A Country Boy Can Survive
Caution: This Action/Adventure Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, Consensual, Romantic, Rape, Heterosexual, Rough, Voyeurism, Size, Slow, Violent,
Desc: Action/Adventure Sex Story: Chapter 1 - A young man, born and raised in the mountain wilderness of NW Arkansas goes to work for 'Uno Bravo', a special ops contractor for the CIA. He has a partner named 'Dog'. They're sent behind enemy lines, time and time again. He's wounded so many times, they force him to retire after 13 years of service. He moves back to the wilderness to get away, and so this story begins. There's plenty of action, some sex, and a lot of violence, blood and gore.
A Country Boy Can Survive:
The preacher man says it's the end of time
And the Mississippi River she's a goin' dry
The interest is up and the stock markets down
And you only get mugged If you go down town
I live back in the woods, you see
A woman and the kids, and the dogs and me
I got a shotgun a rifle and a 4-wheel drive
And a country boy can survive
Country folks can survive
I can plow a field all day long
I can catch catfish from dusk till dawn
We make our own whiskey and our own smokes too
Ain't too many things these ole boys can't do
We grow good ole tomatoes and homemade wine
And a country boy can survive
Country folks can survive
Because you can't starve us out
And you cant makes us run
Cause one-of- 'em old boys raisin ole shotgun
And we say grace and we say Ma'am
And if you ain't into that we don't give a damn
We come from the West Virginia coal mines
And the Rocky Mountains the and western skies
And we can skin a buck; we can run a trot-line
And a country boy can survive
Country folks can survive
I had a good friend in New York City
He never called me by my name, just hillbilly
My grandpa taught me how to live off the land
And his taught him to be a businessman
He used to send me pictures of the Broadway nights
And I'd send him some homemade wine
But he was killed by a man with a switchblade knife
For 43 dollars my friend lost his life
I'd love to spit some beechnut in that dudes eye
And shoot him with my old 45
Cause a country boy can survive
Country folks can survive
Cause you can't starve us out and you can't make us run
Cause one-of- 'em old boys raisin ole shotgun
And we say grace and we say Ma'am
And if you ain't into that we don't give a damn
We're from North California and south Alabam
And little towns all around this land
And we can skin a buck; we can run a trot-line
And a country boy can survive
Country folks can survive
lyrics: Hank Williams Jr.
Stephen Everett Randall was a loner. He was forced into retirement by the company he'd given thirteen years and almost his life to on numerous occasions. After he'd been shot three times and recovered, he was almost killed in a roadside bomb blast. Now they were afraid he'd not be able to perform at such a high level in the future.
He had a lot of years in with the lesser known, almost secretive CIA military contractor, Uno Bravo. Now they'd told him he was high risk because of his injuries. He'd recovered fully as far as he was concerned - he could still take on anyone in camp and put them down.
Even at 35 years old, 6' 6' and 250 lbs he was lean and he was mean. He had been trained to kill not just trained to fight. He had killed many men and a lot of women too during his employment with Uno Bravo.
They paid him one hell of a buy-out and a retirement pension before he'd go away; which is what they wanted in the first place. To get the walk-off bonus money he had to sign an agreement that he wouldn't hire out to another organization or another country for ten years. He was 35 at the time, so they knew he'd not be much of a threat in ten years.
He was lost and bitter when he first got out. He didn't know how to be a normal civilian. He'd never been married, never had any kids and his family was all gone now. It was just him.
He was born in Jasper, Arkansas on the Buffalo River; right in the middle of the Ozark National forest which covers 1.2 million acres in the northwest Arkansas wilderness that spreads over parts of, if not all of, sixteen counties. He'd grown up hunting and fishing in the wilderness. He was good at it and took his knowledge of the wilderness serious.
This knowledge made it easy to get hired by the lesser known special ops forces, Uno Bravo, after he graduated from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. Even though he'd never had any military training, not even ROTC, when he signed up they knew they had a winner when they saw him handle a gun, a knife, a compound bow and a crossbow.
He was sent directly to Uno Bravo for basic training to become the best there was at recon and killing.
He always came back with a finger and or a scalp of the one he was sent to kill, for DNA proof. No matter who, no matter where.
Steve was a skilled marksman with any weapon he picked up and could move through the night faster and quieter than a shadow.
As a teenager he'd shot up 6 inches in height. He was tall and skinny until his senior year, then he added over fifty pounds in less than twelve months.
He was gaining weight so fast his basketball coach put him on a high level training regimen in the gym. From the end of his junior year until his graduation from high school the next spring, he trained.
He wasn't involved in organized sports at U of A, but he was hooked on training and kept at it all through his three and a half years there and at home during summer breaks.
Here he was, back in Arkansas now. Thirty-six years old and dumped back on the streets. He felt empty, abandoned, useless and alone.
They did ship Dog to him. They'd been together six years, he and Dog. They had trained together, slept together, and eaten together for over a year. Bonding into one before being deployed to that hell hole on earth called Baghdad.
They were together for one reason, they were a killing team. A deadly team destined to be sent to the deadliest place on earth. Steve had been shipped out to Iraq right after September 11, 2001 with no record of his whereabouts. He and Dog were sent on missions where the chance of survival at best was rated zero. Missions the military brass would never consider sending American Special OPS into. These missions were turned over to the CIA. The CIA contracted Uno Bravo.
Uno Bravo sent Stephen Everett Randall and Dog.
But they always came back! They'd walked through the streets of hell together a few times, but they both survived. He and Dog were sent into the towns and villages ahead of the elite forces, securing their positions and providing re-con information first for the snipers and then the Special Forces.
When they'd kicked him out last year they couldn't do a thing with Dog. He wouldn't even eat. They located Steve and notified him that the Dog was on the way with arrival time and terminal at Little Rock National Airport.
He hadn't seen Dog in nearly a year; he missed him. Dog had been his shadow, his right hand; never making a sound but always there. Steve thought at times Dog could actually understand him and could think just like him; knowing what they were going to do as soon as he, himself did.
They'd shipped him in a wire cage shipping crate and when Steve opened the door on the cage, Dog licked his hand and they walked from the dock to his pickup. Neither of them uttering a sound, they left the wire cage on the dock.
When Steve opened the truck door, Dog got right in. He was with Steve now - he was happy. He lay his head on Steve's thigh all the way back over to the little unincorporated community known as Strawberry, in Johnson County north of Clarksville, Arkansas on I-40 west of Little Rock.
Steve had wanted to buy a place back up closer to Jasper but found a place he liked in northern Johnson County instead. He had a small cabin with 175 acres. There was plenty of big Oak and Hickory trees, and plenty of game on his property bordering the southern edge of the Ozark National Forest.
When he opened the truck door after returning from the airport, Dog jumped to the ground, hiked his leg and pissed on all four tires. Then every tree, rock and porch post on the place. He was home with Steve once more. This was his territory and he marked it against anything that walked or crawled.
He came and licked Steve's hand then took off through the forest in a dead run. Steve didn't see the big black cur again until nearly dark when he came back with his belly full.
Having Dog was fun and he felt good for a while. He wasn't near as lonely having the cur at his side wherever he went. But even that wore off soon and he knew he needed a woman.
He'd always had a woman. No matter where he was there was a woman. Even in the war zone he'd found a woman; something he'd considered a necessity all his life.
His long time friend, Julio Ramos was working as a bartender at a motel lounge down near Clarksville on I-40 and he went there a few times to visit and scout the women.
Julio had hired a new waitress. Lilly was her name and she was small and sexy and smiled a lot. She was eight years younger than Steve but she flipped over him. She went home with him the first night they met, then moved in the next day. She was fun and she loved sex.
The only bad thing was, she hated to live in the sticks so far from town. She hated Steve's dog too, really hated him. She told Steve that Dog stared at her all the time like he was hungry.
She quit her job as a barmaid and got a job at the grocery store as a cashier and stock girl. She was working day shifts now and Steve bought her an old car to drive back and forth. They made love all night some nights; sometimes on the porch, sometimes in the yard and even in the bed when it was cold or raining.
Lilly never did like the wilderness though and griped all the time about it.
She was off on Wednesdays; this was house cleaning day. She cleaned the house naked this Wednesday, stopping her mopping and sweeping and dusting and cleaning long enough to bring Steve a cold beer and either sit on his ever hard cock or suck it. Then she was right back to her cleaning. They had bought groceries the day before and filled the pantry, the big chest freezer and refrigerator with everything she could think of. Steve actually thought she was beginning to accept living here. She sure had changed all of a sudden.
When she had the house clean and clean sheets on the bed, she grabbed Steve's hand and pulled him to the bedroom, closing the door so Dog wouldn't come in. She made love to him all night, stopping only long enough to ask him for the hundredth time about moving closer to town. He put her off and kissed her titties and her body just the way she liked for him to. She hushed about moving.
She made love to him twice before leaving for work on Thursday - then left crying. Steve had never figured her out and wasn't about to try and figure her out this time either.
Jerry Larson hated the days it was raining from the time he drove to work at 5:30 am, and was still raining and blowing just as hard at 1:00 pm.
Fridays were always his busiest days too. He still had over thirty-five parcels left to deliver and a lot of those were rural. This was going to be another late day and Becky was going to be madder than hell but she'd just have to get over it.
He looked at his manifest once again and saw that his longest run out in the country was on County Road 37011. This was the one getting the ten big boxes. That would really speed his deliveries up and may even bring him back close to his average time.
That address didn't ring true to Jerry and he stopped to look at his detailed 911 map.
'Hell, there's County Road 3701, I bet that's the one; shit, looks like they could at least get the address right, we're always having to chase down these out of the way residences.'
It had been fifteen minutes since his last stop and Jerry knew he was losing valuable time. He turned off State Highway 123 onto Johnson County road 3890 west of Hagarville and started looking through the blinding rain for his road.
There it was, County Road 3701. If there was a 37011, it had to be a driveway off County Road 3701. He turned onto the narrow gravel road with the wind whipping the rain against his windshield on the brown delivery van as he roared north then curved back east.
Leaves and small limbs were blowing across the one lane gravel road so hard the wipers couldn't keep up. Big green Oak leaves were sticking flat to his windshield and the wipers weren't even raking them off.
He drove by a narrow driveway on the right then slammed on his brakes to slide sideways in the wet gravel. When he had gotten straightened out he backed up to look at the road sign. It had been shot more than one time over the years but he saw the last two digits, '11' in white numbers on the right side of the crumpled up green sign which was barely hanging from the bent signpost.
He saw the mail box and the name Ste++n Ra+dall on it, with bullet holes scattered all over. It had been shot with buckshot until it looked like a rusted out birdhouse hanging on the post.
The 'KEEP OUT' sign was the only thing legible at the driveway entrance.
This is it!
He turned his wheels hard to the right and gunned the van through the low, heavy wet limbs under the trees in the narrow drive until he came to a clearing with a small cabin. There was a 4x4 pickup in the yard so he knew someone must be home. He hoped so anyway, this big drop required a signature for the ten boxes at sixty-six pounds each.
Whatever it was, he would be glad to get them off and get back down to civilization and finish his deliveries.
Steven E. Randall
2010 County Road 37011
Strawberry, AR. @#@839
Jerry saw where the ten boxes had been first been shipped to Strawberry, Arkansas 72469 over in Lawrence County then re-routed back through Little Rock to Clarksville and on up here to the scattered little unincorporated community of Strawberry in Johnson County. He sure hoped this was right or he'd have to haul them back and fill out a report.
He looked at the registry and the first part of this zip was blurred. The damned electronic delivery register had moisture inside it.
'Hell the whole damned address is blurred. I'll have to scan each damned box now.'
The rain was close to flash flood levels with gale force winds as he pulled in.
'Just my fucking luck.'
Jerry sounded his horn as he turned his van around in the narrow drive in an effort to back as close as he could to the front porch on the house.
He jumped out, jerking the sliding door forward on the driver's side and ran to the back of the delivery van. He was hoping the door had closed as he ran to the back. His van was right up against the low tin roof with water pouring down off the roof against the van's back doors.
"Fuck it," Jerry said aloud as he banged on the wooden door, his brown shirt and knee length shorts already soaked.
"Hell its open, come on in," someone yelled from inside.
"UPS delivery," Jerry yelled back over the roar of the rain hitting the tin roof on the porch. The wind was still howling through the trees like a hurricane.
"Bring it on in! Shit, don't stand out there in the rain," the voice yelled.
Jerry had to laugh.
'Shit this is just too much.'
He opened the door and saw a man who was maybe in his mid thirties. He was dressed in camo fatigues, sitting in a chair drinking a beer. There was a mean-ass looking black dog lying at his feet. He was looking at Jerry like he was hungry.
"Got ten boxes for you. Where do you want them?"
"Well hell, I reckon I want them in here out of all this rain. You need some help?"
"Well, there's ten of them and they weigh sixty-six pounds each, the papers say; or at least that was what was on them before my papers got all wet. I can hardly read any of the labels."
"That fuckin' Lilly, I'm going to skin her ass. What in the hell has she ordered this time?" Steve asked no one in particular, thinking maybe this was the reason she'd been so domestic the day and night before. She's spent some more of his money on foolishness.
"I have no idea who Lilly is. You are Steven Randall, right?"
"Hell yeah! Who did you think I was after you drove all this way out here with ten boxes weighing sixty-six pounds each?"
"Well, I guess you got me there. Here sign this and I'll start putting them on the porch. If you'll put them inside they won't get near as wet."
Stephen Randall stood up and stretched then walked over to the door and took the electronic delivery register and signed his name. All Jerry could make out was a big 'S' and an 'R'. The rest of his signature was just a scribble.
When he took the first box off the van and turned to set it down, he looked up at the man.
'Damn, he sure looks like someone named Steve Randall, that would live at the end of a dead-end road on the edge of the Ozark National Forrest.'
The man was close to 6 foot 6 inches tall and weighed at least 250 pounds. He was wearing camo fatigues and a camo tee shirt, he was barefoot and his feet looked over a foot long. His hair was all over his head and down on his shoulders. He had a three day beard, at least. But the cabin was as clean as he and Becky's own home down in Clarkesville.
Jerry grabbed another box and each time he stepped out of the van with a box the tall man was there to take it like it was a box of feathers. Taking three steps and setting them down, he stacked one neatly on the other in the house until they had them all unloaded.
"Gotta run, have a good day," Jerry said as he ran to his van. The sliding door hadn't closed and the rain was blowing in. His seat was wet; hell everything in front of the damned van was wet. He grabbed the sliding door and jerked on it. It came forward with a bang and he took off.
He looked around for his register and didn't see it. When he slammed on his brakes small packages came flying to the front. Jerry backed up, turning his wheels as he did so he wouldn't run over his register.
He felt the thump-thump and then the bump.
He stepped out into the blinding rain and saw it. He'd backed over his register with the rear duals and the front tire. Picking it up he saw the LCD display was busted. He turned it over and the back was crushed, with sand, water and small gravel running out.
"What a damned fucked up day."
Inside the cabin, Steve Randall looked the big, wax-coated cardboard boxes over. He started to open one but then decided to wait until Lilly got home from work and let her explain what the this was all about. He walked out on the back porch where the rain wasn't blowing in as hard and pissed off on the ground.
"Dog, if you gotta piss you better get your ass out here. I'm not gettin up to let you out to piss about the time I sit back down," he growled at his dog. The black cur walked right past him, hiked his leg and pissed on a porch post.
They both went back inside. Steve got a beer and sat down to listen to the weather on the radio. The cur lapped a bowl of water up then lay back by the chair at Steve's feet.
That's exactly where they were when the sun came up bright and hot the next morning. Steve looked around and didn't see Lilly. He looked in the bedroom and she hadn't even been there. He opened the front door and Dog walked out on the porch, dropped down with his front feet out in front and stretched, then shook his body.
Steve walked barefoot out on the wet gravel and looked all around. The rain had stopped during the night and there were no tire tracks, except where the UPS van had driven in and out; even they were just about washed out.
He knew she hadn't been here or there would have been more tire tracks.
He stretched his arms over his head, his back arched, then walked back in to get a cold beer for breakfast. He sat on the front porch for a long time drinking his beer, wondering if he should go look for Lilly.
Steve went back in and straight to the bathroom to take a shower and shave. He knew he had to go find her.
'That piece of shit car of hers probably quit on her somewhere and she's still sitting there madder than a wet hen.'
When he came out on the porch after putting on clean camos, he heard the mailman honk his horn down at the end of the long drive. He and Dog walked down to the mail box.
There was a Kroger ad full of coupons from Clarksville and some insurance company wanting him to hurry and buy insurance before the special ran out.
A credit card company wanted him to accept the offer of a pre-approved card in his name.
'Fuck, they even spelled it wrong, I spell my name with 'ph' and not a 'v'.'
He dropped a small letter and bent to pick it up. It was mailed to him from Clarkesville and had handwritten addresses.
'Wonder who in the hell knows me down in Clarkesville, Arkansas?'
He ripped it open and saw real quick who wrote it.
'That fucking Lilly.'
I've decided to leave you. I can't stand living out in the fucking wilderness any more. You told me we'd be living closer to town before spring and we're not. I'm going to Ohio to live with my brother and his wife. I hope you find a girl that will love you and like living in the sticks with you and that fucking mean-ass Dog. He never did like me anyway and was always staring at me like he was hungry. I quit my job at the grocery store and took a hundred dollars from the bank to buy gas with.
I love you Stephen, but I guess I just don't love you enough.
"Well, I'll be damned. You fucking mangy-ass cur. You run Lilly off. I hope you're fucking happy. Now it's just me and you and you don't look near as good as Lilly did lying in my bed," Steve scolded the black cur. Dog just looked up at him, hiked his leg and pissed on the front porch post then walked inside to lie down by Steve's chair.
He went back in and got another beer from the fridge and opened it. Walking by the stack of boxes on his way back out to the porch, he looked down and kicked one with his bare foot damn near jamming his big toe.
"What in the fuck is in them damned boxes anyway?" he growled and Dog looked over at him.
Steve took his long hunting knife from the scabbard hanging on the wall. He cut the shipping tape from the top of a box and saw it was full of Nabisco Saltine Crackers.
"Ain't no fucking way a case of damned crackers weighs sixty-six pounds, and what in the fuck did Lilly want with ten cases of fucking crackers anyway?" he cussed and fussed. His big toe still hurting as he stepped back with it raised in the air to keep it from touching the floor.
He cut into two more of the cardboard boxes and saw the same thing; saltine crackers.
"Well Dog, I sure as hell hope you like saltine crackers. We'll be eating them for a while looks like. Hell, I'll cook up a big pot of deer chili. That'll last a week or two since you run our cook off and my pussy to boot," he cussed and Dog just looked at him.
Steve took a box of crackers out of the cardboard box. It was heavy, maybe close to five or six pounds, he guessed.
"No way in hell does a box of crackers weigh five pounds," he said as he slid his knife point under the tape on the end of the cracker box and ripped it outward.
He saw something fly off the blade of his knife and looked under the couch where it had fluttered.
"Damn, that looked like a dollar bill!"
He bent down and looked under the edge of the couch.
Steve jumped back and looked at Dog. Dog saw him jerk back and looked over at him. They looked at each other and when Steve let out a loud whoop, Dog got up and walked slowly out to the porch.
Steve reached under the couch and picked up the hundred dollar bill; it was cut nearly in half. He looked it over good and turned it over. His first thought was counterfeit. He grabbed his flashlight and held it under the bill. He saw the watermarks in the paper. This wasn't a new, freshly printed bill, it had been in circulation but it wasn't the older bill that had Ben's picture in the center either.
"Shit, I wonder if all ten of these boxes are full of one-hundred dollar bills? Where in the hell did they come from?" Steve said aloud.
Dog came over to stand on the porch, looking in the door at Steve as he talked to himself.
He pulled another cracker box out and opened it completely. It was packed full of one-hundred dollar bills. They were in tightly wrapped bundles and he unwrapped one bundle and counted the bills. There were one-hundred bills in the bundle.
Steve counted the bundles in the opened box. There was $10,000 in each bundle and twenty-five bundles in each cracker box.
"DAMN, that's $250,000 per cracker box," he said, holding the cracker box up to the outside of the big cardboard box, using it to measure down the side. He figured there were twelve cracker boxes in each cardboard box.
Steve got a pencil and went to figuring. He figured it three times.
"Holy Shit, there's three million in each big box and there's ten of them."
"FUUUuu-uuUUUCK; thirty million?"
He walked to the front door, "Get your mangy ass in here Dog," he fussed, and closed the door as Dog walked slowly over to the chair and lay on the floor.
"Somebody's going to be looking for this money; this isn't bank money either. They don't put their money in cracker boxes and send it out on UPS."
He looked the shipping label over. Some dumb-ass had shipped this from the same address they sent it to. He looked at the UPS shipping label. It showed it was picked up in Strawberry, AR. then traveled four days and arrived back in Strawberry, AR.
"Yeah right, bunch of shit too. Strawberry is over in Lawrence County, this is just a community called Strawberry. There's not even a post office here."
He tore a half-way legible label off one box and stuffed it in his pocket. He slipped his shoes on, not even lacing them and picked up his cell phone. He got his 9MM Berretta and slipped in the pocket on the right leg of his camo cargo pants.
"Dog, you stay here and guard this money. If we find out this is real money and not Monopoly money, you and I'll go find us some fresh pussy.
"Hell yeah, we'll find you some too," he laughed as Dog jumped up on his leg and licked his hand.
He threw a bedspread over the boxes of money, put the $100 bill he had cut and one more in his pocket and walked out to his truck.
"What I need is one of those pens that marks yellow on these bills, I've seen Lilly use them at the cashier's station in the grocery store. Hell, I'll just go get one."
In his mind, he sorted it all out, and came to a conclusion. 'If this was real money and someone made a mistake in shipping some stolen money he may just as well lay claim to it as the next man; or even the damn government. They'll just confiscate it and it'll never be seen again'
Steve drove down to Strawberry Loop and on down to Minnow Creek Cemetery where he took highway 123 to Clarksville. He stopped at a convenience store and bought a Coke and got an 'I Wanna' shopper. When he went to pay, he looked down and saw a marker pen like he wanted by the cash register.
"Give me a small box of them Roi-Tan Cheroots you got over there too," Steve said and as soon as the girl turned, he raked the marker over to the edge under his shopper paper. The he stuffed it into the big pocket on his camos, making sure he wasn't on video. He paid for his purchases and went back to his old Chevy truck smiling.
As soon as he got in he lit a cheroot and pulled his marker out along with the $100 bill that wasn't cut. He marked it then took the other one out and marked it too. They both passed, leaving a faded yellow line across the bill.
Steve drove on over to his favorite place to buy beer and cigars and went inside. He took two Coors Light Cooler Packs with thirty-six cans each over to the register and set them on the counter.
"Roy, let me borrow your Scotch tape. I got a bill here that's been cut almost in half," he said as he reached for the roll of tape and taped both sides; wrinkling the tape but smoothing it the best he could. He handed the bill to Roy and the first thing he did was grab his yellow marker and rake the point across the bill. He looked at the wrinkled up tape and shook his head at Steve, before giving him his change.
"Roy I forgot; give me a big box of those Roi-Tan cheroots you got over there," Steve said.
"A box of 50?"
"Yeah, I'm trying to quit, but they taste too good."
"That'll be $111.16"
"Damn, all I got on me is another big bill," Steve said and laid the other $100 bill on the counter.
"Just take it out of that, I'll need some change anyway."
Roy struck a mark across the bill with the pen, then handed him his change of $88.84 and put the box of fifty cigars in a plastic bag for him.
"See ya in a few days Steve. Looks like you got enough beer and smokes for at least a week," Roy laughed as Steve turned, ready to walk out.
"Yeah, the way it's been raining lately I got to stock up when I drive all the way to town," Steve laughed, stacking the two cases of beer and picking them up under one arm.
"Damn, we sure got a good one this last time. Rained for two days and nights here. I see where some roads back up north in the county close to you are flooded and the bridges are out," Roy told him.
"Hell, I never heard that. But I don't have TV up where I live; only the radio and I keep it turned off most of the time."
"See ya next time," Roy said, as Steve went out the door smiling.
"Well, now I know it's not Monopoly money. What in the hell will I do with all that shittin' money I got stacked up out there at the house?" he said aloud.
Johnson County is a 'semi-dry' county in Arkansas and there were only a few private clubs where you had to be a member to get in and buy liquor by-the-drink. Steve was a member in the two closest to Clarksville. He had met Lilly at one of them and she had moved in with him the next day.
Steve felt like company and a stiff drink before heading back up to the north part of the county. He was going to miss that skinny little girl with a hot ass. She may have bitched a lot, but she sure loved sex.
He pulled into the parking lot of the BestWay Motel and Lounge at the edge of the city limits. He'd always parked around on the side away from busy eyes on the front lot.
He knew Julio would be working this week's shift, from 3:00 in the afternoon until 1:00 am when they closed. He and Julio go way back and spend a lot of time reminiscing when they get together either here at the bar or up at Steve's cabin while hunting. Julio hadn't been up in a while because Lilly never liked him. Even when she worked for him, she said he was always ogling her ass.
'Damn, when you look like Lilly all the men ogle your ass. She'd be pissed if they didn't!'
"Hey Julio, I need a tall one, Amigo," Steve said as he walked in the door. He always walked right by the register, one of the few who come here that Julio doesn't make sign his book. It's a rule set up by the Arkansas Alcohol and Beverage Control Board, where private clubs had to have a paid membership and signed register to operate.
"Hey Stephen, how are you Amigo, where's little Lilly with the cute ass?" Julio laughed as he poured Steve a tall glass of CC and Coke.
"She sent me a letter saying she was headed to Ohio. Said she was tired of living in the sticks and even said old Dog stared at her," he laughed and Julio guffawed at the way Steve told it.
"Shit man, she was just a city girl anyway and she was down on her luck when you hooked up with her. There's more pussy coming here now than ever before anyway with the two new factories opening up that make men's jeans and women's dresses."
"No shit? They're open already, huh? You told me last time I was in they were about to open up and a lot of women had been staying here at the motel and attending meetings."
"Yeah they opened first of the month. I already got to know a few by their names and they always holler at Julio when they come in to have a drink or eat in the restaurant."
"Well, I'm not ready to hook up with one yet but I sure would like to shag a nice piece of ass."
"Well, we get a few young ones in here - college age and a little older that look like a fine pieces of ass. But most of what comes in early are in middle management and married. Man there's three of them that would curl your toes up to your knees though."
"I'd like to curl their toes too, Julio," Steve said and they laughed.
"Hey man did you ever hear anymore about that new contract Bravo was talking about?"
"No. Did you?"
"I got an email from Joe that they were still working on it and may need some of the old guys to come back," Julio said.
"Shit man we're not old, we're in our prime. I might have to train a little to get to back to playing weight, but I think I could still go a round or two with the younger guys. Hell they don't train like we had to."
"You got that shit right. These drill specialists now are pussies compared to the ones we had; like old Harmon. Remember him? Man he was tough as a momma lion on our ass," Julio laughed.
"Damn right I remember him. Hell he made me and JR get up in the middle of the night and run five miles just to deliver a note to command, then laughed when we got back."
"Shit man, I remember that. He laughed about that for weeks, said you and JR thought you were on a mission," Julio laughed and Steve did too.
"You ever hear from Roberto again after he said he was moving up here to Arkansas?"
"Yeah, he lives over near Mountain View now, he said. I get emails from him all the time. Shit man, you need to get a computer and get online. You just sit up there and drink beer and don't even keep up with the world anymore."
"Hell Julio, I'm lucky to have electricity up there. We don't have internet available way up there. I do get a signal with my cell phone if I'm outside; no land lines there though."
"Get you one of those satellite dishes and get online that way. Fuck man, you can afford it with what they pay you on retirement."
"I'm sticking that back for my old age but I may just give them a call. If you see that number again, call me and give it to me."
"I'll look it up online and call you. I bet they have an independent installer here close by too."
"Hey man, I'm going to head back up in the hills a ways. Good to see you again Amigo," Steve said and got up to leave.
"Shit Steve, sit a spell, Brother. Let me order you something from the kitchen and you eat here in the bar. Save you from cooking when you get home."
"Julio you just talked me into that one. Tell'em to fix me a big cheeseburger and fries; make that two."
"Man you'll be here a while eating two. They make them on a platter as big as a hubcap."
"I'll take one back to Dog. He'll think I like him when he gets that," Steve laughed.
"I'm thirsty, pour me another one, Julio," Steve said.
When Julio got off the phone to the kitchen, he poured him a tall stout one.
"I still can't believe they let you bring Dog home with you. Shit not many of our guys get their dog when they go out."
"Well, they boxed his ass up and shipped him to me. Said they couldn't do a damned thing with him and didn't have the heart to put him down after he and I went through hell together over there."
"Damn man, I know that's right. I read three of the reports on you and him when you were laid up that last time. Fuck man it sounded like a fiction novel."
"Hell you were over there with me for a while, Julio. You saw what went on. Shit, we were told not to leave witnesses and cover our asses every time we went out on a mission. The last time JR and I went out, we both got busted up bad. Last I heard JR was still walking with a cane."
"Yeah, he finally lost that foot, but he got one of those spring board looking prosthetics and runs every day now."
"I'm glad to hear that. I guess I do need to get online and keep up with you guys."
"Hell yeah you do. When you come back to town, go buy one of those good laptops and bring it in. We have wi-fi here and I'll help you set it up like our old ones we carried back when we were with Bravo," Julio said.
"You got a deal. Say, who's this coming here Julio? Now that looks like prime stuff there," Steve said as he watched the tall, dark headed woman walk in with another tall slender younger girl behind her with red hair down to her butt and tits out to her elbows. They stopped and signed the book and looked at Julio and waved.
"Shit man, that's two of the middle management ladies I was talking about. It's about to get full in here and I hope they attack your hillbilly ass and make you stay a week," Julio laughed as he walked down the bar to where the two women sat.
"Hey Janelle, Crystal. What will it be?" Julio asked as they smiled at him.
Steve looked at their reflections in the bar mirror as they talked to Julio and ordered a drink.
'Damn, they ordered a Coors Light. Hell they can't be too uppity in management if they drink beer. I bet the redhead is a country girl. I can tell by her freckles on her nose and her long legs. Got a nice ass to go along with those big tits too.'
Steve saw both of them look at him in the mirror, then look at each other. He turned to look up at the TV screen with the news channel on and the volume barely legible. He could hear it though, as well as the women talking. Out of the corner of his eye he saw the redhead turn and look back at him in the mirror and stare for a long time.
'Turn back around, redheaded girl. You look good, but you live in the city now and I'm not moving for no one' Steve laughed at himself.
Here he was used to sleeping naked with a beautiful young woman every night. Now she was gone and he knew he'd be coming back to town more.
"Julio, is he a friend of yours? I bet he was in the service; he still wears the camo fatigues," Steve heard the redhead.
"He was over there but not in the military. He was in Iraq before we ever went in with the troops. He was there when the CIA and the Special Forces went in. Hell he gave them re-con info on how to stay alive. He got shot up pretty bad, then he was put with an outfit as a hired body guard after that, among other things. He rode shotgun for the high brass that came in for unannounced visits too."
"Tough guy huh?" she laughed and her friend did too as they looked down the bar this time, not in the mirror.
"Crystal, you need to turn around and don't even look at my brother down there. You wouldn't last a week with him. I'm not sure any woman could," Julio told them.
"Why? Is he a woman hater or did he lose a woman or something?" Crystal asked. Her curiosity was up now and Julio knew it.
Tell a woman she can't and she'll start trying to figure out a way she can.
"No, nothing like that. He's got too many skeletons in his closet and too many demons haunting him. Plus, they still watch him like a hawk, afraid he'll contract with some other country."
"Wow, he IS a tough guy then," Janelle said.
"Yeah, like I said, don't even go there," Julio said and walked back down to pour Steve another drink, grinning at him as he did.
"You set me up Julio. Go get my sandwich, I need to go," Steve said and grinned at his friend.
"You'll be back Steve. This is where the women hang out, big time. You like pussy too much to stay away. Besides, this is Saturday. They're not working and you got an empty bed," Julio told him and smiled as went through a service door behind the bar.
He came right back with a platter full of fries and an open faced cheeseburger with a side plate loaded with trimmings and condiments. He was right, it was as big as a hubcap. The second order was in a Styrofoam carry out, with a fold over cover.
"Hi, may I sit here?" the redhead asked as she sat down.
Steve looked at her reflection in the bar mirror. She looked up at his reflection and smiled.
"Sure, I'm not expecting anyone," he answered.
"Will you talk if I sit here?" she asked, smiling again at the mirror when he looked up. He still wasn't looking directly at her though she sat next to him.
"Sure, what do you want to talk about?"
"Your sandwich," she said and laughed.
He turned to look at her face as she sat on the stool.
She was younger than he first thought, maybe twenty-four or twenty-five. Her freckles bridged her nose with a few scattered high on her cheeks, but that was it. She was pretty and she knew it. Not in an arrogant way - she was just confident in her looks.
"Its way too big, I'll share with you," he said as he looked directly into her eyes, not smiling. Her eyes less than two feet from his.
"Uh, I didn't mean to sound like I was begging," she said as he stared into her eyes.
"I wasn't offering because you sounded like you were begging either. I have too much to eat, I'll share," he said and smiled at her for the first time.
She liked his smile.
He took a knife and cut off a third of the burger and slid it over on the condiment plate then raked a pile of fries on it before sliding it over in front of her. Julio came in with a bottle of catsup and placed it between them.
"Mmm, this is good, thanks.
"Uh, what was your name? I'm Crystal, by the way."
"Steve. Nice to meet you Crystal," he gave in and smiled again as she dipped a french fry in catsup and dropped a glob of it on her knee where she sat with her legs crossed on the bar stool, her knee length skirt up over her knee.
He took a french fry and dipped it in the drop of catsup on her knee and ate his fry. She looked at him and laughed as she also dipped her potato in it too and mopped it all up. She took a bar napkin and wiped her knee.
"Now that was funny. You sure are different," she said as they ate.
"Well, from anyone I've ever met,"
"You mean met in a bar, or ever met?"
"I don't meet men in bars. Regardless of the fact I'm sitting here eating part of your sandwich," she said, laughing as she tried to defend herself.
"You're a country girl aren't you?"
"How did you know that? No one has ever asked me that question. How could you tell?"
"Just from the way you came over, not trying to pick me up just curious and friendly; and the way you let me give you some of my sandwich.
"Let me guess, Tennessee?"
"You're good. Now let me guess. You're originally from somewhere east of here, maybe South or North Carolina?"
"Nope, not even close."
"You're not from up north, you sound southern. Are you from here originally?"
"Yeah, not too far from here."
"I've been there. Some friends invited me to go one weekend and we went hiking on this mountain. We came out on a high bluff overlooking Jasper and it was absolutely breathtaking, looking down at the small town and the Buffalo River. Do you hunt? I see you wear camo?" she asked, enjoying her conversation and sandwich.
"I hunt for food, not for trophies," he said as he put his last french fry in his mouth.
"There's a lot of rugged country up there. All over the Ozark National Forrest really. Do you live up that way? That's really back in the sticks isn't it?
"I loved it back home in eastern Tennessee. The country around Jasper reminds me of back home a lot."
"I guess you could say it's back in the sticks, but I like it. I really don't care for a lot of people around me and it suits me fine," he said, smiling as he looked at her face. She was turned almost facing him now; her knee not an inch from his as he sat with his foot propped on the foot rail below. His long legs seemed too long to sit at a bar comfortable; even on a tall barstool.
"I didn't mean it to sound like back in the sticks was a bad place. I grew back in the sticks and I loved it. I was the oldest and I was taller than my three brothers. I was a tomboy and I was the one who got them into trouble. Not only with mom and dad, but with their girlfriends when we were teenagers. We'd float downriver on logs we'd tied together and I'd talk their girlfriends into taking their underwear off so they wouldn't get them wet. I really think after the first time they caught on and did it because they liked the way my brothers looked at them," she grinned as she told this.
"You didn't have boyfriends back then?"
"No. I was tall and skinny and the boys were all afraid of me. I could run faster, hit a ball farther and spit farther than any of them. I could whistle louder too and that really pissed them off."
"You're not skinny now. What happened," he grinned at the look on her face when he said that.
"Puberty hit me like a boulder falling from a cliff. I mean it seemed that overnight I had these big boobs and a butt you could set a plate and eat on. I was so mad, I went to my PE coach and she told me to exercise and never stop exercising. To this day I still run and workout every day. I'm not happy with what I have, but its way better than the hand I was dealt as a teenager," she said and looked at his smile.
"What are you smiling at?" she asked. She was frowning, not sure of what he was thinking as she told something that was personal and private with her.
"I like the way you look, you've done a remarkable job. You're tall, you have red hair and freckles, you're a country girl and you like to exercise and stay healthy."
"Hey thanks Steve, I thought you were about to say something about my butt and my big boobs," she laughed.
"I did, you just didn't hear it. How tall are you anyway?"
"5' 11" in my socks."
"How much do you weigh?"
"That's not a fair question, how much do you weigh?"
"145 here and you better not say a word either," she laughed.
"You're 5 foot 11 and weigh 145? You're a red headed country girl and you like to run. A lot of really good qualities. As tall as you are, you carry 145 easy. It looks good on you."
"Thanks, how tall are you?"
"6 foot 6,"
"That's what I said when you came in."
"You're a very interesting man. I bet you live in a cabin back off the road, trees all around, have a dog and drive a 4x4 pickup too don't you?"
"Yep, guilty all the way around and I need to get back there too. I left the dog in charge," he smiled as he answered.
"My daddy had a dog like that. He could tell him to watch the place when we left and that dog would be right on the porch when we got back."
"My dog's the same way,"
"What's his name?"
"Dog, on the good days. Whatever I can think of to call him on the others."
"You just call him Dog?"
"Yeah, he kind of likes it I think.
"Look Crystal, I had fun talking. I really need to go. Maybe I'll see you back here one day."
"Do you come down often?"
"Can I have your number?"
"Because I want it and I like you."
"I guess that's good enough," he smiled and gave her his number. She pulled her cell phone out and entered the number.
"Julio, I'll be back one day soon, Amigo and you can help me get a laptop and get online out there. See you, Man."
"See you, Steve," Julio waved.
"You didn't ask for my number," Crystal said when he stood up.
"I figured if you wanted me to know it you'd call me and I'd store it."
"I may not call."
"Then I may or may not see you here again sometime," Steve said and walked out with a wave to Julio.
"Julio, what's with Steve? We were talking, then all of a sudden he said he had to go. I asked for his number and he gave it to me then didn't ask for mine. He told me that if I called he'd get it then."
"That's Steve. He wants to be sure you know what you're doing. He don't play games."
"I think I like him, but he sure is reserved."
"He always will be too, as far as I know anyway. But I bet a good woman could get him to loosen up."
"Should I call?"
"If you want to know him, call him. He's a good man Crystal. I'm not sure you can be happy with him though. He doesn't like bright lights, loud music and crowds," Julio told her, she was already clicking his number when he stopped talking.
"Hello Crystal," he answered.
"Hi Steve. How did you know it was me?"
"I didn't recognize the number and I don't give mine out to many people."
"I want to see you again."
"I wouldn't mind. Got any suggestions?"
"Tomorrow's Sunday. Can I drive up to your place?"
"Are you sure you want to do that? You may like it so much you won't want to leave."
"Then I'll have to make that decision when I get there, won't I?"
"I guess you will, but you've been warned."
"Will I be welcome or tolerated?"
"I would have said no if you weren't welcome."
"What time do you get up?"
"God, you're a hard man to get to know."
"Let that be another warning to you."
"You don't scare me, Mr. Tough Guy. Just let me be an equal and accept me as a friend; will you do that?"
"I'll see you early in the morning."
"I'll be there."
"I'll have breakfast ready."
"You don't know what time I'll get there."
"Don't be late or yours will be cold," he said and gave her instructions on how to get there.
The town of Strawberry, in Gila County, Arizona was 1150 miles to the west of the unincorporated community of Strawberry, in Johnson County, Arkansas.
Steven Earl Randall was worried. He couldn't figure out how he had screwed up the shipment of the ten boxes to his rented trailer, from the food distribution warehouse where he had worked up until a week ago when he quit, thinking he'd never have to work again.
He had called the UPS distribution center in both Phoenix and Flagstaff and they had no record of his shipment.
He had taken some of the pre-printed labels from the warehouse and changed the address to show he had shipped them from his street address at the trailer, to be 'delivered' to the same street address of his trailer. Knowing his plan would work and he'd be one rich son of a bitch.
The packages had been picked up by the UPS truck at the warehouse and the driver had scanned them. Steve saw him do it, he knew they left there. He wondered if the driver happened to drop one of the big boxes and it opened. He'd find that driver and kill him if he didn't find his boxes soon.
He went to his dirty laundry pile and took his pants out, he rummaged through his jeans, but found nothing, he knew he had two shipping labels left over and if he could find them, he would hopefully know what he had done to fuck up, after all he'd been through to get his hands on that money.
The thought hit him like a hammer on the head and he ran out to his old pickup. He jerked his work coveralls out and found one of the extra labels in the back pocket.
Here it is,
2010 County Road 37011
Strawberry, AR. 85839
Hell, it's just like I thought it was, 85839 is Strawberry, Arizona's zip. I messed up on writing the zip, but hell I can make it out, they should have. Damn, that's it, the scanner didn't scan my writing.
I'm going down to the UPS parking lot; I'm going to find that driver and follow him home. That's my fucking money, I'm the one that sneaked it out of the warehouse where they launder money from Vegas. They can't report it to the police, that's for sure.
There was a wasp nest over the security camera; that was what got me to thinking in the first place. No one ever looks at shit there, they think it's so safe because they got that fence and guard station.
I can't fucking believe I had my hands on all that money and now it's gone. Gone and who knows where the fuck it is. The UPS driver, is who knows.
"Joe, you got that sumbitch in your sights - what's he doing now?" The short fat man in the black suit asked his partner. They were on a hill watching that dumb bastard, Steven Randall. Both were sweating like hell and wanting to be back in the air conditioned vehicle.
"Yeah Jack, he's got a rifle in his hand and he's getting in that ragged old truck. I don't see anything big enough for that much money though. He must be going to get it," Joe answered.
"Then let's get in the fucking SUV. I'm burning up out here."
"He's heading out on the highway now. We'll take care of him if he's not going after the money. We know it'll be there at that rat hole trailer."
"Yeah, let's go before we lose him," Jack said.
"Where's that crazy fucker going? He's turning into the UPS distribution center. Fuck, I bet he had a driver helping him. It would be easy to get past the guard that way. Why didn't we think of that first?"
"Fuck, I don't know."
"Pull over here, he's just sitting there now. Hell, there he goes again he's following that delivery van real close and flashing his lights.
"They've pulled into that old vacant lot, let's go. We'll take them now," Joe said.
The UPS delivery driver didn't know what the hell was happening, he thought he may be having a flat and that man was stopping him. Then he saw the gun and jumped back in the van. Before he could leave, the man was pointing the rifle at him.
The driver saw the black SUV pull in and stop. The two men ran over with guns drawn. Surely they must be the police.
Steven Earl Randall died instantly with multiple gunshot wounds to the head and body. The UPS driver was shot up but would recover; the doctors told the police.
They had no motives, no clues and nothing to go on about what had happened. The delivery van had been ransacked but a later inventory showed all packages were accounted for.
"What did you find in that sumbitches pockets?" Joe asked
"Just this shipping label. Hell it must have been an old one. FUCK, look here," Jack said.
"What? Hand it here. DAMN, I see it now. It has AR instead of AZ. That crazy bastard shipped the money out of state. I wonder why he stopped that driver? He must have been in on it and he was taking care of him before he went over to Arkansas."
"We going to tell the boss?"
"Hell no, we'll call him and tell him we're on the trail and that we'll have his money in a few days. No need in telling him where we're heading, he'll just get in the way."
"UPS distribution, how may I help you?"
"Well, I have a tracking number and I was wondering if the package had been delivered?"
"Sure, what's the number?"
Steve gave the girl the number and she checked, then checked again.
"I'm sorry, that number isn't in our system. When did you ship it and from where to where?"
"It was shipped last week in Arkansas and was shipped to a destination in Arkansas."
"The first two digits you just gave me aren't Arkansas numbers, they're Arizona numbers. You have reached the UPS distribution center in Little Rock, Arkansas. You must have found an old label. Is there anything else I can help you with?"
"No, and I thank you for your help."
The only thing he learned from that was the boxes didn't come from here in Arkansas. Whether they came from Arizona is another story. He wished he did have internet service now, he could check the zip codes and the towns. He had the money and possession is nine-tenths of the law; he'd always heard.
He knew the money was hot, it had to belong to the syndicate or some casino trying to hide it. Probably some jerk tried to take the money. The syndicate would never put their money in cracker boxes.
"Hey Dog, I'm coming in, don't shoot," Steve laughed as he opened the door.
Dog was lying in the floor wagging his tail. That meant he liked Steve and it was alright for him to come on in. He put the Styrofoam carry-out tray in the floor and opened the lid, watching as Dog tore into it.
"We need to get these boxes out of the house and down to the hole. I wish you could carry one or two at least. But if you'll just stay over there out of the way, I'll get it done," Steve told Dog, looking over to see him eat the last of the french fries.
It took him over an hour to carry the ten boxes down to the hole, as he called it. Not even Lilly knew where the hole was. They had swam together in the big pool beneath the falls only twice and she didn't like the cold water, so there was no reason for her to go back.
Steve knew that probably no man alive other than him knew of the hole. He knew that someone had once been in there before him though, there were drawings on the wall and there were ancient clay pots and bowls in there too.
From the back of his house to the slope where the spring came from the ground, it was nothing but solid rock and no matter how much it had rained there were no tracks after he had made the ten trips down the gradual rock slope. He had taken the contents of one cracker box and put the money in his gun case built into the stone of the fireplace.
No matter if someone were to break into his gun case, they'd never find the release that opened the compartment above the gun case where he stored all his money. Steve only kept about two thousand dollars in the bank and the rest he kept here at home. He figured he had maybe a hundred and fifty thousand stashed in there, saved from his monthly installment on his buy-out check and the retirement check he gets each month too. That was before he put this last in, making close to four hundred thousand now. More money than he'd ever had at one time, not even counting the big boxes down in the hole.
Steve washed the few dirty dishes that were in the sink then swept all the wooden floors. He looked at the rumpled bed and pulled the sheets off, putting clean sheets on and making the bed. He took the dirty sheets and his dirty clothes out to the laundry room off the back porch.
That was it as far as he was concerned. If Crystal did come out the house would be clean. If it wasn't clean enough, she could either leave or clean it herself.
He knew there was plenty of food here, he'd met Lilly three days ago after she'd gotten off work and they'd loaded up on groceries, a whole pickup bed load.