Twice Born A Vagabond
A Novel [Copr. 2008]
By D. DeWitt Thomas
Chapter Twenty-six


Lelan Rogers is due in a very few days from now and that is why everyone who is out here in the middle of nowhere to "make a record" is eager to find out what he has to tell us about our plans for the future. Sometimes I feel like a slave whore to be bought and sold, a drummer for hire. Am I some kind of freak to be paraded across the stage like an elephant man? I hope you get your money's worth for the price of admission. I know we can put the show on in the barn. Am I going to be famous? Will I obtain legendary proportions? Will I become immortal? Rock and roll history in time will tell. Hell yes.

On the back side of the hunting cabin is a little hill with a rock at the top where I go to sit and think. I can see the cabin and the main road from here and it is a nice place to get away from it all for a while. There is a limestone rock at the top where I have even carved my name. I come here to collect my thoughts and if not thinking then just to rest. From this vantage point, I can see for miles. It's a very inspirational place.
As always, I sit, but today a cloud of dust arises on the horizon from the next ridge up near the paved road. Chrome flake flashes dart from that same place in the distance, reflecting mirrorlike sunlight sparks in my direction. Finally I can make out the shiney metal bumper molding on three white Ford Crown Victorias traveling at an exceedingly fast pace toward the cabin below. As they progress down the winding gravel road and approach more closely, I can make out the ensignia on the side of the cars which reads "Texas Department of Public Safety". Oh Shit... the Rangers.

There was a deal that had been made with a local marijuana dealer, Mardy, who was to receive shipments of canabis at the ranch from Mexico and when it arrived by truck over the border, the shipments were to be stored in a large shed in the back of the cabin, and held for distribution later. The deal had been struck and the local Bandileros were scheduled to deliver the contraband by the ton in truckloads of pressed kilo bricks. Last week, the shipment had just been received the. Some rock musicians and outlaws, including Grand Funk Railroad's manager, spent the day drinking beer, smoking weed, and eating a deer that Mardy had shot, dressed, and roasted on a spit over an open fire in front of the cabin. During the festivities, Mardy asked me to take a Smith & Wesson 38 from him to "protect myself and shoot anybody that comes around there that you don't know." I had smoked alot of weed and had quite a few beers and on hearing this request got kind of light in the head and weak in the knees so I kind of crouched down so as not to loose my balance and told him that I appreciated the offer but that I would just have to take my chances because I wasn't prepared to shoot anyone.
Well, whoever tipped off the Texas Rangers did not have there facts straight because by the time the Rangers showed up the shipment had already come and gone. Luckily, we were clean and dry.
As I watched from the rock on top of the hill, the shiney new Ranger vehicles spun around into the front of the cabin. Two friends, Tarry and Huck, were sill inside. With their sidearms drawn the Rangers hid behind the doors of their cars and shouted out demands for the surrender of whoever was inside of the cabin. Tarry and Huck exited peacefully with their hands clasped behind their heads and the Rangers swung into action, rounded them up and threw them into the backseats of the patrol cars with in cuffs. The Texas Rangers were successful in rounding up two more outlaws as I watched from the rock on top of the hill behind the cabin. I figured it was time to get the hell out of there.
At this point I make my escape by picking a direction and running as fast as I can that way without looking back. Feet don't fail me now. I had watched the big show for long enough and it was time to save my own ass. I had slipped on a pair of sandals to visit the rock retreat and I quickly slipped out of them. I was running in bare feet over rocky ground trying to avoid impending incarceration. The sharp jagged gravel cut as I pounded forward occasionally falling and getting skinned on my knees and palms. I ran halfway and walked halfway, stumbling my way across hill country near Austin through prickly pear and mesquite bushes tripping over roots and rat faced armadillos. I thought how nice it would be to have a sip of cold water. Lifting myself up off of the ground again, I saw overhead a crookneck yellow beaked turkey vulture with a four foot wingspan circling patiently. He circled slowly sensing my distress and began to descend to within ten feet above. I close my eyes in fear, terrified by his razorlike claws. Vultures can clean the meat off of a deer in five minutes. I was scared. I sprang from my hiding place under a lone mesquite bush and to my dismay the vulture landed close enough to send chills up my spine. He stared at me with little beady black eyes and as I ran I began to experience cramps but I pushed forward and escaped from its reach. My heart was beating rapidly as I approached a stream bed with substantially enough water in it to submerge myself completely. I quickly slid down the embankment and slipped into the cool water. I submerged my whole body in the deep refreshing water. After drinking my fill, I waded down into the middle of the stream and walked for about a half mile remembering from my childhood how the bad guys got away in the Saturday morning cowboy movies on TV. Now I wasn't so freaked out anymore. I continued to wade downstream when I strayed upon a figure sitting on the bank.

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