Chapter 34

September 24th, 2010

Not Worth A Life

I called Karl Jayson, the excavator in Adam's Junction, and told him where to send the bill for digging the holes for the "Princeton" American Elms, but he said that with me ridding the town of the 2 Holzapples and 2 Grove scumbags, there'd be no charge. I insisted upon paying him, and firmly requested an invoice, so we'd be even. The Elms arrived yesterday, on my day off, and I had my LSCP Crew immediately repot them into 40gal containers with farm soil and compost, and put them in a special place, with "sold" tags, under drip irrigation. My tree stakes and Cobra Rope were already bought and in my truck/ equipment storage building.

With the 100% pure 24-karat gold assay, I was assured of a nice retirement, and stored the nuggets and ore in my 3,000lb Canon Dbl Door Gun Safe. M&MC Corp called to say they were at the site working the vein, and had a ex-Marine Sniper 24-hr armed guard watching over things there. They'd let me know in a few days how deep it went back into the rock formation. They were insured, bonded and had an impeccable reputation and references, which I thoroughly checked-out through several sources, before I'd hired them, so I knew I could trust them.

I fed Murphy, my remaining condo cat, and drove up to The Cabin, to check on the vein and guard. As I pulled into the 1,000ft driveway, I saw the laser hit the windshield, and called the guard's cellphone provided to me by M&MC Corp, in case I visited. He was "sporting" a Barrett M1A1 .50cal BMG — nothing I had was a match for that weapon — and I quickly ID'd myself with a special password. He issued the come-along okay. Hands-up, I exited my Jeep and showed him my ID. We both drew our 1911 .45s just in case some shit would break-out, unexpectedly. I asked him how it was going and he said they'd bored 25ft back into the vein, and nuggets the size of golf balls and baseballs were dropping out of the vein. They'd be catalogued, photographed and inventoried, and store in the truck, for transport. In all his few years since honorable discharge from Iraq, he'd never seen anything like this vein. I was both stunned and pleased. His armored truck was parked nearby, and empty for now. It would fill-up early in the morning when the crew showed-up. Each day, they would deposit the nuggets into their bank and the ore into a reputable smelting factory, for separation and purification: still 24-karat pure.

I disarmed The Cabin, went in a refilled Jenny's (the mixed-breed, half-frozen puppy I'd found along the road, rescued, and bought from her uncaring owners for $150, this Winter) 3 bowls; she was happy to see me. Then, I heard the shot. I grabbed my .50cal Beowulf and called the guard's cellphone; no answer. I called Sheriff Bunce and Sgt Clay Atler for help, and I began the long belly-crawl down to the creek, camouflaging myself as I went. When I was 50yds away, I saw the two strangers standing over the body of the ex-Marine Recon Sniper's body, throat slit ear-to-ear and a large bloody hole in the front of his head. I knew I had trouble. I saw two strange intruders moving around the creek and vein, collecting nuggets, and shot them both 'center-mass' with the Beowulf 50cal. By then, Sheriff Bunce and Sgt Atler were roaring into the 1,000ft driveway, cars full of deputies and lights flashing. They quickly took charge; I dropped my weapons, laced my fingers behind my head, and stood absolutely still.

It looked like I killed murderous, crazed, drug-dealing bothers Randy & Billy Bob Grove, who were wanted on 16 felony warrants, since all the Holtzapples were already in jail. No loss, said Sheriff Bunce; you're doing our job for us, which the courts can't seem to do. But there's scores more of them out there, and once they get word as to what you've done, they'll be coming for you. There were only a few Holtzapples left, and they were all in prison, but there were scores of Groves and their relatives. No problem: 3 Nam tours in 3rd Special Forces/ Green Berets 1971-1974, has VERY well-prepared me for this whole mess. I was just so sorry that the young ex-Marine Recon Vet guard was killed. It was our first meeting and I had a feeling that we'd become friends, despite the age differential. I vowed that I wouldn't let that happen to me. I notified M&MC Corp immediately, and they sent two ex-military guards out that night, to watch the site.

I left The Cabin at 8:15pm, as it was already dark, and noticed two sets of headlights following me. I sped ahead, pulled over to the side of the road, and took my Armalite AR-10 .308 with Leupold Gold Dot Scope up the slope, 6 x 40-round mags, and ran into the woods for cover. I waited until they stopped at my Jeep, and noticed that they were both Sheriff Bunce's and Sgt Clay Atler's marked squad cars, filled with Deputies, and now the FBI was "shadowing" them with another 2 cars of Agents. I put the AR-10 over my head and walked out of the woods. They recognized me immediately.

I gave Sheriff Bunce my CCW-PA Card (for "protection") and the two rifles: the AR-10 .308cal and Beowulf .50cal, and he handed all three items over to the FBI, who checked the registrations and validity of the CCW-PA card, as well as my "rap sheet", which showed a few traffic tickets and one accident in the past 60 years. All was in order and the CCW and weapons were returned to me. I put the two rifles back into the Eagle carrying bags, and the CCW-PA into my wallet, behind my drivers license. I was then sitting in the back of Sheriff Bunce's patrol car, and two of the young FBI Agents slid-in on either side of me. They asked me what 5th Special Forces was like in "The Nam" back in the 70s, what I went through for training (12 weeks at Ft Bragg and 1 month in "Jungle School" in Panama) and I responded that it was "hell and a good time", all at once. I was a Captain when I "mustered-out" in 1974. I had 2 Silver Stars, 3 Bronze Stars with Oakleaf Clusters, dozens of combat ribbon medals; a veritable "fruit salad" of awards for what I did with CIA and the "Black Ops". I also did Sniper Training School with the Rangers and made a ¾ mile shot into a VC/ NVA officers' heads, many times. I also said that I never wanted this kind of thing to happen up here; that it was my place for "virtual retreat from my work-a-day world" and all I wanted to do was relax, read my books and enjoy Jenny, my virtual dog, whom I'd rescued and bought. They were startled, since I had 752 confirmed kills in 3 years in Nam, 3rd highest in all US Armed Forces ground troops. I told them that after cleaning-out the gold vein, I might be selling the place and looking for another place, somewhere else. They said their 12-week training at Quantico (VA) was a picnic compared to what I'd been through. quickly left the car, and I was all alone, until Sheriff Bunce and Sgt Atler got in, saying I could go back to York. I was 3-4 hours late, as it was.

It was only Sunday evening, and I'd be back up here on Thursday, my day off. I noted to bring my usual Kimber 1911 "Eclipse Target II" .45cal ACP sidearm, the AR-10 .308cal NATO and the Remington 11-87 "Auto-Loader" 12ga shotgun. I have several Class III AR-15s .223.556 NATO, a Remington 870 Pump 12ga shotgun, Henry "Gold Boy" Repeater chambered in .357 Magnum, a Colt Trooper MK III .357 Magnum and a Bushy Carbon 15 Type 21S Pistol in .223/.556 NATO, which all my AR-15 accessories fit, plus a Glock Model 32 chambered in .357 SIG. I have 5,000-plus rounds for three of those calibers — .45cal ACP, .50cal and 7.62 x 51mm NATO .308 — at The Cabin alone, and I could easily defend the place with them, as well as help provide protection for the gold-mining team. They had brought some impressive firepower along, but the one security guard who was murdered, let his defenses down. I easily killed them both when they weren't paying attention. That's the key: PAY ATTENTION TO EVERYTHING, EVERYWHERE, ALL THE TIME!

After sleeping-in until 1:30pm, on my day off Thursday, quickly going food and clothes shopping, I unloaded everything at the condo, and headed for The Cabin, for a few hours to check on things. M&MC Corp (Minerals & Mining Corp) had two guards posted in a trailer, with trip wires and flares for night intrusions. I introduced myself, showed ID and they called Sgt Atler to confirm it. He did. I asked to see the paperwork on how the vein mining effort was progresing. Wowser! They'd recovered 3.7 tons of pure nuggets and almost 19 tons of gold ore. This was going to be a "big one". Everything, this time, seemed to be under control.

I drove the Jeep back up to The Cabin, disarmed the building, and Jenny was happy to see me. I'd brought her two new cases of Iam's wet dogfood, and three 30lb bags of Iam's dry dog food. I cleaned-up her litter boxes on the tarp, in the 2nd BR, and re-filled the boxes. I put her on the leash and took my Kimber sidearm and Beowulf .50cal out for a walk in the meadown, some 300 yds from the creek.

Then I saw the mountain lion crouched on a rock formation about 50yds ahead of us. I tied Jenny to a tree, click-off the safety on the .50cal, and took aim. The lion sprung to the ground and went after a deer in the thicket across the meadow. He caught it, crunched it's throat in his powerful jaws, and began dragging it back to his den. Our threat was negated, and I stopped sweating. As I remembered, that family of mountain lions had 3 cubs in the Spring, and they'd be out hunting for food real soon, so I had evern more to worry about, plus the momma mountain lion, which made five. I hadn't seen the black bears in months, so I was thinking they'd moved-off the property or to a farther end of the 64 acres to claim that territory. I alerted the two guards about the incident and they thanked me, in case a prowling lion set-off the trip lines and flares.

Temps had hit 88°F in that normally cool meadow, with all te trees down and gone. I needed to get in touch with Tim Swanson about helping me get the new "Princeton" American Elms plants, staked and watered-in, very soon.I knew he'd be busy with Spring 2011 nursery orders, so I called and left a mesage to call me back on my cell, for his first available full weekend in November. Otherwise, I'd bring one of my 3-man cres, the three dump trucks with tarped Elm trees, bonger to drive stakes, and we'd get the mulch locally at Midland's Garden Center, from Bob & Karen, who also carried a comparable line of Double-Shredded Hard Bark Mulch, at $22.50/ CuYd. I figured that I'd need 7 yards of mulch to do 30 trees.

I took Jenny back to The Cabin and refilled her 3 bowls. I slumped down into my overstuffed leather chair and ponderd life. I didn't feel like reading, building a fire or a snifter of cognac or brandy. I just needed to wrap things up here, and go back to York. I had to be at at work by 7:30am, and my day-off was over. I needed a shower, clean clothes and sleep, to face the coming weekend. I armed the building and left for the virtual drive back to reality.

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