Chapter 14 “Leap of Faith”
I hit the ground hard on my left side and slid on the gravel shoulder for what seemed like hours. My mind recalled the feeling I had long ago as I slid down a very hot metal playground slide on a scorching mid August day. It burned a never ending memory throughout my body.
But I wasn’t on a playground. My senses had returned from the blow on my head when I initially jumped.
I couldn’t even tell if I had been run over by the back tires of the black and silver crazy skank driven truck. I was delirious as I lay in the ditch not even a half mile from the death ranch. In fact I could still see the ranches yard lights and as I began to sit up and access the damage to my body not to mention my beautiful pink boots. And then I saw the headlights of the truck speeding back toward me. I quickly laid down pushing my body into the earth as flat as I could like I was some sort of magician. I didn’t move a muscle until she had passed and was out of sight.
I sat up in the pitch black night in terrible pain. I began having sick feelings and hot flashes up and down my entire body making me think I might be going into shock or maybe I broke my back and would never walk again. I wiggled my toes but I couldn’t see them. It was so dark but I felt like I could feel them inside my boots. I decided to try to raise my leg to stand up but fear stopped me. The next thing I thought of was my baby browning and sure enough it was still secure. Thank God and whoever else. I reached for my knife inside the left bobbie sock and low and behold it was there also. But it had cut me. My sock was wet and warm with blood but it was too dark to inspect the damage. Odd how knowing it happened increases the pain. Funny how that works. Then I realized my flashlight was gone. The flashlight I took from the truck just before my leap onto that hard country road in the middle of nowheresville? It must have fallen out of my hand when I hit the ground. I started crawling back feeling all around for the flashlight. God it could have flown twenty feet into a pasture or even been run over by the truck. How would I get away from these evil people in this darkness without it? I started to cry when I felt something long and cold on the ground. My anxiety ridden mind instantly thought it was a snake and I almost screamed bloody murder. Well maybe without the bloody murder part. And then I realized it was the flashlight! I thought my luck had changed until I tried the on switch and no light came on. I was shaken to my bones with fear and pain. Then I got mad and shook that flashlight like it was Pam Hawkinson herself. The vigorous angry shaking must have corrected whatever happened to it when it hit the ground and bingo dingo I had light! I quickly scanned the field behind me and noticed a grouping of trees that were calling my name. But then what? How long could I hide this close to the ranch of death? And were there coyotes or wild boar around here and what about bear? I was not familiar with this part of the country but then I realized I had no choice. I could think about the worst case scenario’s all night and the next day, for what? I had to get back to town as soon as I could while hiding all the way which I had absolutely no clue how to do. I was so out of my league but again the over thinking had to stop and self-preservation had to take over. God it was so dark. Tears the size of elephant ears were cascading down my face each containing a large portion of self-pity. Why did I go out that window? What was I thinking? The eyes in my ass were giving me the answer to that question as usual.
I didn’t want anyone at the ranch to see the light from the flashlight. I would turn it on just long enough to light my path toward the woods and then off it would go. As I walked through the weeds my mind started going over everything that had happened the past week or so. Meeting old Tom Baird and Shamika and Shamonta… her little girl, The Rice Motel, Tom getting a job there, Pam being overly friendly with me a total stranger and her inviting strange men to my motel room, my gun being stolen, her lies about Jake being a romantic Frenchman. I never knew a Frenchman but I suspected they didn’t drive a black and silver ranching truck or have an attorney brother with no French accent. Not to mention getting my car impounded and my dog stolen! Add to that being shot at and told I was being jailed for my own protection which was the worst but in hindsight would have been better than this mess out in the boonies being near murdered. Then add jumping out of a slow moving truck that did not really seem to be going all that slow thank you. But here I was almost to the tree line and there was the black and silver truck coming back down the old country road very slowly looking for little Julianna. Sorry skanky Pam but you lose. I could just sense her brain panicking. What would she tell her Jakey now? Well I hadn’t won yet but I aimed to. I didn’t come this far to have some druggie get in the way of me getting to my big city lights in California. Nope…. I hobbled out the other side of the small grouping of trees onto an open field. As I was heading for what appeared to be another barbed wire fence leading me to a country road I heard a strange sound. I turned toward the sound and hit the flashlight switch. I figured if this was it for me I aimed to see who it was taking me down. The sounds had gotten even closer during my mental time out so without further contemplating I flipped the switch to on. Dear God in merciful loving caring sweet heaven it was a cow. No wait, upon further notice it was a living, breathing, snorting, snotting, pawing the ground bull! There was no time for any thinking because Mr. Bull’s eyes were upon me and only me. I had entered his domain and I did not look like any of his other ladies in that field and we both knew it. I hit the flashlight switch and took off running like the wind was beneath my feet toward the barbed wire fence. I was switching the light off and on so I didn’t hit the fence head on while not so far behind me was Mr. Bull. I wondered if Bulls could see at night like cats or owls and if I lived through this ordeal I would be looking that up for sure. But considering my immediate situation it seemed very unimportant as I hit the ground and began to roll under the bottom wire of the barbed fence as it caught my shirt and stopped me dead. The bull was right on top of me. He hit my left shoulder with his hoof and I screamed as I pulled the ripped shirt right off my back leaving it lay on the ground for Mr. Bull to have and to hold forever more. Once I was safe I turned around to shine my light in the old boy’s face and told him a thing or three! I must have been an 8 x 10 glossy sight for sore eyes standing there half naked telling off a bull cow. Can’t say it didn’t make me feel better because it did.
I was so mentally and physically exhausted I layed down in the ditch and fell asleep clutching my baby browning. I awoke to a beautiful warm Amarillo country sunrise. That is until I fully regained my senses and realized where I was and what I had on for clothing. That not only had Pam and Jake tried to kill me but a bull did also. Where were my Duke and Tom? I got up and started walking in the direction I thought town was. My sense of direction was terrible so I could have been heading for the West Texas Mountain range for all I knew. Of course I knew the sun rose in the East and set in the West which meant I was not heading for the mountains thank God. Time would tell. And that is when I noticed my beautiful pink cowgirl boots I bought in Houston were trashed. The jump from the truck had wasted them but they probably saved my ankles and maybe my life. I was alive, walking with no shirt on, and talking. I did pity the poor bastard that would be the first to come upon me way out here in the middle of nowheresville half dressed. It must look like I was taken advantage of and dropped off out here. I guess I was but not in the manner it appears. And then I saw a car approaching off in the distance. If it were Jake and Pam I had nowhere to run but Bullsville so I pulled out my baby browning and readied myself for a showdown. Can’t say I didn’t squat in the ditch just in case. I squatted so tight and low I nearly missed him. The car stopped right next to me. I jumped up and pointed my gun directly at………Miles Reed!
“Whoa little lady,” he shrieked.
I screamed like that Bull had trampled me right there on the spot. Must have been pure emotions coming out as well as some very loud curse words only bad sailors used on ships where there were no women. Miles Reed’s mouth dropped open. I guess I shocked the man-boy!
He asked me if I was done and did I feel better. I responded with a few more bad words regarding my entire stay in Amarillo, Texas and then I told him I was finished.
He asked me where my shirt was. Probably not the thing to bring up at that particular moment. I was bawling “L.E. Phant” tears while crumbling to the ground which took my leg to bleeding which allowed me to begin to feel all the pain everywhere in my body from truck jumping to bull fighting to barbed wire rolling. Miles put the car in park, got out and gently lifted me to my feet. He then put both arms around me and held me close until I stopped crying and shaking. At which time I backed up and hit him in the chest approximately twenty times. Would have been more but he grabbed my wrists and held them behind my back containing me until my anger subsided.
If I let you go will you settle down Julianna?
I don’t know Miles. How did you find me? What’s the deal?
He said, “I came to your room last night to make peace just as you went out the window and ran across the yard with Pam Hawkinson so I had you followed.”
I couldn’t believe my ears. “You had me followed. You let me go through all this pain and suffering thinking I was to be killed and I almost was but not by humans, rather by a damn Bull! What’s the matter with you Miles Reed? How could you do that to me?”
“Slow down little lady,” he said and continued… “I didn’t go out the window with no backup, you did. I didn’t know what the plan was but I did step in and had you followed. I didn’t jump out of a moving truck, you did. I didn’t have a run in with a bull in a pasture, you did! You were not supposed to leave the house. You were under protective house arrest which obviously did not work. So now maybe it’s time you stay in the pokey where you would be safe.”
And so the fight continued for a long time on the side of an old county road near Amarillo, Texas. Miles finally picked me up, threw me over his should and deposited me in the back seat, slammed the door and drove off telling me to stay down so no one would see me. This time I listened considering he was pretty steamed. A woman usually knows when to quit and this was quittin’ time for sure.
After what seemed like a hundred miles but was probably only five, I softly asked Miles to please not take me to the pokey that I promised not to run off again. He didn’t answer. This time small sad tears birthed themselves from my lonely eyes onto the suede seat covers of his fancy vehicle. He reached across the seat and kindly handed me his handkerchief which I gladly received quietly I might add.
After arriving back at Miles house I mentioned how much I would like to soak and relax in a bath so I headed for the bathroom where I noticed some lady bubbles. Men don’t customarily have lady bubbles laying around so I inquired why and he explained he had come to my room the night before after buying me some bubbles for my bath. That is when he saw me just as I had crawled out the window and knew I had run off with Pam Hawkinson. I thanked him and quietly moved myself back to the bathroom.
I had just settled into my wonderful hot bubble bath when I noticed pain and bleeding at the site of the knife wound. It wasn’t going to stop nor was the pain. Jeez I could have slept all night in that tub but once again my plan was cut and a new one replaced it.
We arrived at the local hospital about a half hour later to a multitude of questions as to how this happened. Miles had instructed me what to say beforehand. I told the emergency room staff that I had been cutting tomatoes when I slipped and somehow cut myself during the fall. They sort of looked at me like they really didn’t believe me. Even I thought a real FBI Agent could have come up with a better story than that one. That is when Miles excused himself to go find a coffee machine. Truth was he didn’t want to watch me get the several stitches the gash required. Nancy Boy! The staff also said no showers or baths for me for about a week. An Xray showed a severely bruised shoulder requiring a rigid sling for a couple weeks. I was a mess but I was alive. We thanked the hospital staff and headed back to Miles home, my fancy new pokey. Miles actually helped me get my baby dolls on and tucked me in. He turned to leave the room but stopped. He turned back, leaned down as he put his hand behind my neck and the other on my shoulder and gently kissed my lips. Twice. Then he turned and walked out closing the door behind him. Jeez, wait I thought. Come on back here for crimany sakes. And then I decided to simply enjoy the moment for how nice it was.
Morning came and we met awkwardly in the kitchen. Neither of us said a word until I decided to ask if he would take me to see Shamika considering she was so terribly worried about her father, Tom Baird. He agreed but told me he had to go to work and could he trust me to stay at the house until he returned at dinner time. I said he could but wasn’t sure how I could stand it there alone all day without this mess of a mess solved. Would I watch soap operas
I had started watching "The Guiding Light" with my Nana when I was four. That was good for at least an hour.
Shamika was overjoyed to see us as well as full of questions. Miles assured her they were doing everything in their power to find her father and of course Duke. Shamika began crying and I realized why. Old Tom was the only support the family had and since he had been kidnapped there were no pay checks coming in. I took her aside and handed her one of my hidden one hundred dollar bills. My Grandma Gillie always told me to hide some “mad money.” I asked her why she called it “mad money?” She told me if I was ever on a date and got mad at the S O B there should be enough “mad money” hidden to get me home safely! The mad money didn’t help me much the night before in the pasture with that bull but it sure came in handy today. Shamika cried with joy and asked us if we could babysit her brother and daughter while she walked to the store for groceries. Of course Miles stepped in and offered to drive her. She ended up taking her daughter with her while I sat with her brother Shamonta who was bedridden.
Miles was going to be late for work and as time passed it became quite obvious he was going to be really late. In fact I was beginning to get worried.
While I was waiting for their return I dialed up the Rice Motel regarding my belongings and getting checked out. I was informed the FBI director had checked me out and had my belongings relocated to an unspecified location. I was livid. Now they had my beautiful Pink Cadillac, my belongings, and my dog was missing. I had six stitches in my ankle, and my arm in a sling! What the hell else could happen? And then I remembered never to ask that question as it is bad luck.
My next call was to the Real Estate Agent, Tilton Boyer although I was a tad leery of him considering that is where Pam Hawkinson used to go every night after work. We had yet to figure out that part of her story. I called Mr. Boyer. Heck the reason I was in Amarillo anyway was to find old Tom a church to preach in. Wouldn’t you know the crazy Marilyn Monroe secretary answered the phone. Lucky me! I politely asked to speak to Mr. Boyer. After a long spell of theatrics I was put on hold. Mr. Boyer came on the line informing me he was glad I had called as he had a small church he wanted to have me view as soon as possible. I asked if it was the same one we had discussed the other day and he responded it was. He added we had to meet the owners at a different property and then be escorted to the church. I didn’t think much about that at first but as time passed I thought it odd for some reason I couldn’t explain. Boyer set up a time the day after next and I agreed not thinking I had no way to meet them considering I was under fancy house arrest at Miles. Oh well it was done and I would figure it out. Sadly in my life I had said that way too often much to my regret. I could only hope this would not be one of those times.
Way too much time had passed without Miles and Shamika’s return. I wasn’t sure what to do or who to call when an unmarked car pulled up with Shamika and her daughter and the groceries. Miles was not driving and Shamika was shaking like she had seen a ghost.
I said, “What is going on? Where is Miles?”
The gentlemen driving calmly informed me there had been a car accident and Miles was taken to the local hospital with what they think was a concussion. Shamika and the little girl were checked out and released. “I am to take transport you to Miles home, please get in ma’am.”
“Oh no,” I said. “I do not know you and I have been to hell and back with a bull and a knife and a crazy skank lady. No, No, No! I will stay here with these nice people thank you sir.”
“Ma’am I must insist you come with me as that is an order from the FBI Director ma’am, please. I do not wish to have to take you by force and scare you or these friends of yours. “
I knew I should have never said what the hell else could happen. Cause here it is and Miles is in the hospital.
I told Shamika if anything happened to me to tell Miles Reed and get the license plate of the car that took me. I thanked her and told her we would find her dad not to worry. Poor thing had no phone so I left her with terrible worry anyway.
I was taken back to Miles Reeds residence and left there alone. I was absolutely terrified the entire rest of the day and even worse all night. I suspect I didn’t get two hours sleep just lying there starring at the doors, windows, and hearing all sort of noises imagined and otherwise. Next morning I called the Southern Bell Telephone and ordered one for Shamika and her family. It was the least I could do. And I called Tilton Boyer to cancel the viewing of the church due to my transportation issue. Tilton immediately and with an acute change of voice pressured me to allow him to pick me up for the viewing. I reluctantly agreed thinking it would be one positive happening in the midst of a quagmire of awful incidents.
There was no one to share my whereabouts with. No one would know where I was or who I was with. I would leave Miles a note with the address not that it would do any good considering he was in the hospital. I am sure there was no reason for me to be concerned after all Tilton Boyer was a local Amarillo respected Real Estate Agent. Right?