Letting myself back into Mom’s house I suggested to Mom and to Ann, “Maybe it is time for Mom moved out to my house until things settle down.”
Well, that lit Ann right up.
Ann has a large-and-in-charge personality. SHE had decided everything was fine, perfectly fine. The murder was a fluke. The cops would prevent anything from getting out of control.
My face must have shown my skepticism.
“What?” Ann asked.
“I disagree” I said. “Things ARE blowing up. The cops are afraid to come out after dark. Vince and Sharon are bailing out for-the-duration and Vince is trying to talk Ruth into bailing too.”
“That is different” Ann said. “McCorkle’s house was less than a block away. The rioters didn’t come any closer than four blocks to Mom’s house.”
Mom’s ears were twitching like a terrier’s. She was absorbing every word.
I was thankful. At least Ann was now calling it a ‘riot’ instead of ‘a peaceful demonstration’.
“What about the dead person they found a block away? That is a lot closer than four blocks” I pointed out. I couldn’t, of course, point out that two people had been shot and they weren’t useful idiots, they were high-value assets.
“OK, let’s ask Marie. She has a cool head and truth be told, she is better set-up to watch Mom than we are” I said.
Ann was happy to punt.
Marie picked up on the second ring. I put her on speaker. “I propose that Mom get a little farther away from the Hall-of-Justice. It is better to move her during the day-light hours rather than wait until the demonstrators are coming down the street.
“I was just about to call you guys and propose the same thing. I can put her in my bedroom and I can move into the guest bedroom” Marie said.
“No, dear, I am not going to kick you out of your own room” mom objected.
Ann shot me a poisonous look. “You set that up, didn’t you?”
“Nope” I assured her. I didn’t have to. Great minds think alike and all that. Plus, I had a sneaking suspicion that Vince had called Marie and informed her that the Hammer of Thor was about to drop on the old neighborhood.
Now, to work on Ann.
“I think you should relocate, too” I said.
I worked her over for fifteen minutes and Ann would not move. “Nope. I am staying. Somebody has to keep an eye on Mom’s place.”
And that was that.
Moving mom was a two hour evolution. It is entirely possible that the ugly rifle made it out of the house on one of those trips.
Next up was to see if anything could be done to hamstring the aggressors.
Fortunately, Nick and Josh were not working Saturdays.
I showed up at Josh’s apartment with two cups of coffee. Josh was a heavy equipment mechanic. He knew diesel equipment like the back of his hand.
“Suppose you had to incapacitate twenty diesel buses and you had to do it in a hurry?” I asked.
Josh had a pretty good idea what I was thinking.
“Do you want the drivers to know they are incapacitated or not?” Josh asked.
“I prefer that they not know. Takes longer to fix them when you don’t have an obvious diagnosis” I said.
“You can always cut the brake lines” Josh volunteered.
“Would that leave fluid on the ground?” I asked.
“Well, yeah. Lemme think a second” Josh said.
“You could always crimp the fuel lines” Josh suggested.
“How would you do that?” I asked.
“Wouldn’t be hard” he said. “Happens all the time when rookies try to install fuel filters...I suppose if you took a small pair of bolt cutters and flattened the edges..maybe leave a 0.080” gap between them, that would do the trick” Josh said.
“What are you thinking?” he asked.
“I think the rioters are going to target Vince’s and Mom’s neighborhood tonight” I said.
Josh was plenty smart enough to put two-and-two together. “Do you have inside information?”
“I cannot say” I said.
“Lemme get Nick over here. We have some planning we gotta do” Josh said.
I was fine with that. I needed to suck up some of the coffee and while I was doing that I caught up with what was going on in Josh’s life.
Once Nick was brought up to speed, Nick had a question. “I get what you are saying about crimping the fuel line, but the only way to pull it off is to have somebody pre-positioned, maybe in a manhole, and waiting for them. How are we going to know where they will park the busses?”
“Have you seen pictures of the demonstrators?” I asked.
Both young men nodded. They had.
“How many of them could run a mile?” I asked.
“Maybe half?” Nick ventured. "Maybe."
“And the other half, how many would walk a quarter mile if you paid them?” I asked.
Nick smiled. “None of them.”
“That tells me that the buses will park as close to Mom’s house and Vince’s house as they physically can” I said.
I watched their faces as they visualized Mom’s neighborhood.
Nick spoke up first. “The one’s going to Vince’s house are easy. They will park at the High School. But where will the one’s going to Grandma’s house park?”
Josh said “The only place they can park is along Verlinden Avenue. If it were me, I would park on the west side of Verlinden, pointing toward the freeway.”
Nick shook his head. “We will never be able to get the fuel-lines on those buses.”
“Then we need a Plan B. And while you are at it, we need a Plan C” I said. “Just let me know what you need.”
It took thirty seconds.
Josh said “It would be mighty convenient if we had some sub-sonic .300 Blackout ammo.”
“How many?” I asked.
“You can never have enough” he said with a grin.
“So whaddya think, twenty buses to ship a thousand demonstrators? Will twenty rounds be enough?” I asked.
I got that “You have to be F___ing me” look from both Nick and Josh. “Never know what else we will see that needs shooting. Can you swing us a couple hundred rounds?” Josh asked.
“Are you going to be able to get the rifles sighted in?” I asked.
“Never touched the scope. Just use the same recipe you used for the ones you gave us last Christmas” Josh said.
It is entirely possible that Josh and Nick had "cans" for their rifles. They never told me. I never asked.