I'm still reading in support of 'One Knight's Story' - it will be a while yet before I return to Gwalchmei, Squire and Habeeb. For those few of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, links to the previous material are in the right-hand side panel.
Meanwhile - because you asked - more Sarah.
Jake Bertrett was an angry and bitter man for good reason. And the presence of Sarah Pierce was not going to help.
And now ...
"So, what about the gun?"
"I'm thinkin', I'm thinkin'. I think maybe I got a piece for you. It's a bit bulky for a woman, but I think it'll work."
With that, Jake came around the counter and slid the Navajo throw rug that lay on the floor in front of the counter aside, revealing a trap door in the floor.
"Stay up here. I'll be right back up. If anybody comes in, tell 'em I'm buryin' a body."
She had watched him as he moved around the counter. He looks normal. He doesn't seem like he's missing anything. There's a lot of scars on his lower arms and hands - his tee shirt shows his upper arms ... they're not scarred. He moves okay. No limping. Her curiosity was definitely piqued.
Jake descended the worn wooden stairs into the dark cellar where the Sons of Nevada held their clandestine meetings. What am I doin'? Nobody but the Brothers knows this place exists but I just opened that fuckin' door like it was a closet. I gotta have my head examined. Yeah, no shit. If the Brothers find out about this .. but they won't. They won't. I can't be that fuckin' dumb. Can I? He found what he was looking for, and headed for the stairs.
"What are you doin' down here? I told you to stay upstairs. Now turn around and get up those stairs."
Jake replaced the Navajo rug and turned to Sarah, his face red with anger.
"I told you to stay up here. When I told you, you had to do what I told you to do, when I told you to do it, without question I wasn't fuckin' kidding!!! Do that again and this exercise is OVER!! CLEAR?"
"And don't be a smartass. That'll get you bounced just as quick."
"Okay, Jake. I'm sorry."
"No. 'I'm sorry' don't cut it. Just do what you're told. I don't want to hear 'I'm sorry' out of you. Not ever again. If I tell you to jump - you say 'How high?' - not 'I'm sorry, I can't' or any other bullcrap that means anything other than "How fucking high?"
"Okay, Jake. You've made your point. Now what's in the case?"
Jake had brought up a hard, black case about the same size as the tenor sax case she had as a kid.
"I gotta be crazy, doin' this. You're gonna get me killed, you know that, right?"
She stared him dead in the eye, again.
"Do you want to live forever, Jake?"
"Fuck, are you kiddin'? I never wanted to live THIS long. But that's another story."
He opened the case, which was lined with black felt, revealing the strange looking weapon inside.
"Wow. What is that?"
"It's a handmade, .223 caliber, bolt action, side fed, sniper rifle with a scope, silencer and a three shot magazine. If the wind is steady, this thing can hit a cantaloupe at a thousand yards. There's a drop chamber for expended casings, so you don't leave any brass. It field strips to the three main groups you see here, plus the scope. You've got wire stock, receiver and barrel. Add the silencer and you have five pieces that make up the deadliest single rifle in the State of Nevada. There isn't another like it anywhere."
"What's that other thing in there?"
"I almost forgot. This is what is going to make this weapon usable for you. It's called a bipod. You clamp it on the barrel, right in front of the receiver .... you have no idea what I'm talking about, do you?"
"Never mind, you'll learn. The receiver is all of this stuff here, in the middle of the piece - behind the barrel and in front of the wire butt stock. It's where all of the operating parts of the weapon are located. Trigger mechanism, bolt, chamber and the magazine plugs in right here. You ARE right handed, right?"
"Yes, I am."
"That's good - because that's how this weapon sets up - the bolt action is managed with your right hand. It would be awkward with your left. And the magazine would hit you right in the lips if you tried to fire the weapon left handed. And we wouldn't want nothin' hittin' you in the lips, now would we?"
"No, Jake. We wouldn't. So look, how much is this going to cost me?"
"Why don't we wait until you've been at this for a bit? If you're still at this in a couple of weeks, we'll talk."
"Okay, Jake. you're on. Look, is there someplace out here I can stay? I can't go back to the city and I'm not gonna live in my car ... "
"There's a little motel about 2 miles north of here. It's cheap and there's a greasy spoon diner just on the other side of it and a gas station across the road. Thelma Gleason owns the place and she don't allow no hookers so it should be pretty quiet most of the time. Just tell her I sent you. Oh, and take her this box of .22 longs, will ya? She's gotta be pretty low on ammo, by now. She likes to pick off critters from the window out back."
"Don't worry. She can't see in the dark so she don't shoot at night. Like I said, quiet."
"Okay, Jake. And thanks. Tomorrow?"
"Yeah. I open a 9. Be here at 6. We'll get an early start."
That's all of Sarah until next weekend - although if I get desperate for blog fodder between now and then, I might drop some more of Sarah's story into the week just for fun. We'll see.