I Believe

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Recruiting

The next afternoon, Doug is parking his truck at the Black Mamba Ranger headquarters in Fort Chaffee, Arkansas. That morning Doug called Colonel Patrenski and said that he needed to talk to him. Doug didn’t say what he needed to talk to Patrenski about. Patrenski agreed to meet him nonetheless. Colonel Patrenski is one of the best and most highly skilled Rangers in the U.S.A. military. He is a master at the martal art Aikido. Aikido is the art of using your opponent’s force against him. It is based off avoiding action and the understanding the nature of an inner force known as ki. It involves throwing and grappling techniques. Colonel Patrenski has been the leader of the Black Mambas Ranger Unit for ten years. He created the unit because he believed that BlackOps units needed a QRF (Quick Reaction Force). The Black Mambas Ranger Company was a step below the Special Forces. A tour in the Black Mambas is a surefire way of getting into the Special Forces. When Doug was in the Black Mambas Colonel Patrenski had a special interest in him. He saw what Doug was capable of but believed that Doug was not using himself to his full potential. Patrenski became Doug’s mentor. Whenever Doug needed help with something Patrenski was the first person he went to.

After Doug parks his truck four Rangers, Corporal Brian, Private First Class Victor, Private Shane, and Sergeant First Class Chad, walk out to meet him. Doug and Chad go way back. He saved Chad’s life on an S&D (Search and Destroy) mission in Afghanistan two and a half years ago. Chad welcomes Doug warmly. However, Doug does not receive a warm welcome from Brian, Victor, and Shane. They point their guns at him.

“State your business”

“My name is Doug Wilson. I am here to see Colonel Patrenski.”

“No one sees the Colonel without permission.” Brian shouts.

“I just told you that I have a meeting with him.” Doug replies.

“Well no one told us.”

Doug looks at Chad to get him out of this but Chad just shakes him head. Victor holsters his pistol and slowly advances towards Doug. Brian and Shane keep their rifles pointed at him.

“I wouldn’t do that.” Chad warns.

Victor, Brian, and Shane ignore Chad’s warning. Victor pulls out a set of hand cuffs, walks behind Doug and grabs his arm. Before Victor can react Doug grabs his arm and painfully twists his arm into an arm bar. Brian pulls out his pistol but Doug kicks it out of his hand. He then twists Victors arm and sends him colliding into Brian. Shane charges Doug from the side but receives a powerful side thrust kick to his chest. The kick sends Shane flying backward several feet. Brian and Victor both jump up and rush at Doug. Doug waits till Victor and Brian are inches away from him then side steps them. Victor flies past him. Doug clotheslines Brain in the throat knocking him on the ground. Shane jumps on top of Doug’s back and attempts to wrap his arms around Doug’s neck. But Doug grabs Victor’s wrist and twists it so much that Victor falls down to his knees in pain. Shane is up by now and he pulls out his knife and rushes at Doug. Doug kicks the knife out of Shane’s hand and then delivers kicks him in the chin knocking him out.

“I think their done Doug.” Chad says.

“I think so to.” Doug replies and let’s go of Victor’s wrist. “Now take me to Colonel Patrenski.”

“That won’t be necessary.”

Doug turns around and sees Colonel Patrenski standing behind him. Both Doug and Chad salute Colonel Patrenski.

“Doug, you’re not a soldier anymore. You don’t have to do salute me.”

“Sorry sir, old habit.”

Colonel Patrenski laughs then looks at Shane, Victor, and Brian. All three of them are obviously in pain.

“Sergeant Chad, take these men to the infirmary.” Colonel Patrenski orders.

“Yes sir.”

Chad doesn’t hesitate. He calls two more Rangers over to help. As soon as they are gone Colonel Patrenski leads Doug to his office, which is on the other side of the base. In the background Doug can hear the Rangers training. Hearing the gunfire and shouting brings back a lot of memories; some are good, some are bad.

“Sorry about beating your Rangers Colonel. I wasn’t trying to hurt them.”

“Don’t worry about it. I was watching the whole thing. You haven’t lost your touch. If anything you’re skills have doubled.”

“I’ve had a lot of time to practice. Plus those guys were easy to beat. What is their problem anyway? They seemed to have a lot of anger built up for no reason.” Doug replies.

“Shane, Victor, and Brian were just following procedure. They don’t know who you are. They joined the company two months ago. It was not up to me.”

“They have high connections?”

“Apparently, I got an anonymous letter two months ago telling me to assign them to the company. No name, just three stars where the signature should be.” Colonel Patrenski says.

“A three star general ordered you to assign those three morons to the unit.”

“Yes, unfortunately they have no skill whatsoever. They are probably going to get my men killed.”

“You’ll get through to them. You got through to me.” Doug reminds him.

“They are twice as mischievous as you were. I can’t get through to them no matter what I do.”

“Hmm, kind of confusing isn’t it. A three star General recommending three Rangers who have no skill whatsoever. Have you tried to figure out who that General was?”

“Yes, I’ve asked every General and Admiral in the military. All of them said that they’ve never heard of them. I even went as far as to ask British, French, German, and Israeli Generals and got the same answer every time.” Colonel Patrenski answers.

“Don’t they have military records you can check?”

“Yes, I did extensive research on them, as I do with everyone before they join the unit. They have impressive records, which is very unusual. It was obvious to me once I observed them that their records are fake.”

Colonel Patrenski’s office is the exact opposite of an average military officer’s office. Normal Colonels usually have their awards and souvenirs pinned up on their wall. Colonel Patrenski’s walls are covered with stuffed deer heads, ducks, and antique rifles. It reminds Doug of his living room. Doug takes a set on the opposite side of Colonel Patrenski’s desk.

“So what is it you wanted to talk to me about Doug?

Doug tells Colonel Patrenski his dream and its interpretation. It takes Doug an hour to explain everything.

“Okay, you called me to talk about a dream.”

“Yes and to volunteer for the mission.” Doug answers.

“What mission?”

“To go onto Jeremiah”

“You really think that is God’s plan for you?” Colonel Patrenski asks.

“With all my heart sir.” Doug answers.

Colonel Patrenski thinks about it for a minute. He considers every possible option. Doug knows that his request goes against almost every regulation and official rule. He knows that Colonel Patrenski has never accepted anything like this before. But Doug also knows that somehow, God is going to convince him to accept this mission.

“Alright Doug, officially I cannot go along with this. But unofficially, that is a completely different story. I will temporally reinstate you in the forces and give you whatever you need. All I want you to do is report to me as often as you can. And don’t tell anyone accept your team about this. We’ll be in trouble if the government finds out about this.”

“Thank you Colonel.”

The next morning Roger Wilson, Doug’s father, shows up at his house. Doug lives way back in the woods just outside of Chester, Arkansas. He lives there because he likes being in the woods. Doug enjoys spending time in the woods. The beauty of the woods reminds him of the power and the love of God. Roger is in his early fifties. He is the piano player at First Baptist Church of Alma. Very few people can play the piano better than him. Roger is also an excellent outdoorsman and a six degree black belt at T’ai Chi. T’ai Chi is based on the relationship between two opposing forces in nature, otherwise known as yin and yang. It is based on the principle of the soft, internal energy overpowering the hard, external energy. In combat T’ai Chi uses the opponent’s energy against him. The philosophy of T’ai Chi is force is never meet with force. Roger taught Doug everything he knew about the outdoors and martial arts. Roger is greeted at the door by Doug’s friend, John Morrilton. John is an old high school friend of Doug. They were both in NJROTC (Naval Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps) in High School. Both of them competed in drill and shooting competitions. John takes Roger to Doug. Doug is in the back porch packing for this journey to Jeremiah. He has told no one about his dream, except for Pastor Shelton and Colonel Patrenski.

“Where are you going?” Roger asks.

“It’s a long story dad.”

“I got nothing but time.”

Doug tells Roger and John of his dream and its interpretation. They both just sit there looking like they don’t believe him.

“So, you really believe this?”

“Yes, I believe every bit of it.” Doug answers.

“Do you plan on going up there alone?”

“Yes, I don’t want to risk anyone’s life besides my own.”

“Sorry Doug, I cannot allow you to do that. You’re going to need my help.” Roger says.

“Count me in too.” John adds on.

Doug tries to come up with another reason for them not to come. But Doug knows that anything he comes up with Roger will put it down.

“Okay, you guys can come. But don’t expect me to carry you guys, period.” Doug says sarcastically.

“Don’t worry about it Doug. So how do you expect to get on Jeremiah?” Roger asks.

“I don’t know. God told me that I would know when it gets here.”

“And when is that?”

“July 13” Doug answers.

“That’s ten days from now.”

Roger stops to think this out.

“I think we’re going to need a lot more people than just the three of us.”

“I agree with you. I have a good idea on who I want to come with us.” Doug answers.

A few hours later Doug and John are driving down a dirt road. They are on their way to see Doug’s old friend Charles. Charles is one of the few black men in Alma. Many kids hated him because of the color of his skin. Charles stands 6’7”, has the strength of a bear, and the speed of a snake. He was an outstanding football player. But he was hated everywhere he went. Doug and John were his only friends. They looked out for each other. After high school, Charles and Doug both went on to serve in the Army. After training, they were assigned to the same Infantry Unit. Charles served as a medic and chaplain for the company. They served together for two years. On their last mission together Charles took a bullet to his left hand. The bullet almost destroyed his hand. He can still barely close his left hand. Charles retired from the Army not long after that. Now he teaches Sunday school at First Baptist Church in Alma, Arkansas. Doug helps him out sometimes. Doug and John park right outside of Charles house. Charles lives on a dirt road just outside the Alma city limits. He is the only one who lives down this road. Doug knocks loudly on the door. Almost instantly, Charles answers the door.

“Doug, what are you doing here?”

“Charles, can I have ask for a big favor?” Doug asks.

“Sure, why don’t you two come in for a little bit.”

Doug and John walk into Charles house. Charles goes into the kitchen and gets a couple glasses of sweet tea for Doug and John. Doug tells Charles about his dream, its interpretation, and his plan.

“You sure about all this?” Charles asks Doug.

“Yes”

“And you want me to go with you two and your dad?”

“Yeah but you don’t have to if you don’t want to.” Doug replies.

Charles thinks about it for a few moments.

“You’re gonna need someone to watch your back up there.” Charles replies, sarcastically.

“I’ll take that as a yes.” Doug says.

That afternoon Roger is at his parent’s house. His older brother Shawn lives with them. He’s had some troubles in his past. Shawn developed cancer several years ago. Fortunately he was cured a couple years later. The cancer greatly affected his health. He hasn’t fully recovered his strength since then. Shawn is a sixth degree black belt a Jeet Kune Do. Jeet Kune Do was designed by the famous martal artist Bruce Lee when he realized that the rules of traditional martial arts did not take into account the realities of street fighting. His goal was to design a style that would prove effective in a fight where opponents did not follow any rules. He developed Jeet Kune Do as “the way of the intercepting fist.” The philosophy behind Jeet Kune Do is that the student must train hard, learn what he can, and then use only what suits them best. Shawn was trained by one of Bruce Lee’s students. He took what he learned from him and developed it from that. Shawn has taught Doug everything he knew about Jeet Kune Do since Doug was five. He also served in the Army, the Gulf War to be specific. He served in the Army with distinction. Shawn received the Medal of Honor for his actions. It was the middle of the Gulf War when Shawn and a few Captains were having a meeting in a small tent. All of the sudden, an Iraqi terrorist disguised as an American Soldier threw a grenade inside. To protect his superiors Shawn jumped on top of the grenade. However to everyone’s surprise, the grenade didn’t explode. The EOD team found it to be a dud. Even though nothing happened, Shawn received the Medal of Honor for the attempt. It was the gesture that Shawn was willing to sacrifice his life for his superiors. Shawn has been Doug’s inspiration and the reason he joined the Army.

Roger knocks on the door. He is answered by the sound of a barking miniature poodle. Shawn opens the door a minute later.

“Hey Shawn, how are you doing?”

“Doing much better Roger.” Shawn answers.

“Good, I have something to ask you.”

“Go ahead, shoot.”

Roger tells Shawn everything from Doug’s dream to his plan. When he is done telling him, Shawn just sits there with a thinking look on his face.

“That’s sounds interesting Roger. Is Doug sure about all of this?”

“Yes, I know it’s what God had planned for him from the beginning.”

“Sounds like this is going to be quite an adventure. Count me in.”

The next afternoon after getting all the work done on the farm Doug drives to his youngest cousin Jake’s house. Jack lives in a small house less than a mile from the farm. Doug is just getting out of his truck when he sees Jake come out of the house with a shotgun.

“WHOA JAKE, IT’S ME, DOUG!” Doug yells as he throws up his hands.

Jake lowers the shotgun. Doug lets out a sigh of relief.

“Sorry Doug, I thought you were someone else.”

“You thought I was Miguel didn’t you.” Doug asks sarcastically.

“Yeah, I did.”

Miguel is an old friend of the family. He and Jake were best friends for years. That is until Jake caught Miguel in bed with his girlfriend three years ago. Jake chased Miguel away with a shotgun. Jack told Miguel that he would kill him if he ever saw him again. He thought that Doug was Miguel because they drive the same kind of truck.

“I’m just glad I recognized you Doug. I would’ve had shot you.”

Jake and Doug compete together in shooting competitions. Their shots are usually so close together that is usually almost impossible for the judges to tell who won.

“Jake you know that you could only beat me at long range and that was before I got sniper qualified. Plus I have a quicker draw than you.”

“What do you want Doug?”

“I have a favor to ask of you. Do you mind if I come in and explain first? Doug asked.

“Okay, just make it quick.”

“It may take a little bit to explain.

Jake lets Doug inside the house. Jake is the tallest member in the family standing 6’4”. He is also the most muscular. The past ten years Jake has been something of a bum. He has been moving from job to job making what money he can. Doug wants him on the team because of his marksmanship skills. He also thinks that this adventure will somehow change Jake’s life around. Jack leads Doug to the living room where Doug explains everything to him.

“You expect us to come with you on this insane adventure based on a dream you had?” Jake yells at Doug.

“No, you don’t have to, and it was a dream from God.”

“Still why would I go with you?” Jake asks.

“Because I know I can’t do this alone. I’m just asking you guys for your help. You don’t have to come if you don’t want to.” Doug answers.

Jake sits and thinks about it. Finally, Jake comes up with an answer.

“No thanks, I don’t want to get involved in something as stupid as this.” Jake says.

“Okay, I won’t bother you anymore. “

Doug walks out of the house disappointed but not surprised. He didn’t expect Jake to agree. Doug would have been surprised if he did. At least he asked.

The next day Doug, John, Charles, and Roger are in Little Rock. They are here to recruit Doug’s little brother Mark and his middle cousin Jack. Mark is a professional competitor in the UFC. He is one of the most feared competitors. He is famous for his speed and powerful elbow strikes. Mark has one of the fastest and hardest hitting punches in the UFC. However Doug knows that Mark has very little experience with guns, hunting, and the outdoors. While Doug spent almost his entire time outdoors Mark was indoors playing football and indoors. When they were younger Doug and Mark never got along. Even though Doug is older Mark is more athletic. Mark got all the glory in school. Doug was always jealous of his younger brother. They argued over every little thing. They fought each other constantly. Their fights almost always resulted in one of them getting hurt. Mark and Doug have not forgiven each other. It has been two years since they have seen each other. Jack is an agricultural businessman. He is expert marksman and has connections everywhere in the state. Ten years ago Jack was ranked as the tenth best shooter in the state of Arkansas with a pistol. However Jack is hard to control. He is known for being very energetic and mischievous. But Doug and Roger both know how to control him. Jack was raised on a dairy farm and grew up hunting and fishing with his brothers Frank and Jake. However he was not that good at it as they are. Doug knows that most of the others on the team will not like him on the team. Originally, Doug didn’t want either Mark or Jack on the team. Both of them have spent so much time away from the outdoors that they have forgotten almost everything they were taught. Doug feels that they will just slow the team down. He knows that the others will think the same when he tells them. But Doug knows that God wants them on the team. He can only guess why though. With Jack, Doug guesses that God wants him on the team because of his skill with the pistol. With Mark, he guesses that God wants him on the because of his martal art skills. But Doug also guesses that this is the chance for him to make up with his younger brother.

Doug, Roger, John, and Charles arrive at Jack’s house first early in the afternoon. Jack lives in a big house in the rich side of Little Rock. Doug, Roger, John, and Charles have never been to his house before so the size of it amazes all four of them. Doug drives up to the front gate, gets out of the truck and rings the door bell.

“Who’s there?”

“Jack, this is your cousin Doug. I’m here with Roger, John and Charles. I have a question that I want to ask you. Can we come in?”

“Sure” Jack answers. “Come on in.”

The gate opens up electronically and Doug, Roger, John, and Charles drive up to the front door. Jack is waiting at the door for them. He lets them in and hands each of them a cup of sweet tea. Jack leads them to the living room. The inside of the house is nothing like the outside. While the outside looks like a celebrity’s house, the inside is a combination of city and redneck. The furniture looks like it costs several thousand dollars. He has a hundred inch screen TV. There is an Olympic size swimming pool with a twelve foot diving board and a giant hot tub out back. But on the walls are several stuffed animal trophies. Most of the decorations on the walls and lamps are either stuffed animals or country sayings etched into wood. Jake even has a shooting range in the backyard.

“So, what do you guys need to ask me?”

Doug explains everything to Jack. Jack just sits there with a blank less face. It looks like he isn’t going to say anything.

“You seriously believe that?” Jack finally says.

“I believe it with all my heart.” Doug responds.

“And you’re asking me to go with you? You know that I haven’t done anything like that in a while.”

“I believe that you may have some value in the group.”

“And what is that?”

“You used to be a hunter like me, but I know that God will have use for all of us.”

“Okay, let me think about it. I’ll give you an answer sooner or later.” Jack says.

“Thank you, now I have another favor to ask you.”

“Okay, what is it?”

“I want to you ask Mark to come with us.” Doug said.

“Whoa, wait a minute. Have you and Mark made up or are we in some kind of alternate universe?” Jack says sarcastically.

“I wish Jack. I see this as a chance to set things right. And I was hoping that you’d tell me where he lives because none of us knows.”

After Mark moved out, he didn’t tell Doug or his parents where he was going. Mark wanted to get away from all of them, especially Doug.

“And what makes you think I know where he lives?”

“Because, I know that you two hang out together just about every night.”

“How do you know that?” Jack asks.

“I told him.” Roger replies.

Jack gives Roger a hateful look. But Roger stares him down. Jack knows that he is not match for Roger.

“I need you to get me and Mark in the same room together so I can talk to him.” Doug says.

“Why don’t you just call him?”

“I’ve tried, but he won’t answer my phone calls.”

“Okay, I’ll try to get you two together. Is that good enough for you?” Jack asks.

“Good enough for me. See you soon buddy.” Doug answers.

After Doug, Roger, John, and Charles left, they couldn’t help thinking about how crazy Doug is. Jack thinks that Doug must want to end his life early if he wants to try to make up with Mark.

Doug’s phone starts ringing early the next morning. It wakes everyone up. Doug looks at the clock, 4:47am.

“Doug will you please answer your phone.” John shouts.

Doug sleepily gets up and answers.

“Who is it?”

“Doug its Jack”

“What do you want Jack?”

“I want to come with you.” Jack answers.

“Good, what about that favor I asked you?”

“I talked to Mark last night. He agreed to meet you at the Buffalo Grill tonight at seven.”

“Alright, I’ll be there.” Doug replies then hangs up.

That evening Doug, Roger, John, and Charles are sitting at a booth at the Buffalo Grill. Right at seven, Jack and Mark walked into the restaurant. Doug sees the surprise and angry look on Mark’s face. Mark pulls Jack aside and says something in his ear that Doug and Roger both know is hateful. They think that Mark is going to walk out. To everyone’s surprise, Jack gets Mark to stay. Mark and Jack sit down with Doug, Roger, John, and Charles. Mark still looks angry. He doesn’t take his eyes off Doug the entire time.

“How’ve you been Mark?” Doug asks.

“What do you care?”

Roger, John, Charles, and Jack were not surprised the way this was starting out. They actually expected it to be a lot worse.

“Jack, did you tell Mark that I was going to be here?” Doug asks.

“I may have left out a few details about tonight like your dream and everything else for example.” Jack answers with a hint of fear.

“Thanks a lot Jack.” Doug replies.

“He wouldn’t have gotten me here if he told me that you were gonna be here.” Mark says.

“Now Mark, I don’t want to argue. I’m here for two reasons . . .”

“For me to beat the crap out of you and then leave.” Mark interrupts.

“Mark, I’ve known both of you for years and your skills have never been anywhere close to Doug’s.” John says.

Mark gives John a hateful look. Roger thinks that Mark is about to jump over the table and strangle John. But at that moment the waiter walks up to their booth. His presence seems to halt the anger going around the booth. It is a much needed moment of relief. They haven’t been here five minutes and already they are receiving stares from the other side of the restaurant. When the waiter leaves their conversation continues.

“Why did you want to see me Doug?” Mark asks.

“I wanted to apologize for all the things I’ve done to you over the past. Hopefully we can let bygones be bygones.”

“And why would I do that?”

“Because, I’m tired all of all the hatred between us Mark. We all miss you back home.”

A confused look appears on Mark’s face. He thinks that Doug is joking with him.

“I’m willing to apologize for everything Mark. What about you?” Doug asks.

“I’ll think about it Doug. Can you give me a little time to think about it?” Mark asks.

“Sure I can give you a couple of days. If you decide to accept my apology then I have another question to ask you.” Doug answers.

Doug, Roger, John, and Charles walk out of the restaurant and head back to the hotel. Mark and Jack stay at the restaurant and eat. Mark barely even moves the next two days. He spends most of his time thinking. Mark tries to think of a reason not to forgive Doug. But every time he comes up with something God softens his heart to change his mind.

Doug, Roger, John, and Charles spend the next day just lying around the hotel. Doug and Charles go to the gym to work out several times. They need to get in shape for this adventure. During their stay Doug calls his older cousin Frank. Frank is the oldest in Doug’s generation. He also grew up working on the grandparent’s farm. Frank is the smartest and most logical of the family. He specializes in weapons and engineering. Frank designs and builds weapons for the military. He is the only one out of all the guys that Doug wants in the group that is married. He has a four year old son named Brian. But his marriage is not going all that well. Frank and his wife Chelsea do not see eye to eye on anything. Doug thinks that this journey may be a good time to take a break. Doug wants him on the team because of his ingenuity and for his connections to provide them with weapons. He explains everything to Frank. At first Frank thinks that Doug is pulling a prank on him.

“Frank have you ever known me to prank call anyone before?”

“No but are you absolutely sure about this Doug?” Frank asks.

“Yes I wouldn’t be calling you if I wasn’t.”

Long story short, Frank eventually agrees to come along. He tells Doug that he will fly in the day before Jeremiah arrives.

That evening Doug gets a call on his cell phone, Mark. Doug instantly answers the phone.

“Hey Doug, I’ve decided that I’m willing to forgive and forget.”

“Good for you Mark.” Doug answers.

“Okay Doug, now what do you have to ask me?”

Doug explains everything to Mark.

“Well Doug, that’s one heck of a story. I guess I’ll go with you. I don’t have anything else better to do.” Mark said.

The next afternoon, Doug is driving in the ghetto side of Fort Smith, Arkansas. He has his windows and doors locked. His .44 magnum pistol is strapped to his hip and his Glock .45 hidden in the driver’s side glove compartment. This part of Fort Smith makes Doug a little uneasy. The ghetto has always made Doug nervous. But he is here because the last person that he wants on the team lives here, Nick Poster. Doug has known Nick since kindergarten. But it wasn’t until Doug was thirteen and lost his faith that he and Nick became friends. Nick was always in trouble. He did everything from drinking to cocaine. Nick is the one who got Doug smoking and drinking. He is a troublemaker, an alcoholic, and an atheist. Doug and Nick served together in the Infantry and in the Rangers. But Doug knows that Nick is anything but a warrior. Doug and Charles have always thought of Nick as a coward. It has puzzled Doug how Nick even got into the Rangers. But Doug still wants him on the team because of his combat experience. Plus he has been trying to convert Nick for months now. Unfortunately, Doug didn’t know that Nick is having an affair with Doug’s girlfriend Samantha. Technically, Doug and Samantha have never been dating. Doug considers them to be good friends, nothing more. Nick and Samantha have been keeping their affair a secret from Doug for a several months. When Samantha couldn’t get Doug to sleep with her, she turned to Nick. This particular occasion, Doug almost catches Nick and Samantha. As Doug pulls up to Nick’s house, Nick and Samantha wake up. Nick goes over to the door and sees Doug walking up to the door.

“It’s Doug” He whispers to Samantha.

Samantha jumps out of bed, puts her clothes on, jumps out the back window, and runs through the neighborhood to her car all before Doug gets to the front door. She has experience in this sort of thing.

Doug hears a car behind Nick’s house screeching its tires on the road. He turns around and sees a small car speeding down the road on the other side of Nick’s house. Doug cannot make out the brand of the car. He cannot see who is driving the car. The windows are tinted.

“They must be in a real hurry.” Doug says to himself.

Doug knocks on Nick’s door. Nick opens the door looking a little tired and nervous. He is still pulling his shirt on. He hasn’t had as much experience at this as Samantha.

“Cobra, what do you want?” Nick asks.

Nick is one of the few people outside of the army who calls Doug by his nickname.

“I have a favor to ask you.”

“Go ahead shoot.”

Doug explains everything to Nick. Doug can tell that Nick doesn’t believe a word of it. He just sits there and stares blankly into space.

“Doug that is the biggest bunch of bull crap I’ve ever heard.” Nick says when Doug finishes.

“I know that’s how it sounds, but I know it’s true.”

“Yeah right, you know that I don’t believe in your god.” Nick replies. “But, I guess that since I owe you, I’ll go with you.”

“Good, Jeremiah arrives July 13. Will you be packed and ready to go by then?”

“Yes”

Doug turns to leave but he halts and turns back to Nick.

“One more thing Nick, the next time you see Samantha you tell her that I never want to see her again.”

“Why?”

“Because, I’ve seen how she treats my parents, and I’ve had enough of her trying to bring me down. Plus, I know she is cheating on me. I just don’t know who with.” Doug said.

“Okay, the next time I see her, I’ll tell her.” Nick said.

“Thanks a lot Nick.” Doug said, then turns around and leaves.

Nick exhales a breath of relief. He thought that Doug had found out about his affair with Samantha. Nick knows that Doug will kill him if he finds out.

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