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Chapter 12

Home Chapter 12

Copyright 2012 Banzai Ben and Amazing Anastasia

 

Present – SSA Hotchner – Headed to Texas

 

I can't believe it! One of the roving bands of terrorists has started taking out cell phone towers in Texas - something that until now they've left alone because they've been using them for communications (and we've been using them to track the fools). So the powers that be deemed it important enough to send me and a team to Texas to try to stop these idiots.

 

It's one thing if you mess with the government, but when you start messing with big business, then things start to happen.

 

From what I've heard, Texas is one of the last places on earth I want to be…

 

Present – Samantha – In the new news van

 

I wake up, stretch and realize we're moving. I look around and Frank is sleeping beside me while Emanuel is messing with some of the radio equipment. I whisper, "Where are we going?"

 

He replies, "Right now we're taking a detour to get the driver back to civilization. Then back to Texas because there's a new story."

 

I question, "What's the new story."

 

He answers, "Someone is systematically destroying the cell phone towers in Texas. I guess it has the feds pissed off and they are sending some special agents down to look at things."

 

I worry, "Won't they bother you and the team?"

 

He laughs and answers, "Hell, if we can't take care of a few FBI agents then we need to retire."

 

Frank wakes and declares, "There's no way in hell I'm retiring."

 

I hug him and ask, "Do you think we can find someplace to stop for breakfast, I'm starving."

 

Emanuel laughs, "How does someone as small as you eat so much food."

 

I grin at him and state, "It's your brother's fault, he wears me out all the time."

 

I smile smugly as both of them blush. Yes it's fun to make big, strong, soldiers blush.

 

Present – Stacy – In the woods

 

Ben has become some sort of cell phone tower destroying machine – in fact it has almost become an obsession with him and he's even enlisted the help of his new sidekick Boo-Boo.

 

I didn't realize just how strong bears are until I saw Boo-Boo tear down a chain link fence. Yeah he tears down the fences, Ben climbs the cell phone tower, scouts out where the next tower is, destroys the tower we're at and then we ride to the next tower.

 

At first this was sort of fun, you know 'raging against the machine', but now it's become boring and I want to do something else. Then I get an idea and question, "Ben do you think this is wise?"

 

He looks at me and states, "Sure why not? I'm saving everyone from the annoyance of mobile phones."

 

I look around the woods and reply, "I really don't see anyone out here. Besides aren't you concerned that someone might come looking for us?"

 

He thinks for a minute then gripes…

 

Present – Ben – In the woods

 

"Shit! You're right, what was I thinking?"

 

Stacy grins at me and answers, "I don't think you were thinking, I think you were reacting."

 

Damn I hate it when she's right! I was reacting. I was pissed at every damn secondhand mobile phone conversation I was forced to endure and even more pissed at every damn driver that drove like an idiot because they were on the phone. When I took out the first tower, it felt so good I decided to take out some more.

 

I'm glad I stopped but now we need to get the hell out of Dodge. I look at Stacy and state, "Well girl we have some hard riding ahead of us so if you need a break take it now."

 

She angrily states, "I am a woman and yes I do need a break."

 

She jumps off Patches and heads to the nearest bush and I wonder what her big problem is now? After all, I've been nice to her all day. Women, who can understand them…

 

Present – Samantha – In the new news van

 

Frank and Emanuel have been whispering (which gets my reporter's curiosity fired up) so I ask, "Okay what the hell is the big secret you two are trying to hide from me?"

 

Frank looks at me and answers, "We are just upset about how Ben destroyed the van."

 

Emanuel adds, "Yes, we are going to kick his ass when we catch him."

 

I question, "And just how in hell do you plan on catching him?"

 

Frank answers, "Well, that's one of the things we were discussing."

 

I complain, "And why wasn't I included in this conversation?"

 

Emanuel looks guilty and Frank tries, "Honey don't get upset." (Will men never learn, when you starts a sentence with don't get upset, it guarantees we will get upset…) "But you are a reporter."

 

I bristle and reply, "Yes I'm a reporter and unless I'm wrong don't you all sort of work for me?"

 

Emanuel corrects, "Actually it's more like we work with each other because our goals are the same. But should those goals diverge, then we will part ways."

 

I realize too late that I made a little mistake. The driver announces, "Here's a restaurant that's open." So I make amends, "I'm sorry I think I used a poor choice of words. I tell you what, how about I buy breakfast for all of you."

 

The guys boil out of the van and head toward the restaurant. I begin to help Frank but he grabs me, gives me an earthshaking kiss and says, "Thanks for the apology, Sam." One thing leads to another and we end up being 'late' for breakfast.

 

We walk into the restaurant, sit at the table and all the guys are grinning at us and it's my turn to blush…

 

Present – Stacy – In the woods

 

When Ben said, 'ride hard' he wasn't kidding! He's really pushed all of us today and I'm beat, Patches is beat, Bo looks beat and even Boo-Boo looks exhausted. I question, "Ben are we going to stop for the night soon?"

 

Ben points to the dusky sky and says, "You see these lights above the trees? I want to see what they are and then we will stop."

 

We ride for another weary thirty minutes then I see what looks to be an oasis in the middle of a desert…

 

Present – Ben – In the woods

 

Well the lights end up being what looks like a huge honkytonk doing a thriving business. Stacy says, "Civilization! I want a bath and a drink!"

 

 I look at the flashing neon sign that reads 'Bob's Country Bunker' and chuckle because I recognize the name but we're a hell of a long way from Illinois. I caution, "Stacy let's sit out here and observe things for a little while."

 

I have my concerns, like the fence around the honkytonk and the guards. It looks a little too much like a compound for my liking.

 

I watch people coming and going, with what seems to be ease, so I make a decision. I tell Stacy, "Keep Wojtek for me, pull your rifle and stand watch. I'm going to ride up and talk to the guards."

 

She questions, "How will I know if you need help?"

 

I reply, "Don't fire unless I fire first."

 

I slowly ride toward Bob's Country Bunker, the guards are finally alerted to me and one demands, "Halt and state your intent."

 

I stop Bo and stutter (with my Russian accent), "Gr-Gr-Greetings Sir I am a weary traveler who happened upon this place and would like more information."

 

He replies, "Well you're a foreigner but you ain't mesican so y'ar welcome here."

 

I reply, "Yes I am from Russia and have been helping America with the bandito problem."

 

He laughs, "Bob will love to hear your stories."

 

I ask, "Who is this Bob."

 

A slightly built man with a cowboy hat limps up and says, "I am Bob and did I hear right you're from Russia and you've been fighting the damn mesicans?"

 

I answer, "Y-Y-Yes sir, I am Erast Petrovich Fandorin and I have been in a few fights."

 

Bob replies, "Well if you're an enemy of the mesicans, than you’re a friend of mine and you're welcome here."

 

I question, "Why all the guards and the fence."

 

He answers, "I got tired of bein' attacked so I put this up."

 

I wonder, "And the attacks stopped?"

 

Bob states, "Hell no they didn't, the bastards still try about once a week."

 

I ask, "Y-Y-You mind if I come in and have a look around?"

 

He says, "Sure come on in?"

 

I wonder, "Will my horse and guns be okay?"

 

He laughs, "Shit son this is Texas and everyone that's still alive is carrying guns. And we still shoot horse thieves around here."

 

I smile and say, "Sort of like an old cowboy western?"

 

He laughs, "Yeah that's right pardner."

 

I ride up to the gate, they open it and I ride in, tie up Bo, jump off and take a look around…

 

Present – Stacy – In the woods

 

I'm jealous as hell because Ben rides into the bar and leaves me out here. But I know why he did it - he's making sure it's safe for me. So I sit and wait for what seems to be forever, then I finally see Ben headed back my way…

 

He gets up to me and I question, "Well, tell me about it."

 

Ben says, "Stacy this place seems legit but I still have some concerns because it's a real Texas honkytonk which means there's lots of drinking and even more of other things going on."

 

I ask, "What sort of 'other things.'"

 

Ben states, "Well a good percentage of the women in there are whores and they normally rent the rooms by the hour."

 

I look at Ben and state, "Ben I'm a grown woman and can take care of myself."

 

Ben replies, "Well, I talked to Bob, the owner and told him about you and that we are Russians and have been hunting banditos, I even got us a clean room for the whole night. But I'm going to warn you the men in there are a rough bunch and you start flirting with them you're going to be in trouble."

 

I guess Ben still doesn't realize that's he's the only man I'm interested in. I answer, "Ben I'm not going to flirt with anyone. I just want some food, a shower and then some sleep. But will Patches be okay?"

 

Ben laughs, "Hell yes! This is Texas and at least around here they've gone back to the law of the west. If anyone messes with our horses or guns, they will be shot. Now don't forget you're Anastasia again."

 

I ask Ben, "What about Boo-Boo."

 

Ben looks at him and says, "I think we will bring him with us to see what happens."

 

I'm excited as we ride toward the bar…

 

Present – Erast – In the woods

 

I'm still not sure about this place: It seems legit, but I have my concerns. Bob meets us at the gate and says, "Welcome missy to my bar. It's an honor to have a pretty young filly all the way from Russia in my 'stablishment. Now you let me know if any of these cowboys are rude to you and I will take care of them."

 

Anastasia smiles and replies, "Thank you kind sir, but what I most need is some food and then a shower."

 

Bob sees Wojtek and questions, "Hell where did you find old Wojtek? We thought the mesicans killed and ate him."

 

Anastasia replies, "He found us this morning when I made breakfast. You know him?"

 

Bob answers, "Hell yes I know him, my grandkids loved him at the zoo."

 

I question, "Is he welcome here?"

 

Bob answers, "Hell yes, but he's only getting one beer. He gets unruly when he gets drunk and tries to wrestle everyone. Now come on and I'll show you where you can stable your horses."

 

He shows us to some nice as hell stables and says, "Shit, we don't get many visitors on horseback anymore so you have your pick of the stables."

 

I stutter, "Th-Th-Thank you sir we will take care of our horses then come in with our gear which I hope we can store in our room. Then we would like to partake of some food."

 

Bob says, "Shit stop calling me sir and call me Bob. We have the best damn barbeque this side of the Pecos. Ya'll need some help with your gear?"

 

I reply, "N-N-no thank you Bob. I can get all of it. Should we bring Wojtek in with us?"

 

Bob grins and says, "Hell yes bring him in the guys will love to see him." After Bob leaves, I look at Anastasia and say, "Make sure you stay close to me tonight."

 

Present – Anastasia – At Bob's Country Bunker

 

We unload the horses, I do a quick job of grooming them and promise, "I will be here tomorrow to do better." I find some grain and give the some but not too much.

 

Erast asks, "Are you ready yet."

 

I look at him and state, "Erast, no I am not! I will not go into that place until I clean up slightly and change my clothes. Now turn around."

 

He complains, "Anastasia this is a cowboy bar, we are not meeting the Czar."

 

I giggle, "Erast of course we are not, there are no more Czars in Russia. But right now I smell like sweaty horse and nasty bear. A young Russian woman of my upbringing would not be seen in such a manner."

 

I silently curse because when Ben, I mean Erast let Boo-Boo dump everything out of my pack, he made a real mess out of it and I can't find anything. So when I dump it all out on the ground, Boo-Boo comes over and begins to paw through my things and I complain, "Get away from my things you nasty bear!"

 

Erast calls Boo-Boo and after he leaves and I finally find everything I need. I use some wet wipes to clean up as well as I can (when we have our room I'm going to make Erast wait for an hour while I shower) find some of my nice jeans which are still sort of clean. I hold my flashlight in my mouth while I put on my makeup…

 

Present – Erast – At Bob's country bunker

 

Stacy, I mean Anastasia is taking forever so I decide to check my disguise. I pull out my signal mirror and my flashlight and check myself. My mustache has finally grown in, in fact I need to trim it some. My hair is a medium length and unruly (and itchy) as hell. Yeah I look close enough to the pictures in my fake passport that I don't need to worry anymore about a disguise.

 

Anastasia finally announces (why is it we always wait for women), "I'm ready, you may turn around."

 

I am speechless when I turn around, because even in the dim lights of the stable she looks beautiful. I remind myself that she is my sister.

 

Present – Anastasia – At Bob's country bunker

 

I hoped that Erast would say something about how I looked. Oh yes I know I'm supposed to be his sister. But I'm not really and I have some pretty damn strong feelings for my pretend brother.

 

We walk toward the bar with Erast carrying almost all the gear. We get to the door and couple guys open it after giving me some long hard stares (at least I have an effect on some men!). We walk in and I can't believe my eyes…

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