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Chapter 016

Taken Chapter 016

Copyright 2014 - 2017 Banzai Ben and Amazing Anastasia

 

Flashback – Masha and Tanya – Going to visit Louise at work

 

With Linda once again secure in Tanya's car we drove to the market where Louise worked. We walked in and surprised Louise so she asked, "What are you two doing here?"

 

Tanya smiled and said, "I've just shown Masha a potential storefront for her Krav Maga and yoga classes and we have some questions for you."

 

Louise replied, "Well don't keep me waiting."

 

Tanya asked, "Masha mentioned that you are going to school at night. Are you going to Holbrook Community College?"

 

Louise said, "That's the one, why do you ask?"

 

Masha continues…

 

"Louise, the storefront is across the street from the community college."

 

Louise remarks, "That would be great, we could all go home together after my classes."

 

I bring up one more concern, "Louise, I am concerned that Linda will be exposed to germs from the other children who might be at the class."

 

Louise answered, "Masha, don't worry about Linda she's pretty tough."

 

I voice my final concern, "The only other issue that I can see is how to feed Linda and myself for lunch."

 

Tanya interjects, "Masha, we will put in a small kitchen with a microwave."

 

I frown and confess, "Tanya and Louise, I have not mastered the workings of the American microwave ovens. Everything I prepare with microwave burns or comes out too dry."

 

Tanya suggests, "Then we will add a real stove with an oven to the kitchen."

 

That makes me feel better so I looked at Louise and asked, "Well how do you feel about this?"

 

She smiled, hugged me and said, "Masha this is great! I never thought that you would get this going so quickly."

 

I confess, "It was Tanya's doing, she set all this up."

 

Tanya said, "After my phone was ringing off the hook this morning about last night's classes, I decided I needed to take the bull by the horns."

 

I gave Louise a questioning glance and she explained, "Masha, 'taking the bull by the horns' means taking charge of things."

 

Then Louise came up with a question I forgot to ask, "Masha, how are you and Linda going to get to work?"

 

Tanya replied, "That's the next thing on our list of to do items: We're going to get Masha a driver's license."

 

Linda sighed and replied, "Whew, I thought you were going to take a bus."

 

I replied, "After my last bus trip I would never subject Linda to that ordeal."

 

Tanya remarked, "Masha thought she would do a yoga class early in the morning, some classes over lunchtime and then a few classes at night."

 

I replied, "I find that yoga in the morning is a good way to start the day and perhaps we can have some later classes after school lets out for those women attending the community college."

 

Tanya suggested, "Masha, let's load up Linda and go get your driver's license."

 

I hugged Louise goodbye, Linda waved and said, "Mama, mama, mama." Louise gave her a big kiss. And we left to get my driver's license.

 

On the way I asked, "Tanya, are the driving tests different here than in Russia."

 

Tanya laughed and said, "Yeah, they are probably easier here. You will see once you start driving - almost any idiot can get a license in America."

 

We went to the driver's license bureau where I took a number and began to wait. I noticed many people studying small books so I asked Tanya, "What are they studying?"

 

Tanya replied, "That's the rules of the road booklet; let me get one for you."

 

She came back, handed it to me, I flipped it open and commented, "Tanya the signs are different than in Russia."

 

So Tanya and I went through all the signs together until they made sense. Finally my number was called, I walked up to the desk and the person asked, "Do you have your old license?"

I handed her my Russian license, she took one look at it and commented, "This might be the first Russian driver's license I have seen." She called to all the other clerks, "Hey look at this!"

 

All the other desk workers came over and looked at my Russian driver's license, then one of them realized who I was and said, "Hey, she's the woman avenger the news has talked about."

 

After that I was a celebrity again, until one of the managers, whose name was Sally, came out and confronted the other women, "What's going on?"

 

They said, "This is the woman avenger from the news. You know, the one who took down the bus gang and the pornography ring."

 

Sally walked up, shook my hand and said, "I want to personally thank you for all you've done for the women of the city."

 

Tanya had joined me and remarked, "Masha is planning on doing even more. She's going to open a yoga and Krav Maga studio close to Holbrook Community College. That's why she's here today to get her driver's license so she can drive to the studio."

 

Sally said, "Well, I will let you take the written test in my office and then I will do your driving test with you."

 

Sally ushered me into her office, handed me the test and remarked, "If you have any questions on it just let me know."

 

I remarked, "The signs are different in Russia…"

 

She interrupted, "…Yes, they use the international signs but if you have any problems on them just let me know."

 

Compared to the Russian test this one was very easy and it didn't take long. I finished, handed the manager my test, she graded it and said, "Masha, you made a perfect score. Now for the driving test."

 

I queried, "What is involved in the driving test?"

 

Sally smiled and said, "We drive your car, I give you directions and you follow them."

 

I remarked, "We brought Tanya's car today, am I allowed to use it for the test."

 

Sally replied, "Certainly, however you cannot bring the baby with you."

 

We walked out of Sally's office, approached Tanya and I asked, "May we use your car for the driver's test and will you watch Linda while I do it."

 

Tanya smiled and replied, "Certainly, but I think we need to change Linda first."

 

I checked and affirmed the situation, "You are correct, I will get the diaper bag."

 

Tanya handed me her keys and whispered, "Masha, make sure you adjust the seat and mirrors before you start the car." Then in her normal voice, "I will follow you out to get the diaper bag."

 

I unlocked the door, handed the diaper bag to Tanya and Sally said, "There are changing tables in the bathrooms, but they are never clean so why don't you use the desk in my office."

 

Tanya agreed, "Thanks I will do that and make sure to remove the dirty diaper with me."

 

I took the driver's seat, adjusted it so it fit me, then I carefully adjusted the inside mirrors but could not figure out the outside mirrors so I asked, "How do I adjust the outside mirrors?"

 

Sally said, "On these newer cars you use the little joystick on the door and the switch chooses which mirror."

 

I found the joystick and carefully adjusted the driver's mirror, then switched to the passenger's mirror and adjusted it. I sat and waited. Sally asked, "What are you waiting for?"

 

I explained that I was waiting for her to give me permission to start the car.

 

Sally laughed and said, "Let's get this show on the road, please start the car."

 

I started the car and waited, Sally commanded, "Pull out of the parking lot and take a right turn."

 

I followed the directions, came up to a stop sign, made a full stop, checked both directions and proceeded. The whole time Sally was writing on a piece of paper and that made me a little nervous.

 

Sally ordered, "Pull up to the light and take a left turn."

 

I pulled up to the stop light, noticed there was no turn arrow so I patiently waited for the traffic light to change and then made a left turn.

 

We approached some railroad tracks where I made sure to stop the car and again checked both directions before proceeding.

 

We finally got back to the driver's license bureau and Sally said, "So far you've done perfect, now you need to parallel park." Sally pointed and continued, "You see those cones over there? You need to park between them."

 

Many people are afraid of parallel parking but it is just a formula. I pulled up about a half a meter from the cones, checked the mirrors to make sure my start position was perfect, turned the wheel hard to the right and eased into the parking place, when my front door was even with the first cone, I began to straighten the wheel then when the front wheels became even with the front cone, I turned the wheel to the left and straightened out as I approached the curb. I was finished so I asked, "What now Sally?"

 

Sally said, "Congratulations Masha you passed. Most people don't stop at the railroad crossing and you did. So let's get your picture taken and give you your new license."

 

Tanya met us at the door and asked, "Well?"

 

Sally smiled and said, "She did perfect."

 

First they took me to a machine to check my eyesight (it was fine) then they had me stand in front of a background and took my picture. Sally said, "It will take about fifteen minutes for your license. By the way, you will need to make sure you are added on your husband's car insurance policy."

 

Tanya assured her, "Don't worry I will make sure this is taken care of."

 

The fifteen minutes seemed to take forever, then they finally gave me my license and all the counter clerks clapped and congratulated me.

 

Flashback – Jack and Ben – Midnight requisition run

 

We headed back out of the motor pool and Banzai asked, "Okay, which way do we go?"

 

I replied, "Take a right and haul ass."

 

Banzai spun the wheel, snicked through the gears like he had driven semi's all his life and soon we were hauling ass and a half toward HQ.

 

John mentioned, "I heard that sometimes the Taliban plant IEDs along this road."

 

Banzai swore, "Jack, why the hell didn't you tell me that?"

 

I replied, "Banzai we had no issues at all last time. Besides, we will be back before the fuckers even wake up." I didn't think it was possible but that made Banzai haul ass even faster.

 

John remarked, "Banzai sure drives this semi better than you did Jack."

 

Banzai laughed and replied, "Jack drives most vehicles like he's an old man. For me, this is a Marine vehicle and I don't care if I fuck it up as long as I get where I am going."

 

I resent that comment and counter, "The last thing I want to do is die in a semi wreck."

 

I'm sure Banzai just wanted to scare me as he makes the tires howl around the next corner, then over corrects and we slide sideways some.

 

John suggests, "Perhaps we should slow down a little."

 

Banzai laughed and countered, "I would but then you told me about possible IEDs, now there is no way in hell I'm going slower."

 

Because of Banzai's wild assed driving we made it to HQ in record time, then we ran into our first problem.

 

Flashback – Jennifer – In my room

 

Things were taken care of with Daniela so I finally made it to my room to study. Grandmother was waiting and complimented me, "That was a good thing you did with Daniela, remember to always appear normal to her and others."

 

I smiled at Grandmother and replied, "Yes, reading what happened to our relatives reinforces that."

 

Grandmother remarked, "Most Americans no longer believe in witches except for certain areas of the country. But many foreigners still believe in witches."

 

I boldly asked, "Grandmother, what will happen with mother?"

 

Grandmother sadly answered, "Unless she keeps her mouth quiet about us being witches, they will never let her out of the hospital. How does it make you feel that she's still in the hospital?"

 

I paused and thought for a moment then confessed, "In many ways it's better for me. I see you more often, she doesn't bother me about ballet and the house is more peaceful."

 

Grandmother agreed, "Yes your mother has always been a problem and I don't think it will ever change. She made her decision and now she needs to live with it."

 

I asked, "So what if I decided not to be a witch???"

 

Grandmother interrupted, "… It is too late for you. You've already decided and there's no turning back."

 

That made me feel better then Grandmother warned, "Daniela is coming so I need to go."

 

Grandmother left, I unlocked the door, Daniela walked in and said, "I have some clean laundry for you."

 

I questioned, "So when is Jed coming over again?"

 

Daniela blushed and said, "I do not know since he has not called me?"

 

I prodded, "So, pick up the phone and call him."

 

Daniela countered, "Señorita Jennifer, that is not how it is done in my country."

 

I was tired of this game so I asked, "Daniela, which country do you live in now?"

 

Daniela replied, "Señorita Jennifer, you know I live in America."

 

I dropped the hammer and said, "Well this is something that we do in America. And if you don't call him I will and will also tell him you want a pair of zapatos verdes."

 

Daniela gasped and said, "Please no, Señorita Jennifer that would embarrass me. I promise I will call him and invite him over tonight."

 

I continued, "Good, then you and Jed can go for a walk in my old running shoes."

 

Daniela began to complain and I said, "My old running shoes or it's zapatos verdes."

 

She finally relented. It felt good to win some arguments around here.

 

Flashback – Alexi – 'Father' after dinner

 

'Father' said, "Alexi, since you made the meal tonight, I will do the dishes."

 

I replied, "I would like to hear more about your new job today. You told me a little of it but then I distracted you with my tales of the university."

 

'Father' told me all about how much he enjoyed his new job as he did dishes. He said, "Alexi, I finally feel like we are putting the terrible things from our past behind us."

 

I agreed, "Yes 'father' we have, now if you do not mind I am going to return to my room and work on my homework."

 

'Father' once again praised me, "Alexi, I am so proud of you."

 

I went to my room and began my studies…

 

Flashback – Ira and Mira – continuing

 

There was joy in terminating the female salukis who brutalized us. It was not my original plan, but with the confusion caused by the deaths, the pursuit of our corporeal selves would be hampered. My biggest concern was Mira's statement that she would terminate herself before letting herself be captured again.

 

Flashback – Todd – On the mission

 

The jet barely reached altitude when it was descending again. The next leg of the journey was going to require different transportation.

 

 

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