They got up from their booth and headed for the register.
"I'll say one thing, Jake. The food around here is as good as any I've ever had."
"Yeah, Donnie trained up his day cook real good. We never had chow like this in the Corps. He makes S.O.S. better than anybody."
"S.O.S.? Oh, nevermind. I get it."
Jake paid the bill and they walked out the door.
"That Jeep looks real nice. It never looked that good when Manuel had it. I see he threw in a couple of five gallon cans, too. We can hang those on the side of the jeep - we'll fill one with water and one with gas. In fact, fill the red one with gas, okay?"
Jake started to move toward his car.
"Sure, Jake. How do I get there from here? Do I just go across country?"
"Actually, you'll probably get there before I do. I have to go up the road here about 7 miles or so before I can catch the gravel road that runs past that line shack. You, on the other hand, have a four wheel drive. You remember the bridge over the dry wash about a half mile South of here?"
While they talked, Jake got two big duffel bags out of his car and put them carefully in the back of the Jeep.
"I remember the bridge. I thought it was a waste of time. They should have just filled that gully in, instead of building a bridge."
"Believe me, Sister, you don't want to be anywhere near that gully when it rains up on that ridge. Certainly not in it. Anyway - just before you get to that bridge there's a track that leads off to the right and down into the gully. It's pretty wide down here so you don't really see how deep it is, but you can drive up that gully almost all the way to the ridge and no one would even know you were there. You just got to drive slow enough not to kick up too much dust. There's a track up outta there that goes to your left just past the spot where there's three big boulders, all in a row, on the top of the gully to your right. You should see the line shack as you come up out of the gully. You got all that?"
"Yeah, I think so. Down the road almost to the bridge, follow the track on the right down into the gully, follow the gully until I see three boulders sitting at the top of the gully, on the right, then follow the track up to the left and out of the gully. When I get that far I should be able to see the shack."
"Good. Now go buy your gas and fill up with water. There isn't any other water out there, so any time you're here, and headed out there, fill the five gallon with water. I'll meetcha out there. And watch how you drive. You don't want to bounce those bags out of the vehicle."
"Why, what's in 'em, Jake?"
"Guns and ammo, baby. Just be careful."
Jake got in his car and pulled out onto the highway headed North, away from the gunshop and toward the gravel track. She watched him go until his car was just a shimmer on the road.
She got her gas, got her water, strapped the cans down and headed for the cutoff just this side of the bridge. She almost missed it; it really wasn't more than a couple of shallow ruts that lead away from the highway. But she found it and felt pretty good about herself for doing so.
She drove down into the gully and headed 'upstream', toward the ridge and the lineshack, and whatever it was that was waiting for her in that direction.
He called me 'Baby'. Now what do you suppose he meant by that?