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    C James
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

In Memory of Ed Wooton

For the Love - 21. Down the Barrel

Time seemed to slow down, and I noticed that two of the guys behind Redhead were carrying baseball bats. The Redhead was the largest and the closest, so I aimed for him, reminding myself to only use one trigger and not shoot off both barrels; I knew I'd likely need the second barrel for his companions.

Redhead spotted me and took one, and only one, step in my direction before stopping, his eyes having found the business end of my 12-gauge pointing directly at his ample gut from a dozen feet away. I eased off on the trigger at the last possible moment, ready to fire if he took another step.

I felt my hands sweat as I stared at him, and he stared at the barrels of the shotgun. One of his companions, a guy with short, jet-black hair, looked over Redhead's shoulder and I saw a second set of eyes open wide.

Redhead inched backward, his eyes never leaving the barrel, "Those things only fire two shots, and there are four of us."

I only saw him and the two guys behind him. I knew I'd never get them all, so I'd try to go for the armed ones first if it came to that, but help was on the way, so I gambled and held my fire, stalling for time.

Feeling strangely calm, I said in an even voice, "You get the first one. Now back away slowly or die."

Redhead met my eyes for the first time. He must have seen that I wasn't bluffing, and again eased backwards towards my door, preceded by his two companions. I stood up and advanced, the shotgun held low, never deviating from my aim point of his gut. I edged to my left to keep a clear field of fire as I approached my door, and I saw that the fourth member of the group was behind them.

We faced each other for a few seconds before I said, "Drop the bats, and turn around against the fence. Keep your hands where I can see them."

Redhead spoke again, his voice a little less shaky now, "You aren't arresting us. You got two shots and there are four of us." His three companions didn't look so sure, but Redhead looked to me like he was recovering his nerve. That didn't last long, as Steve moved into the circle of light at the end of my apartment, his own 12-gauge covering our uninvited guests. Steve remained silent, so I repeated my demand, "Drop the bats, or I'll drop you."

The two bats dropped with a pair of muffled thuds into the long-dead Bermuda grass. The two guys who had been carrying the bats slowly turned for the fence, their hands in the air.

Redhead ground his teeth, loudly enough that I could hear them, before spitting out, "You guys can't shoot if we just walk away, 'cause the cops would go after you if you did."

As if on cue, Mr. Williams approached, his service revolver drawn, "Don't count on it, and if they don't, I will. You're all under arrest, and in case you don't know, I'm a Deputy Sheriff and you are on myproperty."

Slowly, the last two turned to face the fence, hands up. Mr. Williams approached them from behind, kicking their feet apart with a terse "spread 'm."

He patted them down one by one, cautiously, his gun at the ready, careful to stay out of our field of fire. Once done, he backed away as he recited some familiar words, "You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand these rights?"

Steve waited until his father had gotten acknowledgement from each of the four before saying, "Dad, this is most of the high school track team."

Mr. Williams glanced at Redhead's ample gut, "Track team? All of them?"

Steve nodded, "The big one is the shot putter."

Mr. Williams nodded towards his prisoners, "Aren't they the ones who were messing with your car?" asked Mr. Williams with a glint in his eye, before saying to the intruders, "If so, I wouldn't want to be you boys right now. Yeah, an armed attack on a private residence and both your current and past victims have you covered with shotguns. Not real smart. So, who put you up to this?"

Redhead, who seemed to be the only member of his group capable of speech, mumbled, "Nobody. We saw the flyers saying these perv... Ah, guys, were running a gay porn business and we decided to help clean up the town a little. Nobody put us up to it; we just wanted to get 'em and make them stop."

"With an armed attack on them in a private residence? Those baseball bats are deadly weapons under these circumstances. I'm also thinking this is a hate crime. Man, you guys are looking at a shitload of felony counts." Mr. Williams nodded slightly, as the wail of distant police sirens filled the air.

It wasn't just one siren, it was two, and that meant the entire on-duty police force was heading our way. Mr. Williams waited until they drew near to say, "Go put the shotguns on the bed, I've got these guys covered."

One at a time, we placed the shotguns on my bed, and then returned to the backyard.

Four officers came charging around the end of the house, hands on their guns and after a quick exchange with Mr. Williams began cuffing our unwelcome guests.

The four of them were led away, accompanied by three of the officers, as a fourth began taking photos and bagging the baseball bats. As the track team and their escort, disappeared from sight, my prior calm faded and I felt myself begin to sweat and shake. Steve noticed and rushed to my side, "Hey, are you ok?" he asked, with a worried look on his face.

I leaned on him and nodded, "Yeah, just got the shakes. I was doing fine until it was all over with."

Mr. Williams put a hand on my shoulder;"I know the feeling. I get like that after a real close call; fine while it's happening, but jittery after I'm safe. Now, though, let me tell you guys something that ought to cheer you up a little; I read those bastards their rights, and after that they said it was the flyers that prompted this attack. I even got it on tape," he patted his pocket, where I saw a micro-recorder.

"Will that give them some extra charges?" I asked, hoping that it would.

Steve shook his head, apparently aware of something good judging by the big grin on his face, and Mr. Williams explained, "Doubt it, they already face a load, but they said the flyers that Fundie SOB Thaddeus printed up motivated them to launch an attack on you in your home. I'm betting that the lawyer you guys are seeing tomorrow will just love that: it makes Thaddeus liable for even more. You might be able to take the SOB to the cleaners. It might also get him in some hot water with our District Attorney, which is good by itself but would help your case even further."

My shakes subsided as quickly as they had begun, and I wore a smile of my own, "That does sound good. I hope it pans out."

Mr. Williams nodded, a sly grin on his face, "Oh, there may be even more. I think they were lying about acting on their own. Sure sounded that way to me. And now they are facing a big list of felonies. Their only way out is to cut a deal, and I've given instructions that a deal be hinted at on their way to the station. That deal, and I'm sure I can get the D.A. to offer it, would be to roll on whoever put them up to this in return for a reduction in charges, and my guess is its Thaddeus who egged 'em on. We already know the decoy data thingy made its way to his computer, and now armed thugs show up here. I think we got that bastard six ways from Sunday after this all plays out."

Steve broke the reverie, "Dad, how's Mom?"

"Oh shit, this will certainly shake her up a bit more - first a shooting in her living room, and now this! I'll go talk to her. Give me a few minutes then come join us, okay?" said Mr. Williams before heading off to the house.

Steve and I eased towards my door, and I eyed the debris of the shattered doorjamb. The door hadn't been locked, but they had kicked it in anyway, probably assuming that is was.

As soon as we were inside Steve gave me a big hug.

We retrieved a hammer and nails from the garage and soon had the doorjamb back in working order. I made a mental note to get a heavy dead bolt for it too, now that I knew how easy it had been to kick it in. If they had waited an hour, Steve and I would have likely been asleep and unable to respond in time. I shuddered at the thought, and realized how lucky we had been.

We walked over to the house, and found Mr. and Mrs. Williams in the living room. Mrs. Williams gave me a big hug and seemed to be ok.

We all sat and talked for a while, re-hashing the evening's events and just chatting, but every so often I saw Mrs. Williams glance up the hallway towards Eric's door. I knew she must have been wondering where he was, and if he was okay. She must have also known that he would be unlikely to come home again, because if he was caught, he had a jail cell waiting for him. Eric may have been a creep, but he's still her son and that had to hurt. I wished that I could think of something to say to make her feel better, but nothing came to mind.

After retrieving Steve's shotgun from my apartment, we spent the night in his room. I was still shaken, but being in Steve's arms made me feel safe, so sleep came far easier than I'd expected.

The next morning Steve's alarm clock woke us and we prepared for our meeting with Rick Callahan, Attorney at Law. I grew anxious as we piled into Steve's car and headed downtown. It was rush hour, so we had a couple of cars in front of us at one of Lonesome Valley's two traffic lights, and I briefly wondered how people in large cities ever coped with the horrendous traffic that they faced on a daily basis.

Rick Callahan's office turned out to be on the third floor of Lonesome Valley's only three-story building, an old bank building on the main corner downtown, a block from the bookstore where Steve and I worked and, ironically, right across the street from Thaddeus' church.

We parked in front, entered the building, and walked up the old granite staircase for three flights to be greeted by a modern looking set of glass doors, emblazoned with gold-leaf lettering proclaiming the name of the firm: Patricia DeWitt & Rick Callahan, Attorneys at Law. I'd heard De Witt's name before; she was well-known in town and had raised a few eyebrows by taking on a partner after years as a lone wolf. Rumor had it that she was romantically linked to her new partner, but if Rick was gay that rumor was probably false.

Uneasily, Steve and I entered the small waiting room, which reminded me very much of a doctor's office, as the receptionist's station was behind a small glass sliding window. No one was there, so we took a seat on the overstuffed black leather sofa that occupied the center of the room.

No sooner had we sat down than a side door opened, revealing a man who looked to be in his 30's, wearing Levis, riding boots, a western shirt and a bolo tie, topped by an oversized Stetson.

"Howdy," he said with a reserved smile, "I'm Rick, and you guys must be Chris and Steve." I could only hope that he really was the guy who would ride in and save the day. If so, he was at least dressed for the role.

We were ushered into his office, a small room with a window, decorated in a combination of old-world style furniture and sea memorabilia, again an odd mix to find in a small town in Arizona.

After a few pleasantries, Rick cut right to the chase;"I don't announce it, and I don't put it on my business cards, but I'm gay and I'm out. I practiced law on the DC beltway for a few years before I got sick of the political bullshit spewing from both sides and decided to return to my roots. I'm originally from Kingman in the northwest corner of the state, but that place has grown so big I hardly know it anymore, and I don't like big cities anyhow. I'd been through Lonesome Valley a few times in my teens, so when I got back from DC, my husband and I took a drive out here, met Patricia, and within a month I was practicing here. She has a booming practice with both criminal and civil law and needed some help. Well, now you know my story, let's get started."

Steve and I smiled when Rick said 'husband', and I hoped that one day I'd be calling Steve that.

Rick nodded, apparently reading our minds, "Yup, that's what we feel. We even drove up to Vermont when they made it legal, to make it official. Most states don't recognize the license, but we don't give a damn."

Rick mentioned that he had been apprised on some of the facts of our case by Steve's father, but he insisted on hearing it all from us.

Steve and I took turns, outlining the blackmail plot that had started it all, the strange behavior of the Piedmont cops, finding the data stick, the charges being dropped against Eric, the sheriff chasing me and trying to shoot me, the attempted snatch by the Piedmont cops at the bookstore, how we had discovered the secret cameras and the Internet web site featuring us, the booby-trapped data stick sending us e-mail from Thaddeus' computer, and finally the flyers appearing hours after we had found the site.

Rick sat back, his feet propped up on his desk, arms behind his neck, listening and nodding, but letting us tell the story, other than occasionally prompting us for more information. He had a micro-recorder running on his desk, which made me slightly uneasy at first, until I realized that this way he could concentrate on us and not be busy taking notes.

When we had finished except for the previous night's attack, Rick nodded thoughtfully, "I'll give it to you straight; I don't think you have an actionable case - yet. Thaddeus can always claim that as far as he knows, you guys are running the website. A jury, especially one in this area, would be unlikely to decide in your favor with what we have now."

My heart sank; I'd been hoping that this would lead to some way out, some way to fight back, but again our hopes were crushed...

Rick held up his hand, "Don't look so glum, I said 'yet'. I've been looking into that sleazebag, and he's been too damn clever for his own good. He has no personal assets, but he controls the Church. The Church owns his house, cars, and a few other pieces of property, including the local Internet Service Provider. What he's doing is what an accountant, or the IRS, would call 'living out of the corporation' if this was corporate. He could be put in hot water with the IRS over this alone. Looks to me like the other side is up to no good, and gettin' sloppy, all we need is something tying Thaddeus to this whole thing, or some provable harm, and then, my friends, we own his ass. In the meantime, I'm sending him a cease and desist letter today about the flyers, telling him that you guys were unwilling participants in this and any further mention of it by him or his flock will be actionable. It's a sort of warning shot across his bow. Of course, I know him and his type well enough to know he's going to ignore it. Then we have him."

I saw Steve's face light up in a grin, "Something happened last night that might help; the guys on the track team have been harassing me ever since Thaddeus first put out flyers naming us, and last night they kicked in Chris' door and stormed in armed with baseball bats. They ended up staring down the barrels of two shotguns and Dad's service revolver. Dad Mirandized 'em first and he has them on tape saying that they were after us because of the flyers. I've heard that they are members of Thaddeus' church, too."

Rick's eyebrows shot up, "Well... well... 'ole Thaddeus might have just screwed himself. By naming you two personally it sure looks like he put your lives at risk, especially given last night's events. That's a little different from libel, but it can sure be a civil tort. My advice is give it a little time and see if we can get some more evidence to give us a bigger lawsuit, but worst comes to worst, this sounds actionable on its own. You boys have yourselves a lawyer if you want one, I'm sure interested, and I sure as hell wouldn't mind ripping that Fundie windbag to shreds."

Steve beat me to it, "What about fees?"

"That's easy; a third of whatever I get for you. I'll need your parents to sign off on this, due to you being a minor. Same with you, Chris."

"I'm an emancipated minor." I replied, hoping that would suffice because I knew my parents would never be part of something like this, "and if that won't work, I turn eighteen in a couple of weeks. We both do."

Rick nodded, "Emancipated minors are new in Arizona, but there is enough precedent in this area that it shouldn't be a problem. Steve, I'd still like your parents to sign, but given how close you are to eighteen and the fact we want to wait a while and see what evidence turns up, I don't see a problem."

We shook hands all around, and left Rick's office feeling far better than we had before. Things were finally starting to go our way.

That evening, Mr. Williams informed us that the track team was safely in Lonesome Valley's jail and charges would soon be filed against them. He was hopeful that they would be amenable to a deal and turn on whoever had put them up to the attack.

Mr. Williams added, "The one strange thing is no news at all of Eric. It's as if he vanished into thin air. That looks to me like he has help; if he's still here, someone must be hiding him. There are no reports of stolen vehicles, so how the heck did he get out of town?"

The next day, Tuesday, we stopped by on our way home to see Veronica and Chad. Veronica greeted us at the door, "Well, if it isn't Lonesome Valley's most famous porn stars!"

Dealing with all this was getting to me. I took to counting the hours until Steve and I could leave on our camping trip. Just getting away from everything for a few days would be perfect. I talked it over with Steve, and we decided to skip some classes and leave after my chemistry test on Friday. I wanted that trip so bad I could taste it.

I cringed as we entered the room. Chad laughed, but wouldn't meet our eyes. That didn't last long as he livened up a little, "So, how does it feel to be all famous?" he snickered.

For once, I had a trump card to play, "Yeah, it feels real good when armed mobs are coming after you."

Veronica shook her head, "Don't be so dramatic, Chris. Though, given what you two have been through already, I can't say I blame you."

Finally, I had the upper hand, "It's not paranoia when they are out to get you, like the armed mob that attacked my apartment last night.

Two sets of eyes opened wide, and both glanced at Steve, who nodded, "Yup, not a fun night. I think they were out for blood."

Veronica hugged Steve, and then me, "Oh my God, I'm so sorry. I had no idea."

Chad looked uncomfortable as he blurted out, "Who did it? Any ideas?"

Steve grinned, "Oh yeah, we bagged the lot of 'em. Did you happen to notice that most of the track team missed school today? They won't be coming back, because they are gonna be in jail for a long time."

Chad gasped, "The freaking track teamdid that? Messing with your car is one thing, but I never thought those assholes would do anything like that."

"Well, they did. It will likely be in the weekend paper, but keep it to yourselves until then except for Rob, Joe, and Dex. We can't say too much about it because it is a criminal case, and both Steve's Dad and a lawyer told us to keep the details to ourselves, but yeah, we bagged 'em."

Veronica glared at me, "Come on Chris, you know we want the full story."

I shook my head, "That might be arranged in the near future, if you agree to lose any pictures you downloaded off that web site."

Chad snickered, "Good luck with that. Rob and Joe were real interested in that site, too."

"I heard," said Steve, "they bribed Dex with Vodka."

Veronica laughed, "Yeah, they did, and they probably went home and saved some pictures. But you will be happy to know that the site was gone when I checked it an hour ago, and I guess I can delete most of the pictures that I saved from it."

Steve and I bumped knuckles, "Great. Dex said he was trying to get it taken down. If he did that, I can almost forgive him for ratting us out to Rob and Joe," I laughed.

Chad grinned, "I ran into Dex today at Rob and Joe's. There was more than booze involved. They are doing a full service on his van; new hoses and belts, plus a tune-up. Dex said he's heading for California tomorrow, for sure this time, and wanted to be sure his van would make it."

Steve shrugged, "I guess we need to make sure he gets there okay, but I'd have done the work myself. Rob and Joe will bug us forever about this."

Veronica shook her head, "No they won't. That's my job. You goofs got stung by Eric, again. How dumb can you get? But as for Rob and Joe, just wait until the first time they hassle you, and ask them why, exactly, they were downloading kiddie porn."

Steve and I cracked up, and then our eyes, met, and we exchanged a wicked grin before Steve sweetly told Veronica, "Yeah, good point. We didn't do anything illegal, but they sure did. They know we are minors, and they are over eighteen and knowingly downloaded pornographic photos of us. Oh man, I can't wait to see their faces. Thanks... Oh, speaking of minors and adults, how does that make them any different from you, your over-eighteen adultness?"

Veronica gulped as I put a friendly arm around her, "I'm thinking you need your hair lightened a bit for that one."

Veronica recovered quickly, "Oh no you don't. I'm nowhere near as bad as you two."

We laughed, and I asked, "Speaking of minors, is everything okay with Chad and his upcoming birthday?"

Chad nodded, "My actual birthday is next Friday. My parents won't let me come over here during the week at all anymore, and I'm only here now 'cause they are at work. They seem to think that they can still make the rules once I'm eighteen. So, I'm letting them think that. I'm even letting them think that they're winning. But after school on my birthday, I'm loading my stuff into Joe's truck and moving out before they get home. I'll be eighteen so they can't do a goddamn thing. I'm working so I'll have money, and my car is in my name and I paid for it, so I'm outta there."

Steve looked at me and I nodded in response to his unspoken question, before he turned to tell Chad, "Chris and I can help you move. The sooner you are done, the sooner we can start your party."

"Thanks, guys. The party is a week from Saturday, all day and all night."

We stayed and shot the breeze with Chad and Veronica for an hour, before piling into Steve's Charger. On the way home, I reminded myself to phone Dex as soon as we arrived, but then I remembered what was in my pocket.

I pulled out my cell phone, and grinned at Steve, "We need to call Dex," as I flipped open the phone and hit the power button. I was rewarded by three bars of signal, so I dialed Dex's number and hit the 'send' button.

Dex told me what I already knew; that he was leaving for California in the morning. He didn't mention that Rob and Joe had fixed up his van, and I decided to let that pass until I could tease him in person.

After talking to Dex for a few minutes, I hung up and told Steve, "He's leaving in the morning. He said he would e-mail you as soon as he had anything at all, but he'll wait until he gets back to give us the details. He's worried that the e-mail will be going through an ISP owned by Thaddeus. He's got a cell phone with him, but he doesn't trust those either."

Steve nodded in agreement as we pulled into his driveway.

Steve's mother concerned us both; she was still putting up a good front, but I could easily tell that the whole situation was weighing heavily on her. It was therefore no surprise when Mr. Williams stopped by my apartment later that evening, "Guys, mom and I are going away Thursday for a few days to visit her folks in Idaho. She needs to unwind after everything that has happened; this is as good a chance as any. While we are gone I'll have a patrol car swing by every hour. Maybe you could stay at your friend Veronica's for the weekend if you wanted. I'm sorry to leave at a time like this, but..."

Neither Steve nor I could disagree; we had both noticed the stress that she had been under, and we both nodded as Steve replied, "We'll keep safe, you two go and relax."

Mr. Williams smiled, "Okay, just remember, no parties in the house, and stay the hell out of Piedmont!"

We both grinned and nodded, as Mr. Williams said goodnight.

Neither of us had to work on Thursday and by the time we arrived home, Steve's parents were pulling out of the driveway. Mr. Williams rolled down a window and told us, "We'll be staying in Salt Lake tonight then driving the rest of the way to potatoland tomorrow. I've got my cell, so call if you need anything, anything at all. And if you have any inkling that something may happen, call the Sheriff's substation immediately, and some officers will be right over and hang around, even if it's nothing. Don't hesitate to call. Got that?"

We nodded, and Steve gave his dad and mom a hug through their open windows, "Say hi to Grandma and Grandpa for me."

We watched as his parents drove away, and I asked, "Did you tell them about our camping trip?"

"Nope. Didn't want them to worry. We'll be safer camping anyway; nobody knows where we're going. I'll just forward the house phone to my cell."

We went inside and were met by an unhappy Beelzebub. I dodged as the cat swiped at my shin with unsheathed claws. Steve laughed, "That means he's hungry."

Beelzebub gave me an evil look but sat, flicking his tail, as I asked Steve, "How come I'm his favorite target?"

Steve laughed, "That's because Beelzebub knows who's boss around... Ow!" Steve leapt back hopping on one foot, holding a newly scratched shin while Beelzebub headed for the kitchen with a triumphant gait.

I doubled over, laughing at the cat's sense of timing, "Yeah, he sure does know that he's the boss."

Keeping a wary distance, we opened a couple of cans of cat food, put it in Beelzebub's dish, and beat a hasty retreat as Beelzebub began to feed. As soon as we were back in the living room I asked, "Who's going to feed Beelzebub while we're gone?"

Steve patted his bleeding shin, "I vote that he starves. Nobody I know will deal with him. We have some dry cat food in the pantry, so I guess we can just fill a bowl. Beelzebub has the pet door so he can come and go. I just hope he doesn't get bored and shred the furniture or eat a car."

We laughed, and began loading the camping gear from the garage into my Jeep. I had one class Friday morning that I had to attend, but after that, I could come home, pick up Steve, and be on the road well before noon. I couldn't wait.

We slept in Steve's room, with both shotguns leaning in the corner. It was a little weird being in an empty house after all that had happened and every noise spooked us. Neither of us got much sleep, and morning came all too soon.

I got ready for class, and was about to leave when Steve told me, "Take the Charger. I can get the food and stuff loaded into your Jeep, so we can go as soon as you get home."

Take the Charger? I'd driven it before, but always with Steve by my side. I smiled before giving Steve a big hug. I didn't need to swap keys with him; we had exchanged car keys weeks before. I fired up the Charger as Steve watched, and I was amazed that he didn't even look nervous.

I parked in as safe a spot as I could find, and dashed for my class. I had a chemistry test, and I hurried through it, knowing that I could leave as soon as it was done. I turned in my paper and ran all the way back to the Charger, exchanging a few friendly nods with people I knew. I was still surprised that the campus reaction to the website hadn't been hostile, but it was a surprise I was more than willing to live with.

I pulled into the driveway to find Steve, decked out in sneakers and yellow running shorts, loading an ice chest into my Jeep. He opened up the garage and had me pull inside, obviously intending to leave the Charger there while we were away.

I jumped out and gave him a hug, running my fingers down his bare back, "I've been looking forward to this trip all week. Almost ready?"

Steve nodded, "Everything's packed. Come on inside and get changed, and we can go."

In Steve's room, I found my blue running shorts, socks, and hiking boots laid out. Steve changed into his hiking boots as I got into my gear and as I pulled off my shirt I gave him a suspicious look, recalling the last time I'd let him pack clothes for me. He grinned, "I packed a pair of Levi's for each of us, an extra pair of shorts and even a shirt each in case we are in the sun a lot or the bugs bother us. I packed sunscreen and bug repellant too. No tricks this time, honest."

I laughed and reached into his closet for a t-shirt, only to have my hand swatted away, "Nope, you don't need it. I've got two shirts packed, honest, but this is a camping trip. Come on."

I shrugged, stuck my wallet and cell phone in my pocket, and followed Steve out to the car as he told me, "The cat is fed and has extra water, my phone is charged up, and everything's loaded."

We locked the door and jumped in my Jeep, the fabric of the passenger seat feeling good against my bare back. I looked over at Steve as he buckled up; his gorgeous tan a great contrast with his yellow shorts and blond hair.

At last, we were on our way. Steve knew the way so I just sat back and enjoyed the ride.

©Copyright 2007 C James; All Rights Reserved.
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Please let me know what you think; good, bad, or indifferent.  The feedback thread for this story is in my Forum. Please stop by and say "Hi!"

Many thanks to Conner for editing, support, encouragement, beta reading, and suggestions on this chapter.
Many thanks also to my editor EMoe for editing and for his support, encouragement, beta reading, and suggestions (and for thinking up a title!).

Thanks also to Shadowgod, for beta reading and advice, and for putting up with me.
Any remaining errors are mine alone.

Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental. Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

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Ok, Dex getting his entire van worked on and upgrade somewhat kinda pisses me off even more. The guy acts emotionless half the time which is a personality trait one can live with because that’s how he is but he essentially sold his friends out. Yeah I know the site could be easily found if they had bothered to look for it but damn that’s just cold to sell them out like that for work on his car. When I thought it was vodka I thought ok he’s hooked on vodka or some shit like that so I wasn’t as irritated with him for his morality till we learned he got a lot more out of it than that. It also sounds like those two perverts really wanted that url or were giving him bonuses for how turned on they were by the content by working on his van like that.

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I actually thought that Dex outfoxing Rob and Joe a bit funny.  I especially like the planned retort to their teasing, the one about downloading kiddie porn.  @Albert1434is probably right. They probably forgot the shotguns. Equally stupid that they didn't let the rents know they were going camping. Oh, did they turn off the cell phones to save the charge?   Veronica may have a lot of blonde jokes if they survive this trip.

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