Chapter 102

Together Chapter 102

Copyright 2014 - 2016 Banzai Ben and Amazing Anastasia


Flashback – Masha – The evening


Louise described me as a chiropractor. I was not familiar with the word so I asked, "What is a chiropractor?"


Gwen replied, "They are sort of like doctors who adjust your back, like you did to ours."


Louise added, "However, I've never known any of them to do a foot massage."


Gwen reached around, touched her back and remarked, "Yes, that was almost better than getting my back cracked. Where did you learn to do foot massages?"


I smiled at them and said, "I spent some time in Japan and was taught the method there."


Louise's eyes grew big and she remarked, "Wow! My Auntie Masha is a world traveler. Where else have you been?"


I really couldn't tell them so I redirected the topic, "We're we planning on a movie tonight?"


Gwen looked at her watch and remarked, "I need to get going but have fun with your movie."


Louise said, "See you at work tomorrow." And Gwen was gone.


I reiterated about the movie, "Are we having a movie tonight?"


Louise sat at the kitchen table and asked, "Masha, I would like to just spend some time talking tonight if you don't mind."


I replied, "Of course I don’t mind, please tell me Louise what is on your mind?"


Louise walked to the refrigerator, pulled out a bottle of wine, brought over two glasses, poured each of us a glass, sat back down and started, "Masha, you've done so much for me so I'm not sure I know how to ask you for this favor."


I smiled at her and in a calm manner said, "Don't worry about it Louise, the worst I can do is say no."


Louise bit her lower lip and asked, "Masha, what would you think about me taking some classes at the local community college?"


I grinned at her and replied, "I think that would be a great idea…"


Louise interrupted, "…Masha you haven't heard the bad part. Because of my job schedule the classes would have to be at night."


I put Louise at ease, "Yes Louise I realized that when you asked. You would of course want me to watch Linda for you."


Louise said, "Yes Masha, I don't have anyone else in the world except you. So now that you've heard everything, what do you think?"


I smiled at her, replied and asked, "I think it's a great idea, do you have the money to attend school?"


Louise said, "Oh yeah, they have a program at work which will pay for much of it if I have good grades and take the right classes."


I asked, "So when does this start?


Louise answered, "In three weeks."


I said, "Louise this will probably put a stop to your Krav Maga lessons since I'm not sure how you will have time for everything as it is."


Louise agreed, "Yeah Masha, I will be busy. I just hope I can stay in touch with Linda."


I replied, "Don't worry, I will make sure she doesn't forget her mother."


Louise hugged me and said, "Masha, you're the best Aunt a girl could ever have."


Flashback – Ben – The Stryker mission


Once I put the fucking mercs in the right position to establish a perimeter, the agents exited the Stryker. I pointed to a pile of rubble and said, "That's what is left of the building we identified as the bomb makers HQ."


The second agent began to comb through the rubble and announced, "Your artillery did a hell of a job. But like I hoped, there are some small components they didn't destroy. Sgt. Will you please assist me."


I walked over to the second agent, noticed he was fucking with some wires, took a close look at it and ordered, "Sir, I would stop messing with that! Unless I'm mistaken, you've found a live suicide vest."


He slowly released the bundle of wires and carefully walked backwards. When he had retreated to what he felt was a safe distance from the suicide vest he thanked me, "Sgt., thanks for keeping me from blowing myself up."


The main agent came over and added, "Yes, thank you Sgt. for keeping all of us from being blown to hell."


He looked to the second agent and ordered, "Get on the horn and call in an EOD1 team, I want this vest intact."


1 EOD – Explosive Ordinance Disposal


The second agent came out and said, "Sgt., the hospital wants to talk to you."


I stepped into the Stryker just as all hell broke loose. I picked up the radio, it was George and I suggested, "Sir! We're beginning to take a hellacious amount of fire, how about getting the sniper team on it."


George replied, "No problem Sgt."


I turned around and noticed that not only were the agents in the Stryker, the mercs had followed them.


I shook my head and complained, "What the fuck are you four doing in here."


The leader said, "We were being shot at so I told everyone to haul ass into the Stryker."


I asked, "Didn't you think the towelheads would use your retreat to overrun the Stryker?"


He replied, "Hey, it's a Stryker. What the hell can they do to cause any damage?"


I swore, "They can blow the fuck out of it if they get close enough! Now follow me as we keep the fuckers from doing that."


He laughed, "I have never heard of the fuckers taking down a Stryker."


He no sooner got the words out of his mouth than there was a huge fucking explosion that lifted the left side of the Stryker into the air. The driver yelled to the back, "They took out the tires on the left side of the Stryker so we're not going anywhere."


The agents begin to scramble on the radio to get a new Stryker here while I glare at the mercs and ordered, "We need to get our asses outside and set up a perimeter until help arrives."


I lead the way to the door, checked outside, pointed to one of the mercs and ordered, "You take that position while we cover you."


We laid down suppressive fire, he hauled ass and made it to the little piece of wall for cover, I directed the other four mercs where I wanted them and then I took up a position.


Between our fire, I heard fire coming from the hospital and it made me feel good - especially when I heard the Barrett fifty bark.


We were doing well until one of the mercs yelled, "I'm out."


Then a second yelled the same. I swore! What sort of idiots did I have here? They didn't even have enough ammo to finish this short firefight.


I pulled an extra mag out of my vest, tossed it to the first one and said, "You're fucking welcome."


He threw it back and complained, "We're using 6.8, not .223."


I swore, "Do you fuckers have any more ammo in the Stryker?"


He yelled back, "No, we only brought what we thought we would need."


I ordered, "Then use your sidearm and continue fighting."


He asked, "What happens when I run out of ammo for it."


I complained, "Then you pull your knife and fight them with it."


Finally a helicopter gunship came in and then the battle was over almost as fast as it started.


I walked inside the Stryker and told the agents, "There's no way in hell I'm becoming a merc for you guys. You're lucky as hell I was here, otherwise you'd have had your heads chopped off."


The lead agent said, "But these guys were supposed to be some of our best…"


I interrupted, "…Your fucking best didn't bring enough ammo for this short firefight and used weapons that weren't a standard caliber so I could resupply them. But the worst fucking thing they did was hide in this Stryker and let the towelheads blow it to hell." They aren't even fit to be Army which means there not even close to being Marines.


The lead agent asked, "How about if we gave you 100K a year?"


I laughed at him and said, "You guys didn't do your homework on me very well if you think that money will entice me to become a merc. I have more money than Carter has Little Pills. No, I'll happily stay a Marine and there's nothing you can do about it."


A Blackhawk chopper did a touch and go while one guy bailed out. I said, "My guess is your EOD man is finally here."


I went outside, met him and took him close to where the vest was. He looked at the Stryker and said, "Damn! You guys are lucky you didn't die in that one. It looks like they put four IEDs under the left side of the Stryker. How the hell did that happen?"


I liked the hell out of this guy so I said, "The mercs were hiding in the Stryker instead of keeping a perimeter."


He asked, "How about now?"


I replied, "We have a perimeter but the mercs are low on ammo."


He said, "I wondered why they kicked a big fucking box of ammo out of the chopper."


I smiled at him and ordered the mercs, "You're ammo is over there."


One of them hauled ass to the ammo, opened it up and began to resupply the others.


We walked up to the vest, I pointed to the bunch of wires and said, "I think that's the vest."


He knelt, looked at it and commended, "Good eyes Sgt. You are right, this is an active suicide vest. Help me into my gear and then get the hell away from here."


As I helped him into his EOD suit I asked, "What's your name?"


He said, "Michael. And yours?"


I replied, "My friends call me Banzai."


He nodded his head and replied, "I've heard of you, you're almost a legend now I understand."


He was suited up and suggested, "Why don't you take that area to help keep the perimeter."


I headed to where he pointed and made sure no towelheads bothered Michael.


Flashback – Jack – Concerned about Tod


Damn, I no sooner finished the problem with Banzai and another one took its place. How in the hell was I ever going to turn Tod into a Marine. I do have to say, in some ways he was better than John because he did know how to requisition things and he made a hell of a bed - damn near as good as Banzai's cheating bed2.


2 Banzai used an old Marine/military trick that I taught him (BRAG, BRAG). He put safety pins on the sheets and blankets then moved to the other side to pull them tight as hell and then put safety pins on the side he was on. When he slept, he would use a couple blankets over the top, so in the morning all he had to do was smooth things out and occasionally tighten the safety pins. This is why the quarter would always bounce off his bed.


I ordered Tod, "Stay here and make sure your footlocker and footwear are in good shape. I'm headed to the mess hall to talk with some of the other Sgts."


He learned fast and replied correctly, "Yes Sgt. Would you like for me to take care of your footlocker and shoes?"


I figured what the hell so I said, "Sure, knock yourself out."


I headed to the mess hall but unlike last time, this time I was a hero again. John offered me some food and I declined, "Sorry John, all I want is some of the great coffee."


John said, "Jack, we ran out of the General's coffee today, but I think you will like this coffee."


I grabbed a cup, filled it up, noticed my other two Sgt. friends were here and headed to their table. I sat down and Rich said, "I saw you giving one of the new recruits shit on the obstacle course today.

I looked at both of them and sighed, "That's what I came to talk to you two about. That new recruit was Tod and has no fucking business being a Marine…."


Fernando interrupted, "… Then send him the hell back home!"


I finished, "I wish the fuck that I could, but his father is a general. That's the only way he made it over here. My guess is he figured that the Marines would whip his son into shape. So do either of you have any ideas how to keep his ass from being killed?"


Rich looked at me and said, "Shit Jack, you have one fucked up job. The only thing I can think of is if he deploys with you."


Fernando agreed, "Yeah Jack, if the two of you could get shipped to the hospital you might stand a chance…"


Rich laughed and interrupted, "…Not only that, if he did get wounded you would be in the right place."


I snapped my fingers and said, "Thanks guys you gave me a hell of an idea."


Now I just needed to talk Colonel Maggie into my harebrained idea…


Flashback – Jennifer – At home


We arrived at home in the taxi, Daniela met us at the door and said, "Dios Mio Señor Donaldson and Señorita Jennifer, how is your mother?"


Daddy smiled and replied, "I guess good luck was with us again, the doctor says that somehow she was healed."


Daniela replied, "Señor Donaldson, it was not luck! I have been praying for her since the ambulance left. Once again El Señor has blessed your family!"


Daniela made the sign of the cross and continued, "Are either of you hungry?"


Daddy laughed and said, "I'm a little bit hungry, but Jennifer ate enough food at the hospital to choke a horse."


Daniela made me laugh when she asked, "Señor Donaldson, why would Señorita Jennifer wish to ahorcar a un caballo?"


I replied, "Daniela, choke a horse is a euphemism. It stands for mucha comida."


Daniela praised me but complained, "Señorita Jennifer, you have been studying Spanish, but I must complain about you eating terrible hospital food."


I slightly agreed while praising her cooking, "Yes Daniela, the food was not nearly as good as yours. I do hope I don't get sick from it."


Daniela crossed herself again and stated, "Señorita Jennifer, I will pray that El Señor keeps you well."


Then Daniela asked, "Why didn't Señora Donaldson come home with you?"


Daddy began to hem haw around so I replied, "Daniela, they kept her at the hospital to run more tests on her heart and her head."


Daniela gave us a grave look and asked, "Señora Donaldson's head? What is wrong with her head?"


I couldn't resist so I told Daniela, "Mother kept telling everyone I was a witch."


Daniela laughed, "Señora Donaldson, must be un pequeño loco if she called a good girl like you a bruja."


I smiled at her but kept my real secret about how 'we' are healed in this family


Flashback – Alexi – Fishing


We finally made it to the river and I asked 'father', "Are we going to stop somewhere to get some bait?"


'Father' confessed, "Alexi, I hadn't even thought about bait, but you're right we need to get some worms."


We stopped at a little store and went inside where 'father' asked, "Do you sell bait here?"


The proprietor replied, "We have many kinds of bait here: Worms, smelt, cheese and fish eggs. Which would you like?"


'Father' said, "I think we will just use worms for now."


The proprietor went to a small refrigerator, removed a paper container which said worms and asked, "Now you do have a fishing license don't you?"


'Father' replied with surprise, "A fishing license? I didn't know we needed one."


He pointed to me and replied, "He's young enough that he won't need one, however you will certainly need one."


'Father' asked, "How about if I just assist my son fish?"


The proprietor shook his head and replied, "No sir! If you don't have a license then your boy can't fish."


'Father' paid for the fishing license and the worms. I walked up with an armload of food which I asked to purchase, "'Father', I'm still hungry."


'Father' paid for the additional food, we walked out to the car and 'father' remarked, "I didn't know fishing would be so expensive."


I smiled at 'father' and said, "Don't worry 'father' we will be eating fish for dinner tonight."


We found a little spot alongside the creek. 'Father' took out the fishing gear and began to get things ready. I asked, "Can I help?"


'Father' replied, "Please hold the pole while I put the worm on the hook."


I held the pole and he started the worm on the hook. I heard a noise behind me, turned to see what it was and 'father' screamed, "Alexi, you have hooked me!"


I turned back, saw that the hook was deep inside 'father's' finger and said, "Sorry 'father', I heard a noise behind me. Please tell me you can remove the hook and we can keep fishing."


'Father' said, "Alexi, a little problem like this won't stop us. I will leave this hook in my finger and remove it later at home. Until then I will use a new hook. This time remember to stay still while you are holding the fishing pole."


I listened to 'father' this time and did not hook him, even though I still heard some noises behind us. My fishing pole was ready, 'father' took it from me and showed me how to cast the line out into the stream. We watched as the bobber on the line floated downstream, when it got close to the shore, 'father' reeled the line back in and cast again.


I asked 'father', "Do you think I can try to cast it next time?"


'Father' replied, "I don't know Alexi, it's not as easy as it looks."


I pouted a little and 'father' relented, "Okay Alexi, next time you can try a cast."


I quickly reeled in the line, messed with the reel the way 'father' did, whipped the fishing pole and did what I thought 'father' did. But I must have done something wrong because the bobber flew all the way across the river and landed in some rocks. I apologized, "Sorry 'father' I guess I don't know how to do it."


'Father' suggested, "Alexi when we get home I will put a practice weight on the line and you can practice casting."


I clapped my hands and cheered and 'father' cautioned, "Alexi, noise like that will scare away all the fish."


I pulled on the line but it wouldn't move so I complained, "'Father', I think it's stuck."


'Father' came over pulled on the line and swore, "Come on you son of a bitch!"


He gave it one big yank, it came free and flew across the creek toward us. I ducked but the hook hit 'father' in the neck and he swore, "Son of a bitch, now I've hooked myself."


I commented, "'Father', fishing seems like it's dangerous."


He said, "I never remember having this many problems fishing before."


I dejectedly sat down and said, "'Father', I'm sure it's me. Bad luck seems to find me everywhere. Look at what happened at the laboratory - that was all my fault."


'Father' scolded me, "Alexi, that's not true. There have always been some problems at the laboratory."


I countered, "'Father', that's not true, we didn't have any problems with Chow Mein until she came to live with me."


'Father' said, "Alexi, Chow Mein and the love your mother gave her was always a problem. Now help me put a new hook on this line."


I opened the little snap thing, and slipped it off the line connected to the old hook and 'father' praised, "Good job Alexi. I will need a mirror to take this hook out of my neck. So we will do this at home."


He put a new hook on the line, put a worm on the hook and cast the line into the creek. I told 'father', "One of these days I will learn how to do that."


We again watched the bobber and this time as it got close to the wood it began to bounce up and down. 'Father' excitedly said, "Alexi, a fish is biting the hook, pull on the line."


I grabbed the line with my hand pulled hard on it and screamed as the line was pulled through my hand cutting it. I dropped the fishing pole and 'father' grabbed toward it as the fish took the pole into the creek.


'Father' swore, "That son of a bitch!!!"


I interrupted, "… 'Father', why are you using so many bad words today?"


'Father' apologized, "Sorry Alexi, I guess fishing isn't as much fun as I remember."


I confessed, "'Father', I'm not having any fun either. Perhaps we should go home. But could we stop by the store again, I'm hungry."


'Father' agreed, "That's an excellent idea."


We headed to the store, walked in, the proprietor took one look at my 'father' and said, "It looks like you had some problems, why don't you let me get those hooks out of you."


'Father' replied, "That would be great, I tried pulling them out the way they came in and it didn't work."


The proprietor replied, "Yeah, to take a hook out, you have to push it all the way through and then cut off the barb on the end."


I remarked, "That sounds like it hurts."


The proprietor replied, "You're right sonny, it hurts like hell."


He handed a bottle to my 'father' and suggested, "Take a couple good snorts of this, we'll give it about ten minutes to work on you and then I will remove the hooks."


'Father' took about three 'good snorts' on the bottle and waited, the proprietor came over, looked at 'father' and announced, "It looks like you're ready."


He looked at me and suggested, "You might not want to watch this."


I challenged, "Oh no, I want to watch so when this happens next time we go fishing I can do it."


He started on the hook in 'father's' neck, pushed it all the way through, while 'father' made some bad noises then he took a tool and cut the barb off. Once the barb was gone he easily pulled the hook out.


The one in 'father's' finger was easier, and 'father' didn't make as many bad noises. Once the proprietor finished he asked, "You don't go fishing much, do you?"


'Father' replied, "This is the very first time with my son and I haven't gone fishing for years."


The proprietor suggested, "You know, we have a little fishing class for beginners that might be great for you and your son."


'Father' began to say no when I said, "I think that would be wonderful. We did catch a fish today but he took our fishing pole when he did this to my hand."


I held out my hand the proprietor looked at it and said, "Sonny, we need to put a bandage on that hand. How did this happen?"


I replied, "'Father' told me to pull on the line, so I grabbed the line with my hand and then it slipped through my hand and cut it."


He gave 'father' a dirty look and said, "I think your father should have given you a little instruction before you came out here to fish. But don't worry, come to the class and we will teach you everything."


I excitedly asked, "Even how to throw the bait?"


The proprietor replied, "That's called casting and we will make you an expert at it."


He finished with my hand and said, "Now, I will see both of you next Saturday."


On the way home, 'father' asked, "Alexi, are you sure you want to take this fishing class?"


I enthusiastically replied, "Yes 'father' I really do."


Flashback – Ira and Mira – continuing


Mira commented, "Sister it is a shame that we do not have a Baltika beer to go with this excellent dried fish."


I complained, "Mira I feel after yesterday you have partaken of enough alcoholic beverages and have become dipsomaniac."


Mira counter complained, "My sister it was you who was a dipsomanic last night. You did not even recognize my walking couch."


There was no sense talking with my sister Mira when she was like this. I continued to enjoy my dried fish and checked my interior accoutrements to verify they were practically dry.


Flashback – Todd – On the mission


I walked into the kitchen to make a cup of coffee, looked at it and realized that with the distraction of Maria and Gail I had forgotten to purchase the items for the kitchen. Damn, what were we going to do now about eating and cooking for today? To add further insult to the situation, my stomach growled and confirmed I was hungry. Yeah, perhaps I shouldn't have sold everything in the kitchen to the realtor because she literally took everything.


Maria walked in, this time in a decent one piece swimsuit, spun around and asked, "Do you like this better?"


I evilly signed, "No, I liked the other one better, but only for my viewing and for selfish reasons."


Then I added, "We have a problem because there is nothing in the kitchen."


Maria smiled and said, "Don't worry, Roberto will be back soon with some food from his restaurant. Then he said we can go shopping for the kitchen and other rooms."


I signed, "Other rooms?"


Maria laughed and said, "I guess you forgot, you sold the furniture out of the master bedroom and the bedroom Gail is using. We need to replace those items unless we're all sleeping in your bedroom tonight."


I quickly signed, "Maria, while I would like you to sleep with me, there is no way I want Gail in my bed."


Maria grinned and said, "I know Todd, it's just that you're so much fun to tease."


Roberto showed up with the food and I asked, "I thought you had to work today?"


Maria translated and Roberto said, "I talked to my boss and she told me to take some time to make sure you were settled in."


Gail flew into the kitchen and rapidly signed, "Food! I thought I smelled food."


Maria translated, we all had a good laugh and began to eat lunch…