Chapter 53

the sound: Led Zeppelin – Communication Breakdown

The smell of wood smoke brought me back to the present and I looked up in time to see Robert lean across the fire and pour some of the ever present bottle of Jack on the barbequing goat meat.

This would be a meal I wouldn’t soon forget.

As the hangover began to leave me I became aware enough of my surroundings to realize that there were likely four times as many people here this evening as there had been the day before. And even as the thought crossed my mind I heard the sound of motorcycles coming towards us and looked up the hill to see a dozen or so more bikes come over the crest of the hill.

Robert looked up and the smile left his face. I looked around me to see the uncomfortable almost nervous movements of the people around me.

“Now what?” I wondered.

The bikes came towards us and I slowly began to understand that these were people that I’d seen before…it was that Greybeard guy that had been at ‘the Dump’ the day before.

There was a rustle of movement around me as the women seemed to virtually slip back into the darkness and men stepped forward in several large groups around Robert.

I looked, and looked again seeing, as if for the first time, Rosie and her ‘macdaddy’ first aid kit standing between the men. It was then that I realized that every one of the men that I could see was armed.

With the realization that everyone was packing also came the understanding that I was the only person not armed that was still in plain view of everyone around the fire pit.

I held my breath, afraid to move with the thought that movement would only attract attention to my being out in the open as Greybeard and his men came to a stop in front of the barn like garage. Slowly they dismounted and turned towards Robert and the fire.

“Evening Robert” Greybeard started as I realized that, all of Greybeard’s men were armed too.

“this could get really messy” I thought as Robert nodded in response to Gregbeard’s greeting.

“Once again Robert, you know why I’m here?”

Robert nods and glances over his shoulder. At his glance 4 women materialize out of the darkness each of them carrying a pair of motorcycle saddlebags obviously filled to capacity. They scurry up between Robert and his men and Greybeard and his men and deposit the bags on the ground.

The quiet of a group this size was ominous, had there been a floor one could have heard the proverbial pin drop.

“how much?” asked Greybeard

“50 thousand” came Robert’s reply.

“not even half!” snorts the man to Greybeard’s immediate left and his men began to shift and lean forward.

Greybeard shakes his head slightly and their movement stops as he leans forward, “I told you what the price was…and I gave you the timeline…”

A slow smile spreads across Robert’s face as he points towards the big tree that I’m leaned against. “She’s here for the taking” he replies.

The fire crackles and I gawp as I realize that the ‘she’ he’s talking about is me.

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