Bugout! California Part 55 – Volvos


Gil pulled the ’78 Ford into the empty service stall at the car dealership. Ted hit the button to lower the door, and everybody piled out.

“What about the weapons?” Robbie asked.

“Let’s get them out,” Sparky said. “Just in case somebody figures out where we are.”

“I’ll open the trunk,” Gil said, taking the keys out of his pocket. “Miss my key fob.”

“That car was comfortable, though,” Sparky said. “C’mon, let’s go talk to Jules.”

They carried the guns into the office area with them, setting them down in a cubicle on the back wall, then walking down the hallway to the office. Jules, Ted, Tex, and Jordan were sitting in there sipping coffee.

“Hey, want some java?” Tex asked.

“Hell yeah,” Gil said.

Justin and Robbie nodded yes too. “I’ll help you,” Robbie said.

They disappeared down the hall.

“Grab chairs from next cubicle, and have seat,” Jules said, smiling. “We talk.”

Gil nodded, looking nervous.

“I remember you,” Ted said. “You were at the restaurant.”

“Robbie’s boss, right?”

“Yep,” Ted said.

“How’d you get into this?”

“Ex-special forces,” Ted said. “I knew most of these reprobates from past battles.”

“Be nice, partner,” Tex said, coming back into the office with the coffees. Robbie followed with more coffees. Justin brought in the extra chairs. They all sat down.

Problem on road?” Jules asked.

“We had to leave the UN Van in the garage,” Sparky said.

“Why?” Ted asked.

“The checkpoint at PCH and Vermont was on fire,” Sparky said. “I didn’t want some of our own firing at us.”

Jules chuckled. “I see that. Good. Welcome, Gil. I hear you know how to shoot.”

“Yeah,” Gil said. “What will we be doing?”

“We go up north, wipe out checkpoints like here. Take Bay Area out of martial law, then target Sacramento. Much work to do. Dangerous. You game?”

“Yeah, I’m game,” Gil said. “We have to take back California.”

“Good, I like to hear,” Jules said.

“Tell him about the organization,” Sparky said. “We need to make sure he’s okay with what he’s signing up for.”

“Yes,” Jules said, looking Gil in the eye. “You tell, Tex. My English not as good.”

“Sure, partner,” Tex said. “Here’s the deal, kid. You’ll become part of the crew. Loyalty is a must. If you ever betray us, you’ll be killed.”

Gil’s eyes got wide, and he glanced at Justin and Robbie.

“Look, Gil,” Robbie said. “We’ve joined an organization that was built out of the Russian mob. These guys are tough. They’re also unforgiving. I’m okay with it. Make sure you are.”

“So if I quit you’re going to hunt me down?” Gil asked.

“No, no, that’s not what we’re saying,” Tex said. “If you talk, we’ll hunt you down. If you go to the UN or the US authorities and rat us out, you’ll be hunted down and killed.”

“Oh,” Gil said. “I can live with that. I won’t sell you guys out. No way.”

“Good, that’s what want to hear,” Jules said.

“How many of the women are joining up?” Sparky asked.

“More than expected,” Ted said. Over half. The under-aged girls all want to join, but we’ve got to deal with the parents on that one.”

“Under-aged girls?” Gil asked, face horrified.

“Yeah, man,” Justin said. “Sick bastards in the UN were raping them too.”

“Oh, God,” Gil said. “What about Karen?”

“Ahh, nice redhead,” Jules said. “She join. You know?”

“A little bit,” Gil said. “She’s my boss’s daughter.” He choked up, tears coming.

“You worked for her dad, partner?” Tex asked. “She told us what happened to him. Didn’t mention you though.”

“She doesn’t know I’m alive,” Gil said. “I’m not planning on making moves on her. She might not even recognize me. I was just one of the hired help.”

“Understand,” Tex said.

“What about the women that don’t want to join?” Sparky asked.

“We’re going to leave them on the Central Coast with enough green to live for a couple months,” Ted said. “They can do what they want after that.”

“Why not just let them go here?” Gil asked.

“The UN thugs know where they live,” Tex said. “They’re lives ain’t worth a plug nickel here.”

“Oh,” Gil said. “Makes sense. What about Morgan and Katie?”

“They’re both gonna join,” Robbie said.

“And what about Steve and Coleen?” he asked.

“We don’t know what happened to them,” Robbie said. “Can’t raise them on the phone.”

“Dammit,” Gil said. “They’re probably dead.”

“Let’s not think that way,” Justin said. “We don’t know. If they got there, they might be okay. Steve can be tough and resourceful.”

“True,” Gil said.

Cody walked in, and eyed Gil. “Hey, man, how’s it going?”

“Cody,” Gil said, shaking his hand. “I’m good. How are you?”

“Great,” Cody said.

“You two know each other?” Tex asked.

“I saw some of Gil’s handiwork,” Cody said. “He wasted a couple of gang-bangers in front of Robbie’s condo with that 30-30 of his. Good to have you with us, man.”

“Thanks,” Gil said.

“So what are we gonna do next?” Cody asked.

“Finish working the underage girls problem,” Ted said. “Then get outta dodge. Does Ivan have those vehicles lined up for us?”

“Yes, we pick up in storage yard, in Santa Clarita Valley,” Jules said. “Spend one night there, then off. Straight up I-5.”

“Vehicles?” Robbie asked.

“Motor Homes,” Tex said. “We’re gonna live on the road, partner.”

Robbie chuckled. “Just like my parents.”

“You tell them cover story?” Jules asked.

“Yes, right after I signed up,” Robbie said. “Called them.”

“Cover story?” Gil asked.

“Yeah, I’m going into the service,” Robbie said.

“If you have family, make up cover story and call,” Jules said. “You’ll disappear. They need story if UN thugs investigate. Don’t mention Ivan.”

“I already called my folks with a story,” Justin said. “Felt weird to lie to them.”

“It for both yours good,” Jules said.

“I know,” Justin said.

“Okay, I’ll see if I can reach mine,” Gil said. “They’re on the road, making for San Diego County.”

“That tough trip,” Jules said, eyes showing worry.

“I know,” Gil said. “I’m worried. I’ll call them after this meeting.”

“We just about done,” Jules said. “We leave tonight if we can handle underage girl situation.”

“What if we can’t solve it?” Ted asked.

“Then I leave them with dealership manager, and he finish,” Jules said.

“You’d leave them with Harry?” Ted asked. “Sure that’s a good idea?”

“He know I kill if he does bad thing,” Jules said. “Rather deal with it before we leave.”

“Then let’s get back on it,” Tex said, glancing at Ted. They got up and left the room.

“I want to go see Morgan,” Robbie said.

“Yeah, let’s go in the other room for a while,” Justin said.

“I’ll call my folks and then join you. Where?”

“Third door on the right,” Justin said.

“Okay,” Gil said.

“Motor homes, huh,” Justin whispered to Robbie as they walked. “I’m ready for a road trip.”

“We might have to fight on the way,” Robbie said. “Motor homes can be vulnerable.”

“True, but we’re heavily armed,” Justin said. “It’s gonna be what it’s gonna be, man.”

Robbie chuckled. “You’re even more gung-ho than I am. Didn’t expect that.”

“What they did to Katie really pissed me off,” Justin said. “You’ve been able to kill some of these creeps since you found out. I haven’t yet.”

Robbie snickered. “Okay, I guess that makes a certain amount of sense.

“Robbie!” Morgan said, rushing to him as he came in the door. Katie rushed over to Justin. Both couples embraced.

“Is Gil here?” Morgan asked, her arms around Robbie’s waist.

“Yep,” Robbie said. “He’ll be along in a minute. He’s calling his parents with a cover story.”

“Oh, yeah,” Morgan said. “Nobody likes to lie to their parents.”

“No choice,” Robbie said. “It’s for their own good.”

“I know,” Morgan said. “But still.”

“Any word on Steve?” Katie asked.

“I’ve got to call him again,” Robbie said. “You could call him too, you know. You have his number, right?”

“I have his number, but I don’t have my cellphone.”

“Here, use mine,” Robbie said, tossing it to her.

Gil walked into the room, eyeing the women and girls, who eyed him right back. Karen’s eyes perked up, but she didn’t say anything.

“Any luck?” Robbie asked.

Gil shot him a grim look. “No, couldn’t raise them.”

“Don’t give up hope,” Morgan said. “Good to see you again.”

“Likewise,” Gil said. “So sorry about what happened. You too, Katie.”

Katie nodded to him, phone to her ear.

“Who’s she calling?” Gil whispered.

“She’s trying to raise Steve and Coleen,” Robbie said.

Karen got up and made her way to Gil. “Hey. You worked for my dad, didn’t you?”

“I did,” Gil said, looking at her beautiful face and red hair. “So sorry about him. I really liked him a lot.”

She tried to choke back tears, but was having a hard time. “I can’t believe he’s gone.”

“I’m sorry,” Gil said, standing there, not sure what to do. She hugged him as she sobbed, then backed up. “Sorry. I don’t know anybody here.”

“You know me a little,” Gil said.

“I never gave you the time of day,” she said. “I noticed you looking.”

“It’s okay,” Gil said. “I was an employee.”

“You quit, didn’t you?” she asked.

“Yeah, before this nonsense started up,” Gil said. “I got forced back under martial law.”

“Why did you leave?” she asked.

“Let’s not talk about it,” Gil said. “Your dad and I mended fences, and he treated me like gold after I came back. That’s all that matters.”

“Okay,” she said. “Sorry to pry.”

“No problem,” he said, sitting down on the floor.

“Can I sit with you?” she asked.

“Yes, of course,” Gil said. “You joined up, didn’t you?”

“Damn straight,” Karen said. “I want revenge. So do a lot of the others. You know Morgan and Katie, don’t you?”

Gil shook his head yes. “Robbie, Justin, Steve, and I go way back.”

“Who’s Steve?”

“Katie’s brother,” Gil said. “She’s trying to call him. Steve and his girlfriend took off right before Morgan got picked up. We were all living in the same condo.”

“Oh,” Karen said. “I hope they’re okay.”

“Me too,” Gil said. “You got family?”

“My mom, but she’s in Texas,” Karen said. “With her second husband. He doesn’t like me.”

“Oh, sorry,” Gil said.

“How about you?”

“I’m worried sick about my parents. They took off for San Diego County after the attack on the Torrance civic center. I haven’t been able to raise them.”

“Oh no,” Karen said. “I hope they’re okay.”

“Me too.”

Katie handed the phone back to Robbie. “Nothing,” she said. “Tried several times.”

“They might be out of cell range up there,” Robbie said.

“I hope that’s all it is,” she said.

“What’s happening next?” Morgan asked.

Robbie chuckled. “We’re picking up motor homes in Santa Clarita Valley and taking them up north.”

“You’re joking,” Morgan said.

“No,” Robbie said. “I think it’s kinda cool.”

“Yeah, if the enemy doesn’t make swiss cheese out of them,” Justin quipped.

“We’ll be okay, or we won’t,” Robbie said.

“Comforting,” Karen said.

Suddenly there was gunfire outside. Everybody in the room froze. Tex ran in. “Get your guns out! Now!”

“We’ve been found,” Robbie said, rushing into the hallway. He grabbed the M60, Gil right behind him getting his 30-30, Justin, Morgan, Gil, Katie, and Karen right on their heels. The rest of the women got up and ran out of the room, picking up M-16s and shotguns.

“I get to kill some of these creeps earlier than expected,” Dana said, picking up an M-16 and checking the magazine.

“They teach you guys how to use these?” Robbie asked.

“Yeah, this morning, while you were off picking up Gil,” Morgan shouted as they ran towards the front of the building.

Jules rushed over. “Hey, Robbie, Tex, Sparky, on roof. RPGs there. We blast vehicles, then load up and split. Got?”

“I’m with you partner,” Tex said, running towards the stairs with his BAR. Cody and Jordan ran over too, with Ted.

“Some of you guys stay on the ground floor and protect the women,” Sparky yelled as he ran up the stairs with Tex and Robbie.

The people downstairs were returning fire now, M60 machine guns and M-16 rifles spewing lead into the UN positions surrounding the building on Sepulveda and Washington Boulevard.

The roof of the building was a parking lot with rows of new Volvos parked. Jules rushed over to a steel box next to the façade wall and unlocked it, handing out several RPGs.

“We blow cover, shoot thugs, then we take off in Volvos. Many Volvos. Hit 405 and meet again in Santa Clarita. Understanding?”

“Yeah, Jules, we got it,” Tex said, picking up an RPG. He pointed it towards the van in the center and fired, the van leaping into the air, Islamists and UN Peacekeepers running for cover as the people downstairs opened up with automatic fire. Robbie picked up an RPG and hit another of the vehicles, Sparky doing the same. Tex brought up his BAR and wailed away at the fleeing enemy fighters.

“They too stupid to live,” Jules yelled, laughing hard as he fired an RPG into a vehicle trying to do a K-turn. It was hit broadside and rolled into a large group of enemy fighters.

“Look at that,” Sparky said, pointing to a police vehicle with a battering ram on the front. It was speeding towards the front of the dealership.

“Stop that,” Jules yelled.

Tex picked up his RPG and fired, but missed. “It’s moving too fast. I can’t hit it from here. Better go downstairs.”

“No, stand back,” Jules said, getting into one of the Volvos, just above the front where the battering ram was headed. He backed up, then floored the vehicle, rolling out of the driver’s seat as the car broke through the façade and fell down the front of the building. It landed on the battering ram vehicle just as it was punching through the wall. Both vehicles burst into flames.

Sparky laughed. “You crazy son of a bitch.”

“Hey, it work,” Jules shouted, laughing with glee. “Come, drive down ramp. Take weapons. We leave before more come.” He called Ted.

“Was that you, you crazy old devil?” Ted asked.

“Yeah. Round up girls. Get them into vehicles. Take Volvos in lot. Keys in. Meet in Santa Clarita.”

“What about the under aged girls?”

“Take for now. No choice. Go. We taking vehicles off roof. Meet by gate. Be ready to shoot way out.”

They all got into vehicles and started them, rolling down the ramp one after another as the gunfire stopped.

“Morgan!” Robbie called as he got onto the back lot. She saw him and ran over, getting into the car with her M-16. Gil and Karen joined them, Justin and Katie getting into their own car and following. The rest of the group were in cars now, flying out the driveway and onto the street littered with bodies and broken vehicles.

“Go down to Sepulveda and make a right, then another right,” Morgan said. “There’s a ramp to the northbound 405 right there.”

“Got it,” Robbie said, flying onto the street. Some gunfire erupted. Gil pointed his rifle out the window and fired, hitting the man shooting at them, then cocking his 30-30 and hitting another who was next to him.

“Nice shooting,” Robbie shouted.

“There were only two of them,” Gil said as they careened onto Culver Boulevard and raced up the on-ramp, Justin and Katie following, then Dana and three of the under-aged girls. Sparky, Tex, Jules, Ted, Jordan, and the rest followed them in more new Volvos.

“Think we’ll get stopped?” Karen asked, breath coming fast, finger still on the trigger of her M-16.

“It’s gonna be hard for them to do it,” Robbie said.

“They might have put up a roadblock,” Morgan said.

“Then we’ll blow through it,” Robbie said. “I tossed one of the RPGs in the back. See it, Gil?”

“Yeah,” he said. “Maybe I’m sick, but that was kinda fun.”

“Well get used to it,” Robbie said. “You should have been with us at the Torrance City Hall attack. Holy crap.”

The line of Volvos flew down the freeway, weaving in and out of the mid-day traffic.

“What’s going to happen to those girls?” Karen asked.

“We’ll have to deal with that in Santa Clarita, I guess.” Robbie said.

“They all wanted to join,” Morgan said. “Maybe they get their wish.”

“God, I hope not,” Karen said. “They’re so young.”

“None of us are ready for this,” Morgan said. “We do what we have to do.”

“We lose anybody?” Gil asked.

“Not that I saw,” Karen said. “At least downstairs. Lose anybody on the roof?”

“Nope,” Robbie said. “I couldn’t believe when Jules ran that car off the roof. He’s got balls.”

“He’s also got to replace some inventory,” Gil said. Everybody in the car cracked up. Karen looked over at him. “I’m glad I’m here.”

“Me too,” Gil said.

“Look, there’s Sparky,” Morgan said, pointing at the car next to them. Dana was driving, Sparky in the passenger seat holding an M60. “I think Dana likes him.”

“Yeah, I picked that up too,” Karen said. “She flirts a lot with Tex too, though.”

Robbie laughed. “Everybody flirts with Tex.”

“There’s Jules,” Gil said. “He has a huge grin on his face.”

“Who’s with him?” Robbie asked.

“About five women,” Morgan said. “No wonder he’s grinning.”

“Some of the older ones didn’t want to join up,” Karen said. “Wonder how they’re taking this?”

“Good question,” Robbie said. “We’ll see. Jules isn’t going to kidnap them.”

“You trust him now, don’t you?” Morgan asked.

“Yeah,” Robbie said. “I’d trust him with my life. I’ve seen enough of his actions now. He’s a rogue with a good heart. Sparky and Tex too.”

“Ted is scary,” Karen said.

Robbie laughed. “I know him better than any of those guys.”

“I know, he was your boss,” Karen said. “His eyes are so intense.”

“He’s okay,” Robbie said. “He didn’t want to join up at first. Sparky kinda tricked him into it.”

“He doesn’t mind it now,” Morgan said. “I can tell that. He’s loving this.”

“I think he’s scared of himself,” Gil said. “Noticed that in the meeting. Wonder if he gets too crazy in battle?”

“We’ll see,” Robbie said. The traffic thinned out when they started the climb into the Sepulveda Pass. Morgan studied Robbie’s face as he drove, his eyes darting from the road to the rearview mirror and back again every minute.

“See anybody back there?” she asked.

“Nope, but we’re not out of the woods yet.”

“We won’t be out of the woods until this whole thing is over,” Karen said.

To be continued…


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