Reaching For The Storm, 19. Stop Right There!

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
Who is the man with the gun? Where are they going? What's going to happen to her?

Submitted: November 05, 2018

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Submitted: November 05, 2018

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 Stop Right There!

 

“Stop right there, you son-of-a-bitch!” he shouted aiming his rifle straight at the heart of the man leading the group.

There were a few minutes of absolute silence before someone began talking, “What’s the problem, big man?”

“You make another move and I’m goino shoot your head off!” the big man yelled, now pointing the gun at the forehead of the speaker. “Whatchu doin on my property ?”

“We’re going hiking, sir,”said the young man loudly. “We didn’t mean to step on anybody’s property.”

“Whatchu doing here, then?” the big man said now less excitedly. “This is private property. Didn’t chu see the sign down there?”

 He had now lowered his gun, pointing it to a 'No-Trespassing' sign a couple of hundred feet away in the middle of the woods.

The group was standing still, looking in the direction of the sign. A few seconds later, one of them spoke up, “Sorry, sir,” he said very loudly, “We’re foreign students. We don’t know our way around.”

The man walked cautiously down the steep path holding his gun down. “Foreign or not foreign,” he grumbled, “You’ve got no business bein here! If you don’t watch where you’re goin, someone is goino blow your heads off!”

Soon he was close enough to examine them individually with his eyes. “Where’re you guys heading?” he asked.

The tall dark-skinned young man at the head of the group said, “No where special, sir!  We’re just searching the area to find a good place for…” He stopped and shrugged his shoulders.

“A good place for what?” the man asked with suspicion. “Campin or…somethin else?”

“Yes, sir,” said a young man wearing mustaches standing near the first one. “We wano find a good place for campin.”

They were all silent for a few seconds before the man took a look at the whole group one more time, nodded his head and turned to the tall one, “You said you’re foreign students?”

“Yes, sir, we are!” the man answered smiling.

“Our Ingeeleesh ees very good!” said a young man with very short hair.

The man holding the rifle smiled. “Good for you!” he said. “Where’re you comin from? Berkeley or San Francisco?” he asked.

“Different places, sir,” said the man with mustaches. “We come from various cities in the Bay Area. We belong to a student organization.”

“Ok,” said the gunman nodding his head repeatedly.  “I letchu go this time. Go back down the hill to find your way out of here. But remember! You should watch for the private property warning signs if you don wano get your heads blown off before you find a campin place.”

 He then waved to them and stood in his place watching them go back down to the track on the hillside.

“Son-of-a-bitch!” said a very tall man looking up at the little forest they had just left. “These dirty-rich guys act like they own the whole God damn country! We could’ve blown off the bastard’s head…if we had guns…and, of-course, if we knew how to shoot!”

They all began to laugh.

“Now you know, Bill,” said the tall dark-skinned man, “Why we need to learn to use guns. We have lots of people like that in our country whose heads…we need to blow off!”

Everyone started laughing out-loud.

“Ve don’t need camping pelace, Ahmad” said the man with short hair. “Ve need  big pelace for exercise, ok?”

“Ok, Saeed, we’ll soon find one,” said the man called Ahmad.“There are lots of places like that in this area. Bill and I have been up here lots of times.”

The man wearing mustaches said, “We need some long, thick branches too. We’ve got to have some things which look like rifles to practice with.”

“That’s no problem, Khosro,” said Ahmad, “Bill’s got a big knife and there’re lots of trees to supply us with guns!”

*******

“Hey Hooman ,whatchu doin here?” shouted a colored man walking down the hill at the head of a small group.

“Hey, Ronnie” yelled back the man called Hooman. “Good to see you! How are you?”

“Who the man ees?”asked Saeed who was standing in front of a small group of men forming a straight line.

“He looks like one of the guys we met during the sit-in in the San Francisco hotel,” said Ahmad loudly.

“Tell heem…go avay! Ve have vork!” shouted Saeed looking at Khosro.

“Yes, sir!” yelled Khosro laughing.

“No laugh, boy!” shouted Saeed angrily.

The man called Ronnie gently approached the line followed by two girls and three young men. “What’s goin on here, man!?”he asked looking at the people standing in straight line.

The man called Hooman moved forward and shook hands with him. “Whachu doing here, Ronnie? Are you going hiking or something?” he asked.

“We’re goin back, man!” Ronnie said loudly as he shook his head. “We went up there before dawn.”

The line was broken now and everyone was approaching the newcomers.

“It looks like you’ve got something up your sleeves, Ronnie,” said Khosro. “Why didju have to go up so early?”

The colored man nodded his head repeatedly wearing a proud smile on his lips. “What the hell are you guys doin up here?” he asked instead of answering.

“We’ve really got something up our sleeves,” said Hooman laughing. “I toldju a few things about it that night at the hotel, remember?”

Ronnie nodded. They both smiled.

“We almost got killed by a giant gunman on the way here,” said Hooman. “We went off the track a bit, and suddenly a monster came out of the woods ready to shoot us!”

“Oh, yeah?” said Ronnie curiously. “How was that?”

“Ve not afraid. Ve are military group!” Saeed said loudly.“Ve vant to…throw up the Shah!” he added with a proud grimace.

Ronnie began to laugh.

“We want to…overthrow…the Shah, he means,” said a thin young man. “We hope that he will go to hell…soon!”

“Oh, yeah?” said a girl now standing next to Ronnie.

“This is Lisa, Hooman,” said Ronnie. “She is organizing our Women’s Section. We’re fightin for ‘Black Power!’ We’re goino get all our civil rights!”

“Good for you!” said Hooman with a big smile on his lips. “This is my friend Hamid,” he then said pointing to the thin young man. “He came over to this country just a little while ago.”

“We are going to free our people,” said Hamid.

“That’s wonderful!” said Lisa with a smirk.

Now the members of the two groups were looking at each other with smiles on their lips. A few seconds later, Hooman began to introduce the members of his group to the newcomers. “This is Bill,  this is Ahmad, this is Khosro, this is Hamid, this is Madjid, and this is Nosrat,” he said. He then turned to the man standing a few feet away, “And this is our ‘commander’ and ‘military instructor’, Saeed. He did his military service back home and he is now teaching us what he learned there …to prepare us for military action.”

“And these are our guns,” said Khosro with a big smile on his lips holding up a thick branch of a tree as if he were holding a rifle. “We’re going to shoot down the Shah’s army with these!” he added laughing. A number of people around laughed with him.

“I’ve heard,” said Ronnie, “that the Shah’s got a big army, and lots of money. Ain’t that right?”

Herman nodded. “Batista had a big army and lots of money too!” he said. “But he only lasted a couple of years.”

Ronnie shrugged his shoulders. “Batista was in Cuba,” he said. “Cuba is a small island country in the middle of nowhere!”

“When Fidel Castro and his friends reached Cuban soil after receiving military training, ” said Hooman ignoring what Ronnie had said, “Castro told his friends, ‘We are here, so we will be victorious!’; and just a couple of years later, Batista had to get his ass out of  the country to save his life!”

Now everybody was clapping, with  big smiles on their lips. Hooman laughed. “So you liked my speech, huh?” he said chuckling. “I was, a sort of, serious, though,” he added as he laughed.

“Yes, we know,” said Ronnie, “As a matter of fact, we know all about it because…we’ve read all that shit, too!”

Now everybody was laughing.

“So,” said Ronnie after the laughter finally subsided. “Let’s see what you guys are up to in the middle of this shit!”

“Actually, all we are doing,” said Hooman, “is trying to get ready for future action. You can watch a bit of it if you like.” He then signaled to Saeed. Saeed blew a whistle and shouted, “Atten…tion!” The group quickly stood in a straight line with their heads held up and their arms kept tightly to their sides. Saeed, then, nodded his head a few times and shouted, “Very good, soldiers!”

“Thank you, sir!” yelled the group jointly.

“At ease!” shouted Saeed.

Now everyone was standing with their legs apart and their hands held behind them. “Attention!” Saeed suddenly shouted. “To the right and…March!”

Everyone turned quickly to the right and began walking with their arms and legs going straight up and down collectively.

“One…two, three…four!” Saeed screamed as he walked along with the group.

After they marched around the plot of land twice, Saeed screamed, “Stop! At ease!”

“Is that…how you’re goino liberate your country?” asked Ronnie with a grin. “You’re goino shoot your enemy with those…sticks!?”

“Come on, Ronnie!” said Lisa. “You know they’re  goino get a lot more people and real weapons to do that job! Why are you making fun of it?”

“Yeah,”said another one of their group with a smile “Lisa’s right, Ronnie! They can arm at least ten thousand people! These trees have enough wood for lots of sticks!”

Some of the audience tried to hide their chuckling.

There was a short pause before Ronnie asked, “Do you wano go  down with us…or are you goino do more marchin?”

Hooman looked at his friends inquisitively.

“Let’s go!” said Ahmad. “We’ve gulped up enough revolutionary stuff for a day. We’ should get some booze to wash it down!”

A few people laughed.

The two groups were getting ready to go back down hill now.

“Didju say…you went off the track…a little, this mornin?” asked Ronnie looking at Hooman as they began to walk.

“Yeah,” said Hooman. “We went straight up into…a grouchy giant’s property.”

“You said he had a rifle or something…when you saw him?” asked Ronnie narrowing his eyes.

“Yeah!” said Hooman. “you’re right. I did!”

Ronnie nodded his head. “I think I know… that bastard!” he mumbled .

“Oh, yeah?” said Hooman surprised. “When did you meet him?”

“Well,” Ronnie said. “That bastard…a sort of kidnapped one of my friends one time. He’s an ex- cop, you know!”

“Oh, really? I didn’t know that!” said Hooman as they ran down a steep hill.

They were now a bit ahead of the two groups.

 “You saw that girl, Lisa, up there…” Nelson continued when they stopped below a huge rock.

“Yeah!?” said Hooman nodding his head. “She’s a very pretty girl!”

“Yeah!” said Ronnie. “She’s gorgeous, and she’s been my girl friend for some time!”

“That’s nice!” said Herman. “Good for you!”

“Yeah,” said Ronnie after he took a quick look up to see where the rest of the group was. “We haven’t got much time, Hooman,” he added, “So I’ve got to tell you something quick!  You see, I’ve known this girl for a while and…she’s been of great help to me. The only problem is…she seems to be hiding something from me. You see, she’s got a job back in Sacramento. She goes there to work two or three days a week. But she’s never told me where she works. Some of my pals have been tellin me that…she’s workin for the FBI!”

Now the two groups were very close to the rock they were standing behind. “I’ve got to talk to you again…because I think you can help me. I’ll come to see you if you give me your phone number,” said Ronnie hastily.

“Yes, yes,” said Hooman hurriedly. “I’ll write it and… put it in your pocket.”

“Good,” mumbled Ronnie as he moved towards the first group of people who had appeared. “What happened to you guys?” he said loudly. “We thought you’d got lost in the woods or somethin!”

****

“How come…you chose me?” asked Hooman as he took a sip at his beer. “We haven’t been friends for…so very long.”

“Yeah, I know,” said Ronnie after gulping down some of his beer. “The thing is…I need the help of someone I can trust. This thing I’m dealing with may be…full of shit. I may need the aid of a guy who is political, bold, hothead, and white.” 

He stopped and sipped at his drink before he continued, “That night at the Hotel, I noticed how you got yourself a place of leadership because you shouted our slogans more loudly than everyone else. And today I saw how you were gettin ready to go to war with the Shah’s army with your bunch of seven guys. So I thought to myself, if anybody can help me…you are the one!”

“You know,” said Hooman, “I’ve been involved in this sort of a thing for just a short time. I don’t really know much about politics.I’ve, of-course, read some books and done a bit of mountain climbing and things like that. But, that’s about all!”

“I know!” said Ronnie. “But it all goes to show that you’re trustable…and you’re bold. That’s about all I need.”

“Ok! If you say so!” said Hooman as he leaned back on his seat taking a look out of the coffee shop. “ I’m all…ears! Shoot!”

Ronnie smiled. “That’s just I wanted to hear!” he said. “Now, listen! As I toldju this mornin…my girl friend, Lisa, has a job in Sacramento. She goes and stays there two or three days a week. She also disappears occasionally during the time she is here. In addition, she refuses to come and stay with me despite the fact that…it’ll be much more economical for both of us to live like that.”

“Well,” said Hooman, “It all makes sense. Some people don’t like to lose their independence no matter what! Maybe she doesn’t want to be reliant on you in any way!”

“No!” said Ronnie shaking his head. “She doesn’t need to rely on anybody. She’s making so much money that our whole organization is reliant on her!”

 He coughed and shook his head. “You know, what made me wary,” he said, “was that…a couple of times I wanted to go with her to Sacramento when she was going to work, but she didn’t let me! She even implied in her refusal that if I ever went along with her, that might be the last time that she could ever see me. So I had to give in…although I became very curious!”

“What about…her relatives?” asked Hooman. “Maybe her family members are against you…for some reason or…”

“Nope” said Ronnie shaking his head. “All her floks…live in New York! She has told me, a number of times, that…she has no family relations or friends in Sacramento. All she has there is an office in which she works; and she does not want to tell me where that office is , nor what she does there!”

“That does sound a bit suspicious,” agreed Hooman. “But it may all have a very simple explanation.”

 He stopped and began sipping at his beer. “By the way,” he said after a while, “What did that big man up the hills have to do with all this?”

“Well,” said Ronnie, “That was another suspicious thing that I came across. You see, she went hiking one day with one of her girl friends and did not come back until long after I expected. I got worried. So, a  couple of my friends and I took a walk up the hills looking for them and, eventually,  saw her coming down a side track with the big man following her holding a gun. When the guy saw us, he pointed his gun at us. But, before he could shoot or anything,Lisa began running, and we followed suit. Lisa told me later that she and her friend,Tracy, had gone up that side track and had been arrested by that huge man for trespassing.She added that the man had kept them there for quite some time waiting for the Sherriff to come and take them to jail. Eventually, however, Tracy had run away and the man had been forced to let Lisa go, too.”

“Well,” said Hooman, “that sounds like a relatively commonplace incident. What is that makes you suspicious of it?”

“For one thing,” said Ronnie, “I discovered, later, that Lisa doesn’t have a friend by the name of Tracy at all!”

There was a rather long pause during which they just sipped at their beers before  Hooman spoke up. “Well,” he said,” you know, one of the guys that you saw with me this morning, I met just a few months ago. I was sitting at a table in the UC Student Union, studying when I heard someone say, ‘Can I sit here?’ I got up and offered him a seat. He turned out to be a fellow country man of mine, called Mahmood. We had a long chat and became pretty good friends. It was through him that I got to meet some of the other guys you saw this morning - -Hamid, Nosrat, etc. It was quite a while after that day when I discovered that my friend’s  name was actually Madjid, and not Mahmood as he had introduced himself to me the first day. What I mean to say is that, maybe, Tracy was just a fake name for the girl who was with Lisa that day.”

“Nope!” said Ronnie shaking his head. “Someone who had seen her on the hills that day told me later that…there was no one with Lisa at all…and that Lisa did not resist that big guy in  any way.She just walked into the man’s residential area calmly and surrendered. What’s more, the guy told me that the big man is actually a retired member of the FBI.”

“God!”exclaimed Hooman. “No wonder you are so suspicious of her. I’m really getting curious about this thing, too. But, if I remember correctly, you said that Lisa helps your group financially. Do you really think that an FBI agent’s salary would be  high enough to  make such big financial contributions to  your organization...!?”

“Nope! I don’t!” said Ronnie. “What is in the back of my mind is that….maybe the job Lisa is talking about…is actually the assignment of gaining our organization’s trust…by providing us with FBI funds, among other things!”

“You mean to say that…the financial aid Lisa is giving you is actually provided by the FBI itself !?” asked Hooman surprised.

Ronnie shrugged his shoulders. “Why not!?” he said after a few seconds.

“Well,” said Hooman. “That’s something to think about. But, still, with all the love between you two and everything, she must be a pretty good actress to be able to fool you for so long …”

There was a long pause before Hooman spoke up once more.  “ Now! What am I supposed to do to help you out in this affair? Do you want me to check with the FBI or something…?”

“Nope!” said Ronnie again. “What I’d like you to do…actually is to make some kind of a plan to…keep her under watch …and find out where she works and what she does. That’s all!” He stopped and shook his head for some seconds before he continued, “I thought, you see, if I tried to do that myself, being a black man and all, I might attract someone’s attention. And if I am under FBI watch myself, then I might be in real trouble poking my nose into their affairs.”

Hooman nodded several times. “Ok,” he said then. “It may be a little fun, too. You just let me know…when and what time she’s goino go to Sacramento. Meanwhile, you should keep me informed about whatever she does so that I’ll be better prepared for the things that  might  come up.”

*****

“You’d better get down, Ronnie,” said Hooman hurriedly. “We’re too close! She might see you!”

“All right, man,”said Ronnie as he slipped his body down to lay on the back seat of the car.

“We’re almost there,” said the driver. “The sign said 10 miles to Sacramento.”

“You’d better slow down, Khosro,” said a tall man sitting next to him in the front. “She might recognize your face with the mustaches and all.”

“It’s ok, Ahmad!” said Hooman. “She is too busy driving. Besides she hasn’t got a hunch that she might be followed.”

The car ahead of them was now about one hundred feet away.

“Be careful not to lose him, man,” mumbled Ronnie. “This is the only chance we’ve got.”

The first car turned into a narrow street with very little traffic.

“She is going away from downtown,” mumbled Ronnie who was now sitting half way up looking around. “We’ve got to slow down, otherwise she might see us.”

They all remained silent until Ahmad suddenly said, “Hey, hey! She turned! We’re goino lose her!”

“Not a very bad place for a secret agency’s office,” mumbled Ronnie. “I wonder what their cover is!”

They were now in a narrow, almost deserted, street. Khosro pulled the car to the curb and parked in front of a house. They remained motionless, for some seconds, staring at the other car, which was being parked about two hundred feet ahead of them. A  couple of minutes later, a woman wearing a neat dress came out of the car, took a quick look around and walked towards one of the houses some twenty feet away from the pavement.

 “I’d better go now before we lose track of her,” said Hooman, gently opening the door of the car.

“Don’t forget to whistle if something goes wrong!” said Ronnie who was now sitting upright.

All the houses looked alike. They were worn out and quiet, making the whole neighborhood look like it had been deserted for years. There were only two other cars parked by the curb along the street. Hooman gently walked forward until he reached Lisa’s car. He then took a quick look at the house, which she had entered. He could now see two men standing on one side of its entrance and another on the other. “They’re probably cops in civilian clothes guarding the place,” he thought, “Ronnie’s assumption may be right!”

 He had gone  past the house some one hundred feet when he heard a noise. He gently turned around and began to walk back. He could now see a man coming out of the house. He took a glance around and began pursuing the newcomer. Before going past the house, however, he noticed that one of the people standing there took a long look at him and gently went in.  He was now a bit confused. “There’s no point in doing this,” he thought shaking his head. “If I am to find out anything, I have to take a risk!”  He began thinking about some kind of a question he might ask the people around.  “ ‘Mr. Brown!’”  he mumbled to himself. “ Yes! I’m looking for Mr. Brown. He’s a friend of my father’s, and he lives on this street with his family. Yes! Mr. Brown!”

He gently turned back and began walking towards the row of houses pretending to be checking them one by one. When he reached the one Lisa had entered, he slowed down acting like he was looking for something. Soon the house door opened, a man came out and one of the two people waiting walked in. There was now only one person left standing there. Hooman gently walked forward, took a lengthy look at the door and turned to the man. “Sir! Does Mr. Brown live here?” he asked very sternly.

“Mr. Brown!?” said the man looking  a bit surprised. “I don’t…think so,” he then mumbled.

“Is this place an office…of some kind?” Hooman asked.

The man was looking somewhat confused now. “I guess,” he said. “I thought you were looking for…Mr. Brown, though!?” he added

“Yeah,” said Hooman with a smile. “Maybe …he works here, or something,” he added shrugging his shoulders.

“Maybe!” said the man nodding before he began looking at something in the street.

Hooman began  examining different parts of the street with his eyes.

A couple of minutes later he heard the second man’s voice. “Do you…want to see someone here?” he asked in a suspicious tone of voice.

“Yes,” Hooman mumbled, “Mr.Brown ,…that is , if he works here.”

“Do you want me…to ask for you?” the man mumbled.

“Yes, please! Will you?” Hooman mumbled back.

“Yeah, sure!” the man said loudly with a smile on his lips.

Twenty minutes later the door of the house gently opened,

a man came out , took a look around, and walked away.

“See you soon,” the man who had talked to him said before he went into the house.

Hooman gently walked to the street pavement and took a glance in the direction of their own car. There was no sign of any living being in or around it. It looked just like any old car, parked there with no one inside.  He went back and stood near the house’s entrance.

Some twenty minutes later, the house moved open again and someone came out. “Mr. Brown is expecting you,” said the newcomer, wearing a friendly smile. “You can go right in!”  He said as he gently walked away.

Hooman took a look in the direction of their car. “I hope someone is watching!” he thought.

He moved towards the door. It was partly open. “Come in!” someone said from a distance.

He slowly walked  in. There was a rather dark corridor leading to two doors. He strolled towards the one which was open.

“Here!” a female’s voice ordered. “This way, please!”

 He gently walked forward and stepped in.

The place, however, did not look much like what he had expected to see. Instead of  desks and chairs and shelves covered with files, etc., there was just a small table in one corner ,  a tiny closet in the other,two armchairs on the one side, and  a huge bed on the other On the bed , there was someone sitting with a  sheet covering the lower part  of her body. The top part, however, was naked with two beautiful breasts bulging out. As he took a couple of steps in, he heard someone order firmly, “Stop right there!”

Before he knew it, the woman turned over, jumped up and out of the bed and took a robe off one of the armchairs to cover her beautiful naked body. She then turned around again to face him. “Please, sit down!” she said. “I think I owe you…an explanation!”

“God!” Hooman mumbled as he dropped his body onto one of the armchairs.

“I’m sorry, Hooman,” exclaimed the girl, “I need to tell you a few things to…”

“No! You don’t, Lisa,” he heard himself say. “I think I know the rest of the story. My only problem is, now, that …I don’t know what I’m supposed to say to that unfortunate boyfriend of yours who is waiting outside aching to hear about the result of my investigation.”

 

 

 

 


© Copyright 2018 Herman Azadi. All rights reserved.

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