I had to take a leak.
It had been a long, long time since I had peed on the corner of Mrs Wahl’s house.
Tonight, I didn’t feel the thrill of sampling the forbidden fruit. All I felt was relief as the pressure drained away.
In for a penny, in for a pound.
The command-and-control team was a scant block away. It was at least two-hundred yards and the light was shitty. Plus, firing from this position would break the cardinal rule of never firing twice from the same position.
I needed to move. And if I was going to be hopping fences and scurrying along the tops of retaining walls, well, I couldn’t have a couple cups of coffee and quart of rented beer filling my bladder.
That problem taken care of, I racked the bolt of the rifle and chambered a fresh round. I had my hand over the ejection port to catch the spent case. No point in leaving evidence laying around. I put the case in my left, rear pants pocket.
Good gravy. The bolt was like working at T-post through a knot-hole. As sweet as the trigger was, the action felt like total junk. And I was glad I was carrying the weapon in the dark. The stock was as ugly as the hang-over after a three-day-drunk.
Never-the-less, it was the only weapon I had and it had proven more than capable.
I safed the weapon.
Then I dropped the magazine and topped it off with another round.
I only had five shots without reloading. The loss of one round meant that I lost 20 percent of my ability. A guy with thirty rounds on-tap would never notice.
If I got to where I was trading shots with six, armed men I was dead anyway. The best I could hope for was to take more than one of them with me.
I eased my way back into Mom’s back yard.
I scanned around looking for motion. I saw none. I used my ears as much as my eyes.
If I was going to move, now was as good a time as any.
I strolled down the drive and across the street to Mrs Potter’s yard.
OK, Mrs Potter had died forty years ago, but I will always think of it as her house because I mowed her yard. What a sweet, old lady she was.
The concrete retaining wall that ran east-west across the middle of the block was still there. It was eight inches wide at the top and would have been a piece-of-cake to walk along if the “new” neighbors hadn’t put a privacy fence right up against the high side of it.
A skinny guy wouldn’t have had a problem but I was no longer skinny. And I had a rifle slung across my back.
My belly rubbed against the privacy fence as I side-shuffled my way along it.
The privacy fence was handy, though, when I came to the chain-link fence that split the block along the north-south axis. I was able to hold onto the post as I swung my leg over it.
One door closes. Another opens.
The yard I dropped into was completely fenced in. No kiddy toys in the yard so I suspected they owned a dog. I stepped into something squishy and then barking arose from the house.
Yup. Definitely a dog.
I eased down the drive separating the two houses. The house that was closer to my targets was darker while the house with the dog was white. I opted to crawl closer to the targets. My dark clothing would have been clearly silhouetted against the white house but would disappear in front of the dark one.
Once again, the targets were standing in the middle of the intersection, caught up in whatever they were directing.
They were about a hundred yards out. Not quite the chip-shot I had the first go-around.
No friendly yew bushes here, either. Scoping the intervening distance, there were none that were conveniently placed, either.
A little bit more scoping and I quickly determined that the second-string quarterback was a woman.
Was that going to be a problem?
Let’s see: Walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, directs enemy combatants like a duck. It is duck season.
No problems here.
Hmmm! The dark house had little, puff-ball bushes planted in front of the porch.
Yup, I could just barely see the tops of the bad guys from a prone position.
I slowly shucked off my winter coat and draped it over one of the puff-balls to make a pup tent.
The end of the -06’s barrel was at the north end of the pup-tent and the targets were south.
It seemed like forever before the bluish, illuminated face wandered into the reticle of the 3X9 scope. I was shivering. Then I went all Zen. The shivering stopped. I don’t remember squeezing the trigger. It just went off on its own accord.
No flopping or shouting from that target.
I had to reach out to grab the sleeve of my coat. The blast had flipped it off the puff-ball. A smoking hot cartridge was clutched in my left hand.
I didn’t remember closing my eyes as the gun went off, either, but my night vision was fine. I could hear the dog barking in the white house.
I slipped through the dog yard and swung myself up to the retaining wall. The adrenaline more than compensating for the stiffness induced by lying on the frozen ground.
I scuttled along the top of the retaining wall like a crab-on-crack and was letting myself into Mom’s house less than a minute later.
“Timmy!” I heard her calling. “Timmy!”
“Are you awake? I need to use the bathroom.”
“Yes, mama. I am awake. I am coming” I said from the kitchen.
It is odd. I call her “mom” in the day and “mama” at night. Weird.
She immediately noticed that I wasn’t wearing my ‘jammies’ and that I was wet. She also noticed the smell.
She gave me an accusing look. “You were in Mrs Potter’s yard, weren’t you?”
“How do you know?” I asked.
“I can smell it” she said.
Twenty minutes later, after taking care of business and getting her back on her bed, mom asked “What time is it? Is it too soon for me to have my next dose of pain medicine?”
I looked at the clock on her dresser. It must have had a battery back-up because the face was illuminated.
“It is a minute after midnight, mama. You can have your pain pill now or you can have it the next time you wake up” I told her.
I was cold. Absolutely chilled to the bone.