It’s a night like any other – after supper I nestle into the folds of my couch, pop open a silver bullet and flip on the game: and just like that the phone rings, forcing me to move from my perfectly comfortable spot. I waltz on over to the kitchen to answer and hear the voice of my son on the other end; one that sounds absolutely terrified…
“Dad” he speaks hastily, “you got to bail me out of here – they put meth in my truck and kicked me ‘til my ribs cracked: these people are nuts!” He goes on in an incoherent manner, like he’s half out of his mind: I tell him to sit tight while I grab my keys and I’m over there in less than twenty minutes – I find him in the corner of a cell clutching his side and covered in bruises. After paying his bail and marching him out of the station I get him to the car where we can have a heart-to-heart talk.
You see, this isn’t the first time I bailed his ass out of jail – last year he went on a drunken rampage of property destruction after that two-bit tart of his left him for some other punk from out of town. But he was different tonight: last time he was still hung over when he called me, crying like a little girl over his broken heart – today he’s sober as a goddamn judge and afraid for his life.
“Alright son,” I proceed to question him, “what happened? Did you get mixed up with a bad crowd? Get into debt with some dope dealer and had to transport his product for him to settle it? What?” He tells me that he did nothing – that he was just pulled over by some state trooper who demanded to search his truck. He had refused, and that the drugs were planted by the cops,: who also kicked the shit out of him for his initial refusal to allow the search.
Needless to say, I found this story to be a little hard to believe – I’ve heard such stories before, but they are difficult to prove unless there was a third-party witness at the scene. My first inclination was to dismiss this as a lie to cover up his own activities, but I took one hard look into his eyes and I could tell that he wasn’t lying to me: I can read this boy like an open book and he’s honest as the day is long – the question is how to make others see that… At any rate, I told Robert that he could crash at my place tonight and we would start sorting through this shit in the morning.
About a week has passed and we are meeting our lawyer for the first time – the first thing he tells us when he sits down at the table is that he has a plea agreement all worked out for the upcoming hearing and that my son won’t spend more than a few months in jail if all goes as planned: not once did he even presume that his client was innocent in his whole presentation and I call him on this. “Well,” he begins to elaborate, “the evidence that the cops have on your boy seems pretty solid – it’s difficult to raise reasonable doubt when you are caught with goods and try to resist arrest. And don’t give me that ‘police brutality’ story: we have nothing to substantiate it and the word of a uniformed officer trumps that of an arrested suspect in court – the badge gives his statements a lot more credibility than those of regular Joes like you.”
“Nothing to substantiate” our story? Shouldn’t there be a dash cam or something in the front seat of the police cruiser to record this shit as it happens? “Funny you should ask,” he replies, “it seems the footage from that vehicle has been misplaced somewhere – the department’s records are a bureaucratic black hole that files disappear in all the time due to clerical errors and, according to some people, deliberate concealment of evidence. But you didn’t hear that from me, as I only know what I can prove before a judge…”
I take a look at my son, he gives me the nod – I turn back to the lawyer and tell him that his incompetent ass is fired. I don’t have the money to afford a better attorney than this fucking public defender, but I know that this fucker will ruin my son’s life by letting him get a conviction at all: he already lost his job thanks to a “zero tolerance” policy and no one will ever hire him again if he gets sent up the river on drug charges – a guilty plea might as well be a sentence to lifelong unemployment and destitution!
Since the lawyers are going to be of no help to us, it’s time to call in a few favors from a few of my old squad mates – if only I can persuade those crazy fuckers to leave behind their supply caches and underground bunkers for a while…
I’d lost contact with these men since they left civilization and headed to the wilderness – these men who came back from the killing fields of Afghanistan and Iraq to a world that has no place for them. Feeling betrayed by their country and finding it impossible to readjust to civilian life, these men formed their own enclave over two hundred miles from any population center of any significance: men who will just as quickly kill you as shake your hand should the situation require it – the only reason I’m even willing to brave the trip to their hideaway is because of the rapport I’ve built with them back in the raghead-infested hellhole I fought with them in.
After leaving the highways well over half an hour ago and following a series of dirt and gravel paths through wooded terrain I come to a clearing – here I park the car, exit the vehicle and come out with my hands up. “Skegs!” I call out to the ridge overlooking the clearing, “You remember your old squad mate Daniel, yes?” I see no movement from the top of the ridge and begin to wonder if I showed up at the right location: “Danny,” a voice whispers from maybe twenty feet from my right side, “follow me.” I turn to my right and see Skegs decked out in a self-made camouflage of dirt and tall grass holding an Mauser m59 30-06 rifle (he always was a sneaky bastard, but he really outdid himself here – either he’s gotten sneakier or I’m losing my edge…).
He takes me down a winding path through the tall grass and into a wooded thicket – we crawl on our hands and knees until we come to a clearing in the trees next to a cliff. Skegs approaches the base of the cliff and removes the camo netting he set up over the entrance to his bunker and we head on in. Inside, I’m greeted with the sight of a short-wave radio and a laptop on a desk set up to the right of the entrance, a small bed chamber to the left and wall-to-wall guns in between the two.
“Well,” Skegs huffs as he pulls up the chair near his desk, “what’s the occasion for the visit Danny?” I fill him in on the situation with my son and that I’d appreciate it if he and the rest of the New Sons of Liberty would help me investigate the troopers that framed him – “really?” he scoffs at me, “you think that an investigation is going to make one goddamn bit of difference?”
“Let me tell you what I’ve been seeing these last few months,” he continues – “at least 3 different demonstrations were fired on with live ammo by the police – one of them being a protest to end police brutality ironically enough. You think that’s bad? Well, there’s rumors floating around of various detention centers where captured members of the protest groups have been sent: no one has heard from them since.” He goes on and on about things like stories of torture, massive manhunts aimed at unidentified persons and strange stirrings within various militia groups (I kind of tuned out most of the details, but that’s the gist of it…).
Finally, after his speech he gives me a good look in the eye – “with all this kind of shit that’s happening, do you think that a simple investigation is going to make one bit of difference? People are dying out there Danny, and the Constitution is being treated like a piece of fucking toilet paper: what difference do you think we will make?”
To be honest, I know nothing about any of these things he speaks of – I left politics behind when I got back from Iraq and have no intention of getting involved in that bullshit again. I tell him that the simple truth here is that he owes me at least a solid effort for all the times I tagged a towel-head looking to counter-snipe his ass: that he wouldn’t even be alive if I wasn’t watching over him. After a long pause, he agrees to contact the rest of his militia to see what can be done – “we’ll help you out” he declares solemnly, “but we act on our terms and do things our way. Make no mistake Danny, you are getting involved in a war here and there will be hell to pay for it.”
I rather doubt that the situation is as serious as he claims, but the troopers certainly aren’t people to be trifled with and any action we take against them just might provoke a violent response from at least one of the rogue cops – I agree to operate under any terms and conditions that they have for me. With that, Skegs leads me back into the woods to my car and I head home to let my boy know that help is on the way…
Two weeks have come and gone since I enlisted Skegs and his boys for help and so far we’ve been heading into dead end after dead end. It seems like my son isn’t the first one to raise complaints about Donavan and Maxwell – at least four other people have accused them of framing them up for some crime or another, but in all cases the complaints were either retracted or refuted in court (based on evidence submitted by the accused officers, no less…). The boys tried to contact the plaintiffs for more information, but three of them refused to talk and one has since died under unusual circumstances (suicide is the official ruling on the matter, but it happened about three days before the plaintiff was supposed to bring his case to court – it’s alleged that he had iron-clad proof that the troopers set him up…).
Since our current investigation is going nowhere we decided to take a new approach – Skegs has a few of his boys tailing Maxwell for the next few days, seeing if he can lead us to anything that we can use to leverage him against Donavan (who is the senior partner – and who would be a lot more difficult to blackmail due to his standing in the community). Since I would be recognized on sight if I joined the stake-out, I wait back at my home with Skegs for word from our men in the field: so far we’ve had no real news at all – and Skegs is getting antsy. “We should have just done this my” Skegs grumbles as he places is head between his hands on the kitchen table. “Nice and clean: no witnesses, no leads, no bodies recovered – your boy would walk without the arresting officers around to testify against him in court.”
I tell him, again, that this is not how I do things – we live in a land of law and order and that we should live like it!
“Really?” he scoffs at me. “Don’t tell me you don’t know what’s been going on because I already told you! And besides, it wouldn’t be the first time we ‘disappeared’ anyone: would it?” And here he goes yet again with the war – for fucks sake, we arrested terrorists! I remind him that we brought those damn Koran worshippers to justice: that they had their day in court before a military tribunal.
“And you knows this how?” he asks mockingly. “You know those things are carried out in total secrecy and no one really knows what evidence was brought against these guy. And besides, do you really think that these towel heads ever posed any threat to America? Do you honestly believe that government fairy tale about the towers being brought down by a bunch of sand niggers? That these people were really building WMDs to launch against us? No, we fought, risked our lives and spilled blood so that a bunch of rich people can get even richer: there’s nothing more to it than that…”
I know this is Skegs here – that he has some pretty off-the-wall ideas about grand conspiracies, shadow governments and all that. But listening to him make these claims about honorable men like us being part of a murder machine for the profit of a few gets my blood boiling! Sure, we’re not perfect and some mistakes may have been made but we are not and never were agents of tyranny! If I didn’t need him and his boys for help I’d just break his jaw right now for this: good thing for him that I have the sense to keep my temper in check – for now…
Before my blood could boil over the phone rings – happy for the interruption of this rather unpleasant conversation. I pick up the receiver and hope for some good news. And I was not disappointed!
Without delay, Skegs and I dashed out the door to meet with the boys at the home of officer Maxwell – we now have bona fide proof that the trooper is a fag! With the photos Skegs’ men took of him and his lover it won’t take much to flip him into working for us!
I’m now in the front seat of my son’s truck – Robert’s seated beside me, filled with restlessness about confronting the man who framed him for possession. In the back of the cab are two of Skeg’s boys whose thoughts couldn’t be any further from the occasion: they are in the middle of a heated debate over whether the United States is controlled by a Freemason cabal or a Jewish one – normally I wouldn’t give a shit about this, but since they’re about to be part of a citizen’s arrest, I’d appreciate it if they had their heads in the game!
Well, they have been useful so far – they did get the photos of Maxwell making out with some guy in a bar and they did help intimidate the faggot into spilling his guts (it would be hilarious if it weren’t so sad seeing a grown man cry his eyes out begging us not to tell his wife about this – good thing for him she was out of town all week…), so I guess that I should go a little easy on their personal eccentricities.
Anyway, I go over the arrest drill with my boy one more time as we wait for Donavan to show up – hopefully it will be just him alone, but Skegs and his recon crew noticed some pretty wide tire tracks on the path leading to his house the other day: could be just the UPS guy, but the possibility that it’s a SWAT van filled with operators hasn’t escaped my notice – so Skegs and his recon boys are taking up sniper posts about 150 – 200 yards from the house to give us fire support on demand. Also, the rest of his unit have a Humvee packed with shot-gunners to go close-quarters with any SWATs that might show up to protect Donavan: a 12-guage slug at close range has more stopping power than most bullets – easily penetrating most forms of body armor and can even kill without penetration due to the extreme transference of energy.
Not much sooner than I finish going over the arrest procedure with my son then Donavan pulls up to the house – I tell the boys in the back to cut the conspiracy chit-chat and to be ready for anything: with that we exit the truck and head towards Donavan’s vehicle – and he is approaching us on foot. He sees that we are in full battle gear, so he probably knows the reason we’re here – yet he seems totally calm about it. This disturbs me.
Robert informs Donavan of the charges being brought against him, and all he does is grin and say that he thought we’d try this – with that about four fire teams of men in black come out of the house and the exterior shed, along with a large, unmarked black van (looks like Skegs was right to be suspicious here…). Donavan informs us that these men are DHS and that they suspect an act of terrorism: the men that they once sent into goddamn shitholes to find terrorist are now accused of being terrorists – how ironic.
I give these men one chance to comply with law – if they care about the constitution they swore to protect, they will turn on Donavan in a heartbeat once they know what we’re really here for. They just keep their weapons trained on us: Samuel Keller Gabriels, time to do what you do best – I give the signal and all hell breaks loose.
With the DHS pinned down by sniper fire, I lead my son and my men back to the truck (the closest source of reliable cover) – by the time I look back, I see that one of them was downed about 20 yards from the truck and my son is tending to wounds the other sustained. There’s no way we can properly treat his wounds under fire, so I have my son lay down cover fire while I head into the woods: drawing fire to myself giving Robert some time to stop the bleeding of the wounded man – also hoping that the humvee I had camouflaged earlier will be here soon (as Robert can’t do any more for the wounded until this fight is ended).
Almost on cue, I hear a roaring engine in the distance – I turn to see the two-ton armored hummer and am filled with relief: I board the vehicle from the back, the humvee crashes through the DHS van (taking away their cover) and it’s all over shortly afterwards.
Without a firefight distracting me any longer, I reach into the med supplies chest stored on the humvee and grab an IV bag I kept there for just such an occasion. I rush over to the wounded man, prepare to insert the needle into his arm and give him the life-sustaining fluids he needs… but I can’t feel a pulse. For all my son’s efforts, he still bled out during the commotion. It’s in that moment I realize what has happened: I have two dead men in my unit, at least a dozen dead DHS agents and now, as I raise my head in response to one last gunshot, I know for certain that my son has taken his first human life today – how the hell am I going to explain this to the authorities? Worse, how will I explain this to the families of the dead? This was supposed to be an operation to arrest one corrupt cop, not a massacre!
Just as this sinks in, Skegs approaches me from behind – “I told you that you were getting involved in a war here, didn’t I?” he chides me. “You knew going into this that something like this could happen and you prepared for it as best you could – but that doesn’t change the fact that things will never be the same for us ever again now.”
He’s right. There no going back to how things were just thirty days ago – we are now wanted men for what we did here today (justified or not – the authorities won’t care either way now that we are “cop killers”). Today we cease to be responsible citizens and become fugitives…