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69 Pontiac

0 comments | 6:56 pm | top |
Darren's head jerked up with a start. His eyes were glazed and his forehead hot; the car swerved slightly and then straightened up as he shook the sleep out of his head. Jason looked up from where he sat in the passenger seat of the 69 Pontiac GTO convertible. "Do you want me to drive mate?". Darren looked straight ahead, accelerating steadily past the 80mph mark on the speedometer. "Pass the thermos". Jason balanced his Portege R400 laptop on one knee as picked up the red Thermos from where it lay on the floor at his feet. "You just keep working away there..." Darren flicked the lid of the thermos and it unscrewed itself and fell into his lap. "How far've you got?" He carefully took a sip of the hot, double-strength coffee. "Yeah, just about there". Jason was busy building a program that they could use to hack into the security system at the place that they were heading for. The twelve-foot solid concrete walls topped with electrified barbed wire would have been just about doable, but the addition of the half-dozen German shepherds which were driven half-mad by torture and starvation as well as the unknown number of armed guards - who were in not much better condition, made for a big ask.

"I need to go to the toilet" called out a young voice from the back-seat of the fast-moving car. Why did we have to bring them... it's just another thing to go wrong. "Can you hold on a bit?" Asked Jason - "We're almost at the next town, and we can have a stop there - ok Darren?". Darren cleared his throat, nodded and reached for the coffee again. Neither of the two brothers were excited when they received the message that there were three children who needed to be relocated to another city where they would stay with their grandparents until fighting died down in their home-town of Wellington. Emmy, 17, Jono 15, and Holly who was just 10. Holly fell asleep again, her head resting on her big sister's shoulder. The two older children were watching The Fellowship of the Ring on Darren's laptop.

The children's grandfather - fit and full of hope had just passed his 58th birthday and the two brothers planned to pick him up when they dropped the children off at his home. He would be a useful asset to the operation, as he had more experience in combat than both of them put together. He had acted as junior commander of a small skirmishing party attached to New Zealand forces posted in Vietnam.

Two hours later found the 69 Pontiac pulling into the driveway of a cozy looking, well-kept section somewhere in Palmerston North. Nana walked quickly out of the house, almost tripping over the spoiled long-haired cat. Grandad spun the lid on his hip flask and dropped it in his pocket as he made his way out to greet the grandkids. Emmy brought her grandmother up to date on the turmoil back in her home-town. Holly knelt by the cat and scratched it's neck. Oh, liddl puddi cat. Jono stood with the men, discussing the car. He kicked the tyre as Darren had done, and nodded now and then to show that he understood.

The children's bags were brought in from the car, and while Emmy helped Nana put the finishing touches on an excessively generous afternoon tea, the four men made themselves comfortable in the lounge. Grandad pulled the hip flask out of his pocket with a furtive glance over his shoulder. Jason nodded, a knowing wink. Grandad took a sip of the whiskey and passed it on to Jason. Darren had a couple of gulps and then passed the flask on to an ecstatic Jono. Jono took a gulp and breathed heavily, like a dragon breathing out fire as he passed the flask over to his grandad, who half-stood and dropped the flask into his pocket. For a full five minutes the men sat back in their chairs, saying nothing - occasionally letting forth deep sigh which were met by grunts of agreement. Men don't need to talk the whole time as some women appear to do. They can sit, contented for long periods of time saying nothing, but understanding everything - and learning.

Jason had his laptop open again, rapidly typing, occasionally pausing to rub his forhead with his hands, giving his face a bit of a rub - always woke him up a bit. He was just running over his new program one last time, to make sure it was all ok. Darren usually steered clear of asking his brother to explain to him what he was doing. He just told him their situation and left it to Jason to find a solution. They were just resting off their large afternoon tea. One too many strawberry-jam and cream sconnes, washed down with two or three good cups of tea.

"Riiiiight..." Darren sat up and straightened his back out. "We'd better be off". Grandad entered the room, a long black canvas bag over his left shoulder; an aluminium "brief-case" in his right hand. "Jono's not here... he's probably gone down to the shops or something..." Nana stood up and embraced her husband who responded with a tense one-armed hug. Emmy glanced at her grandfather and noticed the hand holding the brief-case, the knuckles were white, his jaw was set, his eyes looking straight ahead - at nothing. He kept the steely gaze as he walked out to the car and still looking straight ahead he opened the boot of the vehicle and dropped his canvas bag inside.

Nana and the two girls stood at the end of the driveway and waved as the car tore off down the empty road in the late afternoon. "She's pulling a bit heavy". Sitting in the passenger seat, Grandad's left eyebrow twitched impulsively. Darren's brow was creased as he concentrated on the road and he did not notice. Jason pulled his laptop out of it's bag and set it on the seat beside him. Firing up Winamp, he plugged the 3 1/4 jack into his laptop and the car reverberated with Coldplay's majestic song The Scientist. The 69 Pontiac GTO merged with the traffic on the highway up to Hastings.

To be continued...

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