That scummy, no account bastard. That worthless walking sack of skin. Where ever Carlo is now, I hope he is rotting from his little boy parts outward in a very slow and painful way!
The phones came back on around 6 AM. We know why everything was turned off but I’ll have to explain it later when I understand it better; basically Homeland Security kicked in because some predetermined breaker points were reached. The TV signal came back at nearly the same moment as the phones. Less than 30 seconds later the phone was ringing and it was Scott!!!!!!
He’s OK. Beat up, but OK. It took him until the afternoon to get home and he was in pretty rough shape by that time. Carlo better never show his traitorous face around here or God help him when I’m done with him. James feels the same way and to blow off steam we’ve devised a few nasty bits of revenge should the scum have the temerity to come near us.
After hearing Scott’s voice all of my fear and fatigue vanished. I woke the kids up thinking that he was on his way home at that moment. I flew into action and added the last day’s ingredients to the Amish bread starter and used one of the resulting four cups of starter to make muffins.
Breakfast: For the muffins I used powdered eggs instead of fresh and raisins instead of nuts. I also added a little vanilla powder to the pitcher of milk to make it richer tasting and put it in the freezer to get ice cold.
After I put the muffins in the oven I finally got an open line and reached my parents. They’re OK and didn’t experience the communication blackout like we did. They were the ones that told me about the terrorist attack at the Atlanta airport and about the mobs that tried to overrun DC. They told me about the cruise ship that had been spotted adrift off of Miami that had been discovered to have hundreds of NRS-infected people aboard. They also told me of the institution of the Emergency Powers Act and of the Health Care Worker Draft; also, how cities housing sensitive military and civilian strategic points were being occupied by the military and how Tampa was on this list because of MacDill AFB and the Port of Tampa. Things got complicated quickly yesterday. The Feds apparently didn’t feel like that had any other choice. But whatever problems these new protocols solve, they are sure to create others to have to deal with.
Just as I got off of the phone with my Dad and the muffins came out of the oven, Scott called again. He had been asked to stay and help fortify what they are calling the Keel Outpost. Its actually the Jimmie B. Keel Library on Bearss Avenue. I guess I better back up and explain or nothing is going to make sense.
Scott said Carlo had arranged an ambush for him. It looked like they planned on taking the van and everything in it and probably holding Scott for ransom. Carlo knew I’d pay whatever they asked to get Scott back safely. Need I say that Carlo learned that trick in his childhood home of Colombia?
Things obviously didn’t work out as planned however. First it took longer than expected for Scott and Carlo to reach the ambush point. Scott kept changing the day's work schedule without consulting Carlo which turned out to be a good thing. This may have caused some of Carlo’s buddies to not show up or to get cold feet. Either way, there were only two or three people in addition to Carlo trying to pull this off. Second, Scott didn’t tell Carlo he had brought a gun with him. My distrust of Carlo had begun to rub off on him. Third, and worst for Carlo’s plan, was that they underestimated Scott.
As they neared the intersection where they started to jump Scott, Carlo suddenly attacked using a mallet he had used to lay some pavers at the previous stop. Because of how tight everything is in the cab of the van Carlo only hit a few glancing blows with the mallet before switching to his fists. He did manage to knock Scott’s glasses off and break them. Not knowing what was going down, but knowing Carlo was aiming at his head, and in fear for his life, Scott grabbed the gun from the door pocket and aimed and fired in Carlo’s general direction. Scott is very near-sighted and losing his glasses was very bad.
All this time Carlo’s buddies had been beating on the van trying to get in. Thankfully Carlo was apparently too occupied to remember to open the door locks. They did spider a rear door window but the grill kept them from coming in through the back.
As soon as Scott pulled the trigger he floored the gas and started heading away from the intersection. He thinks he may have run over one of the guys but couldn’t see for sure.
Scott still had Carlo covered with the gun and was driving erratically with one hand. About two blocks later, after Scott took out a couple of mailboxes along the way, Carlo opened the passenger door and fell out. Scott swung so suddenly that the door slammed back shut on its own. At that point Scott put both hands back on the stirring wheel and got out of there as quickly as he could.
The problem was it was already late in the day and a lack of glasses result in Scott missing some turns and he wound up farther away from home rather than closer. By the time he got turned back in the right direction it was dark. His erratic driving caught the attention of some National Guard troops and he was pulled over by a police car travelling with them. Luckily one of the cops recognized Scott from the Neighborhood Watch program and that, combined with Scott’s ID and story, got him out of trouble.
But being it was full dark they “invited” Scott to come with them to a command outpost which turned out to be in the library. It is a good location because it is a newer building and already has a room set up from computers and wi-fi, not to mention it has a satellite feed.
The medic stationed at the outpost patched Scott up and gave him a tetanus shot just to be one the safe side. He has a black eye, a busted lip, and some pretty bad bruising on his right thigh, chest, and stomach. I didn’t know how bad though until he got home and I checked him over myself. After he was patched up he was able to find his spare glasses that he keeps in one of his tool boxes.
Scott is a rather private person but he can make friends quickly in the right circumstances. I guess he scored some points by not complaining and remaining calm despite the situation. He scored more when he volunteered to help set the outpost up, even providing some basic supplies without asking for compensation.
As soon as the outpost got word that communication was going to be restored, they cleared a line for Scott to call home. They also asked him if he would stay and help finish harden the outpost position. They couldn’t pay him, but they did trade him several cases of MREs for the work and some additional supplies he carried around as general inventory. Technically they probably could have just commandeered it. This way the mutual aid benefitted everyone and there were no hard feelings.
They also let Scott “check out” a bunch of books and movies for us and the kids. About ten banana crates full to be more precise. The troops were going to just shove everything outside that got in their way. He brought home cookbooks, gardening books, all sorts of DVDs like from the History Channel and kids shows. He dumped all of the "new releases" into the crates as well when he recognized a couple of books that I had been wanting when we had the extra money. He even managed to find a couple of manuals on gun care and hunting in Florida; and pulled every "survival" book they had on the shelves. The crates are sitting in the dining room where the kids have started to go through them.
Back when I knew that Scott wasn’t likely to be home for lunch, but might make it home right afterwards, I decided to make something a little different to celebrate. I was also anxiously waiting to hear the whole story of what had gone down and needed something to occupy myself with.
Lunch: Many of my fresh potatoes are starting to sprout some eyes. I bought several bags of potatoes when they were on sale last month but now I know why they were on sale. They weren’t the freshest. I cleaned enough to feed the family and baked them. I could have just made more sour cream from evaporated milk, used some of the butter or margarine that still remained in the freezer, but I wanted something a little more substantial and special so I made Crab-Stuffed Bake Potatoes. The recipe called for whipping cream but I just substituted milk and some extra butter added in. For the fresh green onions I substituted a few dried chopped chives. And instead of grated cheddar cheese I substituted some of the grated processed cheese I opened yesterday. OK, so maybe it wasn’t exactly like in the restaurants, but no one complained about the difference in canned crab and fresh crabmeat. I also saved one for Scott and a good thing too.
When my man finally drove up and came inside I didn’t know whether to jump for joy or cry. I’ve neve seen him injured like this, it just hurts my heart to see it. The girls and Johnnie were crying really hard. James was shaking like a leaf in what I thought was shock. I quickly realized however that it was rage. Scott and James butt heads often … testosterone and teenage hormones mostly … but right then I knew that no matter what, they were still very close. God help Carlo or any one else that tries to hurt his dad. I have one very angry teenage boy to deal with now.
We all spent the rest of the day fawning over Scott. He was starving and ate what we had saved him from lunch and the leftovers from dinner last night too. After that he explained what had happened in more detail though he glossed over shooting Carlo until the younger kids had left the room. Rose was horrified but James seemed more secure knowing his dad would do what he had to do to survive and return to us.
In many ways Rose is an idealist. She wants to believe the best of people and I’m very afraid that while she is of practical help around the house and with her younger siblings she has a ways to go yet before I can trust her to be strong enough in any physical altercations we may experience. That worries me but there isn’t anything I can do about it right now. Unfortunately, time is likely to take care of her idealism before I can bring her around more gently.
Dinner: Scott wasn’t very hungry after eating all of the leftovers so I just made a Bisquick Chicken Pot Pie casserole for dinner. Canned chicken and canned mixed veggies were easy substitutes for the fresher ingredients called for in the original recipe. And it only called for one egg so I tried out the flaxseed egg substitute and it worked like a charm. Since there were still some Cake Mix Yeast Rolls for anyone who wanted rolls, there was no need to use any more of the three remaining cups of Amish Bread starter. The starter did get covered up and placed in the refrigerator so that the fermentation process slowed down. To use up the remaining powdered milk in the refrigerator I made Anise Milk as a before bedtime treat to go along with the remainder of the cheesecake that had been leftover from last night. The warm milk helped to calm everyone down for the evening.
I’m all used up and need to get some rest. Scott is already asleep due to the Vicodin I gave him. I had a couple left over from my last bit of dental work. The kids, except for James, are also asleep. He and I stayed up talking about some additional security ideas he has. He wants to camouflage the vehicles when they aren’t being used and he also wants to try and hide our two barrels of auto fuel. The biggest project though is he want to enclose the carport somehow. I’m not sure how we are going to do all of this but I told him to wait a day or two and then talk to Scott about it. James doesn’t like how the neighbors seem to be watching us and I can’t say I blame him, but I don’t want to over react either and cost us time and money we are already short on.
For certain it’s going to be a couple of days before Scott can do any kind or work or go out again. He is pretty banged up. We have a long list of chores to do already and we need to see what the military occupation of Tampa is going to mean to us personally. Without a doubt there are strange and strained days ahead and we are going to need all of our wits about us to make it through them.