Continued from Part Twenty-Three
Snyder stood in the middle of a vast dessert. Nothing to see but sand and a solitary figure approaching. What was going on? Snyder reached for his colt service revolver.
“Anny, that won’t be necessary,” said the familiar voice.
Snyder ran over and embraced his grandmother. “I love you.”
A slap came across Snyder’s face. Shijo stood over him, laughing. “I love you, too.”
Snyder scratched his forehead. “What’s going on?”
Blackjack McGraw stood by the carrier. He shrugged. “I’d say you fainted, but I probably pushed you down too hard.”
“Someone was shooting at us and I saw my grandmother. What’s going on?”
McGraw pointed to two men lying on the ground. “Those guys were shooting at us. Hotel Security didn’t put in any of their manuals that they put two armed guards on with their cargo. Shijo saved our bacon.”
Shijo sniffed. “Of course I did.”
“In fact, I wouldn’t mind working with him regularly if he weren’t such an egotist.”
“What about my grandmother?”
McGraw shook his head. “Your common variety mirage.”
Several empty buses pulled off the Interstate. Cutler and his minister friend got off one. The minister said, “The mystery bomber has just disappeared. We need everybody on the buses.”
The enslaved children and teenagers boarded the buses like compliant cattle.
Snyder said, “Sarge, let’s get out of here. If we leave first, the buses will cover our tracks.”
Cutler nodded and jumped into the driver’s seat of the van.
McGraw said, “Kid, maybe I’ll look you up some time.”
“What are you going to do now?”
McGraw shrugged. “Three hundred kids, I figure they’ll need some help. Maybe it’s time for me to take a sabbatical. Help boys become men. I haven’t done a good job with my son, and I’m too late with you. But maybe, you know?” McGraw looked across the desert. “Just maybe.”
Snyder nodded. “Good luck.”
Snyder walked towards the van, but turned around. “Keep in touch.”
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