I woke up about the crack of nine with flies buzzing around the cargo bay of the Ebola Grape.|
When I had gotten the door unbolted, which I did to keep that bastard JEB from killing me in my sleep and eating me, I climbed down to the beach. It had a sort of Apocalypse Now look to it with a weird hazy fog hanging over the river and all. The sky was overcast and it was hot and sticky.
JEB and Fred were easy to find as you could hear their snores echoing down the river with an eerie rumble. I wandered over to where they lay, sprawled out like they had been shot and left for dead.
Picking up a long stick, I gave JEB a few pokes, keeping out of reach as he is one of the most unpleasant creatures on the planet to be around when he first wakes up. He jumped up, swinging and flailing about and backpedaled across the beach where he tripped over Fred who promptly jumped up and bit him on the leg.
I sat down on a log and watched the to of them go at it tooth and fist, enjoying the death match immensely. They finally both woke up enough to realize who their adversary was and, both growling like a couple of bears, backed away from each other.
“Saddle up, you two, we need to get out of here.”
The realization of where we were came upon JEB and he clutched his belly and started moaning . I headed for the Ebola as he scrambled to pick up his bedroll and fishing gear.
“YOU WAIT!!!!! Why I’ll put a hole in you if you don’t wait for me, damn you!”
I turned around just as he was trying to untangle his rifle from the bedroll. He was flailing around so much, he got wound up in a blanket and spinning like a Fantasia ballerina, he tumbled ass over applecart over a big log.
He jumped up with a rebel yell and the gun went of, firing straight up in the air giving a dead branch in the tree over him, just enough help to come plummeting to the ground, first making a stop on top of JEB’s punkin head.
Ole JEB went down like a shot deer, out cold. Fred dashed over to his side, sniffed his face then turned and ambled over to the Ebola, hopping up thru the open cargo door. Man’s best friend only works when a steady diet is supplied was Fred’s attitude.
I figured that JEB was probably as helpful as he was going to be, lying there on the ground, so I gathered up his bedroll and stuff and prepped the plane for takeoff.
I had to spin the props myself while hoping Fred wouldn’t bump into anything in the cockpit and much to my surprise the plane fired up and Fred sat still.
I climbed back in the cockpit and let the engines warm up. JEB was starting to stir and eventually sat up rubbing his head. He leaped to his feet and started screaming at me for being a treacherous son of a bitch and dared me to come out there and see if I could whip his ass without resorting to sucker punches. I revved up the engines and he let out a squawk and started running to the plane, climbing in and cursing me and my family back to my great, great grandmother, who probably did about half the things he said.
He flopped down in the seat next to me. And while I taxied the plane around to get a good run down the beach, he proceeded to tell me about how his near starvation and the lump on his head had him closer to death than any human had ever been and if he didn’t receive some sort of medical and culinary attention than I would have his demise on my conscience for the rest of my life. I figured I could deal with that if it would just shut him up.
Off we went, roaring down the beach, picking up speed as we watched the trees up ahead of us getting closer and closer. I pulled back on the yoke just as JEB let out this high pitched squeal and Fred joined in with a moaning howl. The props caught the tops of the trees as we barely cleared them, spraying mulched leaves into a cloud of green which the Ebola rose gracelessly out of and off we went.
I banked the Ebola around and glanced down at the compass, satisfied with our northward course and brought the plane up to 1000 feet, a low path but one that would keep us out of the clouds and allow me to see what was ahead of us.
We flew for about a couple of hours when I noticed a small mountain range in front of us that I was unfamiliar with and dug out the map.
Nowhere on our course were there any mountains like these and we were too far from the Davis Mountains for these to be them.
I turned a bit to the right to go around the peaks in front of us as their tops were in the clouds. Glancing over at the instruments, I stared at the compass. It was STILL pointing north. This was a bit disturbing, as I had turned far enough to give us a solid northeast reading.
I pointed out the problem to JEB who stopped blathering about his hunger long enough to begin pounding on the instrument panel in an effort to fix the compass. Finding his blows to be futile, he reared back and kicked the panel as hard as he could. There was this clank and a fifth of whiskey came tumbling out from underneath the panel. The compass swung to a west northwest heading and the oil, manifold pressure and fuel gauges dropped to zero, no longer working.
“Praise JEBUS!!!!” JEB yelled, “I forgot I stuck that up there!!!! We are saved!!!”
He grabbed the bottle and started chugging away while I stared in disbelief at the ruined panel and the now working compass that was telling me we were in a world of shit.
I grabbed the map and could see the mountains now that I knew which way we had been heading.
I grabbed the bottle out of JEB’s hand and took a long pull off of it then clocked JEB upside the head, just hard enough to not break the bottle.
“What the hell did you do that for?” He yelled.
“Welcome to Mexico.”
“Why the hell are you flying us to Mexico, you jackass?”
“I am not flying us to Mexico, we are IN Mexico, you IDIOT!!! You fuxored the compass with that bottle and now we are lost over a foreign country without clearance!!!”
JEB sat there for a minute rubbing his head and picked up the map.
“Well… Let’s see if we can find a good Mexican restaurant then.”
I lunged over and began choking him, Fred began howling and leaped on top of us tumbling over and into the controls, putting the plane into a dive. I let go of the old badger and grabbed the controls, pulling out right at treetop level. JEB took a swing at me and connected with Fred’s head.
Now, hitting Fred in the head has never caused any harm as the dog has a skull that is pretty much all bone but it does tend to irritate him. He responded by jumping in JEB’s lap and proceeded to gnaw on JEB’s head, which JEB hates and soon enough, those to were biting and flailing about the cockpit.
I realized that this carrying on was most certainly going to cause us to crash and pulled back on the yoke, sending the two of them tumbling back into the cargo area, out of harms way.
Although this maneuver served it’s purpose, it was not one that the Ebola took to well and the engines decided to stall out. I banked the Ebola over and realized that there was just not enough altitude to restart the engines.
Luck was with us as there was a clearing right in front of us and I managed to plop the plane down and after one long bounce brought it to a stop.
JEB and Fred untangled themselves and JEB, wiping dog slobber off his face asked, “Are we there?”
“Are we WHERE??!!”, I shouted.
“The cantina, you Jackass, I’m starving!”
I grabbed the bottle and climbed out of the plane with the two of them on my heels.
“We are in the middle of nowhere, Mexico is where we are, you moron.”
JEB put his hands on his hips and letting out a belch said, “Well what the hell did you stop here for? I thought we were looking for a restaurant!”
I began looking for a big stick with which I was going to use to explain to JEB why we were where we were when out of nowhere, three pickups drove into the clearing.
They pulled up to the plane and a half a dozen armed men jumped out and began undoing tarps covering the backs of the trucks. One of the men walked over to where we were standing with our mouths hanging open and began speaking rapidly in Spanish.
I waved him off and asked where we were and what they thought they were doing. The man shook his head and said something in Spanish.
JEB looked at me and winked.
“Don’t worry, I speak their lingo.” He turned to the man and puffed himself up.
“Holar there, emeeego, you es speekey de English?”
The man shook his head and yelled for one of the others to come over. They spoke for a second and the second man turned to us and said, “Senors, we have leetle time, joo must get this load out of here before the federales get here, Joo are early but we still have no time, hokay?”
JEB and I just looked at each other. Suddenly it dawned on me what was happening.
“Senor, I think you have mistaken us for someone else. We landed here because… “ I did not know how to explain to him why we had actually landed there and figured that if I was him and somebody told the story of why we were really there that I would probably just shoot ‘em and put them out of their misery.
JEB hitched up his pants and walked over to where the two of them were jabbering away at each other.
“We was looking for someplace to grab a bite to eat. Y’all got any grub with you? Maybe some tacos or something?”
Right about then, we heard the drone of another plane approaching. The men started yelling at each other and ran back to the trucks. An old DC-6 came roaring into view and landed in the clearing, rolling to a stop at the opposite end.
The trucks raced down to the DC-6 and I turned to JEB and yelled that we should probably get the hell out of there. I told him to give the props a pull and climbed back into the Ebola, screaming for Fred to get in. JEB managed to spin the props without flinging himself off into the woods and jumped in, yeowling about not getting the chance to mooch something to eat off of them.
Screaming at him to shut the hell up, I taxied around and gave the Ebola full throttle, racing right at the other plane.
Just as we started to clear the ground, a mess of jeeps came roaring out of the trees filled with soldiers who were shooting at the other plane and at us.
Bullets were pinging off the Ebola as I banked over and sped off over the forest.
“WOOOOWEEEE!” JEB yelled, “Them bastards was trying to shoot us! Did ya see that?”
Remembering what happened the last time I let one of his idiotic comments get to me, I took in a deep breath and took a northeast heading and settled back for whatever was coming. I suddenly realized what day it was and fished up the whiskey bottle and handed it over to JEB.
“By the way, Happy Birthday, you worthless bag of wind.”
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the only interesting thing that would happen on our return trip but that is another story.