A thousand thoughts flashed through Rod’s mind as he froze. Foremost in his mind was the time he and his older brother had been crossing Bly’s spring-fed pond to hunt rabbits on the other side. In his eagerness, Rod was well ahead of his brother when the ice started cracking beneath him.
“Keep moving. Keep moving!” his brother shouted at him.
The pond was only about four feet deep at that point but it would have been a long, wet and heavy walk back to the farm house.
Rod kept his weight evenly distributed between his two feet and alternately swept them along the ice as he curved back toward solid ice. He looked odd because he had spread his feet as far apart as he could as he scuttled back to safe ice. If he was going to make a hole in the ice it was going to be a BIG one.
The ice cracked and creaked beneath him. He could feel it settle and sag. But he didn’t end up getting wet.
They ended up with three rabbits that day.
Rod’s brain unfroze. If Victor noticed the tiniest of pauses, he did not say.
“That is ammo that fits an AK. Will the neighborhood be needing that, too?” Rodney asked.
“I am not sure” Victor said. “Let me ask around.”
“Do you have anything else?” Victor asked, clearly referring to ammo.
Rod figured in for a dime, in for a dollar. “I have some 9mm, .22s and some other odds-and-ends.”
Victor nodded. He knew there would be demand for the 9mm. “You can keep the .22, for sure. Nobody uses it. Like I said, I will ask around.”
Victor was pretty sure Hermes would be more than glad to have a healthy supply of 7.62-39mm ammo. Very glad. For the time being, most of it could stay where it was. Rodney wasn’t going anywhere.
Billy Reuben’s mind never moved quickly, even in the best of times.
The men had the drop on him. He had lost his authorization. He was on probation and showing up back in Lansing with no cargo and an empty gas-tank was not an option.
He supposed he could pull to the edge of town and call for back-up, but then he would have to split the payout with however many teams showed up. That was a non-starter.
The Eaton Rapids men had already dismissed him from their minds. They could not see how slowly he processed information. Then, one of the men laughed for no particular reason. Perhaps it was the sudden relaxation of stress.
Billy’s self-control snapped. His back was to the Mayor and the men. He stealthily extracted the handgun from his waistband.
His thinking was that if he spun around and pointed it at the Mayor, the men would be obliged to do his bidding.
The muzzle was six inches clear of his belt when a 5.5mm hole appeared in his forehead and 400 microseconds later its twin appeared in his scalp immediately opposite.
Even before the “BOOM!” of Melody’s shot resounded, Billy started to collapse like a puppet that had its strings cut.
The meaty crash of two heavier slugs plowing into the passenger side of Billy’s truck each followed by deeper boom from Jarrell’s .308
Perhaps it was fitting that Billy died the same day as his grandfather, Jim Thresher.
Hermes was still receiving constituents and administering justice when his brother Victor came in and handed him a plate with two, open face sandwiches on it.
“What are these?” Hermes asked.
“Pilot biscuits and Spam” Victor said.
Hermes frowned. He had a very firm grasp on the food (hardly any) that had been coming into Fabulous Acres. “Where did it come from?” he asked.
“You know the yellow house on the east side of Maplewood, the one without the fence?” Victor said.
Hermes had to think about it. He didn’t pay much attention to Anglos. “Barbecue-Man’s?” he asked. The barbecues had been a fixture since his family had moved into the neighborhood 25 years earlier.
“That is the one” Victor said. “They had a bunch of food in their cellar. Pallet loads of food. They gave it all to the church. This is some of it.”
“Barbecue-Man also wants to give you a ton of 9mm and AK ammo, if you want it” Victor finished.
Hermes knew that things were tough. He knew that everybody waiting to see him had sons and nephews and boyfriends who were doing what they needed to do to survive. Sometimes that meant home invasions or worse.
Hermes raised his voice. “Anybody fucks with Barbecue-Man or his wife will have to answer to me. They are under my protection.”
Hermes’ motivation was not entirely altruistic. He knew people were hording. Nobody else would offer what they had if giving it up left them naked.
Within a half-hour the entire neighborhood knew. Don’t fuck with Barbecue-man or his property or you would get a tune-up you might not live through.