At Gunpoint pg. 1
Tuesday night I skirted potholes in the parking lot of Frank’s, a neighborhood blue collar
bar. My Harley-Davidson, like me, had weathered its youth but was still going fairly strong. I
parked it near the door and glanced around the lot. However, I didn’t see the woman I was
It was my third shot at a date from an online personals. I’d placed an ad and waited for
women to contact me. The first woman wanted to meet in a safe public place and suggested a
coffee shop convenient for her. When she walked in I learned that since her online photo had
been taken she’d added at least 15 years and 30 pounds. Kiss that goodbye.
The second one, a week later, picked another branch of the same coffee chain. She was
maybe 10 years older than her picture. Yet, still lookin’ pretty good. The lady didn’t want to
waste any time ordering coffee. This one just wanted to check into the nearest motel. So, she
could be back home before her husband arrived after his league bowling night. I passed on that
At Gunpoint pg. 2
The next one to send me a message wanted to meet at Ruth Chris Steakhouse and have
me spring for dinner. I let that slide.
I got a hello message from a dark haired beauty. Attached to my response was a photo of
me holding the current issue of The Washington Post up next to my face. My text was, “If you
want to get acquainted, send me your photo holding tomorrow’s Post in your left hand, ring
finger exposed.” Yes, I’d learned.
She was smart enough that she didn’t need to ask why. She simply complied and asked
to meet the next night at the coffee shop in Falls Church, Virginia.
I nixed the coffee shop and proposed that we meet at Frank’s. Along with the bar’s
address I told her my name’s Willie O’Kelly.
She responded, “I’m Sabrina Donatelli. Will meet you there.”
At Frank’s I dismounted the heavy Electra Glide and pulled off my helmet. A couple of
swipes with a comb more or less recovered my helmet wrecked hair.
I happen to own a black tux … don’t ask. I was wearing it with the traditional pleated
white shirt, Kelly green bowtie and cummerbund. The left handlebar mirror showed me the tie
was straight. So, I headed inside.
I walked in the door and all conversation stopped. One of the hard hated construction
workers at the bar gave me a wolf whistle and the place roared with laughter, including mine.
I sat at a table. Rita, the waitress with the hot body, came over. “You are ZZ Top’s sharp
dressed man. What’s going on?”
At Gunpoint pg. 3
From the corner of my eye, I saw the brunette step through the door before I boomed,
“Rita, for five years I’ve had no luck trying to seduce you. Tonight I thought maybe I needed to
dress for success.”
Chuckles rippled through the bar.
Rita smiled and said, “Well, Cap’n Willie, if I wasn’t already happily married I’d jump at
the chance to ride your big” … she paused, winked … “Harley-Davidson!”
The guys at the bar cracked up again. As the laughter died, all heads turned toward the
beauty standing just inside the door. Dressed in tight black slacks and snug turquoise sweater
she looked fantastic. She also looked astonished by what she’d just heard. However, her eyes
and the corners of her mouth eased into the hint of a smile. She said, “What in the world have I
gotten myself into?”
I stood, stepped around the table and pulled the opposite chair out. Holding it, I said,
“Not a thing if your inclination is to turn around and walk out.”
She looked me up and down. Slowly walking to the table, she said, “I’ve made mistakes
before. Perhaps I’m due for another.”
I slid Sabrina’s chair in as Rita said, “Honey, Willie and I have been friends for years.
No romance. That was just his lopsided sense of humor.
“What would you like to drink?”
“I guessed he’d seen me come in the door. So, I was pretty sure he was having fun either
at my expense or yours. Maybe both.
At Gunpoint pg. 4
“In keeping with the Captain’s attire, I’ll have a bottle of Miller’s High Life the
champagne of beer.”
Rita smiled, turned to me and asked, “Captain?”
“Make mine a large frosted mug of whole milk and a chilidog.”
Rita bit her lip then asked smiling Sabrina, “Would the lady care to also order a meal?”
“I’ll share a plate of fries with Cap’n Willie.”
From relaxed small talk during the brief meal we learned that we shared a lack of interest
in politics, golf and texting.
When we’d nearly finished eating, Sabrina said, “I make my living as a photographer.
Mostly weddings some portraits.”
“I’m surprised you can make a living doing weddings.”
“Why’s that?” she asked, looking as though she thought maybe she’d just been insulted.
“I’ve always heard that the photographer’s never supposed to be more beautiful than the
bride. How do you manage to avoid eclipsing your clients?”
She smiled and said, “Easy. I scrub every bit of makeup off my face and dress in thrift
“Yep, that should just about do it.”
She waited. Then finally asked, “So, what sort of work do you do?”
At Gunpoint pg. 5
I didn’t feel like explaining that I spend most of my days in the local jails rubbing elbows
with criminals as a bail bondsman. So, I simply replied, “My work is in the criminal justice
“Oh!” she said, “I get it. Rita calls you Cap’n Willie because you are a captain on the
“Not really. I’m a Road Captain, Boozefighters chapter eighteen.”
“Road Captain? Boozefighters?”
“On road trips the Road Captain rides in front, leads the way. The Boozefighters are a
motorcycle club that started in California back in 1946.”
“Well then, I’m guessing that big hulking motorcycle in the lot is yours?”
“That it is.”
Her smile was captivating. “I can picture you on your way over here. You on that big
scary Harley and wearing a tux, looking like something out of a James Bond movie … turning
heads. Making women in the cars you passed feel,” she gave me a slow wink and said,
“Sabrina, speaking of motorcycles, do you ride?”
She shook her head and said, “I rode on the back of one once.” Frowning, she said,
“Once was enough.”
At Gunpoint pg. 6
“Well, I think it was a Yamaha. The jerk referred to it as his crotch rocket. The moment
I got on I knew I wasn’t going to like it. Uncomfortably perched way up on the back, like a
monkey, on a tiny iron-hard seat. That position was a contortionist’s dream. The idiot took off,
from in front of my house, burning rubber. With me barely able to hang on.
“At the first red light I leaped off, threw his helmet on the road and walked home. End of
“Harleys are a whole different world,” I said.
Sarcasm laced her, “Yeah right.”
Outside I gently guided her to my bike and placed her hand on the passenger seat of the
Ultra Classic Electra Glide.
“That is soft,” she said.
“Called a road sofa,” I said. “It’s so comfortable you could fall asleep while riding back
there. If you should, the backrest, armrests and my back will have you boxed in and keep you
from falling off.”
She ran her hand up over the backrest.
“I don’t use horsepower to impress. Either you are impressed by me or you’re not. No
I opened the Tour-Pac, took out the spare helmet and slipped it on her head. As I was
fastening her chin strap, she said, “You didn’t ask if I want to ride. Do you take everything for
At Gunpoint pg. 7
I paused, looked into her beautiful brown eyes and said, “Not everything.”
With Sabrina on the saddle behind me, I eased the heavy bike out of the lot as she eased
her arms around me.
Half an hour later we rolled into a parking space back at Frank’s. I helped her off with
the helmet. She said, “You’re right, Harleys are a whole different world. Riding with you I felt
safe and the sense of freedom was marvelous. I think I could find myself addicted to that.”
I said nothing.
She put two fingers in her mouth and let fly a piercing whistle. A car started at the far
end of the lot. The headlights came on and a Jaguar sedan pulled out of it’s space. The Jag
stopped next to us. It was driven by a pretty blonde. “Mindy is my best friend. She looks out
for me.” She paused a moment before saying, “Thanks for a fun evening.”
Sabrina was turning toward the car when I caught her upper arm and stopped her. “Are
you busy Saturday night?”
“I have a wedding to shoot Saturday. It’ll be late before the bride and groom leave the
reception.” She reached into her shoulder bag and handed me a card. “My home is my business
address. I’ll fix you a spaghetti dinner Sunday night.” She reached up and gave my bowtie a
light tug. “And the dress will be jeans casual.”
“I’ll bring the Chianti,” I said.
At Gunpoint pg. 8
I rolled up to her bungalow on Sunday evening. There was a classic Chevy Impala in her
drive, a burgundy 1965 Super Sport. I parked my Harley sideways behind the Chevy using what
was left of the driveway. That big engined S.S. seemed like a man’s car.
I knocked on her door wondering if it would open on an unpleasant surprise.
Sabrina answered my knock with a calm and happy smile. A glance around the living
room didn’t find an angry boyfriend or furious ex-husband.
“I’ve parked my Harley blocking in that Impala. Is it yours?”
“Yes, no problem.”
I stepped in. What had been originally built as a living room had been converted into a
photo studio. There were multiple strobes with white umbrella reflectors, a couple of tripods and
several cameras resting on a castered shooting table. An elegant antique chaise was placed in
front of a blue muslin background. “Nice chaise,” I said.
“I had a portrait client scheduled early this afternoon. Turned out what she wanted was
boudoir photos as a surprise gift for her husband. It’s their twentieth wedding anniversary. I
think it’s great that there’s still passion in the relationship after all those years.”
“A shame that’s not the usual,” I said.
Sabrina took my arm and walked me into her small dining room. There were two place
settings on the round table and a pair of candles. She lit those, dimmed the lights and handed me
a corkscrew to open the Chianti I’d brought.
At Gunpoint pg. 9
Serving the spaghetti and a meat sauce, she said, “I have little in the way of cooking
skills. But, if you’re okay with a chilidog for dinner, I’m sure you can handle my spaghetti.”
I tried it. “This is really tasty. The meat sauce is great. An old family recipe?”
Smiling, she said, “Hardly. I just browned a pound of ground buffalo and added a jar of
off the supermarket shelf spaghetti sauce.”
During the meal we talked a lot about her photography. I mentioned that I always carry a
digital camera in a saddlebag of the Harley. That I use it to photograph any interesting cloud
formations I see. Which is true, but only part of the truth. I didn’t bother to say that the main
reason I carry the camera is to take a headshot of every person I get out of jail. If they jump bail,
I have a photo to use when I track them down and haul them handcuffed back to jail.
“The other night when I stepped into Frank’s, and saw you standing there in your tux, I
“What was that?”
“How good sex can be when desire is mutual.” She stood and began clearing the table.
I ambled into her studio, flipped the lights on and looked through her CD’s. I found a
Henry Mancini and put it on the player. Moon River had just begun when Sabrina walked into
the room. I turned out the lights and took her in my arms, slow dancing in the dark.
Only a minute of lightly moving against beautiful Sabrina had me fully aroused. Without
giving it a thought my palm was on the small of her back pressing her against me. Her lips were
warm as she kissed the side of my neck. I danced her into her bedroom.
At Gunpoint pg. 10
My desire for her was fierce. It went way beyond the level fired by her physical beauty,
even with my lust amplified by six celibate months. And she was willing …
Making love, I savored every moment of waiting for her pleasure. Strains of Unchained
Melody reached us as Sabrina reached nirvana. She was in the mid throes of release when I
unchained my satisfaction.
Still in one another’s arms and easing toward sedate, she said, “You’ve no idea how
much I hope this is a beginning and not just a one-night-stand.”
“Beautiful, I’m the genie that’ll make your wish come true.”
Lingering kisses later, she asked, “Would you like to spend the night?”
“I have an early morning appointment. So, not tonight. But, very soon. I promise.”
I dressed. Sabrina simply wrapped a short robe over her lovely body.
In the studio she stopped. “Wait, please. Let me blow those candles out before I forget.”
She dialed up the dining room’s overhead light just a bit. Extinguished the candles then
returned to take my hand and walk me to the front door. We stopped and shared a kiss that was
slow and full of promise.
“I’ll phone you tomorrow,” I said. “We can make plans for Tuesday night.”
“I’d like that.” Glancing up at the small windows in the top of her door, “It’s very dark
out. I’ll turn on the porch lights for you.” She reached out to the switch. Looking puzzled, she
said, “Already on. Must have burned out. But, both at the same time?”
At Gunpoint pg. 11
I opened the door. From the glow of the porch light on the other side of the street I could
see my Harley was blocked in. An older black Mercedes sedan was parked across the end of the
drive. I stepped through the door and heard a subdued voice on my left say, “Freeze, asshole.”
I snapped my head to the left while cocking my right arm to throw a defensive punch. A
short heavy thug in a black shirt and black pants jabbed the muzzle of a Luger in my gut. To my
right I heard a nasty voice say, “Try it.” I turned my head toward the sound and saw another
man dressed in black. This one tall and thin with a Luger aimed between my eyes.
I shouted, “Babe, slam the door and lock it!”
The tall one said, “Do it bitch and I’ll shoot you through the door. Then blow this
monkey’s head off.”
All I heard was a gasp behind me. Sabrina hadn’t moved.
The tall one ordered me to turn my back to him. Fully aware that I’m not bulletproof, I
complied. I turned my head slightly so that I could see Sabrina. A look of abject terror was on
her face. I said, “It’ll be okay.” Although I didn’t believe that for a minute.
“Hands behind your back.” I obeyed and heard the ratcheting sound as I felt the
handcuffs tighten on my wrists.
The heavy one latched onto my right arm, pulled me toward him and tossed another pair
of handcuffs to the other sleazebag. The tall one caught the cuffs, shoved the Luger in his belt,
grabbed Sabrina’s wrist and jerked her through the door out onto the porch. He snagged her
other wrist and yanked both arms behind her back. That caused her loosely tied robe to fall
open. He slapped the cuffs on her.
At Gunpoint pg. 12
I ordered, “Close her robe!”
The fat one rammed the muzzle of his Luger up under my chin and growled, “Shut up.”
Sabrina’s robe was left open.
They marched us down the drive at gunpoint. Passing the Harley I thought about my
own handcuffs and Smith & Wesson .38 Special in the right saddlebag, doing me no good at all.
They shoved me in the trunk first, then Sabrina. The lid slammed and we were locked in the
smelly and cramped confines. At least we weren’t gagged.
The car started and pulled away from the curb without tire squealing dramatics. I had no
idea what the hell was going on. However, I said, “Sorry to get you into this. These bastards
must have been hired by someone with a grudge against me.” I thought of several people, all
then behind bars, that would be happy to piss on my grave.
“No,” she said, “it’s my fault. I think you’re here by accident. They were just after me.”
“My guess is I’m being kidnapped for money.”
I had seen no indication of her having any massive wealth. So, her explanation of what
was going on seemed far fetched to me. But, I asked, “Are you rich?”
“Not me. My stepfather, Carl, is a very wealthy venture capitalist. I’m my mother’s only
child and Carl would do anything for Mom.”
Still I couldn’t believe that I wasn’t the target. Handcuffed, locked in a trunk, helpless,
perhaps my ego needed me to believe I was more important than just an accidental hostage.
At Gunpoint pg. 13
After a long silence, she said, “My dread is they won’t leave any witnesses. Captain
Willie, I’m the worst mistake you’ve ever made.”
“Sabrina, I’ve made some major mistakes. You’re not one of them. Believe me.”
The ride was a long one. When the trunk finally opened I saw a weather beaten white
frame building. On the roof was a tattered windsock and a beacon that wasn’t lighted or rotating
in the dark night. Obviously it was an old airport operations shack.
They hauled Sabrina out of the trunk. The fat one groped her exposed breast in the
process of standing her on her bare feet. The two of them dragged me out and dropped me on
my back. In charge, the tall one demanded, “On your feet.”
I rolled over face down on the gravel lot and managed to stand. Slow and awkward about
it gave me a chance to check our surroundings. There was a row of ten or twelve dilapidated
aircraft hangers, the nearest about forty yards away. They were on the far side of the only
runway and aligned with it. The runway was faded and cracked asphalt with white X’s painted
on it. Those X’s were to warn pilots not to land. The airport and its runway were permanently
The alpha swine had a key to the padlock on the operation shack’s door. He opened the
door and used a small penlight to make his way inside. Once a yellowish light flared inside the
room fat boy herded us through the door.
An old kerosene lantern was lighted sitting on an overturned milk crate near the center of
the room and close to a dirty mattress tossed on the floor. At the far end of the room the boss
At Gunpoint pg. 14
thug was lighting another lantern. This one was on a counter a little more than waist high.
Hanging on the wall behind the counter was a large Nazi flag.
The tall one said, “The two of you hit the mattress, on your backs. Her head at one end
and you, would be tough guy biker, your head at the other end.”
He carried a gray metal folding chair from behind the counter and placed it ten feet from
the mattress. “Here”
The heavy one moved to the chair.
“I’m leaving now to make the initial phone call and pick up the troops. Keep your eyes
on ‘em Louis. She doesn’t absolutely have to be alive and him we’ve never had a need for. So,
if anything starts to go wrong shoot ‘em both.”
“You can count on me Wayne.”
Wayne stopped at the door and turned, “And Louis, don’t fuck her,” he paused, “yet.
That exchange proved Sabrina was right about her being the target of a kidnapping. The
chance either of us would survive looked grim. I stayed quiet for maybe twenty minutes. With
no real plan I decided to try to get fat boy off balance. From years of bailing criminals out of jail
I know that in the real world most are about as bright as a lemming.
“So, Louis, what’s the plan for the ransom money? An even split or does Wayne get the
lion’s share?” That didn’t get a rise. So, I tried, “Gonna take your share to Vegas, spend it on the
roulette wheel and whores. Couple of weeks and your money will be gone. You know
At Gunpoint pg. 15
eventually someone will open his big mouth and get you caught. You’ll spend the rest of your
life behind bars for a couple of weeks of fun and games.”
“Asshole, it ain’t gonna be no couple of weeks. Gonna be a lifetime livin’ in style!”
“Not in the USA, Louis. That money won’t last a lifetime unless you plan to die real
young, maybe next month.”
“Stupid! We ain’t gonna be in the US.”
“Oh, I see. You’re headed for life in a kibbutz in Israel.”
“You’re one dumb asshole. Wayne’ll find us a villa in Argentina for Party Headquarters.
And we’ll have money for all the senoritas we want!”
“Wayne will find Wayne a villa in Argentina.” I said.
Sabrina stepped in with, “And Wayne will have all the senoritas he wants. He’ll leave
you here to play with your own little weenie.”
“Slut,” he whined, “You gonna pay for that.”
He leaped up off the chair, grabbed my collar, dragged me across the floor until my head
slammed against the wall. Then charged toward Sabrina.
I rolled to my stomach to get to my feet.
The fat bastard yelled, “Bitch, spread your legs!” Unbuckling his belt with his left hand
he stepped on the mattress.
She kicked him in the shin.
At Gunpoint pg. 16
He stepped back off the mattress and raised the Luger. “Spread your legs or I’ll put a
bullet in your pea brain. Then take what I want. I’ll be finished with it while that thing is still
I was on my feet looking back over my shoulder. “Sabrina, stay alive! Don’t fight him.
All that matters is that you live. I need you. Stay alive for me.”
Moving in silence toward the monster’s back, I saw Sabrina’s legs spread. Her sobs were
In the quiet I heard his zipper. His trousers dropped around his jackboots. He pulled his
briefs down below his knees and knelt between Sabrina’s legs.
I’d reached him, turned my back toward his. Moving fast I looped my cuffed hands over
his head and jerked the steel links of the cuffs against his windpipe. Leaning forward until I was
almost doubled lifted him off the mattress with him thrashing and his head against the small of
my back. The muzzle blast of the Luger nearly deafened me and the bullet grazed the side of my
head. I staggered but, stayed on my feet and kept the pressure on his throat. The bastard’s torso
began to tremble and I heard the thud of the Luger hitting the floor. I held the pressure on his
windpipe and held it and held it until long after his quivering ceased.
I dropped his body and kicked it off the mattress.
I stretched out beside Sabrina and asked if she was all right. She answered, “You’re
bleeding. My God you’ve been shot in the head!”
“No sweat. I’ve got a head like iron. Don’t worry. We need to get moving. Shove your
hand in my pants pocket. Get my keys and give them to me.”
At Gunpoint pg. 17
With my hands behind my back I fumbled through the keys until I found the little key
with a round shank, my universal key for handcuffs. I unlocked her and she unlocked me. I
closed her robe and tied a square knot in the belt to keep it closed then picked up the Luger.
“Babe, lets get the hell outa here before Wayne comes back.”
Outside in the light of a three quarter moon I looked all around but didn’t see or hear any
sign of traffic to head for. The surrounding land was all cleared and flat with nowhere to hide. I
took her hand and said, “I learned to fly years ago. If we can find a plane in one of those hangers
I’ll fly us out of here.”
We trotted down the runway, Sabrina keeping up even in her bare feet. A great lady to
have on your side. Nearing the closest hanger, number 1, I could see the doors were open and
there was a plane inside. It was an old high wing Cessna 150. My hopes rose for a second
before being dashed. “Forget this. The propeller is missing.”
The next hanger was closed. I slid one of the double doors open and saw a dim shape in
the back corner. It turned out to be a John Deere lawn tractor with mower deck attached. “We
can run faster than this damn thing,” I said.
Sabrina and I headed for hanger number 3. This one was closed too and there was a
heavy padlock. I pulled on it to see if it had been left unlocked. No such luck.
“This one’s locked,” she said. “Must be something inside they think people would steal.”
“Exactly what I was thinking,” I didn’t mention the other possibility that had struck me,
that locked inside were the remains of their last kidnap victim.
At Gunpoint pg. 18
“Do you think one of your keys would fit the lock?”
“I doubt it. However, I do have a tool,” I held up the Luger. “I’ll just shoot it off.” I
aimed down at the lock with the muzzle two inches away so that I couldn’t miss and squeezed
The pistol’s loud report plus the simultaneous sound of the copper jacketed bullet
smashing against the steel padlock along with the almost blinding muzzle flash in the dark was
one hell of a show. It was accompanied with a burning pain in my right thigh. There was a
small slit in my pant leg and it was oozing blood. Obviously I’d taken a bullet fragment. The
hasp was twisted and one of its bolts had pulled through the sheet metal door. The padlock was
still closed, the hanger still locked. “Did anything hit you?” I asked.
“No. Why?” When I didn’t answer, she said, “It’s still locked.”
“Yeah. It never happens like this in the movies.” I paused a moment. “Christ, first the
damn Nazi shoots me in the head and then I shoot myself in the leg.” I started laughing.
“Are you crazy?”
“I must be. Either that or a klutz.”
“You didn’t really shoot yourself in the leg?”
“Oh, no,” she said. “Let me see if I can help you.”
“Later. Right now I need to take another shot at that damn lock. Move behind me so you
won’t get hit by any fragments.” She did and I could feel her hand lightly resting on my back.
At Gunpoint pg. 19
I put my left hand protectively over my privates and took careful aim at the lock.
“Willie,” she said, “there’s headlights.”
I looked. A single pair of headlights were headed our way on the road to the airport and
not all that far away. “Okay,” I said and squeezed off the shot. The lock was still locked after
that second shot. However, one end of the hasp was ripped loose from the door. The doors
would open. I shoved the right one open and said, “Inside, quick.”
I followed her into the hanger and was happy to see transportation. The question was
will it run? In the feeble light the BMW motorcycle looked complete. The bike dated from the
mid 1970s. A sidecar, sometimes called a chair, was bolted to the cycle and had a swastika
painted on its nose. “Babe, climb in the sidecar.”
She did without question.
I stepped back to the door to check the headlights. The car was turning onto the far end
of the runway. I pushed the door nearly closed and watched through the gap. The car passed
and it was the old black Mercedes sedan. It parked next to the operation shack. The lantern light
from the windows showed Wayne was the driver. Two others were in the car. They got out.
One had slicked back hair the other a buzz cut. They walked into the building and even from
that distance I heard Wayne bellow, “Dumb son of a bitch!”
Moments later they rushed out, all with guns drawn. I had my ear to the door opening
and could just barely hear Wayne in the still of the night. “If they’ve gotten off the airport we’re
screwed. More likely they’re in one of the hangers. You’ll start searching with hanger one and
At Gunpoint pg. 20
work your way down the line. And you I’ll haul to the other end to work your way back. Now
get in the car.”
I hustled back to the bike. It had been five or six years since I’d ridden a BMW and even
longer since the last time I handled a sidecar rig. I remembered that the BMW ignition was on
the left side of the headlight. I ran my hand over the headlight in the dark and found what I
wanted. The key was in the switch. I turned it two clicks and the small green light came on
telling me there was juice in the battery and that the bike’s transmission was in neutral. I flipped
it back off to save the battery. When I rocked the motorcycle I could hear gasoline slosh in the
tank, another good sign.
Tires screeching to a stop out on the runway had me scurrying back to the door with a
tight grip on the pistol. From the sedan stopped in front of hanger one I heard Wayne bark. “The
bastard’s got Louie’s gun. So watch your ass!”
Slicked Back leaped out and hit the ground running in a crouch. He had his pistol in his
left hand. The Mercedes roared away down the strip.
I jammed the Luger in my belt while zipping back to the BMW, swung my leg over the
saddle and slid my hands under the gas tank feeling for the fuel petcocks. Quickly turned them
both on and reached up to the headlight for the key. I turned it on to ignition only, no lights and
in a hushed voice said to Sabrina, “Keep your fingers crossed that it starts.”
“You got it,” she whispered.
I put my right thumb on the starter button and pushed. It did crank but not as healthy as I
had hoped. I let it grind for three seconds without it hitting a lick. Then lifted my thumb and
At Gunpoint pg. 21
waited a quarter of a minute to let the battery rest and some oil to seep into dry bearings so the
engine would spin easier. I gave the starter another three second go, during which the cranking
showed a steady decline and not a single pop from the motor. After a not so hopeful quarter
minute rest, I said, “This is the last shot,” and was surprised to see Sabrina cross herself. I hit the
button and the starter struggled. On its very last gasp the engine fired. I sighed, “Thank God.”
That was just an expression to me, may have been more to Sabrina.
I hopped off and ran to open the doors for our escape. Pushing the left one open a pistol
shot rang out and the bullet slammed into the door stinging my hands. I yanked the Luger out of
my belt as I turned. Slicked Back was running toward me shooting as he ran. I raised the Luger
as I dropped to one knee. His second shot kicked up dirt in front of me. I put my sights in the
middle of his chest and pulled the trigger. He collapsed landing on his face and never moved. I
thought, My time spent on the pistol range just paid off.
I heard a shot from my right and pivoted. The black Mercedes was barreling up the
runway. There was a muzzle flash outside the driver’s window and a bullet ricocheted off the
front of the hanger. I aimed at the left front tire and fired. My shot missed the front tire but hit
the back one. The speeding car swerved out of control and crashed into the front corner of hanger
number 4. I saw Wayne’s face smash through the windshield. A moment later there was a loud
thwump and the Mercedes was a ball of flame.
I leaped onto the idling BMW’s saddle and shouted to Sabrina, “Hold on!” The instant
we charged out of the hanger I hit both the front and rear brakes to pull the speed down for the
right turn onto the runway. I slowed because a fast right turn with a sidecar rig lifts the sidecar’s
At Gunpoint pg. 22
wheel way off the ground, an action that’s called “flying the chair” which thrills onlookers but
scares the b-Jesus out of the sidecar passenger.
Headed down the airstrip and accelerating, I swung wide of the burning car to avoid
scorching Sabrina. Glancing at the flames wiped out my night vision. Passing the Mercedes, I
thought, hope Buzz Cut’s in that inferno and not still a threat.
Tearing down the strip in the dark I reached forward for the key and turned on the
headlight. There was Buzz Cut dead ahead standing in the headlight’s beam in the center of the
runway. He fired one shot that went wild. The moment I pulled hard on the left handlebar to
turn he dove to the side to avoid being hit. Unfortunately for him, we both picked the same
direction. As he hit the asphalt the sidecar wheel smashed into him. The impact shot the wheel
up three feet off the ground. I was accidentally “flying the chair” with Sabrina screaming like a
I kept pulling hard to turn it left and with the toe of my right boot tapped the rear brake.
Finally I had the wheel of the sidecar back on the ground. However, we were off the runway,
going like a bat outa hell and sliding sideways through knee high sage grass with Sabrina still
A light touch on both the front and rear brakes got it slowed and the rig under control.
Sabrina had stopped screaming. However, her eyes were still incredibly wide. I rolled in a
handful of throttle and we shot back up on the runway.
I wasn’t certain if Buzz Cut was dead or alive and wasn’t about to turn back to find out.
We blasted down the strip and onto the exit road.
At Gunpoint pg. 23
Not knowing if more jackbooted thugs were on their way to the airfield was strong
motivation to keep the speed up. On that dark winding country road I motored as fast as I could
and still manage to stay on my side of the road. Five miles brought us to a T-intersection with a
four lane highway I didn’t recognize.
Mentally tossing a coin, I turned left and hauled ass. The wind at eighty miles an hour
had Sabrina keeping her eyes shut and me squinting. In fifteen minutes, salvation appeared up
the road in the form of an open, lighted convenience store.
I motored into a parking space and left the BMW running, just in case. Sabrina gave me
her hand and I helped her out of the sidecar. We entered the store. The clerk behind the counter
looked at me with the blood dried on the side of my face and neck. His attention drifted to the
Luger tucked into my belt and his mouth dropped open. He backed up two steps until his back
hit the wall of cigarettes, then put his hands up, “The money’s yours. Take it. I don’t want any
“Buddy, we just escaped from kidnappers,” I said. “We need the police. Call 911.”
The clerk was motionless, staring at me, his hands still in the air. I shouted, “Now!” He
grabbed the phone.
Sabrina held onto my arm like she never wanted to let go.
At Gunpoint pg. 24