I saw the little blue eyed blond as soon as she came into the bar I hang out in in Rio Azul. I drink a few beers there when I make my infrequent trips in from the jungle for supplies.
Among other things I'd once been an engineer for one of the world's largest oil companies. I'd found some good indications in water and soil samples of a large gold vein in a site somewhere upriver and had felt no compulsion to point out my intuitions to my employers. Oh, I sent the results in, but my hunch about them was my own.
They'd paid me to find oil and I'd found it for them. Now I was back in South America on my own time to see if I could find the source of that gold leaching into the river and prove a claim on it.
So there I was, sitting at the bar that evening drinking luke-warm beer, and minding my own business. She walked through the open doorway and I checked her out, as every other man in the place did. She wasn't the beauty queen slash centerfold sort. Her face had an attractiveness that was innocent, open, and intelligent. Damned cute seemed to fit as a description.
Her long blond hair was done up in the puppy ear things on each side of her head I'd always considered dopey and far too young for most women above the age of twelve to wear. On her they looked sensible in the tropical heat, ultra-feminine, and utterly adorable. I knew in that moment, I wanted her.
She sat at a table and as the bartender walked to take her order I glanced around the room. What have we here? Jorge and Manuel, two of the biggest troublemakers in Rio Azul were pointedly ignoring the lady? It didn't take a genius to figure they were up to something crooked, and it involved the cute blond.
Like I said, It was none of my business, but she was so damned cute! I stood and walked to her table. "Pablo, I'll pay for her drink." I told the bartender. I asked her then, "Ma'am, would you mind if I sat and spoke with you for a moment?"
"Sir," she said in a somewhat frightened sounding voice, "my guide is taking me to my husband and he told me to stay here and not to speak to anyone. He said I'd be taken care of."
I sat down in the chair across from her, "Ma'am," I told her, "unless you have the 101st Airborne waiting outside, you and I are both in deep trouble, you have been betrayed!" I heard the sound of approaching footsteps, and as I turned, I instinctively ducked, which was probably what kept the bottle Jorge swung from killing me.
As I came up I put nearly two hundred pounds of very pissed off Texan behind the uppercut I landed on Jorge's jaw. I heard the satisfactory crunch of cracking teeth and bone and saw he'd stupidly had his tongue protruding from his mouth when he'd swung at me. He'd be talking with a lisp from now on, if at all!
I whirled and ducked as I charged at Manuel, who had a handful of a cute breast and was dragging the blond toward the door. My ducking again saved me from stopping a beer bottle with my head! I dragged him away from her, and threw him against the adobe wall. I held him there by his throat and gave him what we call back home a punctuation ass kicking. I asked him, "What are you going to do to the cute little lady now, asshole?" Each of my words, punctuated by my fist in his face, bounced his head off the solid wall.
I looked around to see they had no reinforcements who dared to buy into this fight. I turned to her, "You're damned good at looking cute, Lady, how are you at running?" It turned out she was pretty damned good at that, too, and she dashed out the door, except she was running away from the river. My boat, motor, and provisions were in the other direction.
I allowed her to lead for a hundred yards, then told her at the next opening between the buildings, "Follow me now, and stay close!" Fear is a good motivator. She was right behind me when we reached the river and found my boat, concealed under some overhanging trees. I was beginning to like having her follow me around, but forced my mind back to more serious things, like surviving the night.
We'd gone only a few miles upriver when I first heard the helicopter, and knew we were in even worse shit than I'd thought. I pulled into the riverbank and told her to duck, they were using searchlights. My .45 pistol was in my hand, but I didn't want to start a gunfight, especially with a lady in my boat. They went over us, and the cute lady asked me, "Uh, couldn't that be rescuers?"
"Think about it, Ma'am," I asked her, "it's been less than an hour since the attack on us. These are the jungles of South America. Who would know a failed kidnap or murder attempt had been made on you, and have a helicopter out here searching already?"
I couldn't see her face, but I heard her say, "Oh shit!" My suspicions were verified when someone in the copter that had passed overhead opened up at something in the water with automatic weapons fire!
Working while I was talking to her, I knew anyone with choppers could bring in infrared binoculars, and infrared scopes for rifles, too. We had to get further away from the river than they'd expect us to travel in case they thought of using them to search the jungle from helicopters. I pulled the boat motor off and sank the boat with rocks, pushing it deep enough into the water its profile shouldn't be visible.
All evidence of our passing was removed from the bank of the river, except for a distress sign that would stand out like a sore thumb to the five superbly trained men from my former military troops now waiting for me to return to our camp with supplies.
I couldn't risk dumping the motor in the river because of the danger of an oil slick being noticed. We made two trips to a staging area I established a mile from the river where we concealed the motor and all the supplies we could not carry with us immediately. Perhaps you're wondering how I was finding my way back to those sites in the dark?
My superior navigation skills I'd learned in Uncle Sam's Army, of course. My handy Global Positioning System receiver I'd bought at a neighborhood electronics store back in the States helped, too. Never leave home and go into the jungle without one!I made two packs of our supplies, making hers lighter, but it looked as if she'd have to pull her own weight if we were to survive. I handed the pack to her, as I told her, "Okay, Lady. As we said back in the day, now we hump! It's an army term for hiking neck deep in crap while carrying tons of shit on your back. Do you have any ideas yet as to who might want you dead?"
Her next words sounded like she had been thinking, and the look on her pretty face showed a wide range of emotions. "It has to be my husband, Ronald. I've known for the last three years it was a mistake to marry him, and I finally told him last month I wanted a divorce. He begged me to meet him down here where he works and try one last time, so I relented. He'd insisted two years ago we buy five million in life insurance on each of us, payable to the other."
"Bingo!" I growled, "I'd say we have a winner here, folks. Okay, so he's agreed to share that with someone here if you suddenly come down with something seriously fatal. That is chicken shit in the extreme, and I hope I get the chance to lay a hand on him, if only for a few seconds."
"I hope we both do." She shared, as she shook my hand on it. "My name's Sherry Andrews, and yours? This hurts me so much the asshole is going to kill me and has put your life on the line, too!" She put both her hands to her face as the tears poured forth.
Damn it, the morale among my troops was weakening and I had never allowed that to happen! "Listen to me, Sherry." I barked in command mode. "You are one of mine now, my name is Sergeant, and I do not condone or accept failure or defeat! You will not die on my watch, I will not allow it! Do you understand me?"
"Sir, yes, sir!" She barked it, just like a recruit. She must have seen my astonishment at her response, because she added immediately, "My dad is career Army. Oh my God, I have to get to a phone! Dad will be down here kicking ass and taking names and the locals will gang up and kill him!" Oh shit, we had one more complication, as if we needed it.
Concern for her dad changed things considerably. Yes, he would be on the first flight in when he found out she was missing, as most any dad would!
I'd been preparing for a forced march across the interior, foraging as we went, and waiting for our reinforcements to catch up with more firepower. It was imperative now we stay out of enemy hands, while being close to our backup who might be able to somehow contact her father. I explained our change in plans to Sherry.
"Thank you, Sergeant!" She said, "You've saved my life this far, and I feel so much better about my dad now."
We hoisted our packs and carried them another five miles, then I began scouting around for a place to hole up. In less than an hour we found a little secluded cleft between two hills that had a beautiful spring flowing into a pool. We drank our fill from the cold spring, then I took two ground covers and spread them above it, then gestured toward them. "Our summer home, Sherry." I went prone on my back where I could watch the approach to the area through the trees.
Sherry looked at the other tarp, then asked, "Do you mind if I join you on yours? I'd prefer to stay close to the only man around who I know is not out to murder me in cold blood."
I opened my arms to her, and invited her to be my guest. She came down next to me, kissed my cheek, and went to sleep with her cute head on my shoulder. I woke when Sherry stirred. She looked around and got her bearings, then pulled her blouse off, and undid her bra. She took off her boots and jeans and panties, and walked down to the pond.
.... There is more of this story ...