Lizzy asked “When are you going to be home?”
I told her “It will be a while. The thing is, there are some things I need to pick up at home and drop off here.”
God bless my wife. “I can bring them in. What do you need?” That was going to save me at least a hour of road-time.
I had been making a list on three-by-five index cards. Yes, I know you can do that on a smartphone and then send it as a text message. I just am not there yet.
I rationalize my reluctance to totally move to my smartphone because the invasion of Normandy was done with three-by-five cards and I was not sure it could be done with smartphones.
Vince’s neighborhood was going to get more than a brick of .22 ammo from the Eaton Rapids auxiliary. I justified it in my mind, better to stop the Marxists here in the streets of Lansing than have them show up in the dead-of-night on my out-of-the-way gravel road a few months later.
I was parting with a substantial portion of my hoard of 5.56 and 7.62 NATO as well as buckshot loads for 12 and 20 gauge.
I found Vince talking to a neighbor in his mid-30s. He was wearing ballistic glasses and had the build of a guy who knew his way around a weight room and he had the face of somebody who spent a lot of time outside.
“Timmy, I want to introduce you to Alex Villareal. He is going to hand out the ammo after I leave.” Vince said.
“Speaking of which, I have some more coming” I said. “Where can I have it dropped off?”
Alex gave me his address. Apparently, everybody knew Alex. He had that charismatic personality that attracted people the way candles attract moths.
I called Lizzy when she was about five minutes out because she won’t answer texts while driving and I gave her the address.
He had one of those faces and personalities that people assume they have met before. Then Alex smiled and it struck me; Alex was a dead ringer for Erik Estrada, the TV star from the early 1980s.
Alex had also ‘been around the block’ in a manner of speaking.
For one thing, he totally understood why Vince had to vacate. Sharon would not leave the house if Vince did not go with her. For another, when hunting leopards you don’t put the shooters on the goat.
The houses near where the baby had burned to death (I refuse to say the baby was shot) were the bait. Unfortunately, Vince’s house was one of them.
Then I texted Alex’s number to Nick and Josh. I pointed out the boxes of ammo to hold for them.
Alex looked at the boxes and said “Not many people shoot a .300 Blackout. I wouldn’t worry too much about somebody making off with them.”
I gave him a look. “You would be surprised at how ignorant people can be. The see .300 and figure it will fit in their .300 Winchester magnum.”
I got a nod of agreement to that. “OK, I will make sure Nick or Josh gets these.
Lizzy asked, “Are you heading back now?”
I shook my head “No.”
"I have a few more things to do. One of them is kissing Mom goodbye,”
Liz knew I was superstitious. I was afraid that the one time I didn’t say “Good-bye” would be the week she died. In my defense, I had plenty of data that giving Mom an insurance “Good-bye” kiss kept her alive. She hadn’t died yet.
Liz seconded my invitation to Vince and said “See ya soon” and drove off.
The ‘..few other things..’ stretched into an hour. I helped hand out ammo. Some people came to take. Others came to swap or level-up.
Alex gave some people more ammo than others. "I give people who live in houses with tactical advantage more ammo than those who don't have tactical advantage. I give people I trust to be good shooters a little more."
Alex refused to give some people ammo, which surprised me.
When I asked him about it he said “Druggies. They would just sell it or get high and shoot anything that moved.”
Good call on his part. Secretly, I think he might have also been refusing ammo to those he suspected of supporting the Marxists. But it was not my circus, not my monkeys.
Then, as I was giving Mama her good-bye kiss, I got a call from Lizzy.
She was alarmed. She had gotten home and Grace and the car were gone. Lizzy had attempted to call and text her. The calls went straight to voice-mail (which Grace never listened to). Lizzy was afraid that Grace decided to participate in the riots in spite of our direction not to.
In all honestly, we made our fair share of mistakes when raising our kids. For one thing, we listened to “the experts”.
It was after our kids were in adolescence that we realized that ‘the experts’ methods were OK for a certain kind of kid but parents need a full tool-box, not just a screwdriver.
With Grace, our specific mistake had been to always give her the reasons for what we told her to do. The experts said this was the best way to project our ‘value map’ into our child’s head.
Little did we know that our children arrived at a different conclusion. They concluded that they only had to follow our edicts if they fully and completely agreed with our reasons in-the-moment.
We thought we were telling them the roadmap we used to arrive at our decision. They saw it as us making our case and them having the option to agree or disregard our input if they so desired.
I thought we had mostly worked our way out of that misunderstanding but it looked like Grace decided that our ‘argument’ was not sufficiently compelling to prevent her from having a ‘once in a lifetime adventure’ with her favorite cousins.
Grace knew that her cousins would lord it over her for months if she was a no-show.
Damn social media and the inevitable competition to achieve coolness.