February 14, 2015: Valentine’s Day Mutiny
I knew it was coming. I should have paid better attention. Jake attempted to take over this morning. Maybe I could have cut it off at the pass, but I doubt if it would have been a permanent solution.
Now, we’re faced with having to execute a permanent solution.
Jake is locked up in the tack room in zip-tie cuffs for the time-being and four more people are dead. His wife and daughters are pleading for his life. According to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the punishment for mutiny is death. I’m just as sick and tired of killing people as I am letting people go who intend to do us harm.
A hundred and one problems.
About six o’clock this morning, D.J. came running into the barn where I was milking the cows.
“I spotted someone on one of the security cameras,” he was breathing hard, “so I let loose one of the shotgun traps.”
“You did what?” I couldn’t believe D.J. would set off one of the traps without a proper warning over the radio.
“I was on yard guard duty and monitoring the security cameras,” D.J. explained. “As I was watching I saw someone trying to make their way through the tangle wire near the camera. It obviously wasn’t anyone from our group. They would have known to avoid the wire.”
“What if it was some friendly that just wandered in from the road?” I asked.
Just then, I heard shouts from outside the barn.
“Who’s on yard guard now?,” I yelled at D.J. as I headed for the barn door.
“Grandma,” he responded.
I paused at the door and looked out to see if I could see what was going on. I caught sight of Jake walking down the driveway into the yard with two Mexicans on either side of him. They were all carrying M4’s.
“Stay in the barn,” I told D.J.
I stepped out of the barn door headed straight for Jake.
“Don’t come any closer, Johnson,” Jake yelled out.
My bad feeling about Jake and Daniel and Ricky came back with a rush. The hair on the back of my neck prickled and I could feel my face flush.
“What are you doing, Jake,” I yelled back still advancing.
“I’m here to de-throne you, Johnson,” Jake’s voice took on a high and mighty tone.
“De-throne?” I was incredulous. “What are you talking about?”
I continued to advance. The Mexicans were getting antsy.
“You’ve appointed yourself dictator of our group,” Jake retorted, “and I’m removing you. Your screw-ups and hatred have cost people their lives. You’ve tortured people and generally led the group astray.”
“Astray from what, Jake?” I had my eyes on the Mexicans’ trigger fingers. Two of them were inside the trigger guards of their rifles, two were not.
“Astray from what is right,” Jake replied. “You’re a war-monger. You’re violent and careless. You have no business leading people.”
“I’m not the leader of this group, Jake,” I rejoined. “I just happen to be the guy that ends up doing what has to be done.”
I could hear footsteps behind me and to either side of me. The Mexicans’ eyes were darting right and left. My family was moving up behind me and on my flanks. At that point, I wasn’t 100% sure if they were on my side or Jake’s.
I knew that some of the things I had done since the crash were unpopular with some of my family members. With that said, I didn’t think they would take Jake’s side in this fight. Blood is thicker than Jake’s B.S.
“Jake,” it was Joseph, “we don’t want a fight with you and your … friends, but if you want one, you’ll get one.”
Joseph had been my biggest concern right up to that point.
I kept my eyes on the Mexicans’ trigger fingers, occasionally glancing up at their eyes to see what I could read behind them. Based on what I saw, Jake must have made them some promises to get them to come along on this boondoggle. They were probably the guys from the Hernandez outpost to the south. My guess was that supplies were running thin with the armory blasted into rubble.
Once again, I found myself wondering about Jake’s connection to Hernandez’s people.
I stepped backward, slowly.
My family members stepped forward. We now formed a cohesive line – all armed, all now experienced in battle.
“Jake, what you gonna do?” asked the Mexican immediately to Jake’s left.
He was one of the two with his trigger finger inside the guard.
“You gonna let these gringos face you down?” Mr. Itchy Trigger Finger was either spoiling for a fight or desperate for supplies.
“Shut up, Manuel,” Jake snapped.
Manuel didn’t like that. I could see the hatred in his eyes. Jake might have some connection to these goons, but there was no love lost for him on their part.
The guy to Manuel’s left was getting itchier by the minute. I could see that the situation was about to explode.
When Manuel’s M4 barrel started to tilt upward and outward, I reached for my Glock.
Jake saw what was happening, yelled, “No!” and then dove for cover.
The barrel of my Glock cleared the top of my holster just as Manuel brought his M4 up to his shoulder. I dropped to one knee and got my front sight on his chest. He hadn’t anticipated my movement and, having made no movement of his own, I had him lined up perfectly. I punched two 10mm holes in his chest as I heard gunfire on either side of me. There was the boom of shotguns to my left and a three-round burst from an M4 on my right.
All four Mexicans were on the ground bleeding.
Jake was cowering behind a small mound of dirt to one side of the driveway. I advanced on him with my Glock drawn and ready to fire. He dropped his rifle, put his hands over his head and got up on his knees.
“Don’t shoot! Don’t shoot!” he cried out.
It took every ounce of restraint that I had but I didn’t shoot.
Joseph and Levi came up from behind me and zip-tied his wrists behind his back.
“Get up,” Levi ordered with a hard edge in his voice that I’d never heard before.
Levi yanked upward on Jake’s zip-tied wrists, bringing him to his feet. I could see pain in Jake’s eyes.
“The tack room is empty,” my Dad chimed in. “Let’s put him in there for now.”
“Zip-tie his ankles and put a padlock on the door,” I gave Levi a look.
Levi returned the look and pushed Jake forward toward the barn. Jake stumbled, recovered and then stumbled again. Levi pushed him hard with the butt of his shotgun and Jake tumbled onto the stony driveway.
“Get up,” Levi kicked Jake in the ribs.
Levi had gotten it. He realized that Jake had introduced Daniel and Ricky into our group. Ricky ended up nearly raping Levi’s daughter while Daniel watched. I’m going to have to tell Levi about “the switch” and he’s going to have to find his or he’ll end up self-destructing.
So, we have four dead Mexicans to get rid of. We have Jake zipped up in the tack room to mete out a sentence to. And, I have a brother who’s made a 180 degree personality change in just over a week who needs someone to talk to.
What’s that now … a hundred and three problems? The nice thing is … they’re not all mine.