HE LETHALITY OF EACH DAY: Every sixteen hour length of light since I quit the Irish Republican Army and flew to the United States. I didn’t plan on stealing any cigarettes for a living. A million dollar shipment at a time. I just take each 53’ tractor and trailer, leaving the driver to answer questions from the FBI. The last load of smokes on wheels paid for some of those Barrett .50 caliber rifles for the IRA. When I’m not jamming gears, I enjoy a good pub with a poetry reading and local folks hashing out a tune about old times. That’s hard to come by here-there’s plenty of drunken clown karaoke, but it’s not the same soothing sounds.
Barrett Firearms Manufacturing is rolling out a new Bravo 98. Everyone across the pond wants one plus extra quick change barrels, folding stocks and night vision scopes. I’m back to staking out truck stops to pay the big bill on this one. My brother wants his Bravo 98 with a rubberized pistol grip and my grandfather needs oversized magazine clips for his rifle. The whole country is on alert for anthrax and Middle Eastern terrorists. Nobody makes the time to track an international Irish cigarette peddler. Pretty soon I’m going to scatter to new winds like the White Horse Whiskey ashtray my father once shattered on a constable’s head over in London.
“Now, if you get lucky enough to get your cargo truck back without gunplay-you can just drive the truck off a cliff while chanting the special code and you’ll be alright and automatically come back home. Good luck.
There’s just one problem - the killer elite cowboys want these cigarette trucks, too. I would have thought that the Marlboro man in those famous smoking advertisements dying of cancer would have deterred them, but I guess not. And to make matters worse, I never know what I am dealing with. Some of these cowboys appear to be ghosts and they sometimes band together with other space outlaws. I’m just a simple Earthling who doesn’t understand the science, but I sure understand a ghost’s six gun shooting at me.
Like last month when I ran into some ghost called Comanche - he wanted my 40 foot trailer and he took it. I was in a truck stop taking a bath, I left my wallet and keys on the truck seat to go soap up. When I came out Comanche was somehow flying off into space with my truck load of durable goodness gone up in smoke. Please excuse the pun. When I later phoned home to Ireland-my dad, Conor, didn’t accept the bad news, he suggested that I watch my back:
“Cormac-they’ll be sending someone to get you now - hired gunmen to take you out.”
“Dad, can’t you stall them for time over a pint, or something?”
“I wish it were that easy, son, but there’ll be no reasoning with their bullets.”Best to stay low and start hiding out-all the time.”
“Dad, I just need a few days, a week at the most.”
“I’m sorry, but the missing gun money they’re expecting-holds more weight than any gun peddler’s promise.”
“Okay, Dad, I get the picture. I’ll be in touch. Goodbye.”
“Goodbye, son. Be careful.”
Now as scary as all of this is, it’s nothing compared to what that ghost Comanche is capable of on any given day. In addition to his supernatural powers, he can transport himself back through the centuries too. He could be smoking Lucky Strikes at the Little Big Horn now for all I know, or trading a pack of Camels for a peace pipe. Even trading smokes with the Texas Rangers to get back a band of ponies - anything is possible.
Now this situation is pure hell, especially when the killer elite cowboy turns out to be an Indian. And my grandfather,-god rest his dearly departed soul, used to tell me that the Comanche were the only tribe that would ride five hundred miles to cause five minutes’ worth of trouble. That old saying alone sends chills throughout my system. And now that Comanche is a ghost capable of intergalactic space travel… I just don’t know what my minute chances are going to be.
But, if I can figure out a way to get back to Comanche’s plot of ground in another century, then I can avoid any contract killer sent by Ireland. They could be dispatching someone out of New York City or Wichita, Kansas for all I know. The killer won’t necessarily be coming from the old country.
I had no idea who to talk with about this sensitive manner so I telephoned the Kansas Barbed Wire Museum in Lacrosse Kansas. The clerk, Tom, on the other end of the phone, let me know that I had come to the right place for information.
Comanche Killer continues...