I remember I used to argue with my mother about optimism and pessimism. I’d tell her that sometimes, you just have to have faith. Faith in your own abilities. Just like the old cliche, a single snowflake is very fragile, but look what they can do when hundreds work together.
My point being separate you may fail, but as a team your deeds may be endless. I’d never tackle a group like this on my own, this isn’t like when I went after them trespassers.
Dad talked of that one until his dying day.
Four to one, and I came out on top. They had their rifles and all I had was my grandfather’s pistol. They tried their luck, thinking that a boy would be too scared to shoot.
They just weren’t up to what they had to face.
They turned slightly and their rifles were almost pointing directly at me. I told them again that they were trespassing, and requested for them to leave.
They laughed at the lone boy standing his ground.
The next thing I knew one had his rifle aimed directly at my chest. “Drop your gun boy, or I’ll plant you where you fall.”
That my friends was the wrongest thing to ever say to a Macalister.
It was never clear if the man would have shot me or not. The survivors were just too shaken up to speak coherently.
My pistol left it’s holster and I continued to fire until it hit a dead chamber. Three men were down two seriously. The one man that had not been hit fell to his knees blubbering. I walked forward and kicked their rifles out of reach.
I could hear the approaching men, and I quickly reloaded.
It was the sheriff, and a few of his deputies.
“You okay Dobs?”
“Yeah, but they ain’t.”
Sheriff Andrews looked at the scene, and shook his head. “Four men Dobs? You faced four men, and came out on top?”
The stench of relaxed bowels assaulted our noses.
“You killed them for trespassing?”
“No-sir. They were gonna shoot me, and I stopped em.”
“I ain’t ever seen anything so fast.” the blubbering man said, as a deputy quickly left to go call for help, I could hear him muttering as he left. Something about balls and brains. Go figure.
“Why did you and your friends threaten the kid?” Sheriff Andrews asked.
“Had no right...was just having a little fun.”
They’d got pretty much the same story from the other survivor. Sheriff Andrews was able to piece enough of the story together to get me off the hook.
Mom had been so worried that they were gonna hang me. I had to assure her that just wasn’t gonna happen. “Mom they don’t hang folks anymore, they’ll just send me to prison.”
I even breathed easier when we got the visit from Andrews. “You a free man Dobs. Judge Roy Allen declared it half hour ago.”
I breathed a hell of a lot easier.
Like I said, this just is not the same as that. They kinda frown on folks taking the law into their own hands nowadays. It just wasn’t the same as it used to be. They don’t seem to want any man to make a difference anymore.
A man could commit a crime, and sometimes walk free.
But some asshole enters your home, in the dead of night all bets were off. How could any of us know that shit would one day change.
My ordeal back then began the change in the law, Judge Allen was a backwoods law and order type. He came from someplace in Tennessee down to Texas. At first his views were detested and it took three tries before he was finally elected. Then they just flat refused to let him retire.
Looking back he kinda reminded me a lot of James Stewart in that movie “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.” he was very tough-minded but also very fair. He’d used my ordeal many times to make a point. ”Never take odds at face value.” then he’d tell the story of me and the shootout.
That didn’t help my reputation much at all.
Andrews and Allen were both long gone, and all I had was a group of men and women that thought as I did. We wanted an end to the crime in our town. We wanted our women to be able to walk, the streets in some degree of safety.
Times were changing and there were many people that just flat refused to accept that change. Justifiably so. Crime rate was high, and the law just seemed to be sitting on their hands.
I did feel like Stewart’s character: I was a leader for the simple fact that I killed two men all those years ago. I don’t know what would have happened, had I not done what I felt forced to do. Maybe nothing. But just maybe, Rob would be the one telling this story rather than me.
Them FEDS just kept popping into my head, some had come down after the shooting. One had said that he’d have to take my gun, and I told him straight out: “Go To Hell.”
He then told me that we could do this easy or hard. After a few very tense minutes, he left and he left without my gun. Somehow I felt that these boys weren’t like them boys back then were. You can tell by the eyes. The others didn’t have that hungry look, this group...this group worried me. I’m not saying that they were dirty. But I do believe that they had very little regard for the rights of honest people. That they’d do, whatever they felt just to meet their objective.
Including killing women and children.
We’d taken control of a little community west of Borger, just a few miles
from the old drive in. It was surrounded by a six foot high stucco wall, we felt that should we ever have to defend our homes it would give us at least a chance.
What was so odd, was that the creeps had began to slack off. I got to where I could spot a fed a block away, and those people seemed to be everywhere.
Downtown Borger, looked like a damn Spook convention. The donut shop was closed down and the building was taken over by the FEDS. They had tried to strong-arm, “Old Lenny Schwartz” into closing his gun store.
That was when I developed a lot more respect for the Jewish people. Ole Lenny was seventy at the time and was a small frail looking man. He always wore baggy pants and suspenders and a white shirt. He told them very bluntly to go to hell.
Personally, I think it was that scatter-gun in his hands that convinced them. It sure would’ve convinced me. Lenny was ornery and as dangerous as a striking cobra. I really like that old man.
I told my people, to keep a very careful watch on Lenny.
I have no idea who actually brought him into our group, I just know that one day I looked across the compound and there he was. A week later, I saw him without his shirt and I saw the tattoo on his forearm. Them goddamn numbers.
I know that I had nothing to do with that horror, but I felt sick and guilty for what had happened to him. He quickly put his shirt on and asked me what he could do to help.
“Are you adjusting okay, Mister Schwartz?” I asked.
“Call me Lenny. I remember you. You used to come into my store and look around then you get all excited, and run home and get your papa.”
“Yes sir. I liked guns even back then.”
“You need guns for some of your people...if you send some of your toughest guys to my store, my helper will give them what they need.”
I smiled and nodded. “How did you know?”
“I look around Dobs and I see. I also see that your people care for all people that just want to be free. Did you know that I once shot a robber?”
“He come into my store, and wanted money and guns, I was sitting on my stool, and as I stood up I picked up my gun. Shoot him dead.”
That was one story that, I most certainly hadn’t heard about. “What happened? The cops and all.”
The old man smiled. “They didn’t want no part of me. They knew the man was bad said so as he was carried out feet first. They tole me not to worry.”
I motioned for a young man, and he rushed over to me very quickly. “Johnny get a couple of boys and go to Lenny’s store... Lenny how will your man know it’s okay?”
“I’ll send a note with you people.”
“Lenny has offered to supply our people.”
The young man grinned excitedly, “No Shit! Thank you, Mister Schwartz.” Johnny said as he rushed off to get the help he’d need.
“He’s a good boy.” Lenny said softly. “He will learn though, first time he has to kill, the first time a buddy dies.”
I honestly didn’t know what to say. I’d killed before and I remember how I changed after that. So many people began to look at me differently, and many others avoided me. I was still a kid back then, and grown men were calling me sir.
“You know I speak the truth.” it wasn’t a question. “I remember when you were forced into that...problem. They gave you no choice.”
“I may have lied, maybe I just wanted to see, to see what it felt like to kill someone.”
Lenny shook his head firmly. “No. You not like that Dobs. You always a good kid, and you grow to be a good man. The eyes are the mirror to a soul. Your soul is an old one. You always fight, I see no evil in you.”
Johnny came running back up to us, and Lenny pulled a piece of paper from his pocket. “Give this to my help, they will see to your needs.”
After Johnny had left, I lit up a cigarette. “You already had that written. I didn’t even know for certain, that I was going to ask you for help.”
“I already decided to offer help, you and your people helped a tired old man. Food and a good place to sleep, they came in and didn’t like seeing me pushed
around. Brought me here...nobody did that for my papa. I see him beat to death. He spit at tank, and soldiers beat him.”
I tried to swallow but the lump just wouldn’t stay down.
“I run as fast as I could but they caught me. They talk of doing very bad and evil things to me. I don’t cry, I spit at them. That night a young soldier come and get me, he give me a gun and tells me to go. He says he cannot allow harm to come to any child.”
I felt the tears as they began to roll down my cheek. I’d heard some of the horror stories in school. But they never affected me the way it did when, Lenny told the story. First hand I guess.
“They catch me again, this time they brand me like a calf. That same young soldier save me again, but this time he goes with me. He has other children hidden, he pay money to men and we all come to America.”
I didn’t know what was wrong with me, here I was the leader of one of the most powerful forces in Texas, and I was moved to tears by the story from an old man.
“You see Dobs you are good man, only good men, will cry for deeds done long ago. You cry for a boy that is now an old man, an old man that talk too much. Any man can kill, but how many men can cry?”
When I was a little boy I was told the story of real survival. My great aunt had told me of her voyage on Titanic. The rich had thought that they had more of a right to survive than children. She never spoke the name of the rich man, but to this day I still think it was John Aster. She spoke of a man making certain that she and her sister, along with other children were safely in a raft.
She’d sometimes loose her temper when she dealt with those holier than thou types. She’d ask, “You think you’re better than Aster.” then leave the room.
The soldier that Lenny had spoke of, and the man that my aunt spoke of knew what was at stake. They could have saved their own asses, and then just gone on with life. But they’d chosen to do what was just and right in their hearts.
I wondered if some person in the future, will view us in the same light as I was these two men. It still goes back to what Sir Robert had tried to teach
me: Mine honor is my life; Both grow as one; Take honor from me and my life is done.
“What were you thinking just then?” Lenny asked.
I told him.
Cindy Larris just could not believe the order that had been sent to her. Her first thought was that she’d deciphered the message wrong.
She rechecked her work and it read the same.
All part of the job she reasoned. Sometimes you may be told to do something very distasteful, something that goes against every moral thought in your being.
Then other times...you may have to remind yourself not to enjoy your work too much. This was not to be.
She was ordered by whatever means necessary, to infiltrate the rebel group and then take out Dobs Macalister.
It was a presidential order.
“This is wrong,” she muttered. “Somebody is giving orders, and signing the president’s name to them.”
Dan Parker chose that time to walk into the hotel room, that they were using as their CP. “Dan we have a problem.” the agent replied and handed him the orders.
Dan calmly shook his head. “Let’s run this backwards, it would be close to impossible for us to infiltrate that group. They’re entirely too paranoid...too cautious is a better phrase. To kill or even attempt to kill Macalister, would bring about a full scale war. His people would declare war on the Organization and on us.
“This is not an order from the President agent Larris. The President has no knowledge of our existence, we’re the safety net, so to speak. In other words when or if all else fails.”
“Then who did send this?”
“Somebody that wants us to screw up, and set in motion a full scale civil war. The American public is very disgruntled with the current form of government.
Macalister’s group is doing what others only talk about doing.”
“Actions being right or wrong, do they really have the right to do what they’re doing?”
The senior agent smiled, “Having doubts Cindy?”
“No...no I’m not having doubts, I’m trying to look at it from the point of view of the jury. These people have violated the rights...the constitutional rights of people.”
“What about the rights of the average honest joe, that have been violated by the Organization? I have a theory on what is going on, and as soon as I get a few more facts clear, I’ll let you know. Oh-and by the way: There won’t be any day in court for this group.”
“What makes you think that?”
“It’s part of the theory, but by the time it’s all over the rebs will be above the law. Totally untouchable by anyone.”
They knew that for however long or short a time this is to last there will be those that remember that the people don’t have to live in fear of the criminals. That they can fight back and that the bad guys don’t have to win.
“I think it’s time to get the women out of harms way.” I told my group. “Maybe even send them out of the state.”
“You know your wife is going to buck those orders.” Randy told me in a serious tone.
“Yeah, I know, but it was agreed by all, that if I ever felt that it was getting too dangerous, I’d be the one making the call if or when the women would be sent someplace safe.”
“You’re making that call now?” a young man asked.
I thought for a moment and then sighed. “Yeah, I’m making the call.”
“I’m going to surprise you Dobs, by not arguing.” June said with a smile. “You and I haven’t had too much of a chance to talk for the past few days. I’m pregnant.”
I looked at June and I could feel the excitement growing inside me. “Then it’s firm. You pick a destination, and tell only Randy. He’ll see to it that you get there.”
“You don’t want to know?”
“It’s not that I don’t want to know baby, but to protect you and our child, I don’t want any knowledge that can be tortured out of me.”
“It’s getting that bad then.” it was not a question.
“Yes baby, it’s getting that bad.”
June came to me and we embraced for a long moment. I picked her up into my arms and took her to our bedroom. I had no ideas, or suspicions of what was to happen. Fate had just came aboard.