Chapter 026

Together Chapter 026

Copyright 2014 - 2015 Banzai Ben and Amazing Anastasia


Flashback – Ben and Jack – The trip to hell… Ramadi


We finally made it through Fallujah and I assumed I would have a breather, but once again I assumed incorrectly. If anything the fighting was worse than ever and the fuckers were further away which made them harder to hit. I glanced at my ammo, realized I was almost out and yelled, "Jack, I need more ammo!"


I didn't hear anything (not that I could hear much with all the shit that was going on) so I ducked inside and saw that Jack was passed out on top of the other gunner. I yelled at the driver, "When the hell did Jack pass out?"


He yelled back, "The fuck if I know! I've been busy driving this piece of shit!"


I replied, "I'm almost out so I'm grabbing more ammo."


The driver answered, "You're doing a hell of a job so don't take too long."


I moved Jack and the injured gunner out of the way, headed to the back, grabbed four ammo boxes for Ma Deuce and headed back to the gunner position. This time I was smarter and slowly slipped my head up while some rounds danced off the front shield. I saw where they came from, rose up and blasted the hell out of them with the last few rounds in Ma Deuce. The slide locked back so I knew I was out.


I ducked back inside grabbed a can of ammo, came back up and changed it as fast as I could then I was back in business…


I woke up and swore, "What fucking bus hit me?"


Then I remembered that Banzai nailed me with a morphine shot. I looked down saw I was covered in blood and feared the worst. Then I realized I was lying on top of the bloody injured gunner. I moved to the side and began to put pressure dressings on his wounds and yelled at the driver, "If we don't get your gunner to a hospital soon, it's going to be too late."


Banzai somehow heard me because he ducked inside and said, "Jack, you take over Ma Deuce for a few minutes and I will start an IV for the gunner."


I complained, "I hope like hell I don't have to change any ammo cans."


Banzai informed me, "You have a fresh can in Ma Deuce so you should be fine until I can take over. Here are the hearing protectors now move your ass!"


I normally didn't care much for a Ma Deuce, but firing this one while more than half stoned from the pills and the morphine Banzai gave me, was sort of fun. Then Banzai yelled at me, "Jack, don't burn out the barrel in this Ma Deuce, it's the last one we have."


I somehow heard the driver yell, "I hope you get that IV in soon so you can get back on the Ma Deuce 'cause your partner ain't worth shit as a gunner. He's hitting everything except the fuckers - hell he's even hitting our other vehicles."


I felt Banzai touch my leg, I jumped like crazy and he yelled, "Jack let's switch…"


It took me a bit longer working on the other gunner than I wanted because I decided to change out the exterior ceramic plates in my body armor. I was glad I took the time because the outer of the two plates I had in the carrier were pulverized and soon they would have been cutting into me - uncomfortable as hell!


I switched with Jack and ordered, "Make sure you keep a new IV bag running on the gunner." I grabbed the hearing protectors, got back on Ma Deuce and shot the hell out of everything…


Flashback – Masha – child care


Where did all the time go? I looked at my watch and realized I would need to practically run to make it to the market for lunch with Louise. I hadn't yet prepared myself for the trip because I was busy teaching Linda some new words. She was such a smart and good girl, it made me wish that Jack and I already had a baby.


I quickly changed myself and Linda (it was shocking how dirty a child could become) put her in the stroller, brought the diaper bag and departed at a more rapid rate than normal so I would not be late. Things were going fine, I knew I would be on time and then the police car I normally saw in the area, pulled to the edge of the sidewalk and turned on its lights. I had never interfaced with American police so I did not know what to expect. I only hoped the money I brought with me was enough for the bribe I expected to be forced to pay because I would not pay the bribe with my body! I was a married woman and we never did such debased things!


The police officer smiled at me (which in Russia was not a good sign) and asked, "Good day Ma'am, we stopped you because this is the first time we have noticed you with a baby. And this baby looks too old for you to have just delivered her."


I pulled out my green card, handed it to the officer and explained, "This is a friend of mine's daughter who I watch while she works. I am currently on route to the market where her mother works so we can eat lunch together."


The police officer looked at my green card and asked, "So you are from Russia? However, you speak English very well."


I wanted to tell him that he was an idiot but I held my anger and answered, "Yes, I am from Russia - my husband Jack Reynolds is a Sgt. in the Marines and is currently deployed to Iraq."


He tapped my green card against the clipboard he carried and stated, "Hey, I think I remember seeing your wedding in Russia, wasn't it televised?"


I had no idea if it was true so I resorted to a tactic commonly used by a Russian citizen dealing with the police and created a lie, "Yes, it was televised so perhaps you did see me on television." Then I apologized, "I'm sorry I look so terrible right now but I was playing with Linda and time got away from me so I didn't prepare myself as I normally would."


The police officer laughed and stated, "Hell, you look better than any of the American women we see. At least you aren't wearing dirty workout clothes. But my partner and I wonder why you always walk to the market?"


I faked a smile and answered, "We have a car, but I do not have a driver's license." I of course did not tell him I let Louise borrow the car because I learned in Russia the less information you gave to the police the better the results will be.


He handed back my green card, then handed me a business card and said, "We always patrol this area, so if you should have any problems feel free to call us."


I glanced at my watch, noticed how late the time was and requested, "I hate to bother you officer, but because you detained me I will be late for lunch…"


He laughed and interrupted, "… don't worry, we will gladly take you to the market."


He opened the rear door of the police car, I hesitantly climbed in with Linda and the police officer placed the stroller in the trunk. I was nervous as they drove me to the market because in Russia the police were certainly not your friends…


Flashback – Jennifer and Glen – trying to solve a huge problem


Olga, my ballet teacher, had just weighed me, appraised my overall condition and told me I wasn't overweight. Then she started to write a note to mother - which I hoped mother would for once accept. However I was shocked when Daddy walked into the ballet school, looked at me and said, "Jennifer, we need to talk."


I figured Daddy would have come to get me from the school but it would be much later. I walked over, could see the obvious pain on his face and asked, "Daddy, what the heck is wrong? You look really sick. Don't tell me you ate more of mother's cooking."


Daddy gave me a very pained smile and answered, "Jennifer, I hate to tell you this, but when I brought home the housekeeper, Evelyn went on a rampage and left."


I blinked a few times, tried to figure out what Daddy meant but I couldn't exactly decide what he really said so I asked, "Daddy, what do you mean mother left?"


Daddy looked at the ground, shook his head and answered, "Jennifer, your mother has run away from home – she has left us."


I stuttered, "I…I…I… don't understand. Where did she go and what will she do?"


Daddy looked at me and answered, "Jennifer, I am sorry for causing this. I have no idea where she will go, perhaps back to live with her mother like she has always threatened in the past. But for right now, it's just you, me and the housekeeper."


I thought about what Daddy had told me and had very mixed emotions: On one hand mother wouldn't be making us sick any longer; but on the other hand she deserted us. I was embarrassed as some tears snuck out of my eyes.


Daddy saw them and said, "Come on now my little princess, don't cry - I will take care of you."


Daddy always knew what to say but just because it was my job I got a little angry, stamped my foot and complained, "Daddy I am not a princess…"


He hugged me and interrupted,"… Jennifer, you will always and forever by my little princess. Now let's go home and have dinner."


Olga came over, Daddy informed her of the situation and she assured us that she would help us as much as possible. Daddy loaded my bike into the back of his SUV, I climbed into the front seat beside him and asked, "Daddy, what did the housekeeper make for dinner?"


Daddy answered, "Jennifer, she said it was something called Lomo Saltado. I have no idea what it is but it smelled really good before I left to come pick you up."


We arrived at home, the new housekeeper met us and said with a Hispanic accent, "Hello, my name is Daniela and I have a wonderful dinner prepared for the two of you."


I replied, "Pleased to meet you Daniella."


She corrected, "Sorry Ms. Jennifer, my name is not Daniella it is Daniela!"


We walked into the house and the smell was heavenly! Daniela took me by the hand, led me to the dining room, helped me to sit down and said, "I will be back with dinner in a few minutes. Here is a drink called Chica Morada, it will not only quench your thirst it will also improve your appetite."


She poured a purple looking drink in our glasses that looked like grape juice. I tasted it and remarked, "Hey this is really good! It's not too sweet and not too sour. What did you call it?"


Daniela answered, "It is Chicha Morada and is made from purple corn. Now I will bring your feast for tonight."


Daddy tasted it, looked at me and said, "Your right this is good stuff."


Daddy drained his glass then Daniela brought in two plates heaped with strips of beef, onions, tomatoes, green peppers and some sort of spicy orange peppers. There was also a huge portion of rice on each plate in the shape of a bell and what looked to be a Jenga tower of French fries. She set them in front of us and said, "Enjoy your dinners."


I looked at her and asked, "Aren't you going to eat with us?"


She blushed and answered, "Ms. Jennifer, I am simply a housekeeper and cannot eat at the table with you two. I will eat in the kitchen."


Daddy bellowed a countermand, "Like hell you will Daniela! You cooked this meal so you should sit at our table and eat it."


I added, "Yes Daniela, Daddy is right. I will not eat unless you eat at the table with us."


Daniela exclaimed, "Dios Mio! You two do not understand…"


I stood up and boldly interrupted, "…No Daniela, you do not understand. Even though this meal smells wonderful, I will not eat it unless you eat with us."


Daniela finally relented, "Okay Ms. Jennifer, I will bring my plate from the kitchen."


She went to the kitchen, came back with a much smaller plate than ours. I was going to complain about it but Daddy caught my eye and made me understand I needed to hold my tongue. Daddy and I both began to eat and the Lomo Saltado was a wonderful blend of Chinese and some other ethnic food which I couldn't place…


Flashback – Alexi – At the laboratory


I had planned on getting more work completed while Chow Mein was chasing the flashlight beam. However, I was much too entertained by watching her and didn't get nearly as many things finished as I hoped. Finally she lay on the floor, panted like crazy and fell asleep. I went over to her, touched her bare skin and jerked my hand back in disgust: She was as wet as a towel and smelled terrible. I went to my sink, drew some cold water in my drinking pitcher, walked over and dumped it on Chow Mein.


She jumped up like she was on fire, yowled like crazy and ran under my bed. This gave me another brilliant idea. I lured her from under the bed with one of her favorite treats, grabbed her by the scruff of the neck, marched her into the bathroom, turned on the cold water in my shower, threw her in and shut the glass door. She began to yowl like she was being killed, and banged into the glass door so hard I thought she was going to break it! All of which made me laugh like crazy. I knew I was safe in the bathroom because it was the one place I was not observed by the laboratory staff.


However I was shocked when I heard banging on the bathroom door and the psychologist yelled, "Alexi are you okay?"


I came up with another idea. I stood to one side while I opened the shower door and the bathroom door at the same time, Chow Mein shot out of the shower like the time I set her tail on fire, jumped onto the psychologist and began to climb his leg with her claws. He began to scream like a little girl, tried to kick her off his leg and swatted at her with his hand. Of course, this just made her angry and then she bit him on the hand. His screams attracted the orderlies who came into the room. One reached for Chow Mein who promptly bit him on the hand. The other orderly was smarter and grabbed her by the scruff of the neck and the tail and removed her from the stunned psychologist.


He hauled her out of the room as the psychologist recovered slightly and questioned, "Alexi, what were you doing to Chow Mein?"


I replied, "Sorry Sir, I was giving her a bath because she smelled really bad after chasing the flashlight beam for a long time. I didn't know she would react that way because she had never done that in the past."


He shook his head and stated, "Alexi, I think we might need to keep Chow Mein away from you for a period of time to make sure she doesn't wound you like she injured me."


I faked sadness and replied, "Yes Sir, whatever you feel is necessary."


The psychologist was still muttering to himself as he limped from my room…


Flashback – Mira and Ira – back in Kazakhstan


We translocated a short distance away, secreted our corporeal selves in some shrubbery and occulated as five men carrying weapons approached the decimated pullet conveyance. One looked inside and stated, "Damn, it looks like the girls killed Valatin and Roman."


A grossly obese man replied, "Just wait until we catch them, I will force my fist into their…"


He never completed his threat because the bomb Ira set with the cigarette lighter activated and it was glorious! The flaming petrol from the damaged reservoir sprayed everywhere, covering the men in walls of flames. They foolishly did not drop and roll on the ground but instead took flight up the hill as their screams echoed throughout the canyon. They did not traverse far before they were overcome by the conflagration and the air reeked of charbroiled epidermis.


I looked at Ira and suggested, "Perhaps we could liberate their weapons?"


Out tympanic membranes detected a familiar sound and Ira replied…


"My sister because of the conflagration, the time has expired for obtaining their weapons. The ammunition is currently expending itself in random discharges."


Yes, the trap had worked too well and denied us the opportunity to acquire superior weapons. In retrospect, the elimination of five off the predators was a worthy trade. A round glanced off the rocks in front of us and I suggested, "My sister, we should translocate a greater distance from this conflagration as it is sure to attract the attention of other of our adversaries."


Mira and I translocated into a nearby tributary using the watery highway so our trail would be disguised. Without footwear our trek was frigid but we were in the mode of survival so we did not complain…


Flashback – Todd – On the mission


As firefights go, this one didn't last very long. Even though the quantity of the enemy soldiers was high the quality was not. In fact, it was embarrassing that they assumed they could kill me using such unworthy troops. I approached the enemy soldiers and determined they were all dead. I searched the bodies and got lucky when I found a map of the area from the dead officer. One thing I was thankful for: Their radio took a direct hit and was disabled. I only hoped it happened before they could relay any information about the firefight to the base, otherwise the difficulty of my mission would be compounded.


Since I now had a map, I turned off my GPS system because I was sure it was being used to track me. Immediately after disabling GPS my radio crackled and asked for a SITREP. Like hell they were going to get any information from me! I turned off the radio, and even decided to stash it and the GPS unit in some trees.


I knew better than to take the primary trail to the compound because I was sure it was booby-trapped, so I found a small animal trail which paralleled it and moved carefully and silently toward my objective…