Chapter 86

June 1st, 2012

Unscheduled Spec-Op

Needing some "R&R Time" to myself, after the past 2 weeks' events and activities, I loaded my already-packed Gear, Equipment & Weapons, made sure Murphy was okay and set-up with plenty of food/water for 3+ days, and left at 0900hrs (9:00am) for Adam's Junction, on Tuesday May 29th. The Memorial Day Weekend traffic and road carnage was officially over, as was Spring. Summer promised to be another sweltering, hot-as-hell bitch; typical for this Mid-Atlantic Region. But the northern PA mountains are always a welcomed respite, since they're usually much cooler in Summer, and downright bitter cold in Winter.

As I was driving north on I-83, Capt Clay called my cellphone and said he "urgently" needed to meet with me, as soon as possible. I told him that I'd be at The Cabin in 10-15 minutes, get Jenny squared-away, unpacked and meet him at the AJPD, in town, with the hour.

After exiting the interstate, I drove onto the long side road to Adam's Junction, pulled into my 1,000ft gravel drive, through my Wildflower Meadow, past my Shooting Range and parked at the left side door in front of the carport. William-The-Caretaker had parked his John Deere Tractor with its large lawn-mowing deck, in it, so there was no room for the Jeep. I could smell the freshly-mown grass. Building disarmed, I went in and was promptly knocked-down by an even bigger Jenny, than I remember her; wow, did she grow in just these past weeks. Her water and food bowls were full, so William-The-Caretaker had recently been here. I played with Jenny for a short while, unpacked, took my Beowulf® .50cal, with a newly-fitted Trijicon® TA648-50 6x48 ACOG Scope, and 10 extra 11-round mags for .50cal's 335gr rounds, and my new

Remy® 11-87 Versa®-Max Tactical Semi-Auto 12ga with devastating Federal® 12ga .00 Buck (9 pellets) "FliteControl®" Shells, with a Sidesaddle Carrier, and an EoTech® Red Dot Scope, in their Eagle® Carrying Bags, armed the building and fired-up the Jeep to get into town to meet with Capt Clay. It was 1015hrs (10:15am).

The AJPD lot was almost empty, and my usual #7 Parking Space was beckoning. I went in and greeted Mary Ann, the Police Dispatcher, who was surprised to see me after so long. I quickly filled her in on recent events and went back to my Office – no pile of paperwork on my desk this time, so I knew that sweet Mandy had taken care of things while I was away – and went into the Conference Room, where Clay was working. He smiled and we shook hands. He closed the doors and quickly buzzed Mary Ann and Mandy that we were not to be disturbed; no calls. Except from his wife.

"What's up, Clay?" He asked if I remembered that upcoming but unscheduled Spec-Op by the Feds we'd briefly talked about weeks ago. Yes, I said that I did, vaguely, but since meeting Mandy here, I really hadn't given it much thought. "Well, you'd better; they want you again as Lead Sniper, for this unscheduled/unspecified 'Wet Work' Op. It's going to be a fairly large, multi-agency operation, if I read them correctly, and I usually do", he said.

"When is this happening? Or haven't they graced us with that information, yet?"

"I don't know exactly, yet", Clay said, "but it could come down from 'the-powers-that-be' in DC and Harrisburg, any day now. In the interim, we're all on 'stand-by'; their orders."

"But I though being Chief Sheriff was like being God, and that you knew everything," I said.

"Yeah, imagine my disappointment", he smirked.

"Does that 'stand-by' order include me? I'm not an employee, Clay; I'm a volunteer Deputy Sheriff, mainly because of my 3rd Special Forces, 101st Airborne background. You do remember that I don't get paid for this?"

"You know that they still want your ass in their Fed ranks – and you also know that we'd hire you here, in a heartbeat – but they are still PO'd that you haven't bent-over, grabbed your ankles and slobbered at the chance to be a Fed with them? That's still a burr under the PA State Police Colonel's ass, since he was tasked with recruiting you for the Feds. You're the only one they've ever encountered who's been given a golden offer, and ignored it and them. You aren't making friends in Harrisburg and DC with that kind of attitude, but personally, I love it! Fuck those arrogant bastards.

I just smiled. "Well, we'll deal with it when it comes, won't we? Meanwhile, I want to see Mandy again. It's been a long time and I need to talk to her."

As I left the room, a Clay buzzed Mary Ann, that he could now take calls, and said to "warn" Mandy that I was heading her way, with a "gleam in my eye". I was indeed. But she was off today, having worked on Monday (Memorial Day) for one of the married Dispatchers, and probably at home in her full-floor, second-story apartment, just outside of Adam's Junction, on the Upper East Side of the Village.

I sat down at my now-organized, clean and neat desk, opened my old Land's End Canvas Attach Carrying Bag & Leather Field Case and looked through the small pile of AJPD Office Memos, BOLOs (Be On The Look Out) and a sealed-envelope note from Mandy, in my Inbox, dutifully initialed each official piece of paper, signifying I'd read it. Then, into my Outbox. (((sigh))) More frigging paperwork,

even up here. Clay walked by my door, "She's off today; back-in tomorrow". I looked-up and nodded; he saw the note and smiled. I put it into my Tactical Range Vest pocket, for later, private reading.

I really wanted to take a drive around quaint, historic Adam's Junction again and see all of the beautiful, old, turn-of-the-20th-century homes and the various historic mansions, as there are many here. I especially wanted to take a drive by Mandy's place. But I didn't want to intrude on her personal time. Just yet. More of a mutual "understanding" would be needed, before I'd just stop by, unannounced. She might have "another life", and I needed to know, before I did anything so personal.

At 1145hrs (11:45am), I shut-down my Office's new WiFi laptop, killed the lights, and told Mary Ann that I had some errands to do, but I'd be reachable on my ancient cellphone. I stopped by Bev & Tony's General Store downtown, to get farm-fresh vegs, fruits and milk for the week, since I didn't know exactly how long I'd be here. I had an extremely well-stocked Cabin and pantry; more than enough for 2 years if TSHTF. Gabrielle was always impressed with my "prepping"; Capt Clay is still amazed to this day.

Bev threw her arms around me while Tony and I shook hands. I filled them in on my past 4-5 weeks, and they were greatly saddened to hear of my Mom's passing. I didn't tell them about meeting and being "smitten" by Mandy at the AJPD, but Bev could sense that I'd finally moved past my loss of Gabrielle, but she didn't let on to me that she "knew". Women always know that stuff, I guess. After getting my

list filled, Tony and I loaded the bags and boxes into the Jeep's Cargo Bay, he gave me a hug, and I left, watching both of them on the sidewalk, in front of their store, waving to me. I stuck my arm out of the window and waved back. After Tony's serious heart attack back in March, I didn't know how much time he had left, and neither he nor Bev would directly answer my questions about his overall health. One more stop at Old Mrs Patagonia's Bakery – she had a big hug for me, too – for some fresh-baked, crusty Italian bread and I'd head home. It was now 1315hrs (1:15pm).

I drove back to The Cabin, unloaded and put everything away, fed/watered Jenny, and moved some chairs, from the storage shed, to both sides the Front Porch, so I could sit with her and enjoy the weather, before it got unbearably hot and humid. I'd brought an Allen Bros USDA Prime Boned & Tied Heart of Rib Roast along, and after tying-it-up, dry-rubbing with seasonings, I put it into my Vulcan® V36-36" 6 Burner-Gas Range & Oven for 3½-hrs, for my (and Jenny's) later meals. Heh. William had uncovered and cleaned the Picnic Table on the back deck, and wheeled-out my Char-Broil® Patio Grille from the backyard storage shed, so it was near the table. I fired-it-up and made 3

Bone-In, Allen Bros 10oz Filet Mignons, for a late lunch, with Jenny "sharing", of course. I also made a Linguini Basil Salad, Roasted, Sea-Salted & Buttered Brussel Sprouts, Grilled Italian Garlic Bread, and had plenty of Ocean Spray® Diet Blueberry Juice to wash it all down. After clean-up, I sort of dozed-off around 1500hrs (3pm) in the porch chair, with my Kimber 1911 .45cal ACP and Remy 1187 12ga, at-hand. Jenny curled-up on the braided rug, as my ever-watchful companion. Nothing untoward ever gets by her.

Jenny's barking woke-me-up; she had a squirrel "friend" playing in the meadow, but she obediently stayed on the porch. It was 6:15pm now, and the rib roast needed to be taken-out of the oven and "tented", until it cools. That done, I sliced-off an end piece. Wowser! Jenny got a piece and also approved. Safely wrapped and back in the nicely-full 'fridge, I figured that'd be some good eating and snacking for 4-5 days, easy. I needed to take inventory of my large Pantry Storage area, but would do that tomorrow morning, before doing a few "Cabin chores". After a shower, I needed to recharge my ancient

Nokia 6060 "Clamshell" cellphone, since it was down to 2 bars, get The Cabin closed-down, armed with the Honeywell® Lynx™ Plus® Security System, and get some much-needed sleep. The Comfy Living Room Couch, and some late night reading looked real inviting, but I passed on it, for tonight. The cellphone and my 2009 Kimber® 1911 "Eclipse Target II" .45cal ACP, with a Premium 8-Round Wilson Combat Magazine, went on the nightstand in the Master Bedroom. I took a Rx 12.5mg Ambien® CR™, and crawled into bed, lights-out at 8:30pm. Jenny joined me.

I slept-in until almost 0700hrs (7am) on Wednesday. It was nice. The morning fog was heavy and the sun was greatly-dimmed by it, making it still look like 2-3hrs earlier than it actually was. After feeding/watering Jenny, I made Fresh-Squeezed OJ w/ lots of pulp, Cream of Wheat, Poached Eggs w/ Canadian Bacon and French-Roast, Turkish-Grind Coffee (from whole, freshly-ground beans) with my Chemex® Drip System.

I firmly believe in "The Rule of Threes: You can survive three minutes without air, three hours – in harsh conditions – without shelter, three days without water, three weeks without food and three months without hope". So, in my Cabin Kitchen's very, very well-stocked secondary Pantry area, I have a "contents chart" (and a "packing guide" for my BOB), which details canned goods, dry-goods, cases of bottled water and all ammo calibers, with specific purchase and expire dates, and each time I remove or replenish anything, it's duly-noted. My US Military background kicks-in and requires me to do so. Even the 'fridge has an "inventory sheet" on it side, held in

place with magnets. I had both inventories done in under 45mins. Jenny was up and around again, and since it was now getting on to 1030hrs (10:30am), I fed her again. I turned-on the Police Scanner and spent the next 2hrs on the front porch chair, relaxing in the cool shade. At only 76°F, it was a whole lot cooler than the 90°F+ back in the York area. T-storms were forecast for this area, as the Hurricane Beryl slammed into the Southeast Coast, creating weather disturbances even this far north. I simply-switched between NOAA and the AJPD, with pre-set buttons.

At 1300hrs, I saw Capt Clay's new, state-of-the-art AJPD Cruiser pull into my driveway and come to the circle turnaround in front of The Cabin. Clay almost never used the AC, and the windows were always down. He got out, and came up to my porch. "Permission to come aboard?", he asked. "Sure thing, Clay."

He sat in the other chair, on the opposite side of the front porch, in the shade with me. "Gonna be a hot one, back in York, isn't it?" He already knew the answer, but asked it anyway.

"Clay, it's always 10-15°F hotter there or cooler here; you know that. It's one of the many reason I come up here, besides wanting to get away from everything, I love this area's Fall colors here in the mountains and the much more tolerable weather. What brings you out this way?"

"You remember the Spec-Op we'd briefly talked about at the PD, yesterday? Well, I just got a call from the PA State Police Commander, who reports to the PA-SP Colonel, and he told me to 'stand-down', for now. Apparently, the 'targets' have moved north into New York State and is still moving around. And until they get a stationary, more permanent target, they aren't going to

mobilize a multi-agency op against them. We're out-of-the-picture now, anyway, since PA is no longer in-play, and it's not in our state's jurisdiction. But here's the kicker: he mentioned *you* as still being considered as the Lead Sniper, and asked if I'd contact you with that possibility. Okay; now I have done so."

I winced and nodded to him. "Okay, you have. But I have no interest in doing it. None. Nada. Zip. Zilch. The way they've treated us, as a department, and me in particular, turns me off to any possibility of working for the Feds, or PA-SP, or any of them, whatsoever. Understand?"

Clay answered, "Affirmative, JS. I'll let him know, when I return his call, maybe tomorrow. What are you up to for the next few days?"

"Just going to relax", I said. "I have a lot of projects and a couple of meetings when I get back, and I don't want to think about it all, right now. How was the Memorial Day Parade here, yesterday, Clay?"

"Very good. We had about 1,500 people downtown and 450-500 at the Fairground's Picnic Area, for it, and did traffic and crowd control. Three drunks, ten parking tickets and not much else", Clay said. "It was just like every other year, here; quiet and respectful of the occasion. We missed you being here. You'd have made a great Parade Grand Marshal. Instead, Mayor Matt Smith officiated and rode in the back of Bob Maloney's original '57 Chevy Bel Air Convertible (13,166 miles). Matt's a pompous asshole. Good thing I'm elected and not

appointed by him or the Town Council; I don't answer to any of them. Never liked him or them. Why don't you move up here and run for mayor?"

I could hear the dripping sarcasm in Clay's voice. "Fat frigging chance of that ever happening, Clay." He knew me better than that, but was just goading me into a reaction. I had only met Matt Smith once, at the Town Hall Hearing in 2010, and didn't think much of him, either.

A 10-20 (Location) call came over Clay's Radio-Mic, and he had to leave to meet Deputy Arthur at a 415 Disturbance (Domestic) report, and I asked if he wanted me along as "back-up". He said he could probably handle it, and would radio ahead for another on-duty Deputy, Sgt Alex, to meet him and Deputy Arthur there. "Remember that if you need me, I'm a quick call away, Clay. My Jeep's always packed and ready-to-go, when I'm up here."

"Will do, if I need you," Clay thanked me, asked that I monitor the AJPD Scanner Channel, and left quickly, before Deputy Arthur inadvertently stepped "in a bucket of shit", at the 415-DD. I hated those calls, since 70% of them usually turned violent and I had to respond "in-kind", which wasn't ever pleasant, at all. It's always better to have more-than-one back-up, IMO. Shit happens.

By now, it was 1545hrs (3:45pm) and the heat of the day, 81°F, had pretty much passed. I walked around the deck to check the Firewood Storage Shed in the Backyard, and also saw that the Firewood Stack on the Back Porch was full. William-The-Caretaker had indeed done one of his

many jobs well, for me. The freshly-cut, split and stacked firewood would be dried, seasoned and ready-to-go for this coming Winter. That reminded me; I needed to leave William's monthly check on the Dining Room Table, as usual. For all that he does, he's well-worth the money.

I was hungry, and so was Jenny. I fed her and changed her water bowls. I checked the 'fridge and decided to make Filet Mignon, Asparagus w/ Fresh Hollandaise, Roasted Potatoes w/ Sour Cream, fresh and crusty Italian Garlic Bread, a large bowl of Garden Bean Salad, and Coffee Gelato drizzled with Balsamic Vinegar. While listening to the Police Scanner, I overheard that the 415-DD wasn't violent, after all, and that Clay, Alex and Arthur "resolved" it amicably. Good deal. After cleaning-up the Kitchen & Kitchen Table, I checked The Cabin's Weather Station forecast, went back out to the front porch to enjoy the rest of the evening. Jenny joined me, on "her porch rug". My

1187 Semi-Auto

Kimber® 1911 "Eclipse Target II" .45cal ACP and Remy® 11-87 Versa®-Max Tactical Semi-Automatic 12ga are always with me, all the time. But, if I go for a walk in the woods, with Jenny, I take my .50cal Beowulf or my AR-10 .308cal along, just in case.

We saw a family of Black Bears crossing the front meadow, Geese foraging in the meadow and a Mountain Lion, perched on the meadow's rocky ridge. I grabbed my Beowulf .50cal, just in case he came too close, but he kept moving, looking for an easy meal. By 2000hrs (8pm), it was getting dusk, and I took Jenny inside, checked the windows and doors, armed the building, took a shower, and got "Men in Black: How the Supreme Court Is Destroying America", from my antique Glass Front, Oak Barrister's Bookcase, and spent the next 2 hours reading, until I began to nod-off on the Comfy Living Room Couch. At 2230hrs (10:30pm), it was

870 Pump Spec-Ops

definitely time for some sleep. Jenny was already curled-up on the bed. The moon was full.

A loud crash, the Choice Security Co's intrusion alarm klaxon and Jenny's barking woke me at 0230hrs (2:30am); it was one of the Kitchen's porch doors being smashed through. We had an "intruder". I picked-up my Kimber .45, flicked-off the external safety, grabbed the other 2 magazines, and my Remy® 870 Pump Synthetic Express Tactical Spec Ops II 12ga, and racked a shell, safety-off. I also yanked the cellphone off-charge, hit 911-AJPD on speed-dial and put it back down on the bed. The intruder got *priority*; the AJPD Dispatcher would send a Deputy or two. I crept to the BR's doorjamb, and peered around it, keeping very low on the frame.

A dark, silhouetted figure was standing in the Kitchen, backlit by the moonlight. Dumbass. I could see him, the broken glass, and pried-open door. I sighted him in. Clearly, he had a weapon in-hand; looked like both a crowbar in his left hand, and a handgun in his right. His right arm started to go up toward me, and I quickly fired-off 3 rounds; all 3 hit "centermass" and he dropped like a lump of dogshit. While keeping my .45 trained on his now bleeding-out body, I quickly slipped-on my clogs,

secured his 2 weapons and moved to the open, trashed door. Crouching, I saw another man outside with a sawed-off 12ga, fired a quick 5 rounds at his chest through the open door, dropped the spent 8-round magazine and quickly reloaded. He flew backward and fired-off a single shot toward the roof. I'd already crouched, so it was way-high. I fired 3 more rounds into him, and all was suddenly quiet. Except for the building's alarm. Then I heard the siren getting closer.

I moved outside and secured the man's sawed-off 12ga shotgun, checked his neck for a pulse, and there was none. Like the putz I'd just shot in the Kitchen, he quickly bled-out, too. My favored 230gr .45cal HPs will do that; especially when 5 of the 8 rounds are direct "centermass" hits. Jenny peered out of the Kitchen door, and whimpered. She was scared. I wasn't happy about this crap, either. There wouldn't be anymore sleep tonight. It would get "busy" here, very soon. And it did, in a hurry.

Deputy Jon pulled into the driveway, completely unaware of what had happened, since I didn't give the AJPD Dispatcher any information on the phone. There wasn't time to chat; only time to act. You

know the old saying, "When seconds count, the police are only minutes away". Take it to the bank. But with at least a 15-mile trip, depending upon what sector he was patrolling when he got the call, it all fell upon me to handle it, and I did. Jon was out of the AJPD Cruiser, gun-in-hand, crouching and quickly-moving to the left side of The Cabin. I flicked-on the outside door light and startled him. He relaxed when he saw me, and I assured him that "the situation was under control". I told him to call the Coroner's Wagon; no need for an ambulance. After silencing the building alarm with my personal code, I heard more sirens, as 2 additional AJPD Cruisers roared Code 3 into my driveway and up to The Cabin porch. It was Capt Clay and Deputy Sgt Alex, and both were out of their Cruisers, rousted from sleep at their homes, half-dressed in duty-uniforms, and clearly not happy at this 459, which would probably be upgraded to something much more serious.

"Hi, guys", I said. "Nice to see you three, even at this un-Godly hour."

Clay asked if I and Jenny were alright; I assured him that we were, but the other 2 were quite dead. Sgt Alex and Deputy Jon began the very detailed Incident Report, recording every shell casing, all expended rounds accounted for, footprints, tracing the perps' approximate and my exact movements as best they could, just as we saw more flashing lights coming down the main road, to my gravel driveway, now bathed in the moonlight. Clay and I sat down on the front porch to review my statement, to be recorded for the Incident Report. That done, I began the Kitchen mess clean-up, after the body had been removed. The two were ID'd as Karl Summers, 35, and Ed Grove, 38, both of Adam's Junction; both also related to the larger-than-anyone-really-knows, Holtzapple-Grove crime gang. After being tagged & bagged, the Coroner removed them to

the Memorial Hospital Morgue. I called William-the-Caretaker's cellphone and left a message about what happened, and that he needed to go to the ACE Hardware & Home Store, see Karl and Allen, and get a new set of Kitchen doors for me, ASAP. They'd installed them back in 2010, and had exact replacements on-hand. Meanwhile, I could tape-up a heavy plastic sheeting barrier, against the weather. The outside shotgun blast had missed The Cabin completely, so there was no damage to the outside wood structure, thankfully. Just the Kitchen doors, and they could be quickly replaced.

I carefully broomed-up and then vacuumed the glass shards and shreds off of the Kitchen Table and floor; it and all of my windows are thick, tempered, double-pane, plate glass, so it wasn't as bad a mess as it could have been, with normal window glass. I'd had Karl and Allen from ACE Hardware & Home Store replace all of the windows and doors after I bought the 43-acre Farm & Cabin, and rehab-it, before I moved-in, back in early 2010. I kept Jenny in the 2nd BR, where her "indoor litter box" is, so she wouldn't get into any glass. I duct taped-up the 30-mil plastic sheeting to the outside of the doorway, from the back deck, so any rain wouldn't be a problem, until replacements arrived. Clay helped and wondered aloud if the two I'd shot were among the Feds' "moving targets" for the on-hold Spec-Op; if so, they aren't now. He asked if my driveway pressure plate's alarm was working, and I said that the wires had been cut when William disked-up the field, last Fall. I needed to find and repair the break(s), and it'd now go to the top of my

"To-Do List". Deputy Jon had found the Holtzapple-Grove pick-up parked about 50ft past the pressure plate, in the woods, well-camouflaged.

Clay's radio crackled: it was already 0645hrs (6:45am) and the AJPD Day Dispatcher, Beth Ann, was asking how everyone was, and if she could have one or both of the Deputies back on their patrol routes; Adam's Junction was waking-up to a new day, and traffic would soon hit the roads. Clay sent both Sgt Alex and Deputy Jon back to the PD, since they'd finished and I'd signed the filmed and written Incident Report paperwork. I let Jenny out and fed her. Clay fired-up his Cruiser and headed back, too. Tired, I made a carafe of coffee and sat on the front porch, to watch the sunrise. I had no appetite. Crap, what a night. Jenny came out and put her head in my lap.

Wednesday had only started, and it already sucked. My cellphone rang. It was William, and he was on his way over to ACE, to meet with Karl, who'd opened-up early and was already writing-up the materials and work order for his day's installation crew, to get my Kitchen doors replaced and other related minor patching/painting repairs done. I thanked him and clicked-off. It was 0745hrs (7:45am). I needed a shower, shave and some fresh clothes. I checked the weather forecast: a heavy line of t-storms was coming-up fast from the southwest, and there were several more behind it, formed from the outer-spiraling winds of Hurricane Beryl. We'd get slammed several times today; the

first batch was only 15-20mins from hitting the area. I rechecked the plastic sheeting on the Kitchen door area, and triple-taped it again, on the outside, just for good measure. As I closed-down The Cabin, the line of storms hit. Day turned into night, and all one can do is watch it happen. "Mother Nature's in charge; we're just along for the ride." And just as suddenly, it was over. Daytime returned.

The Nokia cellphone rang; it was William notifying me that he and the 3 installers from ACE had just left in a truck convoy and they'd be arriving, within 20mins. I shaved, changed clothes and grabbed my Raingear and checked the plastic sheeting; holding nicely. The trucks arrived and the 4 men got to work removing the damaged doors, jamb, adjacent window frame and replacing the pieces and unit. The lead installer, Ben Holder, who had an amazing Texas-like drawl, was also one of AJFD's Volunteer Firefighters and PA-NG Soldiers, asked me if I was doing okay, considering the firefight this morning. I thanked him for his concern and said, "I'm okay, but they're not". Ben was one of the many good people I'd met here. He'd been one of the guys I and the other AJPD Deputies teamed-up with during the Flood Rescue & Recovery, back on March 19th and again on March 26th, in 2010. Definitely a sad time in Adam's Junction's history. Within 2 hours, the doors were installed, repainted and as good as new. They did an immaculate clean-up and from looking at it, no one would even know what happened, in the early morning hours before. I reinstalled the burglar alarm wiring and contacts, tested the system and pronounced it complete. I paid the ACE guys and William, from invoices, plus tipped them, generously in cash. All was soon back to normal. They left and I braced for another round of t-storms, as my Cabin's Weather Station showed it approaching, at 0930hrs (9:30am).

I went back inside, sat down, poured a glass of Ocean Spray® Diet Blueberry Juice, and continued reading the 3 pages of notes I'd taken from Amanda "Mandy" Ellen Barker's AJPD Personnel Record, when I was

here on May 11th, and the sealed personal note she'd left in my Office Inbox. I'd almost completely forgotten about them, in the ensuing weeks – they were folded in an inside pocket of my Tactical Range Vest – and the personal note from yesterday, which I'd kept in my jean's back pocket. The storm's thunder was loud. Her note invited me to call her, anytime. Sweet; I sure would like to. Her Personal Bio and PD Job App laid-out a background of the older child from a local, historic, once-wealthy family, whose business had gone bust, then left an exclusive college to work to help support her parents and 2 younger brothers, parents now deceased, both brothers in US Military Service, never married, no social life to speak of, but a stellar job history. At 29, she's 33 years my junior – aw crap, did I just read that? – but according to her note, not too young for me. My late finacée, Gabrielle, was 25 years younger than me, when we met in Spring of 2011, and then died in that horrible car accident – the (Rt 707 roadside Memorial marker I placed and maintain – during Christmas week. The damned room got all blurry just thinking about her and our unborn baby, in that cold cemetery grave, forever. I put the papers down and went out on the porch for a smoke. Jenny followed me, somehow knowing what my tears were about. I gave her a rub and a hug. It was raining lightly, and the black storm clouds were passing-by quickly.

I plopped back down. Was it too soon after Gabrielle's death to even have these "feelings and thoughts", which I now do about Mandy? They seem to have been simmering and, although a long way from the boiling point, were arousing other questions and feelings inside me. I needed to get a grip on myself and get this under control; I don't like being out of control of anything, especially myself. That's one reason why I quit drinking 17 months ago. I had to admit it; I wasn't in total control anymore and felt unsure, but good, about Mandy. It was a feeling I hadn't had in a seemingly long, long time. I called her cellphone, and left a message.

With no AJPD Volunteer Sheriff duty scheduled, and the Cabin's chores completed by William and myself, I needed to spend some time finding the break in the wiring to the driveway's pressure-plate alarm.

I got the Choice One® Security Services Co file from my BR's small filing cabinet, and found the diagram I'd made when they'd installed The Cabin's extensive Honeywell® Lynx™ Plus® Security System in the Spring of 2011. I got the new remote Honeywell® Ademco™ 5804 Wireless Key Transmitter, which was slick. Of the carefully measured 1,275 linear feet of Cat5 Cable in ½" PVC conduit, buried 18" deep in a ditch witch-cut trench, about 15ft was in the area which William had disked with his tractor's attachment. That would be fairly easy to probe, all 110v power cut of course, to find the break. I had leftover, extra PVC pipe in the backyard shed, glue, Cat5 Cable, a cable-repair kit and tools, and found the break within 20mins. I had my Beowulf® .50cal, with a newly-fitted Trijicon® TA648-50 6x48 ACOG Scope, and 10 extra 11-round mags for .50cal 335gr rounds, leaning against the Jeep at the site of my work, and my newest Kimber® 1911 Stainless "Custom TLE™ (Tactical Law Enforcement) II" .45cal ACP, with a Premium 8-Round Wilson Combat Magazine, a Galco® PLE™ Paddle Holster, and a Galco® Paddle Dual 8-Round Mag Carrier for 2 add'l Premium 8-Round Wilson Combat Magazines, to fire 230gr Hollow-Points on my belt, as my usual CCW (Concealed Carry) piece. One never knows "what" might wander out of the surrounding forest or "who'd" come into the driveway, unannounced and unexpected.

That done, tested and working again, I wrapped-up the project, put everything away and did clean-up. Disguising the dug-up area would be up to Mother Nature, and in a few weeks, no trace would show. After a shower

and some fresh clothes, I made some Fresh-Squeezed OJ w/ lots of pulp, fed Jenny again and took a break. My "To-Do List" wasn't getting much shorter, despite having checked-off several items. Just then, my cellphone rang; it was Terry, my commercial real estate broker back in York. He'd gotten a possible purchase/sale inquiry from an out-of-state winery, about the GC&N Complex' 20-acre property and also had a copy of the contract for the PA-mandated/sanctioned "Soil Test Consultant", which we needed to approve the site for winery grape production. Both required my attention, as soon as possible. It was already 1325hrs (1:25pm), and he wanted to meet with me Thursday morning, or sooner, if possible. We'd also need my Personal/Corporate Attorney, Marc Robinson, to vet the $700 Soil Test Contract, before signing and agreeing to it. So I needed to get back to York, sooner than I'd hoped. I began packing and prepping The Cabin for shut-down.

After leaving messages for Capt Clay and William-The-Caretaker, I had a final "talk" with Jenny, rubbed her belly, fed and watered her again, armed the building and left for York at 1400hrs (2pm). The sun was trying to come out as I hit the long side road to I-83 South, and headed home. I was already thinking ahead, as to when I could go back.

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