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Chapter 020

Taken Chapter 020

Copyright 2014 - 2017 Banzai Ben and Amazing Anastasia


Flashback – Masha, Tanya, Gladys and others – Eating Lunch


We arrived at the restaurant which was called the Organic Bistro and I was pleasantly shocked. It was a very nice, upscale restaurant and the smells emanating from the kitchen were incredible. Gladys took charge and demanded a large table, which of course she received immediately. I put Linda in a high chair they provided and we sat at the table. In a short time the interior designer arrived and she asked, "Why are we eating here?"


Gladys fired back, "Since when did you become picky about having a free lunch?"


The interior designer laughed and replied, "Gladys, with you there are no free lunches! That's why I brought my samples with me. I know this will be a working lunch."


Gladys made the introductions, "Melanie, this is Tanya the Lawyer, and I'm sure you recognize Masha from the news reports."


Melanie held out her hand and said, "Masha, it's a great pleasure to meet you; you have quickly become a legend in our little city."


I shake her hand and crimson. Tanya notices and comes to my rescue, "Melanie, Masha is a little shy so please don't embarrass her too much."


Gladys remarks, "Masha, there's nothing for you to be shy about. I would say that you are one of the best things to happen to this city in a long time."


I finally find my voice and apologize, "I am ashamed that I killed the teenage girl."


There was a round of affirmation which Tanya started, "Masha, that little bitch should have been killed years ago." Gladys added, "Tanya is certainly right, we have programs in place that should have prevented her from becoming the menace she was." Melanie joined in, "She made it impossible to ride the buses."


Gladys has sparked my interest so I asked, "Gladys, what sort of programs do you have for teenagers."


Melanie surprised me when she enumerated, "Masha, Gladys and her friends have many programs in place to help the disadvantaged youth in this city…"


Gladys interrupted, "… That's right and Melanie is a prime example of one program's success."


Melanie continues, "I was raised on the other side of the track and thanks to Gladys' programs I was able to attend college and get my degree in interior design."


I give Tanya a quizzical look and she explained, "Masha doesn't always understand American euphemisms." Then she continued, "To be from the other side of the track means Melanie grew up in a bad part of town."


Melanie affirmed, "Yes, it was much worse than the neighborhood of the teenage girl you killed. She had it lucky compared to me. In the neighborhood where I lived, I was lucky to get out before I was raped."


Gladys complained, "Unfortunately, no matter how much help you try to give some people, some of them will still choose a life of crime."


I questioned, "How do you try to reach these girls and what about the boys?"


Gladys explained, "We set up afterschool programs for them and yes they are also for boys."


I think for a moment then I make a proposition, "You know, we could offer them Yoga classes after school."


Melanie said, "That would be a great idea, but I'm not sure we should teach them Krav Maga."


Gladys reinforced her statement, "Yes. That would be a mistake."


I wanted to counter their attitude. However, I could see their resolve so I decided to wait on a better time for that battle.


Flashback – Jack, Ben and John – Midnight requisition run


We were hauling ass the best that we could with the load that we had. Our heavy load has forced Banzai into a saner speed but were still making good time. I checked my watch and remarked, "We should just make it to BoO in time to catch the chopper back to the hospital." Then all hell broke loose…


Leave it to Jack's big fucking mouth to jinx the mission! He no sooner got the words out of his mouth than we were attacked by the fucking Taliban. I downshifted and floored this fucking truck and hoped like hell there were no IEDs in the road.


Jack leaned to open his window and began to return fire. I yelled at John, "Are you any good with a rifle?"


Jack answered, "John's a hell of a cook but can't shoot worth shit."


John agreed, "Jack's right, I never really learned how to shoot."


I wanted to cuss him out but I was too busy driving so instead I ordered, "John, I don't care if you can't hit the broad side of a barn, roll down the window, take my rifle and return fire. Just make sure you don't fucking shoot me."


John took my rifle but didn't realize it was set to burst mode and damn near emptied a mag with the next breath. I yelled at Jack, "Show him how to set the rifle to single shot and give him a new mag."


Jack as usual complained, "Banzai, I have my hands full."


I ordered, "John, hand the rifle up here."


I steered the semi with my leg against the wheel. He handed it to me, I switched the fire selector to single shot, put in a new magazine and handed it back.


He fired a couple of rounds and commented, "This is much better."


Just then I saw a Taliban fucker with an RPG so I steered off the road, aimed directly at him and ran his ass over.


Jack yelled, "That was a hell of a trick!"


I fought this beast back onto the road and continued driving then it finally happened…


Flashback – Jennifer – Helping Daniela cook


Daniela remarked that she needed to cook so I asked, "Would you mind if I helped?"


Daniela smiled at me and replied, "Señorita Jennifer that would be a big help."


We both headed to the kitchen and I began to learn how to make aji de gallina. But it was really aji de pollo because we didn't have any older chicken in the house. Daniela explained, "Gallina is what you call a hen, a chicken that has begun to lay eggs. Pollo is younger chicken."


I remarked, "I always thought chicken was just chicken."


Daniela laughed and corrected me, "No Señorita Jennifer, there is a big difference in chicken. Gallina is older and much tougher than pollo. Most of the time it is used in caldo de gallina."


I asked, "What the heck is caldo?

Daniela answers, "Good we will teach you a new Spanish word: Caldo is soup. It is very popular in Peru."


I asked, "So why use pollo?"


Daniela explained, "In America they do not differentiate between gallina and pollo, so I buy pollo because it's all they sell."


I pause for a thought, "I wonder what happens to the gallina?"


Daniela says, "I think it is feed for dogs. Señorita Jennifer, please clean the chicken."


Daniela hands me a whole chicken and I admit, "Daniela I've never cleaned a whole chicken before."


Daniela said, "Señorita Jennifer, then I will teach you."


She began to clean the chicken while showing me how it was done. It was gross and I decided it was something that I never wanted to do (mother usually bought prepared chicken breasts).


Flashback – Mira and Ira – continuing


I asked, "Sister, why are we hiding? Should we not take the fight to Kostia?"


Ira answered, "Sister of mine, Kostia, with his many men, is too strong to attack successfully."


I doubted her assertation, however I did not press the issue.


Flashback – Todd – On the mission


My first stop, before crossing the border was to obtain a weapon. The coyotes1 that I would be using to help cross were not always trustworthy.


1 Coyote – A person who smuggles undocumented immigrants into the United States, especially across the Mexican Border


Of course finding a weapon in Mexico was no problem, especially with the money I was prepared to spend. I not only found one, I also found a spare: One for my back and one in a holster on my ankle.


That done I went looking for a coyote, who was easy to find…