Chapter 079

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Copyright 2014 Banzai Ben and Amazing Anastasia


Present – Ben – at the Continental Divide Trailhead


It was good to talk to Jim again and he was right - I did save his ass in high school when I took the blame for his thermite bomb. Jim had discovered the formula for thermite in a chemistry book in the library so naturally we made a shitload of it and we messed around with it after school for weeks. It was incredible what it could burn up and believe you me, we burnt up a ton of shit with it. However, I need to explain why and what Jim did. He had won the right to play on the varsity basketball team, but the damn coach wouldn't let him play on the varsity team because he didn't have the seventy dollars it took to purchase the stupid special Converse basketball shoes the team had to wear. All he had were the standard black Converse basketball shoes so the coach put him on the third string.


We were pissed off at the coach and the school so one night Jim and I broke into the school gymnasium (hell, it wasn't hard) since we just left a window unlocked and came back later at night. Jim set a huge fucking thermite bomb in the middle of the basketball court, right on the school logo, then we lit the fuse and ran like hell. We didn't know until we showed up for school the next morning, but Jim was a little too generous with the amount of thermite we used because not only did it burn a hole in the wood floor, it kept right on going through the concrete and rebar. There was supposed to be a game the next day, but not only did the basketball team have to forfeit the game, they had to close school for a week to clean out all the smoke damage, and all the rest of the games the team played that season had to be away games.


Stern Vern the principal of course blamed me, mostly because I got blamed for everything bad that happened at the school (remember what happened between my dad and Stern Vern?). I don't know why, but this time I didn't fight it but I also didn't confess. Everyone was sure I did it! The sheriff at the time was so convinced he even put me in jail overnight to try to break me. But I was exonerated and released the next day because someone put a thermite bomb on the top of Stern Vern's car, which was parked in front of his house, while I was in jail – thanks Sheriff for the great alibi.


A couple of days later I saw what was left of the car and it was by far the most incredible thing we ever used the thermite on. Not only did it burn through the roof of the car, it set the interior of the car on fire and continued burning right through the bottom of the car. The most amazing thing was when it reached the driveshaft that ran from the engine in the front of the car to the rear wheels, the driveshaft overheated and exploded with such a force it flipped the car over. I was sure it was Jim but we never talked about it. However, we did end our thermite experiments.


I still questioned what Jim's motive was for pushing so hard to make me a deputy. Oh well, if he was right and it kept me from getting in trouble with this rifle it would probably be worth it. I finally hit the Continental Divide Trail, headed north and took off at a nice easy trot…


Present – Liz, Inga and Maria – heading to Jens on the gurney


I encounter Maria and another woman as I am headed to find a hat for Jen. Maria begins to give me the full load about leaving Jens alone but it only makes me want to kick her ass again for being such a pain in the ass. But for right now I resist the urge. I begin to take them back to Jens so the new woman can take whatever the hell it is out of Jens, then there's an explosion from Jens' direction.


We all take off running towards Jens, and as we pass Maria she threatens, "If anything happened to Jens I'm going to fucking kill you."


I can't believe Maria, she runs like a fucking old woman. As I pass Maria I answer, "Maria, if something did happen to Jens you won't have to kill me because I will just die."


I look over at the other woman who's easily keeping up with me and ask, "Who the hell are you?"


She smiles at me and answers…


I cannot believe how slowly Maria runs - it must be because of her size since she is not the most svelte woman I've seen. The woman I am running with, who must be a good friend of Jennifer asks me who I am so I reply, "My name is Inga, I work with Thom and I am a good friend of Masha. I was going to take a look at the device in Jennifer. Since you know my name, please tell me your name?"


She answers, "I am Elizabeth Morgan but you can call me Liz."


I reply, "I thought you looked familiar, you are the reporter for the Truth Network."


She smiles at me and corrects my assumption, "Actually, I am one of the owners of the Truth Network."


Then she exclaims, "Shit, look at what has happened!"


I look and see big hole in the ground and an empty gurney on its side. Liz yells, "Jens!!!"


Present – Jens – at the cabin


My plan worked almost perfectly. I got the fucking bomb (yes the bastard Mike had someone put a bomb inside of me) out of my chest, but it must have had some sort of anti-tamper mechanism. The instant I had it out of me, it started whining and vibrating, so I threw it as far as I fucking could but it wasn't quite far enough. When the damn bomb detonated, it blew me off the gurney and into a fucking patch of prickly pear cactus. I knew better than to try to get out of the cactus because every movement just caused more of the fucking spines to attack me. I tried my best to relax because I knew the explosion would bring the troops running. It wasn't long until I heard Liz frantically yell, "Jens!"


I call out, "Liz, I'm over here and need some help."


Liz and the other woman that Thom told me was Inga run up and I order, "Help to get my ass out of this cactus."


Liz questions, "Jens, what in the hell happened?"


I can't believe they aren't helping me first so I complain, "I’ll tell you as you get me out of this damn cactus!"


Liz and Inga take my arms when Maria runs up and scolds me, "Jens, what the hell did you do?"


I've had my fill of the questions so I bitch, "Get my ass out of this damn patch of cactus and I will tell you!"


Maria grabs my feet, Liz and Inga are each on one arm, they pick me up and move me out of the cactus. Maria continues with her complaints, "Jens, your side is bleeding again! What the hell did you do?"


I smile at them and sass, "DOH, of course my side is bleeding! I had to cut the stiches to get the bomb out of me."


Inga says, "Jennifer you were very lucky it didn't immediately detonate and kill you."


I smile look at all of them and explain the reality of the bomb, "No I'm not since Mike didn't want to kill me, he wanted to send me a message."


Liz questions, "What message is that?"


I reply, "He wanted to tell me that he could have killed me while I was a prisoner anytime that he wanted to. However he made a huge fucking mistake."


It's Maria's turn so she asks, "What mistake is that?"


I glare at them and answer, "His actions have pissed me off!"


 Maria places me face down on the gurney, after Inga puts it back on its wheels, and begins to pull the fucking cactus spines out of me. Then Maria covers me back up as some guys I haven't seen for a long time run up…


Present – Stacy – Going after Ben


I get stopped on the road by the local sheriff and he asks, "Ms., exactly what are you doing taking your bear through my town and scaring the public."


I smile at the sheriff and counter, "He's not my bear."


The sheriff continues with his questions, "Well, he's traveling with you, therefore as far as I'm concerned he's your bear."


I continue to smile and answer, "Excuse me Sir, do you know who I am?"


He grins and surprises me with the answer, "Yes I do since it's my job to know strangers in my county. You are Stacy Summers and you are trying to find Ben Blaine."


I wonder if he was the one that helped Ben with the vehicle so I ask, "Yes I am, now could you help me? Do you know Ben's location?"


Hi answer shocks me, "Ms. Summers you have a larger problem than finding Ben Blaine. The State of Colorado has ordinances against keeping wild animals, like your bear, as a pet. We need to take you back to my station to answer the charges."


I begin to complain, "But Sir, as I said before Wojtek is not mine…"


He interrupts, “Sorry, if you know his name it's just further proof that the bear is your pet. Now please have your bear get in the back of my truck, tie your horses off to the tailgate and take the passenger's seat."


I cannot believe it! I've never been treated like this before! But I know better than to keep fighting to dig my present hole deeper. However, I do covertly pull out my mobile phone, place a call, and slip it back into the pocket on my tactical vest. Next I order Wojtek, "Get into the truck." Then the crazy bear gets me into real trouble…


Present – Samantha – in search of news


I leave the medical plane and immediately see a large cloud, it must be from one of the explosions. I head in that direction, get close and see the Marines picking tiny little things from the ground. I turn on my video glasses, walk up and ask, "What are all of you doing?"


One of the Marines says, "Please be careful where you step Miss, we are picking up the pieces that are left from the explosion that killed Byron."


I look down at the ground and see what appear to be small pieces of flesh and fight to keep from vomiting. I question the man that gave me the sad information, "What happened?"


The Marine replies, "We don't really know Miss, all we know is he was in the port-a-potty when the bomb that Mike left for us detonated. All that's left are the green pieces of the port-a-potty and the small pieces of Byron."


Then he scares me some when he continues, "However, do not think that Mike is going to get away with this. We've already put the word out to Marines all over the world. Wherever he is, he is a dead man walking."

This is a sad story and I'm not sure I want to broadcast it (because I sure don't want to warn Mike) so I ask, "Do you know where the second explosion came from?"


The Marine points and says, "Somewhere in that direction, however I would be very careful walking around here as that bastard probably has left more bombs around."


I take the Marine's advice and carefully begin to walk in the direction the Marine indicated when my phone rings, I answer it and at first I'm not sure what I'm hearing, then I figure it out…


Present – Destiny – Waiting for Ben


Ben has not arrived yet and I still do not like the feeling that I'm being watched. I decide to do something about it so I take the Continental Divide Trail south toward Ben. The feeling of being watched follows me and I hope that when I meet up with Ben, he will be able to help me discover who is watching us…


Present – Masha and Ivan - at the Medical Plane with Jack


The nice person, Samantha, leaves because she is a news reporter and must do her job. Ivan and I continue to pray for Jack and then he awakens, sees us and says, "Masha, before you get angry with me…"


He is too late because I am already very angry with him! However, I also know my husband. Berating him is not as effective as kissing him, so I silence his words with a big kiss. Ivan says, "Goodie, Papa wake up!"


Ivan's timely outburst alerts the doctors and nurses, they rush over, I pull away and Jack continues, "Masha, I am sorry as heck that I didn't listen to you."


I smile at him and know that once again I was correct to not berate him…


I feel like hell and it's not just from the port-a-potty that exploded while I was in it. Yeah, I hurt some from that but what's worse is how that scared Masha. I can tell from the instant I wake up and saw her that she'd been crying - shit that was the last thing she needed in her condition. I make a vow to myself to not do anything else crazy during the remainder of her pregnancy.


The doctors and nurses come over and I ask, "So how am I doing?"


One of the doctor's says, "Much better than your friend Byron."


I question, "Why, what happened to him?"


The doctor continues, "I hate to tell you this, but the port-a-potty you were injured in exploded with him in it and he is gone."


I cannot believe it, look to Masha for confirmation, she begins to cry, shakes her head and…


Present – Thom – at the cabin


I need to fix my head so I leave the medical plane, begin to walk and look around at the mountains. Well if Byron had to die, he sure couldn't pick a nicer place for it to happen - it's beautiful here. I saw the Marines picking up pieces of Byron and know they will never get all of them, so a little bit of Byron will always be here. In all, a very fitting place for my old friend to meet his maker.


I continue walking, not really knowing where I'm going, when – what the hell! There's a scruffy looking dog with a fox. I've always had a soft spot in my heart for dogs so I stop walking give a whistle, the dog stops looks at me and I whistle again. The dog begins to head toward me however the fox wants nothing to do with me so it takes off running in the other direction. The dog is friendly as hell toward me and he's jumping up and down like we're long lost friends so I pet him on his head. He reminds me of Byron and what I’ve lost. I move over to a nice Douglas Fir, park my butt under it, the dog puts its head in my lap, I begin to pet the dog and…


Present – Todd, Ira, Mira and Alexi – Heading to the cabin


Once I'm sure that Alexi isn't going to seriously mess up the rental car by driving it like he stole it, I decide it's time to take care of something that has been bothering the hell out of me. I turn in the front seat so the girls can see me and I sign, "All three of you are extremely preoccupied with your luggage."


Mira immediately and almost caustically replies, "Why should that concern you?"


Ira quickly punches Mira in the arm. I wonder if it will elicit a war between them but thank God Mira seems to ignore it. Ira answers, "Todd, I am embarrassed to answer your question."


I smile at her and sign, "Then don't worry about it, I don't need to know."


Mira again caustically replies, "Todd, you might not believe this, but we have never owned such nice accoutrements as were given to us at the Broadmoor Hotel…"


Ira interrupts, "Mira please, this is embarrassing."


Mira sticks out her tongue at Ira and continues, "Todd as I was explaining before my sister so rudely interrupted, we have never owned such nice accoutrements…"


Alexi interrupts, "Or such nice luggage in which to carry the accoutrements."


Mira slaps Alexi on the back of the head and orders, "Concentrate on your driving!" Then she continues, "In the past, any nice accoutrements such as these were, of necessity, borrowed…"


Alexi again interrupts, "Like this borrowed car."


This elicits another smack from Mira to the back of his head, then Ira whines, "Mira, please cease and desist."


Mira continues, "Ira, if you maintain the desire to acquire Todd as your boyfriend, he has the right to know about our entire past."


Ira glares at Mira and says, "I will not let you mention such things."


Mira teases, "My Ben knows the complete history of our lives and it has not influenced him negatively. Do you not feel Todd deserves the same information?"


Ira raises her fist and threatens, "Mira, I must caution against raising my ire!"


Mira mimics her by saying, "Ira I must caution against raising my ire!" She laughs and continues, "My sister, you elicit no fear within me."


Ira glares at her, slaps the hell out of Mira and laughs, "Then fear this!"


And the fight between the girls, which has been brewing for days, is on! The problem is they are tearing the hell out of the back of the car. I nudge Alexi and sign, "Pull over so these two can fight outside of the car."


He pulls over. However the girls do not take the opportunity to leave the car. I look at Alexi and he suggests, "We should physically remove them from the vehicle."


We both exit the car, open the rear doors, reach in and grab the girls. We pull them out of the car and keep them from hitting us and then something terrible happens…


Present - Zarika and Yasmeen – In Juvenile detention


The problem is how can we inform Mira that we are being held in this prison? Unlike adults we have not even been given one phone call. And even if we are allowed the one phone call, I do not know Mira's phone number or the phone number at the cabin. Then I come up with a new plan which might work for me however I have no way of letting Yasmeen know of my decision…


I am happy that Zarika has figured out a way to get us released, however I have no idea how she will inform Mira of our location. I sit back on my bed and think about the problem, then I come up with a great idea, look through my things and find that I still have it…