The sun blazed down on Jack as he swung the pick ax into the heavy, wet soil. Despite being spring, he was sweating freely, not that it mattered, as the water from the drainage ditch splashed him with water and mud. Every year the drainage ditches needed cleaned out, and every fifth year he would hire a excavation company to come in and re dig the ditches. Of course this year was the year to hire a excavation company and everything went wonky the year before.
What a year it had been.
Jack had not heard from his family. They were likely gone and he knew it. For retirees in their late 60s they were in very good shape, only on a cholesterol medication the both of them.
But living in a retirement community in Florida . . . he stopped himself from thinking about it and swung the pick ax again, a little harder.
His sister and brother in law lived in a nicer neighborhood, but not far from downtown Akron, Ohio. After watching the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, his sister woke up to the fact the world was not necessarily a nice place when the power is out and 911 no longer works. Shockingly she came for a visit and asked Jack to teach her how to shoot. Not just a .22 rifle, but everything Jack had: handguns, shotguns, rifles, the works. When she went back home to Akron, she bought a handgun and shotgun and got her CCW.
Jack was floored.
Even with her new interesting in firearms, Jack did not think they could hold out for long in the city. Even in a nicer part of the town.
Jack was on day three and just over half way done with the drainage ditch when a rough voice said from behind him,
Jack stopped and looked over his shoulder to find a short man aiming a AR15 at him.
Breathing heavy from the exertion, Jack paused and said, “What?”
“I said dont move!” the man demanded.
They stared at each other, Jack not moving as his breathing slowed back to normal, the other man still aiming the AR15 at Jack. The man wore a camo ball cap, coyote tan tee-shirt, a similar colored backpack, camo pants and tan boots.
“Um, now what?” Jack asked after several more moments past.
“You mind if I put this pick ax down? I have been digging for the past three hours and I would like to put this down.”
“Oh,” the man looked at the pick ax, and the ditch, “Yeah, sure. Just throw it over there,” he gestured with the barrel to the opposite side of the ditch.
Tossing the ax aside, Jack raised his arms, hands open, and slowly sat back on the edge of the ditch and said, “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome,” the man replied. He looked unsure of himself, not sure what to do next.
“So,” Jack said in a conversational tone, “What brings you by?”
“I, um, you have any water?”
Jack slowly looked down. Water in the ditch was over his ankles. He looked back up,
“Yes, I have water. Do you have a filter?”
“Yes. I do.”
They stared at each other for another few moments.
“Ok,” Jack started, “I am going to take a wild (Censored word. I’m a potty mouth) guess here and say you are new to this?”
“Ok. I am here in this ditch, you have the gun, you have the high ground, I am not going anywhere. You want water, I am standing in water. You give me your water can, or bladder or whatever, I fill it, give it back to you, you go on your way, and I get back to digging this ditch, ok?”
“Ok. Dont try anything.”
Jack just stared at him.
“Ok,” the man said again, slipping his pack off carefully, trying to keep the AR15 aimed at Jack.
“Take your time, no rush. I am not going anywhere,” Jack lowered his hands and folded them across his chest and waited.
Finally the man got a empty water bladder out of the pack.
“Toss it here,” Jack said making ready to catch.
He took the bladder, and began to fill it from the clean water part of the ditch, taking his time,
The man kept the rifle trained on Jack.
Once mostly full, Jack resealed the bladder and stood back up.
“I am going to toss it back to you. Do you mind not pointing that at me when I do. Dont want a accident happening now do we?”
Jack tossed the bladder back up to the man, it landed at his feet.
“Sorry,” Jack shrugged.
“Thats ok.” The man bent over to pick it up, when from behind the man Jess commanded,
“Do not move!”
The man froze half way bent over, the rifle pointed away from Jack.
Jess moved up to close the remaining distance between her and the man. She had spent the past few minutes moving slowly, sneaking up on the man from behind with a 12 gauge shotgun.
“You tricked me!”
“And you are an (Censored word. I’m a potty mouth) with a gun on me,” Jack replied as he scrambled out of the ditch, and took the rifle from the man.
“Start walking,” Jack moved behind the man, next to his wife and motioned him up the road toward the house. Jacked noted the man was limping.
They guided the man to the picnic table in the front yard. Before the man sat down, Jack took the mans backpack, and patted the man down, removing all the contents of his pockets and putting them on the table. A knife, three extra magazines, and a pack of gum.
Jack slung the rifle over his shoulder, took the shotgun from his wife and whispered something into her ear. She nodded and left to go into the house.
“Have a seat,” Jack nodded to the picnic table.
“What are you going to do?” the man asked, fear in his eyes.
“We are going to wait for my wife to come back. Take off your boots and socks.”
The man looked at him questioningly but did as he was told.
“Put your feet across and prop them up on the other seat. Feel better?”
Jack glanced at his feet.
A few moments later, Jess came out with a pitcher and three glasses.
She poured a glass and put it in front of the man.
“Here, keep this on him,” Jack gave her the shotgun. He poured himself a glass of tea from the pitcher and took a drink. He gestured with his glass, “Please, have some.”
The man looked shocked. He slowly reached for the glass and took a sip.
“Oh, that is good!”
“Tea sweetened with honey and a few crushed wild blueberries,” Jess smiled over the shotgun.
“Thank you,” he said to Jess but was wary of the shotgun still aimed at him.
“Ok, lets see what we have here,” Jack sat down at the picnic table but out of reach of the man. Jack opened the top pocket of the pack, taking out the items,
“A bic lighter, chapstick, bug juice, a container of what looks like cotton balls, and a blast match, these are nice.” Jack put all the items back. He opened a side pouch, “A GPS? And it works!” They waited as the GPS started up, the screen displaying a red dot on a map.
“Get a signal?” Jess asked.
“No, no surprise there.”
Jack pressed the Zoom Out key four times and waited for the screen to update.
“Is this where you are from, or where you think you are?”
“Where I am,” the man replied, interested now.
“Afraid not. You are way off. Not surprising since people took down most the road signs.” Jack pressed the Zoom in button four times, powered down the GPS and put it back in the side pocket. The other side pocket had several first aid supplies in heavy duty zip lock bag.
The main compartment of the backpack, had a rain tarp, 550 cord, a light jacket, extra socks, the water bladder, a Kindel, a small solar recharging panel, and two MREs.
Jack put all the stuff back and set the pack aside. Next he picked up the AR15, removed the magazine, and pulled the bolt to the rear, the live round fell onto the table, and let the bolt return. He turned two levers and the short range scope came off. Jack rotated the windage and elevation knobs back and forth a few times quickly, then rotated them all the way in one direction till they stopped. He handed the scope to the man. The man’s face fell.
“Know what is great about the AR15? One knuckle is all it takes.” Jack held up his curled index finger of his left hand, with the one knuckle pointing up. He tapped the rear take down pin with a sharp jab of his knuckle, forcing the pin out on the opposite side. Jack slid the pin free and the rifle open like break open shot gun. Jack slowly pulled the charging handle to the rear, and removed the bolt carrier group. He pulled a small cotter pin out and placed it on the table, inverted the bolt carrier group and gave it a few shakes till the firing pin fell out into Jack’s hand. He put the firing pin next to the cotter pin. He then removed the cam pin and made a show of dropping it into the lower receiver trigger group. Finally he removed the bolt from the carrier and put it next to the firing pin and cotter pin. He put the cotter pin back in the carrier and reassembled the rifle minus the firing pin and bolt. He inserted the magazine into the rifle and set the rifle next to him.
“And with that, the mighty rifle is now a mighty club! With just one knuckle!”
Jack smiled and picked up his glass of tea, “So, you are quite aways from home. Been humping for what? Three or four days based off the condition of the blisters on your feet.” Jack took a drink of his tea. “So what is your story?”
Statistics: Posted by Cast Iron — Mon Jan 30, 2017 2:05 pm