Chapter Fourteen

Bill was pacing back and forth in the rec room. “We got nothing but dead men out there … and there’s too much stuff out there that we can use — to just leave it for the next wave of federal thugs to stack into little piles and then start using it all on us. And there must be some good intelligence out there — radios, call signs, orders, God only knows what. I’m gonna go take a look.”

Sally simply stared at him, exhausted, with a look of desperation on her face. “You go out there and you’re gonna get shot and then they’re gonna come in here and I’m gonna get shot — and how about your son?”

Bill picked a pair of FBI night vision goggles off the coffee table and loosened its headband. He turned it over in his hands and found its power switch. “I’m gonna take a look.”

“You better at least make yourself less of a target. Let me soak you down with cold water so that if they’re using IR imagers they won’t see you.”

“I got a better idea. Soak a blanket and I’ll wrap it around me.”

He walked to the entry way and then opened the coat closet next to the front door. Inside, was an eight foot high loop of two inch long chain. The chain was hanging around a pulley twelve feet up in the ceiling.

Bill grabbed one side of the chain loop and let all of his weight pull down on the chain and thereby rotate the pulley. Gears rotated.

It sounded like fingernails scraping down a blackboard. No matter what speed he tried — the noise was just terrible. It was so bad that he could hear coyotes and bobcats calling to each other to come and feast on what to them sounded like a 600 pound rabbit having its vocal cords ripped out.

Suddenly the shield made a loud bang, zoomed upwards and then locked fully open.

Sally walked up with a dripping grey wool mass. “Here, wrap this around you.”

The blanket was ice cold. The cold clammy thing soaked into his shirt and rivulets of water ran down his back. Sally could only stand there and watch.

He opened the front door a little more than one inch and then laid flat on the floor. Slowly he moved his head so that just one vision tube of the goggles could peer outside. He could see wriggling lumps of nearly-dead sub-humanity all over the place — they were still glowing brightly from the Cyalume gel. He opened the door just enough to get him through and then quickly crawled outside and behind a planter box.

Again he scanned the area. He could see an eerie glow from beyond hills far to the north — the FBI command post. He scanned every familiar nook and cranny. He saw nothing.

He scampered to the east — keeping his body as close to the ground as he possibly could. He scanning the hillside for movement one more time. There was nothing moving around — at least not enough to be a threat. Still in a low crouch he slowly edged his way up the hill — checking each body for life.

He didn’t need the night vision goggles — the whole place glowed. Bill lifted the goggles from his eyes. The entire area was about as bright as it would be under a full moon.

The smell of chaparral was overpowering — far stronger than he had ever smelled roses or cut grass. But somebody hadn’t used a lawnmower to cut these bushes — they had been crushed and cut down by a thousand whizzing bullets.

He started collecting ammo and guns and equipment and piling it into little mounds. He was working so hard that he was panting. This stoop labor was hard work — even if he was picking up $2,000 radios and $7,000 night vision goggles and $3,000 submachine guns.

He stood up and arched his back.

A hand touched his shoulder.


Bill lost his balance and slid ten feet down the hillside. He’d forgotten to bring even a pistol with him and so now there he was flat on his back with his feet facing up the hill and blood rushing into his skull. After two nights of living on nothing but adrenaline he was worn out and making serious — and potentially fatal — mistakes.

The night vision goggles had shifted and it felt as if they had broken his nose. He ripped the goggles from his face and the looming figure of a campesino came out of the shadows and stood over him. The guy was glowing bright green.

Bill tried to back away but he was now stuck with his head in a bush.

The figure mumbled something in Spanish. Bill responded in English: “Okay — so — whada ya want!.” It even sounded stupid to Bill.

“Amigo! Are we the only two still alive?” The Mexican mumbled.

“Yep! It sure seems like it!”

“Are you La Migra?” The Mexican asked.


They each could find nothing more to say. They both just stared at each other. It was like the awkward first moments of a blind date. What Bill found attractive about this guy was his single gold tooth. It actually sparkled in the Cyalume’s green glow.

But they both heard the noise at the same time. A faint buzz. Then the sound grew louder. Then the sound grew louder and louder and now seemed to be right above their heads.

“Come on pal, let’s get outa here!” Bill yelled as he thrashed around, got to his feet and ran down the hill toward the front door of the house. But the house was more than three hundred yards away. Bill could feel little popping sensations in his legs — muscle fibers tearing. He just knew he was going to hurt real bad tomorrow.

Bill slid through the front door, bounced off the far wall and fell flat. The Mexican was right behind him.

Bill scrambled back to the front door and slammed it shut.

They both just lay there on the cool entryway floor — panting.

Sally ran down the hallway and flipped on the lights and screamed.

“Wait, wait, wait!” Bill yelled — thinking Sally was going to blast them both with a 12 gauge.

“Who is this guy?” Sally screamed.

“He’s my buddy!” Bill responded, looking at the Mexican with the morbid fascination one reserves for a pet tarantula.

“This guy’s almost my size — could you go get him some cleaner clothes — maybe some that won’t glow in the dark?” Bill really was amazed at how well his little Cyalume booby-trap inventions had worked.

It took some doing but after some first aid and lots of soap and water both men were presentable enough to sit down and eat a midnight snack. Bill made certain that he and the Mexican both used Dial Liquid soap to clean themselves. The stuff actually was a disinfectant.

It seemed that Reynaldo — Bill’s new friend — had been accidently struck in the head with a rock by a fellow Mexican during the opening stages of the attack on those he called “the Marlboro men.”

Reynaldo was from San Quintin, BC, and was a campesino with 11 children. Most of the farm workers in the area had not been paid in two months and had voted to try to clean up the situation in their village and to steal enough food to save their children. Mexican troops had been called to quell the rioting and many farm workers had been killed.

Reynaldo and many of the survivors had sworn an oath to the Virgin Mary that they would get guns, retake their village and then demand civil justice.

He and two other men from San Quintin had come to America to steal such weapons as Providence might offer (and ammunition and money and various presents for their women and children) and they then planned to steal a car and return victoriously to their village.

Bill quietly told Sally that Reynaldo of course should not be trusted — but that he might just come in handy. Sally stared at Reynaldo. She couldn’t seem to get her eyes off that gold tooth. The more she tried to look away the more fascinated she became.

The core of their conversation was about the mysterious airborne buzzing. Bill looked up “surveillance drones” in his Janes CD ROM and found several. The most likely being a model called the “Predator.” While this thing was designed to operate at high altitudes the lay of the land in these parts limited its operation to about 1,500 feet above ground level — if its communications link to its operator was a direct one and not via satellite.

For some reason the feds were taking the entire matter very cautiously. Certainly by now they must know that all of their “rescue” teams were dead and that there had been a humongous fire fight and that even more people died.

The feds must have created a “cordon sanitaire” around the area — with everyone sent into the zone judged to be expendable.

They all knew that death was the only future expected for Bill, Sally, Bobby and Reynaldo. It also meant that the feds weren’t just planning to kill everybody and everything in this zone but also to then erase the house from the surface of the earth. It was to be Waco with a silencer.

Certainly the feds wouldn’t do something “really big” right now. They would wait — probably until just before morning nautical twilight — around 05:30 at this time of year.

“Before morning nautical twilight” — such an interesting term. It is defined by the military as the moment in the sun’s ascent when the center of the morning sun is 12 degrees below the horizon. In human terms it is the moment of our greatest vulnerability. Just before dawn a leaden cloak of sleepiness envelops us and dulls our instincts for survival. Professional soldiers around the world are quite aware of this weakness in humankind and actually go to a higher state of alert 60 minutes before and 30 minutes after morning nautical twilight.

“What time is it?”

“About 10:15. What are you thinking about now? Sally asked.”

“Those bastards would have used satellite imagery or high altitude aircraft if they were just gonna watch us. They used an RPV. RPVs are used for real-time intelligence. Like … where do we shoot this big mortar in the next ten seconds … I think we’re in big trouble.

We gotta start thinking like they do! Certainly that philandering-commie-coke-snorting Clinton doesn’t have the balls to do much of anything but he sure knows how to tap the terrible evil of “The New World Order” for his own purposes. If Clinton had any balls he would tell us all how the only heroes in his life are Lenin, and Stalin!

What did Stalin say?

“To chose one’s victim, to prepare one’s plans minutely, to stake an implacable vengeance, and then go to bed … there is nothing sweeter in the world.”

If that ain’t Clinton I don’t know what is.

I kinda figure they’re gonna send in some serious assault team real soon — maybe two of ‘em — to create some sort of competitive environment between the teams. The FBI can’t seem to get the job done so I betcha they’re gonna send in SEALs or Marine Recon. Yep, these guys are gonna do it to us — real soon.

You know, if we’re gonna fight these guys and win then we better start using every tool we have at our disposal. We can certainly outsmart these bastards that’s not a problem. But what we gotta do for sure is stay clear of ‘em. We will lose in any one-on-one firefight. We gotta remember that most of these guys are only as smart as the average cop. And we gotta remember that they have years of training and will respond to stimuli at an automatic or “gut” level. Whatever they’ve learned they will now do by rote and almost instinctively. We gotta give ‘em situations they have never seen before — and where their trained actions will be the worst moves they could possibly make.

One thing going for us is that the American government isn’t sending too many of these kinda guys to far-off lands right now — so whoever they drop on us won’t be too experienced with the sight of death and gore. And we sure got enough death and gore around here for a platoon of SEALs! I kinda figure that’s one weapon we’ve got that they don’t. We’d better use it.

If we’re really good we might even turn the propaganda from this event to our favor. I wish I knew how …

Bobby! Bobby!

I want you to go down into the basement. I want you to go down there and sweep the floor so that we can use the main room down there. Now, I know that its a big job. The place is a mess. I know that I’ve never let you go down there by yourself before. Well, you’re a big boy now and we need your help.”

Bill and Bobby walked to the closet and Bill lifted the steel hatch. Bobby looked up at his father and then down at the darkness below.

“It’s okay.” Bill said as he flipped on the yellow tinted emergency lights far below.

Bobby slowly stepped down the stairs and out of sight.

All Bill could say was, “Poor kid. He’s sure taking this stoically.”

Bill lowered the hatch. At least Bobby would be safe — and it was quite possible that he would be the only one to survive the battle that was sure to come.

Bill had Reynaldo climb the hill and check the level in the septic tank — there were more than 1,000 gallons of gasoline and oil left. Then the two of them started dragging bodies toward the house. When they were done they had nine of the FBI’s HRT in bits and pieces, about 17 fresh Mexicans from the hillside and the oozing putrid cooked remains of another 15 Mexicans from around the back of the house. They also had about a dozen BATF types laying around and covered in still-glowing green slime.

“What we gotta do is lean the almost-alive-looking ones against the house. The SEALs probably won’t try to blast through a wall if it’s layered with humans — even dead humans.

Do we still have those Disneyland music CDs? We gotta wire up some speakers upstairs and downstairs and get ready to start playing “It’s a small world after all” throughout the house — at maximum volume. It would be best if we can play two CDs of the stuff at the same time — but delayed by about thirty seconds — that way there won’t be a single silent moment. The brain tries to process everything it hears no matter what — and sending these guys inappropriate and garbled English sentences should slow their reaction time. We play two of these CDs at the same time and the SEALs won’t be able to even think straight. We’ll have to start playing it when we think they’re all inside the house.

We gotta get some of Samantha’s dresses and Bobby’s baby clothes and drape the stiff’s heads with the clothes — make ‘em look really goofy. We can stick baby clothes into the hands of some of the Mexicans — baby clothes soaked in blood might confuse even the fed’s psycho-bastards a bit. A big part of our plan has to be distraction.

Then what we gotta do is take some of the HK MP5 submachine guns and duct tape them to the hands of several of these dead BATF guys. I’m gonna get some squibs and surgical tape and telephone wire and rubber bands. I can tape the submachine gun’s triggers so they won’t move rearward and then wrap the rubber bands between the pistol grips and the triggers — to snap them rearwards when the surgical tape is blasted or burned apart by the squib. Then all I have to do is put 12 volts down the wire and blast the squib and the rubber band will pull the trigger all the way back and that submachine gun will flop all around firing at 1,200 rounds a minute until the magazine goes dry. Can you imagine the effect that will have on those SEALs when a headless dead guy starts zapping them from their rear with a submachine gun?”

If anybody goes over to one of these stiffs and tries to kick the gun from his hands it ain’t gonna work. If I could find some single edge razor blades I could stick a blade under the tape next to the squib. If the razor blade was tied to a bit of string — which was tied tightly to the stiff — then lifting or trying to kick the gun would pull the razor, cut the tape and empty the gun’s 30 round magazine right into the guy’s crotch.

Do we have any party balloons? We gotta fill them up and tie them to the hands or necks of some of the bodies. These guys will be just as fascinated by this weird stuff as we civilians are mesmerized by road kill — they won’t be able to take their eyes off the sight. Distraction!

Get our thick candles and break ‘em up — so that we can make lots of little lights to put in shoe boxes and in folded-over paper bags and put ‘em next to each dead guy outside. That should really screw up their night vision systems and create a pretty nutso environment for them to operate in.

Lastly — and maybe most importantly — we can set up a couple of these candles at the edges of the gravel parking area — one to the southeast and one to the southwest sides of the house. We can use little mirrors and reflect this candlelight to the front of the house — and then with another mirror — send it right in the front door. If we lay on the floor of the entry way looking north and see the light from one of these reflected candles start to blink — well — then we will know they have arrived — and at least from which direction — east or west. We can steady the mirrors with some of the chunks of dead meat we seem to have in abundance around here.

I also want lots of balloons on the floor in the hallways and on furniture. You won’t have to inflate them and destroy your lungs — I got a few of those camera duster cans of gas around here someplace. They should work fine. Oh, and don’t inflate them too much — just create a bunch of half-sized balloons — that way some of ‘em will survive a grenade tossed into their midst. And the new batch of bad guys will have a real hard time using their peripheral vision to sense movement — too much stuff will be bouncing and moving around all the time.

Speaking of cans of gas — don’t we have a couple of those air horns we used to signal the start of that cross country bike race? We oughta set ‘em up with the squib thingies. I don’t expect the horns to be anything but something out of the ordinary — something to throw them off balance. Something like this will divert their attention for maybe just a second and give us the advantage we need to get the drop on ‘em.

These guys will probably attack using a process called “the snake.” The team lines up single file against the outside wall — with odd numbered team members aiming their weapons to the left and even numbered team members aiming their weapons to the right. Then they kinda march right in and kill everything they see that’s moving.

Oh, and these guys are gonna use grenades on us too. I don’t mean stun or flash-bang. We’re gonna get the real thing.

The first thing they’ll do is toss in a real grenade. That thing will send thousands of steel splinters into everything in the front area of the house. Then they’ll stick the head of their snake inside the house. The head will be the best two shots they have — or the best shot in front and the leader right behind. These guys will be armed with 9mm submachine guns and a few guys with .223’s — probably M16s.

They won’t have any reason to not kill us. Not killing us means paperwork and testimony at “trial.” We gotta remember that the only thing the feds want is for us to be dead.

I’ve tried to build this house so that these kinda situations will be like shooting ducks in a barrel — for us — not them. I don’t think the assault team is gonna change what they’ve practiced for years and years just for us. And they don’t know what’s inside this house.

Once inside they’ll probably switch to two-man teams. When they come to a doorway they’ll place themselves at each side of the door — and look inside the room. They’ll kinda do a quick “peek.” If the room is empty then they’ll do what they call a “button hook” and run through the doorway and then look back toward the wall right behind them.

They might just throw a grenade into each room before they even peek inside. Hey, they’re here to kill us — not invite us to tea!

To stop their plan from working what we gotta do is take some of the weapons we’ve collected and set them up with the tape and rubber band thingies on the triggers. We lay the weapons on or even under tables in these rooms — kinda in the corners facing where the SEALs will do their “button hook.” We wanna make sure that the weapons aim no higher than crotch high — and knees would be better. These guys should be wearing bullet proof vests — but not on their legs. If one of our dead guys fires a magazine into somebody’s legs it’s gonna cut a femoral artery. That SEAL or Marine will be dead in two minutes.

These guys ain’t gonna get in through the windows — not with shutters made of two inch thick steel plate. They’ll go for the back door — and they ain’t gonna get past those railroad rails. The next thing they might try is to just blast a big hole in the side of the house and march in.

Now, if we leave the front door open with a stiff or two inside shaped like a cup — to catch any grenade they might toss — and then two or three plopped at the entryway like they were trying to get in and failed — they might just go for it. They might just storm right in the front door. Hey, these guys are macho. They’ll do it.

I wish I had installed a net at the front door. The only real threat we have is from a satchel charge. If they toss one of those inside the house we might be killed from the blast over pressure. I don’t think they’re gonna stand there and watch such a thing go off so until I see the first guy come in the house I’ll stay ready at the top of the stairs to grab any big sack I see come in the door and toss it back outside.

Hey, if it wasn’t for the blast over-pressure we would create inside the house we could use our explosives on them!”

Sally just looked at Bill. She had no emotion left in her. Reynaldo was too scared to listen to much of anything.

“The first grenade they toss inside will blow body parts out the door and they might think they got us. There’s a smell to just-exploded guts — even if they don’t see the pieces zooming out the door they’re gonna smell ‘em. They just might get cocky and drop their guard a bit.

We should set up a stiff in the rec room as a Trojan Horse. We can put a Barrett behind the guy and fire it right through him — with the squib and rubber band thingie — when their “snake” of thugs comes marching through the front door. We might get their most dangerous first two guys right off. We’ll have to duct tape that dead guy real good so he won’t fall over from a grenade blast.

To draw attention away from the Barrett I figure we ought to stuff a stiff in the chimney — feet first — and then put a candle by his head.

Lastly, we oughta take a couple of the chlorine and acid bottles from the pool and cut the tops off. We can lay plastic sheeting up the stairs and tape it at the bottom but not the top. We can then tape the plastic bottles on top of the sheeting at the edge of the landing. If we tug backwards on the bottles then the plastic sheeting will get real tight.

All the SEALs will have to do is step on that sheeting and the two bottles will fall over and mix and even if they’re wearing breathing apparatus and bullet proof vests they’re gonna get acid and chlorine soaking right through their clothes. It’s gonna be real bad news for those guys. Lastly, the chlorine fog will be real heavy — and it should reflect the illumination from their flashlights right back into their faces and help blind them.

I’d like to put bottles of chlorine and acid right on top of our doors and let ‘em knock them over as they came into a room — like the old “bucket of water above the door trick” from school. The problem is that if we need to run into that room ourselves it’ll be us that gets soaked.

After we nail the first wave of these guys any second wave is gonna want a chance at us. And they’re gonna be pissed. That’s when I’m gonna do the gasoline sprinkler thing one last time. From our last experience I would say that if those guys are within three hundred yards of this place we’ll suck ‘em in and cook ‘em.

I know that all of this sounds really crazy. It’s supposed to! We have to fight these guys with what we have and all we have is a very strong house and lots of dead people. We gotta use what’s been given us. We have no choice.”

Bill and his teammates had little time to prepare.

While Reynaldo dragged corpses off the hillside, Bill and Sally inflated balloons and set up squib-fired weapons in the ground floor rooms, on the stairway to the second floor and in the second floor den.

Bill and Sally then stacked weapons they would use later near the upstairs bedroom walls — just below the shooting ports. They might not have time to reload and in this singular case they might need to fire weapons from both hands.

After the squibbed guns were placed they then set up the air horns — under the plastic sheeting on the stairway landing.

The last thing they did was light the candles by the bodies outside.

They were now as ready as they would ever get.

“Hey, Reynaldo, I know you are brave but I don’t think you’re ready for what’s gonna happen tonight. Let’s have you sit in the closet — just lock the door. Nobody’s gonna get you in there. Those walls are made of solid steel railroad rail. You’ll be safe … see the rails?”

Bill thumped against the rails with his fist.

“Damn, I got a good idea! If you hear somebody in the hallway just give out one of those Mexican Mariachi band AAYEEEYAEEYAEE’s and then laugh real loud. They’ll start blasting away at you and their bullets will come right back into their faces. Surprise, surprise!”

Bill lifted the hatch and stuck his head down the hole.

“Bobby! How are you doin down there? Okay? Reynaldo here is gonna sit in the closet and guard the door for you. If you hear some screams they’re just Reynaldo practicing for his Mariachi band. It’ll be okay. It’s gonna get real quiet here for a little while and then it might get real loud. You just keep on sweeping so that we can all come down there and have dinner in a little while. Okay?”

Bill closed the hatch and looked at Reynaldo.

“Hey, Reynaldo. Before the action starts you can help us watch those early-alert mirrors for any sign of SEALs crossing the light beams from the candles. Sally and I might miss the event and then we’d all be dead.”

Bill, Sally and Reynaldo lay on the carpet deep inside the house — with just bits of their heads peeking out from around furniture and their eyes locked on the reflections from the eastern and western candles. They were far enough into the shadows of the house to be hidden from starlight scopes.

It was midnight.

“Something has just occurred!” Reynaldo whispered and then poked Sally on the right shoulder. All six eyes looked toward the eastern mirror.

There it was. Blink … blink, blink. Blink, blink, blink. Muscular legs had interrupted the faint yellow beam of candlelight.

“They’re here! Reynaldo — go hide!”

Bill and Sally looked at each other. Neither could believe that their lives were to end like this — their bodies soaked in putrid blood, covered in filth, a child dead, the guilt of killing other humans on their hands and maybe fifty SEALs or a platoon of Marine Recon just a few yards away — with orders to kill everything before them.

SEAL Team Two from Coronado, California — based not forty miles away — had been handed the task.

Squad thirteen of SEAL Team Two had been assigned the mission. Squad seven of SEAL Team Two was thirteen’s backup. While these counter-terrorism jobs were normally handled by SEAL Team Six from the east coast there hadn’t been time to get them here from Virginia. The standard SEAL squad is eight men. For this operation each squad would be reinforced to 11 men. Either their target was more dangerous than most operational targets or higher authority wanted to make sure the job got done fast.

The team leader squatted just beneath the crest of the hill and surveyed the area — noting that the hillside glowed yellow-green. He thought that an approach from that side — the east side — would not be expected and thus optimum for their attack.

Before them was a sight from Dante’s Inferno. There were bodies everywhere — and each had what looked like a little campfire burning — right next its crotch.

Other bodies were leaning up against the main building’s walls. Tiny hot flames blurred his night goggles and he looked away.

“I bet all those dead guys are booby trapped! Stay clear of them!” He said to his team.

They crept forward — maybe only one step every two seconds or one step every three seconds. The earth felt strange. There were no leaves or twigs beneath their feet — just hard dirt. The smells of cordite and blood were in the air — mixed with the smells of San Diego’s back country. A rabbit — and then a bobcat — squealed someplace up the valley.

Their feet were like extensions of their fingers — they felt for even the slightest sensation of a wire or a trap. There was nothing for them to feel here but the sensation of hardness — somehow all of the loose earth had been swept away.

Here and there the point man would place a piece of white tape over a booby trap wire — to flag it for those behind him.

The dead were everywhere — and they smelled bad. The Turkey Vulture vomit had coated bodies with high doses of bacteria and the bodies’ putrifaction had been given a five day head start. Some of the bodies still had weapons in their hands. One FBI HRT agent had been propped up and his head was missing. He was still holding his HK MP5.

This squad of SEALs had never been operational before. They’d been told that this should be a bull-shit job. A couple of “Constitutionalists” verses a total of 22 SEALs?


“FUCK! That headless guys just zapped us from the rear!”

All of squad thirteen snapped to the left and opened fire against the dead FBI HRT agent. Nothing seemed to work! The guy just kept firing!


Finally, a grenade blew him apart.

Of the reinforced squad of 11 they were — in less than ten seconds of their first combat — already down to 9 men. One was killed — shot repeatedly from the knees all the way to the chin as the FBI HRT agent’s gun flailed wildly. One was wounded — his left foot mangled by either 9mm rounds or steel slivers from the grenade. He waved to his team that he was okay and that they should proceed.

Nine men sprinted to the eastern edge of the house. The squad leader pressed his shoulder against the wall. He tapped it lightly — it was stone. He dropped his pack and removed two large super-sticky lumps of plastic putty with quarter inch thick hooks sticking out of them. He pressed these clumps of putty into the subtle fissures of the wall. Then he lifted his pack and clipped it to these wall tacks. The squad looked around and confirmed their escape route. The squad leader pulled the pin on the 10 second delay fuse and the squad retreated to the south side of the house.


The satchel charge detonated and sent a shockwave deep into the wall. The foam filled space between the river stones and the concrete dispersed the blast of 20 blocks of navy M112 C4 explosive. The energy — instead of penetrating the wall was redirected outward — sending three hundred pounds of football-sized river stones a hundred yards. The SEALs hadn’t expected this kind of detonation. The wall was supposed to vaporize. These stones were nine times harder than normal granite and they rocketed outwards like a huge shotgun blast.

The wounded SEAL — fifty yards away — screamed as chunks of hardened granite sliced him to pieces and a twenty pound boulder crushed his chest. Now the SEALs had no wounded men to take care of — just one more dead.

The squad returned to the blast site and checked the hole. Nothing! Just volumes of acrid black smoke that obscured their view.

The squad leader pressed his hands into the hole and discovered an airspace — maybe six inches deep — and then what seemed to be a concrete wall that felt about as solid as a bridge abutment. He radioed this information to his back-up squad.

“Fuck! What’s this place made of!”

He motioned with his right arm and then with his right hand and then with his fingers — follow me, around the corner, cover me, we’ll just go in the front door.

The squad slapped themselves against the north wall of the house and inched toward the doorway — stepping over the legs of dead Mexicans, dead BATF and dead FBI HRT agents. Some of the squad dropped their weapon’s magazines to the ground and exchanged them for full ones.

The squad leader edged to the open front doorway and peeked inside. He and his number two man each pulled a pin from a grenade. They nodded to each other and tossed the grenades inside. They heard the grenades bounce once on the hard floor and then stop. The tinkle of the grenade’s spoons bouncing around on the entryway floor was the last pleasant thing they heard.


The squad immediately entered the house in a line — a line that resembled a snake.

Before them was a surreal “theater of the dead.” Bodies were everywhere. Bits of flesh were stuck to the walls and ceiling and were glistening in the candlelight.

Little lakes of melted wax fueled tiny flames here and there. These tiny yellow glows blurred their night vision goggles. The squad was nearly blind.

Then suddenly “ITS A SMALL WORLD AFTER ALL, IT’S A SMALL WORLD AFTER ALL!” blasted out of speakers someplace in the house. Suddenly, the team couldn’t even hear themselves think let alone communicate.

Three members of the squad were so startled that they let loose on full auto and hosed bullets all over the hallway and toward the kitchen. The bullets knocked the duct tape from a distant wall and a monstrous tidal wave of stench — a breath-stopping waft of putrid death — filled their lungs.

Reynaldo picked that moment to give his first rendition of a Mexican Mariachi scream.


A SEAL fired a burst down the center of the hallway and in one fluid motion rotated his body to the left and hosed the closet door and it armored walls. Armor piercing bullets and tracers roared from the gun’s muzzle at nearly 3,000 feet per second.

The bullets bounced right back out of the nested railroad rail walls and dug deep into SEAL’s body. His right femoral artery was severed in two places. He would drain himself bloodless in 50 seconds. He dropped to the floor screaming.

The squad leader suddenly realized that there was more here than a middle aged husband and wife. If he wasn’t careful he was gonna come out of this thing very dead.

He couldn’t back out of the house. Shit, his backup squad would laugh at him. All his team had been able to do so far was shoot each other! There wasn’t anything in this fucking house to hurt them — but themselves.


The Barrett .50 fired — blowing bits of dead BATF intestines and 750 grains of lead through three of the SEALs who happened to still be standing in precise straight alignment in the doorway. The dying SEALs wiggled like worms — spurting blood from big holes in their chests. A long piece of intestine had flopped out of the dead BATF agent and was now draped over the dying SEALs like glistening, blue-black Christmas bunting.

The squad leader looked around and realized that he now had only five men left.

He signaled the men to create a 30 second firestorm and hose the interior of the house with three entire magazines each.

The roar was deafening in such a confined space. Flames leapt three feet from the gun muzzles. Grenades were tossed into the kitchen and the back bedrooms. Rounds fired toward the ceiling bounced off the concrete and impacted into the furniture and the carpet. Chunks of concrete rocketed into the SEAL’s heads and cut their faces.

The squad reloaded. The sounds of magazines dropping to the floor and new magazines being slapped into HK MP5s and M16s rattled through the house.



A dead Mexican — who seemed to be hanging by his feet inside the fireplace — and whose clothing was already on fire — let loose with his HK MP5.

Another SEAL fell.

The squad let loose with withering automatic fire toward the fireplace. The “Santa — Mexican” was cut to pieces.

“Fuck! What the fuck is goin on here!”

The leader pointed to the stairs. The SEALs hosed the stairway with .223 bullets and then dashed upwards — difficult to do on the plastic sheeting which covered the stair treads .

There were several telephone lines running up the stairs — now they knew that all of the dead shooters had been controlled by someone — someone up there — someone on the second floor. A SEAL grabbed at the lines and cut them with his K-bar knife.

Their targets were right there — maybe not fifteen feet from them — maybe just at the top of the stairs and around the corner.

There seemed to be something hiding under the sheeting at the top of the landing. The four SEALs fired into the covered shape. Bullets slapped into the two white water-jugs at the top of the landing.

The stairway exploded in a white cloud of chlorine gas. The SEALs raced farther up the stairs — only to slip and fall into the hissing liquid which was bubbling over mini-waterfalls created by the stair treads.

The SEALs slithered up the stairs and lay prone at the edge of the second floor hallway.


The two air horns let loose. SEALs fired into the air, ran forward onto the second floor and began firing in all directions. Concrete chips, paint, and drywall spattered against them.

Two HK MP5s laying on the floor started firing all on their own and bounced wildly across the floor. Bullets spattered everywhere.

The SEALs returned suppressive fire down the second floor hallway and tossed three mini-grenades. The concussion was enough to blow a hall door — about half way down the hallway — right off its hinges. It seem to just hang in mid-air — seemingly wedged in its own door frame.

The SEALs checked the first open space. “Clear!”

A SEAL picked up one of the HK MP5s. A rubber band was wrapped around the trigger. On the floor there was a length of telephone cable terminating in the remains of a squib. He tugged on the cable. The cable trailed down the hallway. The SEAL started to pull on the cable as if he was reeling in a fish.

They looked at each other. The team leader motioned to assault the hallway and the rooms to their front.

They formed up four-abreast and leveled their weapons at the wall facing them and emptied their magazines right into it. Books and mementos exploded from the shelves. Maps and diplomas shredded off the wall.

The SEALs crept to the corner of the room — near the light switch and the beginning of the hallway. A SEAL leaned his back against the wall and rested his head for a moment and then motioned that he was going to snap around the corner and hose the hallway again.

Before he could take another step, before his HK MP5’s muzzle even reached the horizontal, a 12 gauge shotgun blast tore through the wall’s flimsy foam core and drywall and nearly took the SEAL’s head right off his shoulders. The body flopped to the floor and flailed aimlessly — spurting huge black wriggling columns of blood all over the shelves and furniture. The sweet-smelling liquid pooled on a low shelf and began dripping onto the carpet.

The remaining SEALs turned, took three steps backward and fired into the wall at waist height — only to have the rounds ricochet right into their crotches and legs. They screamed in pain but continued to fire into the wall as they backed away — toward the stairway.

At the stairway they then changed magazines for a final assault.

The SEALs formed a “vee” and — screaming at the tops of their lungs and with guns blazing — they ran down the hall and crashed into the de-hinged door that was wedged against its frame. The front-most SEAL caught the full force of their collision with the door — a door that was backed by steel aircraft cable netting. The SEAL caught a finger one of the spaces in the steel mesh. The finger snapped and the SEAL screamed — more out of frustration than pain.

The SEALs fell to the floor and began firing in all directions. The squad had entered the house with 21 magazines each. The three remaining SEALs were now down to five magazines each. On full auto they could go through those magazines in less than a minute — with most of their time spent changing magazines. Their high volume of concentrated fire quickly exposed the inner reinforcement of the walls around them. Bits of drywall and foam rocketed down the hallway. Concrete, chunks of plastic gunport and even bits glass mirror were blasted off the walls. Concrete dust and cordite smoke filled the space.

The music stopped.

To their right their gunfire had chisled the wall almost bare — exposing a floor-to-ceiling monolith of solid gray concrete — perforated only by dual firing ports and a single observation port. This narrow, gray, concrete phantom loomed over them in the smoke. To each side of this column was a low wall — topped by almost-invisible wire mesh which climbed all the way to the ceiling. If, in the heat of battle, the SEALs had tried to toss a grenade over the wall and into the next room it would have bounced off the mesh and landed right at their feet — and all of them would already be dead.

The SEALs could feel their hearts pounding, their hands were shaking. It really wasn’t supposed to end this way.

In the 12 seconds these three SEALs had left they sensed that they deserved this death. They sensed that they were to die because they had been cocky and that swagger could not overcome cold, ruthless, intellect. They were going to die having never even seen their enemy.

They went into a defensive drill — one SEAL facing up the hallway, one facing down the hallway, one facing the looming column of concrete and its black firing ports. They reloaded. Without the deafening music the house was terrifyingly silent. The clicking and clacking of magazines being inserted and the clanking of bolts being slammed home echoed down the hallway. They were ready.

A single pale-blue female-eye looked carefully through a small, mirrored observation port and then — very carefully — broken but once-pastel-pink-painted fingernails closed around the triggers of two HK MP5 submachine guns set in the two the firing ports of the wall.


The staccato tapping — the music — of the bullets slapping into these three SEALs was modulated in sound and amplitude by the glowing trail of bullets washing back and forth over their bodies, washing over the floor and walls and then over the SEAL’s bodies again.

This music was echoed in counterpoint by eight rapid blasts from a Bennelli 12 gauge shotgun. These shots came from far down the hall. Heavy solid slugs as well as number four and 00 buckshot whistled down the hall and into their heads, faces and limbs. As they rolled around to avoid these lethal slaps, the tungsten balls slammed into their backs, buttocks and legs. These blasts were followed in three seconds by another eight — from a second fully loaded Bennelli 12 gauge.

A skittering tungsten ball dislodged the “made-ready” pin of one of the SEAL’s grenades. The only thing that had held the pin in place was a half inch long bit of duct tape. The pin was popped from the 3/32’s inch diameter tunnel in the cast aluminum fuse. The steel spoon flipped off the fuse body. The quarter inch wide by half inch long striker — powered by little more than a clothespin spring — flipped 180 degrees and slapped the top of a primer. A sealed tube of powder burned for slightly less than ten seconds. Before anyone even realized that the grenade had come alive the detonation of nearly a quarter pound of PETN sent more than 2,000 steel splinters through the SEALs at 21,600 feet per second.





The SEALs had spent only three minutes in the house. They had been on the second floor for less than 45 seconds — and now they were all dead.

There now was only a faint sound coming from far down the hallway — the sound blood spurting from a nearly headless stump — the blood then dripping off a shelf and splatting onto the carpet — forming a little, black, coagulating pool. Plap … plap … plap …

The closet was hot and full of cordite smoke and chlorine gas.

Reynaldo judged this to be the moment to let loose with another Mariachi scream.


It trailed off quickly — thanks to his dry throat.

There was a delicate knock at his closet door and a call:

“Hey, Reynaldo! You better get your ass out here now! We need you!.

Reynaldo opened the door — to Hell itself.

There were burning bodies scattered all over the inside of the house. Even the carpet was on fire.

“Help me get the front shield down. FAST!” Bill coughed — trying to fight off the chlorine fumes and the acrid smoke.

Bill’s legs were shaking so badly that he could not stand — and he had to lean against the wall to stay erect. Sally was laying on the floor sobbing.

Bill and Reynaldo tried everything they could to get the front shield down but to no avail.

“Well, if this is the only screw-up in the house’s design tonight I’m gonna be real happy!” Bill said as he casually grabbed a stiff by the collar that was leaning against the door and tossed it out the front door — as if it were this weeks trash. He then swung the massive bronze door closed and slammed the door’s massive crash bar into its locking pins in the steel and concrete door frame.

“Reynaldo, pick up Sally and carry her into the closet! I gotta clean up some possible business before its too late!”

Reynaldo carried Sally to the closet and placed her against the inside wall.

Bill staggered over to the master control panel in the kitchen.

Then he started think. “Now it’s all a matter of timing. If there is another squad out there it’ll take a few minutes for them to decide their buddies ain’t coming back. Then it’ll take ‘em a minute or two to scamper to the house. I’d better wait four minutes and then send gasoline to the outer ring of sprinklers first.

Reynaldo said that there was about a thousand gallons left. At 2,200 gallons a minute I better give the outer ring ten seconds and then switch to the middle ring for ten seconds and then the inner ring can have what’s left. The candles probably won’t get a rich enough fuel-air mixture to detonate the gas until the last few seconds.”

He counted. “One, two, three …. two hundred thirty nine, two hundred forty.”

He released all the remaining air pressure from the tanks into the sprinkler valves. He could hear the air pressure in the lines and he could hear the massive flow of gasoline and oil spraying over the ground outside. The hissing sound died out — the fuel tank was dry.

He heard the crackle of flames outside. He fired the remaining squibs anyway — just to make sure

Before he could run the eight steps from the kitchen to the safety of the closet he could heard the whistling squeal of air being sucked from the house. A red and black tornado of flames already circled above the roof. More than 1,000 gallons of gasoline and oil had been atomized into the dry morning air. The heavy humidity of fuel and oxygen easily filled the valley from side to side. The detonation had created a column of flames more than 3,000 feet high. The earth’s coriolis spun the flames counterclockwise into a snake-like chimney that writhed higher and higher into the low clouds.

Bill was screaming. His muscles had finally given up. It was all he could do — even with Reynaldo’s help — to get the closet door closed. Air was being sucked from the mine and a veritable hurricane was racing around the edge of the door. If they could just get the door closed a bit past half way it would slam shut with the force of the air pressure coming out of the mine.

“Watch your fingers Reynaldo!”


The door slammed shut and then its gaskets began squeaking as air continued to escape through the door frame’s tiny cracks..

Bill looked at his watch.

“Last time we did this I think it took about five minutes for the flames to die down. We better give this one ten minutes just in case.”

Squad seven was holding its position on the side of the hill — only about three hundred yards to the east of the house. The firefight that went on inside that house was horrific. They could see flashes out the front door and could count the number of magazine changes and grenades fired. They could even tell the difference between 9 mm and .223 gunfire and enemy fire — which sounded like 12 gauge rounds.

There was about a minute of active fire — including 30 seconds of a “mad minute” and then silence. Then the world came alive with incredibly loud Disneyland “It’s a small world” music and then more gunfire and maybe a grenade or two.


Then there was silence and then long blasts of 9 mm, .223 and 12 gauge fire and at its peak there was what sounded like a single grenade detonation.

The squad leader made a mental record that an assault by a full squad of highly trained SEALs against a couple of middle aged civilians had taken almost four minutes. He was gonna razz that squad right good when they got back to Coronado!

The entire valley was silent. There seemed only to be muffled crackling noises coming from inside the house. The random flicker from small fires inside the house threw weird patterns on the entryway gravel.

There was no “All Clear” from the radio. There was no hand signal waved out the front door. The back-up squad waited. Two minutes. Enough.

The squad trotted forward to assault the house. Now forty yards, over the bodies, thirty yards, to the first dead SEAL, twenty yards, to the second dead SEAL.

They reached the eastern side of the house and examined the pitiful hole in the wall blasted by a satchel charge. One SEAL set about mounting a special reinforced-concrete demolition charge.

The weapon wasn’t a bag, it was a tube. The tube was suspended from two dark grey nylon lines — using dark grey sticky putty. The tube was hung from the sticky putty supported lines horizontally and there was a big yellow arrow on three sides of the tube showing which end to place against the concrete target. A SEAL checked the alignment and motioned for the squad to retreat to the south side of the house. He pulled the time delay. They ran.

There was a strange hissing sound off in the distance — like lawn sprinklers popping up — and the SEALs thought it was so totally domestic — lawn sprinklers in the middle of an assault. Some of the SEALs looked at each other and mouthed, “Sprinklers.”

Then they smelled it. It smelled like an old 56 Ford with a burned-out clutch. Old oil.

Now it was an overpowering smell. To the older SEALs it smelled like the bilge of a pigboat — the bottom-most slop-tank of a diesel-electric submarine.

Then they smelled the rest of the smell — “GASOLINE!”

They couldn’t figure out what was happening to them.

They were trapped. If they ran they would be killed by the demolition charge soon to go off — if they stayed then they would have to escape through pools of gasoline that might catch fire at any moment. Just five more seconds to concrete-penetrator detonation.


The demolition charge detonated and fired a rocket into the concrete wall. The warhead of the rocket was tipped with a self-forging penetrator followed by a shaped charge — which detonated while in intimate contact with the concrete. A crater more than two feet deep was dug into the wall. Massive cracks appeared that spider-webbed across the wall in all directions.

The wall held fast. There was still a foot of reinforced concrete between the SEALs and the inside of the house. They had failed.

The gas and oil fumes were overpowering. The SEALs tried to run — but with heavy packs and oil lubricated earth and going up hill and then trapped in a maze of steel rods and breathing fumes that seemed to steal their strength — they weren’t able to get very far in the few seconds they had left.

The sudden and massive detonation of a fuel-air explosive firestorm is memorable — even beautiful. Perhaps the first-ever fusion of hydrogen at the core of the sun was like this. Certainly, it is all a part of nature.

Their Nomex balaklavas and Nomex gloves kept the SEALs from burning too quickly. They all kept their backs to the conflagration and tried to run. They dreamed they were running in an ocean’s rip current. The wind tugged at their feet and at their arms. The wind increased in velocity and it was impossible to hold on — let alone escape. The SEALs were bent over almost double — fighting the pull of the flames.

The squad leader was the first to be sucked to infinity — the other SEALs watched out of the corners of their eyes as he lost his balance, fell backward and then tumbled past them.

A super-charged crematoria swirled above the house — gasping, clawing for more fuel, more air and more of them.

The SEALs refused to give up. They fought. They dug in with their fingernails to keep from being drawn into the flames. Some became entangled in the steel bushes — only to be slowly — inexorably — heated to 600 degrees. Steam from their bubbling organs slowly forced their lungs out their mouths and intestinal juices dribbled from their rectums.

As their bodies gave up the last few drops of cooling moisture they burst into flame — human fat is a wonderful fuel.

The last one alive felt himself being sucked across the ground and then carried up into the sky. He could see the house below him and then he could see the FBI’s operations center far to the north and even the headlights of cars moving on the highway five miles away.

“So this is what an out-of-body experience is like” he thought as he lay there in the dirt with his Nomex gloves burned from his skin and his skin burned from his flesh and his flesh burned from his bones.

His eyes poached in his own tears.

“We’re not done yet!” Bill said as they all sat on the freshly swept floor of the mine — eating luncheon meats and drinking Coke.

“Those guys are not going to give up. The only thing left is a bombing run and I don’t think — after what we have just been through — that any of us would argue that they ain’t gonna do it. They’re gonna do it.

They’re going to get us and this time … They’re gonna get serious!”

Everybody laughed. Sally was covered in blood, her fingernails were broken, her clothes were ripped and covered in cordite smoke. Bill was bleeding from his forehead, face and two long cuts in his right arm — from ricocheting concrete chips. Reynaldo was covered in dried blood from carrying more than a dozen dead bodies and other bits and pieces of humanity he had dragged from here to there. Even Bobby was coated in filth from sweeping the floor of the mine and his hands were sliced open in a dozen places from gathering bits of glass, plastic and steel shards.

But they were alive!

From Bill’s earlier calculations he was confident that any attack by aircraft would come from the north. And he knew that the attack would be using some kind of guided munitions and that such a munition would be most vulnerable during the last 10 to 15 seconds before impact.

He reasoned that their first move would be to bomb the house — to turn it to rubble — and then let it burn until nothing was left. They would use one of those damn TV guided bombs so as not to miss. Then they would probably napalm the entire area — maybe three times. Their next move would be to either send in another team — which might act in a more circumspect manner than the last two — to do an on-site inspection or send in that damn RPV again.

Bill figured that if the place needed to be hit again then the feds would probably have aircraft standing by. Then it struck him — if all of these people were so absolutely expendable then this plane was probably already on the way!

Where would the aircraft come from? His mind wandered a bit — through all of his previous nightmares and fears and reasoning and then it struck him: NAS El Centro!

That damn place was near all those Navy bombing ranges, they specialized in bombing practice and the aircraft could depart quickly and easily with nobody taking notice.

But then he realized that it didn’t matter where the plane came from. The only thing that mattered was where they aimed that bomb.


“Hey guys, we gotta go do some painting — if the paint is still in the shed!

Bobby, how about if you try and get some sleep. I don’t want you to go upstairs for a while. Just take a couple of those shooting mats and some of the clothes in that clothes hamper and make yourself a fortress over there in the corner and cover up and go to sleep. We’ll all be back in a few minutes. You’re safe down here.”

“Okay, pop.”

Bill went out to the shed and found the Santa Fe White he had intended to use to paint the house — before he decided to just depend on the plasticized stucco for color. He remembered that the paint and stucco matched pretty well — at least they had two years ago.

The cans were popped open from the heat and some of the paint looked like it had boiled for a while — if not from heat then from the lowered atmospheric pressure of the firestorm.

Bill dragged the ladder from the shed and slapped it up against the north wall of the house. If this worked then all the window shutters would have to be painted.

He took a can of Santa Fe White and covered over the dark trim on one of the closed shutters on the ground floor.

It looked almost okay. The window blended right in. Now the shutter just looked like a bump on the wall.

“Okay guys … I think we gotta job to do …” Bill yelled at Reynaldo and Sally.

They all took rags and soaked them in the paint and then slathered the paint on the window shutters. Bill climbed up the ladder, stretched out in space and just sloshed paint onto the second floor shutters.

Soon all of the north facing windows — top and bottom — were erased from existence.

“Sally, do you know where that garrison sized American flag is?”

“Yes, sure. You want that thing now?”

“Yep — we need a big target for these assholes.

They‘ll need a really nice aiming point — and if we hang that flag in front of this solid concrete wall and they use it as their target then we might just live though what they drop on us — at least the first time.”

Then Bill had another idea. He trotted over to their Hummer and looked inside it. The whole thing really had taken the two gasoline and motor-oil, flame, mushroom cloud, firestorm “cremate a Mexican” and “nuke-a-SEAL” operations quite badly. The paint was gone and the metal was now mostly rust, the interior had burned up and the tires were nothing but woven steel belts — the run-flat tires had melted off the rims.

Bill tried the engine. It started!

He lurched the vehicle around in the yard so that it faced north, then he went to the shed and dragged out an armful of 2 × 4s and dropped them by the Hummer.

“Sally, please go find some sheets — dark colors if possible!” He said and then went back and got another load of 2 × 4 —

Sally eyed the lengths of wood and the Hummer and figured she’d need about every sheet in the house.

Bill set out to build a wooden frame and just screwed it right onto the front of the Hummer with three inch drywall screws — driven by his Makita electric drill. The frame was twenty feet across and twenty feet high — sloping back over the Hummer towards the house.

Sally came out of the house with bed sheets and Bill laid three layers onto the huge frame. He then used drywall screws to hold the layers of sheets on the frame. Then he painted the entire front of the Hummer and the edges of the sheets with the Santa Fe White.

“Okay, Sally, where’s the flag?”

Sally had a wild look on her face. She was starting to cry again.

“We gotta do something about that house. That place is terrifying. Can’t you guys scrape some of the mess outside?” She sat on the ground. She started to lay down flat but she quickly recognized bits of burned-human mixed in with the gravel. She staggered to her feet and ran to Bill and held him tight.

“Okay. Reynaldo and I’ll try and drag the mess outside and then cover the downstairs with plastic sheeting. We might just have to live in that mess for a while. Who knows what’s gonna come next or even how much more we can stand.” Bill was crying too and his whole body was shaking. Too much more of this and they all would become casualties.

Sally trotted off and returned with a flag with 48 stars. It had flown over Hawaii’s Hickam Field in 1938 and had belonged to her father.

Bill crawled up onto the Hummer and gently draped the flag over the bed sheet frame. The flag was all that Sally had left of her father. Bill didn’t want to staple her only memory of her father onto planks like Jesus to the cross but he had no choice.

“Okay, it’s done.”

If this all worked then the air-crew would pick the target at the middle of the house and guide their first bomb towards it. The pilot and weapons officer would certainly be no more than 26 years old and fully indoctrinated into “The New World Order.” The crew would be more than happy to bomb an American flag — they would look at the chance as a real bonus! The bomb damage assessment video tape would even show the bomb targeting the “Constitutional Extremists” and their flag.

Bill figured that he could put the Hummer into compound low gear and let it drag itself slowly away from the house. If this worked then in the last fifteen seconds the Hummer should get about 100 feet away from the house — and if the bomb was locked on that American flag then the impact point would not be the house but the Hummer. The house would be safe.

Bill could only hope that the weapons officer on that plane had a real hate for the “old America” and that he wouldn’t miss.

They finished their construction and painting by 3:30 in the morning. It really is amazing what you can do when you’re scared.

Bill just stood there in the darkness and looked at the flag and then up the valley. Suddenly, he brought his hands to his mouth and looked at Sally and then at Reynaldo.

“I got it!

I think we might just win round one guys! We’re better off than I thought! The missile or bomb they drop on us might really track that flag — I figure there’s a 70% chance. The pilot might try to re-target the weapon at the last minute if he sees his aim point running down the road. But I think we can fix that.

I’ve been thinking about all of this stuff at a much too technical a level!

We just gotta think about this in a much more primitive way. What would a Russian peasant or a Ukrainian do?

I remember that the Russians had planned to shoot down our low flying B-52 bombers by just setting off lots of small nuclear ground bursts in their path. You sure don’t need radar controlled anti-aircraft guns and missiles if you just launch a small Ural mountain — or two — at your attacker!

So, I think we might just be able to knock their plane right out of the sky — and I think we can blind their TV aiming system long enough to have the weapon go on automatic and crash prematurely or even lock onto our lure!”

He picked up a handful of gravel and tossed it in the air and then listened for the stones to fall to the ground.

“How many bottles of pool chemicals do we have?” Bill asked.

“God, a whole bunch — maybe ten chlorine and ten acid bottles” Sally responded.

“Okay — Reynaldo — come and help me carry them.”

Bill and Reynaldo scampered through the house and out onto the patio and then Bill turned to the right and around the corner — to pool and garden supplies cabinet with a swimming pool leaf scoop leaning against it. Bill stopped for a moment and just looked at the pool skimmer and thought of Samantha and then snapped back to reality.

“Grab five at a time!”

The two of them trudged back through the house and Bill kept right on going — to a point about 150 yards directly in front of the burned out Hummer target.

“Stack them here and then come on.”

Then back they went for another load.

When the plastic bottles were all piled up in the dirt Bill said “Give me a hand” as he motioned to Reynaldo to come with him.

They both then trotted far up the trail to the north — to the FBI’s Black Hummer hidden in the shallow arroyo. What a nice machine! The damn thing was loaded with radios and food. It had a long trailer with half empty spools of cable. The cable was trailed back up the road and smaller reels of cable had had their contents winding toward the three sniper nests.

It must be so nice to be in the FBI. Their Hummer had no ignition lock. What a loving and trusting organization.

Bill and Reynaldo hopped in. Reynaldo had never been in such a machine before. Not only were the people in the front seats separated from each other by four feet of transmission but the noise was like sitting inside the engine compartment of a bus.

As the Hummer lurched forward, the black cables that had been laid out the back became taught and then started following the Hummer like well-trained snakes.

Bill drove the Hummer south and to the eastern hillside near the house. There, they both got out and collected and carried the small mounds of equipment, guns and ammunition to the bottom of the hill and then into the back of the Hummer. Bill then drove the Hummer right to the front door of the house.

“Okay Reynaldo, now we got real work to do” Bill mumbled. He was already exhausted.

Then he realized what he had just done. He had damn near worked himself to a frazzle when he could have just loaded the bottles of acid and chlorine into the Hummer and driven them out the hundred-plus yards.. Stupid!

They lifted the cable spools off their mounts and dropped them on the ground. Then they lifted the steel frames and other telephone equipment off the trailer and stripped the Hummer of anything that wouldn’t be of value later.

Bill walked in the house and went directly to the closet and slid down the steel ladder into the basement. Reynaldo followed.

Bill motioned to Reynaldo to stay quiet so Bobby could sleep. He then lead Reynaldo through the small room by the stairs and into the mine’s main chamber.

The chamber still smelled of burned plastic and had the acidic air of a smoldering fire. Dim yellow lights showed the basement to be huge — with tunnels going off in three directions. It was a marvelous place. There were rows of half-destroyed special electrical technology along the walls. Reynaldo was very impressed.

Bill trotted down the right hand tunnel about twenty yards and then stopped. Strange thick light gray plastic sausages were stacked on two rubber wheeled carts. Another cart had paper wrapped black rubber sheeting and a few spools of red and white striped rope. There were two more carts in the tunnel and each of those had what looked like stacks of fifty pound bags of carefully wrapped powdered cement. It wasn’t cement.

Bill took two of the spools of rope, ten sausages and some black sheets and tossed these onto one of the cement carts and started pushing it down the tunnel. He turned and pointed to the other cement cart and Reynaldo followed with the second cart.

The tunnel must have been almost a quarter mile long. About fifty yards from the end the nice cement floor stopped and the tunnel became a ragged dumping ground of broken boulders — impassable.

Here, Bill stopped his cart and wrapped five sausages with the black sheeting and red and white rope and then stuck the bundle under the top most “cement” bag on his cart. He then played out some of the rope and wrapped it around the rest of the sausages and black sheeting and stuck this bundle under the top most bag on Reynaldo’s cart.

He looked around the floor of the tunnel — kicking at broken timbers — and found a rusted two foot long shoring bolt. He stuck the spool onto the bolt and played the rope out while walking back toward the house.

Bill and Reynaldo had just placed two thousand pounds of ANFO nine hundred feet to the north of the house. Each cart’s ANFO was now boosted with fifty pounds of Tovex water gel explosive which was boosted with five pounds of Detasheet which was primed with a 1/4 inch line of PETN wrapped in a polyester abrasion proof cover — sold as Primacord by Ensign-Bickford.

When they reached the carts of Tovex Bill stacked tubes of explosives around the bolt so that it stuck up like a flag pole and then put the spool of Primacord onto the bolt.

He pointed to Reynaldo and then to the remaining cart and they both started wheeling and tugging carts back to the basement stairway. Bill let the Primacord — connected to the distant mounds of ANFO — just coil off the back of his cart. The spool squeaked on each revolution and the edge of the spool finally sliced through one of the Tovex tubes and muddy explosive began trailing onto the floor.

Right below the ladder Bill found two five gallon gas cans marked “Diesel.”

“Hey, Reynaldo — help me put all this stuff into the trailer.”

For every trip Bill made to the trailer Reynaldo made three. Reynaldo was quite used to hard work and moving two five gallon cans of Diesel fuel plus a thousand pounds of Tovex from the basement to the trailer took less than twenty minutes.

Bill went around the side of the house and collected a shovel and two rakes. The load was awkward and Reynaldo trotted over and grabbed the shovel.

They got into FBI Hummer and drove from the house to the wide spot in the gravel road marked by the chlorine and acid bottles. At the side of the road Bill had planned to create a little flower bed and had dumped three cubic yards of sterilized manure.

“Reynaldo, help me rake this stuff into the shape of a bowl.”

While Reynaldo raked, Bill shoveled — and sprinkled Diesel fuel onto the pile. When the bowl had been created Bill started sloshing Diesel in the center and Reynaldo raked the fuel into the manure — creating a sticky mud. It was a task very similar to mixing dry concrete mix with water to make cement or — on a much smaller scale — making pizza dough.

When it was all mixed, they both started stomping on the mound to compress it. They created a two foot thick pancake of “Dieselized” sterile cow shit. The mound was shaped like a rectangle — with the wide part to the east and west. This way the explosion would create a fan shaped blast covering the valley from side to side.

Bill then took ten tubes of Tovex and a spool of Primacord from the Hummer and carried them to the mound. Bill wrapped each tube of Tovex with three loops of Primacord and laid them like railroad ties down the length of the depression in the middle of the shit mound. He then motioned for Reynaldo to help him stack the plastic bottles on top of the line of Tovex tubes. They then got back into the Hummer and returned to the house — unreeling a line of Primacord as they went.

Bill took the Primacord spool with him into the house, dropped it in the closet and walked to the front door.

“Hey, Reynaldo, lets try and clean up the ground floor of this place a bit.”

The two of them began tossing bits and pieces out the front door. When that was done they dragged SEALs and BATF and the Mexicans out onto the gravel and into a pile. They then taped plastic sheeting over floors, walls and furniture.

“You guys have really made a difference! The place kinda looks like we’re fumigating for maggots or worms or something!” Sally was not convinced of their sincerity.

While they had been busy with cow shit, Sally had taken a shower and put on clean clothes. She look beautiful. She was now busy collecting food, clothing and ammunition. She could smell Bill and Reynaldo from more than thirty feet away.

“My God you guys stink. Before you do anything else why don’t you wash some of that stuff off!”

Bill and Reynaldo looked at each other and walked toward the garden hose at the side of the house. They stood there and talked as they stripped to the skin. Bill hosed off his and Reynaldo’s boots and then motioned that they should put them on. They both stood there in nothing more than their boots.

Bill walked back to the hose bib and lifted the lid on a small wooden box. Bill kept his car washing stuff right by the hose. He pulled out a plastic bottle of Ivory liquid and squirted some on Reynaldo and himself. It took three complete washings to get the smells of death, shit, and explosives off their bodies.

Still wearing just boots they entered the house, climbed the stairs and trotted to the master bedroom to collect fresh clothes.

The human mind is a strange and very adaptive organ. Once the plastic sheeting had been laid down the imagery of blood-filled rooms quickly faded. Going up the stairs and facing such visual horror again was nearly all that the two of them could take.

They both came down the stairs very quietly — and with wild looks on their faces. Some call this look “the thousand yard stare.”

“Reynaldo — I hope you can figure out how to drive a Hummer. We’ll only get one chance to do this right. Why not start that wrecked Hummer now and practice putting it into gear and stuffing a rock under the gas pedal. If you can do it three times in a row without a hitch then you’ll probably do it right when the time comes. And try not to drive over your foot!”

Bill drove the FBI’s Hummer around the house and far to the south — following the illegal alien trail.

He tried to think only of the airplane threat and the fact that he’d just created a one thousand pound mound of boosted and very explosive cow shit — and let Clinton outlaw that!

His mind was racing. “This nightmare is going on and on and on and on.” He thought. He started to shake. He started to cry again. He almost believed that he had already been killed and that he was now in Hell and that this level of terror would now go on for him — for eternity.

“God help me!” he screamed. But he knew that even if it was Hell for eternity he had to continue fighting. He could not and he would not stop fighting.

Bill parked the Hummer almost a half mile from the house — close to The Wall and Mexico. The vehicle was fairly safe hidden in an arroyo — and besides — illegals were not too active at this time of the morning. Bill then unloaded the Detasheet and Primacord and put these underneath the Hummer. The Tovex could withstand considerable shock without detonation, but PETN was not so forgiving. Sure, he could have just put the PETN a safe distance from the Hummer but then it would have been exposed to gunfire and even — God forbid — bomb fragments. Under the Hummer it was safe. The Tovex was so shock resistant that it could easily be used as shielding for the PETN.

He then trudged back to the house. Reynaldo was smiling — he was ready to demonstrate his proficiency in Hummer ballet. Reynaldo was able to slip the transmission from neutral to compound low and then roll a twenty pound rock from under his feet and against the gas pedal very smoothly and without jogging the steering wheel. He had even raked a six inch deep trough for each front wheel so that the Hummer would track straight out from the house. Bill was impressed.

It was 4:30 in the morning.