By Scott Bell
Genre: Thriller, Suspense
After a number of earthquakes hammer the Sierra Madre region of Mexico, Grupo Verdugo, a splinter group of cartel enforcers, takes control of the drug shipping routes through that territory. Caught in the middle, a small orphanage high in the mountains, desperate for supplies to care for the children and the battered earthquake victims, reaches out to Abel Yeager for help.
Yeager and his friend Victor agree to deliver the needed food and medicine. But Grupo Verdugo seems to have a special interest in starving out the clergy and forcing them to bend to their will. They send a man known as the Executioner to stop anyone daring to assist the people.
Yeager and Victor are in for the biggest fight of their lives as they are forced to move forty children, a dozen sick and injured patients, and one feisty doctor out of the mission and through mountains infested with vicious killers.
It’s early in the morning and the TSA line at the airport is the typical insane mass of humanity. I’m shuffling forward, one hand dragging my bag, the other thumbing my phone for Facebook updates, weather, news, scores, texts, and any other data that keeps me from interacting with real people.
“Excuse me,” a voice says from behind me. “Did you ride a dog to the airport?”
I twist around and find a smiling businessman giving me the look of a benevolent parent to a small child. Since it’s early morning, he’s a stranger, and it’s pre-coffee, I say to him, “Uhhhh … Whut?”
“You have hair all over your bu---backside.”
Sure enough, my black slacks are fuzzed with white hair from belt to cuff. The cats have struck again.
Cats have a mission: Spread their sheddings across the world. I know this is true, for our two cats will go to extreme lengths to deposit strands of hair in obscure corners of the house. They start with the easy spots: every chair, sofa, bed, table, and ottoman. These they hit hard because they know we’ll pick up their DNA and carry it forth on our persons, BUT … being obvious isn’t good enough.
They hit the pantry, the bathroom, the closets and the bedrooms, raining hair follicles like snow. Eat a bowl of cereal, pick cat hair out of your teeth. Lay a basket of clean laundry down for a split second—boom!—find a cat parked in it. Go to the closet for a pair of undies, a cat’s sleeping in them. If something’s clean, they know. If you have on dress slacks, they know. Big interview, they know. I suspect my burial suit will have flecks of cat hair on the lapels. People will walk by my casket and say, “Did the cat kill him?”
My air filters come out coated with fuzz. My vacuum bags are packed with white fluff. If that wasn’t enough, the hair gets matted in their stomachs when they clean, which means they’ll barf gobs of wet, compacted fur along the path you take at night to the bathroom. Surprise! Watch the human dance on one foot!
In all, I believe I’ve whisked more fur off my clothes than two cats can shed and not be nude. Somehow, they’re producing excess hair and storing it somewhere for later depositing on objects they intend to mark their own.
Whatever their plot, I now keep a tape roller in my carry-on bag. I never intend to be caught by the TSA exporting cat hair to my final destination.
Scott Bell has over 25 years of experience protecting the assets of retail companies. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice from North Texas State University.
With the kids grown and time on his hands, Scott turned back to his first love—writing. His short stories have been published in The Western Online, Cast of Wonders, and in the anthology, Desolation.
When he’s not writing, Scott is on the eternal quest to answer the question: What would John Wayne do?
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