The Donaldsons - Cover

The Donaldsons

Copyright© 2022 by Lazlo Zalezac

Chapter 9

“It has been a week since I’ve seen you.”

“I’ll never forget that horrible night.”

“You don’t look happy.”

“You forgot all about the plan.”

“Sorry about that.”

“That whole family is evil.”

“What makes you say that?”

“I’m engaged to be married.”

“Me too.”

“You don’t look happy.”

“Neither do you.”

“Aren’t we a pair?”


“Have you got your gun?”

“Yes, I do,” Melinda answered holding up the pistol case. She fully expected him to ask her to use it on him.

“I guess that we had better head over to the Ables family picnic,” Jim said.

Pointing to the rear wheel, Melinda asked, “Is that tire flat?”

“No,” Jim said after looking at the tire.

“Can’t you make it flat?” Melinda asked. She was not looking forward to the picnic.

“No,” Jim said.

“Why not?”

Jim answered, “Tripp said that she would kill me if I showed up too late to take part in the obstacle course race.”

“What kind of obstacles?” Melinda asked unsure of what an obstacle course race was.

“I’m not sure. She said that her father set it up and it took him almost a month to make it,” Jim said with a worried expression on his face.

“You look worried,” Melinda said.

“Deuce told me a little about their obstacle course races. They aren’t like the ones the military has us run. They’re worse,” Jim said.

“How bad can they be?” Melinda asked.

“I don’t know and that worries me,” Jim said.

Melinda said, “I guess we better go.”

“Maybe that tire is a little flat,” Jim said.

“Tripp will kill you if you’re late.”

Jim said, “All right. Get in the car.”

Wondering why there was a roadblock in the middle of nowhere, Jim handed his driver’s license to the state trooper. The man looked at the license and then shouted, “Hey, Pat.

Come over here and meet Jimbo!”

“Oh, God.”

“Is that the guy Cousin Tripp is marrying?” Pat called back.

“Yep,” the trooper shouted.

“He’s supposed to be protecting Cousin Mike’s girl.”

The trooper looked in the limousine for a second and then shouted, “Cousin Mike’s girl is here, too. She’s a pretty one.”

Pat Ables walked over to the car and stuck his head in the window. He gave Melinda a thorough visual examination and then said, “Cousin Mike said you were pretty, but calling you pretty just doesn’t do you justice. If he hadn’t laid claim to you, I’d be pulling you over ten times a day until you said enough and agreed to marry me.”

“Thank you,” Melinda said thinking there was not a proper response to that kind of statement.

Pat stood up and said, “Chuck, we better let them through. Tripp will kill us if we make Jimbo late for the great race.”

“I know what you mean. She’s been bragging on him all week,” Chuck said.

Pat said, “I wish I was entered in the race rather than stuck out here on guard duty.”

“I heard Uncle Rich got fifty snakes from the rattlesnake roundup for it this time,” Chuck said.

“Oh, God,” Jim said with a sick feeling in his stomach.

Leaning down, Chuck pointed down the road. He said, “Drive on down this street until you reach the cannon. Turn right at the cannon and park anywhere. Just don’t block the tank. Dad drove right over the car that blocked him in the last time.”

“Got it. Park anywhere, but don’t block the tank,” Jim said. He wondered how many family picnics included warnings like that.

Chuck patted the top of the car and said, “Have fun at the picnic.”


“Good luck in the race.”


Jim drove down the road until he reached a civil war canon that was guarding the entrance to a large field filled with cars. Looking at the gun, he said, “This must be the place.”

“The parking here is rather haphazard,” Melinda commented. There were trucks and cars parked randomly around the huge field. She did notice that all of them were facing the road.

“There’s the tank,” Jim said pointing to a Sherman tank parked near the center of the lot.

There was a lot of empty space around the tank.

“Park over there,” Melinda said pointing to the far end of the field.

“Momma didn’t raise a fool.”

“You’re marrying Tripp.”

“You’re right. Maybe I should park in front of the tank and take a nap in the trunk,” Jim said.

“And miss the rattlesnakes?” Melinda asked.

“I hope they were joking about the rattlesnakes,” Jim said.

“Probably not,” Melinda said shaking her head.

Seeing a familiar face headed in their direction, Jim said, “There’s Tripp.”

“I wonder why she’s not guarding Mike,” Melinda said.

“Are you trying to be funny? They’ve got a damned tank here,” Jim said looking at her like she was insane. No one in their right mind would dare attempt to attack Mike here.

Melinda said, “Sorry. I forgot where we were.”

“Where are we?” Jim asked.

“An alternate universe,” Melinda said. For the past week she had been using one of the most complex computer systems in existence helping to design a submarine that could have passed for a space ship. Last night she had been dropped off at home in a flying saucer. Today she was driven to Testosterone City in a limousine. No normal person would believe her story. She had a feeling that everyone here considered a week like that normal.

Jim parked the car facing the road out of habit. He got out and looked around at the people walking towards the tank. It was like a scene out of western movie. Although he had expected everyone to be wearing camouflage, the typical garb was blue jeans, work shirts, and boots. Without exception, all of the men and women were wearing holsters.

Tripp ran up and threw herself at him with the result that she nearly knocked him to the ground. She hung on him with her legs wrapped around his waist and her arms around his neck. Kissing his face, she said, “I’m so glad you made it in time for the great race.”

“I wouldn’t have missed it,” Jim said wondering if it was possible to get out of participating in it.

“Did you bring your camouflage?” Tripp asked.


Tripp said, “God, it makes me wet to think about you wearing camouflage.”

“Uh, oh,” Jim said.

Tripp wriggled her bottom around a little and said, “Oh, Goody! The trouser snake awakens.”

“Not here,” Jim said turning red.

Looking over at Melinda, Tripp said, “He’s so bashful.”

“I can see that,” Melinda said looking around for Mike. She wondered why he wasn’t there.

“I don’t know why. There’s a good nine inches stuffed in those pants of his,” Tripp said.

“He might not want to advertise that,” Melinda said turning her attention back to the couple.

Puzzled, Tripp asked, “Why not?”

“I have no idea,” Melinda said shaking her head.

“You look good in those blue jeans,” Tripp said.

“Thanks,” Melinda said although she found them uncomfortable. She hadn’t worn blue jeans since she was in college.

“Have you got your gun?” Tripp asked.

“Yes,” Melinda answered holding up the case containing her pistol.

“You better put it on,” Tripp said. She climbed off of Jim much to his relief.

“I’m not sure how to wear it,” Melinda said.

After Tripp talked her through the process of getting the holster on the belt, she said, “I heard that you ruined your little black dress. Way to go.”

“Where did you hear that from?” Melinda asked getting angry. If Mike was telling stories about her then she was going to skin him alive. She was pretty sure that someone had a knife that she would be able to borrow.

“Cousin Liz told me all about your little embarrassing conversation on the telephone,”

Tripp said.

“I forgot about that,” Melinda said turning bright red on being reminded of the embarrassing conversation. She wondered how many people heard about that little conversation.

She said, “I see that Mike found your freckles.”

“Yes,” Melinda said.

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