Colton and Gregious brought the two groups of freedom-fighters that were closest to graduation. In total, nearly thirty fighters.
Originally, Colton and Gregious had come close to killing each other. Colton was a white-boy who had been born with every advantage. Gregious had been born in the burned-out hulk that was called East Saint Louis.
In time, their relationship matured and mellowed.
Now, they only hated each other and rather than actively try to kill each other, they set each other up to fail in embarrassing ways.
There were some things the two men agreed on.
Both had been in the Army and both agreed that 90% of boot-camp was bullshit that could be easily dispensed with. They agreed that a fighter could be taught everything they need to know in a week.
There was no button-polishing or thread-tucking in the Marxist boot-camp. No marching. Very little physical conditioning. Weapons training was rudimentary and was included primarily because the recruits seem to expect it.
Both Colton and Gregious (never Greg) agreed that there would be plenty of battle-field pickups if a fighter’s primary weapon stopped functioning. Weapon care was not covered. The training focused on swapping magazines quickly to maximize spray-and-pray.
The ringers, as they liked to think of themselves, were housed in a nearly vacant motel on Lansing’s South side, five miles from the Hall-of-Justice. The men self-segregated along racial lines and then along regional lines.
Colton and Gregious made several trips to the field of battle. Neither consulted with the other about what they saw.
Another point they agreed upon was the superiority of Soviet battle doctrine over US doctrine. What was not to like about leveling the target with saturation artillery and then sending in troops to slit-throats?
They chafed under the direction of the lead Michigan Marxist. They considered her a bumbling fool and were tempted to ignore her and free-lance, but both Colton and Gregious had been told that it was time for them to earn their cushy berth and failure to follow the Michigan lead’s direction would be treated as a failure.
Mitch-Bitch, as the men called her behind her back, was a micro-manager.
Her plan was to lead a frontal attack on Spencer Avenue. Her plan involved the ringers swinging wide of Spencer Avenue and attacking the defenders from behind...but only if the direct attack started faltering.
Mitch-Bitch needed the glory of appearing to do this on her own. She needed to redeem her reputation in the national organization but she wanted the insurance that the ringers could provide.
The mission suited the two men to-a-tee. The less they had to coordinate with the amateurs and the twitchy Mitch-Bitch, the happier they were.
They were trained professionals, after all.
My nephew Nick worked as a diesel mechanic at a business that leased diesel equipment to industry. It was a VERY large and profitable business.
One of the challenges of running that business, though, was retaining specialists with mobility...specialists like diesel mechanics for instance.
The owner of the business came up with a neat way to retain them.
If a piece of equipment was not otherwise leased out, a mechanic-in-good-standing could lease that piece of equipment for little more than the cost of trucking it to the mechanic’s project site and power-washing it afterward.
When a mechanic needed to level his yard or put in a drain field, he didn’t use a shovel or the back-blade on a Ford 8N. He got a bulldozer and a back-hoe.
The good-will the owner generated was enormous.
Nick and I were the only customers in the office when Nick hit the bell informing Jennifer that she was needed at the desk.
Her eyes lit up when she saw Nick. Not only was Nick a stud-muffin, he was a genuinely nice guy.
“I need to lease some equipment” Nick said.
“Sure, no problem. Things are slow” Jennifer said.
Nick slide the list beneath the new plastic window that separated “office staff” from customers.
Jennifer’s eyebrows went up. “This is a lot of equipment” she noted.
“Yeah, its a big project” Nick admitted.
“Whatchya doin?” Jennifer asked. She wasn’t being nosy, just curious.
“We are putting in a dock” Nick said.
Jennifer looked back down at the list. Well, I suppose…. She thought.
“I don’t have a delivery address” Jennifer noted.
“Oh, rats” Nick said. Stud-muffin, nice guy but sometimes just a bit ADHD. Nobody is perfect.
“Just drop it off in the Sexton High School parking lot. I can move it from there” Nick said.
Jennifer was starting to smell something fishy.
“Hi, I am Nick’s uncle. I am funding Nick's project. How much do I owe you?” I said.
I believe that waving money under somebody’s nose tends to divert their line of thinking.
Looking down at the list, Jennifer quickly typed on the keyboard and generated an invoice. Then she mentioned a number that seem huge until you realized it was to cover the use of nearly a quarter-million pounds of specialized equipment.
I wrote the check. She called the bank to ensure it was covered.
Then Nick swung for the fences.
“Is there any chance I could have it delivered Thursday?” he asked.
Jennifer said “No problem”