Justice 03: Lawyers, Guns and Money

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: General Erotica  |  House: Booksiesilk Classic Group

Justice rides again, and hell is riding with him... Abused husband gets revenge on cheating wife and lover.

Justice 03: Lawyers, Guns and Money


by Saddletramp1956

Copyright© 2023 by Saddletramp1956, All rights reserved


Although this story can be read on its own, I suggest you first read Justice 01 and Justice 02 to get the full context of what is happening here. To understand how Eli Jones became Justice O. Peace, I suggest you read my ebook, “Justice Rides,” available on .


Lionel Hawkins could feel the car he was in come to a stop, but he had no idea where he was. One minute, he was working at home, the next, he was drugged, tied, gagged, blindfolded and placed in the trunk of what appeared to be a fairly expensive car. He was being jostled as he started coming to, and suspected he was being taken somewhere remote. But where? And for what? Was he going to be killed? His stomach knotted up at the thought.


He heard the trunk latch and was hauled up by at least two strong sets of hands. He felt the punch to his stomach and thought he was going to throw up. He was tossed to the ground and thought he would soon be shot in the head, but the expected gunshot never came.


Instead, he felt several kicks to his ribs, followed by something wet being poured on his forehead. He heard two men laughing, but the real kick to his stomach was the laughter of the third person. It was the laughter of a woman. But not just any woman. It was Cheryl, his wife, the woman he had loved exclusively for over a decade.


I always wanted to piss on him like that,” she said as the others two snickered. “Too bad his mouth wasn't open at the time.


Why don't we just do him right here?” he heard one man say.


No, no,” he heard his wife argue. “Between the heat and the snakes, he'll be dead soon enough. I don't want anything that could lead authorities back to us.”


Besides,” he heard the other man say. “It'll be years before anyone finds him out here. By then, there'll be nothing left but bones.” The other two laughed at that. He could hear his wife move, then he smelled her perfume as she knelt close to him.


I'm sorry it has to end like this, dear,” she said sarcastically as the other two laughed. “But you knew it wouldn't last forever. Besides, Enrique and his men fuck me better than you ever could.” That prompted even more laughter. “Believe it or not, this isn't personal. It's just business. Oh, who the hell am I kidding. Of course, it's personal.” She snickered, then stood back up. “Untie his hands,” she told the other two men.


Are you sure?” the first man said.


Yes,” she said. “Leave his legs tied and his blindfold on.” She knelt by her husband. “Now, you be a good boy and count to 100 after we leave before you untie yourself and take off the blindfold. You hear me?” Lionel nodded his head, unable to say anything with the gag in his mouth. She stood back up. “Do it,” she ordered.


Lionel could feel one of the men cut the zip ties holding his hands behind his back.


You're getting off easy, cuck,” the man whispered. “If it were up to me, I'd blow your fucking brains out then feed you to the fish.”


When his hands were free, he rubbed his wrists together. The man left him and got back in the car. He heard his wife one last time.


Now you be a good boy and do as I say,” she said. “Otherwise, I'll just have to sic my dogs on you. I'd like to say it's been nice, but that would be a lie. Now do humanity a favor and die, okay? That's a good boy.” She laughed and closed the door. He cried as he heard the car take off. He counted to 100 as she said and removed the blindfold and gag. He squinted his eyes until he got used to the bright light and looked around at the harsh desert terrain. He knew he wouldn't last very long out in the open.


He untied his legs and stripped off his shirt and his jacket. He tied his shirt around his head to give him some protection from the oppressive heat. He could barely make out the tracks from the vehicle he had been in and decided to follow them as far as he could.


As he walked, he thought about his life with Cheryl. They met in law school, dated, fell in love and got married. They both worked for a large legal firm but he felt like his talents were being wasted. He didn't go to law school to get rich, after all. He genuinely wanted to help people. So he started his own firm about three years after they graduated, dedicating at least 10 percent of his billable time to pro-bono work, helping people who needed legal advise but couldn't afford it.


Cheryl helped him out when she could and seemed supportive of his work. At first, she admired his “gumption” and his willingness to strike out on his own, taking on the big firms all in the name of community service. But something happened along the way.


It turned out Cheryl wasn't as concerned about helping people, unless she was the one who benefited. Her goal was simple – get rich and powerful, and not necessarily in that order. While she was giving his fledgling firm lip service, she was schmoozing big-wigs in other firms, hoping to land a position as a partner.


She eventually landed a position with one of the largest firms in the area and was soon making much more than he was. And she wasn't shy about her new status in life. At her insistence, they split up their bank accounts and she rarely contributed to the bills, even though she made much more than he did.


She bought herself a brand new BMW, while he got around in a five-year-old Toyota he maintained himself. Worse yet, she rarely let him ride in her car, unless it was to cart him to one of her social events, where she would introduce him before disappearing with her new colleagues to do God-knows-what.


Her new position also required her to travel – a lot. She was often gone to New York, Washington, D.C., Boston, Miami, Seattle – even London and Paris. She had even joined her partners on cruises to the Bahamas and the Mediterranean, telling him that spouses weren't invited.


In the last two years, she was gone more than she was home and she even missed their last two anniversaries. She always promised to make it up to him, but she never did. Their tenth anniversary was coming up, but this year, he decided to do nothing just to see if she would even notice. So far, she hadn't said a word.


He was pretty certain she had been cheating on him lately. All the signs were there, but he didn't have any concrete proof – at least nothing that would stand up in court. Worse yet, he couldn't afford to pay for a private investigator, especially since all of his money went to keeping his business and household afloat. Several times, he could smell another man's cologne or after shave on her. He also smelled something else on her more than once.


Of course, their sex life had hit rock bottom in the last two years. They used to make love several times a week, but now, he was lucky if they got together once or twice a month. Even then, it felt as though she was just giving him a quick mercy-fuck to hold him over until she could be bothered to be in his presence.


Things got worse in the last year and a half or so, but the last six months were the absolute worse. The firm she worked for assigned her to a client who demanded she service him exclusively. Now, she was taking trips all over Latin America – Bogota, Lima and Mexico City were just a few of her destinations, along with all of her other trips. Having been raised by a mother who emigrated to the States from Costa Rica, she was fluent in both Spanish and English – something that worked to her favor in this new assignment.


He knew nothing about this new client of hers, other than he was very rich, very influential and very demanding. And he was quite certain she was screwing him on the side. But again, he had no concrete proof. Not that it would matter a whole lot. He knew he would get screwed in court no matter what.


So he bided his time, deciding that at some point she would go off the rails. Then he would make his move. He had already done all he could to protect himself and his fledgling business from her so it was just a matter of time. But he never thought she would do this.


He wondered what brought this on, then he remembered some forms she wanted him to sign and notarize on behalf of her client. She said it was some kind of import/export thing, but he refused to do anything with the paperwork, not knowing her client and not knowing what it was he intended to do with it. Moreover, he wondered, if it was legit, why couldn't she have her own firm handle it? It all seemed too fishy to him.


She even offered him a large sum of cash – that's right, actual cash money – much more than would be required to trigger an investigation should he actually try to deposit it all at once. She showed him the cash, which was stashed in a briefcase, and that raised all kinds of red flags.


Was she involved in something illegal? Was her client looking to smuggle drugs or guns? His first instinct was to contact the authorities, but he held off until he could learn more. In hindsight, he realized he should've been more proactive. Sadly, Cheryl wasn't too open about it, simply telling him that if he couldn't handle filing a simple form, she would find someone else who could.


But, she said, she would give him a chance to rethink his position. He remembered telling her he needed more information about her client and his intentions, but she scoffed at the notion, saying he should simply trust her in this.


Then there was the day he found that slip of paper stuck between the forms she wanted him to notarize in advance. It had the number 350 next to the initials AK and a date with what looked like GPS coordinates scribbled in a man's handwriting. It made no sense to him, so he showed it to one of his colleagues, Andy McGregor.


Let me see if I can make sense of all this,” Andy said. The next day, Andy came to him and suggested it could indicate the date and location for a shipment of illegal arms.


There's no way Cheryl could be mixed up in anything like that,” he told Andy.


Are you 100 percent certain?” Andy asked. “After all, you said she wants you to notarize forms that haven't even been filled out or signed yet. If it were me, I'd go straight to the ATF with this. I wouldn't waste any time.”


Let me talk to Cheryl first,” he said. “Thanks for looking this over.”


You're welcome, Lionel,” he said. “But I think you're making a huge mistake by not going straight to the authorities.” As it turned out, Andy was right about his inaction being a mistake. He got home and had no sooner put his briefcase on his desk when he felt a prick at the back of his neck. Seconds later, it was lights out.


Suddenly, he felt a sharp pain in his leg and yelled out. Looking down, he saw a rattlesnake. He was so lost in his own thoughts he didn't even hear the snake shake its rattle. Damn, he thought. Looking around, he found a large rock, picked it up and smashed the snake's head just as it prepared to strike again.


His leg ached and he hobbled to a joshua tree, hoping to get a bit of shade. He knew that if the bite wasn't treated quickly, he could be a goner. But he had nothing – not even a pocket knife. Cheryl and her goons had taken everything from him when they kidnapped him – even his watch and wedding ring. He watched as the sun dipped below the horizon and knew there was a possibility he wouldn't last till morning. He felt himself start to slip into unconsciousness and did something he hadn't done since he went to that crusade thing 15 years ago – he prayed, “God, please help me.”



It was late in the afternoon and as was our custom, we sat on the back porch with our nine-month-old son, William. I enjoyed this time with my family, recalling the day's events and looking forward to the next day. My lovely wife, Danni, sat next to me and put her head on my shoulders as I bounced our son on my knee. She got a kick out of watching me talk baby-talk to our child.


It's a good thing no one can hear you right now, Amos,” she said, laughing. “They'd think you were going through your second childhood.” I laughed and kept on bouncing William. That's me, by the way -- Amos Jones.


Aw, he's just a baby,” I said. “Gotta have some fun with him sometime.” Just then, our doorbell rang. I handed William to Danni and got up to answer it. I was surprised to see my Grandpa Elijah at the door. As always, he was dressed like a character straight out of an old western, complete with duster and battered Stetson.


Grandpa Elijah, by the way, isn't JUST my grandfather. He's my great-great-great-great grandfather. You might say that's impossible, but here he is at my doorstep. Don't ask me to explain it, because I frankly don't understand it myself. Let's just say he helped me deal with my cheating wife, Andrea. That happened before I met my current wife. And yes, she knows who he is as well.


Come on in, Grandpa,” I said. “Long time no see. How're ya doing?” He came in and gave me a big hug.


Finer 'n frog's hair,” he said, smiling. “Jes' came by ta see mah grandsons – both of 'em.”


We're all out back, enjoying the sunset,” I said. “C'mon out. You want a beer?”


Of course,” he said. “Need something ta wash down this trail dust.” I grabbed a beer out of the fridge and went out to the back porch, and saw he had already sat down and was bouncing little William on his knee, making baby noises as the youngster smiled. He took the beer from me, and swallowed half of it before putting the bottle down.


See?” I asked, looking at Danni. “I'm not the only one who does that.” She laughed. Grandpa Elijah looked at us, confused.


Does what?” he asked.


Danni was giving me grief about making baby noises at William here,” I said. He laughed.


Well, I was doing this a hundred years before either of you were a twinkle in yer daddys' eyes,” he said. “You know, William here sure looks a lot like yer Grandpa Jedediah at this age,” he added.


You mean, my great-great-great grandfather?” I asked. He nodded his head.


Yup,” he said. “One and the same. He was about this age when things went to hell in a handbasket.”


You mean the war?” I asked.


Yup,” he said. “Rebs fired on Fort Sumter and the next thing you know the whole country's at war. Brother against brother, the whole thing. I joined up with a regiment forming up in Indianapolis. We were an infantry regiment at first, but later became a cavalry unit. That's the last time yer Grandma Lizzy or the kids ever saw me alive.”


Damn,” I said. “That had to be rough.” He nodded his head.


Yeah, it was,” he said. “We were all over the place – Shiloh, Chickamauga, Atlanta, a hundred other places. Seen a lot of good men die on both sides.” I thought I saw a tear form in his eye. He wiped his face and turned his attention back to William.


I hope you never have to experience anything like that, son,” he said quietly. His face suddenly changed for a few moments. He stood up and handed William to me. “I'm sorry, but I have to go. I'll be right back. You got a snakebite kit or something?”


Of course,” I said. Anyone living in these parts would be crazy not to have one, but there were some who argued the suction kits could cause more harm than good. Fortunately, we had a doctor in the area who still made house calls and was known for his rapid response.


Good,” he said. “Get it ready and be prepared to call a doctor.” He left the house and a few minutes later, was back, carrying a man who had a shirt wrapped around his head. Grandpa set him down on the couch and put his damaged leg so it would be below his heart. Danni handed me the kit and called Doc Thompson as we cleaned the man's wound. He was still breathing, but it was clear he wasn't doing too well.


A few minutes later, Doc Thompson came to the door and Danni rushed him inside. Doc was well known to everybody in the area. He was a kindly, older man who used to work at the hospital in town before putting up his shingle out here. He took one look at the man and knew what had to be done. He reached into his bag and pulled out two fresh syringes and two small bottles of fluid – I presumed it was antivenom. He gave the man two shots, then handed us some pills for nausea.


Looks like you got to him just in time,” he said, standing up from the man. “Keep an eye on him, don't let him get up and don't give him any food or water for a while. Keep that foot below his heart level. If his condition gets worse, call me and we'll get him to the nearest ER. If his face starts to swell up or he starts vomiting, call me immediately. I'll be out in the morning to check up on him.”


Is he going to be okay, Doc?” I asked. He nodded his head.


I think so,” he said. “It looks worse than it really is, but keep an eye on him just the same. I gave him a tetanus shot and some antivenom, but if he gets worse, he may have to get an IV. I hate to ask, but do you know if he has any insurance?”


No idea, Doc,” I said. “Listen, I'll take care of the cost. Just send me the bill.”


Well, okay,” he said. “Let me know when you can get any information on him. Damn government paperwork makes things a whole lot harder than they need to be. What happened to him, anyway?”


He was dumped,” Grandpa said. “Left for dead.”


Maybe you should call the sheriff,” Doc said.


Not much the sheriff here can do,” Grandpa said. “Don't worry, he's in good hands.”


Well, okay, if you say so,” Doc said. “Keep an eye on him tonight. I'll see y'all in the morning.” We thanked him as he left, then sat down in the living room.


What's going on, Grandpa?” I asked. He took a deep breath before continuing.


His name is Lionel Hawkins. He's an attorney in southern California. His wife and some of her goons bushwhacked him, took him out to Death Valley and dropped him off to die,” he said.


Did he do something bad?” I asked. Grandpa shook his head.


No,” he said. “He's completely innocent. His wife, well, that's another story.” He looked up at Danni. “Can you get information about someone on that computer thing of yours?”


Yeah,” she said. “I still have my Lexis-Nexus access. What do you need?”


I'd like all the information that thing can give you on Enrique Castillo and Cheryl Hawkins,” he said.


You mean the wealthy Mexican businessman?” she asked.


Yeah,” he said. “One and the same.”


Okay,” she said. “And I take it Cheryl Hawkins is this man's wife?”


Yes,” he said quietly. “She's also an attorney. Her maiden name is Lindstrom, and she uses that a lot as well.”


I'll get right on it,” she said. “It's about William's bedtime anyway, so I'll put him down and get started.” He nodded his head, saying nothing. I knew he was trying to work things out in his mind so I said nothing for a few minutes.


What are you thinking, Grandpa?” I asked.


I'm thinking our friend here stumbled onto something he shouldn't have,” Elijah said. “Something big. And now his wife is trying to frame him to cover up their activities.”


What?” I asked. “Drugs? Guns?” He shook his head.


I'm sure that plays a role in this. Nah, there's something bigger,” Elijah said. “It's just not coming to me, though.”


You think this is something like what Mike was up against?” I asked. He shook his head.


Not quite,” he said. “Lionel's wife wanted him to stamp or notarize some kind of forms but he refused. Told her he didn't know her client and didn't know his intentions. Then he accidentally stumbled on something just before they bushwhacked him. I don't think he even realized what it was he found.”


Is that what you're trying to figure out?” I asked. He nodded his head.


Yeah,” he said. “Unfortunately, Lionel's memories are a bit fuzzy right now.”


You can read memories?” I asked. He smiled and nodded his head slightly.


A bit,” he said. “One of the perks of the job. Maybe after he wakes up I can get a better read.”


I thought you said you could read a man's face,” I said. He nodded his head.


I can,” he said. “I can tell a lot from a man's face. But not necessarily everything. The trick is to look into his eyes – those are the windows into a man's mind.” I took in what he said for a few moments before speaking again.


Whaddya say we go out back for a beer and a smoke?” I asked. He looked at Lionel for a second, then nodded his head.


Why not?” he asked with a smile. “Can't do much more here till he wakes up.” We got up and headed out back, stopping at the fridge long enough to get two longnecks. I pulled out the case he gave me, opened it and offered him a cigarette. He took it as I pulled out a match and struck it on my jeans. He puffed as I lit his cigarette, then lit my own. We stared out into the darkness, lost in our own thoughts for a while.


These jobs you do, Grandpa,” I said. “Are they always like Mike's or Lionel's?”


Nah,” he said. “Most of the time, they're pretty straightforward. Kinda like yours. More often than not, the fellas I help don't even know I was involved. I kinda like it that way. But lately, it seems they've gotten a lot more complicated, a lot more intense. Sometimes, it makes me think people don't even know the difference between right and wrong anymore. Worse yet, a lot of 'em don't seem to care.”


I can understand that,” I said. “Well, Danni and I will do everything we can to help.”


I appreciate that, son,” he said. “It means a lot to me. Especially since I'm not up on all this new-fangled technology of yers. In my day, it was a lot simpler. Shoot the bastard and be done with it. Not quite so easy anymore. Speaking of shooting,” he began.


Yes?” I asked.


You've been practicing with that rifle I gave ya?” I nodded my head. The last time I saw him, he gave me a Winchester Model 1892 44-40 rifle with a modified lever. It was designed so that all I had to do to fire the thing was cycle the lever after putting a pin in place. It worked a lot like the rifle used in that old television western.


Sure have,” I said. “Funny thing, though.”


What's that?” he asked.


Darn thing never seems to run out of bullets,” I said. He laughed.


Noticed that, have you?” he asked with a grin. “That can come in handy in a gunfight. Trust me, you take care of it, and it'll damn sure take care of you.” We finished our cigarettes and our beer and headed back inside. Danni was waiting for us in the front room. She had several sheets of paper in her hand.


I looked up Castillo and Cheryl Lindstrom/Hawkins for you,” she said. “You ready to hear what I learned?”


Sure,” Elijah said, sitting down.


Okay,” she said. “First off, according to what I could find, Cheryl last worked as an attorney for Dewey and Cheatham in southern California. I'm not sure if she's still employed there or not, but Castillo was her most recent assignment. Apparently, she handles all of his legal work in the U.S. She also travels with him a lot. Mexico City, Bogota, Caracas, even overseas. There's been articles written online about Castillo and a lot of the pictures of him seem to include her. And she looks more like arm candy than a high-priced attorney.” She stopped to hand us a printed photo.


Cheryl was a very attractive woman with long dark hair and doe-like eyes. Her Latin heritage was easy to spot. She wore a short dress that showed off a lot of well-toned leg and a fair amount of cleavage. Castillo looked to be a little older than her and appeared to be quite refined in his expensive suit. He had his arm around her and she seemed to enjoy the embrace. It was obvious there was chemistry between them.


There's more. Castillo has large villas in Colombia and Mexico,” she said. “He's also been under investigation by Mexican authorities for various allegations. Drugs, guns, human trafficking, you name it. Nothing ever came of those investigations, however, since they magically seemed to disappear. It also appears that lately, he's been very active politically in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. That's the biggest state in Mexico and borders Texas and New Mexico.”


What do you mean, active?” I asked.


It seems he's been building up a coalition to eventually oust the political leaders there,” she said. “It's not really that much different than rich people here in the states propping up politicians. He's already gotten several mayors replaced with politicians loyal to him and he's gotten a number of bureaucrats replaced as well. People are starting to ask questions.”


But you think there's more to it?” Grandpa asked.


I don't know,” she said. “It's hard to tell just from these reports.”


Alright,” Grandpa said, taking the stack of papers from Danni. “I'll go through this. Much obliged, Danni. Why don't you young'uns get some sleep and I'll stay up with Lionel here.”


Are you sure, Grandpa?” Danni asked. “You need your sleep, too.” He laughed at that.


Don't worry yer pretty little head, sweetheart,” he said. “I have no need for sleep anymore, remember?”


Sorry, forgot,” she said. He kissed her on the forehead as she walked upstairs. I looked at him before I went up, but he was already going over everything Danni gave him.


Goodnight, Grandpa,” I said. He looked up and gave me a wave.


Goodnight, son,” he said. “Don't worry about disturbing me, by the way,” he added with a smile. I knew what he meant. Danni could be a screamer at times. I smiled and headed on up. As it turned out, I didn't have to worry much as Danni kept a pillow close by just to keep from screaming out.


The next morning, I awoke to the smell of bacon and coffee and knew Danni was already up and about. I went into the bathroom and did my business, took a shower, dressed and headed downstairs.


'Bout damn time you got up, sleepyhead,” Grandpa said, laughing. “Half the day's gone already.” I smiled and went into the kitchen to grab a cup of coffee and give my wife her morning kiss. I wrapped my arms around her and nuzzled into her neck.


Damn, that smells good,” I said.


Thank you, kind sir,” she said. “But you'd better let me finish before it gets burned.” I gave her a kiss, grabbed my coffee and went into the front room. William was in his high chair and Lionel was awake but still laying on the couch.


How are you feeling?” I asked. He looked at me, confused.


My leg hurts like hell and my back itches,” he said. “Where am I? Who are you people? How did I get here? Am I...”


One question at a time,” I said. “To start, no, you're not dead. My name is Amos Jones. The woman making breakfast is my wife, Danni, and this other fella is...”


Justice O. Peace,” Grandpa said, holding out his hand. Lionel took it and looked closely at Grandpa.


I remember seeing you,” Lionel said. “You were the one who picked me up in the desert.” Grandpa nodded his head. “How did you know where I was?”


You asked for help,” Grandpa said. “I answered your call.” Lionel thought back and remembered his prayer. He looked at Grandpa, shocked.


Are you...” he began. Grandpa shook his head.


No, no,” he said. “Not even close.”


So, where am I?” Lionel asked.


Texas,” I told him. “Are you up for a little breakfast?” He nodded his head.


Yeah, I'm starving,” he said. Danni brought him a plate of bacon and eggs and set it on the coffee table after putting down a placemat. “Thank you so much,” he said.


You're welcome,” she said. “Dig in.” He didn't have to be told twice. He picked up the fork and scarfed down the food as though he hadn't eaten for days. Danni brought out food for the rest of us and we sat and ate in silence. She sat with William and fed him as she ate, placing him in his playpen when she was finished.


So,” I said after I finished. “What can you tell us? How did you end up in Death Valley?”


Is that where I was?” he asked. I nodded my head.


Yeah,” I said. “What happened?”


The last thing I remember was setting my briefcase on my desk at home so I could go over some paperwork,” he said. “The next thing I know, I'm tied up and in the trunk of a car. The car stopped and they threw me out. My wife pissed on me and made it clear she wanted me dead.”


Oh my God,” Danni said.


What kind of paperwork?” I asked. He shook his head.


Just some things Cheryl – that's my wife, by the way – wanted me to notarize for her client,” he said.


This is important, Lionel,” Danni said. “What kind of papers?”


She's been after me to pre-notarize and sign documents for some kind of import and export thing her client is doing,” he said.


Wait,” Danni said. “She wanted you to sign and put a notary stamp on something that hadn't even been signed or completely filled out yet?” she asked, shocked.


Pretty much, yeah,” he said.


Why?” Danni asked. He shrugged his shoulders.


I don't know,” he said.


You're wife is an attorney, right?” she asked. He nodded his head.


Yeah,” he said.


So why couldn't she take care of this if it's so important?” Danni asked. He shook his head.


Again, I don't know,” he said. “I asked her, but she just blew me off. I told her I wouldn't do it unless I first met her client and discussed it with him and I also told her I refused to put my stamp on anything that wasn't completely filled out and verified first. Look, I don't have much, but I still have my integrity.”


I understand,” Danni said. She looked at Grandpa and I before speaking again. “I'm smelling a very large rat here,” she said. “Nothing about this makes any sense.” She turned back to Lionel. “Did she offer you money?”


Oh, God, yes,” he said. “A whole damn suitcase full of $100 bills. I didn't count it, but I knew it had to much more than $10,000. You know what happens when you try to deposit that much cash at once, right?” Danni nodded her head.


I also know what happens if you try to deposit that in incremental amounts,” she said. “You didn't accept it, did you?”


Hell, no,” he said. “I told her in no uncertain terms I either meet directly with her client and get the full story or no deal.”


How is your relationship with your wife right now?” Danni asked. He laughed out loud.


What relationship?” he asked. “The last three months, I'm lucky if I see her maybe five days the whole month. The rest of the time she's off to meetings in Mexico City, Acapulco, Bogota, wherever else she goes. Even when she's home, she's either on her phone or on her computer.”


Do you think she's cheating on you?” Danni asked.


Right now, I'm certain of it,” he said. “I've suspected for a while, but she was never home and I could never afford a PI to check up on her.”


What makes you certain of it now?” Danni asked.


Her last words to me,” he said. “After she pissed on me, she told me to do humanity a favor and die. One of her goons called me a 'cuck' and she admitted fucking other guys. I may be weak, but I'm not stupid.” Danni showed him one of the photos she printed off the internet.


Is this your wife?” she asked. He looked at it and nodded his head.


Yeah, that's her,” he said.


Do you know the man she's with?” Danni asked.


No, not personally,” he said. “I assume he's one of her rich clients.”


Her only client from what I can gather,” Danni said. “His name is Enrique Castillo and he's one of Mexico's wealthiest businessmen.”


Figures,” Lionel said. “Enrique comes from the German name Heinrich, which basically translates to 'powerful ruler of the home.' The name Castillo translates to 'Castle.' Which tells me he's probably an overbearing asshole with delusions of power and grandeur.” He looked at us after he said all that. “Sorry, it's a hobby of mine. I like to research the origin and meaning of names.”


So we can assume that whatever she wanted you to notarize had something to do with him,” Danni said. “Am I right?” He slowly nodded his head.


Yeah,” he said.


Maybe it has something to do with that note you found before you were nabbed,” Grandpa said. Until now, he had just been listening, watching Lionel's face, not saying much of anything. Lionel's eyes widened at that.


How do you know about that?” he asked.


It's a hobby of his,” I said. “He reads faces.” Lionel looked back and forth between us.


And he can tell that from my face?” he asked.


I can tell a lot about a man by his face,” Grandpa said. Just then, we heard a knock at the door. I opened it and ushered Doc Thompson inside.


How's our patient this morning?” he asked, looking at Lionel. “You seem to be doing a bit better.”


I am,” he said. Doc nodded his head and examined Lionel's wound.


The bit looks a lot better than it did yesterday,” he said as he began to change the dressing. “You eat anything yet?”


I had some bacon and eggs,” Lionel said. Doc nodded his head again.


Good,” he said. “No nausea, dizziness or anything like that?”


No,” Lionel said, shaking his head.


Even better,” Doc said. “Well, that should do you,” he added as he finished replacing the bandage. “Don't put too much weight on that leg for a while and call if you need anything.”


How much do I owe you?” I asked. Doc waved his hand.


Don't worry about it,” he said. “My office manager will send a bill. You folks take care now, y'hear?”


See ya, Doc,” Danni and I said as he walked out. After he left, we turned our attention back to Lionel.


You were going to explain something about a note you found,” I said. Lionel took a deep breathed and sighed.


Yeah, it had some numbers and the initials AK along with what looked like a date and GPS coordinates,” he said. Grandpa looked at me.


Jee Pee Ess? What's that?” he asked.


GPS,” I said. “Stands for Global Positioning Satellite. It's a way to find and track anything on earth.”


Good grief,” Grandpa said. “What'll they think of next?”


What do you think it was?” I asked Lionel.


I honestly don't know,” he said.


But you have an idea, don't you?” Grandpa asked him. Lionel nodded his head.


Yeah,” he said. “A friend of mine suggested it had something to do with a possible shipment of illegal arms. But I just can't imagine Cheryl being involved in something so blatantly illegal.”


Did you ever imagine that your wife would cheat on you and try to get you to engage in unethical if not outright illegal behavior with your notary?” Danni asked. She didn't wait for an answer before she continued. I knew she was in full lawyer mode and wouldn't stop until Lionel figured it out for himself.


Did you ever imagine that your wife would have you drugged, kidnapped and left you in the desert to die?” she asked, her voice getting angrier. “Did you ever imagine that she would literally piss on you and tell you to do humanity a favor and die?” Lionel shook his head, tears falling down his cheeks.


No,” he said quietly. “I figured she was cheating, but I never would've imagined the rest.”


So is it really too far of a stretch to think that she might be involved in something highly illegal, like gun running?” Danni asked. He shook his head again.


Not when you put it in that context, no,” he said. All during this exchange, I noticed Grandpa's eyes were closed and it looked like he was in communication with someone, but I didn't know who. After Lionel spoke, Grandpa opened his eyes and looked up at me.


Do me a favor, son,” he said quietly. “Turn on that television device of yours and put it on channel 970.” I picked up the remote and did as he asked. We didn't have anything that went up that high on our service, so I wondered what we would see. When I put the cable box on 970, the image showed what looked like an expensive veranda with a bistro table and two chairs. I hit the button to start recording to the DVR.


Cheryl stepped on the veranda, wearing nothing but a short robe that was open in the front. As she walked, the robe opened and we could see she was naked. After she sat down, a dark-skinned man dressed in a somewhat longer robe sat across from her. A servant came by and handed them each a cup from a serving tray.


What are we looking at, Grandpa?” I asked. He held up his hand.


I'll tell you when it's done,” he said. As we watched, they took a sip from their cups before speaking.


The man said something in rapid Spanish and a box appeared at the bottom of the screen with a translation.


I see you took care of your clueless husband yesterday,” the English translation in the box read.


Yes,” Cheryl said in Spanish.


I'm sure it was difficult for you to dispose of him in such a way,” he told her. She shrugged her shoulders.


Not really, Enrique,” she said. “It's been building for a while. It would have to have been done sooner or later anyway. This just saves me the trouble and expense of a divorce. Now, his entire estate and his business will be mine once he's declared dead.”


I take it you didn't love him, then,” Enrique said. She shook her head.


Not for a long time,” she said, prompting more tears from Lionel. “At first, yeah. But he just didn't have the drive for wealth and power that you do. And I'll be damned if I'm going to carry someone because they don't have the ambition to do better on their own.”


And now?” he asked. She smiled and took a sip of her drink.


Now, I have you,” she said, causing him to smile. “And I've never been happier or more satisfied.”


And soon, you will have all of Chihuahua at your feet,” he said, causing her to smile. “Once the weapons are delivered, my new army will be ready to move and we will strike. You know, my men said they lost track of your husband a few hours after you dropped him off. They're still looking, but they haven't found anything yet.” She shrugged her shoulders.


Maybe he fell into a ravine or crawled away somewhere and died,” she said. “Who cares? Besides, where could he go? He didn't even have his comb when I left him and I didn't see any angels swooping down to take him away. Face it. He's gone now. It's just you and me.” He smiled as he nodded his head.


Yes, it is, isn't it?” he asked rhetorically. He was suddenly distracted and reached into his pocket. He pulled out a mobile phone and spoke into it.


Are you sure about that?” he asked. We couldn't hear the other end of the conversation. After a few seconds, he responded. “Do it, now,” he ordered before ending the call.


What was that, Enrique?” Cheryl asked. He smiled and shook his head.


A minor administrative detail,” he said. “Nothing for you to worry about. Now, where were we?”


You were going to tell me again about our future,” she said.


Ah, yes,” he said. “First, we take Chihuahua. Then we take all of Mexico. After that, we unite all of our people under one banner. Then, we move north and join our oppressed brothers and sisters and take back that which the gringos stole from us so long ago. It will be a glorious war and I will become the Napoleon of the Western Hemisphere.” Cheryl had opened her robe and was masturbating as he spoke, her legs spread wide. “That excites you, does it?” he asked as he watched her tremble in orgasm.


Yes, it does,” she said. “And I'll be your Empress Josephine and I'll be at your side when the crooked President of the United States is forced to surrender to you, my king.”


Am I your king?” he asked with a crooked smile.


Of course, Enrique,” she said. “Always and forever. I want to be your queen and give birth to your heirs.”


I certainly hope so,” he said. “Because you know how I deal with those who betray me.”


I would never betray you, darling,” she said, climbing into his lap, rubbing her pussy on his growing manhood. He smiled and moaned as he grabbed her ass.


That is so good to hear, my queen,” he said.


Fuck me, my king,” she moaned. “Fill me with your royal seed and make me your woman.” As they watched, she positioned him at the entrance of her sex and slowly impaled herself on him. They moaned as they bucked into each other on his chair. After a few moments, they each cried out in orgasm. They kissed deeply before she got up and they could see Enrique's semen drip out of her.


I've seen enough,” Lionel said. “Turn it off. Please!” The video ended, leaving them to watch static. I looked at Grandpa.


What the hell did we just see?” I asked. “Where did that come from?”


I can't get into the particulars right now,” he said. “Let's just say I'm not the only one who does what I do. What you saw actually happened as you saw it. That's all I can tell you. I don't know how it was done and I couldn't even begin to explain it.”


You're telling me we just watched two people discussing a revolution in Mexico and a planned invasion of the United States in real time?” Danni asked. Grandpa nodded his head.


Sure looks that way,” he said. He looked back at Lionel. “Which means we need to get you somewhere they'll never be able to find you.”


But where?” Lionel asked.


I think I know just the place,” Grandpa said. “But I suggest you take a bath first. No offense, but yer startin' to get a little ripe.” We all laughed at that, even little William.


Yeah, but I can't stand on this for very long,” Lionel said.


No problem,” Danni said. “We've got something you can use to sit down on while you take a shower. Honey, would you mind getting that shower seat out of the back closet for Lionel?” she asked, looking at me.


No problem,” I said. “I'll see if I have any clothes that might fit him as well.” I found the shower seat along with an old pair of clean jeans and a shirt I thought he might be able to wear. He would have to use his own shoes and underthings, but I wasn't too concerned with obeying any fashion rules. I put them all in the downstairs bathroom and went back front so I could help him get to the bathroom. After I got him situated, I sat back down in the living room.


Where are we taking him?” I asked Grandpa.


Someplace similar to where I took you,” he said. “He'll be safe there.”


We need to get that video to the authorities,” Danni said as I prepared to burn it to DVD.


And tell them what?” I asked. “That we saw video of two people somewhere – we don't know where – discussing a revolution before having sex? They'll lock us both up in a looney bin somewhere.”


You're right,” she said.


But Danni's got a point, Grandpa,” I said. “We gotta do something.”


I understand how you feel, son,” he said. “I'll have to give it some thought first. Saving a man from certain death in the desert is one thing. Stopping an attempted revolution is something else. Let's get Lionel to safety first and then we can discuss it.”


Okay, Grandpa,” I said. I excused myself for a bit and went into my office, returning with a backpack. After another half-hour, Lionel hobbled back into the living room. He looked ridiculous in worn, ill-fitting jeans and expensive, albeit ruined, dress shoes, but at least he didn't stink. Grandpa stood up as he entered the room.


You about ready to go, son?” he asked Lionel.


I'm ready,” he said, nodding his head. Grandpa went out and came back with his lasso. He gathered Lionel to him as I kissed Danni and William.


I'll be back as soon as I can,” I said. She smiled as she kissed me back.


Better be, cowboy,” she said. I stood next to Lionel, giving him support as Grandpa did his rope trick. The next thing I knew, we were standing in the middle of a dusty street, very much like the one Grandpa took me to when I faced off with my first wife and her lover. Grandpa pointed to a two-story wooden building with a sign that simply read, “Hotel.”


I helped Lionel up the creaky stairs to the boardwalk as Grandpa opened the door for us. The interior of the place was a lot cooler than outside and I felt as though I had walked into a museum of the old west. A balding man wearing a band on one arm came from the back and welcomed us.


Eli, you old dog,” he said. “How're ya doin'?” Grandpa walked to the man and the two of them shook hands.


Can't complain,” Grandpa said. “How're you these days?”


Ahh, you know,” the other man said with a wink, causing Grandpa to smile.


Listen, Jake, can you put my friend here up for a bit? Preferably downstairs, since he's been snake-bit,” Grandpa said. The other man looked at Lionel and shook his head.


Yeah, I reckon we can,” he said.


I appreciate that,” Grandpa said. “And you think maybe you can fit him up with some decent clothes and boots? Maybe introduce him to a six-gun?” Jake looked at Grandpa through squinty eyes.


You ain't gonna have him kill someone in my hotel are you?” he asked. Grandpa shook his head.


I wouldn't do that to ya, Jake,” he said. Jake looked at Lionel for a moment before speaking.


Well, if'n you can keep him from scratching himself like a damn cow on a fence post, I reckon so,” he said. We looked and saw Lionel trying to scratch his back on a door jamb.


What the heck's wrong with ya, boy?” Grandpa asked Lionel.


Sorry, my back itches like crazy,” he said. “It won't stop.”


Lift up your shirt,” I told Lionel, stepping behind him. Lionel did as I asked and I saw a large red spot on the lower part of his back. As I looked, I saw what looked like a small hair at the center of the spot. Grandpa looked at it with me.


Is that some kind of a bite?” I asked.


I ain't never seen a bite like that,” Grandpa said. I looked closer and saw something just under Lionel's skin.


That's because it isn't a bite,” I said. “I think they may have chipped him with some kind of tracking device.”


What?” Grandpa asked.


Yeah,” I said. “You hear what that man said in the video. They lost track of him a few hours after they dropped him off, remember?”


I sure do,” he said. “I thought maybe they had people out in the desert watching him.” I shook my head.


I doubt it,” I said. “I need a knife and some rubbing alcohol. We need to get this out of him. It looks like he's getting an infection.” Grandpa pulled a blade out of his belt and handed it to me, then looked at Jake.


You got any rubbing alcohol, Jake?” he asked. The other man looked under his counter and produced a glass bottle. He handed it to Grandpa.


Here ya go,” he said. “You might need this as well,” he added, handing Grandpa a small wooden stick.


Thanks,” Grandpa said. He handed me the alcohol and looked at Lionel. “This is probably gonna hurt like hell,” he said. “Use this. It'll help. Trust me.” Lionel looked at the stick for a moment, then opened his mouth. Grandpa put the stick in his mouth and he bit down.


I poured some alcohol on the knife, hoping to sterilize it somewhat and began working the skin around the site of the device in hopes of opening up the injection site. I saw clear fluid start to leak out and poured a bit of alcohol on it. Lionel tensed up briefly as the alcohol got under his skin.


Using the knife, I made a tiny incision, just enough to work the device out. Lionel screamed and bit on the wooden stick. Grandpa held him to keep him from twisting away from me. I kept working and soon, got the thing out of his back. As it came out, so did a good amount of pus. I poured some alcohol on a handkerchief and rubbed the site to work out as much as I could.


Afterward, I examined the site and found that almost all of the redness was now gone. I administered a bit more alcohol, hoping it would help. I figured he would be alright for a while, and if it did get worse, I would have Doc Thompson take a look when we got back. I put his shirt back down and stood up.


How re you feeling, Lionel?” I asked. He shook his head.


Much better,” he said. “Thanks.” We looked at the tiny device in my handkerchief. It was about twice the size of a grain of rice, black, with tiny wires sticking out either end.


Is that a tracking device?” Grandpa asked? I nodded my head.


I believe so,” I said. “They probably injected it into him after they drugged him.” I threw it on the floor and smashed it with my boot. Grandpa looked at Jake.


Where's his room?” he asked. Jake pointed down the hall.


Jes' down that way,” he said. “Outhouse is out back. He'll have to empty out his own chamberpot.”


Outhouse? Chamberpot?” Lionel asked. Jake laughed.


This ain't New York City, boy,” he said. “You want something to eat, there's a place across the street. Right next door to the barber shop. You can get a shave and take a bath there if you're a mind to. Jes' tell 'em it's on Eli's tab.” Lionel looked at us, shocked.


We'll explain later,” I said. “Let's get you into your room.” We thanked Jake and helped Lionel to his room. When we got inside, he looked around. There wasn't much – a bed, a table with a bowl and a pitcher of water and a wardrobe in one corner.


What, no TV?” he asked. “Where's the light switch? What's that for?” he asked, pointing to a large ceramic jar with a wide opening that sat next to the nightstand.


That's a chamberpot,” I said. “It's for when you have to pee at night.” Lionel blanched at that.


This won't work,” he said. We sat him down on the bed.


That's why I packed this up for you,” I said, putting the backpack on the bed. “It's not much, but it'll help you pass the time till we get back.” I pulled out an old tablet and handed it to him. “I've got two seasons of NCIS and a couple movies downloaded on this. The battery is fully charged, so it should tide you over if you don't try to binge-watch everything at once. There's also a roll of toilet paper and something to snack on if you want. I tossed in a couple magazines as well.”


Thanks for that,” he said. “It'll help. What about lights?” Grandpa pointed to the kerosene lantern on the nightstand.


That's what this is for,” he said. “Ever use one of these?” Lionel shook his head.


No, never,” he said. Grandpa shook his head.


Good grief, boy,” he said. “Let me show ya,” he added. After a few minutes, Lionel understood how to light the lantern.


I can't believe people actually lived like this once,” Lionel said. Grandpa chuckled at that.


Believe it, boy,” he said. “Let me tell you, we were damn glad to have what we did.”


How long will I be here?” he asked.


Hopefully not too long,” I said. Grandpa nodded his head in agreement.


We're gonna do everything we can to help you, son,” he said. “But when the time comes, you're gonna have to do the heavy lifting. Think you can do that?” Lionel looked at Grandpa for a few seconds before slowly nodding his head.


I think so,” he said.


Good,” Grandpa said. “You listen to what Jake tells ya, hear me? And stay out of trouble.”


I will,” he said. “And thank you, both of you.”


Hang in there, Lionel, we'll get you through this,” I said as we walked out of the room. We got to the front of the hotel and said our goodbyes to Jake. Then Grandpa's eyes widened for a moment.


We gotta go, now, son,” he said. We ran outside and he pulled out his lasso. Bringing the rope over us, we found ourselves back in my front room. I looked around and saw the front door was open. I called out for Danni, but she wasn't there. I saw no sign of William, neither.


What happened?” I asked.


They got Danni and William,” he said. My heart sank for just a moment. Then I got pissed – royally pissed. I swore they would pay for this. We looked at the table and saw a note with a set of GPS coordinates and a time.


You know who we're looking for,” the handwritten note read. “Bring him to these coordinates by the time specified and your wife and child will be released unharmed.”


Can you find this location?” Grandpa asked. I nodded my head and fired up my computer. When it was up, I did a search and found the location was about 200 miles south of the Mexican border inside Chihuahua. I looked at my watch.


They're heading south of the border,” I said. “About 200 miles into Chihuahua. They're giving us less than six hours to be there.”


I've got an idea,” Grandpa said.


What's that?” I asked. “You plan to hand Lionel over to them?” He shook his head.


No,” he said. “I don't think they'll let Danni and William go even if we did hand Lionel over to them. Mr. Castillo sees himself as some kind of Napoleon. I think he needs to meet his Waterloo. And I know just the fellas who can make that happen,” he added with a wicked grin. “Tell you what. Get yer rifle cleaned up and ready, then go saddle up Ringo. We're gonna go on a little raid tonight.”


After he left, I cleaned my rifle and made sure it was ready to go. Then I went outside and saddled Ringo, making sure he was ready as well. By the time I finished and got back in the house, Grandpa had returned.


You ready?” he asked. I nodded my head. “Good. Don't forget yer badge.” I grabbed the tin star off the mantle and pinned it on my shirt. He smiled as I did that. “I don't want to go riding into battle without mah deputy, you know,” he said, slapping me on the shoulder. We went out and jumped on our horses, then headed for the clearing near Jacobs Ravine.


You ready?” Grandpa asked. We had done this once before, and I knew what was coming, but I would gladly endure it if I could save my wife and son. I gritted my teeth and nodded my head.


Let's do it,” I said. He smiled and looked ahead.


HIYAHH!” he yelled as he spurred his horse forward. I joined him, determined to rescue my family. We headed for the cliffs that marked the ravine and just as we were going to go over the edge, a large dark hole opened just above the ground.


We rode through the hole at a full gallop and found ourselves on a grassy ridge. We kept riding and soon came across a large group of men in dark blue uniforms. We slowed to a stop, then got off our horses. A man with a scraggly goatee and fairly short hair came over to us and shook Grandpa's hand. I could see the oak leaves on his shoulder tabs.


Glad to see you could make the party, Eli,” he said. “Who's this young man?” he asked, looking at me.


This here's mah great-great-great-great grandson, Amos Jones,” Grandpa said. “Amos, this is Lieutenant Colonel Fielder A. Jones, commanding officer of the 8thIndiana Cavalry.” The colonel extended his hand and I shook it.


Good to meet you, Colonel,” I said. He nodded his head.


Good to meet you as well,” he said. “Jones, huh? You think we might be related?” Grandpa laughed.


It's possible, Colonel,” he said.


I hope you don't mind, Eli, but I extended your invitation to join this little party of yours,” the colonel said.


Not at all,” Grandpa said.


Good,” the colonel said. “Let me introduce you.” A man in a light blue-gray jacket walked up to us. His beard was longer and thicker than any I had ever seen before. He wore a small hat with one side pinned up and sported a huge saber on his hips. He pulled off his gloves and extended his hand to Grandpa.


General Stuart,” Grandpa said. “We meet at last. It's an honor, sir.”


The honor's mine, Sergeant,” he said. And who might this young feller be?” he asked, looking at me.


General, this is my great-great-great-great grandson, Amos Jones,” Grandpa said. “Amos, this is James Ewell Brown Stuart, one of the best cavalry officers in the Confederate Army.”


It's great to meet you,” I said. “I've read a lot about you.” His smile broke through the heavy beard.


I hope some of it was good,” he said. “And please, call me Jeb.”


Yes, sir,” I said. Jeb turned to Col. Jones.


So, what's your plan, Colonel?” he asked. Col. Jones walked to a point overlooking a noisy camp below. I could see a helicopter parked on the south edge of the camp.


It's pretty simple, really,” he said. “Eli and Amos will make first contact.” He pointed to an area to the right of the camp. “Three companies of the 8thwill hit their left flank. I'll be at the center with three companies and a battery of artillery. I'd be obliged if you and your men could attack their right flank, over there,” he added pointing to the opposite side of the camp. “It's good ground and they won't be expecting you. Eli will give the signal. When he does, I'll have the artillery lob in some shells to disorient them. Then we move in.” Jeb nodded his head as he surveyed the ground.


What about the south approach?” Jeb asked.


Mexican Army is coming in from the south,” Col. Jones said. “They're still a few miles away, but my guess is these boys will break when things start happening and they'll high-tail it south as fast as they can.”


What makes you think that, Colonel?” Jeb asked.


They're not Mexican regulars for one thing,” he said. “Most of these guys look like conscripts, perhaps recruited off the streets or right out of jail. Very little to no training. No discipline whatsoever. If they're not drinking, they're eating or sleeping. Not exactly my idea of a viable force.”


Good point,” Jeb said.


Wait, Colonel,” I said. “My wife and child are in that camp. I don't want them hit by artillery.”


Well, if things go as I predict, Danni and William will be outta there before we strike,” Grandpa said.


Also, the guns are set to fire over their heads,” Col. Jones said. “The shells will hit just south of the camp. We're firing to distract them. Don't worry, these gunners are the best there are. Your wife and child will be just fine.”


I hope so, Colonel,” I said.


Jeb joined Grandpa and I as we turned to walk back to our horses.


Col. Jones never told me what this was all about,” he said. “Care to explain this to me?”


It's the same old thing,” I said. “Guns, power, money. Of course, lawyers are involved.”


Of course,” he said.


Only this time, they've taken my wife and young son,” I said. “And I intend to get them back.”


I understand,” he said. “I'll do everything in my power to help make that happen, son,” he said, shaking my hand.


Thank you, General,” I said. When we got back to our horses, I heard a fiddle playing softly in the background along with some men in gray jackets singing a song. It had a catchy tune and I stopped to listen for a second.


Now each cavalier that loves honor and right, let him follow the feather of Stuart tonight.

Come tighten your girth and slacken your rein;

Come buckle your blanket and holster again;

Try the click of your trigger and balance your blade,

For he must ride sure that goes riding a raid!”


Catchy tune,” I told Grandpa as the fiddle played. “What's it called?”


Riding a Raid,” Grandpa said. “It's an old Confederate cavalry song.”


You ever sing like that during the war?” I asked. He nodded his head.


Lots of times,” he said. “Remember, we didn't have all those fancy doo-dads you kids have nowadays. We had to make our own entertainment.”


“We are three thousand horses, and not one afraid; We are three thousand sabers and not a dull blade,” I heard the men sing as Grandpa and I mounted our horses. For some reason, I felt even more confident that we would be successful.


“You ready to do this?” Grandpa asked.


“I was born ready, Grandpa,” I joked. He looked at me a bit funny before his face broke out into a smile.


“Let's do it, then,” he said. We waved at Col. Jones on our way out of the camp. He waved back and turned to his men.


“Grandpa, I don't understand something,” I said as we rode.


“What's that, son?” he asked.


“Weren't you and General Stuart enemies during the war?” I asked. He nodded his head.


“It's true, we fought on opposite sides during the war,” he said. “I still admired him, though. You know, he had quite a record as an Army officer before the war began. Besides, we quit being enemies a long time ago. Remember, the war ended for us both before it was officially over.”


I took in what he said and mulled it over for a while. In the meantime, we rode past the group of cannons and headed straight toward Castillo's camp. After a few minutes, we were stopped by a man with an automatic rifle.


Alto,” the man ordered. “¿Qué quieres?


“We're here to see your leader, Enrique Castillo,” Grandpa said. “He's expecting us.” Keeping his rifle pointed in our general direction, he yelled to someone behind him.


“What's he saying, Grandpa?” I asked.


“He asked for someone to bring Castillo,” Grandpa said. The man turned back to us and nervously kept his weapon aimed at us until another man in a gaudy uniform jacket with large round fringed epaulets and medals on his chest came up to us.


“Are you Castillo?” Grandpa asked.


Si, I am Enrique Castillo, Generalissimo of the Army of New Chihuahua and future Emperor of Latin America,” the man said in English. “Who are you and what do you want?”


“My name is Justice O. Peace,” Grandpa said. “This here's mah deputy, Amos Jones. We're here to get the woman and child you had kidnapped earlier today. Then we're takin' you in.” Enrique laughed.


“We thought you would arrive by helicopter,” he said with a smirk. “Yet here you are on horseback. How did you get here so fast? And where is the man you were supposed to bring?”


“Our horses were faster,” I said.


“The man you seek is safe from you, but you'll see him soon,” Grandpa said.


“And what if I decide not to hand over the woman and her child?” Enrique asked.


“Then I'll jes' have to introduce you to some of my friends,” Grandpa said. Enrique's eyes widened when he saw the mass of dark blue uniforms on horseback that suddenly appeared behind us. The men with him also appeared shocked. I looked back and saw some of the horses snorting fire and the men had drawn their sabers.


“Who are these men? What kind of sorcery is this?” Enrique asked.


“Like I said, some of my friends,” Grandpa said, his eyes blazing with fire. “Meet the 8th Regiment of Indiana Cavalry. Augmented by Jeb Stuart's Cavalry. Veterans of countless battles. You wanted a war, right? I'll be happy to give you one the likes of which you won't believe.” By now, the woman I knew as Cheryl, Lionel's wife, appeared. Her face turned white when she saw the ghostly cavalrymen behind us. She turned to face us.


“Where's my husband?” she demanded.


“Someplace safe,” Grandpa said. “Now bring out the woman and her child.” Enrique looked at Cheryl.


“Do it,” he said.


“But Enrique,” she began.


“Just do it!” he snapped. She turned and gave orders to two men behind her. A minute later, Danni was escorted out. One of the men with her carried William and handed him to her when they got in front of us.


“Are you alright?” I asked her. She nodded her head.


“We're okay,” she said. “They didn't hurt us. We just got here a little while ago.” Grandpa whipped out his lasso and tossed it over Danni. As he did, I mouthed, “I love you” to her. She returned the endearment before she vanished. Enrique looked at me before speaking.


“Oh, so you are the woman's husband, are you not?” he asked.


“I am,” I said.


“Well, then, it is perhaps a good thing you showed up before my men decided she would make a good party toy, eh?” he said, laughing. Cheryl laughed with him. Grandpa gathered his lasso and tossed it one more time, encircling Enrique and Cheryl. They were frozen in place, but I could see that Enrique had pissed his pants. I couldn't help but laugh. Some general... Grandpa pulled on the rope and they also disappeared in a puff of smoke.


Grandpa put two fingers to his lips and let loose with an ear-piercing whistle, louder than any I had ever heard before. Before anyone could react, the ground shook as the cannons opened fire, sending shells flying over our heads, exploding just south of the camp. One of the shells hit the helicopter and it exploded in flame.


I could hear a bugle sounding “charge” off to my right and to my left I heard what I could only assume was a series of rebel yells as the two cavalry columns struck the camp's flanks. The men behind us advanced, their sabers drawn. Grandpa sat on his horse, taking shots at men as they got close. I jumped off Ringo and pulled my rifle.


Crouching down and placing the butt against my leg, I began furiously working the action, firing at any enemy soldier I could see. I heard screams all around me as men were brutally cut in two by the cavalrymen. I saw flashes, or sparks, as bullets came close to my body, but, surprisingly enough, nothing hit me. And, fortunately, nothing hit Ringo either. I was also surprised at how calm the animal was during all this.


After a few minutes, I saw a number of Castillo's men drop their weapons and run south as fast as they could to escape the melee. Soon, there was no more enemy fire and a thick cloud of acrid smoke hung over the destroyed camp like a fog. I could hear moans from the men who lay on the ground, wounded.


The horse soldiers rode silently out of the camp, leaving the mess they had created behind them. Col. Jones looked at me as he rode out. I waved and gave him a thumbs-up. He smiled, returned the gesture and saluted before he rode away and disappeared.


Looking to my left, I saw Jeb Stuart on his horse. He gave an open-handed salute and Grandpa returned the gesture. I waved at him and he waved back. Seconds later, he and his men were gone and there was no trace of them anywhere except in my memory and in the devastated camp before me.


Stunned, I put my rifle back into its scabbard. I couldn't believe what I had just experienced. It was impossible to describe my emotions at that moment. I stood there for a moment, leaning against Ringo while gathering my thoughts when I felt a strong hand on my shoulder. I looked and saw my grandfather gazing at me intently.


“You okay, son?” he asked. I nodded my head.


“Yeah, I think so,” I said.


“You did good, son,” he said. “I'm proud of ya. Now, why don't we get outta here before the whole Mexican Army shows up?”


“Sounds good,” I said. We mounted our horses and headed back the way we came. A familiar “hole” opened up and the next thing I knew, we were on a dusty road heading into the now-familiar frontier town. We stopped at the hotel and tied our horses to the hitching post out front.


Danni leaped in my arms when I entered the hotel, smothering me with kisses. I held onto her as hard as I could, returning her kisses.


“Are you okay?” I asked. She nodded her head. I saw Jake bouncing little William on his knee and could tell from his giggles that he was alright.


“I am now,” she said.


“What happened?” I asked.


“Not long after you and Grandpa left, a helicopter landed by the house and a bunch of men with guns came barging in,” she said. “They wanted Lionel. I tried to tell them I didn't know anyone by that name but they didn't believe me. They took us both and that woman wrote a note for you. We only landed at that camp about a half hour before you showed up.”


“Did they hurt you?” I asked. She shook her head.


“They really didn't have time to do anything,” she said. “But that Castillo person said if you didn't show up by the deadline he was going to hand me over to his men.” I didn't need to wonder what they would have done to her and William. I saw Lionel sitting in a chair by the wall.


“How is he doing?” I asked Danni.


“He seems to be doing better,” she said. “At least he can walk a bit.”


“Good,” Grandpa said. “He can come with us to the jail.”


“You're putting him in jail?” Danni asked. Grandpa shook his head.


“No,” he said. “That's where Castillo and Cheryl are at the moment.” He looked at Lionel. “Are you ready to face your wife now?” he asked. Lionel nodded his head and patted the pistol in the holster on his hip.


“I am,” he said.


“Let's go, then,” Grandpa said. Lionel got out of his chair and we turned to walk out the door.


“Wait,” Danni said. “If you're going to face the two of them, then I'm coming with you. I have a score to settle as well.”


“I think you should stay here with William,” Grandpa said. Danni shook her head.


“No,” she said. “They took my child and put him in danger. I can't let them get away with that.” Grandpa knew better than to argue with Danni when her mind was made up. He nodded his head and looked at Jake, who seemed engrossed with little William.


“You mind looking after my grandson fer a bit?” he asked. Jake smiled as he looked up.


“Be happy to, Eli,” he said. “Been a long time since I held a young'un. Sure looks an awful lot like Jed, doesn't he?”


“Yes, he does,” Grandpa said. “Alright, let's go,” he added as he turned. On the way, I stopped and grabbed my rifle out of its scabbard. We walked to the jail and saw Enrique and Cheryl sitting in a cell. Grandpa looked at the sheriff and motioned for him to open the cell.


“You sure about this, Eli?” the sheriff asked.


“I'm sure,” Grandpa said as the sheriff opened the cell door.


“You need me to stick around?” the sheriff asked.


“I'll take it from here, sheriff,” Grandpa said. “My deputy has me covered. Why don't you go grab something to eat for a bit?” The sheriff nodded his head.


“Don't mind if I do,” he said as he walked out.


“Alright, you two,” Grandpa said. “Out,” he added, gesturing with one hand. The two looked at each other for a second before slowly getting up. I waited until they were in the main part of the office, then slammed Castillo in the nuts with the butt of my rifle.


“That's for kidnapping my wife,” I said as he doubled over in pain. I swung the rifle and caught him on the side of the face. “And that's for kidnapping my son,” I told him as he fell down. Cheryl moved to his side, but Danni intercepted her and punched her as hard as she could in the face.


“And that's for putting my son in danger, you bitch,” she yelled. Cheryl looked at her with anger in her eyes and started moving toward her, but I put the muzzle of my rifle in her face and shook my head.


“Don't even think of it,” I said. “Sit!” I commanded. She sat down in a wooden chair and watched us. Grandpa laughed as he watched us.


“You should know it's dangerous to get between a mother and her child,” he told her. He turned to Castillo. “Well, Generalissimo,” he said sarcastically. “You should know that your glorious little war is over.” He turned to Lionel. “You have something to discuss with your wife?” he asked. Lionel pulled up a chair and looked at his wife.


“Give me one good reason why I shouldn't kill you right now, bitch?” he asked. She looked at him in shock.


“Because I love you,” she said quietly. He laughed out loud as Castillo looked at her, surprised by her answer.


“Right,” Lionel said. “That's why you left me in the desert to die and pissed on me, right? That's why you tried to set me up and took up with this wannabe dictator, isn't it? I'm glad you love me, though. I'd hate to think of what you'd do to me if you didn't.”


“You lying bitch,” Castillo grunted through his pain. “You told me you didn't love him anymore and you wanted to be my queen. You swore allegiance to me. I told you what I would do if you betrayed me.”


He lunged for her, his hands reaching for her throat. We were all surprised when we heard a shot ring out. He fell back on the floor, dead, a gaping hole in his forehead. A reddish glow emanated from his body and he disappeared. We looked and saw Lionel holding his pistol.


“Where did he go?” Cheryl asked.


“To his eternal destination,” Grandpa said. Cheryl looked at Lionel, who still held his pistol.


“You murdered him,” she gasped.


“Maybe you would have preferred that I let him strangle you,” Lionel said. “So tell me, bitch. Why did you do it? Why did you cheat on me with him? Why did you plot to have me murdered?”


“Because,” she said. “He was rich and powerful. He was ambitious.”


“He was a liar with delusions of grandeur, just like you,” Lionel said.


“So, what are you going to do?” she asked. “Murder me as well?”


“It's tempting,” Lionel said. “But I had an idea while Jake was showing me how to use this thing.” He looked at Grandpa. “Tell me, is it possible for someone to escape from this place?” Grandpa shook his head.


“Not normally,” he said. “Why?”


“Are you familiar with the story of Prometheus?” Lionel asked.


“I remember that old story from Greek mythology,” Grandpa said. Cheryl looked at Lionel, confused.


“Let me explain,” he began. “Prometheus gave fire to the human race along with the skill of metalworking. For that, Zeus chained him to a rock and made sure an eagle ate his liver every single day. Every night, his liver would grow back, only to be eaten again the next day. This went on for many years until Hercules killed the eagle with one of his arrows.”


“What does that have to do with me?” Cheryl asked.


“You left me to die in the desert with nothing,” Lionel said. “You even pissed on me before you left and told me to do humanity a favor and die.” Her eyes grew wide as Lionel turned to Grandpa. “You think something like that can be arranged for her?” Grandpa's eyes narrowed as he thought for a while.


“You can't do that to me,” Cheryl said. “Please, Lionel. Divorce me if you must but don't desert me.”


“Shut up, bitch,” Lionel said. “You know as well as I do that the courts would favor you in any divorce. That's why I'm not going to divorce you. I'll wait however long it takes to have you declared dead.” She recoiled at that.


“I'll get away from here,” she said. “I'll find you. You know I will. And I'll make you pay for this.”


“No, you won't,” Grandpa said. He looked at Lionel. “I see where you're going with this. It's unusual, but not totally out of the question. Are you absolutely sure about this?” Lionel looked at him before speaking.


“I'm absolutely certain,” he said. “I want her to feel the hurt and the pain she made me feel.” Grandpa nodded his head.


“Okay,” he said. The next thing I knew, we were standing next to a large rock in the middle of nowhere. Everywhere we looked was sand and scrub brush. Cheryl was chained, naked, to the rock, her arms and legs spread wide. She looked around, shocked and afraid.


“You're actually going to leave me here?” she cried. “I'll die out here!”


“That's what you were going to do to me,” Lionel said. “And all I ever did was love you, without question.”


“Actually,” Grandpa told her. “You won't die out here. You'll remain here, alive, chained to this rock, until you are declared dead, however long that takes. Then you'll move on to your eternal destination. You'll be visited from time to time by vultures and wild beasts. They'll have their way with you and move on. You'll recover enough for the next beast. You'll receive sustenance each morning, enough to keep you alive. Other than that, you'll remain alone. You're familiar with the saying, an eye for an eye?”


“Please, you can't do this to me,” she begged as the realization of what he said hit her. “Give me another chance, Lionel. I'm begging you.”


“If your husband sees that you've had a change of heart and he's willing to extend mercy, he can ask that you be released and given a reprieve,” Grandpa said. She looked at Lionel, tears streaming down her face. Lionel walked up to her and unzipped his pants.


“Remember you said you always wanted to do this to me?” he asked. He began urinating on her face. She closed her eyes and tried to avoid it but was unsuccessful. When he finished, he zipped his trousers back up and leaned into her face. “I'm sorry it has to end like this, dear,” he said, repeating her own words back to her. “You knew it wouldn't last forever. I'm sure I'll find someone who's a much better fuck than you anyway.”


She sobbed uncontrollably as we turned and walked away from the rock. The next thing I knew, we were back in the hotel. Lionel appeared somewhat shaken by what had just happened. Danni and I looked at each other, shocked.


“Do you think she'll ever have a real change of heart?” Lionel asked Grandpa.


“It's possible, assuming she doesn't go mad first,” Grandpa said. He pulled a ring with a red stone out of his pocket and handed it to Lionel. “Watch that stone. When you see it flash blue, you'll know that she's truly repentant. If you wish to have her released at that time, press the stone.” Lionel looked at the ring for a bit before putting it on his finger.


“I'll watch it every day,” he said. “Did I do the right thing?” he asked, looking at Grandpa.


“Sometimes, people have to get to the end of themselves before they make a change,” Grandpa said. “You ever hear the story of Jonah?”


“Yeah,” Lionel said. “Wasn't he swallowed by a whale or something?”


“Something,” Grandpa said. “He refused to do what God wanted him to do and even ran in the opposite direction, so God sent a great fish to swallow him. He sat in the belly of that fish for three days and nights, praying before he repented. The fish spit him onto the land and Jonah finally did what he was supposed to do. You know he had to look and smell awful by then. Maybe your wife needs a similar lesson. The real question is, can you ever let go of your hatred and forgive her?” Lionel shook his head.


“I don't know,” he said quietly. “She tried to kill me, after all.”


“Yes, she did,” Grandpa said. “C'mon,” he said after a few moments. “Let's go home.” We gathered our stuff and made our way back to the ranch. I gave Lionel my address and cell phone number in case he ever wanted to talk with me, then Grandpa took him home. Danni fed William and laid him down for the night. Exhausted, I grabbed a beer and headed out back for a smoke. Danni joined me a bit later.


“It feels so good to finally be home with you,” she said, burying her head in my shoulder. I wrapped my arm around her and held her to me as tight as possible.


“Yes, it does,” I said. “I'm just grateful you and William are okay. I don't think I could've handled it if I lost either one of you.”


“Believe it or not, I was scared, but never worried,” she said, taking a drag off my cigarette. “I knew you and Grandpa would save us. And you did.” I ground out the cigarette and held her beautiful face in my hands. I kissed her like I had never kissed her before.


“I love you so much,” I told her.


“I love you more, my husband,” she said, unbuttoning my shirt. “And I'm about to show you just how much.” She started kissing my chest, working her way down, when we heard a man cough from the back door. We sat up, startled and looked.


“Sorry to interrupt you kids,” he said, smiling. “I jes' wanted to let y'all know I got Lionel home safe.”


“No problem,” Danni said. “How is he, by the way?”


“I think in time he'll be alright,” Grandpa said. “He's been through a lot. We had a nice talk about things. We'll see.”


“Do you think he'll ever forgive his wife?” I asked.


“No idea,” Grandpa said. “Right now he's very angry, and he has every right to be. I told him to stay in touch with you and he said he would. Listen, I know you kids need to reconnect, so I'll head on out.” Danni got up and ran to him before he could leave, throwing her arms around him. “What's this fer?” he asked.


“I just wanted to thank you and tell you I love you,” she said, kissing him on the cheek. He smiled as he looked at her.


“I love you too, Danni,” he said, hugging her back. “Now you take good care of my grandsons – both of 'em – y'hear?”


“I will, Grandpa, promise. Tell Grandma Lizzy we said hi and give her our love,” she said. He nodded his head.


“I will,” he said. “I'll be seein' y'all,” he said, touching the brim of his hat. After he left, Danni came back over to me.


“Now, where were we?” she asked, unzipping my jeans with a mischievous smile on her face.





A few days after that incident, I ran across a small article online about a foiled coup attempt in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. A Mexican Army colonel named Alejandro Rojas was credited with bringing down a wealthy businessman who had been building an army in an attempt to take over the state and eventually the entire country. Some of the men he captured claimed they had been attacked by demons on horseback. Rojas dismissed the claims as being the rantings of drug-induced madmen.


He also said the raid on the camp produced evidence of a shipment of illegal arms. The weapons were confiscated and the Mexican authorities said they were in the process of identifying who else might be involved. Initial reports claimed a lawyer working for a firm based in southern California was allegedly involved, but the unnamed lawyer had yet to be found.


Rojas was promoted to brigadier general, given a medal and hailed as a national hero. I saw no mention in the news of a cavalry assault – fortunately.


Lionel stayed in touch with me and let me know that he had filed a missing person's report on Cheryl, mostly to cover his tracks in case he decided to divorce her in absentia. He also started seeing a counselor.


About a year later, he called to say the stone in the ring he wore had started flashing blue. By then, our daughter, Elizabeth, had been born.


Lionel said he followed Grandpa's instruction and pressed the stone. Grandpa delivered a thin, haggard, hysterical woman to his home shortly thereafter. Lionel told me he cleaned her up and tried to reintegrate her into society, but with very little success. She barely spoke, refused to wear clothing most of the time and ate like every meal would be her last. He even had to retrain her to use the toilet, like a child. Moreover, it took her several weeks before she could even walk more than a few steps.


He let her stay out of pity, not wanting to turn her out into society until he knew she could survive on her own. I heard from him several times over the next few months and one day he called to say she was gone.


“She left the house?” I asked.


“No,” Lionel said, crying. “She committed suicide. I thought she was starting to do better. I came home from the office and found her in her bed. She had taken an overdose of sleeping pills and pain medication.”


“I'm sorry to hear that,” I said.


“That's okay,” he said. “Your grandfather said she finally made her peace with God and was ready to go. She wrote a fairly lengthy manuscript that explains quite a lot. It's pretty graphic in some places. She also left a will, giving me her entire estate – over five million dollars in an offshore account. I never knew she had all that. Maybe it was her way of apologizing to me.”


“Wow,” I said.


“Would you like to read her manuscript?” he asked.


“Yeah, sure, if you're okay with that,” I said.


“I am,” he said. “I'll have to go through it and clean up some of her mistakes. She spent the last month or so writing this and it's pretty hard to read in some places. It'll take me a while to go through all this. Maybe three weeks or thereabouts.”


“Just take your time, don't rush it. Are you okay?” I asked.


“Yeah, I'm fine,” he said. “These last few months have reopened some old wounds, but I'll be okay.”


“You take care of yourself,” I said. “And stay in touch.”


“I will,” he said. “And thanks again for everything.”


“You're welcome,” I said. We ended the call and I told Danni what Lionel had said.


“That's too bad,” she said. “But I'd be interested in reading what she had to say.” I had to admit, I was curious as well. But, I figured, we could wait the three weeks. We looked out back and saw William riding on Grandpa's back, like a horse, as Elizabeth giggled and squealed.


I got a kick out of seeing Grandpa on his hands and knees making horse noises as he let William ride on his back. It was hard to tell who was having more fun, William or Grandpa.


I looked at Danni and saw the love on her face. Kissing her sweet face, I realized just how truly blessed I really was.



Notes: Fort Sumter was fired upon by the Confederates on April 12, 1861. The 8thRegiment of Indiana Cavalry was first organized as the 39th Regiment of Infantry on August 29, 1861 and re-designated the 8th Cavalry on October 15, 1863. It fought in a number of battles until it was mustered out on July 20, 1865. The name Elijah Jones does not appear on any list I could find for the unit, so I exercised a bit of artistic license there. Fielder A. Jones, however, did serve as a Colonel in the regiment.


And stay tuned...

Submitted: February 06, 2023

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