Jason Andrews walked through the exit doors at the Delta terminal in the Hartsfield-Jackson airport in Atlanta. The erect posture of his six-foot lean frame reflected his twenty years of military service, first as a graduate of the US Naval Academy and then as a jet fighter pilot. His lithe economy of movement derived from many years of martial arts training. A new, red Ford F-150 truck, with “Andrews Poultry Industries” emblazoned on the front doors, came to an abrupt stop in front of Jason as he stepped to the curve. Jason saluted the driver, tossed his carry-on bag into the bed of the big truck, and climbed into the cab.
The driver, about 25-lbs heavier and three-inches taller than Jason, steered the truck into the traffic exiting the airport. “So, Bro, you managed to sell the Ruskies our dark meat?”
“I did, Jacob, all we can produce and ship.”
“Like I been telling you for years, dark meat be the sweetest.”
“Even so, I like a tender piece of white meat.”
“The price is right?”
“Yes. Miz Lizbeth will be happy to hear the details of the deal.”
“So, we’re shipping dark meat to the Ruskies, and chicken feet and combs to the Chinks?”
“It’s the new global economy.”
“How about London?” Jacob asked.
“What do you mean?”
“You know exactly what I mean. Will the Lady Burgess be joining you in holy matrimony?”
Jacob drove the big truck onto I-85 North. He checked to ensure his way was clear and pushed the speed to 80 miles per hour, moving easily with the traffic through mid-town Atlanta. The truck showed no signs of stress. “What happened? Did your studliness fail to close the deal?”
“Seems that way. Philippa has decided to marry Sir Percival Talbot.”
“Sir Percival! Are you kidding?”
“They’re friends from childhood. Both sets of parents want Philippa and Percival to marry, to unite the family fortunes, and provide for continuation of the blood lines.”
“Did you have sex with Philippa before this decision?”
“Did the earth move?”
“Then, afterwards, she informed you that a great time in bed didn’t trump family status?”
“She offered to be available whenever I could come to the UK.”
“What did you say?”
“No, thank you.”
“Good for you, although Miz Lizbeth’s gonna be powerfully disappointed you won’t produce children for a while.”
“You’re taking care of that,” Jason said. “How’s Shanna?”
“About to pop.”
“There you go. Our mother will have a grandson.”
“Ain’t the same thing as you fathering a child.”
“What do you mean?” Jason asked.
“I’se just the po’ Afro-American member of this family. Miz Lizbeth highly appreciate a grandchild from yo’ loins. Yo’ gotta do yo’ duty.”
Jacob managed to keep the truck speeding at 90-miles per hour headed north on I-85. The two men rode in comfortable silence for almost an hour while they listened to WABE, the Atlanta NPR station. “Dang,” Jacob said, his eyes on the big outside mirror on the driver’s side of the truck. “Look at this BMW.”
A white BMW sedan passed the truck as if it were standing still. Jacob caught a glimpse of a young girl in the passenger seat who mouthed, “Help,” as the BMW flew by. An older woman drove the sedan, both hands on the steering wheel and eyes focused on the road ahead.
“Looks like damsels in distress,” Jacob said. He punched the accelerator, the truck responded instantly.
A second later, a black Suburban with dark tinted windows passed the truck, presumably in pursuit of the BMW.
“Punch it,” Jason said.
“We gonna see how fast our new trucks will go.” The F-150, travelling in excess of 120 miles per hour, crossed over the Alexander County Line.
Jason asked, “My Glock?”
“What do you have?”
Jacob reached with his right hand into the console between the two men. “Dirty Harry.” Jacob referred to his .44 magnum Smith & Wesson Model 29 revolver that Clint Eastwood made famous in his Dirty Harry movies.
“Your cannon?” Jason asked.
“You know perfectly well I won’t go to Hotlanta without adequate protection.”
“Or anywhere else except church, and I’m not entirely sure about that.”
The BMW, with a crushed left front fender, had been forced off the road and into the embankment to the right of the interstate highway. Steam erupted from under the hood. Two burly men, one of whom carried a tire iron, left the Suburban and approached the BMW. The man with the tire iron smashed it into the passenger’s side rear window of the BMW. The safety glass shattered but did not break.
Jacob skidded the F-150 to a stop so that the two men were between the BMW and the truck. Jason and Jacob quickly exited the F-150, pistols in their right hands behind their backs.
“What’s happening, fellas?” Jason asked the two men who halted their assault upon the BMW.
“None of your business,” one of the assailants snarled.
“We’re making it our business,” Jacob said, his voice cold.
“I don’t know where you two are from, or why you’re trying to break into this car,” Jason said, “but we can’t countenance such behavior. Step away from the BMW.”
“You’ve got me confused with someone,” the first man said.
“With whom?” Jacob asked.
“Someone who cares what you think.”
Jacob’s pistol boomed, the .44-caliber slug passing between the two men who had reached inside their sports jackets. “See, here’s the situation,” Jason said, his Glock sighted and steady on the first man. “If you two idiots think you can get to whatever you have inside your jackets before Jacob and I put bullets between your eyes, go right ahead.” The men hesitated. Jason commanded, “Pull those weapons out slowly with your thumbs and forefingers. Toss the weapons on the ground or you’re dead meat.”
The men complied. Jason grinned, “Do the same thing with the pistols in your ankle holsters. The men again grudgingly followed Jason’s orders. “Step away from the BMW. My brother and I can shoot the two of you before you even think about charging us.” The two men moved away. “Jacob, I’ve got them in my sights,” Jason said. “Why don’t you get the two ladies out of the car?”
Jacob went to the driver’s side of the BMW and saw the deflated air bags. He motioned to the woman behind the wheel to open the door. She did so and, obviously shaken, struggled out of the car. “Ma’am, please hold onto my arm and walk with me to stand behind my brother.” The clearly distraught and trembling attractive woman complied. Jacob stepped to the passenger door, again making signs for the teenaged girl to get out of the car.
The girl, who resembled her mother, did as instructed. “Missy, please walk with me to stand with your mother. You might hold onto her because she looks like she needs more support than you do.” Jacob stepped to his brother’s side, “Ladies, whatever happens, keep my brother and me between you and these two men.”
“They aren’t men,” the girl spat out. “They’re assholes.” She took a long look at Jacob as though she recognized him.
Jason asked, “Ladies, why are these two assholes chasing you?”
The girl spoke up, “They’re trying to take us back to my perverted stepfather, the sexual deviant.”
“Teddy, shut your face,” one of the men commanded. “This affair stays within the family.”
“Well, you for damn sure aren’t part of my family, and we’re not in your crime family,” Teddy retorted.
“Teddy,” the man shouted, “shut up!”
Teddy let loose with a torrent of profanity. When she paused to take in a deep breath, her mother said, “Language, Theodora, language.”
Jason spoke to the woman, who had regained her composure, “Ma’am, I’m Jason Andrews and this fierce-looking gentleman with me is my brother, Jacob Andrews.”
“I’m Dr. Pamela Kendall. Thank you for your bravery in rescuing us.”
Jason gave a slight nod. “Dr. Kendall, is your daughter telling the truth or is she exaggerating?”
“She’s not exaggerating this time. My husband, Teddy’s stepfather, has been abusing her since she was twelve. I only found out about the abuse last night. We’re trying to get away from him.”
The more vocal of the two assailants snarled, “Pam, shut your mouth or you’ll be really sorry. Our orders are to bring Teddy back to Mr. Kendall, with or without you.” He glared at Jacob and Jason. “Teddy comes home with us. For all we care, Pam, you can stay here with these two turkeys.”
Jason looked quickly at Jacob. “Brother, are missing something here?”
“No, we aren’t confused. These wannabe tough guys in front of us don’t understand the tactical situation.”
“Screw you,” the man responded.
“Dr. Kendall do you know these men’s names?” Jason asked.
“The one in front of your brother is Giovanni, the one in front of you is Alberto.”
“Do they have last names?”
Teddy’s derisive laughter rang out. “Asshole One and Asshole Two.”
“Theodora, for the last time, act like a lady!” the mother demanded.
Jacob said, “I think we need to enlighten Giovanni—the loudmouth—and Alberto about current reality.”
“What do you have in mind?” Jason asked.
“A marksmanship contest.”
“Between you and me?”
“Well, we aren’t giving these two idiots their guns,” Jacob said. He paused as if thinking. “On the other hand, if we have a shootout in which we definitely will prevail, be no loose ends to clean up.”
Jason said, “Except a lot of unnecessary paperwork.”
“Do it. Kill them both!” Teddy encouraged.
“Define the terms of this shooting contest,” Jason said, “because I can beat you at whatever you have in mind.”
“Highly unlikely,” Jacob countered. “Here’s the deal. I bet I can shoot off the hanging down part of Giovanni’s ear before you can do the same to Alberto.”
“The one on my right, Giovanni’s left ear.”
Jason nodded. “I shoot the same ear on Alberto?”
“You gotta shoot only the hanging down part or you lose.”
Giovanni spoke with malice to Jason. “You and your nigger brother don’t know who you’re dealing with.”
Jacob spoke before Teddy could reply, “Well, Giovanni, you best be real still or this nigger’s excellent aim might be off.”
Jacob’s pistol roared and Giovanni almost fell back when the slug passed within a half-inch of his ear. “What the hell?” Giovanni bellowed.
Jason laughed, “You missed, brother. Now, Alberto, it’s my turn. I won’t miss.” Jason took careful aim.
“Wait a minute, bro,” Jacob said. “Look at the front of Giovanni’s pants.” A dark wet stain had appeared on the man’s trousers. “I think I hit him after all. I bet he’s also crapped his britches.”
“Doesn’t matter,” Jason said. “I win if I shoot off the hanging down part of Alberto’s ear.”
Teddy spoke up. “Jason . . . ”
The mother interrupted her daughter again. “Theodora, he’s ‘Mr. Jason.’ You haven’t been given permission to call these two men,” she motioned toward the two brothers, “by their first names. They’re adults, you’re still a teenager.”
“OK, Mr. Jason,” Teddy said. “Please let me have your gun and I’ll shoot off Alberto’s ear, unless I miss and put a hole in his head.”
Jacob laughed. “Missy, I gotta admit you got spirit.” He chuckled. “You should understand, though, my brother’s a military man and always tries to be proper with his terminology.”
“What do you mean, Mr. Jacob?”
“The proper terminology for what he’s holding in his right hand is weapon, firearm, sidearm, or pistol, not gun.”
“Whatever. Mr. Jason, I would greatly appreciate your letting me take a shot at Alberto’s ear, the hanging down part.”
Jason asked Teddy, “Have you had any firearm training?”
“My perverted, sexual deviate of a stepfather taught me to shoot.”
“With a pistol?”
“Yes, sir, a Baby Glock.”
“Even so, better I shoot off the hanging down part of Alberto’s ear because of the bet I have with my brother.”
“If I miss,” Teddy said, “you can have the second shot and still win the bet.”
“But,” Jason said, “if you manage to hit only Alberto’s ear, my brother will never let me hear the end of this matter.”
Jacob snorted, “You be right about that. I’ll spread the word that you let a young lady perform your manly duties.” He shook his head. “No, Missy, better to let my brother have his turn at winning this bet.”
A siren briefly whooped, announcing the arrival of an Alexander County deputy sheriff’s patrol car.
The short and stocky man, whose uniform shirt appeared to be in danger of ripping apart around his neck and over his upper arm and thigh muscles, left his car. “What’s going on, JTeam?”
“Hey, Deputy Dog,” Jacob replied. “Good to see you.”
The sheriff’s officer kept his hand on the pistol holstered at his waist. “Let me introduce myself to those of you who don’t know me. I am Captain Bruce Wade of the Alexander County Sheriff’s Department.” He asked, “J-Team, what’s going down?
“These two guys, Giovanni and Alberto,” Jacob said, “ran Dr. Kendall and her daughter, Theodora, off the road. Jason and I got here before Giovanni and Alberto could break into Dr. Kendall’s car. We were holding them until you arrived.”
Jason added, “We made a citizen arrest.”
“Is that right, Dr. Kendall?” the captain asked.
The mother waved Teddy to silence. “Yes, Captain. Jason and Jacob rescued us. My husband sent them after us when he discovered we had left him.”
Teddy broke in, “My Mom means my sexual pervert of a stepfather.”
“Is what you’re daughter said correct?” the captain asked.
“Absolutely,” Dr. Kendall replied. “I’ve seen incontrovertible proof of the molestation.”
Giovanni tried to regain control of the situation. “I’m telling you for the last time, Pamela and Teddy, shut your mouths. Teddy goes back to Atlanta with Alberto and me.”
“Is that right?” the captain asked.
Alberto barked, “You have no idea who you’re dealing with. Teddy goes with us. Try to stop us and you’ll be sorry.”
The captain’s expandable defensive baton whipped through the air, striking Alberto where his left shoulder met his neck. He fell to his knees, screaming in agony. The captain backhanded the baton across Alberto’s back, driving the man to his stomach on the ground and to silence.
The tip of the captain’s baton twitched in front of Giovanni’s face. “I don’t know where you two criminals are from, but we don’t talk to law enforcement personnel or women in such a disrespectful manner in Alexander County.”
Alberto, on the ground, reached for his pistol. The baton whipped through the air to strike his hand, eliciting another scream of agony. Captain Wade kicked the pistols further away from Alberto and Giovanni, and spoke into the radio on his shoulder. “Dispatch, send a couple of cars and four deputies to the south county line on I-85. I have two miscreants and a vehicle for transport to the county jail.”
A Georgia State Patrol car pulled up to the group. The trooper left his car and approached Captain Wade. “Bruce, looks like you have the situation in control. Have you called for backup or do you want me to help?”
“Thanks for the offer, Charlie. My deputies are on the way, should be here any minute.” Captain Wade pointed south. “I hear their sirens.”
The state trooper introduced himself to the mother and daughter. “Trooper Charles Lane of the Georgia State Patrol, ladies. Sorry to meet you under these circumstances. You’re in good hands with Captain Wade, and with Jason and Jacob.” He grinned. “Are Jason and Jacob playing heroes again?”
“That they are, thank goodness,” Dr. Kendall said.
“They’re good people, well-known in this county, with excellent reputations,” Trooper Lane stated before turning to the captain. “Bruce, we received several calls about a kidnapping taking place on I-85. Are these two men you have in custody the perpetrators?”
“I made the calls on my cell phone,” Teddy said. “I didn’t know if anyone heard them.”
“We received them loud and clear,” Trooper Lane replied.
“So did we,” Captain Wade acknowledged. “The calls brought me here. The J-Team prevented me from being the hero.”
“What charges do plan to bring against . . .” Officer Lane started.
“Giovanni and Alberto,” Jason gave the names. “We haven’t had time to discover their last names.”
Dr. Kendall said, “Theodora, keep your peace.”
Captain Wade said, “If the two ladies and the J-Team are willing to testify, I believe we can bring charges of attempted kidnapping, attempted vehicular homicide, resisting arrest, and attempted assault of a peace officer against the men without any question. We probably can add a charge of abetting the sexual assault of a minor. I’ll have a Come-to-Jesus meeting with the county DA on Monday.”
Giovanni shook his head. “Mr. Kendall will have us out of your Podunk jail as soon as we call him.”
Jason asked Dr. Kendall, “Giovanni’s talking about your husband? Is he a lawyer?”
“Yes, my husband’s a criminal defense attorney in Atlanta.”
“The pervert,” Teddy said, “has only one client—Frank Gordon.”
Trooper Lane spoke to Captain Wade. “You could be dealing with a tough situation.”
“You know this Frank Gordon and Lawyer Kendall?”
“They’re familiar to law enforcement in Atlanta. “
Two Alexander County patrol cars arrived. Four deputies left the vehicles and waited for orders.
Trooper Lane said, “Ladies, gentlemen, I’ll take my leave. Bruce, I’m going to Jean’s Coffee Shop for a break. Can you join me there?”
Captain Wade replied, “I’ll be there directly.” He turned to the four deputies. “Handcuff these criminals, pick up their weapons, get their cell phones, and take them to the jail. One of you drive the Suburban. I’ll be there in a little while to book them. Don’t let them use a phone.”
Giovanni, his face dark with hatred, spoke with malice. “Pam, we’ll be back to get Teddy.”
Captain Wade said, “You won’t get out of our jail until Monday afternoon at the earliest, even if Judge Watkins agrees to give you bond.” He laughed while looking at Jacob and Jason. “I suspect the good judge is in his cabin on the lake. If the fish are biting and he’s laid in a good supply of Black Jack, he may not be back until mid-week because court isn’t in session.” Captain Wade returned his gaze to Giovanni and Alberto. “As for you two, our jailhouse phone is out of order and we won’t let you use your cell phones that we’ve confiscated. You’ll have to enjoy our county’s hospitality for an indeterminate time.” He ordered the deputies, “Take ‘em away. No need to be particularly gentle.”
The deputies did as ordered, shoving Giovanni and Alberto into the backseats of separate cruisers.
“All right,” Captain Wade asked Dr. Kendall, “what can we do to help you and your daughter? We certainly can’t leave you stranded on the side of the road with no place to stay.”