Thursday, August 22, 2013

And Four to Go

“Good morning my dream man, you are quite the sleeper.” My smiling bride stood over me as I open my heavy lids allowing the morning sun to flood over  me.

I cleared the remaining cobwebs from my head by rubbing my eyes with the thumb and index finger of my right hand.  Turning to my wife about to mirror her grin, two large thuds leapt onto the bed either side of my resting form.

“Daddy, daddy!” my twin girls yelled as their 6 year old bodies kneed various parts of mine as they made their way up the bed for hugs and kisses. My other daughter, eleven years old, stood at the door beaming at the scene. 

Working night shifts throughout the week I return from the job after they leave for school and return from work after their bed times, so Saturdays are special when I eventually wake up midafternoon, this is the days I spend with my favorite four women.

Getting out of bed and lead to the kitchen by the twins holding each of my hands, wife follows with her arms crossed and my eldest daughter leads the way to the breakfast feast spread out on the counter.  Suddenly realizing I am starving I attempt to lunge for the pile of bacon, only to meet resistance by the little monkeys pulling me away from my prize and my other daughter tugging me by my tshirt toward the kitchen table.

Stickler for tradition we make it a point to gather around the table as a family as much as we can for meals.  I cherish these moments, this is why we were put here for this short period of time granted to us.  Family.

As I sit at the head, the three ladies fiddle over the buffet eager to serve the man they rarely see during the week.  Pride swells up as I admire the scene before me.  But something does not feel right, a distant memory, more like an instinct tugs at me.  I feel like I am forgetting something important, like suddenly remembering that you left the stove on or the front door unlocked as you just arrive at work.  I can just remember that….

A large glass of OJ being clonked and splashed onto the table startles me out of my daydream.  Sheri, the smallest of the twins, barely manages to get the glass from the counter to my place setting, not without leaving a trail of yellow drops in her wake.

Mary, my eleven year old, sets my silverware in front of me patting me on the head like a pup as she completes the setting with a folded cloth napkin.  I smile and look at each one of them as they complete the rest of the table.  I patiently wait for them to finish before digging into the mound of food before me.

The kids sit at their respective spots and dig in, showing no such restraint, my wife bends over to my seated level and moves her mouth to my ear.

I take a forkful of scrambled eggs and as I am about to shovel it in she whispers, “nana has volunteered to take the girls out for ice-cream tonight, so we will have the house to ourselves.”

The last six words were drawn out suggestively and grin deepening I shoved the forkful into my face.  Immediately I choked out the contents, the eggs had the texture of sand.

Still feeling the grains of dirt coating the inside of my mouth I reach for the juice to wash away the taste.  Concerned my wife places her hands to my face, instead of feeling the softness of her flesh I felt hard gravel.  Horrified I pulled away.

Equally terrified she screamed looking from my face to my blood on her hands.  Her screams, though, did not sound feminine at all; instead they sounded like…


I quickly closed my eyes to shield them from the burning daylight.  Second attempt I opened them more slowly allowing to adjust to the harshness.  As my eyes came into focus I saw two dark shapes a few feet away. 

I was laying on a hard rocky surface on my stomach, it was extremely hot, and there was a sharp pain in my right cheek.  Now that my vision was clearing I can clearly see that the two dark shapes were large crows, eagerly waiting to see if I was easy prey.

Forcing myself to sit up the crows decided I was not worth it and took off with one more cry of frustration.  Brushing myself off and taking in my surroundings I seemed to be in good shape with the exception of a small cut from the stone I was using as a pillow.

The dream of breakfast with my family fading as I racked my brain of how I got here, realizing I was still in my work uniform.  Ruling out mugging after I found my wallet, I hear a soft groan to my right.

Leaning over I searched the ground to find Tony not too far away, lying on his back he had his hand to his head as if he were waking up from one mother of a hangover.

Feeling like this might as well have been the morning after a hell of a party, our company had strict rules about drinking.  Any violations is met with an immediate dismissal and a lawsuit.  Vetting out people who were even careless about drinking even on off days, the firm took this shit seriously.

Seeing that Tony was okay for now I surveyed the area for the possibility of my other colleagues out here in the same predicament.  Sure enough I spotted Michael and Bruce, Bruce was already on his feet and was helping Michael to his.

Following his example I ignored the aches in my muscles and forced myself up making my way to Tony who seems to have his wit about him and is looking around himself.

“How the fuck….” He says looking up at me, but the words came out dry and raspy. 

He takes my proffered hand and when standing we make our way to the others. 

We are in a desert, the dry and rocking kind rather than sandy.  To the north of us about ten miles was a mountain range, to the south the barons seem to go on forever before we can see a lone mesa in the middle of the harsh landscape.

The sun was high above us so it was certainly after twelve PM.  We were now standing in a group taking in our surroundings.  Besides the cut on my face we seemed to be in good shape, nothing missing and nothing taken.  The only casualty was Bruce’s ‘GuardSafe’ patch over his left chest pocket, it must have torn while he was trying to roll over to stand up, the patch barely held on by a thread.

Michael, our night manager spoke first “Does anyone have any idea how we got out here?”

We shook our heads and I spoke up, “Last I remember sir, was walking the perimeter, one of us said something over the talkie but it gets foggy from there…next thing I am staring down a couple of crows.”

“That was me.” Tony chimed in, “I saw someone approaching the main gate, not close enough to make them, I called out on the talkie to see if it were one of yous.” He spoke in a thick Brooklyn accent.

We all look at each other shaking our heads, Michael was rubbing his chin taking in our words visibly trying to piece this thing together.  

Feeling around my pocket I found my iphone I quickly pulled it out and held it up.  The guys all looked on in interest, Bruce feeling around for his.

No dice, the phone was dead.

“I got something” Bruce said as his droid chimed signaling power up.

Moving in closer he instinctively held it to the sky while the power up screen was still loading.  When the screen finally turned to the main menu of the device we all slumped when the words No Service appear at the top left of the screen.

“Wait!” Bruce exclaims pointing to the date and time portion of the phone, “According to this it is only 3:12PM”

“What day?” Michael asks, stepping forward to get a closer look.

“Today?”  He responds quizzically as he stares at the date.

If that is correct, we have been out for less than twelve hours, I was on my 4AM perimeter check just before our night went to shit.

At this point we all came to the same conclusion Michael voicing it first.

“We must be somewhere near the west coast, if it is three our time and clearly after….”

He was cut off by a distant sound southwest of us.  We all turned our heads to see the source.  Off the horizon we spot a quick reflection of the sun, as the sound grew louder.  Soon we were able to make out a metallic shape.  It was an approaching truck.

Moving toward the vehicle the guys took off.

“Wait” I shouted.  They turned around slowing to a jog, I pointed directly to the west and finished “The truck is approaching from the south west, we need to head in that direction to try and cut it off.”

With that I took off, jogging at first and then a full blown run as I saw the truck was coming up quick.  But it was futile, we slowed as we watched it pass on by.  The road was still a good three miles due west of our position.

However not discouraged we continued with a renewed sense of purpose, for now we know there is a road and with that a way out of this predicament.


An elderly couple heading east on I10 spotted four uniformed men standing at the side of the road.  Slowing down to pick them up his wife did not protest.  Hitting the road from California, they were spending the first few months of retirement travelling across the United States. 

He came to a full stop and the lead man stopped at the open side door after slowing from a jog. 

“Trouble?” the old man asks.

“We seemed to be lost.” The lead man replies as he steps into the cab followed by two more.  The fourth man was just finishing up a phone call and hopped in closing the side door behind him.

After a quick round of introductions, the elderly couple assured that they made the correct decision agreed to drop them off to Phoenix.

The men sat in the back talking quietly to themselves as the one called Michael takes the offered phone from Bruce and places a call.  The conversation could not be made out but the men were all grimed face at some news after Michael hung up.

“You boys alright back there?” the old man shouts out his concern.

“Now worries Mr. Kline, we are just a bit wary from the walk.” Michael replies.

“Did you boys hear about that terrorist attack last night?” the old lady speaks up, “We almost didn’t make the trip when we heard the news this morning.”

The old man interrupts “I aint gonna let no a-rab ruin my plans, no offense son” he quickly adds the last part looking at Bruce who had a darker complexion.

“Um…non taken?” Bruce replies after he realized the old man meant him, asking in a quizzical tone since he was clearly Mexican, not Middle Eastern nor even African American.

After a moment of silence the old man spotted police lights coming up fast behind him.  Slowing down and moving somewhat onto the shoulder, the cop car just continues to tailgate him, matching his pace.  Taking the hint he continues to pull over to the side of the road coming to a complete stop, he takes a quick look in his mirror at his passengers only to seem them somewhat alarmed.

“Not sure why they are pullin me over, was barely doing five miles below the limit.” He peaks at them.

Two men approach from either side of the RV, quickly the old man realizes they are not police.

“Funny they seem to be military.”

 © 2013 Kinse, My Sweet Hero

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