Bobby Kurtz was having a great walk. The mix he had on his phone was all eclectic strangeness, and while he was soaked with sweat and tired after doing five miles in the tropical heat, his water bottle was still almost full.
Grabbing his walking staff in the other hand, he looked down the long rural road. It was, easily, another mile to the next intersection where he’d turn and go north for four miles to get back to his friend’s house.
He looked up as the stupid helicopter passed overhead for the fourth time this morning. Rigged out as a spraying bird, it was probably nuking the marshes nearby for mosquitoes. The annoying part was that every time it passed overhead it was so loud it drowned out his headphones. One of the costs of mosquito free housing was low-altitude helicopters. He watched it as it broke abruptly right from it’s previous path, and not only ejected a dozen magnesium flares from it’s top, but turned on a disrupting optical device on the tail.
Kurtz shielded his eyes but not before he saw the surface-to-air missile follow one of the flares and detonate two hundred yards behind the helicopter.
He hit the deck and missed being hit by the shrapnel by a miracle of some sort. The shooter, however, didn’t avoid a penalty, for the helicopter pirouetted and made a firing run on the origin of the smoke trail. There was the scream of 7.62 miniguns that fired from what he had thought were the pesticide tanks on the sides of the helicopter. No shell casings fell from the sky, as they must have been captured by the bulbous gun casings disguised as spray tanks.
The roaring was deafening, and all he could do was hold his hands over his ears, the helicopter just 75 feet from him and firing at a spot no more than 300 from where he lay prone on the broiling roadway.
Peace returned to the land, smoke drifted off in the gentle breeze, and the helicopter gained altitude, circled the area rapidly, and returned to a hover just 100 feet from Kurtz.
Loudspeakers hailed him, “You okay, Mr. Kurtz? Sorry that was so close to you, but hey, bad guys get nuked, right?”
Kurtz gave a thumbs-up and the bird flew away to some other mission.
Bobby Kurtz stood on the roadway, debating checking out what was left of the SAM shooter. He dismissed the idea. They were toast to be sure, and he was on vacation. How they knew it was him bothered him a second, but then he looked at the phone on his harness rig and figured they had his transponder from the Facility Review Board on their equipment.
Why the missile, and why it was so close to him was just another mystery he’d probably never solve. Dusting himself off, he took a long drink from the water bottle and continued down the deserted roadway. He was starving and lunch was another hour’s walk away.
** ** ** **
Yes, I am working on the sequel to Assault on Saint Agnes. But since it’s slow going and some of you were missing Kurtz, I figured he’d make a guest appearance on the blog.
Now, buy some of my audio books so I get enough money to write for a while!