Author Topic: Taking the long way home  (Read 1148 times)

Offline BeejayWells

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Taking the long way home
« on: April 21, 2009, 03:33:25 PM »
This is the first chapter of my first attempt at writing a novel.
It's supposed to be a humourous, adventure story
with a little romance and crime thrown in for good measure.

I hope somebody likes it, besides my mother that is.

                                                           Chapter one

   It was only meant to be a quick caper. That's all. Just a quick in and out. A stroll in the park. A hike across the countryside for a couple of days or so. A jolly little jaunt to pull out a pillock of a politician who'd got himself snatched by some anarchistic bad boys who weren't happy with the way their world turned.
   Didn't work out that way though, did it? Oh no. That's not the way things happen for me. All my friends will tell you, that if something is going to go pear shaped, Mitchell Jones will be odds on favourite to cop for the friggin' fruit basket. Only this time it felt more like I'd copped for  the whole friggin' orchard.
   Everything had gone fine on the way in. The two of us had tabbed across country following  the course of a river and made the push to the forest on the south side of  the farm where the politician was being held. The other one being Alistair 'Haggis' MacGregor, a no nonsense, short arsed Glaswegian, with a wicked sense of humour and a vitriolic mouth, half hidden by a thick black Mexican moustache.
        He reckoned he only took the job to get out of the slums, but I think it's more likely the social services stopped his unemployment benefit and he ran out of whisky money. Mind you, that was the least of my worries. Right now  staying vertical, mobile, and breathing was the immediate priority, which, for a fiftyeight year old out of work landscaper with no special forces training, could prove to be an extremely difficult and rather arduous task. The fact is, I couldn't remember the last time I did any training, never mind special forces training. 
   Like I said, we arrived at the forest and eased our way silently through in the dark. Even with no moon to light our way we knew where we were going. The maps and models were imprinted in our minds. We were though, ever watchful for trip wires, booby traps and the usual kind of stuff that morons fall in or over. Poacher's snares especially.
   By about four in the morning we were cosied up in a scrape, covered by dead leaves and brushwood, with a good view of the farm house. No lights were showing, we couldn't see any sign of anyone on watch, and it all seemed pretty quiet. I could make out a road on the far side of the farm, a small copse on one side and, what looked like, a field of dead corn on the other.  Besides the house itself,  there were two stone built barns and a large garage. None in good nick.
   What we needed to know was, which building the hostage was in, how many loopies there were and how well guarded the area was. As it happened, it wasn't well guarded, there weren't many loopies, and Mr. Friggin' Hostage, decided he was going to escape, on his friggin' own, without our help. Stupid friggin' politicians. Don't you just love 'em.
   In my opinion, if it wasn't for politicians and preachers, we'd all stand a better than average chance of living happily ever after, and the price of oil wouldn't be climbing up towards the two hundred dollars a barrel mark. If the damned price climbed any higher I was going to have to stick sails on my car and hope the wind blew in the direction I wanted to go.
   Mind you,  I wasn't here to have a chat  on the pros and cons of the financial markets, was I? No. I was here to play silly soldiers, and I had a mental image of the Odd Couple throwing a rugby ball back and forth, with the New Zealand All Blacks pack forwards bearing down on them. Not a pretty sight.
   My watch showed seven in the morning. Just getting light. Well, when I say light, I mean, what ever could penetrate the thick black cloud cover. What we had was as good as it was going to get.
    We were in for one hell of a storm and the weather was going to save  my arse later.
   At least for a few hours it was going to.
   While I was watching the somewhat dilapidated house however, several lights came on one after the other,  though with the heavy curtains at the windows, movement was impossible to see. I gave Haggis a nudge and he came out of the shallow sleep he'd been in for the last hour or so. I started filming with the camcorder I'd brought with me I and whispered in his ear,
   " Oi, we might get a chance to start a tally now.Then tonight we'll do the look round for the best way in and out, and with four hundred yards of open ground on this side, it won't be from here."
   Then just as Haggis grunted some kind of reply, the front door of   the   house opened and  out stepped  a  big  geezer  in  camouflage fatigues.  Cradled  in  the  crook of  his left elbow was a rifle.
    Didn't seem a good idea to me, standing in an open backlit doorway, but there he stood, a nice target, casually taking a look around, and even though I knew we couldn't be seen, it didn't stop the hairs on the back of my neck from standing up.
   Strange, that was. The sensation  that the loopy was looking right at us. Not to mention the nervous sort of  creepy feeling I had, that in  the dark of the night,  we might have left something  out  that could  be seen in daylight. Not that we had much daylight.
   Mr. Loopy waited a few minutes then walked over to one of the barns, and disappeared inside. Three or four minutes later he came back out with a fairly tall man, dressed in a rumpled, dirty suit. They seemed to be having a heated discussion when the guy in the suit, knocked down the loopy with a punch that would have decked Mike Tyson, and started to run in our direction. That's when it went pear shaped. Big time.
   "Oh shit," muttered Haggis, master of the understatement. We both knew that the idiot wasn't going to make the first hundred yards, let alone  reach the tree line, but,  before we could open fire to give him the chance, a barrage of shots came from the house and matey's head erupted in a big spray of claret.
   He was thrown forward about six feet and went down in a crumpled heap, which probably made him the best politician I'd ever seen. Well certainly the quietest anyway. After the gunfire stopped, the silence was overpowering, and I whispered to Haggis.
   "Well that's game, set and match then. Do we risk slipping out now or stay put 'till  after dark?"
   Haggis though, wouldn't be answering any more questions, because he wasn't in a fit state. He'd copped a stray round that had missed it's intended target, tapped him on the side of his head, and gone in through the top of his shoulder. Most likely it had made something of a mess of his internals. He was pumping out claret at a rate of knots. Shit, he looked in a real bad way but at least he was unconscious and not screaming out with pain.
   All  I  could  do  was stuff a  battle  dressing  under his shirt and   hope for the best.   Isn't that what all the hero's did? They did in all the movies I'd seen.
   So, now what?  Did I top him like the hard asses do in the hollywood stuff, or get the hell out? It was a lousy thing to have to think about and I'd never been trained to deal with it.
   I was an ex Royal Engineer , not a hard assed special forces trooper, so, not being a cynical bastard, I shot a syringe of morphine into him, drew a big M on his forehead, stripped what I could use from his kit, took a deep breath, and, much against my better judgement, emptied three full magazines from my M.16 into the door, and windows of the house.
   I  also took out the friggin' idiot  who'd let the hostage get the better of him, then dropped the weapon and empty magazines alongside Haggis hoping that, if they found him, for a while at least,  they might think he'd been alone. If I was lucky I'd win some time.
   If  Haggis was lucky, they'd get him to a hospital so they could try to keep him alive and answer some questions. Mind you If he lived they were more  likely to learn a few choice phrases of urban Glaswegian dialect. Without emergency medical care though,  he stood no chance of survival. Even with it the probability was unlikely.
        Right at that moment the full fury of a storm struck with the power of an Atlantic hurricane so, with one last glance at Haggis, I took off running, muttering to myself  as I did so,
   " Shit, your getting too old for this, Jonesy."
   The only reason I took the job was money, and lots  of it. Didn't look very likely that I'd collect it now, though, did it? It was about a hundred and thirty miles to the nearest friendly border, and I'd have to hoof it, 'cos no chopper jockey was going to fly in for me in that weather.
   I mean, the rain was horizontal, pushed by, what felt like, a force eight gale. Visibility was as far as the last raindrop bouncing off the end of my nose. Still, I had to make the most of the bad weather.  I was not a happy bunny and the storm was the only friend I had right then, and any friend was welcome. It covered any noise I was making and it was kindly washing out any tracks I was leaving.
   It did  though, make  me  feel  like  I  was  on  the  inside of a washing machine, and someone had forgotten the fabric softener.
   On the down side though, I wouldn't be able to hear any sounds of pursuit,  if there were any.  What am I saying ?  IF!!!  I figured it was just a matter of time before I became the front runner in a manhunt. Ain't it a real shit being popular.
   It took me what seemed like only minutes, of bouncing off trees, and tripping over fallen branches that the storm had brought down, to reach the point where me and Haggis had gone into the forest. Not bad when you know that it took us nearly two hours to cover that same distance during the night.
   Plus I was soaked to my bollocks, carrying extra kit, and, I was well and truly knackered. Shit, I needed to rest. Visibility was still a problem, but I knew the gully, which led down to the river we'd followed from the DZ, was only fifty yards in front of me. If I could make the DZ  before the weather eased I'd have a chance.
   Once there I could hide up, wait for a window in the weather, call in the cavalry, then, in no time at all, our mercenary chopper charioteer would pop  in under the radar,  lift me out,  and pretty soon I'd be wrapping myself around some beers.   
   Not too long after that, I'd be explaining, to a newly bereaved widow, how her stupid friggin' husband had got his head blown off and, in doing so, had in all probability, caused the death of an extremely good friend. I would also explain that, as what he'd done could well be taken as suicide, she had best come come across with the readies, or I may be forced to have a little chat with her insurance agent.
   Well, maybe I wouldn't be that hard on the lady. I wasn't naive enough to believe that threats would make her shell out the readies, but  I  sure  as  hell was going  to want my bank balance boosted big time.
   Of course if all that had worked, you'd be nearly at the end of a very short story, and I'd be toes up on a beach in the Bahamas, sipping on a rum punch, while being massaged by a beautiful female of the species homo sapien.
   Ah well.. maņana, mes amigos[/font]

It's not speed that kills but the sudden stop


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Re: Taking the long way home
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2009, 10:30:58 PM »
I like it, BeeJay.   You done good.  If your Mum doesn't go for this, trade her in.
There's no time to waste.  Bravo.


Offline Gyppo

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Re: Taking the long way home
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2009, 11:35:34 PM »
'Jonesy' carries the flavour of authentic ex squaddie.

My website is currently having a holiday, but will return like the $6,000,000 man.  Bigger, stronger, etc.

In the meantime, why not take pity on a starving author and visit my book sales page at

Offline DC

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Re: Taking the long way home
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2009, 06:29:56 AM »
If you'd put this in the 'review my work' section, there's a couple of big problems I'd point out.

Otherwise, as an ex-squaddie myself; I agree with Gyppo. Enjoyed this; I'd certainly read on.

Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of
arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to
skid in sideways - Chardonnay in one hand - open throttle in the other -
body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming : "Woo Hoo, what
a ride!"