Human Man
Chapter 15

Copyright© 2013 by Refusenik

With a break before the start of the fall semester, Scott took the opportunity to hop in the Grand Cherokee and head to Fort Stockton. He'd thought about staying in Levall, but was feeling a little stir crazy.

His contractor was taking advantage of the school break to close off Twelfth Street so they could crane timbers through the second and third-story windows of his future home. The salvaged heart pine came out of a nineteenth century industrial building in Oregon. The delivery was going to include wide boards for flooring, and massive structural timbers that would be coped around the building's steel I-beams.

Rita Nogawa showed him diagrams explaining how the contractor would use the beams as chases to route power, data cables, and even portions of the plumbing stacks throughout the building. The structural timbers would be cut, with what amounted to a giant router, to shape them around the I-beams. She promised to e-mail him photos.

Scott drove through Midland without stopping. He was going to drop by the Western Group offices on the return trip north. He didn't have plans beyond visiting friends and an overdue check on the personal property he had in storage. He was mulling a visit to the old Lewis Sportsman Ranch when his cell phone began to ring. He punched the button on his steering wheel to answer.

"Sir, we've gotten complaints about you molesting the local cattle," the voice of his old friend, Bo Mason, echoed over the SUV's speakers.

"Officer," Scott replied, "I have the greatest respect for your mother."

"Bastard," Bo said, laughing. "Where are you?"

"About twenty minutes north of your birthplace, where are you?"

"Houston, but I'm heading west. Have you talked with Ed?"

"Sent him a text and said I was coming. Haven't talked on the phone."

"Typical, he was supposed to give you a heads-up."

"About what?" Scott asked. He'd driven up on a slow Buick. The road was straight as an arrow, but you never knew when a rancher might decide to pull out from a hidden side road.

"How do you feel about getting the old band back together?" Bo asked.

"I don't know if the ladies can handle the three of us," Scott said. He gave the SUV's throttle a little kick and passed the Buick. "What have you got cooking?"

"There's a big shooting match this weekend in San Angelo for law enforcement. I wasn't going to go, but a guy I work with had a kid get sick. Long story short, he can't go and the entry fee's paid for."

"You want Ed and me to drive over and take you to dinner?"

"I want you to come shoot, and take me to dinner," Bo said. "On Friday, before the official weekend event, they're having a public match. One law-enforcement officer, that's me, paired with two civilian shooters for each team, that's you guys if you're in. Registration for the event is still open."

"You remember that Ed can't shoot worth a damn?"

"They're going to score it by ability, so Ed won't handicap us. Come over Thursday morning. You guys will shoot a 'classifier' that afternoon. We'll hit San Angelo for steaks after and kick butt on Friday. What do you say?"

"I'm in," Scott said. "Can Ed get away for the weekend?"

"He's on a break with Amy, again."

"It's like those two never got out of high school."

"You think he'd learn his lesson," Bo said. "He needs a boys' night out."

"Sounds like it," Scott said. "What kind of gear do we need for the shoot?"

"Pistols. They can have had a little work, but no trick race stuff. You'll need three magazines, magazine carrier, holster, and about a hundred and twenty rounds each for the match. I'm not sure how many for the classifier."

"I'll pick up a case."

"You're not going to need a thousand rounds."

"Bo, seriously. Have you seen Ed shoot?"

Bo laughed. "Try not to bust his balls too badly. We're going to need him."

"If Amy's been after him," Scott said, "she probably has his balls stored in a bag of potpourri."

"That's why he needs to spend time with the boys. I'll text you directions and where we're staying."

"Sounds good, Bo."

"See you soon."

"Roger that."

Bo hung up and Scott patted the steering wheel happily. A shooting weekend with his friends, he was looking forward to it.


Joseph Black smiled from behind his desk and motioned for Scott to sit. The lawyer had a phone cradled in the crook of his neck.

"Listen," Joseph was saying, "if you want to request a continuance, go before the judge, but my client is prepared to go to trial today. Your case isn't going to get any better."

Joseph twirled a finger by his temple, indicating the person on the other end of the call was crazy.

"If you decide you want to settle," the lawyer said, "you know my number," and he hung up.

"Fighting the good fight?" Scott asked.

"Playing a winning hand," Joseph replied. "How are you?"

"Good. Just got fleeced by your daughter."

The lawyer smiled, "Negotiated your shared custody agreement for the dog while you're here?"

"Time with Jobe, according to your little mercenary, means a trip for ice cream. I tried to negotiate dinner for the entire family, but she wasn't interested."

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