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Too Bold for WordsBorn 1949, M, from Colorado Springs, CO, United States
The Bounty Hunters:
Too Bold for Words
K.C. and Ellen Series
Mild Language Warning: Eleanor, or Ellen Pascale lost her partner and mate in a shootout with a drug dealer a year before. Kevin “K.C.” Taylor was in a CD store at the same time Ellen was, takes down a robber single handed in front of her. The girl is impressed enough she asks him to be her new business partner. After the police save the would-be robber from K.C., Ellen ends up taking K.C. on as her new partner – and lover – as a Bounty Hunter. Together they make life a hazard for those running from the law.
The bell above the video rental store’s door rang letting everybody in the store know another patron just entered. K.C. Taylor was inspecting several CD’s of historical nature and tapes to rent for the weekend and not paying attention to the counter when he heard a male voice behind him declare: “This is a stick up! Hand the money over – Now!”
K.C. heard the other but chose to keep studying the CD cases. The guy held his arm out with the pistol aiming it at the clerks then waving it around the store. He looked at K.C..
“Hey, dude ya hard of hearing? Put your hands up!”
Most people would put their hands up and be plainly scared. However, K.C. held his nerve in check as he casually looked toward the robber with the gun. The robber had a stocking pulled over his head distorting his features and voice.
However, in a moment of bravado K.C. said, “Gee, you musta thought this was goina be your lucky night, huh punk? Problem is I’m about to become yer worse night mare.”
Huh? Was all the robber had a chance to say. K.C. let go of the CD the other’s eyes followed the CD to the floor. Just as suddenly K.C. had the weapon ripped out of the other’s hand and slammed across his head knocking him to the floor. “And for the sake of your good health, punk stay there.”
Putting a foot on the would-be robber’s shoulders K.C. pressed him face down to the floor reaching down he pulled the stocking off his head. “Well, gee what do we have here? Another shit for brains?”
The customers and clerks watched K.C. spell bound and in awe.
A girl’s voice asked, “Well now that you got him, what are you going to do with him?”
“I know my rights,” the thief declared.
“Oh shut up ass wipe or I’ll ripe yer head off and use it for a basketball. Want that?”
K.C. poked him in the back of the head with the pistol. “Ya’d look kinda funny without a head on yer shoulders, now wouldn’t ya?”
K.C. looked up to see a tall, well-dressed, dark haired, brown eyed girl or woman standing over the thief with a drawn 9mm aimed at the back of his head also.
Casually K.C. said to the clerks, “I hope somebody had the foresight to call nine-one-
one? The cops’ll need to rescue junior here from me before I take him outside to kick his damn butt across the parking lot.”
“Make that two – me too.”
“You can’t do that – that’s cruelty to people like me.”
“Oh, shut up fool. By the way, lady ya got cuffs to go with that semi-automatic?”
“Yeah, here -- ”
The lady reached onto her belt handing K.C. a set of handcuffs he thought she was a policewoman. He looked up at her. “By the way, sorry but your name?”
“Eleanor, or Ellen Pascale. Yours?”
“Kevin, or K.C. Taylor.”
The would be, thief looked up in shock as the two seemed to carry on a casual business conversation.
“We need to talk.”
K.C. shrugged. “Sure. After the police get here to rescue junior from the Wrath of K.C. Taylor.”
“You two ain’t fer real. I want a lawyer!”
“I told ya ta shut up, fool, ya lost yer rights five minutes ago.”
Why K.C. was so willing to meet this woman was any body’s guess. However, a short time later after the police arrived and got everyone’s statement and hauled junior away, Ellen and K.C. stood on the side walk watching the police leave, videos in hand from a grateful night manager watching.
Ellen turned to K.C., “Um, K.C. I said I wanted to talk to you. May I?”
“Huh? Oh sure. Where do you want to go?”
“Some place quiet – and private.”
“That leaves the field wide open. My place or yours?”
Ellen grinned. “A bar maybe?”
K.C. thought then suggested, “Hungry?”
“How about the local Village Inn or Denny’s? Breakfast all night long.”
Ellen shrugged. “Okay.”
“Public but private.”
Ellen and K.C. were seated at a table for two. The young hostess laid the menus in front of them and walked away.
It was a few minutes as K.C. looked the menu over before Ellen said anything.
“Kevin, to be quit plain about this -- ”
“K.C. I’m a private investigator and bounty hunter looking for a new partner to take the place of my former partner. As brief as it was I liked what I saw in you. Nothing seemed to bother you.”
Laying the menu aside, K.C. folded his hands on the table, said quietly, “Don’t let looks deceive you. If you don’t mind my asking a personal question, what happened to your last partner?”
Ellen struggled within herself to answer him, tears formed in her eyes as she tried not to remember the incident. Drawing in a deep breath she said, “Let me ask you this K.C., do you know what bounty hunters are, or do for a living?”
“I should being a writer. Why?” K.C. should have seen this coming sooner. The thought of being a Bounty Hunter fit with Kevin’s background from Army Intelligence. Producing a badge and credentials case, Ellen laid them on the table for K.C. to see. “I’m a bounty hunter. A Skip Tracer Investigator is the more formal title.” K.C. nodded his head. She pulled them back to her. “My former partner was killed by a guy some time ago skipping bond on a drug case. Of course, the guy is dead and I was out the bond money. But I did save the courts the trouble of trying him anyway.”
Halting, she breathed hard. K.C. thought the memory of the case was too much for her.
Lowering her head tears trickled down her face. She missed her former partner, possibly – lover. K.C. waited until Ellen got over the pain of the memory.
Drawing in an unsteady breath Ellen put the badge and credentials case away.
Casually K.C. said, “Bounty hunters are both praised and hated. Worse than most politicians. A love hate-affair, they’re considered the low life scum of the earth – and that is putting it mildly.”
Ellen stared at K.C. a minute then said, “And how do you see us?”
She wanted to say ‘me’ but rather made it the royal ‘us’. “Wolves. You go for the throat and the kill. Never mind being nice for the public. That’s for the cops to put a nice PR on.”
Smiling looking up Ellen said, “Look, K.C. you don’t need to make up your mind tonight on this. I understand. This not something you can make up your mind over in one night.”
K.C. pressed his point. “What or who specifically are you looking for in a partner?”
Breathing heavily again to overcome the misery of the memory, Ellen said, “Someone who knows how to handle a gun and handle himself in a tight spot. The rest of it will come later.”
The waitress returned with their drinks. “Dinner will be served in a few moments.”
They thanked her.
Ellen played with her silverware a moment. K.C. watched her movements like a psychologist watches a nervous client. She was nervous he’d say no to her offer for a job.
She stopped what she was doing.
Leaning forward Ellen asked, “Are you employed right now?”
“Not unless you consider freelance writing any kind of steady employment?”
“What is your background?”
They looked each other in the eye. “Now or before?”
“Former Major in the Army Special Forces and a stint with Black Ops. I was with the 503rd Combat Reserve Group’s Intel Officer for two years – Company Commander before that.”
Ellen’s eyes opened wide. “If you’d added in Navy SEALS I’d be all over you kissing
Smiling K.C. said softly, “Do you want me to just to see what happens?”
“Sorry.” She was embarrassed by the remark. “I didn’t mean it like that.”
“No problem.” K.C. studied Ellen from across the table. Tall for a girl, slim and long brown hair tied behind her head in a bun. “Don’t be. Especially if we’re to be partners.”
Looking up shyly, Ellen struck a gold mine in K.C. with that simple statement. In her case, this informal interview sealed the bargain for them. K.C. was the man Friday she needed.
“Okay now what?”
“Is it a plan?”
“Of course. I need to get back in my groove anyway. This sounds about like what I was
doing in the Army anyway. Very little difference.”
Ellen smiled. She knew she had him. “We’ll talk to my boss tomorrow. Nine okay? His name is Leonard Hampton, real British. What he’s doing in this business is any body’s guess?”
Their meals arrived and they changed the subject to more palatable talk.
Lunch time the next day, following the interview with Mr. Hampton they sat on the park bench at the lake facing each other looking over each other’s shoulder, talking and eating a couple ninety-nine cent “heart attacks” and fries with chocolate shakes for lunch.
“It’ll take about a month for the paper drill to go through the State and Fed mill, for them to approve it and provided there are no glitches or hang ups or whatever else they do with it -- ” Ellen of course was referring to the State and Federal checks systems. Out of State is another matter. “In the mean time you’re in training status with me.”
K.C. was now a bona fide Bounty Hunter. Glancing at the girl he briefly wondered how a beauty like her chose being a bounty hunter as a profession. What little he knew of the profession you could go from feast to famine in a heartbeat.
Two days later after gathering information, analyzing every scrap of paper Ellen and K.C. sat back in the underbrush in his black GMC 4x4 K5 Jimmy, a camouflage net spread over the truck watching their suspect.
“That’s the problem with this job, you spend more time sitting and watching then doing.”
“Four months of training for ten minutes of glory. Yeah, I know all about it.”
“I guess so.”
They sat across from an abandoned farm. To the casual passerby it was abandoned, to them it was a different matter. K.C. approached cross country from the back of the property. K.C. was a firm believer in insurance. He didn’t survive twenty years in the Army and not learn something.
Between them in rifle holders was a .30-06 Browning Safari model built off a Mauser action. In a second holder beside the .30-06 was his favorite, a 7.62x51mm PTR 91KF Semi-Automatic Rifle with three 30 round banana clips taped in a pin-wheel fashion, over and under times three. Behind him in a gun rack was a .20 gage pump shot gun, modified choke.
That morning Ellen came over to K.C.’s place, K.C. was waiting outside for her when she drove up in a late model yellow Camaro with black racing strips pulled in beside the truck.
“Can’t say I didn’t see that coming? Yellow?”
“Like it?” She got out to run her hand along the hood in a sensuous caressing manner smiling alluringly at him.
“Mind if I drool on the hood?”
Actually K.C. wanted to drool on her. Ellen was dressed all in a skin tight black one- piece Spandex suit with black lace up boots, her long dark hair tied back. He was all in Army temperate zone camouflage with two matched .357 Magnums on his hips and a matched pair of .45 caliber semi-automatics strapped to either calf. Needless to say, the neighbors were probably wondering who was playing Wonder Woman’s alter ego. A few stared from the other side of the street. Mothers shoved their curious prodigies in the houses. Many knew K.C. was a retired Army veteran – but who was the woman.
She looked at K.C. wide eyed. Whistling she said, “You take this seriously.”
“Black Ops. Remember?”
“Say hi to the Beast.”
She looked the Jimmy over eyeing the aftermarket hardware and measuring the height. “We’re taking this?”
“Chances are we’ll have to do some cross country running.”
“You say so.” Ellen tossed a handbag at him laughing. K.C. almost dropped the bag from
the weight. “Okay seriously we have to go out in to the country. Pigeon’s name is Walt Wallencek wanted for everything imaginable. He was traced to Number 53, Farm Road 143 – but the trick is – we’re not sure.”
“They usually are. Not sure?”
Ellen added. “In other words, this guy is wanted by everybody from the Mafia for stiffing them out of a couple million, to the Sheriff for fraud, the local cops, the FBI, CIA, NSA (where they fit in I’m still not certain), military intelligence (honestly), and worse yet, the Russians and Chinese. Boy’s in big trouble. I traced him out there a couple days ago and lost him on the back roads. Guy must have seen me coming.”
A yellow Camaro who wouldn’t?
K.C. whistled with mild surprise. “And the guy is still lose?”
Ellen produced a map spreading it out on the hood putting a finger on the map. “There.”
“Excuse me move your hand.”
“What’s the matter?”
“Ha! This will be easier than I thought.”
“How?” She looked at K.C. questioningly. “You know something I don’t?”
“Yeah, a friend of mine, Bradley Hanson owns the farm up the road. Works for the local newspaper. Lives here in town but uses the farm to store his RV and other equipment. Says it’s cheaper than one of those rental places. Plus, he and his wife use the place as a weekend getaway.”
“And – ?”
K.C. folded the map into military quarters. “And we’ll reconnaissance the place first to make sure our pigeon is in the roost then approach from the rear. Old tactic I learned when I was stationed with Eleventh ACR in Germany in the early Seventies. He’s watching the road as we enter via the rear.”
Tossing the map to Ellen he opened the truck door for her then grasping her about her slender waist K.C. boosted Ellen into the cab. Ellen squealed as he lifted her in to the truck.
“Sorry. Forgot to tell ya, gotta watch that first step.”
“Next time let me know you’re going to do something like that.” She liked the strength in his arms, yet she knew there was a gentleness there.
“Shall we?” he said getting in to start the truck.
Ellen looked around the interior a minute. “Plenty of hardware. Sure, you didn’t do this before?”
“Learned it when I was in the Army.”
“Of course, forgot.”
An hour later they reached the backcountry and just as K.C. thought their boy would be
holed up on the old farm. Better yet, Wallencek didn’t think anybody would look for him out there. Much less a couple bounty hunters. Sitting on the front porch he was taking the late morning sun and cool air. That was his last mistake.
Bradley Hanson, being a news hound despite writing for the Community section of the
paper would also make a good investigating reporter had been suspicious about the old farm and
new tenant for a couple months. Using the RV home and farm equipment as cover, K.C. pulled the truck into Hanson’s old barn that stood open to the prairie weather. K.C. got out of the truck, Ellen puzzled as K.C. opened the tail gate.
“Okay, now what?” Ellen turned in her seat as he pulled out from the back of the truck two large bundles of vinyl and cloth.
K.C. unrolled a large folded bundle of camouflage net.
Ellen got out to watch him. “Okay, I’m not from Missouri but show me.”
“The camouflage net will cut the glare on the glass.”
“Of course.” Ellen helped him spread the net over the truck and fasten it down. She took from the carry bag a matched pair of Glock 20’s to strap on her slim hips. “You’re not the only one who can play this game.” Next, she strapped to her thighs two Beretta 9 millimeters. K.C. smiled he strapped on a matched pair of .357 magnums and pair of Beretta 9 millimeters. Ellen said as she jacked a round each on to the Glock’s, “Show time.”
Holding the net up Ellen got back in the truck, K.C. climbed back in and headed across the fields to the other farm.
“Okay, don’t see him. Must still be out front getting some rays. We’ll go from here on foot. I’ll take the shot gun. Let’s go.”
“Um, K.C. I don’t mean to be pushy, but who’s running this show?”
“Sorry old habits. Special Forces.”
“Understand. Lead on.”
They darted from cover of the truck and old rotting hay bales crossing to the barn. Ducking through the barn, they could see why people still considered the place abandoned, Wallencek parked the car in the barn. K.C. took out his Bowie knife and punctured the rear and front tire.
“Nice,” Ellen breathed as they stopped at the front door peering out at the open ground ahead of them.
“Sonny boy won’t be going very far.” Using the binoculars K.C. checked the windows for shadows. “Take the front and scare Sonny through the house and out the back door to me.”
“Yeah, old VC trick in reverse minus the hand grenades – trip line across the door.”
“Shoulda guessed. Sorry I asked.”
Taking one last look around Ellen ran for cover at the left corner of the house, K.C. ran straight for the house. As Ellen approached from the front K.C. fastened a length of twine across the back door at ankle height. Sure enough K.C. heard the commotion at the front. Shots were fired and Walt Wallencek charged head long through the house firing randomly over his shoulder at Ellen hitting everything but her.
“Good job sweet heart.”
The back door was pulled open as another shot was fired at the door window level with his head blowing the window out.
“Bitch! You ain’t getting’ me!” Wallencek took two strides out the door; that was his last mistake. He hit the twine and crashed down the steps to the ground.
Wallencek looked up at K.C. shocked the muzzle of the shot gun resting on his temple. “Now you don’t want to lay any bets on that do you? `Cause this just ain’t goina` be yer lucky day by any stretch of the imagination, punk. Oh, by the way, the lady has a new partner now, yer worse night mare in a decade was just realized. Me, ha!”
An hour later with Wallencek looking like a trussed-up chicken. The Sheriff’s station on Cascade Avenue in Colorado Springs was a bee hive of activity as the desk sergeant finished booking Wallencek and two officers frisked him. The desk sergeant and booking clerk looked at him then Ellen then K.C. K.C. and Ellen took all the hardware off before they took Sonny boy inside. Of course, the deputies looked at K.C. as if K.C. were a misplaced Army private that got lost.
“What’s your part in this, Taylor?” The desk sergeant asked as two deputies hauled Wallencek away to jail.
“Just along for the ride. Need some action in my staid life.”
Ellen took K.C.’s arm leading him back toward the outside door. “That went over like a lead balloon with them.”
“Sounded good to me. Now what?”
“Report to Leonard.” She took out her cell phone to call Leonard. “Mr. Hampton? Ellen, got him and K.C. Taylor was terrific. He’s mine.”
The two sat in Leonard Hampton’s office which was definitely British in décor and taste.
“Well, Mr. Taylor, you certainly won the praise of your mentor and partner.”
Ellen was feeling proud of the fact they were able to take Wallencheck down so easily after months of investigative work.
“So, Mr. Hampton what’s our next job?” Ellen asked.
Hampton reached in to the bottom drawer of his desk to take out a folder. Laying it on the desk he opened it passing a facsimile photo to Ellen.
“There’s no idea where Raymond Soisco is right now. This one …” he passed Ellen another photograph. “His possible girlfriend slash doxy, Judy Kilgore. As far as we know Mr. Soisco was running with a Jamie Anderson, her picture too. Now, the heart of the subject, either Soisco or Judy Kilgore or Jamie Anderson, or all three, we’re not sure, are wanted on a variety of felony charges, racketeering is just one, fraud, forgery, well I am sure you get the idea.”
Ellen passed the folder to K.C. “So, in other words this will take a while if we have to dig him out from where he’s hiding?”
“Yes.” Hampton turned away from them for a minute then turned back laying a small stack of cash in front of them. Ellen snatched up the cash to count. He continued, “Living expense. Also advance. Basically, you’re starting from scratch on this assignment.”
Ellen stuffed the money in her jacket pocket with a smile for K.C. “Mama knows best.”
The Army intelligence training kicked in to high gear for K.C. He waited until they were
outside Hampton’s office stopping by the truck.
Tilting her head to the side Ellen looked up at K.C.. “You’re thinking.”
“How can you tell?”
“You’re too quiet right now.”
“You catch on real fast.”
“I should we’re partners.”
K.C. looked at his watch. Nearly evening. “Hungry?”
“Yes. What do you have in mind?”
“Someplace we can be alone to talk.”
Ellen seemed to be thinking a minute then said, “My place? Besides, I want to get out of this rig. I’ve been sweltering in it all day and need a shower. I stink.”
He shrugged. “Okay.”
Thirty minutes later they pulled into Ellen’s driveway. Ellen disappeared to the back of the house and her room. K.C. made himself comfortable in the kitchen with the Army topographic maps he still had in the truck from when he was on active duty. K.C. took the uniform jacket off to make himself comfortable at the table with the maps spread out. His brain kicked up another notch, he was back in his element as a bounty hunter. At the back of his mind, he was enjoying himself. Only job better than this was Black Ops -- he had a “take-charge” attitude, he could be in charge here.
A half hour later Ellen appeared her hair piled on her head under a towel and floor length terry cloth robe and fuzzy slippers.
“You want to take a shower?”
“Oh, yeah I was going to …”
“No, here. Hey, you’re my partner now. Feel free.”
K.C. felt that he damn near wanted to kiss her but that’d be stretching things right now. “Okay, I got in the habit of keeping a backup bag in the truck.” He stood and said, “Okay, Ellen, think of yourself as this Raymond Soisco character, where would you hole up? Every law enforcement agency in the country is looking for you, and half the world to include Interpol is on your ass: now where would you go?”
Ellen looked at the different scale maps spread across the table. She wasn’t sure which
pencil marks were from the Army and ones he was using now. “Guy’s incredible. Wish I had him a long time ago.”
A short time later K.C. walked into the kitchen to see Ellen poring over the maps. She looked up at him. “I keep coming back to he’d hide out in a city somewhere.”
“First thought yes. A lot of people around you. Second thought, no too obvious and too many people who may get nosey. Me, I’d go in the opposite direction they’re looking,”
Ellen stood from the table. “That’s you. What do you want for supper?”
K.C. shrugged. “Standard fare?”
“Chinese takeout or pizza to go.”
“I’m tired of pizza. I have preferred customer status at the pizzeria near me. How about Chinese to go?”
“Okay. Fine by me.”
Ellen called a Chinese takeout restaurant for delivery. She sat down beside him looking the maps over as they waited for the delivery.
Resting a finger on the map K.C. drew an imaginary line straight up or westbound along the Route 24 west stopping at a town and tapped another town further west. Looking back at Ellen he said, “For my money I’ll bet he’s up here.”
“Okay, how do you know or is that just pure gut feeling?”
“Think like your enemy.”
Ellen leaned over to kiss him. “Partner. Now what?”
K.C. looked Ellen in the eye. The kiss, to him held a lot of meaning. Their lips were still mere inches apart as they stared into each other’s eyes. Time seemed to stand still for the two. Ellen’s lips were sweet and inviting. The kiss held a lot of promise.
In a soft breath K.C. said, “Verify the information.”
Ellen was checking to make sure she was getting her money’s worth out of K.C.
“Easy. The newspaper and I know just who to ask.”
K.C. ended up spending the night at Ellen’s place. She put him up in the spare bed room. K.C. lay awake for the next couple hours thinking of Ellen. He’d only known her for not even four days and already he was feeling something for her. On the one hand he looked on her as a little sister to a big brother, the other he was fast becoming her lover. That could be just great in some men’s books, but in his way of thinking could also mean disaster in a tight spot. One of them gets into trouble the other will come running and not pay attention to business. The next few days will tell.
Late the next morning dressed in jeans and flannel shirts they were sitting in Bradley’s
new house on Fairfax Avenue.
Bradley checked his data base then tapped in to the newspaper’s data center. “Wow, this guy’s wanted by everyone but the Russian FSB and Chinese Ministry of Intelligence. He’s wanted on fraud, money laundering, racketeering, a couple Ponzi schemes, prostitution? Wow, grand theft auto. What hasn’t this guy been involved in?”
“Can we check this guy’s background?”
Sure. What do you want to know?”
“I thought you were going ask me something harder.” Brad played with the key board a few minutes. “Oooh, look at this? Okay a career soldier type. He’d just made E8 nailed by CID, got the boot for selling military parts and other government equipment. But, his career stretches all the way back to the late sixties – starting with `Nam, then the Cambodia operation, a few years later Grenada, 101st Air Mobile, the first war with Iraq and Afghanistan, Second Infantry, 7th Cavalry. MOS armor-infantry, nineteen delta, did a stint with Eighty-second airborne, parachute qualified --”
Pulling his glasses off Brad looked at them. “You guys have a real prize here. You’re going after this guy?”
“That’s what we’re wondering.” K.C. said pointing at the video screen. “Now let me ask you this, Brad. If you were this guy Sisco, where would you hide out, wilderness or plain sight like the city?”
“Little bit of both. Mountains. A couple places for one Sadalia. But for my money go west on Highway 24 into the mountains past Divide and a couple more towns. My first choice would be south off Highway 24 and 67 up one of those side roads that leads into the hills to no-where. My other choice is stay west on 24 past those towns to Hartsel and a couple side roads in the hills in that area.”
“Way out there?” K.C. was stunned. “I thought he’d try to stay closer to a town or city.”
“Too many probing eyes and ears. Sadalia is a weekend getaway community for the Denver area. It’d only take one diligent citizen calling the police or FBI hot line and he’d be on
the run again.”
K.C. turned to Ellen. “What do you think, Ellen?”
Ellen seemed to think a minute then said, “Isn’t Lake George in the middle of those towns off twenty-four west?” Brad nodded. “Let’s start with the Lake George area first then Hartsel. Closer than Sadalia.”
The next day K.C. pulled off at a “no-tell-motel” west bound outside the town of Hartsel west of the town of Divide. They rolled into the town a large bill board advertising the Dinosaur Beds and old west town greeted them.
“Ready to play the tourist scene?” K.C. asked getting out. “I’ll get us a couple rooms.”
“One,” Ellen told him. “Remember we’re supposed to be married or lovers on vacation.”
Holding up his left hand to her K.C. said, “Lovers then? But …”
“Go and don’t be such a prude.”
A few minutes later K.C. pulled the truck over to their room.
The room had a musty smell typical for those older motels in the mountains. K.C. closed the door, Ellen and K.C. looked at each other shyly.
“I’ll take the floor.”
“Oh, grow up.” She kissed him. “We’ll sleep together. I trust you. Come on let’s go back to town and see what there is. Maybe we’ll pick up some tid-bits of information.”
The town was a throwback to the days of the Nineteenth Century. K.C. found a place to park the Jimmy off the town’s only Main Street, Highway 24 West. Ellen and K.C. looked for all the world like a couple out for some fun and games.
They walked around the town hand in hand. Her hand rested in his like a dove resting in its nest. She would stop to look in windows admire the wares. A couple places Ellen played the part, they went into the store to buy a couple knick-knacks. K.C. played the part of lover and good-hearted boyfriend and ponied up the money for the item out of their expense money.
They stopped at another shop Ellen leaned toward K.C. nudging him with her hip. “K.C., look at the reflection in the window. Don’t turn around. Look at the reflection in the glass. See him?”
Changing his stance giving him a better angle, K.C. saw the other with another man in the reflection off the glass. “Gee will wonders ever cease?”
“I thought you said he’d hole up in the hills here?”
“I did. I think he feels safe with the people here and mixing with the locals like a good neighbor. Sadalia would be too close to Denver for him.”
They continued casually along the street still holding hands. “Yeah but you didn’t see who was with him?”
“He was talking with someone.”
They stopped at another shop Ellen laid her head on his shoulder pointing at the glass. “That someone was Jules Kailey, Raymond Sisco’s buddy.”
“There were two other guys with them.”
“Jules’ goons, body guards, go-fors.”
“Wonderful. Next step?”
They reached the end of the side walk. Turning they walked back to the truck. “I thought you were the expert?”
“Know the definition of expert?”
“With you I’d be afraid to say.”
They stopped in a local restaurant for a light meal then drove back to the motel.
They lay on the bed thinking what their options were.
“Right now, following them would not be wise. It’ll tip our hand.”
“Okay, what do you suggest?” Ellen looked at K.C. with a serious frown.
“Wonder how often he comes into town?”
“Okay, one idea.”
“The other, who in this town is the local gossip monger which includes reconnaissance.”
Helen lay her head on his arm. “Always the Army man.”
K.C. and Ellen soon fell quiet and before long darkness set in. K.C. pulled the spare blanket over them and they fell asleep together. Sometime during the night he felt a body hugging up to him. He was laying on his side the pale light from the highway lights K.C. saw Ellen hugging up to him.
Late the next morning K.C. stopped at the local convenience store for gas for the Beast and snacks. They went in for coffee and donuts. Ellen was looking over some other munches when a delivery driver entered with a heavy box on a hand truck.
“Hey, Mage you know a Raymond Sisco – or something like that?”
The delivery driver set the box by the door to the shop’s public mail room.
“Oh yeah. Lives way the hell and gone from here. Here Dave, I’ll sign for it and hold it for him. He’ll be back in tomorrow. That’s his mail day.”
K.C. was standing close enough to the end of the counter he saw the name and address. He memorized the address as he waited on Mage to sign for the box. The driver wheeled it back to the holding area in the mail room then left with a cup of free coffee.
K.C. leaned toward Ellen, a package in his hand. “Good thing we hung on to that room `til tomorrow.”
On the way out K.C. noted what time the store opened: 6 am.
They drove around the area checking out the sights. Checking the map the road was west ten miles. Driving back to the town they had an early supper and made like the lovers they were supposed to be and returned to the room early. At six the next morning they were parked across the street from the store. K.C. tucked the truck in among a row of logging trucks and other trucks of various types and waited.
A car pulled up to the store coming from the south and distant city. K.C. laid the binoculars on the steering wheel to see who it was. Looking at the picture, Ellen looked at the two men then glanced up at K.C.
“I don’t think that’s him, K.C.”
“Car’s black, shiny black like it just went through a car wash. I wonder …” K.C. refocused the binoculars. “Too well dressed for this area.”
“We’re no better.”
“We’re supposed to be tourist.”
They watched them for a few more minutes until K.C. decided to call their bluff.
Opening the door, the key-in-the-ignition alarm came on to ring. Ellen asked, “Where you going?”
“… Talk to the FBI. Stay here.”
“You’re goina’ do what?”
K.C. got out of the truck walking from the parking area to the opposite side of the
highway. He approached the agents from their rear blind side walking up to the car tapping on the roof.
The driver’s side window was open. “`Morning. You guys wouldn’t be FBI agents would you?”
The driver spit half a cup of coffee across the car cleaning the dash board and inside of the windshield.
The passenger looked at K.C. in shock, said, “How do you know?”
K.C. grinned at them. “Well you guys are the only ones who drive a car that looks like
an unmarked state highway patrol car on a speed trap. Check out the cars suddenly slowing down to creep past ya then speed up.”
“Well you could be wrong you know.”
“Nah, not likely. Hi, Jeff remember me from Black Ops training at Fort Bragg?”
Jeff hesitated as he waved at K.C. annoyed but K.C. didn’t care. The other guy looked from Jeff to K.C.
Jeff said, “So what you doing here?”
“Pascal and Taylor Investigative Services. Ms. Pascal and I are after him too.”
“We’ll handle this,” said Doug in a matter fact voice dismissing K.C.
“I don’t think you can. Right now I can count five mistakes you’ve already made. You’ve already cost the Fed’s operation in time wasted by not reconning the site properly and not properly knowing your adversary.”
“You’d better listen to him Doug, the guy’s an expert at this – you aren’t.”
Across the highway Ellen had the binoculars watching incredulous as K.C. leaned on the car roof talking to the occupants.
“Tell ya what,” K.C. said, “come on down to Nancy’s Breakfast and Lunch Café, we’ll talk over breakfast.”
K.C. slapped the roof and turned walking away laughing at the incredulous look on Ellen’s face as he got in the truck.
“Well what’d they say?”
“We’re meeting down at Nancy’s Breakfast Café for coffee and a bit to eat and discuss
our problem child.”
K.C. started the truck, pulled out into traffic and slowly drove down to Nancy’s Café.
“You’re amazing. I’ve never seen such audacity.”
“Want to beat `em? Meet `em head on.”
They arrived at Nancy’s with the FBI in tow. He couldn’t believe it. The four of them walked into the Café the young hostess looked the four of them over. Ellen and K.C. appeared the tourist types but the other two did not seem to fit.
Holding up four fingers K.C. said, “Four please.”
They were seated at a table away from the other early morning customers.
They waited until the hostess laid down the menus and poured them all coffee and walked away.
Jim looking over the edge of his menu, said tightly, “Talk.”
Ellen ignored the two. She asked K.C., “What are you going to have, hone?”
K.C. quickly scanned the menu setting it aside folding his hands under his chin. “My usual. What do you guys need to know?”
“Let’s put it this way, what do you know?” the one called Doug said.
“About as much as you do. He’s got a package waiting for him at the convenience store slash post office.”
“We can nail him when he comes to town.”
“That’s nice. Scare him away and we start all over again.”
The waitress returned and the four ordered and waited until she returned to the kitchen.
“Good then let’s compare notes,” said Doug leaning on the table.
K.C. ticked off on his fingers, “This guy Sisco has every law enforcement agency to
include Interpol after him. As far as we’re able to determine he’s holed up in this area. Outside of that how well do you know this Sisco character?”
Doug shrugged. “Okay, he’s on our top ten wanted list.”
“Have you compiled a profile on him?”
“What does that have to do with this?” Doug seemed annoyed K.C. dodged the question.
“More certain then you guys.” K.C. produced a hand-written list on Sisco laying it front of Doug. “What does that tell you?”
Letting K.C. do the talking. Ellen literally held her breath as he talked to them in a commanding tone answering them with questions of his own. His Army take-charge attitude showed through the thin veneer of being retired from the Army.
Doug looked at it then shrugged again. “So, Sisco had a nice military record. So?”
K.C. sighed looking to Ellen for support. K.C. said, “Experience, training, and acquired skills.” K.C. circled Vietnam. “That’s your threshold concern right there -- `Nam.”
“Why? What does that have to do with this?” Doug asked shoving the paper back toward K.C.
“Do punji stakes and various lethal booby traps mean anything to you guys?”
Ellen attempted to not show her horror at the mention of punji stakes and Vietnam.
“So, we bring in a bomb disposal team.”
“And he’ll be sitting two states away laughing at you. Never mind I’ll handle it.”
Jim quickly cut across Doug, “So how are you going to find him without him knowing about it?”
“When he or whoever he has comes in we follow `em. Or -- ” K.C. pulled from out of his shirt a map of the county. “We can do it the easy way, but we still don’t have a clear picture of what Sisco has prepared for us.”
“I still say we nail `em,” Doug insisted.
K.C. shook his head with a sigh. “That’s the Hollywood style. Get `em all in one drag net. Wrong answer. Have you reconned the area any?”
“What do you mean?” Doug asked annoyed at K.C.
“Looked the area over,” said Jim. “No.”
“Then you don’t know what you’re walking into.”
“I take it you’re the expert on this?”
Jim was getting just as disgusted. “He’s the expert, Doug just listen to him. That’s the way he was trained. You native to this area, K.C.?”
“No, don’t have to be. Just foreknowledge of what to expect. First rule of thumb: In Black Berets, know your adversary. I’m willing to bet he has the place booby-trapped to hell and gone.”
“Excuse me?” Doug said leaning forward on the table. He looked at Ellen dumbfounded.
“Why do you think I hired him?” She grinned with sarcasm.
He was alone on his way to running this operation.
“Back to the original question. How do you plan on finding him?” said Jim avoiding an argument.
“That package. Somebody has to come for it. Right?”
The two FBI agents looked like they were having car trouble the hood was up on their sedan. K.C. and Ellen were inside looking the store over when a lady pulled up to the convenience store for gas for the car then went inside. K.C. felt the rush of adrenalin when the lady went inside the store.
He did not have long to wait when the box was wheeled out to the car on a hand truck.
Paying for the sodas and snacks K.C. and Ellen casually walked out to the truck, the FBI agents slammed the hood shut and joined them. They waited until the car pulled out of the parking lot.
“Yup. The box was for him. That was Judy Kilgore. And if you noticed, Raymond also lives up a secondary road. Check out the dirt on the car.”
“Follow?” Jim said watching as the car joined the light flow of traffic.
“Soon. I have the address for insurance – but may be a dummy address just in case somebody like us got a brain fart.” Ellen blanched at the term KC used. “Or she may be smart enough and take us for a joy ride, or dumb enough to take us right to his door.”
The two FBI agents got in the back of the truck.
“Okay now what?” said Doug as K.C. and Ellen watched Judy Kilgore disappear up the highway.
“Give her a chance then follow.”
Counting to three K.C. pulled out of the parking area to follow. The eight-cylinder K5 accelerated with no effort. K.C. speed shifted through the gear pattern following at a safe distance which after several miles took them to a dirt road. Ellen checked the road number K.C. wrote down.
“She’s leading us right to him,” said Doug. “We can get him now.”
“And scare him back to Mexico? Right. Like I said, ‘recon the area first.’”
Turning off on Washita Trail slowing for a cross roads four-way intersection.
“Now why would they put a four-way stop out here?” K.C. grumbled.
“Your guess is as good as mine.” Ellen looked ahead at the side of the road.
The two agents sat quiet in the back watching the sides of the road.
Kilgore drove again for another mile until she slowed again to turn left up a winding track to a house which set on the side of a hill.
“Bingo,” K.C. said under his breath. “Do I qualify for prophet status yet?”
They continued up the road past the house to a dead-end. Pulling the truck off the road into the trees and underbrush K.C. looked back to assure they were far enough off the road. He could just barely see the roof of the house.
Ellen got out slinging the .30-06 over a shoulder to go to the back of the truck; she knew what to do next. The agents got out as K.C. and Ellen pulled out the bundle of camouflage net.
“What’s that for?” Doug asked as K.C. and Ellen unrolled the net.
“Camouflage and to cut any glare from the windows,” K.C. replied. Next, he reached in to take out four smaller nets passing one to Ellen who knew what it was to be used for. He said, “Put these on.”
Doug held the net looking at K.C. “What are these for?”
“Do you want to explain it or do you want me to?” K.C. asked Ellen.
“Camouflage,” Ellen replied. “Watch.”
Unfolding the nets like a cape the agents watched Ellen as she put the net over herself.
The net in place over the truck and net capes covering them K.C. led the camouflaged group uphill through the forest away from the house until they were out of sight of any possible observers.
He gestured across the road plunging back into the wood line moving cautiously through the copse of trees, watching the ground at his feet, Ellen watched ahead and to the sides. The agents followed, 9-millimeter automatics drawn watched behind and to either side. Reaching the edge of the wood line, K.C. could now see the house. Taking out the binoculars he looked the house over.
“Cars parked in the back. Yup, boy feels real safe up here. Three-sixty degree visibility of the roads and surrounding forest. Nice set up.”
Holding up a hand K.C. dropped to his knees sliding a hand along the ground until he felt the slight resistance.
“Uh, huh. Here it is.” Slowly pulling his hand back, K.C. carefully cleared the weeds to expose the length of monofilament that shown a neon blue in the sun light. “Yup, the boy learned well while he was in the Army.”
“See if you guys came plowing in here like bulls in a china shop, he’d have been gone – or worse, you’d have found yourselves in a fire fight.”
Marking the monofilament with short strips of white tape he took from a pocket. “Stay here.”
“What are you going to do?” Doug asked as he looked nervously around.
“To check for pungi stakes.” Looking around Ellen dropped to a knee the rifle poised for instant use.
Moving ahead at a very slow pace, K.C. crawled over the trip line and almost immediately found the pungi stakes. “Oh, this guy’s is too good … ”
With the upmost caution, K.C. cleared the trip line only to find the first series of pungi stakes. “Yup, gotta give this guy credit, he’s got this place well surrounded.”
Pulling a row of stakes out, he smelled one. “Poison.” K.C. held the stake up to show the others what they would have stepped on. Next with methodical care he found a series of electrical lines. Laying down he felt ahead and to the sides until he felt a series of lumps. Gently feeling the ground until a section gave. Feeling the canvas, he lifted a corner.
“Yup, boy knows his business. As we called them – Tiger Traps with pungi stakes in the bottom. And you wanted to do what again, Doug?”
Marking the area with the white tape K.C. reached the limit of the stakes and another trip line and tiger traps before turning around to crawl back to the woods. Ellen kept him covered the whole time.
“What do you have to say now?” Ellen asked as K.C. carefully stepped over the trip line.
“Damn good,” said Doug tight lipped.
“Black Ops. He would be the best otherwise he wouldn’t have made the Black Ops,” Jim told Doug.
Moving back into the tree line, K.C. stood. At that moment the back door opened and the two girls stepped out taking robes off. K.C and Ellen dropped prone to the ground. K.C. held up the binoculars to look at the women naked. They laid blankets on the ground lying down. Ellen did not need the binoculars.
Holding her hand over the binoculars, she said with a hiss, “Okay you’ve seen enough.”
Giving Ellen a quick kiss, he said, “Okay let’s head back to town. I’ll explain our plan of action there.”
Jim and Doug each took a room on either side of K.C. and Ellen’s room. K.C. showed Ellen how to relax before a mission. He lay supine on the bed, hands on chest, eyes closed but did not fall asleep: he just “dozed” but aware of every sound to include the noise of the highway.
The two FBI agents lay awake in Jim’s room.
Doug stared at the ceiling, “Ya know for some reason I just don’t trust that guy – and the girl less.”
“Why?” Jim wondered.
“Bounty Hunters. Worse lot to deal with. Very closed lipped. I trust him about as far as I can throw a rock at them.”
“Yeah, but the guy is good though. He knows his stuff.”
“Good at what though?” Doug was feeling a streak of jealousy at being shown up by KC.
“His Black Ops background.”
“So, what does that have to do with anything?”
“Easy. The guy is in the wrong business. We need him. The guy has an analytical mind for this stuff.”
It was ten o’clock when K.C. and Ellen donned their one-piece black spandex suits and boots. Donning their array of weapons and devices. They pulled the hoods over their heads and fixed the special night vision googles in the raised position above their foreheads.
Ellen turned out the room’s lights giving them a chance to gain their night vision.
Opening the door, K.C. looked around at the moonless night. Slipping the googles in place over his eyes he examined the shadows and places an ambush could be sprung from.
“Man, this is gotta be a Mom and Pop town. I bet they roll up the streets at seven o’clock at night.”
Ellen and K.C. knocked on the room doors. “Let’s go – show time.”
Shortly the two agents appeared outside their rooms. They looked around for Ellen and K.C.
“Okay,” said Doug looking around. “I heard them we’re here where the hell are they?”
K.C. nudged Ellen. “Right here in front of you guys if you’d open your eyes.”
The two agents jumped drawing their service revolvers looking around in the dark moonless night.
K.C. did not laugh when he stepped out of the shadows at the end of the motel’s main building. Ellen and K.C. stepped from the shadows into the weak light of the street light. The two FBI agents blanched at the sight of each bounty hunter wearing four weapons and Blue-Tooth 2-way commo system.
“Boo, I could have had you guys ten seconds ago.” He unlocked the truck, making a quick inspection. “Second rule to follow, know your enemy’s home territory as well as your own.”
“Enough hardware there,” said Jim pointing to K.C. “What do you have?”
“Matched pair of .357’s and those on my thighs are matched .45’s.” K.C. gestured to Ellen. “Matched pair of Glock 20 10 millimeter semi-auto’s and on her thighs, matched pair of Beretta 9 millimeter semi-automatics. Any more questions?”
“Um, no.” Doug knew now what Jim was talking about. If this K.C. guy could melt into the shadows and they couldn’t see him, the guy was beyond good.
The four got in the truck. Doug noticed the pump shot gun and Belgian semi-automatic rifle in rifle holders. K.C. flicked a switch setting the interior lights to off so nothing would show their location when they arrived at the side road.
Approaching the side road, K.C. switched off the head lights turning up the gravel road driving past the house stopping near a copse of trees growing close to the road.
Ellen got out followed by Doug who was on the outside of the back seat. Drawing her Glock 20, Ellen pulled the goggles down then closed the door without making a sound. The night turned to green and black. She quickly scanned the bushes and road. Nothing. Doug stood to the side as K.C. drove away. He remained silent, Ellen darted across the road merging with the shadows she pulled Doug down hissing, “Stay low, merge with the shadows.”
Doug found himself face down in underbrush. “Now what? We should rush the place.”
Scanning the front of the house with night vision goggles for signs of activity, Ellen listened to K.C.’s voice over the Blue-Tooth he was set.
“No, not until K.C. says so.” Ellen was feeling anxious herself but could not let Doug know.
K.C. continued up the road until he reached the end and parked in the cover of the trees.
Indicating for Jim to get out. He grabbed the Belgian semi-automatic and map bag, they jogged across the road assimilating with the under growth of the hill. Flicking the little hidden micro-switch, he said, “Six and victor set.”
“Five set,” Ellen responded.
“Six and victor on the move to objective.”
Doug was puzzled by the short hand. Even with the FBI it annoyed him. “By the way who’s running this operation anyway?”
“K.C. Got a problem with that?” Doug was quiet. Ellen muttered, “Thought so.”
Grinning to herself, she mused, ‘That put him in his place.’
K.C. and Jim quietly descended the hill toward the darkened house. K.C. spotted the white tape with a blue lensed flash light despite the dark. Stepping over the line he followed the path he made through the punji stakes. Jim followed K.C.’s every step.
Reaching the driveway, he saw the two cars were parked facing the lane, K.C. smiled to himself. Taking out the Bowie knife he punctured the right rear and right front tire of both cars. “He won’t be going very far with flat tires.”
Ellen and Doug waited at the edge of the property for K.C.’s message that he was set near the back of the house.
“Six set. Five move.”
“Five moving.” Ellen tapped Doug’s arm. “Move.”
Ellen and Doug jogged to the front of the house taking cover to either side of the door. Stopping she put a hand out to stop Doug. Taping a small explosive cap to the door knob Ellen next turned on a small Magnum flash light clipped to the underside of her pistol. Ellen light the fuse, stepping back she turned away from the explosion.
Thirty seconds later the door latch was blown off followed by a second explosion blowing the door out.
“Now!” Ellen commanded into the mic. Taking the pistol in both hands she kicked what was left of the door in yelling, “Freeze!”
A room door opened a gun appeared and two shots were fired. Both rounds missed Ellen hitting Doug in the leg and hip.
“Geezuz H -- ” Doug swore as he collapsed to the floor.
Ellen did not have time to worry about Doug. She fired off two more rounds which took large chunks out of the door. Sisco dropped to the floor moving along the wall toward the kitchen and back door.
“Screw you, bitch I’m outta here -- !”
The two women screamed, “Ray don’t leave us -- !”
Trading shots again, neither scoring a hit, Sisco stood to make a dash for the back door,
Ellen emptying the clip, holstering the weapon, she drew the second left-handed. For a second Sisco was surprised the Bounty Hunter had a second weapon loaded and ready. Ellen shot three holes in the wall close to Sisco’s head, a fourth impacted in the door frame by the kitchen.
“You’re just baggage I don’t need,” Sisco yelled as he bolted toward the back door.
Doug lay in the middle of the living room floor holding his right leg, blood oozing from his leg to the carpet as Ellen shot it out with Sisco. Doug watched amazed as Ellen continued to trade shots with Sisco, the two in a virtual fire fight. The two women coward in the bed room holding their hands over their ears crying.
Ellen spoke into the mic as calm as she could the adrenalin pounding at her ear drums. “He’s all yours.”
K.C. stood back the trip line fastened to the door frame. The Belgian assault rifle poised ready for use if need be. The back door burst open to a hail of gun fire, Sisco took two steps feeling the resistance of the monofilament across his ankle.
“Oh shit --,” He plunged head long down the back steps to the ground. Looking up into K.C.’s grinning face, his hands were grabbed from behind by the other he heard the click-click of the hand cuffs feeling the cold metal being attached to his wrists.
Ellen stood in the door breathing hard looking down at Sisco laying on the ground in handcuffs. “Got `em.”
“Gee just like the last idiot we nailed,” said K.C. resting the muzzle of the PTR 91KF on Sisco’s forehead he said in a good Southern drawl, “Musta thought this was gonna be yer lucky night, punk -- ?”
Late the next day K.C. and Ellen sat in Leonard Hampton’s office. The stack of one hundred and fifty dollar bills that represented their reward for the capture of Sisco lay on the desk between them untouched.
“You two certainly deserve that reward. That was a fine job you two did. K.C., from what I understand the FBI want you as an instructor. You taught those two agents, from my understanding things they don’t teach at their academy.”
“Thank you, sir but I am just beginning to like it where I am at. Besides, I gave up teaching when I left the Army.” K.C. reached out to touch Ellen’s hand. Mr. Hampton did not miss the gesture.
Mr. Hampton slid a credentials case and letter across the desk to K.C. “This was expedited through channels. Someone likes you.”
Looking at the seal on the return address label, K.C. looked at Mr. Hampton with surprise. Ellen looked at the package with mild disbelief. K.C. said quietly, “I guess so.”
“Well you two deserve a break. I think you two will want to celebrate tonight. I’ll call later this week when I need you.”
K.C. opened the credentials case to look at the badge and photo ID and card, Ellen leaned over his shoulder squeezing it as she kissed him on the cheek.
# # #