever.
          And now? Now, he was slowly, but surely falling for his best friend. Although Grove was adventurous and might do a lot of things out of curiosity, something like that would get in the way of his macho self-image. Danger lay in that direction.

*****

It’s pretty clear that Curt Huntinghawk, the man usually in control, has a problem. How’s he going to handle it? Let’s see next week.

As usual when I have a three-part or more story, I’ll post weekly until it’s ended. Then I’ll return to first and third Thursday of the week.

Tell your friends to order a copy of 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
Email: markwildyr@aol.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/mark.wildyr
Twitter: @markwildyr

The following are buy links for CUT HAND:


And now my mantra: Keep on reading. Keep on writing. You have something to say, so say it!

Until next time.

Mark

New posts at 6:00 a.m. on each Thursday until the story is finished. Then we’ll return to first and third Thursday of the month..