The airmen formed up like an F-16 to storm the diner. I kept tabs on them from the street as they poked, prodded, and shoved the farmers. Shortly, the biggest airmen came out.
“He’s not here.” I figured he missed the storm cellar. “Try the basement,” I said.
Colonel Cox pointed at the diner and the soldier ran back inside. I saw Sally point to the floor and a line of blue airmen disappeared into the basement.
After ten minutes, the big guy came out again.
“He’s not in there.”
“What are you pulling?” Colonel Cox said. He didn’t give me the impression it thrilled him.
“He was lying down there earlier,” I poked around the room. “He couldn’t have gone too far.”
“Why don’t you show us.” The Colonel pushed me from behind toward the diner.
I led him and the rest of the Air Force’s finest down the stairs into the basement. The farmers watched us pass, and each one was whispering. I’m sure this was the most excitement any of them had in a long time.
The basement was full of shadows and it took a while for my eyes to adjust. I thought about the contacts in my pocket and made sure they were still there. Through the dancing light, I could recognize Dan’s outline where I had left him.
“He’s right there.” I’ll admit I had a snarky tone in my voice. I was thinking how stupid were these people?
“You mean this pile of clothes,” an airman said. He surprised me.
I rushed over to where Dan had been bleeding an hour ago and where I found him lying on the table. There was nothing but his clothes.
“Someone had to take him!”
It made little sense. He was lying right there and now there was nothing.
“Detain this asshole and make sure he doesn’t disappear,” Colonel Cox said. “Funny guy. Maybe a trip to base can help clear your memory. Or, you can sit in the brig and think about it.”
The giant airman grabbed me from behind and pinned my arms. I tried to run. Too bad he was stronger and faster. We climbed out of the basement with me in handcuffs.
“Jake, what’s going on?”
“Just a quick field trip to see what kind of steak they serve in the Air Force,” I said. “How do you like yours? I’ll bring one back.”
“Don’t count on it, miss,” Colonel Cox said. “He’s likely to be locked up for a while.”
They shoved me into the van and I found Charlie waiting in the corner for me.
“They got you too?”
“Yep,” Charlie said. “Those airmen don’t like a pitchfork in the ass.”
“Dan’s gone,” I said. “Apparently, he wasn’t as dead as I thought.”
The truck lurched forward, and we moved toward the air base.
“We’ll it looks like we’re on our way,” I said. “We should be able to find figure all this out in no time.”
Part One – Jake Rutledge and the Guy with Bad Timing
Part Two – Jake Rutledge and the Guy with Bad Timing
Part Three – Jake Rutledge and the Guy with Bad Timing
Part Four – Jake Rutledge and the Guy with Bad Timing
Part Five – Jake Rutledge and the Guy with Bad Timing
Part Six – Jake Rutledge and the Guy with Bad Timing
Part Seven – Jake Rutledge and the Guy with Bad Timing
Part Eight – Jake Rutledge and the Guy with Bad Timing
Part Nine – Jake Rutledge and the Guy with Bad Timing
— wordsmithholler (@wordsmithholler) July 11, 2018
© 2018 – 2019, Michael Shawn Sommermeyer. All rights reserved.
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