igrid (Meyer) Wimberly was of German/Jewish descent.  Most of her family had been wiped out at the Auschwitz the death camp during WWII, leaving only her and two sisters as survivors . . . ('if you could call it that' she always said).

The next atrocity with which they had to forego was the onslaught of Russian soldiers out to rape every female they could find, age meaning nothing.

Theirs was quite a horror story to hear, and Jesse would only heard bits and pieces of it.  Barely enough to make any sense at all.  All he knew of her personally is that she was a Jew, a widow and fairly wealthy but quite a penny pincher.  His original introduction of her one day in the little mom and pop grocery store made her out to seem quite rude at first.

Later when he came to know her personally he found her very delightful to be around - in spite of so much sadness in her life.

He smiled as he remembered that meeting there that day.  The nasty incident was pretty much over when he became aware of the commotion and rushed to intervene.  Some young sprout, well, he was young compared to her, had become very agitated about being held up by slow drivers on the highway.  She had blocked him from his headlong dash to wherever he was going, and quite irritated, pulled into the parking lot behind her then proceeded to the gas pump.

After pumping his gas he'd left his car at the pump forcing others to wait while he grabbed some coffee and donuts.  In his rush he made his choices quickly and headed toward the cash register.  She stepped up to the register just as he left the aisle where his choices were located further irritated him. She have much in her shopping cart; just small bill of goods.

The man, now doubly upset by her holding up his progress now twice less than ten minutes was making all the sounds of a highly irritated person.  Although he never actually made a verbal comment, his very audible sighs of iritation came quickly to her attention.

The person at the register knew Mrs. Wimberly quite well and over the years had become fast friends with her and her husband.  She waited as Sigrid rummaged through her purse looking for the exact change.  Upon the third sigh, Sigrid snapped her wallet shut, replaced it to her purse, and turned around to address the man.

"Please, if you're in such a hurry that you don't have time enough for simple courtesy, step around and I'll be happy to wait.  Because I do have the courtesy and by your unkempt looks, realize you probably raised yourself.  It's quite obvious you spnt little time in the procurement of common courtesy and respect for your fellow citizen."

The man stepped forward and plunked down a twenty dollar bill saying "this will cover the old ladies purchase, and here's a ten-spot for my coffee.  Keep the change."  He then looked at Sigrid and said "Ma'am, you might want to learn a little of that respect yourself of which you speak - for those who work for a living.  Good day."

Instantly, Sigrid Wimberly cold cocked him up 'side the head with her purse, grabbed the money he'd thrown down and shoved it to where his purchases were sitting.  "I'll have you know I worked for almost sixty years beginning when I was barely eleven to support myself and my two crippled sisters.  I don't need your money neither do I need your smart aleck remarks."

The man shoved his wallet and purchase into his coat pocket, grabbed his coffee much too fast spilling some of it on the counter and walked out.  Mumbling to herself low Sigrid stepped up to the register, pulled out her money and counted it to the penny, gathered her receipt, gave it a quick once-over, placed her bags back into the cart and proceeded to the door.

Outside the man was waiting for her.  He addressed her in not such a pleasant tone of voice, and warned that she'd better keep her eye on the rear view mirror because if he ever came up behind her again, he'd ram her and knock her into the ditch.

Too quick to realize and duck thunder exploded at the sound of the purse hitting him again only this time she was able to bring the weight of it and it's contents to bear.  The guy staggered back spilling his coffee, then quickly regaining his balance started toward her.

Now picture this.  Here is a seventy-five year old lady who weighs less than a hundred and twenty pounds being accosted by a man who tipped the scales at over two hundred fifty pounds, fifty years her junior and he's of a mind to thrash her.  By his outward appearance - being quite unkempt in his clothes, unwashed long hair and wooly beard and he decided teach this little old lady some manners!

But he stopped short when she pulled the hammer back on that wicked looking .357.  Suddenly, his color changed, his breathing caught and he stood motionless looking straight into that dark, cold single solitary eye of death.  He was too far away to slap or grab the gun, and the manner in which she stood and held that pistol . . . well, he didn't think she'd miss!

"Sonny, I'll blow you to hell if you don't get out of here.  And if I ever see you in my rear view mirror, I won't be of such a mind to hesitate next time.  Do you possess enough mental capacity to understand this?"

"I do understand.  But I hope you understand you may get the drop on me old lady.  You will not have the advantage of surprise over me next time."

ladysmith-357

"And I'll advise you to make sure you don't create a 'next time' young man!" she finished.

Through the window of the store Jesse had seen the guy stagger after being slapped up 'side his head and was already moving to intervene when he saw the brute suddenly stop.  As he stepped out through the door he heard Sigrid say "the next time I won't hesitate . . ."

Jesse looked at that big ol' gun in her hand.  She stood steady as a rock in the "Weaver Stance" and had one of the meanest look in her eyes he had ever seen.  One didn't have to be very smart to understand she meant business!

Weaver Stance pict

The guy threw the remainder of his coffee on the ground, and started away.  "Young man, we don't allow litterbugs in this vicinity.  You come back and pick up that cup and toss it where it belongs."

By now there was an audience of four transfixed by scene.  The cockyness of the big thug and way that little lady was standing calmly made everyone there think they were about to witness a shooting.

On top of that a police cruiser was pull into the parking lot.  Neither party moved as it stopped right beside the two.  Officer Carl Autman walked up to stand beside the big dude was still facing him but taking care to stay well outside the line of fire.

While looking at the now very unhappy thug, he addressed the lady.  "Something with which I should be getting involved Mrs. Wimberly?"

"Naw, I don't think so Officer" never taking her eyes off the dude.  "I believe this young man was just leaving" she responded.  Still looking the trouble maker straight in his eye said "Is there?"

The bruiser did not reply verbally, but turned and picked up the empty coffee cup.  He headed toward his car still blocking the gas pump, tossed the cup into the trash can, and barked off a patch of rubber when he slammed his vehicle into gear with the engine racing wildly.

Carl was already on the radio he wore on his side getting information on the car and it's plates.  Sigrid returned the pistol to her purse, and waved at Carl as she walked slowly to her Mercedes.  Jesse had no idea as to the timing of his appearance to the scene, but he thought for sure there was going to be quite a hassle in the parking lot.  And maybe someone could have died.  That incident had taken place about a month ago.

This was the same woman who'd seen the group of mercs coming up the center of the street, and like always, she was ready.  They might get a full meal off her, but by cracky she was sure as shooting gonna get a few sandwiches off that group!  Standing where he was, Jesse had barely caught the faint muzzle flash from the inside of Sigrids home.

"Yep," he thought to himself.  "She is one salty old lady.  She'd do to ride the river with!"

Seeing the flash and hearing the thunderous report of the rifle Jesse mused it was not unlike the sound of a buffalo Sharps 50 one of his friends had.  He also saw firsthand what that thing did to the head of a human only 20 seconds ago.

The leader or whatever he was dead before he ever hit the ground, was all contained in a mere split second.  Shots were being fired looked like from every house on the block all directed at that 15' circle.  Those who were not hit scattered and running full out.  One guy came racing around the right at Jesse and he died of Jesses' bullet when he busted around the corner.

The sounds of the battle thundered for a good thirty seconds before the huge spotlights set up on the corners of the house ever came on and illuminated the ordeal.

And just as suddenly, the remaining UN mercs stopped firing and began throwing their arms down holding their hands as far above their heads as possible.  Although that battle lasted less than the space of a minute, fourteen blue helmets lay on the ground never to attack anyone else.

Two of the officers had died from the same weapon.  One died when he proceeded to commence the mission to roust out the whole neighborhood and confiscate their guns.  Another died when he spun around and pointed his gun in her direction.  Jesse saw him fall from a shot to the center of his chest where the third button should have been.  Now, in the light, that button was missing but in it's place was a hole about the size of a small coffee stirring stick.

The hole out his back was much bigger as it blew out.  Jesse wanted the bodies of the two officers in the middle of the street.  If he could get their communications system and ID papers as well as their uniform they just might be of use at a later date plus contain some information.

And, he did just that.  As soon as the remainder of the group had fled, he rushed out to the death scene and dragged the two bodies from the street up close to the house.  Placing them in the space between the wall of the house and the line of bushes they'd stay long there enough to give him time to retrieve his own vehicle.

In the light streaming around the corner of the house, Jesse looked into the now very dead face of the officer first shot; he knew him as the man who'd braced Mrs. Sigrid Wimberly a month or so ago.  His name was Logan Ramsey.  A smile came onto Jesses' face as the thought hit him; "she'd warned him . . . "

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Chapter II