There are no graphic sex scenes in this story. This story is a very dark tale and a lot different than most of my writings.
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We were informed that the jury had reached a verdict and were waiting for them to come back into the court room. There is an undercurrent of noise running through the court; it's subtle and muted, but you can hear people talking. They are all wondering if I will be sent to prison; I'm wondering the same thing. Will I be acquitted or sent to jail?
I hope to be released, but it really doesn't make a lot of difference. Freedom would be much better than incarceration but either way it goes, I did what I thought had to be done. Not for me, but for my family and most other families in this city. I can live with that.
The reason I'm here is because of my actions and reactions and I will accept the consequences. I didn't start or cause the problem but I was the final solution.
My name is Nathaniel Thomas Clark; my family has always believed in personal freedom and I was named after two patriots of the American Revolution. It's not really important, but it does help explain my beliefs and actions. I was arrested on my birthday as I turned 63. Yeah, I know, a little old to start a life of crime.
I was drafted into the Army after I graduated from high school in 1963; I spent 30 years in the service of my country. I wasn't a Ranger, Green Beret, or Special Forces; I was just a man doing a job and retired as a Master Sergeant. I could have retired as a First Sergeant or even a Sergeant Major but I refused the promotions because I wanted to stay close to the men in the squad and the company. I did serve three tours in Southeast Asia and on my first tour expanded my knowledge of hand to hand combat.
My counterpart with the ARVN (Army of the Republic of Vietnam) was a master in several forms of martial arts; he spent a lot of time sharing what he knew and I was a good student. I was pretty big at 6' 3" 200 pounds and coupled with my training it made me a very dangerous man.
A few months prior to my trial, I got a call from my brother, Zachery. It was not a social call about his family or how was I doing or why I hadn't come for a visit. He wanted and needed my help because his granddaughter, Alyssa, had been car jacked and his grandson, Jake, had been beaten.
Zack's son, Robert and his wife Mary had been killed in a car crash when the children were very young. Their only living relatives were Zack, his wife Beth, and me so the kids came to live with Zack.
The three guys took Alyssa and her car behind some shops in a strip mall where these sorry excuses for men beat her up badly. One of the store owners was working late, saw what they were doing and called the police. The animals were in the process of ripping off her clothes when they heard the sirens and took off in her car.
The 17 year old Alyssa would grab any man's attention. She is tall like her father and grandfather with a slender athletic body with strawberry blond hair and green eyes from her mother. I understood the attraction to her by the three men but I couldn't and wouldn't forgive their actions.
Alyssa gave the police descriptions of all three assholes while she was in the ER being treated for her injuries. She was bruised, sore, and had a few minor cuts but basically she was okay. The quick action by the store owner saved her from being raped. Two days later the police arrested three men while they were driving Alyssa's car. She went down to the police station with her father and picked them out of a line up; the men were charged and held over for trial.
Apparently they made bail. Three days after being released, they started getting threatening phone calls about what would happen if Alyssa testified. A couple of days later, Jake was grabbed on his way home from school and roughed up a bit. It wasn't really serious, but he would have a black eye and his top lip was cut.
Jake said that a van pulled up, two men jumped out and smacked him around. After the first punch Jake kicked one the guys in the family jewels and then just tried to cover up and didn't get a good look at the guy beating on him. Jake said it was a white van but he didn't get the license number.
Alyssa was at home when Jake came in and called her father. Zack rushed home from work and called the cops but the police said that if Jake couldn't identify who beat him up that they couldn't do anything. The police said they didn't have the man power to guard his family and told Zack to be keep the family close and to be careful. That's when he called me asking for my help in guarding his family
Zack is a couple of years older than me with the same features inherited from our father; at 6' 4" and 220 pounds we share the same body type. Our black hair and blue eyes and our family resemblance have sometimes led people to think we're twins. He was my best friend growing up and always had my back. The difference in our temperament and philosophy usually complemented each other.
Normally Zack would try to talk rather than fight when there was a problem. He wasn't a coward, he just felt talking it out was better than fighting if at all possible. Not me, I was always ready to take names, kick ass, and talk later. We have the same beliefs, just a different way of getting our way. He was like Teddy Roosevelt, "Talk softly but carry a big stick".
I was more like General Patton, "May God have mercy on my enemies, because I won't."
You need to understand my philosophy to understand me and how I react to things. I will put up with a certain amount of bullshit. Once that bullshit quota has been reached, I will do what is necessary to put an end to it. It takes a lot to push me over the edge, but once I go over that edge I will go all the way. I have no compassion or sympathy for anyone but my family and my friends. I have learned to disengage my mind and I don't lose any sleep over the things I have done or have to do.
I listened to Zack for about 10minutes. When he wound down, I told him I would be at his house by daylight. "Just hang in there, the Calvary is on the way," I tried to reassure him.
Packing took less than an hour because I always keep a "kit" ready to go. I live off of my pension and some investments I made while in the Army. Therefore I didn't have to check with a job or boss to see if I could have time off. It wouldn't have mattered; I would have gone to help my family no matter what a boss or supervisor said. I didn't have a wife to check with either.
I had married a pretty young nurse after my second tour in Vietnam; she was a nurse in the hospital where I was recovering. I was in the hospital because my body did not react well to bullets and Sally took a liking to the crusty old dogface. I wasn't a very good patient and yelled at the other nurses but she wouldn't put up with it.
She would tell me to pipe down and do what I was supposed to. I was impressed with this young nurse that put me in my place. We began to kid each other about who was a better sergeant. As I was leaving the hospital I asked her to go to dinner with me and our romance developed quickly. Apparently Sally saw something worthwhile in the battle hardened solider.
We had some wonderful years together in spite of some of the duty stations we lived at. After being married for a couple of years, I was going to be stationed at Fort Sill in Oklahoma for at least three years as an instructor so we decided to start a family. I came home one day from teaching some of the Second Lieutenants how to find their asses without using a road map and was a little stressed out. I remember thinking that the Army was in bad shape if these guys were our future military leaders.
Sally met me just inside the door of our apartment in a pair of high heels and a velvet chocker around her neck. She handed me a cold beer and began to unbutton my shirt; so much for the stress from work. I picked her up before she could get my shirt off and carried her into our bedroom. About an hour later as I was holding her and drinking the now warm beer she told me I was going to be a father. "Sergeant Daddy" she called me.
Two months later Sally's car was hit broadside by a drunk driver. Both Sally and the baby were killed. I was alone again. We had been married a little over five years.
So the only person I wanted to call before I left was Stella. Her husband Jackson and I served together in Vietnam. He and I were on the same flight to the paradise of Southeast Asia on our all expenses paid tour provided by the U.S. Army. We became friends and spent all of my first tour in the same company. Jackson lost his battle with cancer shortly before I got out of the army. I met Stella at one of the reunions of the company after I retired. We began to spend time together since we both lived in San Diego and now are more of a friends with benefits relationship than a couple. Still, she would worry if she didn't hear from me.
I told her where I was going and why. Then I asked her, "Pick up my mail will ya hon."
"Sure, no problem, Nate. How long will you be gone?"
"Don't know for sure, I'll call you when I get an idea. Open the mail and if anything needs my attention, call me please," I requested.
"Just remember hot shot, you're not 24 anymore. Keep a firm grasp on reality, Don Quixote. These aren't windmills, these are serious assholes." Stella always worries about me.
"I'll call you when I get there, thanks Stella." I hung up and grabbed 3 hours of sleep. Waking up at 8 PM I got my kit, jumped in my truck, and began my journey. Travel time from my home in San Diego to Zack's place in Santa Clara was going to be 8 to 9 hours, depending on traffic. I planned to take as long as 10 hours with stops for food and gas. Better to be fresh upon arrival because I didn't know how long it would be before things got busy.
And things were going to get busy; I was going to see that they did. My brother can depend on the police and talk about the legal system all he wanted to, but I was going to give the system a little help. I was going to put an end to these threats or maybe to the guys making the threats. It was all the same to me either way.
These three cabrones had made a very bad career move. They had attacked my family and by doing so had given up any chance at mercy. I'm not a diplomat, I'm not a peace maker, but I am the solution to this problem. I would begin to plot my moves once I got to Santa Clara.
I got to my brother's house around 5:00 A.M. after a 9 hour drive and walked through the kitchen door; it was unlocked. I made some coffee and sat at the table waiting for someone to get up. Zack was the first one into the kitchen and he stopped in surprise when he saw me.
"Want some coffee, Zack? I just made a fresh pot," I said with a bit of sarcasm. "Anyone can come into your house through an unlocked door. Not real smart considering what's going on," I scolded him.
Recovering from the shock of seeing me sitting in his kitchen, he nodded his head as I got on his case about the door. He came over and hugged me. We said all the things that brothers usually do and Zack began to fill in the details about the three men. Their names were Sergio, Thomas, and Ralph. They aren't members of any gang so we wouldn't have that problem. It looked like they were just a trio of assholes trying to get some cash and have some fun with a young girl.
I began to tell Zack some of my ideas. Telling him I hoped to persuade the terrible trio to back off, which would take the pressure off. In the mean time I was going to be an outrider, not staying at the house but staying close. This outrider idea wasn't something I learned in Nam, but something I picked up watching a John Wayne western. If it worked for "the Duke", it could work for us.
As I finished explaining my plan, my sister-in-law Beth walked into the kitchen. She smiled at seeing me and came to me with a big hug and kiss. I was amazed again at how pretty she was. Beth is in her late 50s but you would never guess it.
She has the body of a woman 20 years younger and if her brown short cut hair didn't have some gray in it you would never guess her age. Her big brown eyes almost always had a twinkle in them; that morning her eyes were a little more guarded with concern for her family.
That evening as my brother stepped outside to get his newspaper someone shot him, and I'll give one guess as to who was responsible. Zack was hit in the leg and went down. Luckily it was a small caliber .22 round and not too much damage was done. He would have to stay in the hospital for a couple of days and then be off his feet for a few more.
I talked to the police and got the usual run around; they would investigate the shooting. We all knew who shot my brother, but the police had their hands tied by legalities. One of the police captains was a Nam veteran so I had a word with him. I guess the outrider plan was over before it had really begun and it was time for me to get proactive. You know, take some action to alleviate the problem instead of reacting when something happened.
There is a huge network of Vietnam veterans all over the country. I contacted a couple of guys in the Santa Clara area and they put the word out. My hope was to get a lead on the hang outs of the unholy three. In the mean time I would do some scouting on my own. Santa Clara doesn't have a lot of low life bars for a city that size. Other than the lounges at the hotels, there just aren't many neighborhood type taverns. I couldn't picture those three at a hotel lounge so I concentrated on the taverns.
The next morning I went to the hospital to see Zack and there was a cop outside of his room. I identified myself and he told me it was just a precaution. He smiled at me and said that someone had lit a fire under the brass. Guilty as charged I told him and smiled back at him. Beth and Alyssa were talking to Zack; asking him if he knew what I was going to do. Beth knows how I am and she was worried that I would get in trouble.
Beth said to Zack, "He should forget about getting revenge. It could backfire on him."
Zack looked down for a moment and then at Beth and said, "Make no mistake; it's not revenge he's after. It's a reckoning."
"What do you mean, honey?" Beth asked.
"Nate doesn't care about revenge; he's going to put an end to the situation or to them. There will be a reckoning brought by Nate to those three for attacking his family. You know how he is about family. The only thing left to do for those boys is to pray for their souls. Unless they are very careful, those guys are walking around dead. They just don't know it yet."
I decided to quit listening and stepped into the room. "Hello boys and girls." I grabbed Beth and Alyssa and hugged them to me. "How are you guys holding up?" They both assured me they were fine. Then Beth motioned me out into the hall.
"I don't want you to get yourself in trouble," Beth warned me. "Zack got shot just getting the paper. I know you and I know that you are going after these guys. I won't tell you not to go after them, I know you won't listen to me, so just be careful please. Call the police if you find out anything. Promise me Nate."
"Honey, Zack's the one that calls the police. I love and admire him more than anyone I know but he trusts people too much. I trust my ability to protect my family more than I trust the police to do anything. Beth, I love all of you guys, Zack, Alyssa, Jake and you. I won't let anyone or anything hurt you while I can do something about it."
I looked her in the eye and said," I will promise you this, I won't get hurt. That's as far as I can go. Someone has to stop these guys and I maybe just the right one to do it. But I'll make you another promise. Those three will have every chance to back off. If anything else happens, it will be their choice." I left Beth standing there with a sad look on her face. It was time for those three to pay the consequences of their actions.
The network of vets had come up with two possible bars that the boys might be hanging around. I waited until 7:00 that evening and went to one of the taverns. It's a cliché but the name was "The Dew Drop Inn". I had gotten mug shots of Sergio, Thomas and Ralph off the newspapers Internet site; it's amazing what can be found with a computer.
I told the bartender that one of these guys was giving my daughter a hard time and I wanted to discuss the situation with him. The bartender took the $20 bill I gave as an incentive to look at the pictures. It was a waste of a good $20. The bartender hadn't seen them and was honest enough to turn down more money. He said he had a daughter too. I gave him my cell number and he promised to call me if the three showed up at his bar; I gave him another $20 anyway.
Tavern number 2 was called "The Other Place". I had better luck there; the bartender said the trio was in the back room playing pool. That cost me another $20 bill. I gave him a $50 bill and ask him not to call the cops if something went down and after I promised to pay for any damages he agreed.
As I walked into the back room, I got my first look at the guys. There was nothing special about them, just three punks in their 20's. Sergio was about 5 ft 10 with a slim build. Thomas was just a normal guy, except for his buck teeth. He was just a punk and would follow the lead of the other two. However Ralph was pretty big and looked mean. He must have been 6 foot 4 and weighed in at around 245 pounds; he was not a man to let get hold of you. Even if he wasn't a good technical fighter he was big enough to cause me a problem.
I sort of shuffled into the room, the way an older man might and leaned against a table. It only took a couple of minutes before Sergio noticed me. He said over his shoulder, "You want something old man."
"Is this a private game? I would like to play with three tough guys," I answered. All three of them looked puzzled. "You are tough guys, aren't you?"
Sergio turned to face me then. The way he moved told me that the move was just bravado. "What the hell are you talking about?" He was sizing me up and trying to figure out what I wanted. He knew it had nothing to do with a pool game.
"I heard you guys were real tough. I mean you beat the hell out of a girl that couldn't weigh more than a hundred pounds and then to show how tough you really are you slapped around a 10 year old boy. Man, you guys are the real deal, alright."
"Old man, you are going to get hurt. You better leave while you can," Sergio ordered. He must be the brains because the other two just stood there and grinned like monkeys.
I looked at each one as I called their names. "Sergio, Thomas, Ralph, you guys are due for an ass kicking and I'm wearing the boots to do it. That was my niece you car jacked, beat up, and tried to rape. That was my nephew you slapped around to make your point and that was my brother you shot. NO ONE, I MEAN NO ONE HARMS MY FAMILY," I shouted at them.
Sergio started laughing and the other two followed suit. "Too late to leave now old man; I gave you a chance and now you're going to get the hell beat out of you. Go get him Thomas." He pushed Thomas toward me and stood back to watch.
If you have a three to one superiority over an opponent it is a tactical mistake to attack one at a time. No matter how good the one man is, if three guys rush him together it will be very difficult for him to defend himself. Obviously the trio were not students of war or they didn't think one old man was much of a threat. They were about to make a very bad mistake.
I was still leaning on a pool table and Thomas tried to grab my shirt. First I hit him in the throat going between his reaching hands. When he grabbed his throat, I swept his legs out from under him. Grabbing his pool stick, I turned and attacked Ralph. The idea was to put him out of the game as fast as possible. I was pretty sure I could handle Sergio and Thomas, but Ralph was another matter.
I hit Ralph across the bridge of his nose with the pool cue. If you hit some one's nose, the first thing they do is grab it with both hands. Their eyes start to water and they can't see for a second or two. Sergio had started forward; I took a second to kick him in the groin and he went down.
Turning back to Ralph, I kicked the side of his leg at the knee with the toe of my boot; I was wearing steel toed boots and he went to the floor. I had done what I had to keep Ralph out of the way. His nose was probably broken and that knee may never be the same. Thomas was up and moving by this time by this time.
Thomas was put back on the floor with a punch to his nose, another to his tender throat, and a kick to his mid section. The confrontation with Thomas and Ralph took less than 15 seconds. Now for the last one.
Sergio had moved behind the pool table after getting up. He was on the opposite side of the table with his pool cue held like a club. Now he began to wonder and he wasn't sure he wanted to mess with this old man.
A word here about using a pool cue as a club. Most people grab a cue by the smaller end so they can use the big end as a club. Problem with that is that when the stick breaks you are left with a thin piece of wood to protect yourself. The best way is to grab the thick end; if it breaks you still have the larger end as your weapon.
I went around the table toward him and he tried to stay away from me by circling the table. I picked up a ball from the table, threw it at him, and as he ducked I jumped onto the table. When he looked up again, I kicked him on the chin; Sergio went down and I jumped on him. I put his arm across my knee and used it as a lever to dislocate his shoulder.
Now I had all three of them in a situation I could control. I pulled all of them close together; I had a message for them. Two were barely conscious and I had to revive them a little. When I had their attention, I started my little speech.
"You guys are pitiful. You let an old man kick your ass," I laughed at them. "The only reason you are still alive is because of the promise I made my sister in law. If it was up to me you would never get up from the floor. This is what you are going to do. You will leave my family alone after our little discussion here. DO YOU UNDERSTAND?"
All three of them said yes or nodded their heads. "Let's not have this conversation again, guys. You really won't like the outcome next time." I left the back room and walked through the bar. I gave the bartender a fifty and told him I broken a couple of cues. I felt no guilt about the confrontation with the unholy trio. It was 3 to 1 but I was better than them and they had got their lumps. Payback pure and simple. If I hadn't made that promise to Beth, the three of them would be just a pile of dead meat.
I went back to my brother's house and sat down in a chaise lounge on the back porch. No one was home; the family was still at the hospital visiting Zack. That was okay, I need the time to wind down. After every military operation there is a debriefing session. This is used to gather information for the future and just as important it gives men time to unwind. You have to have a little quiet time to allow the adrenaline to get out of your system. If you don't wind down, you'll get the shakes.
The next morning found me sleeping on the back porch. When the family got home last night they didn't check out back and I was already asleep. Having breakfast with Beth, Alyssa, and Jake was a pleasant experience. I hadn't had breakfast with a family since my wife Sally was killed.
After breakfast, I treated my hands for some cuts and abrasions from the night before. No matter how hard you try, your hands will always take a beating from a fight. I finished cleaning up and we all went back to the hospital. Zack was doing very well and was going to be able to go home the next day. The bullet had missed everything important and he was healing nicely.
I almost expected the police to come see me about the fight at the bar, but they never showed up. I guess the three tough guys didn't want to admit that an old man kicked their asses.
Beth and I brought Zack home the next morning. His leg was healing but it was very weak and sore. We fixed up the hide a bed in the family room for him and Beth so they could sleep there for a few days. I went to sleep upstairs in their room for now. Everything had just about got back to normal.
What happened next was my fault. I was sure that I had read the three men correctly and that my little conversation with them would solve the problem. I was a little cocky when I explained to Zack and Beth about my meeting with the trio. My over confidence cost us, big time.
Two weeks had passed since my meeting in the pool room and everything had been quiet; the trial was going to start in about a month. It was mid Saturday morning, I didn't feel that I was needed anymore and was packing to leave. Grabbing my kit and starting down the stairs, I head a sound I had heard too many times in Vietnam; an AK-47 in full auto mode. The front of the house seemed to explode as the rounds struck.
I jumped to the landing and used the door jamb as cover. It doesn't pay to rush into at stream of bullets from a fully automatic weapon. That will get you dead. I pulled my Kimber .45 out of my kit and waited for the shooter to reload. He had been using a spray and pray technique and usually that isn't a very accurate way to shoot because the barrel rises and you lose your target. When the firing stopped, I went to one of the front windows to locate the shooter.
A car was stopped in front of the house and I could see the rifle barrel sticking out of the window. I shot twice at a spot just behind the weapon. The car raced away and I fired twice more. Then it was time to check the family. Zack's face was cut in a few places from flying glass, but the cuts weren't bad. Beth hadn't been as lucky, she had been hit at least twice. Both kids had been in the back yard and weren't hurt.
We called 911 and Zack rode in ambulance with Beth. I gathered up the kids and took them to Beth's sister for the night. After I got them settled in I went to the hospital and found Zack in the surgery waiting room. Beth was in surgery and it would be at least an hour before we knew anything.
The police arrived and started to question Zack and me. I almost went ballistic and started yelling at them. "Jesus Christ, my brother's wife is in surgery and you idiots are wasting time asking stupid questions. You know who did this so go get them you idiots." Zack calmed me down and gave the police all the information he had.
Then the police asked if one of us had shot back at the car. The cop said the neighbors heard the machine gun fire and then four very loud gun shots. I took a couple of deep breaths to keep from overreacting and told him that I didn't know what he was talking about. He didn't really seem to believe me but he had no proof that anyone had shot back. The cops left and we went back to worrying about Beth.
Remember the debriefing? I hadn't had any quiet time and the snakes were crawling. I started to shake and then I started to cry. I wasn't sobbing or anything, just tears rolling down my face. I had caused this by being over confident, I thought. Zack and I had talked about moving the family away until the trial but I was so sure that I had handled the problem that we didn't. Beth was in surgery fighting for her life, because of me.
Two hours after I got to the hospital, a doctor came to the waiting room and asked for Mr. Clark. Funny thing both Zack and I answered to Mr. Clark. The doctor said that Beth would be okay and that she had been hit twice. A ricochet had sliced into her left arm and that wound was more like a deep gouge that would heal easily. The other wound had been to her left shoulder. The round had done a through and through just below her collar bone. She had some muscle damage, but again should heal with no problem and regain full use of her arm with therapy.
I said a prayer for Beth and then one for me. Even though I was thinking about Beth my mind was planning my next move. I realized that I couldn't do anything to help Beth right now but I could see to it that no one else in the family would be hurt. I didn't say anything to Zack; he had enough on his mind right now and didn't need to worry about me too.
We wouldn't be able to see Beth for a least another hour so I left to go talk to the kids. They needed to see my face when I told them their mother would be okay. After wards I went back to the house to get ready for my mission. As I said before, I always have a kit ready to go in case I have to go somewhere in a hurry.
The kit contained the usual; extra clothes, toiletries, and an extensive first aid box. There were a couple of additional items and my weapons. In the kit was the Kimber .45, and there was also a selection of knives. Ammo for the guns completed my kit. Behind the seat in my truck was a steel box holding my "deer hunting" rifle, a .308 Remington 700 ADL. I have several accessories that turn this sporting rifle into a sniper's dream. These are the tools I will use to solve the problem of that unholy trio.