Red felt the slice of the knife go across his throat. He choked and struggled to get out of the Muslim’s grip. For an instant, Red thought, why bother to struggle, I have nothing left now except my dog. No, he was a man; Red would not allow himself brought down. Men are strong, do not show emotions, do not become weak, they fight no matter what.
At that moment he dropped to the ground out of the Muslim’s hands. He laid on the ground in the inky dark not being able to see a thing, not the Muslim, not even him when he tried to look at his own body.
He felt his neck. It was bleeding profusely, but he ripped part of his shirt, making it a long piece and tied it around his neck in the hopes of stopping the bleeding, or at least not seen with a slashed throat for when the lights rolled back on.
Red did not feel good at all. His stomach churned like a cement mixer round and round. He laid over on his side and vomited. He retched until he thought there could be nothing left in his stomach. The smell of his own blood and vomit was making him feel so sick he could barely stay conscious. He fought the overwhelming desire to lie down and sleep, take time to recover from the attack. But, how could he? Red knew if he were found by any other Muslim the job would be finished off. He wondered what happened to that Muslim who stopped when he did. His head was still in place with his neck slashed, but not to the point that he was still bleeding. The bleeding dissipated and he could feel his shirt piece wet and cold around his neck.
Red pulled himself, using his hands to feel things, until he found a large object of some sort he could hide behind. He laid there thinking now what to do. In this dark he could not even see where he parked that banged up van. He lost his direction. Right now he was not even sure where he parked and left the van.
He started to fall asleep. He could not keep himself awake longer. Exhaustion from everything he went through was catching up with him. His mind drifted and he no longer felt a thing.
Red did not know how long he laid there, before the lights rolled back on. He saw that not only was he not hidden but actually he was lying wide open on the side walk in front of a large dumpster. He eyed his surroundings and saw no one. He did spot the van parked not far from where he laid. He got up and struggled to the van like a drunken man. Quickly he started the van to drive out of there when he caught sight of a Muslim lying dead on the sidewalk. Red could not know of course if this was the Muslim who attacked him or not. He wondered though why there was a Muslim dead. Who killed him? Oh, well, Red didn’t have time to mull over that.
He kicked the speed up in the van wanting to get out of there like a rocket. Now he realized on this side of town he had no idea where he was and he had to get a map out. He hoped there was one in the glove compartment. There was. Red saw he was about 30 miles away from his house.
As he studied the map, he hatched a plan to get the goat meat another way. No more trips to the Muslim meat markets with rolling black outs. He would steal them instead. Why he thought to himself was he even thinking about paying any attention to any laws. Nobody he could think of was abiding by any laws. Oh sure, a certain amount of order took place under the black shirts bullying, but other than that there was nothing but anarchy now.
He drove home as quickly as he could. He staggered into the house where the Mexicans were busy making themselves a snack. They stared at him in disbelief. One ran over to help him to the kitchen where they took off the bloody shirt rag on his neck to check it. The cut was not life threatening but did need stitching. The Mexican told Red they would stitch the wound since they could not take him to the hospital and have him questioned over how this happened.
Red started to heave again. He could not endure one more thing that day. But, the Mexicans busied themselves with the necessary things to stitch his neck. Everything was there except an anesthesia. They rolled up an old rag and stuffed it into Red’s mouth and told him to scream all he wanted if he needed to do so. Red screamed at every stitch. He felt embarrassed feeling like a child for not being able to bear the pain of the stitching.
It was over before he knew it and he had to lie down. He no longer cared about being a strong, self-righteous, typical man. After all he was only human, something men forget they are for the most part. Red was thinking what a stupid way to live one’s life pretending that nothing ever hurt you or bothered you, to never tell anyone how much you hurt, the pain you endured. He thought about how much smarter Dusty was than him. She told you if something hurt her. She did not allow it to fester inside and laugh it off only to end up relying on liquor or some other pain killing substance to shut it off. Red wondered to himself just how stupid were we men?
He slept for a long time, waking up on Sunday morning with his plan. He found the Mexicans playing with Jeremy in the back yard. He felt instant gratitude for that. Poor Jeremy was so neglected lately.
He told the Mexicans about his plan to steal the goats that night. They agreed that was the best thing to do. He asked them how many goats or goat meat they needed for this barter. They told him it would be best to get 4 goats.
That night they drove the van out into the countryside for several hours far from any city or suburban areas and found a goat farm. It was not hard to find one. They squeezed under the fence of a very large farm where the farm house was way back off the road from the pasture where the goats were. They quickly slit the throats of 4 goats, put them into plastic bags and hauled them off to the van, threw them in and took off. They did their needed duty. Now they had the supply to get the bomb making equipment from the Muslims, the radical ones hiding out waiting to meet up with some Imam who would lead them into some sort of attack. No one cared what they were going to do. Red and the Mexicans knew they would be long gone before that happened.
Since it was still dark and they had little time left, the Mexicans told Red they wanted to make the barter that night. They told Red to stay in the van out of sight. They had it all worked out. No reason for his involvement. Red felt elated. He could just sit there and rest while they made their deal, then get quickly home and more rest. Monday morning was soon coming and that meant the charade started all over again.
Before he knew it, the Mexicans were back to the van, tossing in several small packages. They decided it was best to hide them if some black shirt stopped them for some reason. They taped the packages to the bottom of the seats in the van and Red drove off back home into the night, somehow feeling a sense of terror and peace all at once. Terror over the attack and peace that his family’s deaths would be avenged.
As they approached the suburb where Red lived, he saw a road block up ahead with many police cars and lights flashing. He broke out into an immense sweat. The Mexicans begged him to stay calm. As Red pulled up the black shirts waved him down, Red’s heart pounded so hard he was sure the black shirt heard it.
The black shirt demanded to see his papers. Red pulled them out of the glove compartment. The blacks shirt demanded to know what Red was doing out at this time of night. Red said he took the Mexicans out to a restaurant a couple of towns over from here. The black shirt was skeptical. What restaurant he asked? One of the Mexicans jumped in and told the black shirt that Red took them to El Coyote’s a Mexican restaurant so they could get a chance to try the food there. But it was disgusting and awful, nothing a true Mexican would bother to eat. “By the way”, one of the Mexican’s asked, “Do you know of any good Mexican restaurants in the area?” The black shirt looked at him with utter disgust and contempt, and said, “Get moving and get out-of-the-way and back to your quarters where you belong”. As they pulled away out of the roadblock each of them sighed in relief.
To be continued…………………