As I told you last week, my son Grant and I are on a visit to our family in East Texas. I grew up in Southeast Oklahoma, Southwest Arkansas, and Northeast Texas with no more than 70 or 80 miles between the three points, so I should have remembered some things. For instance, I should have recalled that when you take a shower, you can never dry off… at least in August and September. You simply mop off the worst of the moisture and pull on your clothes.
This week, I’d like to give you an excerpt from my fellow Okie writer Mark Wildyr’s novella entitled Red Rezes. In it, you meet Curt Huntinghawk and Grover Whitedeer, two members of the Rezagados Colorados, a drug enforcement group. Hope you enjoy it.
|Courtesy of Pixabay|
By Mark Wildyr
Hip-sprung and sweat-stained, Curt Huntinghawk stood in the shade of a paloverde and gazed at the twisted, tortured panorama spread out before him. The Sonoran Desert, sliced and diced by an endless web of gullies, arroyos, hills, and boulders, was a forbidding territory with something always eager to bite, sting, rip, tear, or puncture a man. An unseen army of traficantes, coyotes, illegals, or just plain citizens bent on mischief might linger over the next ridge, secure from discovery unless rooted out by the arduous process of tracking by foot.
Senior members of the Rezagados Colorados, an organization of Native Americans engaged by the Border Patrol to keep a drug watch along the Mexican border, Hawk and his partner, Grover Whitedeer, were on the hunt for drug mules. The hot, exhausting, dangerous work was the most satisfying and challenging either man had ever undertaken. The skill, strength, endurance, and downright stubbornness required of the job put them in spiritual contact with the warrior clans of their ancestors… even if they were toting water for the white man.
Grove, two inches shorter and twenty pounds lighter than Hawk’s six-feet, hundred-sixty-pounds pointed with his chin. “Rooster tail over yonder. Coupla miles, I reckon.” He grinned, transforming him from merely handsome to devilishly good-looking. “We could just forget about it.”
“Quit daydreaming and go get the Jeep.” Hawk turned and made his way up the rocks behind them to report the wisp of drifting dust in the distance on his hand-held radio. Receiving the go-ahead from headquarters, he joined Grove in the four-by-four. “Moving west by northwest. Probably making for Dragon’s Back.”
Dragon’s back was a huge hogback of rugged rock that sheltered the only natural water source in the area. Dominating the horizon no more than five miles as the crow flies to the west, the big hump was more like twenty through the washes and arroyos.
After locating tire tracks two arroyos over, the two Rezes followed at speed in order to outrun their dust tail. Clutching the door posts for support, they flew around the truck’s interior despite seat restraints. They drove with the windows down because it was too enervating to bail out of an air-conditioned vehicle to chase bad guys on foot in the blazing sun. Chances were the other vehicle was more interested in comfort, which might give them an edge.
As they drew closer, Grove threw the Jeep into four-wheel drive and abandoned the sandy wash to crawl up a crumbling tufa mound. The way was shorter, but hell on the kidneys. As they climbed, Hawk glimpsed the other truck below them.
“What the hell is that?” he exclaimed.
The contraption raising a rooster tail in the arroyo below wasn’t quite a tank, but it was close—an army surplus four-wheel-drive deuce-and-a-half fortified with sheet metal sprouting gun barrels like porcupine quills.
“Get in front of them. That sucker travels on rubber; it can be stopped!”
His partner rode the brakes down the far side of the rise. More than once Hawk feared they had overcome their center of gravity, but Grove was a good driver and kept the vehicle more or less on four wheels. They nosed into the wash well ahead of the monster crawling up the arroyo toward them. Grove parked the Jeep in an easily accessible side wash, and they piled out to collect rifles from the gun rack.
“We’ll flatten their tires, and then play it by ear,” Hawk said.
Grove shook his head. “You’re betting my ass on your ear?”
“Don’t worry, I’ll take good care of it. It belongs to me, you know.”
Grove gave him a look. “You gonna stand out there and give them the old ‘halt in the name of the law’ routine?”
“No, but I’ll cover you while you do it.”
“You’re dreaming, Cowboy.”
“Well, if armor-plate and gun ports aren’t enough probable cause to bring them down, then tough shit.”
The two Rezes took up positions and waited for the big vehicle to crawl clumsily around the bend. When it was within fifty yards, Hawk gave the signal.
They popped both front tires, but the behemoth came plowing on. Half a dozen copper-jacketed shells shredded the self-sealing chambers, and the big truck ground to a halt, the front end dropping like a gargantuan creature brought to its knees. Return gunfire was sporadic and confused.
The Indians methodically worked on the double rear tires until they gave up the ghost, as well. The truck was now immobilized. Most of the traficantes’ weapons were at the sides or rear of the vehicle. Head-on, the outlaws were only able to bring to bear a couple of side arms. Shifting his attention to the windshield, partially protected by a steel grate, Hawk starred the shatter-proof glass and sent two figures ducking. Grove worked on the radiator until he punctured its shield. The overheated engine spewed scalding steam up the arroyo. Hawk gave a grunt of satisfaction when he burst the canvas water bag hung over the bumper to allow for evaporative cooling, spilling its precious contents spilled into the thirsty sand.
Three angry men piled out of the rear of the vehicle, spraying the countryside indiscriminately with automatic weapons fire.
Satisfied the smugglers weren’t going anywhere until the Border Patrol came to scoop them up, he and Grove scrambled for the Jeep. They were halfway up the side of the rocky hill before the bad guys knew they were leaving.
As I understand it, Mark hasn’t published this story as yet. Let him know what you think of it at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following information provides contact information and the DSP Publications links:
Don Travis Email: email@example.com
Facebook: Don Travis
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-city-of-rocks-don-travis/1126419974
As always, thank for being a reader.
New blogs are posted at 6:00 a.m. each Thursday.