Groundswell: Chapter thirty-eight

Dobson recruited a couple of his buddies to help spread the word that the feds were coming to take everyone’s guns. They told others, who told others, and so on. By five AM, there was a dense crowd of armed men and women moving like floodwaters through downtown Axton’s cobblestone streets, ready to take a stand for their Constitutional rights.

Don’t tread on me!” roared a tall, beefy man in an OU T-shirt and camo cargo shorts before firing off a few rounds from his AR15 into the early morning sky.

It was still fairly dark, but the orange glow of the rising sun beneath the horizon was intensifying by the minute.

Kimball and Risley were standing in the gazebo in the town square when Dobson pulled up. Kimball was shouting into a megaphone.

“…can’t let them! Who’s with me?”

Cheers erupted from the mob, and Kimball paused for a moment to let it die down before continuing.

“They have the superior firepower, but you have the home-field advantage!”

A nervous-looking teenage boy with a backpack slung over one shoulder shuffled nervously up to the chief.

“Uh… um, hello?”

Kimball looked annoyed.

“Now son, I know you’re scared. We all are. But I need y’all to sit tight for a minute and–”

“I made these,” said the boy, unzipping his backpack.

Kimball’s eyes widened. He reached into the bag, and as gingerly as one might remove a newborn kitten from a basket, he pulled out a–

“A pipe bomb?” Risley snatched it from him, a big dumb grin spreading across his face.

He shook it at the kid. “What the hell was you fixin’ to do with these? Huh?”

“Be careful with that,” said the boy, wincing.

“Yeah, dummy,” said Kimball. “Quit playin’ around, ‘less you like the idea of jerkin’ off with a hook hand the rest of your life.”

“Yeah, yeah,” he said, handing the bomb back to Kimball.

“I just like to blow shit up,” said the kid. “It’s fun. I threw one of these inside an old car and it blew the hood off. It was pretty awesome.”

Kimball smiled. “It’s okay, son,” he said. “I know you’re a good kid. Normally I’d take these away from you and have a talk with your parents, but now I wanna shake their hands. Um, what’s your name again? I know I’ve heard it before, I’m sorry.”

“Phillip.”

“Oh, that’s right,” said Kimball. “Well, I am gonna take ’em from you, but they ain’t goin’ in no evidence locker.”

He held one up to show to the crowd. “They’re goin’ up some commie gun snatcher’s ass!”

They cheered, and he experienced a momentary twinge of remorse. He knew he was only hyping these lambs up for the slaughter that was sure to come. What choice did he have, though?

“You got any more of these?” he asked Phillip.

The boy shook his head. “No, just these six. I was gonna take ’em to the dump and blow up a refrigerator tomorrow but I mean, you know, you can have ’em.”

An obnoxiously loud Toyota pickup parted the crowd and squeaked to a halt near the gazebo.

Risley immediately recognized the driver, the passenger next to him, and the chunky Indian fella ridin’ in the bed. One who always wore a fuckin’ jacket, year round. He didn’t trust nobody that did that.

“Look at this,” he said to Kimball. “That Bonez shitbag and his retard crew. Be a perfect time to fuckin’ get rid of ’em for good, know what I’m sayin’?”

“Shut up,” said Kimball. “Just keep your fuckin’ mouth shut for once, will ya? This ain’t no joke.”

Bonez hopped out of the cab. He was wearing a white hoodie patterned with shiny green dollar signs.

“Yo! My boy Big Bank told me what’s up! Y’all need some heat?”

He lowered the tailgate.

“Holy shit!” said Risley. That’s like thirty guns! You runnin’ a cartel or somethin’?”

“Nah, mang,” said Bonez, strutting over with an exaggerated pimp limp. “I’m here to help, homie. Y’all be quick to judge people like me but I care about my community. Word is bond, son.”

“Thank you, Bonez,” said Kimball, shoving Risley aside. “Let’s pass these out to anyone who ain’t got one because they are on the way.”

He turned to Dobson, standing frozen and slack-jawed behind him.

“Doin’ alright there, Dobs?”

“Yeah, sorry. I was just thinking, ya know? This ain’t really what I thought it was gonna be like to be a cop. If I’d a known it was like this I mighta did somethin’ else.”

Kimball squeezed his shoulder. “Join the club.”

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