The End Is The Beginning
Monday Morning, 04.01.1990
Triple J Ranch, Atascosa County
South of San Antonio, Texas
Jeff raced into Aunt Maria's kitchen shouting, "Dee! Joe! Your house is on fire!" Joe jumped up and raced to the phone. Dee headed for the back
door in a hot trot. Jeff laughed, then said, "April Fools! Ha! Ha! Ha! Suckers!"
"Idiot!", Joe roared. "You almost gave me a heart attack!"
Dee warned Jeff, "If you ever pull a stunt like that on me again, I swear, I'll......."
Jeff interrupted her with, "You're wastin' your breath, Precious."
Jack walked in, noted Joe's paleness and Dee's angry eyes, then said to Jeff, "I told you they wouldn't appreciate your sick sense of humor. By
the way, Dee, your dog caught herself a rabbit but she hasn't killed it yet. I think she wants to take it inside."
"Yeah, yeah. Sure, sure", Dee replied, waving him off.
"No, really", Jack said. "Look out the window. See for yourself." When she leaned over the sink to take a look, he laughed, then said, "April
Fools! Ha! Ha! Ha! Sucker!"
Dee looked at Maria and asked, "Were those two dropped on their heads a lot when they were babies?"
"You'd think so, huh?", Maria answered, laughing.
Joe said to Dee, "Sorry, darlin', I should've warned ya about this yearly event but, we've been so busy with work and buildin' our dream home, I
totally forgot. They're gonna be irritatin' all day. Nothin' we can do about it that's legal."
"Okay. Give ten minutes and I'll be ready to roll", Dee said, then darted out the backdoor to go to their quarters. When she pulled the screen-door
to their porch open, poppers went off, making her jump and yell, "Gosh! Dang-it!"
Inside, Jack and Jeff sang out, "April Fools! Ha! Ha! Ha! Sucker!"
She expected more poppers on the door to the study but there were none. Instead, there was a giant pile of cow plop just inside the door - a real,
very potent one. She engaged the intercom and fussed, "Jack, Jeff, get your butts in here right now!"
Jack and Jeff replied with, "April Fools! Ha! Ha! Ha! Sucker!"
Joe said, "I could just kill 'em and save the day."
Dee said, "Make 'em clean up the cow pie in your study first."
Joe said, "We'll be right there."
Dee went into the bathroom and found the toilet seat splattered with what appeared to be urine. Joe was anal about cleanliness, so she knew it
wasn't his splatter. She got a disinfectant wipe, cleaned up the splatter, then sat down to poop. A whoopee cushion farted. She gave in and laughed,
then decided to stop being crabby and enjoy the April Fools humor. That decision was trashed when she found that the toilet paper was fake. She
couldn't reach the cupboard where the extra toilet paper was kept, so she had to get up and walk over there with a poopy crack. When she opened the
cupboard, a popper went off and there was no toilet paper inside.
In the bedroom, Jack and Jeff laughed, then yelled, "April Fools! Ha! Ha! Ha! Sucker!" She opened every cupboard in the bathroom, looking for
toilet paper, and every cupboard door was rigged with poppers. Every time one exploded, Jack and Jeff responded with, "April Fools! Ha! Ha! Ha!
Through the closed bathroom door, Joe asked her, "You okay in there, darlin'?"
Through clenched teeth, she replied, "Ask them where they hid the toilet paper."
They said the closet. When she opened the closet door, a dozen poppers went off and a plastic rattlesnake dropped down and dangled in front of her
face. Jack and Jeff yelled, "April Fools! Ha! Ha! Ha! Sucker!"
She opened a brand new four-pack of toilet paper, intending to get just one roll out, and found that the bottom of one was glued to the top of
another. Exasperated, she swore, "Gawd dang-it!"
Jack and Jeff yelled, "April Fools! Ha! Ha! Ha! Sucker!"
She cleaned herself up, then went to the sink to brush her teeth. Suspecting that something disgusting had been done to her toothbrush, she retrieved
a brand new one and checked the package carefully to make sure it had not been tampered with. She did the same with the toothpaste but, still, was
hesitant when she stuck the loaded brush into her mouth. She began brushing, then turned on the water and got soaked by the rigged faucet.
When her gasp was heard, Jack and Jeff laughed and said, "April Fools! Ha! Ha! Ha! Sucker!"
By the time she changed and walked out of the bathroom, Jack and Jeff were laughing hysterically. Joe was trying to keep a straight face but the
effort made him look like he had been sucking the guts out of a lemon.
Dee's dog, a seven year old black Labrador named Ol'Babe, had a rabbit-eared cap tied to her head and looked very unhappy. Dee gave the dog
instructions via American Sign Language, then untied the cap and shook it at Jack and Jeff while saying, "If you touch her or anything of mine again,
she'll rip your balls off." The jokers shrugged and kept on laughing.
When Dee unzipped her gear bag to drop in her toothbrush, a spring-loaded fuzzy alien creature popped up. Jack and Jeff roared with laughter, then
repeated the tiresome, "April Fools! Ha! Ha! Ha! Sucker!" Dee threw the fuzzy creature on the floor, checked her bag for more pranks but, finding
none, zipped up her bag, gave a quick signal to Ol'Babe and they walked outside to the Hell Bitch, a 1989 Peterbilt custom wrecker. When she opened
the driver's door, poppers went off. A fake tarantula was on the seat. Fake cockroaches and piles of plastic poop and vomit were scattered here and
there. Heckle and Jeckle yelled, "April Fools! Ha! Ha! Ha! Sucker!"
That's the way it went all morning. No one had immunity from the pranks. Every crew member's doors had been rigged with poppers, then re-rigged
periodically whenever an opportunity presented itself. Unsupervised cigarettes were popper magnets. Disposed of aliens, bugs, poop, snakes, spiders
and vomit marked their trail to Carrizo Springs, where their job assignment awaited.
For a while the others enjoyed the annual pranks-fest but, as usual, it became tiresome when no one could successfully pull a prank on Jack and Jeff.
Joe and Dee were the only ones that did not try to trick the tricksters. Joe knew there was no use and had explained to Dee that his cousins were
professional agitators when they were teenagers. The three decades since had honed their methods to super-human perfection.
Since Joe went to work for Three Crow Investigations, in January, and Dee gave up her trucking job to be Joe's private driver, work was far more
pleasure than effort for both. From the moment they met, last September, effortless long talks about everything under the sun was the norm. By
October 1st, Joe's 44th birthday, they were miserable if they were not together. So, she moved in with him, sharing his quarters in a two hundred
year old villa on his parents' ranch but there was still a huge problem. She hated his job and he hated hers because the jobs took them away from
Dee's paternal grandfather's best friend and executor of his estate, Enrique Villa, fixed Dee and Joe's only problem when he suggested they come to
work for him at Three Crow Investigations. For over a decade, Joe and his crew had been private investigators under contract with the Department of
Justice. So, they were more than qualified. Joe was intrigued by Enrique's offer but Dee was hesitant because she had no professional credentials
except her commercial driver's license. Enrique dismissed her worries by telling Joe, "She's got a memory like a steel trap. Make sure you don't
get your Johnson on the wrong side of that."
In January, when they started being together 24-7, the texture of their talks deepened significantly and Joe discovered attributes that had
previously gone undetected. He had been in love before and so had Dee but no woman had ever looked at him the way she did, nor had they been able to
uncover his most protected secrets. Dee sniffed out his guarded areas like a blue-tick hound. At first, it was unnerving but when she told him that
there should be no boundaries between them, he agreed.
On the outskirts of town, the crew arrived at the home of Eliza and Thomas Early, whose son, daughter-in-law and three of four children had been
brutally murdered a little over two months earlier. The fourth child was missing. The local authorities had been unable to determine who murdered the
family. An extensive search failed to find the missing child, ten year old Darwin Early. Then came the dark day that Eliza and Thomas were told that
all that could be done had been done.
When the murders were first discovered, Thomas called an old friend, Rand Mathers, a highly respected journalist. They met on a flight out of
Vietnam, back in the late 60s. Rand was at the beginning of his soon to be illustrious career. Thomas was badly injured and would soon have his left
arm amputated. Rand interviewed him and a bond was formed that was still strong.
Two months after the murders, when Thomas called his old friend to inform him that the local authorities were stonewalled, Rand told him about Three
Crow Investigations, gave him the phone number, told him to talk to Victor Santitas and request the Triple J Crew, a group of mostly Texan ex-FBI and
ex-Marines that met in Vietnam. Rand was considered part of their family and assured Thomas that he could trust them explicitly.
After Joe introduced Dee and himself, Thomas pointed at the big rigs, cars, pick-up tucks and vans that lined the dirt road in front of the Early
homestead and said, "Rand told me you guys were top notch but I sure wasn't expecting all of that."
In a whispered voice, Eliza said, "We can't afford this."
Joe said, "Your case is pro-Bono. That means free to you."
Eliza and Thomas were moved to tears but still bewildered. He pointed at the group of men and a black dog now swarming the front yard and asked,
"What are they doing?"
"We're here to find the truth", Joe said. "The only right way to do that is to not presume anything, including your innocence. They'll be inside
your house in a bit. I know that sounds harsh but that's the way it has to be."
"I understand", Thomas replied. "Please, come inside."
Joe said, "It's best if we stay on the porch until the interior of your house is cleared."
"Yes, of course", Thomas said, then motioned to the rocking chairs and porch swing.
As Dee and Joe sat down on the porch swing, Joe said, "I have quite a few questions for both of you. Some will be repetitive. Some might seem odd.
Many will surely be painful to answer."
Eliza asked, "Would you two like some coffee or ice tea?"
"No, thank-you, mam", Joe replied. "We're fine."
Over the next few hours, Joe dug deep and frequently returned to the same hole. The process was very difficult for Eliza, who often burst into tears.
No negative evidence was found inside or outside of the Early home and the forensics crew moved their search to the scene of the crime, the home of
the Early's only child, Dalton Early.
Before leaving Eliza and Thomas, Joe introduced them to Bill and Dottie Armstrong, who would be their constant companions until the case was either
solved or it was determined that it could not be solved. In addition to Bill and Dottie, four crew members would keep the Early's property under
surveillance. Eliza and Thomas were free to go where ever they wanted except to the home of their son, which would likewise be kept under
...leaving Carrizo Springs...
Joe said, "I'm starvin'. Where you wanna eat?"
"Rosa's works for me", Dee answered.
He said, "I can't wait that long."
She said, "But at Rosa's we can drink and get home without gettin' busted."
Joe said, "I don't drink anymore."
Dee said, "Everyone else does, Mista Narcissistic."
Joe chuckled, then said, "Okay, fine, Rosa's it is."
"Tell the crew", she said. "And if anyone asks, this is your idea. I had absolutely nothin' to do with it."
"Anything else I need to know, Miz Boss?", he asked.
She said, "I need to stop at the Diamond Shamrock. If Jack and Jeff stop too, tell 'em your sick of their crap and to go on to Rosa's."
"What you cookin' up?", he asked.
Dee asked, "Did you ever wrap someone's house?"
"Yeah, sure. Who hasn't?", he answered. "Are we wrappin' a house tonight?"
"No houses are involved", she replied.
Joe said, "Surely you realize how dangerous this could be if we get caught. They're a hundred times more anal about their rigs than I am about the
"We aint gonna get caught", Dee said.
He said, "They say if you pull a April Fools prank after dark, back luck will surely follow."
"This has nothin' to do with April Fools", she said.
"Just plain ol' revenge, huh?", he asked.
"Revenge is such an ugly word", she said with a giggle. "I prefer retribution."
Everyone went on to Rosa's while Joe and Dee stopped at the convenience store under the premise of needing cigarettes. They bought twenty four rolls
of toilet paper for the outside job and ten bags of potato chips for the inside job, then left the store feeling as if they were sixteen again. A
fine mist was falling, which would make the toilet paper stick so much better.
At Rosa's, they donned rain ponchos and went to work on Jack's purple custom Peterbilt communications van and Jeff's cherry red Peterbilt
non-motorized equipment and weapons rig. Afterward, they stood before their masterpieces and congratulated each other on a job well done, then walked
into the cafe to join the others.
As soon as they entered Rosa's, Dee noticed a stranger among the crew, laughing loudly, very animated. He was wearing old-fashioned heavy-looking
black-rimmed glasses, reminding her of Buddy Holly. Some of the crew were laughing with him but Able had a scowl on his face.
The stranger pointed at Dee and Joe, then said, "Look at her cheeks! I told ya he was out there shakin' the sugar tree!" He laughed again but,
this time, no one else laughed and those who had been laughing with him before looked uncomfortable. The stranger walked over to Joe and Dee, his
hand reaching out, saying, "God dang, son! When did you get old and fat?"
His face a blank canvas, Joe shook the man's hand and simply said, "Tank."
"Dad's dying", Tank said, then asked, "Who's the baby doll?"
Joe said, "Dee, this is John Tank."
"Sloppy seconds wouldn't hurt my feelin's a bit", Tank said to Dee, reaching out to shake her hand. She turned to stone. He gave her a wink, then
said, "Oh, I'm harmless. Me and your boyfriend go back a long ways."
"Husband", Joe corrected Tank.
"What is it about you and damaged women?", Tank asked.
"Excuse us", Joe said, then guided Dee to the two empty chairs next to Able. As soon as Dee sat down, Able put his arm around her, giving her a
Tank leaned over the table and said to Able, "Hey, beaner boy, you got ol' fat Rattler's permission to be huggin' on his woman?"
Able said, "She's my sister."
Tank said, "I didn't realize Alfred had a love child." If looks could kill, Able's and Dee's would have.
Jeff said, "Hey, Tank, you still do your pickin' and grinnin' routine?"
"Oh, yeah!", Tank said. "The gals love that junk, don't ya know!"
"Yep", Jeff agreed. "Let's go find a guitar for ya."
"Might as well", Tank said with an exaggerated sigh. "Aint gonna get no sugar off Joe's hoochee."
As Jeff and Tank walked away, Joe whispered to Dee, "Crazy, idiot, ass. First letter of each."
Dee grumbled, "His daddy better really be dyin'."
Joe said, "His daddy's been dead for years."
"Then why'd he say that?", she asked.
"Code for it's fixin' to flood", he answered.
Able said, "It's more like a psychopath wanting praise for saving everyone after he's rigged bombs to blow up the dam and flood the whole
Jack came over and asked, "How you wanna play this?"
Joe said, "Go away. I've had enough of your games."
Jack said, "Don't dismiss me like a rookie that don't know Tank only shows up when the creek is out of it's banks."
Joe growled, "What part of go away don't you get?"
Jack asked Able, "What's his problem?"
Able said, "Go help Tank with his pickin' and grinnin' crap. That's right up your ally. Maybe you'll get lucky and he'll get in the storytelling
mood and tell ya all about how he helped commit genocide in third world countries or how he helped to overthrow a country's leader because that
leader didn't want to be a puppet of the USA's military industrial complex."
Jack said, "Oh, so, I'm scum because of a few pranks."
Able said, "No one cares about your stupid pranks now that the psycho is here to charm us to death."
Jack laughed, then said, "Joe, if the logistics would work, I'd swear Able is your twin."
Joe growled, "Go away."
"Fine and, by the way, The Dozen's here", Jack replied.
"There's nothin' wrong with my eyes", Joe replied. "But, obviously, you need a hearin' aid."
After Jack walked off, Joe called the waitress over. She took their order, then, in a few minutes returned with a carafe of coffee for Joe and a
pitcher of beer and four shot glasses of Patron for Able and Dee.
Wendy, the only female in The Dozen, a covert FBI crew, plopped down on the other side of the table, saying, "Hey, fancy meetin' you here! That
Tank is some kind of guy, huh? Is he single?"
Joe asked, "Remember the Ricky Nelson song, Traveling Man?"
"Yeah", Wendy snickered. "Cool. I like poke and go guys."
Able said to Wendy, "I thought you and Stephen were together."
"You shouldn't think. You're no good at it", Wendy said with a cackle, then noticed Dee's lack of appreciation for her humor. "What's up with
that sour face?", she asked Dee. "You sick?"
"Just tired", Dee lied.
"What do you think of Tank?", Wendy asked.
Dee said, "He's nauseating."
"I think his bumpkin act is sexy", Wendy said.
"I guess that makes sense in fantasy land", Dee replied.
Wendy eyed Dee closely, then said, "You're up to something. I'd hang around and try to dig it out but, I'm sure, teasing Tank will be more
rewarding. Don't wait up for me!"
After Wendy left, Able said, "Just because you have issues with Stephen is no excuse for not warning Wendy."
"How she wastes her time is none of my biz", Joe replied.
"What are you talkin' about?", Dee asked Able.
"Tank's gay", Able said.
"Oh, well, she'll find out soon enough", Dee said with a shrug.
Joe said, "He's not gay. He's an opportunist that'd screw a Grizzly if it would help him get the info he wanted."
Dee said, "Well, honey, few are as perfect as us."
"True", Joe agreed with a chuckle.
"What's the skinny on Tank", she asked.
Joe said, "He claims he was abducted by reptilian aliens who aren't really aliens but the ancestors of humanity who have come back from the future
to keep us from blowin' ourselves up because they enjoy all that anal probin' and cattle mutilation stuff."
"Good grief", Dee mumbled.
"Grief is right on target", Able said. "He's often referred to as the Grim Reaper because he has a habit of showing up when people are grieving
the loss of a loved one or waiting for death, which he's an expert at delivering. Do you remember Caleb Younger?"
"How could I not?", she asked.
"He was Tank's first victim, that we're aware of", Able said.
"That explains why you hate him", she said.
"Yep", Able replied, sounding weary.
Their supper was delivered. Able and Joe dug in. Dee looked at hers as if it was crawling with maggots, her mind recalling the day that Caleb was
murdered in the attack that nearly killed Able's father, as well as her grandfather.
On the stage, Tank was putting on a one-man show and everyone was enjoying his act, except Able, Joe and Dee. Joe said, "Look at it this way,
darlin'. They'll blame him for what we did. He's tough but he can't whoop both of 'em at the same time."
"Whoopin' as in fightin'?", she asked.
"What part of they're more anal than me about their rigs didn't you get?", Joe asked.
"Don't be usin' that tone with me", she warned. "I aint one of your dang grunts."
"Sorry", Joe chuckled.
Able pushed his plate away, then said, "That's a show I'm not interested in seeing. Don't know what you two did that he's gonna get blamed for.
Don't care. I'm headin' home. Dee, want me to drop you and Ol'Babe off?"
"No", Joe said. "She's stayin'."
Dee said to Joe, "I'm quite capable of answering for myself."
"Sorry, again", Joe said, grinning at Able, which made Dee huff and roll her eyes.
Able got to his feet, saying, "I'm out of this."
"The hell you are. Sit your ass back down", Dee said. "I'm stuck here and that means so are you."
"The way you talk to me", Able complained, sitting down.
RB, Stephen and Will, of The Dozen, came over and sat in front of Able, Joe and Dee. RB asked Dee, "Who you pissed at?"
Dee said, "Joe's buddy. That loud mouth piece of CIA crap up there on the stage."
"Excuse me?", Stephen asked Joe. "You have friends in the CIA but you give me grief for being FBI?"
"Well, thanks so much, Dee, darlin', greatest love of my life", Joe said with a chuckle.
"That's what happens when you keep important info from me, dear", she snipped.
Joe said, "Was hoping you two would never meet."
"Well, that was stupid", Able grumbled.
Stephen asked Joe, "Is he here because of what you were doing today?"
Joe said, "That's why I give you grief. You don't know how to keep your nose out of my biz."
Stephen said, "I wasn't spying on you, this time. It just so happens that we're investigating the same deal, again, and you got there before us, as
Joe said, "Don't know what Tank's current deal is but it can't be good."
Stephen said, "So, let's grab him, go to the ranch and get down to the nitty gritty."
"We haven't finished our supper yet", Joe said.
"I'm done", Dee said, pushing her plate away.
"You didn't eat anything", Joe said.
Her face in full pout, she fussed, "He called me a hoochee and you said nothin'. You should've knocked him out for talkin' to me that way."
Joe said, "You would've yelled at me for makin' a scene and would've reminded me that you're more than capable of defendin' yourself."
"I'm gonna explode if he doesn't shut up that gawd awful hillbilly crap", Dee said, then started counting backwards. "Ten, nine, eight."
RB said, "Houston, we're goin' for lift off."
Will said, "Copy that. We're at T minus five. Good to go."
"Shut up", Dee giggled at the Betts brothers.
RB said, "I'll go punch him in the mouth just for the hell of it."
"Oh, Mista Betts, you are my hero", Dee said, sounding like a Southern belle, batting her eyelashes excessively.
Joe said to Dee, "Eat at least half of that baked potato and I'll invite the Grim Reaper to go home with us for a few drinks and chit-chat. That
way, if he pisses you off again, we can bury him on the back forty. Okay?"
"Deal", Dee agreed and started shoveling down potato.
Wendy was under Tank's arm, bragging on his singing. Tank showed his appreciation by getting a handful of her butt cheeks. Dee and Joe hung back,
paying the bill. As soon as Jack and Jeff saw their rigs, the cussing started. Joe winked at Dee and flashed her a dazzler of a smile. Her eyes lit
up and they walked outside just in time to see Jack punch Tank and knock him down.
"I had nothing to do with that!", Tank protested, rubbing his jaw.
"You're a dead man!", Jack snarled, flicking open his switchblade.
Able stepped in front of Jack and calmly said, "Can't kill him here. You and Jeff hog-tie him and if he resists, which he surely will, do what you
have to do but be fast about it. RB and Will, transport Tank to the Triple J. That way, if anything goes wrong, it's the FBI's fault."
"Head 'em up. Move 'em out", Joe said as he grabbed Dee's hand and started walking towards the Hell Bitch. Once inside, he said, "I must be
gettin' old. I just wanna go home and go to bed, not deal with this mess all night."
Lightening lit up the sky, showing heavy turbulent clouds. Dee said, "Oooh, looks like it's gonna get nasty."
"That's par for the course", he said, pulling out of the parking lot. They rode in silence for about six miles and Joe drove slowly. Due to the
dense fog, the road was barely distinguishable from the shoulder. "Can't see worth spit", he complained.
Dee said, "We've only got ten miles to go."
"Which will take forever at this speed", he grumbled.
She unbuckled her harness, saying, "At least the Hell Bitch has a potty and I better use it right now because it's only a matter of time before your
lousy drivin' makes me wet my panties."
Joe laughed. Ol'Babe hopped up in the passenger seat. Joe told her, "You know you're not allowed up there." Ol'Babe bared her teeth and snarled.
Joe laughed again. It was a game they often played. Sitting on the potty, Dee heard Ol'Babe let out a low warning growl. The truck slowed rapidly and
Joe said, "Whoa there, sweet Bitch! Whoa-oh-oh-oh!"
"What's wrong?", Dee asked.
Jack's voice came over the com-link, "I almost ate your ass, Boss! What the hell you doin' up there?"
Joe hit the whirly lights and spot lights, then told the others via his CB radio, "We got a wreck. Two cars. Don't look too bad but I don't see
anyone movin' around. Stephen, call the Sheriff's department. RB, check out the occupants. Jack, pull up beside me. Will, stay put. Jeff, Lake,
Wendy, before assisting RB, drop flares. Don't want anyone runnin' into us."
Stephen said, "I'll try not to take offense that you're bossing me and my crew around."
Joe growled, "Do exactly as I said and do it now." The lights hitting the heavy fog distorted what was visible, so it took Joe a few more seconds to
realize that he was seeing eight people emerging from the ditch on the right. They were covered from head to toe in silver metallic-looking jumpsuits,
pointing AK47s. Dee slid open the bathroom door. Joe fell to the floor between the seats, pulling Ol'Babe with him, yelling at Dee, "Get down!" At
the very second that she complied, the windshield shattered.
Able, Jack, Jeff, Lake, RB and Wendy exchanged gunfire with the assassins. Before scrambling into the gunfight, Stephen told Will, "If they come for
Tank, kill him first."
Ol'Babe was howling until a ricocheted bullet tore away half of her face, leaving her writhing in agony. Joe shot her again, ending her terror. An
assassin climbed up onto the hood of the Hell Bitch. Joe fired, striking him between his eyes. The gun fire stopped. "Are you hurt?", Joe asked
Dee. She shook her head no, her eyes as big as silver dollars. "Don't move", he said.
Jack yelled, "Clear!"
Wendy yelled, "Clear!"
Jeff yelled, "Two goners here!"
RB yelled, "Two more!"
Lake yelled, "On the side and in front, terminated!"
Able yelled, "You two okay in there?"
"Ol'Babe's dead", Dee answered as Joe wrapped the loyal black Lab in a blanket.
Jeff yelled, "Grenade!"
Jack yelled, "Joe! Left front!"
RB said, "I can get it!"
Stephen yelled, "No! Run!"
Joe shoved Dee into the stainless steel shower stall and crouched over her. On the run, Stephen shot the possum-playing assassin in the head, then
dove into the ditch behind Able, Jack, Jeff and Lake. The explosion lifted the Hell Bitch up on her left side and tipped her over onto her right side.
RB and Wendy didn't make it to the ditch in time and shrapnel tore into their bodies. Diesel was spilling from the Hell Bitch's ruptured fuel tanks.
Able, Jack, Jeff and Stephen began climbing into the wreckage, calling Joe and Dee but there was no answer.
Will raced to RB and Wendy. "Look!", Lake shouted, pointing to the diesel spill that was heading straight for them. "Grab RB!", Lake yelled as he
snatched up Wendy, who was unconscious, and raced to the back of Stephen's van.
Will arrived with RB and sat him down next to Wendy. RB said, "Go on. I got this." As Lake and Will ran towards the Hell Bitch, RB took off his
shirt and wrapped it around Wendy's blood soaked head, saying, "Hang on, babe. You're gonna be okay. Hang on."
RB heard, "Psssst! Hey! Over here!" He looked across the road, in the direction of the raspy voice, searching the foggy shadows. The voice said,
"You're a dumb ass just like your ol' man."