by John Nation
One of the richest men in the world declares war on Sheriff Johnson and the Pack.
Sheriff Rick Johnson was in his office preparing a report for the county commissioners. In six weeks it would be time for them to approve the budget for the coming year. In addition to his standard budget, he asked for an upgrade for his computers and for five new patrol cars to replace some of the older ones. The commissioners were already dropping hints about a shrinking economy and diminished taxes. It was unlikely he would get all he needed. He completed the initial draft and put the papers away.|
He picked up the two folders still on his desk. The county had just hired two new deputies and he studied their files. He was pleased with what he read. They graduated from the police academy at the top of their class. They would report for duty in only a few days. He looked forward to adding them to his staff. He read through the files and placed them aside.
The Sheriff unlocked his top left desk drawer and removed his pistol. He put in it his holster and placed the strap across the butt of the weapon as he walked to his door. He figured he would go on patrol and ease his nerves a little. He found it less stressful on the streets and highways of his county than behind his desk. Twenty minutes later he left the city limits of Missoula behind him as he sped towards French Town. Once past the small community, he drove down a dirt road, stopping his car at what appeared to be a typical cabin. He was grateful to see two vehicles parked in front of it.
As soon as he stepped out of the car, the cabin door opened. He grinned at the gorgeous blond that waved to him. “Hello, Diane,” he said as he walked to her.
“Hello yourself,” she said as she reached him. She wrapped her arms around him and kissed him before taking his hand and leading him inside the cabin.
As the Sheriff walked next to her, he once again was amazed at her life and the things she did. There was not a person in the world that would believe him if he was ever foolish enough to give up her secret. The beautiful woman beside him was a werewolf. Three nights every lunar month, she turned into a ten foot tall, twelve hundred pound man-eating creature. Besides Diane, there were four others in the pack.
At first, Sheriff Johnson had been terrified of them. He was still careful around them and every month thanked God they vowed they would never be in his county during the times of transition. He could have told the government about them so an armored tank regiment in support of a couple of reinforced ground divisions might have a fifty-fifty shot of capturing or killing them. The fact he knew of at least two times where they saved the planet from extinction kept him silent.
Once inside, he saw Eddie and Tonya sitting across a table from each other, arm wrestling. Both sets of arms were straight up, pointing at the ceiling. The Sheriff could see the exertion on both of their faces. For two minutes he watched them. Neither set of arms moved closer to the table.
“How long have they been doing this?” he asked.
“About ten minutes. Both of them are desperate to win the bet.”
“What is the bet?”
“Sex. The winner has sex with the loser.”
The Sheriff studied the situation for another minute before saying, “I don’t get it. Win or lose, they still have sex.”
“Yes, but the winner gets to be on top.”
“Aha,” the Sheriff said as he understood. The positioning of the couple was important to werewolves. “Do all of you do this each time you have sex with Eddie?” he asked.
“No, only Tonya will challenge him. Sara or I could never beat him, and he cannot defeat Miranda. However, he and Tonya are equal in strength.”
“Do you think this will go on much longer?”
“They usually go at it twenty minutes or there about before one of them can win. Until a couple of months ago, Tonya won all the time. Now Eddie is beginning to win some of the matches. According to Miranda, Eddie will win more and more often because he is getting stronger and Tonya has maxed out. She wants to win while she still can.”
“I guess Eddie must be looking forward to that,” the Sheriff said as he sat down next to Tonya. He looked across the table at Eddie. After a few seconds he said, “Ah, Eddie, I don’t want to be rude or anything, but did you know your fly is unzipped?”
“What?” Eddie said. He took a quick look at his zipper.
While he was distracted, Tonya smashed his arm to the table. “I win!” she shouted as she jumped up.
Eddie looked up from his zipper. “It was not unzipped,” he said.
“My bad,” the Sheriff answered. He stood up and walked around the table and sat down next to Eddie. He placed an arm across Eddie’s shoulder and grinned at Tonya as he said, “My friend, I can think of billions of things worse than having Tonya naked on top of me. I was just doing you a favor.”
The scowl on Eddie’s face slowly disappeared as he considered that. “Yeah, I guess you’re right.” He stood and took Tonya’s hand as she led him into the bedroom.
Diane started to follow them. “You want to watch?” she asked the Sheriff. “They won’t mind.”
“No, I don’t think so,” Sheriff Johnson answered. “I would like to speak with Miranda.”
“Sara is flying Miranda to Pittsburgh. She has a couple of businesses there she wants to check up on.”
“Okay, no problem. Can you ask her to call me when she returns?”
“Sure thing, Sheriff. Is there anything I could do for you?” She turned away from the bedroom and walked back to Sheriff Johnson.
“Well, maybe. Next year’s budget is coming up and the county commissioners are getting ready to cut my funding. As one of the county’s most important business people, I hope Miranda will apply some of her economic and political muscle to have them reconsider.”
“Well of course she will. If it is necessary, we’ll make up any shortfalls your office has.”
As they left the cabin and moved to the patrol car, the Sheriff said, “I appreciate the offer, but I really would like to see the county as a whole support my office and not put a disproportionate amount on the five of you. In the long run, that would be best for everyone.”
“I can speak for her on this. Miranda and the other pack members will do all we can to get the budget approved in your favor.”
“Then on behalf of the Sheriff’s office, I want to thank you,” Sheriff Johnson said as he opened his car door and took his seat.
As he put on his seat belt, Diane said, “Are you sure you don’t want to watch? Tonya makes all sorts of interesting sounds while she is having sex.”
“When you told me that once you became werewolves, you stopped being able to be embarrassed, you really meant it, didn’t you?”
“It would take something a lot more embarrassing than sex, Sheriff,” Diane stated as she kissed him once again. She ran back to the cabin and the Sheriff drove back to Town.
Sheriff Johnson grinned and laughed out loud as he returned to Missoula. He shook his head in mild amazement that people could be so liberated. Before returning to his office, he decided he would stop at his bank. He needed to verify his balance and deposit a check.
Samuel Robinson Jr. was in a restaurant sitting across the table from his little brother, Frederick. While Freddy finished his meal, Samuel looked out the window, watching the flow of traffic. “What’s the name of this berg again?” he asked.
“Missoula. It seems like a nice enough place to me,” Freddy said.
“I guess if you’re into watching paint dry and twiddling your thumbs it would be okay.”
“We've had plenty of action the past week. It’s sort of pleasant not having a crack head or a pimp screaming and banging on your door.”
Samuel set up at that statement. “Admit it. Spending a few days in one of LA’s seedier areas is the most excitement we've had since we came back from Japan.”
“If every second you’re awake you’re wondering if a bullet is going to come through the wall or checking out every car a hundred feet in all directions to make sure you’re not the guest of honor during a drive by, I guess you could call it exciting.”
“Don’t you know the old man would freak if he knew what we did?”
“He’d cut us off for a year is what he would do. Can you image the two of us trying to get by on those jobs he arranged for us? Talk about starving.”
“Yeah, it’s a shame. Dad’s one of the four richest people in the world. You would think with all that money, he could give us more than eight grand a week.”
“He’s so involved with buying that last parcel of land in Houston and erecting that super skyscraper of his that he does not have a clue what is going on. Maybe once he has all the land he needs and construction begins, he might rejoin the rest of the world.”
“Don’t count on it,” Samuel said. “It would take a stick of dynamite to jar him loose from his pet project.”
“A stick of dynamite my ass. A bundle of sticks wouldn't faze him.”
Samuel grinned at the statement and leaned back in his chair. After a few minutes of silence he said, “You’re right, a bundle of dynamite would not make him bat an eye.”
Freddy nodded his head and kept eating.
“I know something that would though.”
“What’s that?” Freddy asked while swallowing a french-fry.
“Let’s rob the bank.”
“Yeah, right,” Freddy said as he grabbed another fry.
“No little bro, I’m serious. I mean, look at this town. It reminds me of Mayberry, only without all the excitement. I bet you the Sheriff and his deputy are Andy Taylor and Barney Fife.”
“Are you still high?” Freddy asked, trying and failing to stifle a laugh.
“I’m serious. You wanna talk about getting the old man’s attention. We would have him sitting up and doing back flips.”
“Yeah, he would do flips. He would flip on top of our heads and pound us into the floor.”
“No, you’re wrong. For the first time ever he would show us a little respect. It’s not like he hasn't robbed his fair share of banks.”
“Yeah, but when he does it, it’s by moving numbers around on ledgers, not sticking a gun in somebody’s face.”
“You say tomāto, I say tomăto, same difference.”
“How do you propose we do it?”
“We keep it simple. We already have a couple of pistols in the trunk. Got some masks too, left over from Aspen. We put the masks on, run in the bank, wave the pistols around and tell them to give us the money. Sixty seconds after we enter the bank, we’re back at the car and driving away.”
“Come on Samuel, forget about it. We got money, what are we trying to prove?”
“It’s like this, Freddy. Dad is always looking over our shoulder. We have to do everything his way. When we started school, we had to go to the same private school he went to. We went to the college he picked out for us. Now we work in one of his companies and work at the job he chose. Every week he gets a report on how well we do. Every week he calls us, telling us how we can improve. For once in my life, I want to do something that is not on his to do list.”
“Yeah, but robbing a bank? There’s other things we could do. Let’s sell a few kilos of pot or get caught on tape with a couple of hookers. That would send just as big a shock to him.”
“No, I want to amaze him. For the first time he will see we can make it without him directing our every move. This will let him know we can take care of ourselves. Besides, with all the attorneys he has, it will be nice to see them do something besides call in a loan or foreclose on some small farm or company. He has the money and political clout that if we do get arrested, not only will we get off without a conviction, he will make the arrest record itself disappear.”
“Are you sure about this?”
“Have I ever led you wrong? When I told you Candice was hot for you, didn’t she put out just like I said she would? When I told you dad fixed a pro football game so the underdogs would win, didn’t we make thousands? Trust me here too.”
Freddy thought about it for a few seconds and then stood. He dropped a twenty on the table and walked out the door with Samuel directly behind him. A minute later they were at the car. They drove a hundred yards down the street to be closer to the bank.
“How much do you think we can get?” Freddy asked as he flipped the safety off his pistol.
“I don’t care if we come out with only a single dollar. It’s not the cash, it’s the excitement of doing it. Tomorrow we charter a jet back to Miami. When we show dad the headline of the Missoula newspaper and tell him it was us that did the robbery, he’s liable to have a stroke. We will have done something big without him detailing each move of it.”
They jumped out of the car and hurried across the street to the bank.
Francis McKee looked forward to closing time. She glanced at the clock behind her. In twenty minutes they would shut the bank doors. Then she would have to count down the drawer. If it balanced, like it always did, she could get out of there and see her fiancé. The wedding was less than three weeks away. Already they had reservations in Jamaica. She did not plan to see a lot of the island. Her plan was to spend most of her time there in bed.
She glanced towards the teller next to her when she heard her whisper, “We’re being robbed.”
Francis jerked her head towards the door. She felt a wave of panic when she saw two armed masked men running at her. She pushed the silent alarm before raising her hands over her head.
“You know the drill,” Samuel said as he tossed a sack to her. “All the money in the bag. Make it quick. If I’m not out the door in thirty seconds, I start shooting.” He waved the gun in her face.
Next to him, his brother was doing the same thing with the other teller.
The bank guard was in the manager’s office, receiving the time the next Federal Reserve armored car would arrive. Both he and the manager jumped up when a light started flashing on her desk.
“You stay here,” the guard said while pulling his pistol from its holster.
Sheriff Johnson put his car into park in front of the bank at the same time dispatch called. “All units, there is a 10-90 at Missoula First National Bank.”
Sheriff Johnson immediately responded. “This is Sheriff Johnson. I am in front of the bank now. How long before backup arrives?”
The dispatcher was back in ten seconds. “Sheriff, there should be three cars there within the next ninety seconds.”
“Acknowledged. I will wait at the entrance until backup arrives. If the robber comes out before then, I will keep him from getting away.”
Before he returned the mic, he heard gunshots from inside the bank.
“There are gunshots coming from inside,” he said into the mic. “Can’t wait, I have to go in now. Tell backup to hurry.” He dropped the mic and raced up the steps.
Freddy grabbed the bag from the teller and turned to leave as the guard ran around the corner. He saw the gun in the guard’s hand. Without thinking about it, he raised his pistol and fired. The bullet hit the bank guard in the chin, removing half of his head as it came out the back.
The shot in the confined space was like a clap of thunder going off in Samuel’s ear. He jumped at the unexpected noise. When he did, his finger jerked the trigger. The bullet entered Francis’ left eye. She was dead before her body hit the floor.
“Oh shit, what have we done?” Freddy asked.
“Let’s get the hell out of here,” Samuel shouted at him.
They both took off running. They only went a couple of steps before Sheriff Johnson was in the lobby. This time it was Samuel who first saw the gun. He rushed his shot and the bullet flew five inches over the Sheriff’s head, slamming into the wall and throwing a large chunk of plaster to the floor. When the Sheriff returned the shot, he discovered the hours of practice at the firing range were not in vain. His bullet slammed into Samuel’s forehead.
He dropped to one knee the same second Freddy shot at him. He heard the zip of the bullet as it passed less than an inch away from his right ear. His return shot hit Freddy in the throat. Sheriff Johnson was back on his feet at once. He ran to Freddy, keeping his weapon pointed at him. He kicked the gun away and raced to Samuel. One look at Samuel as he lay on the floor let him know he did not have to worry about him anymore. In the distance he heard the first deputy’s car as it raced for the bank.
He shouted to the bank manager peeking timidly around the corner. “Get 911 now. Tell them we need three ambulances.” He jumped up and hurried to the counter where a cashier was screaming hysterically. He looked through the opening and saw Francis as she lay on the floor. “Oh hell no,” he moaned as he saw the pool of blood around her head.
Twenty minutes later, the Montana State Police and two Local FBI agents were taking statements from everyone. The recording of the robbery had already been taken away. Crime scene tape surrounded the front of the bank and the Crime Scene Investigation teams were gathering evidence. The Sheriff was now unarmed. His pistol was one of the first items bagged and tagged for evidence.
The senior State Police officer walked to where Sheriff Johnson finished talking to the FBI for the moment. “We have IDs on them, Sheriff. Their licenses say they are Samuel and Frederick Robinson.”
“Brothers?” Sheriff Johnson asked.
“Probably. In another hour we will know everything there is to know about them.”
“Stupid, stupid kids.”
“Yeah, they were not smart today.”
The state officer looked at the Sheriff and said, “Sheriff, of course there will have to be an inquiry, but you have nothing to worry about. This is the clearest case of deadly force being necessary I have ever seen. I can’t even see you placed on restricted duty until the investigation is completed. You will be cleared at the first hearing. I don’t really see the need for the state to have a second one.”
“Yeah, I know it’s a good shoot, but clean slate or not, I will have to live with this the rest of my life.”
“I know where you’re coming from. I have one that has haunted me over twenty years now.” The officer left to speak with the bank manager.
Soon after, the Sheriff was ready to return to his office. He knew there would be reams of paperwork ahead of him and hours of interviews. As he walked for the exit, the State Police officer came back to him. “Sheriff, Frederick Robinson died while in surgery. The doctors did all they could, but there was not much left of his throat to work with.”
“Damn. I prayed he would make it.”
“He brought it on himself, Sheriff. Anyone else in this room would have done the same thing you did.”
An officer hurried to the state policeman and handed him a report on the two dead robbers. After several seconds of silence while he read, the Trooper said. “Son of a bitch. These are the kids of Samuel Robinson Sr.” When he saw the blank look on the Sheriff’s face he said, “Robinson is a multibillionaire. He has so much money the IRS has a dozen agents who do nothing but look at his income. Why in hell would his kids try and rob a bank?”
The Sheriff could only shrug his shoulders.
When the investigators had all the information they needed for the moment, Sheriff Johnson walked to his car. All around him there were a series of flashes as photographers took pictures for their papers. Three different television stations had him centered in their cameras as he walked. There was an ocean of microphones shoved at him and so many people shouting questions at the same time that he could not understand any of them. The only thing he said before getting into his car was, “No comment.”
#2. Chapter Twenty-Seven
ID #823898 entered on August 10, 2014 at 4:06pm
#1. Chapter Twenty-Eight
ID #823899 entered on October 2, 2014 at 5:28pm