Duncan: Out Of Exile

Copyright © 2020-2021 Juju. All Rights Reserved.

Chapter 23

The kitchen smelled fantastic; bacon, cinnamon rolls, fresh O.J.; just a wonderful assortment of foods laid out on a long table. We all sat down and put napkins in our laps. For some reason Lyka spent a lot of time getting mine adjusted.

I asked if they said “Grace” over meals and Mama said, “Not as a rule sweetheart, but if you’d like to it would be fine.”

“No,” I said, “I just didn’t want to be rude and reach before I was supposed to.”

“Okay boys, dig in,” Mama ordered. Everything was fantastic and we ate until we were all in danger of exploding.

“Thank you for the wonderful breakfast,” I gestured.

She smiled big time at me and said, “There’s plenty left to make sandwiches later,” which led me to me ask how she made the square scrambled eggs. “I have a special divided pan for that, and I bake them until they’re solid enough to put on the griddle.” She replied.

“I wish I could be domestic like that,” said Gabe. “Without Gretta we’d starve and look like homeless people.

“Okay guys, if you need the bathroom, now’s the time; we’re heading into town this morning to do some shopping. Make sure you have your phones, Mama informed us.

I went back to the aerie and visited the toilet, then I found my phone.

Trev came up behind me and draped a scarf on my neck and put a wool cap on my head. “Do you have gloves?” he asked.

I went to my bag to get my gloves and found that Dan had stuffed at least $1500.00 in with my stuff plus the bag with my Mom’s things. There was a note with the cash that read, “This should do for a while, let me know when you need more. It’s in the safe in the house. We can talk about what to do with it when you’re ready.” I just had to smile. He was still looking out for me.

We all went down to find a big Dodge truck rumbling in front of the garage. It was big, charcoal grey and it had a huge bumper; it looked like a Suburban instead of a pickup with a shell.

Dan walked up behind me and said, ”Like it?”

I nodded, “It’s pretty impressive but I didn’t know Dodge made one of these.”

Dan grinned, ”They don’t, I cobbled it together. It started out as a 2014 Ram 3500 SRW Pickup and I mated it to the body panels from an Excursion. It took about six months and we’ve been loving it ever since.”

Trev joined in, “Hey I helped; Dad showed me how to TIG weld and use a plasma cutter, you need to see the shop and the other cars and trucks.”

I couldn’t believe this, “I’ve fallen in with motorheads!?” I asked, unable to contain my joy. “I’m going to love it here!”

I guess I said it a little loud but damn, I’ve been wild about cars for years. I love to draw and I had posters and my own drawings on the walls of my room. My mom even kept one of my drawings of her favorite, a Nash Metro.  The drawing showed it as stock, a funny car, low rider and a monster truck. They were pretty good drawings if I do say so myself. I really enjoyed Chip Foose’s TV show. That guy can really draw.

“Oh gawd, not another one,” Cheryl said from behind me.

I turned around and she was smiling and I realized she was joking.

“C’mon Mom,” Trev said “you’ve got two cars and they’re both customs.

Lyka was the only one who looked a little lost.  “Car freak huh, I might have known. Here I think I found the perfect boy and you’re a car freak. Well I guess you’ll have to teach me or get another boyfriend.”

Cheryl shot me a look that said “Boyfriend?! We need to talk Duncan.”

I sat in the middle of the back seat, which allowed me to see out of both sides. Dan/Dad took the longer route to get to the lower gate, going by the car barn, the horse barn and the stable keeper’s quarters. They had a couple college students that lived on premises and tended the horses and made a couple of bucks boarding extras or teaching people how to care for their horses. I was told we boys are expected to pitch in with barn chores a few times a week. I didn’t have a problem with that, I like horses, I just didn’t know anything about them. It’s one of those win-win things I hear about. Veterinary students get free rent and we get competent stable workers. I could see the river as we approached the lower part of the ranch and then we pulled up to a gate.

Trev chirped,” Got it Dad.” He hopped out and unlocked the gate and swung it open. It looked massive but Trev could handle it pretty easy by himself. I asked why it was so big and Dad told me that the propane truck and all the other trucks came through here instead of the one close to the house.

Trev closed the gate after we pulled through and hopped back in.

“Okay guys listen up,” Dad said, “we’re going to start at the mall in Reno. The rally point will be the Dillard’s front entrance. If you get a text that reads RP from me or Mom that means we all have to be there in ten minutes. If you guys have a problem and you need me, text me 999 and I’ll be there. All your phones have a GPS app installed and I can activate it remotely, any questions?”

Does it have data and text, I mean of course the phone does, but do I?”

Dad grinned, “You bet, we all have an unlimited data plan so you can text till you wear out your thumbs. Just remember we can monitor your texts and usage, that includes porn sites, so don’t go overboard.”

I waited a moment and, trying to be funny, I said, “So no porn then?”

Dan came right back with, “I didn’t say that, I said don’t go overboard.”

That caused Cheryl to elbow him.

“What!?” said Dad, “you think we can forbid them from looking at porn? Shall we tuck them in with mittens so they don’t touch themselves and bring about the devil’s lust; besides, it’s no worse than that stuff Cindy sends you.”

“That’s not what I meant and you know it, and Cindy doesn’t send me porn. She sends me artistic and romantic images,” Cheryl answered quickly.

Dad laughed, “She sends you artistic porn. I think Cindy fancies you; I understand, after all you are a knockout, I rather fancy you myself.” said Dad with probably the worst Cockney accent since Dick Van Dyke in “Mary Poppins.”

Cheryl’s response was to nearly leap over the center compartment and give Dad a very passionate kiss.

Trev and Lyka yelled “Get a room!” while Cheryl looked back at me as if to say, “And you?”

I said I kind of liked it; it was cool to see you love each other so much.

I settled back as Dan pulled out on the highway and enjoyed the scenery.

Trev and Lyka pointed out where the turn off for the school was and other points of interest.

All the way through Carson City and up the 580 towards Reno I could only remember a fraction of it. In Carson City I saw a cool old pickup; back to nerdville again; it was a 1947 International KB series truck on a newer Dodge Cummins frame. Dad said he knew the guy and it was really well done. He said I would get a close look at it soon because the owner was a friend and visited frequently.

Mama moaned and shook her head. We all laughed. Then Dad cursed and slowed way down, I looked out the windshield and saw a very small car make for an exit except he failed to allow for a semi that was in the next lane. Naturally, the truck hit the little car and sent it spinning across all lanes and into an Outback which rolled several times. We pulled up in front of the Outback and Dad told Cheryl to call 911.

Dad got out to check the car and see if anyone was hurt.

I asked Trev if there was a first aid kit in the truck and he told me there was. I crawled back and got it and asked Cheryl to open the rear doors. I crawled past Trev and then had him hand me the kit and ran to where Dad was.

The car had landed on its wheels and was nose first against the divider. Enough traffic had stopped behind the wreck that I wasn’t worried about getting hit by passing cars.

Dad didn’t argue with me about being there, he just told me to open the top and under the lid was a rescue hammer, made to break safety glass in cars.

Dad had tried all the doors and none would budge. He motioned for the woman in the front seat to cover her face and smacked the window. The glass just crumbled and he used the hammer to clear the rest out.

I took the hammer and did the same for the kid in the back. He was sitting in a booster seat still strapped in. He looked frightened but he wasn’t crying. I asked him if he was hurt and he said he didn’t think so. I helped him unbuckle and got him to climb out the window to me and I carried him up to the truck.

I yelled for Trev to come out and take him.

But Cheryl hopped out and told me that Trev had a phobia about blood then took the little guy.

A guy showed up with a big pry bar and managed to pop the two front doors open.

When I saw the driver, I knew he needed help. He had face and head wounds from the airbags hitting his glasses and loose stuff in the car that hit him while they were rolling over.

I found the worst of the bleeding and put pads on the wounds. They are basically Kotex but they work great for that.

I asked if he had any broken bones and if he could feel his feet. He said he could feel them but couldn’t move the right one, it was stuck between the brake and the gas pedal. Aside from that, he seemed okay.

I asked him how many were in the car and he told me three; him, his girlfriend and her son.

They finally got the passenger side door open far enough to get the woman out. She was mostly unhurt except for bruises and scratches. Dan walked her over to the truck.

A couple of men were anxious about the smell of gasoline and asked the driver if he could make it out the passenger side, but his foot was caught and they were all too big to get past him to move the pedals. So I climbed in on the passenger side and wiggled past the guy’s leg. I couldn’t see but I could feel what was wrong. The floor and the pedals were bent.

Suddenly I felt a hand on my belt and on the skin side of my shorts. “Dad is that you?”

A reassuring voice said, “I’ve got you, Darlin’.”

Then I heard someone yell “Fire!” I just about had it figured out when Dad started tugging.

“Not Yet, I’ve almost got it!” I yelled and I pushed the gas pedal down and slid the man’s foot out from under the brake, but when he yanked his foot up he caught me under the chin.

He yelled at Dad, “Pull him out, I’m free!”

Dad yanked me out of the car none too delicately and let me slip to the ground.

Then he went headfirst into the car again grabbed the driver by the shoulders and pulled him out with even less caution.

Most of the front of the car was blazing by then. My head started to clear and I wasn’t sure at first what I was seeing. It was Trev covering our escape with a big CO2 extinguisher. Apparently, his phobia didn’t extend to fire.

I sat on the wet pavement grinning like an idiot, watching my brother blast at those flames.

Dan came back from helping the man to our truck and grabbed me and threw me up on his shoulder and then got hold of Trev and drug him along.

I heard him tell Trev, “The car is clear honey! Let it burn, get away from it, let’s go! Now!”

Trev dropped the extinguisher and walked backwards watching the car being consumed. He stopped long enough to lose his breakfast and then scurried to catch up.

About the time we all met up at the truck the first fire truck rolled toward us coming the wrong way. They got the fire out in very little time.

Another squad car and an ambulance came up the same way and Dad waved them to stop. He told the paramedic that these people were stable but he didn’t know about the occupants of the small car. The medic radioed the ambulance to check out the injured here and he and his partner would check out the other scene.

I heard on the fireman’s radio there were two DOA’s.

I guess I checked out again because I woke up on a gurney.

I pleaded with Dad not to let them take me. He assured me they would be right behind and it was only the emergency room in Carson City. I wouldn’t be admitted even if he had to pull his weapon and shoot our way out.

“Mom is going with you in the ambulance, and they won’t even run the siren okay?”

I agreed and off we went.

True to his word, Dad shot three orderlies and a nasty looking RN. Yeah right, they didn’t see any reason to keep me so all I had to do was get dressed and go.

Then Dad told me, “You’ll have to wear these.” And he handed me a set of scrubs.

“Where are my clothes, are they bloody?”

Dad held up a bag, “No son, when you passed out you lost control of your bladder and well, you got pretty wet.”

I sighed and took the scrubs. I noticed that my chin hurt and felt the area.

“You’ve got a big purple bruise under your chin; I guess the driver kicked you getting his foot out. The thing is, he could see the flames but you couldn’t.”

“You are one brave man, Duncan. I will never forget what you guys did here today. It was nothing short of heroic.”  Dan smiled at me with that Dad smile of his and I finally understood how much he loved and admired me.

“Would you mind stopping by to see the people you helped before we head home?”

I told him it would be okay. He led me down the hall to one of the care suites.

Everyone, except the man whose name was Bill, stood up to great me. Bill had apparently gashed his foot getting out of the car and couldn’t stand.

He said it didn’t matter, he was alive and so was I and my Dad and that was what was important to him.

Bill wanted to thank me but I said, “A lot of people pitched in to get you out.”

The man’s eyes teared up and his voice cracked, “That’s true but only three of you stayed until the bitter end; you, your Dad and that kid with the extinguisher. Without him we would all be crispy critters now.”

I looked around for Trev and looked at Dad questioning.

“Trev couldn’t come in, he tried but he has a real problem with blood. Please don’t think badly of him for it.”

I shook my head, “why would I think badly of Trev, he fought off flames to help us stay alive and you had to practically pull him away. We all saw that fireball while we were getting clear. Without Trev we would all be dead.”

Dad gave me his Dad smile again.

The Driver’s girlfriend, Karen, came over with her son Bobby and  they all thanked us. Bobby was very shy but he gave me a kiss and hugged my neck, so did his Mom. That’s all the thanks I needed.

I went outside to find the truck while Dad signed me out. I caught sight of Trev and Lyka and I ran to meet them.

I grabbed Trev by the neck and kissed him and hugged him as hard as I could. “You saved my life!” I said.

Trev couldn’t talk but he hugged back.

I turned to Lyka who sadly looked embarrassed, I hugged him and kissed his wonderful lips and I really didn’t care who saw us, this hug was different from the one I gave Trev/; it was a lover’s hug and the kiss made it clear to anyone watching how I felt about Lyka.

He looked at me and his beautiful eyes were wet with tears, “I tried to come and help but Cheryl said I couldn’t, she needed me there and my leg wasn’t up to running.”

I looked back at him and said, “Well we did have to run at the last, Dad almost had to drag Trev he was so focused on fighting the fire. You might not have gotten clear when that thing blew up. Besides, she needed your help with the kid and the lady.

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