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Chapter 15

Home Chapter 15

Copyright 2012 Banzai Ben and Amazing Anastasia


Present – Anastasia – At Bob's Country Bunker


As we head toward the bar, Erast is carrying almost all the gear. When we get to the door a couple guys open it after giving me some long, hard stares (at least I still have an effect on some men!). We enter and I can't believe my eyes.


There are lights everywhere, people are dancing and gambling and well 'other things' Erast mentioned earlier. I am amazed that the bar tenders are women: When a song starts, they climb up on the bar and begin to dance, just like in the movie Coyote Ugly.


I begin to cry.


Erast looks at me and stutters, "A-A-Anastasia what is your problem."


I smile at him and declare, "This place is wonderful, we are finally back in civilization."


Present – Erast – At Bob's Country Bunker


I do believe Anastasia my sister has totally lost what little mind she had! This is a honkytonk and is about as far from civilization as possible. Ah yes, she is a woman and they are impressed by shiny things and shiny places and this is certainly one of the latter.


While Anastasia has been dazed by the lights, I have done a threat assessment and have plans on how to kill most people in here if I have to.


Bob walks up to us and states, "Damn Eras' for a smaller guy you're pretty damn strong to carry all that gear yourself. Let me get a couple of the boys to help you to your room."


I stutter, "Th-th-thank you Bob, but I do not need any help."


He smiles hands me our key and says, "Suit yourself."


As Wojtek flies past me, we hear a bunch of people yell, "Wojtek." I smile as I see him steal a beer from a patron.


We head toward our room and while scanning, I note three men that from the way they are looking at Anastasia will probably be a problem later.


The room is functional and clean but not what I would call nice. However Anastasia gushes, "Erast, this room, in fact this whole place is great! Come on let's get something to eat and drink."


I caution her, "Anastasia, put your tactical vest back on and make sure your sidearm is ready."


She complains, "Erast do we really have to carry weapons here."


I reply, "Yes Anastasia, this place is more dangerous than you realize. You must trust me on this."


I perform a function check on the Rugers, pull the Winchester Centennial '66 out of the scabbard while making sure she's ready for action and slip an extra box of .30-30 ammo in my pocket.


I look at Anastasia and caution, "Please listen to me tonight so you do not get into trouble like before. You need to stay close to me and do not flirt with anyone."


Present – Anastasia – At Bob's Country Bunker


Erast just has to bring up how stupid I was before (with Guy), but I'm not going to let that ruin my night. In fact I am a little flattered that he wants me all to himself. And I certainly learned my lesson from trying to use that ugly fat fucker to get Ben, I mean Erast, jealous.


I do question, "Erast must I carry my rifle? I noticed the other women have hand guns but none are carrying rifles."


He relents and agrees, "Anastasia, no you do not need to carry your rifle."


Then he surprises me when he picks up one of the AK's and slings it over his shoulder. I wonder for a moment if this place might be more dangerous than I think. I debate about bringing my rifle when Erast says, "Come on Anastasia, I am hungry."


I giggle, "Hungry enough to eat Boo-Boo."


He gives me a dirty look and answers, "No Anastasia, I am not hungry enough to eat a bear. But perhaps I can talk Bob into serving you some horse."


I pretend to gag, "No way Erast. Horses are much too beautiful to eat."


We head downstairs and I'm so excited…


Present – Erast – At Bob's Country Bunker


I pause at the top of the stairs, do another quick threat assessment then we descend into the den of iniquity. Thank God Anastasia is holding onto my arm. Bob notices us and motions us over to his table which is off to the side of the stage. We fight our way through the crowd, arrive at his table and he says, "If'n ya don't mind I'd love to hear some of the stories about your battles with the damn mesicans. I took the liberty of orderin' up a couple big plates of barbeque and a couple beers."


Anastasia smiles at him, "Thank you kind sir, we would love to sit at your table."


Bob answers, "Missy, please call me Bob."


He gets her chair for her then notices my rifle and says, "That's a real beaut of a rifle. It looks just like the rifle old John has."


I set it across my lap and state, "Bob I hate to inform you but it is John's rifle. Anastasia and I came across a group of banditos who had killed John and his family."


Bob swore, "Those damn mesicans killed John! He had a bunker so how in the hell did that happen."


I answer, "I do not know the exact details, it would appear they were trapped outside the bunker."


Bob asks, "Are you trying to tell me you were able to get into John's bunker."


The food came (Bob is right this is damn fine barbeque!), I start eating and Anastasia begins to tell Bob (in between her bites of food) how we killed all the banditos in the house, disabled all the booby traps and then how I was able to get into the bunker. The more she told Bob the larger his eyes got…


Present – Anastasia – At Bob's Country Bunker


It is so much fun telling Bob how Erast and I were able to fight the banditos. Oh I know I didn't do much, but I did provide moral support.


Bob asks, "Did you give them a Christian burial."


Erast replies, "Yes Bob we certainly did."


Bob leans back, looks more relaxed and states, "Well, I can relax now because I knew those were John's horses you rode in on and I was worried you two were scoundrels that had killed them and taken their things."


Erast jumps up for the table, pulls his gun and states, "Sir! All we have told you is the truth! However it sounds as if you have not been totally honest with us. Just what are your intentions?"


Bob smiles at him and explains, "My intentions were to find out the truth. And from the story Anastasia told me, I can tell it's the bonafid' truth. I want to thank you for taking care of John and his family. Because of that I'd like to call you my friend."


He holds out his hand, Erast looks around the room and I do the same. Both of us notice everyone has their guns out and are watching us. Erast smiles at him and states, "Your people are good but they could be better."


He puts away his gun and then shakes Bob's hand.


Bob stands up and announces, "I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I found out the John and his family were slaughtered by the mesicans. Let's all stand, bow our heads and 'serve a moment of silence."


We wait then Bob continues, "The good news is Eras' and his sister Anastasia killed the bastards that got John." There was a huge cheer then Bob continued, "The next round is on the house in memory of John and his family." There was even a bigger cheer.


I get ready to sit back down when a lady runs up, begins to hug me and cries on my shoulder…


Present – Erast – At Bob's Country Bunker


I damn near shot the lady when she ran up to Anastasia and I am glad I didn't. Bob looks at her and questions, "Magdalena what's wrong?"


The lady pulls away and says, "Bob this is the young woman that helped us get off the bus."


Bob whistles, "Don't tell me you two are the ones that saved my Magdalena from the damn mesicans! Honey join us - I want to hear this story."


I question, "Bob I hate to ask but might I possibly have another plate of your barbeque."


He laughs, "Shit if you two are the ones that saved my wife, you can have any damn thing you want!"


He waves to one of the waitresses, and Stacy asks, "And kind Bob, might I have another beer."


He replies, "Sure what about you Eras'?"


I stutter, "N-n-no thank you, one is my limit."


He nods his head, "Well what about some vodka?"


I shake my head, "N-n-no thank you Bob, I must keep my wits about me."


He smiles, "Well I think I have seen everything now - a Russian that don't drink vodka."


Anastasia begins telling the story about the bus, Bob asks, "Wait she started part way through."


Anastasia says, "Yes I was unconscious and when I awoke Erast was gone."


He looks at me and grins, "Okay Eras' looks like you need to start this story."


I muddle my way through it…


Present – Anastasia – At Bob's Country Bunker


Erast is not doing a very good job telling the story so I help him. Bob begins to laugh, "Damn Eras' you don't need to be shy 'bout what you did 'round here. Sheeit! You two are bonafid' heroes in every damn sense of the word. Hell half the guys in here ain't done shit compared to the two of you. But a storyteller you ain't! So now that I know how you got off the bus, and by the way that was one fine piece of analysis to know that bastard on the bus was one of the mesicans, why don't we let your beautiful sister finish the story."


So I get to tell the story while Erast is busy eating. I finish my second beer and a third one arrives.


Magdalena is holding my hand telling Bob, "Yes honey that's exactly what she did."


I get to the part where the banditos were going to rape the women, and I say, "But Erast shot them all from inside a building on top of the hill."


Bob looks at Erast and asks, "Eras' tell me somethin', were you or are you one of them Russian green berets?"


Erast looks up from his food and replies, "I think you mean Spetnaz and sorry Bob I cannot answer that question."


Bob laughs, "Sheeit son, you just answered it! I heard you guys were tough SOB's and when I first saw you I never would have guessed. But like they say, still waters run deep."


I get ready to tell more when a band shows up on what I guess is the stage, but the stage is behind all this chicken wire. I look at Magdalena and ask, "You have live music here, what sort of music is it."


She smiles at me and states, "We have both types of music, country and western."


The band begins to play and Bob asks, "Well young missy do you know how to two step?"


I shake my head, "No Bob I do not."


He laughs, "Then it's time for you to learn. Hey Magdalena, why don't you see if our hero can dance as well as he can fight."


And Bob (who is an excellent dancer) teaches me how to two step…


Present – Erast – At Bob's Country Bunker


I cannot believe Anastasia has told Bob all we have done - I am not comfortable with it at all. The only good thing (and this is by the grace of God) is that his wife was one of the women on the bus that Anastasia rescued. So I calculate that Bob owes us - which means we might not be considered a threat to him.


I use the time dancing with Magdalena to make another threat assessment of the room and I now like the three guys from before even less, especially when I see them flashing their Texas Ranger badges while bothering some of the women. If those three are Texas Rangers than I am a Chinese aviator! I do see one other man who looks familiar, but damn I can't place his face.


The song is over, we head back to the table and Magdalena says, "Bob, I tell you what, he's one of the best dancers I've ever danced with."


Bob grins, "Well he sure didn't teach his sister how to two step."


I lean over and question, "Bob, can you tell me about those three Texas Rangers?"


He looks concerned and says, "Yeah those three are trouble. But hell, if they are Texas Rangers I sure as hell can't throw them out of here. The skinny one is really fast on the draw and the other two remind me of snakes."


I interrogate, "S-S-So you are not sure they are Texas Rangers?"


He shakes his head, "Hell who knows right now."


I ask Bob, "D-d-do you think the band would let me play a song or two with them?"


He answers, "Hell you can't make them sound much worse than they do already. Tell them I told you it was okay." Yes he was right, the band really wasn't very good…


Present – Anastasia – At Bob's Country Bunker


Yippee! Erast is going to play with the band, I hope he does a song for me. The band doesn't look happy, but Bob waves to them and Erast takes the guitar, steps up to the microphone and says, "I-I-I would like to do this song for all the ladies in the audience."


One of the Texas Rangers rudely yells, "Damn boy learn how to talk and there sure as hell aren't any ladies in here."


Erast begins to sing:

A long time forgotten the dreams that just fell by the way
The good life he promised ain't what she's livin' today
But she never complains of the bad times 
Or the bad things he's done, lord
She just talks about the good times they've had
And all the good times to come

She's a good hearted woman in love with a good timin' man
She loves him in spite of his ways she don't understand
With teardrops & laughter they pass through this world hand in hand
A good hearted woman, lovin' a good timin' man


He does some very interesting guitar parts, Bob leans over and says, "Damn that boy can play and sing."


I proudly say, "Yes, that is my brother."


Bob says, "Come on, let's dance."


We are dancing like crazy, then one of the Texas Rangers comes over taps Bob on the shoulder and says, "Mind if I cut in?"


Bob looks frightened and replies, "No sir be my guest."


I sure as hell don't want to dance with him and thank God the song finishes. I begin to head back to my seat but he grabs my arm and says, "Oh no you don't. You owe me a dance."


Then he yells at the stage, "Hey stutter boy how about playing something nice and slow so me and this girl can get better acquainted?"


I look at Erast with fear in my eyes, he grins at me and I immediately know he's got something up his sleeve.


Present – Erast – At Bob's Country Bunker


Once again it's time for me to take out the trash! I do not understand. Since the three pretend Rangers are outnumbered at least ten to one, why has no one done anything about it.


I can see Anastasia is afraid. I grin at her because I know exactly what to do that will get their attention from away from her and totally on me.


I announce, "I-I-I would like to d-d-do this next song for the three Texas Rangers in Bob's Country Bunker."


I begin to sing:

Mamas' don't let your Rangers grow up to be babies
Don't let 'em pick guitars and drive them old trucks
Make 'em be doctors and lawyers and such
Mama's don't let your Rangers grow up to be babies
They'll never stay home and they're always alone
Even with someone they love


The song has the same effect now as it did years ago (right after high school when I traveled with the band). Everyone starts to laugh, the Ranger messing with Anastasia stops messing with her and declares, "Come on boys let's get him."


They head toward the side of the stage to gang up on me. I hand the guitar to one of the band members and say, "Play some fighting music because I will be back."


He says, "Like hell! They're gonna kill you!"


I meet them at the entrance to the stage, where they are forced to come through single file. I drop the first bastard with a single punch to the Adams apple. The other two trip over the first guy, then jump up and yell, "We're gonna mess you up!"


I grin at them, take out the second bastard with a well-placed kick. The third bastard pulls his revolver and threatens, "Now I've got you."


I smile as the man behind him smacks him over the head with the butt of his pistol and he crumples to the floor. He grins at me and finally I recognize him: He's a real Texas Ranger! I hold my finger over my mouth, he nods his head in agreement and says, "Well I sure as hell don't know who you are mister, but I want to thank you for helping me take out these three wannabe Texas Rangers. I would have done it sooner myself but they were watching me like a hawk." He pulls out his Ranger badge, pins it on and begins to cuff the three. I help him and say, "Thanks for not letting everyone know."


He laughs, "Shit! I figured I owed you one from years ago after the bum deal you got. What the hell are you doing here?"


I look at him and say, "Meet me in the stable later and I’ll explain."


We finish and Wojtek come staggering up on the stage, grabs me and begins to wrestle with me. The crowd begins to chant, "Wojtek, Wojtek, Wojtek…"


Damn Bob was right Wojtek is a real SOB when he gets drunk…


Present – Anastasia – At Bob's Country Bunker


This has to be the best night in my whole entire life. I get to eat very good food, drink a bunch of beer (was it three or four or…) Ben, I mean Erast sings a song for me, then saves me once again from a bad man and finally gets in a big fight and once again is a hero. My Erast, my brother, no that's not right, my man! Is he ever going to get lucky later…


I giggle when Wojtek wanders up on the stage and begins to wrestle with Erast - he deserves it for letting that nasty bear dump all the things out of my pack and them making my pack smell like the eastbound end of a northbound bear – wait no that's not right, the northbound end of an eastbound train – oh forget about it and bring me another beer…


Present – Erast – At Bob's Country Bunker


Wojtek finally leaves when someone offers him another beer. Thank God, now they can wrestle with him. I look over and can tell that Anastasia is drunk as a skunk, but Bob is there, sees me looking at her and motions it's okay. The next thing I know, she is face down on the table. I head over and offer, "I apologize for my sister Bob, she is not used to drinking."


He asks, "You need some help getting her up to the room?"


I shake my head, "N-n-no Bob, she is my sister and my responsibility."


He states, "I want to thank you for taking out those phony Texas Rangers. But how did you know."


The other Texas Ranger walks up and says, "Because a real Texas Ranger would never do what those three did. Let me help you son with your girlfriend, I didn't even get your name."


I say, "My name is Erast Petrovich Fandorin and she is my sister, not my girlfriend."


I become very uncomfortable as he helps me take Anastasia to our room.


I open the door, we walk inside and I notice he takes a very close look at the room and all the gear. I pull off Anastasia's shoes, put her in bed and put the trash can beside the bed. He motions to the table and says, "You want to tell me what the hell is going on and you'd better not be pulling some sort of scam."


I pull out a chair, sit down and decide in this case the truth is my best weapon. I start at the beginning, tell him everything. When I finish, he looks at me and says, "Damn what a road you've traveled since I arrested you in Texas when you were still wet behind the ears."


I ask, "So Rex what are you going to do?"


He smiles, "Well Erast Petrovich Fandorin, I'm going to shake your hand and thank you for your help."


We stand, he shakes my hand and leaves the room…


I look and discover Anastasia has stolen the whole bed, so I pull out my shooting mat, unroll it and crash on the floor. Yeah what a road I've traveled since that night in that Texas bar…


Present – Ben – At Bob's Country Bunker – The next morning


I open my eyes, look at my Luminox and of course it's O-dark-thirty, but some habits never die. Most people would worry about Rex knowing about me and Stacy, but I didn't because he is a real Texas Ranger – cut from different cloth. I remembered how he came and visited me at basic after the bastard beat his girlfriend again and put her in the hospital. He apologized to me and offered to try to get me out of the Corps, but by then the Corps had become my home and my family. But it still took a big pair to find me and apologize, I figured we were finally even.


I listen, hear Anastasia snoring lightly, at least this time she didn't puke all over her and me and decide for the first time in a very long time I will get in some PT. I gear up, grab the Winchester, my assault pack, open the door and go downstairs.


I laugh when I see Wojtek sleeping between two girls - damn are they going to be pissed when they discover how bad they smell. I wonder how bad a bear with a hangover is.


The place looks deserted so I head out the front door, past the sleeping guards and begin jogging. I don't get very far when, oh hell no, not again! I fire a couple quick shots from the Winchester, spin and hightail it back for Bob's Country Bunker. Feet don't fail me now…