Bugout! California Part 96 – Peach Cobbler

Anna and Kaitlyn used disinfectant wipes on the massive granite island in the kitchen. Seth and Trevor stood on either side of Hasan, watching them.

“I’ll go get my bag while the counter dries,” Anna said. “You can assist, Kaitlyn.”

“Okay, mom.”

Anna left the room.

“Don’t worry,” Kaitlyn said, looking at the fear in Hasan’s eyes. “She’s good. It won’t hurt. You’ll be sore for a few days, but we have medication for that.”

“Thank you,” Hasan said.

“Who made these chips?” Trevor asked. “You’ve got to have millions of them for your whole organization.”

Hasan chuckled. “They’re made right here in California. The Mertins Plant in San Jose, to be exact.”

“No way,” Seth said, shaking his head. “Figures.”

“Do the UN Peacekeepers have chips?” Trevor asked.

“No, but our other partners do,” Hasan said.

“Other partners?” Trevor asked.

“The Militias,” Hasan said. “They’re not active in California, but their a big deal in Nevada, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, and Colorado.”

“Which militias?” Seth asked. “We’ve never heard of this before.”

“Secessionists,” Hasan said. “They hate the Federal Government, but are too stupid to realize that they’re fighting for them.”

“Geez,” Seth said. Anna walked back in with two bags.

“Get up on the counter, please,” she said. “On your back, head facing this way.”

Hasan climbed up quickly, looking more scared now.

“I don’t think I can watch this,” Trevor whispered. “I’m going back by the far wall.”

Seth nodded, but stayed where he was, watching Kaitlyn and Anna work. “You’ve assisted before, haven’t you, sweetie?”

Kaitlyn nodded. “Yep, in the tribal clinic. That was a part-time job for me.”

“You should go back to school and become a nurse,” Anna said. “Hand me the gauze, please.”

“We’ve been over this, mom. I like accounting better.”

Anna sighed.

They worked for about twenty minutes, Hasan sleeping through most of it.

“Done,” Anna said. “Let’s bandage him up.” She used her tweezers to drop the chip into a small metal pan.

“Where are we gonna put him?” Trevor asked, walking back over.

“Good question,” Kaitlyn said.

“He’ll be sleeping this off for at least a couple of hours,” Anna said.

Garrett walked in. “How did it go?”

“Fine,” Anna said. “It was buried pretty deep. He’ll be out for a couple hours. You know where we can put him?”

“We’ve got some leg and wrist irons,” Garrett said. “We can chain him to something while he sleeps. Then maybe we can move him to Dodge City. We have a jail there.”

“Dodge City,” Anna said. “You guys finished that?”

“Yep, after we settled some things with the county,” Garrett said. “That was a learning experience.”

“So I’ve heard,” Anna said. “Didn’t you have to tear some things down?”

“A few,” Garrett said. “To be honest, I’m grateful. We learned a lot. Built a bunch more the right way after that. All with permits, all to code.”

“Well, that’s good,” Anna said. “I’d love to see it someday.”

“Then you shall,” Garrett said, tipping his hat as he went out to fetch the irons.

“Flirting with Garrett, mom?” Kaitlyn asked, grinning.

“Shut up,” she said. “You’re one to talk.”

“Yeah, but I’m not married,” Kaitlyn said.

“Your father isn’t with me anymore.”

Kaitlyn looked at her, sadness in her eyes, and nodded. Seth shot her a glance, and she nodded to him, saying later with her eyes.


Karen and Tex were still in the embrace they fell asleep in earlier, facing each other. Karen woke, feeling the sweat between them, and rolled onto her back. Tex stirred, his eyes fluttering open.

“Wow, we stayed together the whole time, didn’t we?” Tex asked. “I’m all sweaty where I was pressed against you.”

“This thing has an air conditioner, right?” Karen asked.

“Yeah, two, one for the bedroom and one for the salon. The thermostat for the bedroom is by the door there, see it?”

She looked, then nodded, catching his eyes on her breasts when she looked back. “Oh, you like, huh?”

“You know I do,” Tex said. “Is it okay for me to look, or does it bother you?”

“I guess you can look,” she said. “You’ve earned that much. I’ll give you more of a show. I’m going to the bathroom. Can I turn on the air conditioner?”

“Of course,” he said, watching her climb out of bed. She turned on the air conditioner, and it started up quickly.

“Wow, it’s loud,” she said.

“Sorry,” Tex said.

“Maybe that’s a good thing,” she said as she slipped out to the bathroom.

What did she mean by that? Tex’s mind went to them, coupling with passion, his eyes glassed over when she returned. The sight of her made him moan.

“You’re in quite a state,” she said as she went back under the sheet.

“I think I’d better hit the bathroom too,” he said, getting up, his back to her to hide his condition.

“Turn around,” she said. “You got to see me.”

“I’m in a state you might not be ready for,” he said.

“Oh, please,” she said. “You were in that state quite a bit while you were asleep, by the way.”

“Oh,” he said, sheepishly. He turned towards her as he maneuvered around the bed to the door.

“Wow, impressive,” she said, half a smile on her face.

“No Texas comments,” he said. She giggled, and he chuckled as he left the room, rushing to get back. She was lying on her side, head propped up on her hand and elbow, grinning at him.

“Looks like you’re back to normal.”

“Around you it isn’t really that normal,” Tex said.

“My, but aren’t we talking naughty now,” Karen said, watching as he went to his side of the bed. “Maybe I spoke too soon.”

“Stop it,” he said, shooting her an embarrassed glance.

“What time is it?”

Tex picked his phone off the ledge next to his side of the bed. “Almost ten pm,” he said. “I think our nap might have messed with our sleeping patterns a little.”

“It’ll be okay,” she said, turning on her back. “That air conditioner is cooling the room down nicely.”

“Getting too cold?”

“No, not at all,” she said. “It feels good. And besides, we need the noise.”

“What?” Tex asked.

She rolled her eyes, then pulled at him. He got the message and rolled towards her, moving his upper torso against her.

“C’mon, move closer,” she whispered.

“I’m…you know.”

“I would hope so,” she said, reaching for his hip and pulling. He groaned as he moved against her. “Wow. You’re back and then some.”

“Sorry,” he said, starting to move away.

“Stop!” she said, pulling him back. He groaned again.

“You’re torturing me,” Tex said, half a smile showing. She looked at him, a loving smile on her face. Tex trembled at the sight of it. “Haven’t seen that look from you before.”

She looked him in the eyes, then took his hand and put it on her breast. “You don’t have to be that way anymore.” He rolled closer, kissing her gently, his whole body alive, his senses at the max.

“How long will that air conditioner run?” she asked.

“Depends,” he said. “What’d you set it at?”

“Sixty-six,” she said.

He chuckled. “It’ll run for a while.”

“Good,” she said.


“I get noisy,” she said, pulling him over herself.

The passion grew quickly between them, and they were together, riding the waves, beside themselves as they rose and fell, Karen screaming and crying out. Tex focused on her face, amazed and so much in love. Then they settled down, laying on their sides facing each other, silent for a time.

“Told you I get loud,” she said, her eyes misty.

“My God, woman,” Tex said, caressing the back of her head as he went in for a kiss.

“Was it worth the waiting? Worth all the dramatics?”

He chuckled. “I’m so much in love with you that I can hardly stand it.”

“I know,” she said. “I’ve known that for a while. I’m sorry it takes me so long.”

“So long?” Tex asked. “I’m the one that should be apologizing. I’ve been hounding you since the moment I met you.”

“Yes, but in a nice way,” she said. “I was so angry when we met. You pushed past it. You pushed me past it.”

“When did you decide?” Tex asked.

“Decide what? That I’d let you take me?”

“No, that I was okay. That I was safe.”

She smiled, a calmness showing on her face that was new to him. “That’s not what you really want to know.”

“What do you think I really want to know?”

“When I fell in love with you,” she said, eyes dancing with his.

“You don’t have to say that yet.”

“You did,” she said.

“I know,” he said, “but it has to happen naturally. Without pressure.”

Her eyes teared up more, and she reached up to pet his cheek. “Okay, cards on the table. I knew I was in love with you last night. When I offered myself to you and you wouldn’t do it.”

“Oh,” he said. “I was hoping. I felt like you were close.”

“So, you calculated a little in turning me down?” she asked.

Tex smiled. “No, it was after that. It was your reaction when I admitted that I loved you.”

“Okay, I could see that,” she said, more tears coming. “I cried. Geez, it’s so obvious. I’m such a dope. I should’ve told you then and there.”

“You weren’t ready,” he said. “It happened when it was supposed to happen.”

“Yes, it did,” she said.

“We can get up for a while if you want,” Tex said.

“No way,” she said. “We’re not done yet.”

They kissed again.


“You hungry?” Jules asked, sitting up in bed next to Shelly.

“I guess we’ve worked up a good appetite,” she said. “What did you have in mind?”

“There was peach cobbler,” he said. “In kitchen fridge. You like, no?”

“Oh, yeah, I like,” she said. “Should we go get some and bring it back, or just eat it there?”

“Maybe eat there,” Jules said. “Mind?”

“No, not at all,” she said. “We need a break anyway. We’ve been making love on and off since this afternoon.”


“I should be,” she said. “You know why I’m not.”

“Oh,” Jules said. “Sorry. I wish that never happen.”

“I know, sweetie, but I’m a survivor. That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

Jules smiled. “That one of Ivan’s favorite sayings.”

“Will I ever meet him?”

“Almost certainly,” he said, getting out of bed. He pulled on his clothes, and picked up his phone. “Message. Didn’t even hear it come in.”

“Gee, I wonder why,” Shelly said as she dressed, her face turning red.

Jules shot her a sidelong glance, then focused on his phone. “Oops, it Ivan.”

“Call him back,” Shelly said.

“Let’s wait until we get to kitchen,” Jules said.

“Somebody’s got a sweet tooth,” she said.

“Maybe little. Let’s go.”

They finished getting ready and left the coach, stepping out into the crisp night air.

“Northern California is always cooler than I expect,” Shelly said, pulling him closer as they walked.

“Warm compared to home,” Jules said.

“You want to go back there?”

“Back to Belgium?” he asked. “Spend time there, spend more time here. This new home. I run business with team who reside both here and there.”

They walked into the house and stepped into the kitchen. Jules opened the fridge.

“Still there?” she asked.

“Yep.” He pulled out the large glass baking pan and set it on the counter, then removed the foil covering it. “Look. Enough for us, no?”

“I think so,” she said, looking at it. “If you want me to keep this figure, don’t feed me this stuff too often.”

He chuckled, looking for silverware in the drawers. Shelly went to the cupboard and took down two small plates. They split what was left and took it to the table.

“Mmmmm, this is good,” Shelly said after a bite.

“Yes, good,” Jules said. “I call Ivan, put on speaker, okay?”

“Sure,” Shelly said.

Jules hit the contact and put the phone on the table, hitting the speaker button.

Ivan picked up. “About time.”

“Sorry, boss, I was otherwise occupied. I’m with Shelly in the kitchen of the groundkeeper’s house. What going on?”

“Oh, with your milkmaid again, huh? Getting anywhere?”

Shelly giggled. “Yes, he got somewhere.”

“Oh, my my,” Ivan said. “Congrats to you both. I’ll be waiting for Wedding invitations.”

“One step at a time,” Shelly said.

Ivan chuckled. “Well, I’m happy for both of you, however serious this is. Now on to business. I have good news. General Hogan’s team has given us the prototype of the apps we were talking about.”

“No, really?” Jules asked. “Why they do that? They finish?”

“Very close. We still have to keep it to leadership team, though, okay?”

“I understand,” Jules said.

“Who’s on the leadership team now?” Ivan asked.

“Sparky, Tex, Ted, and me,” Jules said.

“Want me to leave the room?” Shelly asked.

“Put her on the leadership team,” Ivan said. “Anybody who can put up with you deserves it.”

Jules laughed. Shelly shook her head. “I’ll bet you two are a riot at a party.”

“You’ll find out, when this is over,” Ivan said.

“What next?” Jules asked.

“I send link to each phone. Have Shelly call me so I get her number.”

“Yes, I do,” Jules said, his mouth a little too full of food.

“You guys are eating? Kinda late, isn’t it?”

“There was some left-over peach cobbler,” Shelly said. “Sorry.”

“I’ll bet it was Jules’s idea,” Ivan said. “He always did have a sweet tooth.”

Jules’s phone dinged. “I got link.”

“Good, follow it, download, and install, and I’ll walk you through what it does. Then you can show the others.”

“Downloading now,” Jules said. He took his last bite of cobbler. “This good, wish more left.”

“You have to watch your figure too, you know,” Shelly said.

“Belgians,” Ivan said. “No wonder they’re famous for chocolate.”

“Downloaded. Installing app number one now,” Jules said, watching his screen.

“This is going to make our operations a lot safer, isn’t it?” Shelly asked.

“Yes, it will give us an enormous advantage,” Ivan said. “But we must avoid letting the enemy know about this, at all costs. That’s why we’re keeping it to the leadership team.”

“Does Ji-Ho get this?” Jules asked.

“Yes, he got it earlier today. Same situation. Leadership team only.”

“Can we tell the others that we have it?” Shelly asked.

“Yes, but they can’t have it on their phones. Soon, but not yet.”

“Any word on General Hogan?” Jules asked.

“There’s an operation happening to get him out in a couple days,” Ivan said. “Keep your fingers crossed.”

“I do,” Jules said. “Second app done.”

“Great, then open the first app.”

Jules tapped the tile, and the app opened. “Map show up.”

“If there are enemy fighters within about half a mile, you will get buzzed, and the display will show their location.”

“Wow,” Shelly said.

“Nobody close now,” Jules said.

“Yes, and that’s good,” Ivan said. “This app can be used even where there is no cell coverage. It works peer to peer with the enemy RFID chips.”

“Wow,” Jules said. “They can’t sneak up anymore.”

“That’s right,” Ivan said.

“How do we know this really works?” Shelly asked. “Since nothing will show up?”

“Let’s check the long-range app,” Ivan said. “Load it.”

Jules tapped that app, and it loaded, taking a little longer than the short-range app. “Okay, it up.”

“Expand the map, just like you would do with the normal map application. Go to San Jose.”

Jules did that, and his eyes got wide. “Whoa.”

Shelly got close and looked. “My God, there’s so many that they just look like a blob on the screen.”

“That first target area,” Ivan said. “Mertins Electronics factory. They’ve been making the RFID chips.”

Jules snickered. “Are you kidding? The enemy chips are made in America?”

“You got it,” Ivan said. “One of your Belgian buddies did it.”

“Daan Mertins,” Jules said, a look of disgust on his face. “That man’s whole family has been a disaster for Europe, going back hundreds of years.”

“He’ll get his,” Ivan said. “We’re going in on three sides to hit this factory. Then we move on to another pocket. Move the map towards San Francisco. Make it wider. Expand to show the entire Bay Area.”

“Wow,” Shelly said. “Daly City. Palo Alto. Oakland.”

“Not many in San Francisco,” Jules said.

“Not in the city itself,” Ivan said. “Look at Sacramento. That’s the other big hive of enemy activity.”

Jules moved to that part of the map. “More here than Bay Area. We hit next?”

“Yes,” Ivan said. “Remember focus, though. You don’t try to kill all yourself, you make big show for recruitment. Don’t get killed trying to destroy any single target. Do you understand? We couple with more of my TV appearances. Just like LA Area and Orange County.”

“Yes,” Jules said.

“One other thing,” Ivan said. “There are three locations we know of where women are being held as sex slaves. I think your team is uniquely qualified to liberate them. Do you agree?”

Jules looked at Shelly, who shook her head yes, terror in her eyes.

“Yes, we agree,” Jules said.

“Think about it and get back to me after you’ve talked to the others. The rescue missions will be the most dangerous jobs you will take on.”

“Okay, I discuss, but I think we fine with it.”

“Damn straight,” Shelly said, resolve showing on her face. She put her hand on Jules’s.

“Okay, that’s all I have for tonight. Remember to have Shelly call my phone. Also be ready in the morning to work with team leadership. Take vote on liberation missions. Call me when you’re done. Conference call with the leadership, including Shelly. Got me?”

“Yes, I got,” Jules said. “Thank you.”

“Talk to you soon, old friend.”

The call ended. Jules set his phone on the table and took a deep breath.

“Wow,” Shelly said.

“Look,” Jules said, showing the phone screen to Shelly.

“My God, is that Washington DC?”

“Yes, is,” Jules said. “This why we wait for wide release. Need names of traitors before they can get rid of RFID chips and hide.”

“Can we win this?” Shelly asked.

“Yes, we can win,” Jules said. “Ready to go home?”

“I’m ready,” Shelly said, getting out of her chair. Jules picked up the plates and put them into the sink, and they left the house, heading into the night air, holding hands, fingers intertwined.

To be continued…


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