THE DETECTIVES OF THE 9TH PRECINCT

SERIES

 

 

“HOMEMADE STILLS AND

SHOTGUN JUSTICE”

 

 

 

 

“Alright Neal this year we need to pick a vacation spot that is Joey friendly since he will be going with us, any suggestions?”

 

“Yeah camping I still have all of the equipment and….”

 

“Just not no but hell no!” Steve replies.

 

“Why?”

 

“Why? I can’t believe that you have to ask why after what happened!” Steve replies.

 

“Oh brother, Steve that was so long ago don’t you ever get over anything?” Neal asks.

 

“No! No I don’t! Especially since your bone-head idea almost got us killed!!”

 

“Jeez Louise it wasn’t that bad!” Neal replies.

 

“Not that bad you say! Not that bad! HA! That’s like saying that the Grand Canyon is just a hole in the ground!”

 

“The Grand Canyon is just a hole in the ground.” Neal replies.

 

“Oh shut up! Hey now that is an idea why don’t we go to the Grand Canyon? We take those donkey rides down into the Canyon, Joey will just love it!”

 

“The Grand Canyon is just too….oh I don’t know….touristy.”

 

“Too touristy?” Steve replies.

 

“Yeah too touristy. Let’s just go camping.”

 

“No.”

 

“That was our very first vacation together….” Neal points out.

 

“Yeah and it was almost our last. Alright let’s split the difference let’s go to the Grand Canyon and we can camp there.”

 

“You can do that?” Neal asks.

 

“Oh yeah look at the brochure I got.”

 

“Wow! Hey look they have cabins and look at all the other stuff that is included and holy crap look at the price!!! Steve this is just way too expensive.”

 

“No not really not when you work it out.”

 

“Work it out?” Neal asks.

 

“Yeah you and I pay half and don’t forget our friend who works at the Grand Canyon. He can get us a discount.”

 

“How much of a discount?” Neal asks.

 

“Oh about two hundred dollars apiece.”

 

“Wow! Oh alright Steve what’s the catch?” Neal asks.

 

“Neal I’m hurt that you would think that there would be a catch.”

 

“Yeah, yeah dry your eyes toots and tell me what the catch is!”

 

“Well there might be just the littlest of catches….” Steve replies.

 

“Steve!”

 

“Oh alright have you ever heard of Smokey the Bear?” Steve asks.

 

“Smokey the Bear? You mean the ‘Only you can prevent forest fires?’ Smokey the Bear?”

 

“Yeah and you know you did that quite well and that’s a good thing….” Steve says.

 

“Why?”

 

“Well because you see Neal….”

 

“Yeah Steve….”

 

“Our buddy Gary needs a guy to wear the Smokey the Bear costume….”

 

“Uh huh.” Neal replies.

 

“And I told him….”

 

“You told him what Steve?”

 

“That you would be very happy to do it!”

 

“What!!! That I would be happy to do it?” Neal repeats.

 

“Yeah you see he did have a guy to wear it but that guy can’t make it that weekend.”

 

“And why is that?” Neal asks.

 

“The guy is in jail.”

 

“Oh. Wait you said over the weekend?”

 

“Yeah.” Steve replies. “And Joey would get a big kick out of seeing you in that get-up.”

 

“No Steve Joey will get a kick out of seeing us in that get-up!”

 

“Us?”

 

“Yes us Steve. I wear it one day and the next day you wear it, otherwise it is a no-go!”

 

“Oh alright Neal.”

 

“So what do I have to do exactly?”

 

“Oh it is pretty simple really, just hand out t-shirts and info on how to prevent forest fires and maybe demonstrate how easy it is to start forest fires, that sort of stuff.” Steve replies.

 

“Well that sounds easy I guess and you know this might just be fun after all.”

 

“Sure and a lot less dangerous than that camping trip you had us go on! I mean it was supposed to be a vacation and it turned into work!!”

 

“Yeah, yeah I know well it wasn’t exactly a bona-find case of ours but it might be interesting to talk about.” Neal replies.

 

“Sure you start it off because that trip was your idea!”

 

Neal takes a deep breath. “Alright it all started like this….”

 

 

 

V7 V7 V7 V7 V7 V7 V7 V7 V7 V7

 

 

 

 

“So Neal you do know where you’re going right?”

 

“Steve how many times today are you going to ask me that?”

 

“Until I am sure that you know where you are going. You do know where you’re going right?”

 

“Yes Steve I do.” Neal replies as he shakes his head. “What gives man you have never been worried about my navigation skills before.”

 

“That’s because we are usually in the city not out in this vast wilderness! I mean one wrong turn and we could disappear forever!” Steve says as he gestures.

 

“I thought you liked going camping?” Neal asks.

 

“I do but I like the kind of camping where you get a cabin and you can go fishing and then if you don’t catch anything you can drive into town and have a great fish dinner!”

 

Neal laughs. “Steve that isn’t camping this is camping. We have a nice two man tent, air mattresses, sleeping bags and we are going to cook out over a campfire. We stopped at that town and bought supplies….”

 

“And speaking of that town don’t you think they were just a little weird the way they stared at us?”

 

Neal shrugs. “No not really.”

 

“Not really! Neal they stared at us liked we had two heads!”

 

“I guess they weren’t used to guys with long hair.”

 

“No I guess not.” Steve replies.

 

“This is a great place for camping! There’s a lake to go fishing and Phil said that it had a lot of fish….”

 

“Oh yeah not to mention bears, coyotes, killer squirrels and big frigging spiders and Bigfoot!!”


“Bigfoot?” Neal replies as he laughs. “Have you been reading those Bizarre but True Magazines again?”

 

“Yeah I mean Neal you don’t know what is out in those woods!”

 

“Sure Steve there might even be a UFO out there and little green men running around.”

 

“Exactly!! According to this magazine….” Steve picks a magazine up from the floorboard at his feet and he opens it and he finds the page that he is looking for. “….it says that Bigfoot is related to man! He might be a missing link of some sort!”

 

“You’re the missing link.” Neal replies.

 

“Neal that isn’t nice I am trying to have an intelligent conversation with you and you have to insult me.”

 

“Alright, alright I’m sorry go ahead.”

 

“It says here that Bigfoot lives in a family unit, eyewitnesses have reported seeing female Bigfoot’s and children Bigfoot’s and they had been seen in the Pacific Northwest and the Washington State areas….”

 

“See Steve you have nothing to worry about this is California.”

 

“….They also been seen as far as the Sierra Nevada’s in California.” Steve replies as he looks over at Neal and he raises his eyebrows at him.

 

“The next thing you will tell me is that you don’t want to go fishing in the lake because the Loch Ness Monster may be in it.”

 

“The Lock Ness Monster is in Scotland….Neal look a fork in the road!”

 

“Yes Steve I see it.”

 

“Which way do we go? Which way do we go?” Steve asks.

 

“Steve you sound like that cartoon and we go to the right.”

 

“Are you sure?”

 

Neal takes a deep breath. “Yes I am positive. See there’s the lake.”

 

“That’s a lake looks more like a pond to me.” Steve replies.

 

“Alright so it isn’t that big. We can drive right up into this clearing and right over there we can put up the tent.” Neal says as he stops the car and he points.

 

“Well it looks okay I guess.”

 

Neal puts his hand on Steve’s shoulder. “Come on let’s set up camp and if we’re lucky we can get some fishing in.”

 

 

 

TWO HOURS LATER:

 

 

 

“Phil said there were a lot of fish?” Steve asks.

 

“Yeah.” Neal replies.

 

“I guess in some countries five would be considered a lot.”

 

“Probably so.” Neal says.

 

“I think five is enough and besides I’m hungry.”

 

Neal reels his line in. “Yeah me too, if you’ll get the firewood and start the fire I’ll clean the fish, deal?”

 

“Deal.” Steve replies as he grabs the oars and he starts to row the boat to the bank.

 

 

 

ANOTHER TWO HOURS LATER:

 

 

 

“Neal do you want another Smore?”

 

“Oh no I think I had enough.”

 

“Have you ever seen so many stars?” Steve asks. “It feels like I could reach out and touch them.”

 

“They are beautiful.” Neal replies as he blows a smoke ring. “So are you having fun or are you still scared?”

 

“Oh I was never scared I was just cautious.” Steve says as Neal laughs. “And yes I’m having a great time. What time is it?”

 

“It is straight up midnight.” Neal replies.

 

“How do you know that?”

 

Neal points to the sky. “The moon is straight up in the sky so that means it’s midnight.”

 

“Oh I see.” Steve says as he yawns. “I think I’m going to turn in.”

 

“Alright I want to finish this cigarette and after I straightened up I’ll be in there myself.”

 

“See you in the morning.” Steve says as he goes into the tent.

 

“Night buddy.”

 

 

 

CAMPING THE NEXT MORNING:

 

 

 

The next morning Steve comes out of the tent stretching and yawning running his fingers thru his hair. “Hey.” Steve says to Neal who pours Steve a cup of coffee.

 

“Hey yourself.”

 

“We’re on vacation why are you up so early?” Steve asks as he takes the cup of coffee.

 

“It wasn’t my choice first my bladder woke me up and then I heard some big trucks rumble by.”

 

“Big trucks? Out here?” Steve asks as he zips his jacket up further against the morning chill.

 

“Yeah and they ended up across the pond over there.” Neal points and Steve looks over in that direction.

 

“Hey I think I see a house or something over there back off in the trees.” Steve replies.

 

“Yeah me too and in the past hour there has been a lot of activity over there. A lot of banging and noise like they are building something. A big something.” Neal replies.

 

“Huh well maybe somebody is renovating a house or….something.” Steve takes another sip of coffee. “So what are we going to do today?” Steve asks.

 

“How about we go on a hike?” Neal replies as he wiggles his eyebrows.

 

 

 

AN HOUR LATER:

 

 

 

Neal swats a mosquito on his neck. “Damn mosquitoes!!”

 

“This was your idea remember.” Steve replies as he looks over at Neal as they make their way thru the tall grass on their hands and knees.

 

“Yes I know!” Neal says his voice lowered to a whisper.

 

They continued on their hands and knees until they get to the trees where they can see what is going on then they lie down on their stomachs next to each other.

 

“What in the hell are they doing?” Steve whispers to Neal.

 

Neal shakes his head. “I don’t know.”

 

“What is that thing in the back of that truck?” Steve asks as he points at a truck.

 

“I don’t know that either….”

 

“Well then what in the hell do you know?” Steve asks.

 

The next thing they hear is a shotgun being cocked behind them and they freeze.

 

“I know that we’re in some big trouble….” Neal says as they look back over their shoulders.

 

Standing behind them holding that shotgun was a big guy wearing overalls and boots with a cap on his head and by the looks of it he hadn’t had a bath in days.

 

“Hiya man how’s it’s going?” Steve asks as he smiles and waves.

 

“What are you two guys doing here?” The man asks.

 

Neal laughs. “Hey buddy can you lower that shotgun it makes me nervous….”

 

“No! What are you two doing here? You’re trespassing….”

 

“Trespassing? Oh no no we’re just camping back over there across the pond….” Steve says as he points.

 

“You’re trespassing!!! Now get up!!!” The man orders.

 

Neal and Steve look at one another.

 

The man with the gun moves closer. “I said get up!!!”

 

“Alright man alright cool it!” Neal replies as he puts his hand out as he gets to his feet. “My friend here he has a bad back so I can help him to his feet?” Neal asks.

 

“Slowly.” The man replies.

 

Neal extends his hand to Steve. “Come on Steve I’ll help you up.” Neal then winks at him as Steve grabs his hand and Steve nods his head and then Neal propels Steve right into the legs of the guy. Steve wraps his arms around him and Steve takes him down to the ground and as he does so the shotgun fires, luckily it is into the air. Neal runs over to help Steve but before he can get there another man, with a shotgun, steps out from behind the trees and he fires in Neal’s direction.

 

“NEAL!!!” Steve yells.

 

The first man reaches out and he grabs Steve by his long hair and he pulls Steve back to him and into his arms and then….

 

 

 

THAT SAME DAY HOURS LATER:

 

 

 

“Jesus Steve I didn’t think that you were ever going to wake up!”

 

Neal helps Steve to sit up as he grabs his head. “Oh holy shit!!!! My head is killing me! What in the hell happened?”

 

“That guy put a sleeper hold on you.” Neal replies.

 

Steve reaches out and he puts his hands on Neal’s arms. “Are you okay? I saw….I saw that other guy fire at you with that shotgun!”

 

“No I’m alright I hit the deck just at the right time.”

 

Steve nods as he holds his head. “Okay. Where in the hell are we?”

 

“The best I can tell we are in a root cellar.” Neal replies.

 

“A root cellar?”

 

“Yeah a root cellar. See all the food on the shelves.” Neal asks as he gestures around.

 

Steve rubs the back of his neck as he sits up straighter. “Oh yeah well somebody has been busy canning stuff. Neal is there any water down here I’m thirsty.”

 

“Yeah I think I saw some water let me go over here and….here you go.” Neal takes the cap off of the jug and he hands it to Steve who takes a big drink and then immediately Steve makes a face and he spits it out as he coughs.

 

“What? Was it bad?” Neal asks.

 

Steve wipes his mouth. “That isn’t water what in the hell is that?”

 

Neal takes the bottle back and he sniffs it. “Oh man!” Then Neal takes a little sip.

 

“Neal!”

 

Neal also makes a face then he spits it out. “Jesus!”

 

“What is it?” Steve asks.

 

“It all makes sense now.”

 

“What does?” Steve asks.

 

“All of this! I mean the two goons with the heavy artillery and this stuff and what I heard those two goons say.”

 

“What? What did they say?” Steve asks.

 

“Steve they think we’ve Revenuers.”

 

Steve looks shocked. “Revenuers? Oh come on Neal!! Okay so if they think we are Revenuers that means they are….”

 

“Moonshiners….” They both say at the same time.

 

“And that is moonshine?” Steve asks as he points at it.

 

“Yeah.”

 

“Good god who could drink that stuff? I mean isn’t that shit dangerous? I heard it kills people right?” Steve asks.

 

“Yeah I heard that too.”

 

“Neal they don’t know that we’re cops I mean why do they think we are Revenuers?” Steve asks.

 

“Well I guess they think that anybody that sneaks around in the woods watching them is technically Revenuers and we aren’t the first ones to be here.”

 

“What do you mean we aren’t the first ones?” Steve asks.

 

“While you were out I did some snooping around and I found this buried over in the corner.” Neal replies as he pulls something out of his back pocket and he hands it to Steve.

 

Steve takes it and he immediately recognizes it as a leather case that holds a badge and I.D. card from a police agency but this leather case was dirt covered and cracked and when Steve opened it the plastic protecting the I.D. card was torn and dirty and the badge was scratched and tarnished.

 

“Hank Trevor?” Steve says.

 

“Yeah Hank Trevor from the ATF.”

 

“Oh shit Neal I remember this guy! I read about him in the paper, didn’t he disappear around this time last year?”

 

“Yeah he was investigating some alcohol poisoning deaths and I guess his investigation ended here.” Neal replies.

 

“They never found him.”

 

“I’ll be willing to bet that he’s buried out in those woods somewhere.” Neal replies.

 

“Shit man all I wanted to do was go fishing!”

 

“Yeah man I know me too.” Neal replies.

 

“So let’s get out of here make our back to our campsite then we go back to that little burg we stopped in and we contact the Sheriff!” Steve suggests.

 

“Steve there is only one way out of here and that door is it and it’s bolted from the outside.”

 

“I wonder how long they going to keep us here?”

 

“I don’t know.” Neal replies as he shrugs.

 

A few seconds later they had their answer when the door was unbolted from the outside and opened by one of the men from their earlier encounter and he pointed a shotgun at them.

 

“Who knew that two long-haired sissy boys from San Francisco would be Revenuers?”

 

“Look Bubba come down here and this long-haired sissy boy will kick your redneck ass!!” Steve says as he approaches the stairs that lead to the door but Neal grabs him by his arm.

 

The man laughs then he tosses a pair of handcuffs to Neal. “Put those on.”

 

“Screw you man come down here and do it yourself!” Neal replies as he drops the handcuffs to the ground.

 

The man then aims the shotgun at Steve and he fires and the sound is deafening in the small space as the dirt at Steve’s feet explodes. “The next one goes into his head now put them on and make sure they can’t slip off.”

 

Neal bends over and he picks up the handcuffs then he places a cuff on Steve’s wrist then he places the other on his then they hold their wrists up. “Satisfied?”

 

“Come on.” He replies as he gestures with the shotgun and the guys move slowly up the stairs and once outside the guy with the shotgun moves behind them and he puts his foot on Steve’s butt and he pushes him forward. “Walk up that trail! Move it!”

 

Steve looks back over his shoulder at him as they start up the trail. “Well now we know what they were waiting for.” Neal replies as he looks around. “Darkness.”

 

“How about we put Plan B into play?” Steve asks.

 

“Hey you two shut-up!!” The man says as Steve and Neal look at one another.

 

At the top of the trail they come into a small clearing and once there they see a pit had been dug that eerily resemblance a grave and next to the pit was a shovel stuck in the ground.

 

“Alright you two jump down in there.” The man says as he gestures with the shotgun.

 

Neal peers over the edge and then he grabs Steve’s hand. “Come on Steve.”

 

Steve pulls back. “Oh no no are you crazy? I am not getting down in there! No way no how!!”

 

“Steve you aren’t helping….” Neal points out.

 

“There is no way I want to spend eternity handcuffed to this moron!!!” Steve replies as he holds up his hand.

 

Moron?” Neal repeats.

 

Steve pushes Neal and he takes a step back. “Yeah moron! Because this whole thing is your fault!!!”

 

“My fault?” Neal repeats.

 

“Hey you two!!!” The guy with the shotgun yells but Steve ignores him as he kicks Neal in the shin and when Neal bends over to grab his shin he grabs Steve instead and when Neal lifts him off of his feet Steve kicks out with his feet and he hits the shotgun and it discharges into the air and Steve kicks out again and this time he kicks the guy in the face. When the guy falls backwards Neal pulls the shovel out of the ground and together they raise the shovel above their heads as they stand over him and then as the sun dips behind the trees together they bring the shovel down….

 

“Shit no handcuff key!! No nothing!” Steve replies after they check his pockets. “Now how in the hell are we going to get out of these?”

 

“No more ammo either. So this shotgun is useless. Come on help me roll him into the grave.”

 

They roll him into the grave and they throw the shotgun in after him.

 

“Where to now?” Steve asks as he rubs the dirt off of his hands.

 

“We go back to our campsite pack up all of our shit and get the hell out of Dodge! This guy was a guard and I am sure the others heard that gunshot but that wasn’t unexpected….”

 

“But when he doesn’t come back….” Steve replies.

 

“….They will come looking. Come on we can use the full moon as our light. We have to hold hands.” Neal replies as he holds his hand up that is handcuffed to Steve’s.

 

“Well since Farrah Fawcett isn’t here you will have to do. Let’s go partner.” Steve replies.

 

 

 

BACK AT STEVE’S AND NEAL’S CAMPSITE:

 

 

 

“It’s gone! It’s all gone! The tent and my car!” Neal exclaims as they stand in the spot where Neal’s Charger was parked.

 

Steve sinks to the ground. “And I bet I know who took it.” Neal sits besides Steve on the ground. “How do we get to town now it was like ten miles away and the moonshiners are probably going to come looking for us.” Steve replies.

 

“Time for Plan C.” Neal replies.

 

“Plan C?” Steve asks. Neal nods his head as they get to their feet. “I hope we get out of this before we run out of letters.” Steve replies.

 

“I hope we get out of this before we get to Plan F.”

 

“Plan F? What in the heck is Plan F?” Steve asks.

 

“Beats me man I never got that far up into the alphabet before.”

 

“Oh….” Steve replies.

 

 

 

THE MOONSHINER’S CAMP:

 

 

 

Hiding in the trees Neal points to the old pick-up truck that was parked next to the root cellar and Steve nods his head and they wait five minutes just to make sure that no one comes around and then slowly and very quietly they leave the safety of the trees to creep over to the rear of the truck. Hanging onto the tailgate of the truck they wait and after they take a good look around they creep over to the driver’s side and Steve slowly opens the door. They both wince as the truck’s door hinges protest being open and that caused them to stop and wait. When no one shows up Neal removes a rock that was placed in front of the tire to stop it from rolling forward then Steve slides in first across the seat and Neal follows.

 

Neal pulls the door shut and then he puts the truck into Neutral and he reaches for the parking brake and releases it and ever so slowly the truck creeps forward and Neal turns the steering wheel to the right and the momentum carries the truck down the hill.

 

They bump along the trail until they get to the road and Neal turns the steering wheel to the right and in the moonlight they can see that the road slopes downward and then back up again.

 

“I hope we’re going fast enough to make it over that hill.” Neal replies.

 

“Yeah me too.”

 

“Come on baby faster, faster!” Neal says as he encourages the truck to go faster.

 

And as if the truck heard Neal’s pleas it moved faster downhill and it had just enough left in her to crest the hill on the other side and roll to a stop. Neal and Steve put their heads back against the seat and they both took a collective breath.

 

“Thank you god!” Steve exclaims.

 

Neal sits back up and he looks everywhere that truck keys could be stashed but in this case they weren’t.

 

“You can hotwire this thing right?” Neal asks.

 

“Oh sure no problem that is if it starts at all.”

 

“Think positive.” Neal says as he opens the truck door and he stands outside of it so Steve can lie down in the seat.

 

“Well I am positive with us handcuffed together this won’t be easy. I can use some light man do you have your lighter?”

 

“Yeah sure.” Neal takes his lighter out of his pocket and he holds it down so Steve can see.

 

“I never did tell you that I had the fastest record for hotwiring a car did I?” Steve asks.

 

Neal looks nervously around. “No you didn’t.”

 

Steve finds the right ignition wires and he puts them together and in the next second the engine tries to turnover.

 

“Come on baby start for Steve.”

 

Steve tries again and again it makes an effort to turnover.

 

“Steve come on man!”

 

“Neal man I’m trying….come on be a good girl….”

 

The third time was the charm because it started with a backfire and black smoke coming out of the exhaust.

 

“Holy shit!” Neal exclaims as he jumps back into the seat and he slams the door shut and he puts it into drive and he turns on the headlights, of which, it only had one.

 

“Steve you did it!”

 

“Yeah man I think I broke my own record I don’t see anybody following us.” Steve replies as he turns around and he looks out of the back windshield.

 

“Yeah I thought that backfire had us made.” Neal replies. “What are you looking for?”

 

“A gun would be nice right about now along with a ham and cheese sandwich.” Steve replies as he looks behind the seat.

 

“Oh don’t mention food.”

 

“When we get to town we can eat my stomach thinks my throat has been cut!” Steve replies.

 

Neal smiles. “Mine too.”


Steve rubs his wrist. “But first these have to come off. Wearing this thing does not bring back fond memories.”

 

“Do you think that you can pick it?”

 

Steve looks at it. “Ifs it’s cheap enough probably.” Steve yawns. “Oh I could go to sleep right here.”

 

Neal glances in the rear view mirror. “Go ahead I mean I don’t see anybody behind us and the town is getting closer every mile.”

 

“Okay I think I will just close my eyes for a minute or two and….”

 

“….And if anything happens I’ll wake you up.” Neal finishes.

 

“Sure.”

 

Steve leans back in the seat and he puts his head against Neal’s shoulder and in a few minutes he is snoring which causes Neal to smile as he concentrates on the road ahead of him.

 

 

 

GREENFIELD CALIFORNIA EARLY THE NEXT MORNING:

 

 

 

About a mile and a half outside of Greenfield the truck decided to run out of gas and Neal being true to his word woke Steve up and together they pushed the truck off the road and behind some bushes and trees and then they both climbed back into the cab of the truck and went back to sleep. The sun warming the interior of the cab where they slept is what woke them up and after they untangled themselves from each other they walked the mile and a half into town, sticking to the woods that surrounded it.

 

“Shit my wrist is killing me! Hey look the Sheriff’s office let’s go down and talk to him maybe he’ll have keys….” Steve says as the Sheriff comes out of his office and Neal then reached out and he grabbed Steve by his belt loop and he pulled him back to him. “Hey what are you doing?”

 

“Ssshhhh!!! We can’t go down there!” Neal replies as he whispers.

 

“Why not?” Steve whispers back.

 

“While you were out in the root cellar I could see thru the cracks that were around the door….”

 

“So?” Steve asks.

 

“And I saw a lot of people out there around the stills, working, sampling….”

 

“And….?” Steve replies.

 

“And the Sheriff was one of them!!!!” Neal replies as he points.

 

“What!!!! Are you sure?” Steve says as he looks at the Sheriff getting into his car.

 

“Oh yeah! He wasn’t in uniform but I would recognize that bald head anywhere.”

 

They duck down as the Sheriff drives by. “Shit! What do we do now!!! I feel like the guys at the Alamo! We need more help!!!”

 

Neal taps Steve on the shoulder as he points over to the gas station. “I bet she has a phone.”

 

“She?”

 

“Yeah you know the chick at the gas station that you were flirting with so much that you let at least two dollars worth of gas spill out onto the ground?” Neal points out.

 

“Oh yeah Marta! But if we go in there like this….” Steve holds up his wrist. “….we will scare the hell out of her.”

 

“I don’t think we have much of a choice do you?”

 

“No I guess not.” Steve replies.

 

 

 

ONE STOP FOOD AND GAS:

 

 

 

The bell rang over the door as Steve and Neal entered the gas station and immediately Marta came out of the back room holding a shotgun and she leveled it at the two of them.

 

“Alright guys stop right there.” Marta replies.

 

Neal and Steve immediately put their hands in the air. “Damn! What in the hell is wrong with this place!!! Why does everybody have to have shotguns!!?” Steve replies.

 

“A better question would be why do they always have to point them at us?” Neal asks.

 

“Well it might be because you two are wanted!” Marta replies.

 

“Wanted?” Neal replies.

 

“Yeah wanted for what?” Steve asks.

 

“Murder….”

 

“Murder….oh come on!!!” Steve replies.

 

“Who did we allegedly kill?” Neal asks.

 

“Homer Williams.” Marta replies.

 

Neal and Steve look at one another. “Homer Williams?” Neal replies.

 

“Oh….you mean Bubba!?” Steve replies.

 

“Who?” Marta asks.

 

“You know Bubba!” Steve says.

 

Marta shakes her head. “No, the Sheriff said you bashed his head in with a shovel. Did you two do that?”

 

“Well yeah but we had good reason to….” Steve replies.

 

“Yeah he handcuffed us together and he was going to shoot us with a shotgun, not unlike that one there, and he was going to bury us out in the woods!!!!”

 

“Clearly a case of self-defense.” Steve points out.

 

Marta looks at them sideways. “What were you two doing out there anyway?”

 

“Camping….” Steve says.

 

“Fishing….” Neal says as they look at each other. “Actually we were fishing and camping.”

 

Steve nods his head. “Can we like put our hands down?”

 

“Oh sorry sure.” Marta says.

 

“Look all we want is to get those stupid bracelets off….” Neal replies.

 

“Maybe we should tell her.” Steve says.

 

“Tell me what?” Marta says as she holds the shotgun tighter.

 

“I don’t know if we can trust her.” Neal says as he looks at her.

 

“Trust me with what?” Marta asks.

 

“It’s complicated….” Steve replies.

 

“We have to tell you something but we don’t want you saying anything to anybody….”

 

“Especially to that Sheriff.” Steve replies.

 

“So what are you two aliens from another planet?” Marta asks.

 

Steve laughs as he wags his finger at her. “Oh you’re funny you are!”

 

“Close we’re cops.” Neal says as he points to himself and Steve.

 

Then Marta did something unexpected, she put the shotgun down and she started to laugh. “Oh come on!! I would buy the aliens from another planet but cops!!!! No way!” Marta says as she laughs harder.

 

“Alright I’ll prove it to you Miss Smarty Pants!” Steve replies as he reaches into his back pocket for his badge and then he realizes that he doesn’t have it. “Oh shit Neal!!”

 

Neal reaches behind him and his pockets are also empty. “Their in the….”

 

“….Car!” They say together.

 

“Uh huh.” Marta replies as she crosses her arms over her chest.

 

“Look now we are cops!” Steve replies.

 

“We are from Oceanview California….”

 

“….The 9th Precinct and we are Detectives! I am Detective Sergeant Perry Badge number 196.”

 

“And I am Detective Sergeant Schon Badge number 186. Just call the Precinct if you don’t believe us.” Neal says.

 

“Look all we want is to get these things off and then get something eat.” Steve replies.

 

“And a hot shower would be good too but I am sure by now that the Sheriff has everybody in this town looking for us.”

 

“You’re really cops?” Marta asks.

 

“Yeah we are.” Steve says.

 

“We’re on vacation and we just stumbled onto something that is bigger than this whole town….”

 

“You mean the moonshiners?” Marta asks.

 

“Yeah you know about them?” Steve asks.

 

“Everybody knows about them and everybody keeps their mouths shut. For years the moonshiners have kept this town afloat that is until those people died. I have a house you two can go to and do whatever you need to do. There’s tools in the garage that you can use to get those cuffs off.”

 

“You’re do that for us?” Steve asks.

 

“Yeah you don’t even know us.”

 

Marta smiles. “You two got this town stirred up and you got the Sheriff on the run and somebody needed to get rid of Bubba, he was what you would call an enforcer type.”

 

Neal and Steve look at each other.

 

“He hurt a lot of people in the name of protecting those stills so I trust you two. Here are my keys. My car is out back. Now get.”

 

Neal catches them. “Thanks Marta.”

 

“Yeah thanks Marta.” Steve replies.

 

 

 

MARTA’S HOUSE:

 

 

 

Neal parked the car in the garage and then they got out and they pulled down the garage door and Steve turned on the overhead light.

 

“Tools, tools hey look I found a hacksaw!” Steve replies as he holds it up.

 

“Be careful with that man.” Neal replies.

 

“Here let’s go over to the corner of the workbench and I’ll see if I cut the chain.”

 

They move over to the corner of the bench and after ten minutes of continuous cutting with the hacksaw there wasn’t even a dent.

 

“Well that didn’t work.” Neal points out.

 

“No shit Sherlock.”

 

“Can you pick them?” Neal asks.

 

Steve looks them over. “Yeah I’ll need a bobby pin or a safety pin or even some wire.”

 

“Alright then let’s go and look in the house.”

 

They go into the house thru the garage and in the bedroom they found a few safety pins.

 

“What are you going to do?” Neal asks.

 

“I’m going to shim them open.”

 

“Shim them open?” Neal asks.

 

“Yeah you see this metal part that swings around?”

 

“Yeah.” Neal replies.

 

“This metal part has a series of notches in the end.”

 

“Yeah.” Neal replies.

 

“The other part of the handcuff has a ratchet in it. See?” Steve points out.

 

“Yeah.”

 

“The ratchet in combination with the notches on the other part allows the handcuff to move in one direction only, towards the prisoner’s arm. Who in this case would be me.” Steve says.

 

“Okay I’m following you and all of this is very interesting but how do you get them off?” Neal asks.

 

Steve holds up the safety pin. “I take this safety pin and I shove it in between the notches and the ratchets and wa-la they open.“

 

Steve holds his wrist up and like magic the cuff opens and falls off of his wrist.

 

“Wow!!!! That is amazing and just a little scary! Steve I didn’t know you could do that!”

 

Steve looks at him. “Neal there is a lot of things that you don’t know I can do and a lot of them aren’t legal. Alright let me get this one off of you.”

 

It only took Steve a few seconds to get the handcuff off of Neal then they begin to explore the house they found themselves in.

 

“Very neat and tidy, she‘s a neat freak too so you and her should get a long.” Neal says.

 

“Hey Neal look a girl after my own heart! She has cold cuts in the fridge and root beer!” Steve replies happily as he takes them out of the fridge and he sets them on the counter.

 

“Well help is out of the question the phone is dead.” Neal replies as he holds the receiver up. “Make me a sandwich I’m going to take a shower.” Neal says as he takes off his shirt.

 

“I wish we had some clean clothes.” Steve says as he makes the sandwiches.

 

“I bet you could wear her clothes you two are about the same size.”

 

“I know you think you’re trying to insult me but I just may do that and she might have some stuff that could fit you too you know.” Steve says.

 

“Yeah, yeah.” Neal replies as he goes into the bathroom.

 

“I’ll look around while you’re in the shower.”

 

 

 

MARTA’S HOUSE 45 MINUTES LATER:

 

 

 

“Hey Steve did you find some clean clothes?” Neal asks as he opens the bathroom door a crack and in the next minute or so some clothes are handed to Neal thru the crack in the door. “Hey thanks man.”

 

Neal closes the door and a few minutes later Neal comes out of the bathroom his head covered by a towel.

 

“Hey you know man its scary these overalls actually fit! There’s still hot water and I hope you didn’t eat all the sandwiches because I’m….” Neal stops as he removes the towel from his head and he looks up to see the Sheriff standing there.

 

“Where’s Steve?”

 

“Gone. Don’t worry he didn’t suffer….much. Come on let’s go.” The sheriff says.

 

“Where?” Neal asks.

 

“You’re find out. You’re under arrest for murder.” The sheriff replies.

 

“Aren’t you going to read me my rights Sheriff?”

 

“You….don’t have any rights. Let’s go.”

 

 

 

MOONSHINER’S CAMP:

 

 

 

“Neal!” Steve exclaims after he watches them push Neal down the stairs. “Are you okay?”

 

“Yeah I think so. I thought you were dead.”

 

Steve helps Neal to stand up. “These guys don’t have an original thought we are back in the same old root cellar. I like my criminals with some imagination if you know what I mean.”

 

“I bet they are waiting for dark and there’s another grave out there somewhere.” Neal replies.

 

“Uh huh. Well we might as well take a nap.” Steve replies.

 

“I don’t think I can sleep after I saw one of those rednecks driving my car!! We have to get out of this soon before they paint my car orange and call it General something or other!” Neal replies as he sits down on one of the stairs.

 

“I wonder if Marta gave us up.”

 

“I don’t know I don’t think at this point it really matters.” Neal replies. “But what does matter is the fact that nobody knows what is going on with us! We have a week’s vacation and it hasn’t been a week yet so technically we aren’t missing we aren’t nothing!”

 

“We’re just on vacation.” Steve says.

 

“Exactly.”

 

“Well at least you got some clean clothes and a shower.” Steve points out.

 

“Well you had something to eat.”

 

“I had two sandwiches.” Steve says as he holds up two fingers.

 

“Yeah rub it in.”

 

“Hey Neal look.” Steve points to the door behind him.

 

“What?” Neal replies as he looks behind himself.

 

“Somebody slipped some paper thru the crack in the door! Can you see who it was?” Steve asks as Neal looks thru the crack.

 

“No man.”

 

“What does the note say?” Steve asks as Neal picks it up and then he comes down the stairs and when he stands next to Steve he opens the note where they both can see it.

 

“It says….STALL. I guess that means we use Plans D and E.”


“D and E?” Steve asks.

 

“Yeah D and E.”

 

“We are just one letter away from F and we don’t have a Plan F so maybe we should establish a Plan F.” Steve points out.

 

“Okay Plan F is run like hell.”

 

“Got it. I wonder who’s trying to help us.” Steve says.

 

“I don’t know but I’m glad that they are.”

 

Steve goes over to the shelves and he begins to move things around.

 

“Steve what are you looking for?”

 

“Paper.” Steve replies.

 

“What for?”

 

“Just in case they do kill me I want to do my Will I have some stuff I want to leave you.”

 

Neal scratches his head. “Steve they are going to kill both of us so it won’t do much good to put me….so what stuff are you going to leave me?”

 

“Well let me see….” Steve says as he sits down next to Neal.

 

 

 

A FEW HOURS LATER AT DUSK:

 

 

 

“Alright boys stop right there.” The Sheriff says.

 

Neal and Steve look behind them. “Ah come on guys again with the pit? Can’t you guys put together an original thought?” Neal asks.

 

“Here in Jackson County we don’t stand for any strangers snooping around.” The Sheriff replies as he and two other men point shotguns at them.

 

“And we don’t cotton to Revenuers either.” One of the men replied.

 

“We aren’t revenuers! We’re on vacation!” Steve says.

 

“Oh yeah then how do you explain these?” One of the men asks as he tosses their police badges at their feet as Steve and Neal look at them.

 

“Those….those don’t mean anything we are completely out of our jurisdiction here!” Steve replies as he point at them.

 

“Look man we don’t care what stuff you’re doing we just wanted to be left alone and to go fishing!” Neal replies.

 

“That’s right….all we wanted to do….” Steve replies as he sniffles. “….is to go….fishing!!”

 

As Neal watches Steve covers his eyes with his hands and he starts to cry as the Sheriff and the other two guys look at one another.

 

“Steve, Steve come on man don’t cry.” Neal replies as he does his best to comfort him.

 

“What’s wrong with him?” One of the men asks.

 

“Yeah man he’s bawling like a girl!” The other man replies.

 

“Oh come on guys give us just a minute okay I mean he’s sensitive and all and he gets upset when shotguns are pointed at him.” Neal replies as Steve cries harder. “Steve man come on buck up.”

 

“I’m….I’m not prepared for this at all!!! I mean I didn’t even get a chance to say goodbye to Mrs. Perry and baby Perry!! Oh how will they ever get along without me? I mean my poor, deaf mother! I’m I’m…..their only means of support!!” Steve replies as he cries on Neal’s shoulder.

 

“I know I mean I am sure that my twins will miss their dear, old dead dad.” Neal replies as he pats Steve on the back.

 

“Alright, alright for land sakes let’s get this over with!! Okay boys on the count of three….” The Sheriff replies as they aim their guns at Steve and Neal. “One….two….”

 

“WAIT!” Steve yells as he holds up his hands. “Don’t we get one last request? I mean all condemned men get at least one last request!”

 

“You know he’s right.” Neal replies.

 

“Yeah Sheriff you know I saw that on the Movie of the Week last week.” One of the men replies.

 

“Yeah me too Sheriff.”

 

“Well you two shut up!! Alright you can have a last request, what do you want?”

 

“Ah Neal do you still have that pack of smokes?” Steve asks.

 

Neal feels around in the pockets of the over-alls he is wearing. “Yeah sure.” He replies as he pulls out the pack. “I have six left.” Neal holds the pack out to Steve and he takes one.

 

“We want to smoke the rest of the cigarettes in the pack….it would be a shame to let them go to waste.” Neal replies as he puts one in his mouth and he lights it and then he lights Steve’s and Steve takes a tentative puff and immediately he starts to cough. And he coughs and he coughs. “He….he had quit for awhile….you know….so he isn’t used to it.” Neal replies as he hangs onto him.

 

“You two are full of shit!! On the count of three….one….two….three!!” The Sheriff yells and on the count of three Steve and Neal yell and in the blink of an eye a shot rings out and one of the three drops dead in his tracks. Steve and Neal takes advantage of this opportunity to jump into the pit behind them.

 

“Drop it Sheriff!” The voice says loud and clear.

 

“Neal who’s that?” Steve asks in between fits of coughing.

 

Neal shakes his head. “I don’t know I’m afraid if I stick my head up it might get blown off.”

 

“You!” The Sheriff yells as he laughs. “What are you doing out here? You’re first mistake was shooting one of my men and the other was coming out here….alone!”

 

“No Sheriff you made the mistake….light her up boys!!!”

 

“Neal who is it?”

 

Neal peeks carefully over the edge of the pit. “Holy shit….”

 

Even before Neal could get the rest of his words out the woods surrounding them were lit up like it was broad daylight by at least half-a dozen car headlights.

 

“Sheriff you and your men are here by under arrest….”

 

From the pit they could feel the ground shake from people running and they could hear the noise as the people being chased crashed into the nearby woods.

 

“Neal what’s going on?” Steve asks as he tugs on Neal’s sleeve.

 

Before Neal could answer a solitary figure appeared above them standing on the edge of the pit holding a shotgun and to the guys this person seemed awfully familiar.

 

Neal raises a hand above his eye as he squints. “Who are you?”

 

“Who goes there?” Steve says from the corner of the pit.

 

“Oh come on guys don’t tell me that you don’t know who I am?” The person says.

 

“You know the voice does sound….” Steve replies.

 

“Marta?!” Neal asks.

 

“Marta?” Steve repeats.

 

“Bingo! Come on guys let me help you out of that pit.” Marta says.

 

 

 

SAM’S THE LOCAL WATERING HOLE A DAY LATER:

 

 

 

“Steve you better go easy on that stuff.” Neal says to Steve as he drinks his second jar of moonshine.

 

“Oh no oh no you know this stuff isn’t bad once you get used to it.” Steve replies as he drains the jar. “Whew!” Steve says as he shakes his head back and forth. “I wonder what’s taking her so long I mean we are supposed to be buying her a farewell dinner.”

 

“Well you know women….speaking of which here she is.” Neal replies as he gets out of his seat and when Marta comes over to the table Neal hugs her and then he pulls a chair out for her.

 

“Hi ya Marta!” Steve replies as he smiles and waves.

 

“Hey guys I’m sorry I’m late but I was finishing some last minute packing.”

 

“That’s….that’s cool! Hey do ya want some of this….this?” Steve replies as he holds up his now empty glass.

 

“Steve I think we will stick with beer.” Steve replies as he pours her a glass from the pitcher on the table.

 

“Oh come on Neal! Where’s….where’s your sense of adventure!!! This is from the bartender’s own stash so it’s safe!!! Whew! Are you guys hot or is it just me?”

 

“I think it’s just you Steve!” Neal replies.

 

Steve reaches under the table and he pulls out a jug and he pours some of the contents into his glass which most of splashes onto the table.


“Marta you know you really fooled us!!”

 

“Well even though Steve is drunk off of his ass….”

 

“No I’m not!! I mean this stuff has had no effect on me at all!!” Steve replies.

 

“… As I was saying Steve is right. I mean I would never have guessed that you are an ATF agent.”

 

“An undercover ATF agent Neal don’t forget that!!! If all the ATF agents are as nice looking as you Marta then I think I’m going to join the ATF!” Steve replies as he laughs.

 

Marta laughs. “Just don’t tell anybody that this was my first, big undercover assignment.”


Steve puts his finger against his lips. “Shhhh! You’re secret is safe with us!!”

 

Neal laughs. “You did a good job. So you came out here to find Agent Trevor?”

 

“Almost four months ago now and it wasn’t easy since the locals don’t take to newcomers but everybody needs gas.” Marta replies and Steve laughs.

 

“Ah that’s a good one!!! Gas! Everybody has gas!!!!” Steve laughs as he slaps the tabletop with his hand. “Hey bartender cook guy!!! Where’s those hamburgers!!!!!”

 

“Steve he told us he wasn’t going to start cooking them until Marta showed up, remember?”

 

Steve snaps his fingers or he attempts to. “Neal I think their broken!”

 

“Anyway now that you completed your first assignment what do you do now?” Neal asks.

 

“Without your guys help….”

 

“Awww shucks Marta it was nothing really….” Steve replies.

 

“….I would still be trying to solve what happened to Agent Trevor and trying to arrest the Sheriff and the moonshiners so now I get to go back home, at least for a little while.” Marta replies.

 

“Where’s home?” Neal asks.

 

Virginia. Hey it would be great if you two could come and visit the next time you have a vacation!”

 

Steve laughs. “We have some days left on this one and Neal I’ve been….been thinking we could rent a canoe and take a ride down a river somewhere!!!”

 

“Steve didn’t you see the movie Deliverance?” Neal asks as Marta smiles.

 

“Well yeah but what does that have to do with us renting a canoe and taking a ride down a river somewhere?!!” Steve asks loudly.

 

“Never mind, hey here’s the food!” Neal replies as the bartender brings a big tray with their hamburgers and fries on it.

 

“Steve are you alright?” Neal asks after Steve just sits there looking at his plate.

 

“Oh yeah man I’m…I’m just going to go to the can you know.” Steve replies.

 

But after a few minutes Steve is still sitting in his seat.

 

“Steve….”

 

“Hmmmm?” Steve replies.


“I thought you said that you were going to go and use the can?” Neal replies.

 

“Oh yeah man I’m like the wind….blink and you’re miss me….watch me….here I go!” Steve replied but instead of getting up from his seat he rolls out of it and he lands on the floor.

 

Neal and Marta watch this and after a few minutes Neal says to the bartender as he points to Steve’s plate, “Can we get that to go please? Now Marta tell me about being in the ATF.”

 


V7 V7 V7 V7 V7 V7 V7 V7 V7 V7

 

 

 

 

“Two thousand dollars Steve!!” Neal yells.

 

“Alright already how many times are you going to say that? I know how much it is.”

 

“Oh my god two thousand dollars!!!!” Neal yells again.

 

“Who knew that the Smokey the Bear costume was so flammable? I didn’t? Did you? And who knew that it would cost two thousand dollars!!!”

 

“I can’t believe this!” Neal says.

 

“You can’t believe it? How do you think I feel I was wearing it when it went up in flames! If it wasn’t for that quick thinking class of 5th graders on a field trip my meat would have been cooked, literally!!!!”

 

“How did it happen?” Neal asks.

 

“Well I’m not sure I mean I was demonstrating how ‘Learn not to Burn’ and the next thing I knew I was burning!” Steve replies.

 

“This has to be the worst vacation since I took that wrong turn way back on our first….uh oh!!” Neal replies as he covers his mouth as his eyes widen.

 

“What did you say?” Steve asks.

 

Neal shakes his head. “Nothing I didn’t say a thing!”

 

“You said that you took a wrong turn way back on our first vacation!!! I knew it I knew you didn’t know where you were going!!!”

 

“Well I didn’t do it on purpose!” Neal replies.

 

“Well I didn’t do this on purpose either! It was just one of those things you know.”

 

“They banned us from the Grand Canyon for two years!!!” Neal replies.

 

“Yeah you know I didn’t know that they could do that. Anyway Joey had a blast and he’s the most important thing you know.”

 

“Oh yeah my son had a blast seeing his god-father run around in a circle with his Smokey the Bear head on fire! If this keeps up his mother will never let him come back to visit.”

 

“Well Neal look at it this way at least Joey will have interesting papers to write.”

 

“What?” Neal asks.

 

“You know like we did when we were in school, we had to write those papers telling what we did on our summer vacations! Remember? At least Joey’s won’t be boring.”

 

“Steve as long as you are around Joey’s life will never, ever be boring.” Neal replies.

 

Steve pauses. “Was that meant to be a compliment?”


“Yes Steve it was.”

 

“Oh well then thanks!” Steve says happily. “And we have a lot of pictures! It will take me weeks to get them developed and then organized and then put into albums. Let’s see you get one and Joey gets one and me!”

 

“I so hope that you got the shot of me wearing my union suit with the back flap down.” Neal says sarcastically.

 

“Oh I did!” Steve replies happily.

 

“I was kidding Steve.”

 

“Well I wasn’t! I got the picture of you stubbing your toe on that rock when you said that lovely cuss word I am sure Joey will try out on his mom, I got the picture of you when that donkey bit you on your ass and I even got one when that snake scared you.”

 

“It didn’t scare me I knew it was there.” Neal replies.

 

“Yeah right.”

 

“Did you get any decent pictures?” Neal asks.

 

“Oh sure I got a bunch of you and Joey fishing and doing other father and son stuff, someday when I have a son you can take pictures of me!”

 

“Steve as much as I want you to have kids of your own because I know that will be the ultimate thrill for you I shudder to think of there being a lot of little Perry’s running around. If they turn out to be anything like you it gives me the creeping willies!!”

 

“Well Neal I know what you mean one of me is enough! Too much of a good thing and all of that!”

 

Neal laughs. “You’re right Steve.”

 

“Well by the clock on the wall another shift is over.” Steve replies.

 

Neal yawns. “Oh man it’s hard to come back to work after a vacation.”

 

“True but when I am not here I miss it.”

 

“Yeah Steve me too.”

 

“Let’s go home Neal tomorrow is another day.”

 

Neal laughs. “I just love how you turn a phrase.”

 

“Thanks Neal.”

 

“Victor 7 over and out!” Neal replies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-30-

 

 

 

©LAB and SRP & JRNY FANFICTION 2007 to 2008. All rights reserved. Steve Perry and Neal Schon’s likenesses appear only as characters. Any resemblance to any one living or dead is purely a coincidence. This fictional story is for entertainment purposes only and for the complete enjoyment of the author and the readers. I have no permission from Steve Perry or/and the members of Journey to use their likenesses or names and this story is purely fiction and written solely for the love of things and people back in the day. No real rock stars were injured in the writing of these stories and I put them back when I am finish with them.

 


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