Chapter 59

April 8th, 2011

"211" Downtown

After my usual Friday 8:00pm Church Meeting, I was on the way to Adam's Junction, to stay at The Cabin, having watered and fed Murphy at my condo in East York, before I packed and left. I was at the side road in 15 minutes, headed for The Cabin, hoping to sleep away both Saturday and Sunday, eat lazily, do some reading from the new bookshelves – the 1930s Oak Stacking Bookshelves with double drawers and the Glass Front, Antique Oak Barrister's Bookcase – I'd bought on my last trip up here, last weekend. I was looking forward to some roaring fires late into the night, no Police Deputy Sheriff duty and two days off before my 2011 Retail & Landscape Season would begin in earnest, since we'd had a "quadruple whammy" on April Fool's Day: 4 missing Grower's Nursery Truckloads, several inches of snow, cold temps and deliveries of way-too-tender perennials and nursery stock for outright public sale. I was less-than-ecstatic, as our 2011 Retail Season would be delayed for weeks, and so would the income from it. That just added to my other worries about many other business-related things.

It was still snowing with a solid 6-9" on the ground, when I slid into the left side carport, disarmed the building, gave Jenny a great big hug and refilled her 3 bowls immediately. I brought-in my duffel bag, my Sniper-Grade AR-10 .308cal (7.62 x 51mm NATO), with Leupold Gold Dot CQ/T Scope, the awesome Beowulf .50cal with an EoTech Red Dot Scope, and of course, my personal favorite, the Kimber 1911 "Eclipse Target II" .45cal ACP, which I wear (1990-CCW) as my daily "carry piece". I turned-up the furnace to 78°F and built a roaring fire, with plenty of split firewood in a pile next to the hearth, flanked by 2 3ft logs for good measure. After unpacking in the Master Bedroom, I took a shower, shaved and changed into some clean clothes. Ahhhhhhhhh, to be away from York and so-called "Civilization" for one more weekend was all that I could ask for, at this point.

I was glad to get the two extra days off and come to my "virtual" Adam's Junction to relax, but realized that my Retail Season had been cut-short and that much of the incoming perennials and nursery stock was too tender for sale just yet. The cold nights and freakish daytime, snowy weather would have to moderate before I could begin public sales in earnest.

I called Roy's (Shell Station) son Randy, my fellow Eagle Scout, driveway snowplower and dog-sitter, on his cellphone and told him that I had Jenny handled for the weekend, but that he'd have to take-over on Monday morning. Jenny was so happy to see me that she was underfoot all evening, except when she was curled-up on her bearskin. She was up in my lap licking my face, and I gave her a good rubdown and brushing with her favorite brush, after which she went fast to sleep. Her 2 cuts on her face were healing nicely, as were the many on mine. The Vet had given her a nice bath and she smelled good. I refilled her 2 litter pans on the rubber tarp in the 2nd Bedroom. I had her short leash on the Dining Room Table, along with my 2 rifles, ready for a late-morning's walk, since I planned on sleeping late tomorrow and Sunday. Both rifles were spic 'n span, as was my Kimber 1911 .45cal, so no cleaning was required. I had plenty of magazines and ammo along, just in case.

I got Glenn Beck's, "Broke: The Plan To Restore Our Trust, Truth and Treasure", from one of the new (old) bookcases, sat down in my comfy leather chair in the Living Room by the hearth, and began to read from my last bookmark. It was 10:00pm and I finished the read by 11:45pm; I heartily recommend you also read it. I hadn't eaten dinner, was hungry and made an English Muffin with a very low-heat, slow-fried, sunny-side-up egg on top of half, the other half well-slathered with Keller's® Butter, a piece of American cheese covering the egg, all drizzled with EVOO. Yum! I put on my parka and went outside to have a smoke, but had to stand since the deck and large picnic table were covered with almost 10" of snow. The frosty air felt good, as did coming back inside after I finished the Marlboro. Time to sleep. I armed the building, tested the spotlights, turned-down the furnace to 70°F, closed the hearth flu halfway and crawled into bed. Jenny soon followed after I'd turned-out the lights, except for the ubiquitous front porch light.

I was up and back-to-sleep 2-3 times during the night, thinking about the coming Season, but trying not to. Having the responsibility, at one point in time, for 28 employees and their families during "the good years" was a lot of fun, but now that "the bad years" have been upon us since 2008, having the same responsibility for only 6 employees and their families was still weighing-heavily upon me. I take such things very seriously and don't relish having to "let people go" from my employment. I was up at 6:15am and instead of watering, feeding Jenny and going back to sleep for the next 3-4 hours, I got up and took care of the dog, made breakfast – OJ, Eggs Benedict w/ fresh Hollandaise Sauce, sausage and French Roast coffee – and just stayed-up for the day. After making the bed and turning-on the Police scanner to see what was happening, I decided to check on the 30+ "Princeton" American Elm saplings which Tim Swanson and I had installed last Fall. I took my Kimber 1911 .45cal w/ 3 extra 8-round mags, and my Beowulf .50cal w/ 5 extra 11-300gr round mags (incredible short-range stopping power) along for the 3-4 acre hike. Jenny was sleeping peacefully, so I decided not to wake her to go along.

I was no more out of the front door on the deck than I saw a female mountain lion and her 3 cubs begin to cross the front meadow, in search of some food. She was teaching them how to hunt and survive, and I decided to stay on the deck and wait her out. The temps had already reached the upper 30s by 10:20am, and the snow we'd gotten yesterday and last night, was melting fast. I had on my "Marlboro Gear" Down-Filled ¾ Parka Coat, my 16" English Wellington Boots, my 16" Bowie Knife on my belt, and my "Jack Bauer" Satchel Bag full of extra mags and ammo, plus flashlight, portable eyeglass scope, map, radio, compass, survival kit, first-aid kit and a bunch of other "necessities" for any outdoor "trek", as I learned in the Boy Scouts (Eagle Scout, Class of 1963; Order Of The Arrow/ Vigil Honor), back in the late 50s and very early 60s. That said, the mother and her cubs passed through the meadow, and I came off the deck to start examining the Elms.

When we planted them last Fall, Tim and I had numbered all the Elms with a small, red wrap-around tag, so I'd know the location on my property map and I'd also know which ones weren't doing well, if any. All 30+ were fine, despite a few being "deer rubbed", but they'd recover just fine. I should have used some tree bark protectors for the saplings further away from The Cabin, as they were the ones most likely to get hit by the younger bucks. No matter, the wounds would quickly heal from the sap pushing-up from the rootball, and the trees would be fine in a short time. No need to shoot any animals.

I went back to The Cabin, shed my Wellingtons, threw my parka, satchel and .50cal into the back seat of the Jeep, put on a down vest and my 12" LLBean Maine Insulated Hunting Boots, turned-down the furnace, armed the building and headed for Adam's Junction, to do some food shopping for the weekend's stay. I also was running out of Marlboros, and that was a definite "no-no", in my book. I stopped at Bev & Tony's General Store first, to get smokes and some other incidentals, say "hi" and then went by Nell's Kitchen, to see how everything turned-out after last weekend's incident with the 3 perps. They'd been through a thorough CSI investigation, cleared and re-opened the next day for business. I put an order in for a "Philly Cheesesteak", and waited patiently at the lunch counter, sipping a glass of water. I felt a slap on my back and it was Sgt Clay, stopping-by for some coffee, doing the 10-square block downtown circuit I used to do as Deputy Sheriff. He was surprised to see me, said my facial cuts were healing nicely, and I told him of the tender plant material arriving and the snowy, cold weather we'd had putting our Retail Season off at least another week, maybe even more.

He asked if I'd be interested in doing some "volunteer Deputy work" this weekend, and I said that I'd just come up to rest and relax, before it all started in earnest, next weekend. He understood, paid for his coffee and left for his rounds. I paid for my food, and also left to take a drive through the quaint, old village. I saw Clay's Police Cruiser double-parked downtown, in front of the First National Bank, driver's door wide open and he was nowhere in sight of the unit. I pulled to a stop across the street and looked-into the bank, but could see no one standing. That meant all were laying down, during a possible "robbery-in-progress". I went over to Clay's unit, called it in to the Dispatcher on his radio, and she said she'd send 2 units out right away. Then I heard several shots. It was the 2 perps "announcing" a robbery. No one hit as yet, that I could see. Several holes in the ceiling, but those could be repaired.

I crouched and ran back to my Jeep, grabbed the Beowulf .50cal w/ 5 extra 11-300gr round mags (incredible short-range stopping power), kept my Kimber .45 holstered, and crept toward the Bank's side door. It was locked, so I tried the rear door and it was also locked. I peered through one of the side windows and saw everyone, except the 2 bad guys, lying on the floor, including Sgt Clay. I couldn't go through the front door or wait for the Deputies to arrive, or we'd have a serious hostage situation on our hands, so I had to shoot through the window's tempered glass and take-out both perps very quickly. Or I could jettison the .50cal, and walk through the front door and take my chances with my .45cal after they'd ID'd me, or shot me outright. Nah, I'd take the "window shots", and with the Beowulf's 300gr ammo, it'd be even more of a "fish in the barrel" shoot, just like the .308cal AR-10 was, last weekend, at Nell's. Shit, my face hadn't even healed yet and I was going to do another "tempered glass window shot"? Okay, here we go.

I took "centermass" aim at the 1st perp with the sawed-off shotgun and sidearm, and fired. He went flying across the room into a wall, and then I quickly shot the 2nd perp also "centermass", who also went flying across the lobby into the kiosk-stand where the pens and deposit/ withdrawal slips etc are kept for patrons to fill-out. I was amazed that very little of the bank window's tempered glass blew-back on to me, and none cut me up, like last week. The 300gr Beowulf .50 cal ammo went through the thick glass "like a hot knife through soft butter", but it was different tempered glass than Nell's had, so the results were different. Sgt Clay was on his feet in an instant, retrieving the perps' guns, and his own, and cuffing them. No need to hurry, as they were both quite dead from the 300gr rounds blowing huge "centermass" holes through their chests. The lobby's walls, floor and ceiling needed some serious clean-up, as did numerous patrons, who were splattered with blood and flesh. So much for my peaceful morning and weekend stay in Adam's Junction.

The 3 squad cars and 2 ambulances showed-up 1-2 minutes later, and 4 Deputies entered the Bank's lobby with guns drawn, only to be told by Sgt Clay to holster them, and begin cataloging the crime scene. PA State Police arrived to lend assistance, and sealed-off the area as a crime scene. CSI would be called-in from Harrisburg for a Sunday or Monday investigation. I walked in the front door, with the Beowulf .50cal on safety, and looked at the disheveled Sgt Clay with some amusement. Waving me to come with him, he sprinted to his Cruiser, got my Badge and ID, deputized me outside the Bank, and I put the Deputy Sheriff's Badge on my belt, next to my Kimber 1911 "Eclipse Target II" .45cal ACP, and Galco FED Holster. I was officially back "on duty". Dammit; can't catch a break these "relaxing" weekends.

After giving Deputy Tim a statement and okaying a rough, preliminary diagram of what happened, I walked outside with Clay and he thanked me for taking such quick, decisive and final action. I told him that I'd be at The Cabin for the rest of the weekend, should CSI arrive on Sunday and need anything more from me. He told me to keep the Badge and ID, "just in case" I'd need it, since I seemed to be everywhere when TSHTF. I "10-4'd" that and drove back to The Cabin, to enjoy my now-cold Philly Cheesesteak for lunch. It was only 11:45am and already I'd had a 'day full of it".

I parked in the crushed bluestone, circle-turnaround drive, disarmed the building, turned-up the furnace to 76°F since it'd only hit a high up here in the mountains of 39°F by 12noon and wasn't going any higher today, and Jenny was ready for some lunch. I fed and watered her, nuked my cheesesteak, cut it in half and had my lunch, with some Ocean Spray® Diet Blueberry-Pomegranate Juice (5 cals/ 8oz glass), and built a small fire. I put the other half in the 'fridge for dinner or a later snack. I was down to 182 lbs from worrying about my business, not eating 3 meals a day and doing things like I did this morning, which burned-off 3,000+ calories of fat. I laid down on the couch near the fire, closed my eyes and replayed over-and-over-again, what had happened at the First National Bank, this morning. I felt that I wasn't handling the repeated "stress" of my business and Adam's Junction Police Work very well, these days. Maybe those two guys didn't need killing? Or did they deserve what they'd gotten?

I had the Beowulf .50cal laid-out on 5 sheets of newspaper on the Dining Room Table, to be cleaned with my handy-dandy, all-purpose Hoppe's Premium Field Gun Cleaning Kit, for later when I "felt better about things'. Right now, I could use a snifter of 50-year old Brandy or Cognac, but had given both (and all alcohol) up on January 10th, along with numerous favorite foods to lose 75-80lbs and get my BP down. Fruit juice would have to do, right now, and some sleep on the couch, as I threw a few more pieces of split firewood on the dying fire. I should have stayed in bed and asleep this morning after feeding the dog; I'm famous for "20-20 hindsight" these past few months. It was getting on to 8:30pm, and I was ready for some sleep. So I turned down the furnace, armed the building, checked all windows and doors, front/ rear floodlights, closed the hearth flu halfway, took the Kimber 1911 .45cal and just-cleaned & oiled Beowulf .50cal into the Master Bedroom and headed for sleep. After last night's fitful sleep, I truly hoped tonight would be a restful one.

It wasn't; I still had a lousy night's sleep. Up-and-back-to-sleep 3x with assorted weird dreams and worries about many other business-related things that will hit me when I return to York. I had an extremely busy week coming up at the Center and was thinking about all of the appointments and calls I needed to do to "catch-up" from the lack of work this past week, no thanks to the Winter-like weather.

I turned-up the furnace, watered and fed Jenny, took a shower, made breakfast – OJ, grits, sunny-side-up eggs, an English Muffin, ¼lb of bacon, red grapefruit sections and French Roast Coffee – did some vacuuming, changed the Master BR linens and did 2 loads of laundry. It was only 24°F outside in the mountains, so my Jeep, which I'd parked by the front/side deck, was covered with frost. I had 13 messages on my cellphone to go through – one from Sgt Clay telling me that CSI wouldn't require me for their investigation today, as the Bank needed to re-open Monday (plus clean-up the lobby), so no need to prepare for that inquisition – and I deleted most of them as not important. The few that I deemed as important, were answered later in the morning. After doing the dishes and putting them in the sink rack to dry, I decided to go for a drive through Adam's Junction, since it would be mostly deserted on a Sunday morning as people readied for Church, and re-imprint the homes and buildings on my memory. It was a nice, bright, sunny but chilly morning, for a drive through the village. This time, without any rifle in the back seat; just my Kimber 1911 "Eclipse Target II" .45cal ACP sidearm, along for the ride.

I stopped at Bev & Tony's General Store to get 10 50lb bags of cat litter for Randy to refill Jenny's litter boxes, and a number of personal care items to re-stock the bathroom at The Cabin. We chatted for a while, but Gabrielle's name never came-up in the conversation, until I brought it up and said I'd be getting some more flowers for her grave today. Actually, I'd planted 10 daffodil bulbs and several perennials on her grave near the headstone, and the daffs were blooming nicely, with the perennials soon to follow. I'd add 2-3 perennials from Midlands' Garden Center, on the outskirts of Adam's Junction; Bob & Karen carried mostly bedding (annuals) plants, but they did have a few nice perennials in stock, which I prefer. I paid and left and continued my drive through town. The Patagonia's Bakery was open and I stopped-in to see what Old Mrs Patagonia was baking on a Sunday morning. Bread, bread and more kinds of bread than I could count, and then I saw the "Hot Cross Sticky Buns" just coming out of the oven, and bought a half-dozen. Hadn't had them in years.

I ate the 6 Sticky Buns as I drove around town and stopped-in at Roy's Shell Gas & Service Station to fill-up for the rest of the day and ride back to York. His son Randy and another employee, were working the 6 pumps, cleaning windshields, checking oil and other fluids, and took care of me while we talked about what I needed him to do for Jenny, while I was away for the Spring months. Gas (unleaded Regular 89 oct) was at $3.75/ gal and climbing a few cents almost every day now. Premium (unleaded 93 oct) was $3.97/ gal and climbing, too. He said there'd be $5.00/ gal gas before mid-Summer and I believed it. Diesel was already $4.04/ gal on I-83, I-81, I-80 and I-76 (PA Turnpike) and the truckers weren't happy about paying it. Both Roy and Randy had been accused of "price-gouging" by several truckers, but no fights had broken-out as yet; that was just a matter of time until it happened, IMO. I paid almost $53 for 14 gals of Regular Unleaded, got a receipt and left.

I drove back to The Cabin, noticed that the creeks and streams were running fast and high from the past two-day snowmelt, built a nice cozy fire and laid down on the new couch for a nap. Jenny "knew" this would be my last day with her, for a while, and she jumped upon the couch and curled-up right next to me, and not at the foot of the bed, as she usually does in the Master BR. It was already 11:20pm, and I wanted to be on the road back to York, by 4:00pm, so I had some time to doze-off. And I did have a better 4+ hour sleep than the past 2 nights combined! Maybe it's Jenny who's helping me sleep, with her "new position"?

I was up at 4:50pm, packed the Jeep, began to close-down The Cabin once again (after doing it last weekend), refilled Jenny's 3 bowls, gave her a kiss and pat on the top of the head, brushed her with her favorite brush, secured everything, armed the building, called William to "tke over" until I returned and left for York. Time for a real dose of "reality", once more.

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