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Chapter 022

Taken Chapter 022

Copyright 2014 - 2018 Banzai Ben and Amazing Anastasia


Flashback – Masha, Tanya, Gladys and others – The design


I asked, "So when are we going to start working on the design of the studio?"


Melanie suggested, "There is no time better than the present."


Tanya pulled out her tablet, made a few motions on it and enumerated my specifications, "Masha would like mirrors on one of the walls, preferably the back wall, and exercise mats that can be removed. We need enough yoga mats for a large class. And we also need some sort of range with an oven in it so she can make meals for her and Linda."


Melanie commented, "Those are all certainly doable however the range and oven could be an issue. Since we will have to get a zoning permit for that, could we substitute a microwave?"


Tanya saved me the embarrassment of admitting my lack of proficiency with microwaves and replied, "No, it needs to be a range with a small oven."


Gladys interjected, "Melanie, don't worry, I will take care of the zoning commission."


Melanie asked, "Is that it?"


I raised my hand and said, "We also need a temporary area for children to play. However I do not want to have a real childcare located in the studio."


Gladys laughed, "Masha this is not school so you do not have to raise your hand. If you want something, now's the time to tell us."


Gladys emboldened me so I said, "I would also like to hire an assistant."


Gladys queried, "Do you have someone in mind?"


I thought for a moment then replied, "Yes, but I'm not sure it would be acceptable."


Gladys said, "Masha tell me who it is and we will make it work."


I said, "I would like to hire Louise who is staying at my house. She currently works at the grocery store and has benefits…"


Gladys interrupts, "…So we will hire her and give her the same or better benefits than the grocery store."


I continue, "…One of those benefits is schooling. She is already enrolled at the community college."


Gladys dismissed the issue, "So what's the problem? Hire her."


This made me happy that I could help Louise with her life since she had been my best friend and helped me with many things.


Melanie commented, "Masha I think you forgot about a sound system."


I remembered another thing that Tanya forgot and replied, "Yes we will need a sound system for the yoga classes and also I would like the front door replaced with one that is similar to the one in my house. And we also need to do something about the windows in the front since it's too easy to break in through them."


Tanya apologized, "Sorry Masha, I forgot about the door."


Melanie had been writing the list on paper. She slid it over to me and asked, "Is there anything else we are missing."


I looked at it and said, "That should cover everything."


Melanie replied, "Okay Masha, I will work up some ideas on CAD and we will look at them in a couple days."


I questioned, "What is CAD."


Melanie smiled while explaining, "CAD is an acronym that stands for Computer Aided Design."


Gladys praised her, "Melanie is a whiz with the computer."


Melanie returned the praise with gratitude, "Thanks to you Gladys."


Our meal came and it was excellent. I even chopped up some of mine and gave it to Linda who agreed the food was good.


Flashback – Jack, Ben and John – Midnight requisition return


Banzai was doing a hell of a job and even ran over one Taliban fucker with an RPG. Then Banzai yelled, "Jack we're in deep shit!"


I asked, "What the hell do you mean?"


Banzai replied…


I checked the rear view mirrors and noticed we picked up a one of those fucking Taliban Toyota Hilux (how they fuck they ever bought those were a mystery to me) behind us and it was closing all too rapidly.


I told Jack, "We have a Toyota chasing the truck and gaining on us."


Jack asked, "What should we do?"


I suggested, "I have a few frags that might slow them up."


Jack took a frag off my tactical vest and said, "Move to one side and I will drop this fucker toward them."


I moved to the left side of the road, Jack pulled the pin and dropped the frag.


Unfortunately the Fuckers saw the frag and moved over just before it detonated. And then they began to fire at the truck.


I swore, "Hells Bells, they are going to compromise the refrigerated trailer.


Jack suggested, "Banzai stop the truck and I will put one of the frags up their ass."


I looked back and the Toyota had stopped. I suddenly got a bad feeling and locked up the brakes getting the semi stopped in time.


Jack slammed into the dash and swore, "What the fuck!"


I replied, "Jack they stopped so I'm betting there's an IED somewhere ahead."


Jack jumped out of the cab and began to shoot the shit out of the Toyota. He was rewarded with a cloud of smoke from the engine compartment. But we still had the issue with the possible IED.


He climbed back into the cab and crowed, "That will teach those fuckers."


I replied, "Yeah, but we still have a possible IED to deal with, any suggestions for that?"


Jack suggested, "There are two possible ways to defeat the IED, one is drive like hell and hope they don't detonate it too close to us and the other is to slowly work our way forward and hope we can see it before they detonate it."


I didn't care for either choice and then some rounds peppered the truck cab and made my decision for me. I put the semi in gear and floored the shit out of it! I wound up the engine until I thought it was going to blow, shifted gears and floored it again. I kept it up until I had this fucker flying almost as fast as when it wasn't loaded.


Jack praised my driving, "Damn, I didn't think that you could get this pig moving so fast."


I replied, "Neither did I, I just hope like hell this works."


I should have known better than to be saying something like that as it was a sure way to jinx this mission. I no sooner got the words out of my mouth than an IED detonated in front of us and the road was gone. I wrenched the wheel as hard as I could, felt the trailer begin to slide but I knew I was committed now. We missed the hole from the IED by the narrowest of margins and the trailer even stayed with us. I wrenched the wheel the other way and we bypassed the fucking IED hole.


We were back on the main road and finally saw something good ahead of us.


Flashback – Jennifer – Helping Daniela cook


After she cleaned the chicken, Daniela began to cut it up and complained, "I forgot how dull this knife is. I had been meaning to ask Señor Donaldson to sharpen it."


I smiled at Daniela and offered, "I can sharpen knives. It won't take long if you want me to do it right now."


Daniela questioned, "Where did a young lady like you learn to sharpen knives?"


I proudly replied, "Because Daddy is a Marine, he taught me. He also told me more people get cut with dull knives than sharp knives."


Daniela handed me the knife incorrectly and I complained, "Daniela, you never hand someone a knife with the blade facing them, always give it to them handle first."


She apologized, "Sorry Señorita Jennifer, I did not know that."


I took the knife, pulled out the sharpening equipment from the kitchen drawer, set it up on the work table and began to sharpen the knife.


Daniela remarked, "Señorita Jennifer that looks very easy."


I replied, "It's harder than it looks because you have to hold the knife blade at a precise angle while you sharpen it." In no time at all I was done. I tested it with my thumb and said, "That's what I thought, I rolled the edge."


I made a couple strokes on the side with the roll, tested it again and it was perfect. I handed it to Daniela (it the proper manner) and continued, "Make sure you wash it first."


She washed the knife, went back to cutting the chicken and remarked, "Señorita Jennifer, this is so much better, thank you."


She then began to prepare the aji sauce, which was a complicated process. Now I understood why she needed to start cooking so early…


Flashback – Mira and Ira – continuing


I stopped and said, "Ira, we should not run from Kostia. Now is the perfect time in which to attack him."


Ira argued, "Mira, do you remember how he decimated us with gas. He has more resources than we do so the smartest thing to do would be continue to hide."


I informed her, "Ira, he will find us no matter where we hide so I am going to attack him."


Ira relented, "Mira I feel this is hardy of fool, but because you are my sister I will accompany you."


Ira followed me as we went after Kostia…


Flashback – Todd – On the mission


As I mentioned earlier, finding a coyote was easy since they were practically on every street corner. Many of them I dismissed because I didn't like their looks. I finally found one who didn’t overly worry me, approached him, showed him my neck and wrote, "I need to enter America someplace other than the border crossing."


He looked at me and asked, "Why does a gringo need to sneak into America?"


I wrote, "The reason is not important to you. The question is how many dollars?"


He quoted and outrageous price so I walked away. He grabbed my arm (which was a mistake) so I spun and knocked him on his ass and wrote, "No one ever touches me!"


He apologized, "Sorry gringo, perhaps we could do it for less dollars?"


I wrote, "How many dollars now?"


He quoted a better price, I nodded and he said, "Be back here at sundown and we will leave."


I still didn't trust him, but he was the best I could do at this time. I decided to take in some of the local scenery while I waited for sundown…