Chapter 58

April 1st, 2011

Jenny's Trauma

After the Church Meeting let out at 9:15pm Friday, I was on my way northward with duffel bag packed, AR-10 .308 cal (7.62 x 51mm NATO) and my Remy 11-87 SemiAutomatic 12ga shotgun. I had a "list" of things to get accomplished, as well as sleep-in very late on both Saturday & Sunday mornings, since I'll be working non-stop, 7 days a week for the next 12 weeks. I pulled off I-83 and on to the gravel side road to The Cabin, up the 1,000ft drive and under the left side carport. I dis-armed the building, brought-in my gear, re-set the alarm, and gave Jenny a big hug. I refilled her 3 bowls, and she supped gratefully and contentedly. After turning-up the heat to 77°F to take the chill off, I opened the flu and lit a roaring fire in the Living Room's Massive Hearth. Temps outside had fallen to 31°F and it would get colder as the night progressed here in the mountains. I checked all the window locks and motion sensors and secured the back door. Jenny curled-up on her bearskin rug in front of the fire; she'd missed our many previous (prior to my volunteer Deputy Sheriff duty) days and evenings together playing, reading and

sleeping; I could tell. Well, we'd have this last weekend together until July and August, when I'd again have Sundays off. As I said, I planned to eat well and sleep late tonight and tomorrow, with a succinct shopping list, some errands to run and chores to do before I left on Sunday evening.

I shaved, showered and changed clothes and sat at the empty Dining Room table, reviewing the "list", cleaning my AR-10, Remy 12ga and Kimber 1911 .45cal on 5-6 layers of newspaper with my Hoppe's Deluxe Gun Cleaning Kits. With the weapons cleaned and newspaper disposed of, the fire itself needed a 3ft log and I added one into the mix of wood. I began gathering-up nearly the 90 stacked-on-the-floor Conservative Books I'd brought to read on weekends, loaded them into fresh boxes and piled them near the front door, for loading and transport in my Jeep on Sunday evening. I could use a couple of bookshelves here, and added them to my "list" for tomorrow. It was almost 11:00pm now, and although I wasn't really tired, I decided to take a (Rx) Lunesta® 1mg, so I'd get some quality sleep and get as much of my "list" accomplished on Saturday, since Sunday was a no-shopping day in Adam's Junction. I'd go to Roy's Shell Station and fill-up first, then to Bev & Tony's General Store for plenty of Iam's® wet and dry dogfood, then to a couple of local antique stores for bookshelves. I sat in front of the fire and stared into the dancing flames, petting Jenny and smoking the last Cuban Cigar. I had some of my new favorite drink — Ocean Spray® Diet Blueberry Juice and Ocean Spray® Diet Pomegranate-Blueberry Juice — on the rocks, no alcohol, 5 calories per 8oz glass. I now needed sleep as the pill was kicking-in, left the fireplace flu half open, turned-down the inside temp to 69°F, turned-off the lights, and went to bed in the Master Bedroom. Jenny quickly joined me and we slept until 8:00am.

The alarm went off at 8:15am Saturday, and I hit the snooze button several times, but finally turned it off, got up and fed Jenny, turned-up the heat to 77°F and went back to sleep until 10:00am. It was a cloudy, drizzly, 23°F day so far when I finally started making breakfast: a glass of OJ, 2 slow/low-fried, sunny-side-up eggs with grits and butter, Country Sausage, home-made hashbrowns w/ butter, Pink Grapefruit Sections, a banana and French-Roast, Turkish-Grind Coffee. I was filled. I did the dishes and pans and put them in the kitchen sink rack to dry. After dressing, I grabbed my "list", motioned Jenny into the Jeep's passenger seat, to sit on a thick blanket over the leather seats, armed the building, and drove-off to Roy's Shell Station to gas-up. Gas prices up here, at the pump, skyrocketed 36¢ this week, after briefly falling 18-20¢ last week. Unleaded Regular (87 oct) is at $3.85/gal, Unleaded Premium (89oct) is at $3.95/gal, Premium (93 oct) is now at $4.15/gal and Diesel just climbed to $5.27/gal, in the Adam's Junction Village area. Ouch. I talked to Roy's son Randy, a trustworthy Eagle Scout like myself (Class of 1963), about taking good care of Jenny while I was gone and gave him a 3-month advance plus some extra cash for "incidentals" for Jenny, key and digital combination to The Cabin — which I would change locks and combinations after returning in July and August — for personal safety reasons. I paid the bill and we drove to Bev & Tony's General Store, to load-up on Jenny's favorite brand: Iam's® wet and dry dogfood, which we drove back to The Cabin to unload and store for Jenny. I said goodbye to Bev & Tony, hugged Bev, and told them I'd stop by Gabrielle's grave with flowers, before I left on Sunday evening. I did.

Every day which goes by, I miss someone else who has died, either of old age or prematurely, and is now gone forever from my Life on this earthly plane. I mourn their passing, but rejoice in the fact that we once crossed paths and shared Life and Love, together.

I stopped by the AJ Fire Dep't to say goodbye to the guys who'd been out on many calls with me, when I was a Volunteer Deputy Sheriff. They weren't public union thugs and punks, and I respected them all for risking their lives numerous times. As I continued my tour around Adam's Junction, I saw Deputy Tim doing my old circuit, and stopped to say goodbye. He asked if I was going to take the job with the Feds, as sniper/sharpshooter, and I said I wasn't. I still hadn't call either the FBI or BATFE Commander's cell phones, to say, "no thanks". I had a 21-year old business to run and employees whose families depended upon me for a living. Besides, "killing" wasn't where I wanted to be at this point in my life; there was just too much living to do at 61, after hearing of a longtime 72-year old friend and customer's death on Friday, I decided on staying put and trying to resurrect my business from the sinking economy, no thanks to the racist, communist, muslim-loving, asshole hate-America, half-breed in The White House (I sure as hell didn't vote for the subhuman Kenyan!) and the corrupt liberal-demokkkRAT/ RINO scum in the US Senate. I just hoped that PA would become more small-business-friendly with a newly-elected GOP government in-place.

I also stopped at Nell's Kitchen Drive-In Restaurant to say goodbye to her and her employees, and re-drove much of the residential section of my 10-square block circuit I'd patrolled for the AJPD for the past few months, just to imprint that quaint, little "virtual" village and its beautiful old homes into my memory. Not much like it in the York area, except across the river in Wrightsville (PA). People I'd met and helped with various things, waved, as they came out to pick-up mail and their morning papers. I would truly miss visiting this "virtual" place with the regularity as I had, over the Winter months. Ooops, I suddenly remembered why I came here in the first place: some antique oak bookshelves! Duh. I was letting my sentimentality get the best of me.

With an empty Jeep once again, and Jenny on a short leash, I headed to the various antique stores downtown on South Mainstreet and on North Mainstreet, looking for 2-3 oak or maple bookshelves, for my Collection of Conservative Books. I'd take a few unread books back with me to York to finish, but I'd already read 95% of them, and would be picking-up even more books over the Spring months to add to my Collection. After going through the "treasures" in all of the little antique stores on both sides of Main Street, I found 3 1930s Oak Stacking Bookshelves with double drawers and a 1930s Glass Front, Antique Oak Barrister's Bookcase bought them both at a fair ($475.25) price, and loaded them into the back and on top of the Jeep, wrapped in waterproof tarps. Jenny barked approvingly, as she didn't like to circumnavigate all those piles on the LR floor and these bookshelves would negate that problem for her, plus organize things for me. I carefully drove back to The Cabin, so as not to break any of the fragile, old glass, and carried them into the LR, placed them against two separate, semi-empty walls, wiped them out, polished them with Pledge®, and loaded-in my books from the boxes I'd packed them in, earlier. Perfect fit with lots of room for any new literary additions. Now, my back was starting to hurt again from doing that lifting.

I vacuumed all of the oriental and braided rugs and Jenny's favorite bearskin, wet-mopped the kitchen and bathroom, used Pledge® on all the oak tables and chairs, Windexed® the inside windows, cleaned the kitchen and bathroom counters, changed the Master BR linens, did 2+ loads of laundry, folded everything, and generally wore myself out with housecleaning. Time for some fresh-air exercise and a walk.

At 3:45pm, I stoked-up the sputtering fire, and began moving multiple wheelbarrow loads of dried, well-seasoned, split firewood from the woodshed in the backyard, on to the back porch, carefully cross-stacking it and tarping it for later use. After finishing loading-up the porch with as much as it would hold, I decided to go for a walk with Jenny on her short leash, grabbed my AR-10 .308cal (7.62 x 51mm NATO), with Leupold Gold Dot CQ/T Scope, and a couple of extra loaded 20-round mags, and set out across the 3-4 acre meadow. No sooner had we gone ½ mile, we encountered a family of 2 large adult black bears and their 3 new cubs down by the stream, fishing for trout and watering themselves. Jenny stayed perfectly still and quiet, while I quietly-chambered a round and opened the Leupold Gold Dot Scope's lens caps and zeroed them in. We just stood quietly behind a tree, downwind and watched. Within 15-20 minutes, they moved-off upstream to try their luck at fishing. Otherwise, they'd be relegated to eating berries in the brambles patch. I patted Jenny on the head for holding herself back, as I didn't want to have to shoot anything today. Jenny and I continued our walk. I kept the AR-10 at-the-ready, since I had no idea what we'd run into this time of year. Hopefully, nothing.

After almost two hours of walking in 26°F, we'd had enough, headed back to The Cabin and noticed that 2 AJ Police Cruisers were sitting in the circle turnaround in front of The Cabin's deck. It was Sgt Clay and Deputy Alex, come to chat and say goodbye for the Spring months. I doffed my muddy 16" English Wellington Boots, invited them inside, and they radioed the Dispatcher with a "10-20 personal 15mins" location. I turned-in my Deputy's Badge and ID to Sgt Clay, plus some other minor Police Gear from the Jeep, and he said that Locker #7 and Parking Space #7 were mine when I came back in July and August. We exchanged cell numbers, shook hands and they left. I re-stoked the fire, made a juice drink, and sat down in front of the fireplace, and nodded-off for a couple of hours. Jenny was also pooped and fell asleep on her bearskin. With The Cabin armed and secured and the heat turned-up, I dreamed of many things. It was nearly 7:00pm and growing dusk. I woke-up with Jenny's head on my knee, licking my left hand. She knew that this would be our last weekend together and she was missing me already. I felt the same about her company. I'd grown very fond of her over the months since I'd adopted her, too.

I was getting hungry for dinner, and so was Jenny, I refilled her 3 bowls (water, dry food & wet food) with her favorite, plus some "treats" I'd bought at Bev & Tony's General Store; she was most appreciative. I made two 10oz Allen Brows 'Prime Grade' Filet Mignons with Bleu Cheese melted on top, oven-roasted potatoes drizzled with EVOO, a can of Bush's Grillin' (Bourbon Sauce) Beans, ¼ of a loaf of warm, crusty Italian Bread smeared with roasted garlic cloves paste and Heller's salted butter, applesauce and my fruit juice. Jenny got a "special treat" of half a medium-rare filet mignon, which she inhaled, although I'd cut it into small pieces for her. Her cocked-head and quizzical look of "is that all?" made me laugh. Once again, filled-up, all dishes and pans done, and drying in the sink rack, I sat back down at the fireplace, nodded-off again and dreamed of nothing in particular, until 11:15pm.

I took "The Pillars of The Earth" by Ken Follett, from the newly-purchased and installed bookshelves, sat back down in front of the roaring fire and picked-up where I'd left-off 2 weeks ago. I enjoyed it until 1:15am, and then had to get some sleep and re-bookmarked it for

later. I shut-down The Cabin to 69°F, checked the arming system and front/rear floodlights, closed the hearth flu damper halfway and headed for bed. I was so tired that I didn't need a Rx sleeping pill tonight; just 3-4 aspirin and a heating pad for my back pain twinges. Jenny joined me and I was asleep in under 10 minutes.

At 2:35am, the interior alarm went-off, as did the front/rear floodlights, and I jumped out of the bed, with my Kimber .45cal, quickly got dressed and grabbed the Remy 11-87 Semi-Automatic 12ga Shotgun, loaded with alternating Slugs and .00 Buckshot. I crouched below window level, didn't turn on any lights, and Jenny moved stealthily to the kitchen door, leading to the carport where I parked the Jeep. I could see 2 silhouettes of men standing just outside the door, and heard them whispering about "revenge on Shelley and everyone inside"; then I lost the jist of their conversation. I quickly called the AJ Police Station on my cell phone's speedial and alerted the Dispatcher, who said Deputies Bob and Charles were just leaving the downtown circuit, and she'd have them to me in 5-10 minutes. The old adage, "When seconds count, the police are only minutes away." rang very true. I was on my own. I released the FED holster safety and mechanical safeties from both the Kimber 1911 .45cal and Remy Semi-Auto 12ga, and the silhouettes split-up and one went to the back door, while the other waited at the side door. Since I was already at the side door, I decided to take him out first. The shot through the back door, even if he ducked down, would be a no-brainier with either weapon, with the Kimber doing the less damage to my dwelling, though easily killing any intruder. The shotgun would blow a hole through each door and intruder large enough to drive a VW through, and I'd have to replace both doors Sunday before leaving. Shit. My other option was to go quietly out the front door and kill them both outside, so no damage would occur to The Cabin or to Jenny from these two scum. This was far, far too close for the powerful AR-10 and its specialized Leupold Gold Dot CQ/T Scope, so I'd go with what I have at-hand: the Kimber and Remy 12ga.

I put my black hoody on over my gray GC&N T-Shirt and dark blue Lee Jeans, smeared some mud on my White face, donned black shoes, checked the weapons' ammo loads, had extra 12ga shells and .45cal mags in my black vest, and unlocked the front door, and crawled slowly out onto the porch, gently-shutting the door behind me. The man at the carport's side door had just walked around the left corner, with a 30:06cal deer rifle, and I shot him at 15ft, 3x in the chest, "centermass", and he fell dead. The other perp at the back door came blindly-running around the right side of The Cabin, where I'd crawled to the edge of the deck and as soon as he was fully in sight, I shot him from 25ft with the Kimber, 2x in the forehead and 3x in the chest, also "centermass". He was also dead. Now, Jenny started barking and snarling, trying to keep the third perp from entering the side door, and I crawled back inside The Cabin, only to see another lowlife scumbag club her twice with the butt of his deer rifle, and I shot him 2x in the chest from 6-8ft away, "centermass", and once in the forehead, for "good measure". Three down; zero to go! By then, Deputies Bob and Charles had arrived with an ambulance following closely, and I was tending to Jenny, after securing all 3 perps' rifles. Since they were all dead, no cuffing was needed. I called the local Vet, Dr Jayson Martin, DMV, and he told me to wrap her in a blanket and get to his office ASAP; he'd be assembling a surgical staff and leaving home right now for his office's OR. She had a small cut on the side of her face, but I didn't see any other external damage; any injuries would probably be internal damage, if he hit her more than the two times I saw before I killed him, in the form of broken bones and damaged organs, if any. I turned it all over to the Deputies while I took my unconscious dog to the Vet's at 75-80mph, in town. I'd told the Deputies that as soon as I turned her over to Dr Jayson for tests and x-rays, I'd be right back. I passed several more ambulances coming from Memorial Hospital (which would be turned into Coroner's Wagon Transports) and another Police Cruiser with Sgt Clay in it.

Dr Jayson was true to his word: he had 2 young trauma staff ready and a trauma OR prepped; he immediately took Jenny from me and began prepping her for the testing and possible surgery. I

wrote down my cell number, asked him to call me when he knew anything, and ran out to the Jeep to get back to the crime scene at The Cabin. The whole place was lit-up like Christmas, with all the emergency vehicles' lights blinking. I found Sgt Clay and took him inside, and laid it all out from 2:30am. We found muddy boot tracks on both the side and back doors' porches and tracks around each side of The Cabin. A second set of tracks came from the nearby woods to the side door, and that's when Jenny was clubbed as she guarded the door from his entry to get to me. Sgt Clay had it all diagrammed, statements taken and the ambulance crews had "tagged & bagged" the 3 dead perps. My cell phone rang with Dr Jayson on the other end saying Jenny had a mild concussion, two stitches and was "in doggie recovery". I could come see her anytime, as he would wait for me. I asked Clay if I could leave, and he said that he'd go along; and that the mess here would be handled by the 12-15 current on-site personnel who owed me lots of uncounted favors, and they'd put it all back right and clean-up the bloody messes. CSI would be here in the late morning/early afternoon to finish-up the investigation. We sped along to Dr Jason's Office and I ran inside to see Jenny. Slightly-sedated, an IV tube in her forearm, she lamely barked and moaned at seeing me, and began licking me as I got within 6" of her. After an CAT-Scan, she was declared free of internal organ injuries and broken bones; luckily I'd killed the lowlife who'd only gotten two whacks at her. Any more could have proved very injurious or fatal to her small frame. She'd be okay in a few days, the Vet said. He wanted to keep her for observation and stitches removal for another 3-4 days, and I said I'd be down each afternoon after work, since we were still on Winter Hours until Friday. I offered him a credit card to pay for expenses to-date, but he refused. I'd get his bill after it was all over. He did, after all have one of the brothers of Jenny, from the original litter, so we were "related", somehow. Don't ask. I petted Jenny and kissed her on top of the head "good night" and she settled back into a mildly-tranquilized sleep. Long day for her; it could have been much worse, as when she was badly mauled by a large 300lb Black Bear, almost becoming its lunch, which I quickly killed with my .50cal Beowulf.

Poor little Jenny; she's been through a lot in her short, young life. And she's only a few years old, so she's got a long way to go. I hope I can help her get to a nice, ripe old age.

It was now daybreak (6:55am) on Sunday, so Clay and I stopped at Nell's Kitchen for several tray-carriers of coffee and bags of breakfast sandwiches for the workers back my place; my treat. To our complete amazement, all but Deputy Bob had left, and the place was cleaned even better than I had done earlier in the day. I disarmed the building, since the Choice 1 Security System was still running, invited them both inside for OJ, Maple Oatmeal, Eggs Benedict & homemade Hollandaise Sauce, steamed local pork sausages, grits and butter, pink grapefruit sections and lots of coffee. We talked about many subjects, but mainly about my coming back to AJ when I could and the pending job offer with the Feds. I said "yes" to coming back and "no" to the job with the Feds. I had other, more important priorities in my life. Well-satiated from a huge breakfast, Sgt Clay, Deputy Bob and I shook hands and they left after notifying the Dispatcher. They dropped-off the still-warm breakfast sandwiches at the Fire Dep't, Hospital and would take the remaining ones back to the Police Station for the 3rd Shift's "morning munchies". I built a roaring fire, lain-on a 3ft log, made-up the Master Bed, took a shower and changed clothes. Then I laid down on the couch to nap from my massively-interrupted night's sleep. It was lonely without Jenny here, so I closed my eyes and later woke-up at 9:15am. So much for a good weekend's slept.

I had a message on my cellphone from Sgt Clay, that the three perps I'd killed last night were "friends" of the Holtzapples, Groves and Andersens, and had done a lot of hard time together in the PA State Prison, in Danville. They were also in on numerous armed robberies, rapes, break-ins, home invasions, drug distribution rings, car thefts and a long, long list of suspected murders. They wouldn't be missed. County DA, Stan Robbins, would summarily convene a Grand Jury, as is the Law, after all the AJPD and CSI Evidence had been gathered and sorted, to determine charges against me, if any. As far as he was concerned, "The Castle Doctrine" applied and had been in effect since the founding of the PA Commonwealth in June of 1776, and not the bullshit going through the sub-idiotic State Assembly in Harrisburg, these days.

I re-stoked the fire with some split fire wood, getting down toward the end of the inside pile. After splashing some very cold water on my face, I called Dr Jayson's Office to see how Jenny was doing, and got his answering service. He returned my call within 3-4 minutes, and said she's doing fine, had a restful night, and is healing (2 stitches) nicely, despits a couple of minor bruises. She should be ready to come home very soon.

I needed to empty out the 'fridge and freezer of opened, perishable goods, since I'd be "away" for the next 3 months, working 7 days a week at my business, and only visit off and on when I could. I had the 3-4 boxes which my Book Collection originally was packed-in, before I bought those two sets of 19302s oak shelves yesterday afternoon, so I'd use them to transport any foodstuffs back to York. I piled the boxes in the kitchen, and went out on the front porch for a smoke. It was 29°F/ 23°F Wind Chill and I didn't stay long outside; the fire inside felt much better, but at least I was now waking-up from a lousy night's sleep.

Not wanting to dirty and wash anything, since I'd put everything away yesterday evening after dinner with Jenny, I opted to go to Nell's Kitchen for breakfast. The Cabin was pristine and everything was in its place, for a change. I dressed in layers, slipped-on my Kimber 1911 "Eclipse Target II" .45cal ACP, and took my AR-10 along in the back seat of the Jeep. I turned down the furnace to 70°F, armed the building and drove through town to the north side where Nell's was located. People were just on their way to Church at 8:15am and hadn't heard the "news of last night's shoot out".

I pulled into Nell's, parked and went inside to an almost deserted restaurant. I figured I'd sit at the counter instead of at a booth in the restaurant area, since Nell was having her 15th Anniversary and it was decorated with balloons, streamers and everyone at the restaurant got a "gag-hat" to wear. Though, "something didn't seem just right" at the counter. I looked around the right side end of the counter and the restaurant was empty of both customers and wait staff, as was the counter. I slid my coat back and unsnapped the strap on the Galco FED Paddle Holster, holding my 5" .45cal Kimber. I said loudly, "Well, if I can't get any service in here I'll go to Uncle Rays' Joint or Sarah's Place to eat!" and walked out the door to the Jeep. I used my cellphone to call the Police Dispatcher and have her put me through to Sgt Clay pronto. I told him what I'd found at Nell's, but that I wasn't a Deputy any more – no Police Deputy Badge or ID – so I had to bail out of the place. He deputized me over the phone, said he and 2 Deputies would be on their way in seconds and that he'd bring my Badge and ID. I was to go ahead and take the perps down, right now. He'd cover for me.

I pulled the Jeep out of the parking lot and into the driveway down the street, on the opposite side of the free-standing garage where it couldn't be seen from the restaurant. I grabbed the AR-10, chambered a round from the 20-round magazine, threw 3 more 20-round .308cal magazines in my coat pocket, as well as 5 more 8-round .45cal mags in the other pocket. The AR-10 was massive "overkill" for this range – I wished I'd brought the Remy 11-87 Semi-Automatic 12ga Shotgun with an EoTech Red Dot Scope, but who knew? – and I snuck through the back alleyway to Nell's, hoping that Clay and his Deputies would get here quickly, before a bad hostage situation developed when people from Church started arriving. Damn, all this on an empty stomach, too.

I checked-out the back windows of Nell's, tried the backdoor and all were locked. I could see three perps, all with 9mm handguns and one with a sawed-off shotgun; I'd have to get him first with the AR-10, since my .45 wouldn't be much good against a scattergun at close range. All the employees were locked in Nell's office and I could clearly see the phone cord had been ripped out of the wall and was lying on the floor. At least they were safe, for now. Standing on 2 steel milkcrates to get a level shot inside the restaurant through this 8ft high window, I took aim at the man with the shotgun, through the window's glass, and fired. The .308cal lifted him 12-18" off the ground and threw him back 10-15ft, at this 25-30ft range. One down; two to go. The two others ran for cover behind a booth and a door. I fired 3 rounds at the backside of the booth, in a triangle pattern, 18" apart, and the 2nd man slumped out from behind the booth. He'd been hit in the left shoulder and was trying to shift the 9mm to his right hand when I fired again, hitting him "centermass" and killing him outright. The 3rd perp kicked-open the door and came out shooting with a 9mm in both hands. Bullets broke the glass all around me and I could feel blood trickling down my face as I was either grazed from a bullet or cut from all of the flying glass shards. My single shot to his stomach stopped him cold and he flew backward into the closed door and slumped to the floor. I shot him again in the forehead, just for good measure.

Suddenly, the parking lot filled-up with police cars and ambulances. I wiped my face and the running blood smeared my eyes and glasses, blurring my vision. I put the safety on the AR-10, slung its sling over my shoulder, jumped down from the steel crates, and slumped back against the building's rear wall. Clay and two medics came running around to me, while the 2 Deputies and other medical personnel entered the restaurant. Clay shoved my Badge and ID into my coat pocket, making it official. The medics led me to an ambulance and a stool, where I sat while they cleaned me up and treated my superficial wounds of glass by tweezering them out of my forehead and cheeks; antiseptic and heavy-duty band-aids, but no stitches required. "Can't you even get breakfast by yourself without making a real mess", was Clay's retort, with a big smile. "Heh, heh, heh", I chuckled back. The dead men were also ID'd as Groves, based upon their wallet IDs, but hadn't been associated with any of the scum we dealt with previously. This was a whole new "wing" of that criminal-prone family now getting involved in this village's business. Nell's was officially "closed for the day" as a crime scene, but at least she and her 5 employees were unhurt. She and they came to see me sitting by the ambulance, and brought cups of coffee and donuts for everyone and thanked us – me especially – after they'd heard the whole story.

My shirt, vest and jacket needed cleaning from all the blood; amazing how such relatively-small slices on the forehead and cheeks can bleed so profusely. At least I hadn't taken a 9mm round anywhere. CSI would be busy here, between The Cabin and Nell's, recreating the forensic evidence from the crime scenes based upon existing facts, and making their own final reports. I followed Clay back to the Station, where he debriefed me on the incident, made his written report and noted my injuries and subsequent treatment. I told him that I was headed to The Cabin to get cleaned-up, but was going to stop by the Vet's and see Jenny, on the way. I'd be back later to turn-in my Badge and ID, and file an official report on the incident. I'd imagine Capt Bunce wouldn't be terribly happy about all the dead perps and would probably make some more "off-handed comments" about me and my use of gunplay, as he did several weeks ago. Clay said to leave that to him. I left.

I stopped at Dr Jayson's Vet Hospital and was taken into see Jenny by one of the Ass't Vets, who commented on all the blood and bandages I was now sporting. "Rough morning at the breakfast table", I quipped. As soon as I entered the room, all the dogs and cats let out a howl at the sight of me, covered in dried blood and bandages, and Jenny went nuts. I petted her and calmed her down with an "I'm OK" and she accepted it as truth. "Just a bunch of scratches, old girl", I said. I watched her eat, gave her a kiss and a pat on the head and left for The Cabin to get "clean and normal" again.

I put the bloody clothes into the washer and took a shower, getting the matted, dried blood out of my silver hair and off my face. I had plenty of Band-Aids® to replace the medic's gauze and tape efforts, which made it all look worse than it really was. I even had a cracked lip, which must have happened with the AR-10s recoil through the glass, while holding it too tightly during the aim-point. After getting into some fresh, clean clothes and doing a load of laundry, I realized that I needed to get back to the Police Station to get some things done and settled from this morning's incident. I armed the building and left.

Clay was in Capt Roy Bunce's office having a "heated discussion" when I arrived at the Police Station, and I could hear my name mentioned a couple of times. Bunce motioned me to come into the office and join them. His eyes widened as he saw all the Band-Aids® on my face. He wanted to know why I had to kill 3 more people so early on a Sunday morning. After calmly explaining what happened, it was obvious that Clay had gone on the defensive and hadn't fully-explained the situation. Capt Roy immediately calmed-down and the red in his chubby face disappeared. Clay's BP easily dropped 50pts, too. I handed Clay my Badge and ID, in front of a witness, as is required by PA Statute, and I was officially a civilian again. I still had a report to write-up, but that wouldn't take very long and I'd be gone from their lives for the next 3 months, except for the occasional visit to The Cabin; no more Police Duty and staff arguments, I said. That satisfied Capt Bunce, who'd rather talk his way out of an impossible situation, than kill the perps before they put him into one with hostages. Or into a bodybag. Bunce was "old school": talk and not shoot. Clay and I felt Bunce was too meek for the job, but as long as he stayed out-of-our-way, we could tolerate him and his eccentricities. The 5 Deputies agreed. It was time for Roy to retire and Clay to become Police Chief, IMO. I used Tim's office to write-up my short report and handed it in to Clay, shook hands and said goodbye to him, the Deputies and to the staff on-duty.

It was nearly 11:15am, Church was letting-out now and the streets were becoming busy. With Nell's closed for the day, Uncle Ray's and Sarah's Place would get all the lunch crowd's business. I drove back to The Cabin, and continued packing-up. Not all the bloodstains came out of my morning's shirt, so I threw it away; the down vest and corduroy barn coat were clean and okay. I packed them in my duffelbag with the other clothes from the Master BR's chest-of-drawers. I called the Vet's and made sure they had my cellphone number to call me when Jenny was to be brought home; I'd drive-up and do it myself and get her re-settled into The Cabin. No one else was to do it. I cleaned-out the ashes from the hearth, closed down the flu, emptied and washed Jenny's 3 bowls, cleaned-out her litter pans in the 2nd BR on the tarp, turned-off the empty 'fridge and freezer, checked all window and door locks, piled the packed boxes into the Jeep, armed the building and left for York. I'd be back in a few days for Jenny. I had a busy week ahead of me at the Garden Center Complex, with 2 new employees reporting for work orientation on Monday, plus a slew of perennial and nursery stock deliveries arriving. Spring Hours started on Friday: Mon-Sat, 8am-5pm; Sun 11am-4pm. This would go on until July and August, when we'd cut Sundays from the schedule, but return to 7 days a week in September through mid-November, for the traditional Fall Sale. 7 days a week; I hate it with a passion.

All that would help get me through the next 12 weeks would be The Serenity Prayer: "God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the Courage to change the things I can; and the Wisdom to know the difference." Not much else would help me at this point-in-time. (Jump back up to "Around The Garden Center".)

Dr Jayson's Office called twice a day with reports of Jenny's progress, and said she could come back home on Thursday. We were supposed to get a Nor'Easter Thursday afternoon into Friday, so maybe the timing would be perfect, and I could stay the night with her. I'd see what developed, while perhaps Dad, Alan, Rich, Arthur, Jon, Steffi & Kim could cover for me until Saturday's and Sunday's business hours. I'd still try to make my Friday 8:00pm Church Meeting in Red Lion (PA), but that too, was subject to the weather.

Despite heavy I-83 north traffic, I was on the side road to the village of Adam's Junction and at the Vet's within 25-30 minutes. It had snowed and 4-6" was still on the ground, but at least the roads were clear. Jenny heard my voice in the waiting room and I recognized her bark. I paid Dr Jayson for his services, after he kindly-deducted $250 from the bill for Jenny and his dog being from the same litter, lifted Jenny into the front seat, belted her in, and drove to The Cabin. It was still snowing. After parking under the left side carport, I disarmed the building and took her inside, turned-up the furnace to 78°F, and took her clean bowls from the sink dish rack, and filled one to the brim with fresh water, one with Iam®'s dry food and one with

Iam®'s wet food, her favorites. I checked all the windows and doors, the hearth flu, front & rear floodlights and alarm timers, and reset them to correspond to DST hours, which I'd forgotten to do last week.

I really wanted to stay the night with Jenny, but I knew that Roy's son, Randy, would take good care of her during the weeks and months I was gone, with the occasional visit from me during the week or on weekends, if the weather was inclement. There was plenty of dry and wet food, and Randy would take her for short walks; he too carried a Colt .357 Magnum sidearm, so errant critters wouldn't be a problem on their walks around the front meadow. I'd had a long talk with him, giving him specific instructions for Jenny's care and feeding, and I trusted him to do the right things. He and I had each other's cellphone numbers, so we could get in touch instantly.

After Jenny ate, she curled-up on her bearskin, and I sat next to her, petting and scratching her favorite places, and finally had to call it a night. I would liked to have taken her back to York for the Spring months, but that just wasn't to be. She belonged here, where her "roots are", as all "virtual dogs" do. I'd see her again in a few days; perhaps sooner if the snowstorm wasn't a bad one and I could make it up here safely. She watched me turn down the furnace, arm the building and leave, knowing I'd be back soon.

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