Okay, I'll grant there is an @$$load of Mary-Sueing in this, and blantant use of an Interstate character, which these days is taboo in fan fiction...keep in mind that this was written WAY back in '99, and fanfics were a fledgling art at the time. With that, a short little jewel by yours truly...
April 15, 1975; Lubbock, Texas
Night came slowly this evening. The two creepers had to wait a long time for
the cover of darkness. When it finally came at 8:30, the two men dashed from
the abandoned barn they'd been hiding in with their vehicles and set a course
for the nearby junkyard. The radio equipment in their heavily modified vehicles
was off. Total silence was necessary for this job, and they spent much time
coasting with their engines and headlamps off in order to avoid detection. Five
miles of picking through back roads and 'blipping' their ignitions put them at
their destination. The silence of the jaunt through the desert scrub was
shattered with a sudden eruption of gunfire from the smaller car, high-velocity
NATO-grade ammunition assaulting a harmless and flimsy chain link fence. A
small section withered beneath the hot lead, and the two vehicles glided
silently through with little room to spare. Both rolled to a halt in the
junkyard's open area, and both men exited their cars. Instead of picking
through the place like thieves, they simply leaned against their respective
machines and began to wait. This was simply a meeting place for now...they'd
have plenty of time to pick through it later.
The man with the smaller car spoke first after a cursory glace at his
"It's 8:35. We've got twenty-five minutes before they get here. Let's get some
cover set up in case they decide to get ornery and change their minds at the
The second man snapped open a worn brass lighter and lit the cigarette dangling
from his lower lip. After a long drag, he exhaled the smoke as he replied.
"Ok. What do you have in mind?"
The other man pondered for a moment, studying his surroundings. Keen eyes
probed the darkened litter, scrap and hulks around him.
"Well, let's make it a bit less obvious as to how we came in. They won't like
that too much, seeing as how they own the place. Could probably use that piece
of plywood over there to cover up the hole." He gestured to a ratty-looking
piece of plywood leaning against the only structure in the junkyard, his slow,
slight southern drawl making him seem sleepy. He was anything but sleepy,
however. His instincts and thought patterns were sharper at night, at least by
The other man took another drag from the cigarette as if pausing to think about
the idea, then pushed himself away from his battle-scarred yellow Dover Rampage,
and walked toward the plywood. Smoke emanated from his lips as he spoke again.
"What else you got in mind? I'm listening." He gave the plywood a small kick,
testing it, and grabbed a corner.
The other man wiped his hands on the military flight suit he wore and grabbed
the opposite corner. Both lifted, and they walked toward their entry point at
the rear of the yard
"Could probably move a dead car or two so we have something to dive under or
behind. Might want to rig a deadfall trap along our escape with one if we can
find something to move it with."
Both men grunted as they jockeyed the plywood into position, then let it settle
into place. The taller man dusted his hands off on his jeans and again breathed
smoke as he responded, raising a questioning eyebrow.
"Well, Wing', with only 22 minutes, we'd better work quickly for something that
"I'll use that." Raising a hand, Wing' indicated a wrecker with a meaty-looking
winch and service equipment.
The other man took one final drag on the cigarette and dropped it to the ground,
snuffing it with the toe of an eelskin cowboy boot. Smoke billowed again.
"Ok. You just tell me how to help, then."
"Sure thing. Hold on a sec...I'm dying in this gear."
"Only you, man. Only you would be crazy enough to wear leather in weather like
this. And what the hell do you need that helmet for, anyway?"
Wing' shrugged off the lambskin jacket and goggle-adorned vintage leather flying
helmet, walking back to his car to put them inside. He felt naked with the twin
,45 LC Peacemaker revolvers hanging out in the open in their shoulder rigs.
"Panache, Bandit. And fire proofing."
"That panache, as you call it, is gonna get you killed one of these days."
Wing' dug in the cabin of the tiny blue 1932 Phaedra Coupe, looking for some
essential tool. He distractedly shot back, "Until then, it'll give me peace of
mind and a helluva lot of style. Which is more than I can say for that getup
you're wearing. You look like a pimp, not a mercenary."
Bandit looked at himself in the grimy glass of the junkyard office's windows and
considered the billowing satin shirt, flared jeans, and cowboy boots. "That's a
"Forget it." Wing' pulled himself from the car, holding a small leather case
and an assortment of large wrenches.
"What's that for?" Bandit queried.
"The wrecker. Gotta start it somehow." He walked toward the ancient vehicle
with a purpose, Bandit in tow.
A few minutes later, greasy black smoke belched from the exhaust pipes of the
maligned Dover wrecker, and Wing' guided it toward a derelict Ransom Ridge
"That'll be our deadfall." he half-shouted to Bandit over the noise of the tired
wrecker's engine. Bandit walked along next to the wrecker, ready to hook up the
vehicle's hardware to Wing's hulk of choice.
"Where are we gonna put it?"
Wing' took the wrecker out of gear and set the brake, then flipped a few
switches in the cab after studying the dash in the sparse light emanating from
the yard's security lamps.
"On top of that row of hulks along where we came in." He jumped out of the cab
and both men walked around to the front of the vehicle. Wing' peered at the
hefty winch assembly, flipped a large lever, and grabbed the hook at the end of
the reel of cable. He tugged at it, trying to break loose a few years of rust
on the spool's bearings. Metal groaned, then screeched as the cable played out.
The Ridge Liner was half-leaned against another hulk that was nearly
unidentifiable. The cable easily passed under the Liner then was tossed back
over its roof. Bandit grabbed the end and threaded it through the window and
around the b-pillar.
Wing' took the end, hooked it back onto the cable and hit the winch's switch to
take in the slack. The cable drew tight, making a crease in the already-dented
"That'll do it." He jumped into the cab, let out the brake and threw the Dover
into reverse. Lots of right pedal got the Ridge Liner moving, and soon it had
been dragged to the position Wing' desired.
Fifteen minutes left.
A little maneuvering got the wrecker on the other side of the mound of hulks,
and Bandit had to dodge the hefty hook of the winch as it sailed over. Some
muscle from both machine and man moved the big station wagon until it was
precariously perched at the edge of the top of the heap, held in place by a
unused telephone pole found in a corner of the yard. A well-placed stream of
lead from the minigun on the coupe would bring the old wagon tumbling down,
effectively blocking the escape route and buying precious time.
Five minutes left. Wing' parked the wrecker between the front gate and his
coupe after dragging a burnt-out and bullet-riddled Dover Stag pickup in front
of Bandit's Rampage.
Both men finished, they walked to their respective vehicles and began to wait.
One minute left.
Wing' glanced at his watch. "Should be able to hear them in about 30 seconds."
Bandit hoisted himself into the Rampage's hood, and laid down.
"Great, let me know when they're close enough to hear me talk."
Wing' grinned. He preferred to observe the progress of the vigilantes that
could be business partners or their latest antagonists. Already a glimmer of
light to the southeast told him they would be right on time. He turned to the
coupe's cabin, switched on the radio equipment and scanned the citizen's band
channels for chatter. Channel 23 held what he was looking for.
"I don't like dealing with creepers. Especially these Hell's Finest guys." The
voice was vaguely familiar.
"Relax, If they give us trouble, we'll waste them." The Australian accent was
thick, making Wing' grin broadly. The Disco Vigilantes were en route, and
Vigilante was among them. If a fight broke out, it would be a hell of a good
one. But Vigilante was usually just and fair...not hot-headed and quick on the
trigger like other vigilante gang leaders.
Another voice broke into the conversation, businesslike and flat.
"Keep your guns out of sight and don't say anything. You're just here as
backup, all right?" Wing' recognized the voice as Aquila...a vig that he'd
dueled many times for sport. At this point, the only threat would be from the
third driver, whose identity he couldn't pin down.
"They give you ANY trouble at all, and I'll level them." The third vig seemed a
bit too edgy for this operation...an attitude that Wing' would remove from any
operation he would conduct. But it wasn't his operation, so such sentiments
would have to be forgotten.
Thirty seconds. The engines of the vehicles were clearly audible now. The
cacophony was evenly divided. A big block, maybe a 10-holer, a small block
eight, most likely of Phaedra origin, which would be Aquila's Palomino, and a
small six or four...probably Vig's little Strider.
Lights shone brightly, engine noise heightened. Wing' heard shouts over the
radio as the cars danced on the pavement, probably racing each other to reach
the junkyard first. At least they were feeling good enough to play around.
The small six roared closest, Vig's light little Strider outgunning the bigger,
less maneuverable cars, pulled up to the gate first. Aquila's yellow Palomino
pulled up second, and an older silver Jefferson came last. A door slammed, keys
jingled, and the rattling of chains sounded at the gate.
Bandit stirred and got up in Wing's peripheral vision. Showtime.
The gates of the junkyard swung open, admitting the first two cars into the
yard's littered space. The Jefferson stayed behind, acting as backup as they
Wing' and Bandit waited, still unseen. Doors slammed, then voices.
"Figures." Vig's accented voice split the night air.
Bandit slipped down from Lucky Seven's hood and walked around the burnt-out
Stag. Wing' stepped from around the wrecker.
"Actually, we were early." Bandit said with a smirk.
Both vigs, taken by surprise, reflexively drew their handguns. Bandit and Wing'
"Easy, guys. Let's start this on a high note, huh?" Wing' said.
"Bloody sneaky creepers." Vig grinned as he relaxed and holstered a
nickel-plated .45. Aquila lowered his gun, but left it out. A voice hollered
from the gate.
"You need help?"
"We're fine." Aquila yelled back.
Wing' reached into his pocket and pulled out a folded sheet of paper. Bandit
pulled out the lighter and another cigarette. Wing' waved the paper.
"Cargo manifest right here. The trucks are parked in a ravine 10 miles up the
road. You get the trucks if we get our money."
"Let's see that list." Aquila finally holstered his gun and stepped forward.
Wing' set the manifest on the hood of the wrecker, then stepped into the cab and
switched on its lights.
"Thanks." Aquila held the list up to the one good headlight and read it off.
"Ten thousand rounds, thirty caliber. Fifteen thousand rounds, fifty caliber,
linked. Twenty-five thousand rounds, NATO 7.62 millimeter, linked. Three
hundred mortar shells, white phosphorus. Fifty units, cluster bombs. Eighty
units, missiles, heat seeking. One hundred gallons, military-grade napalm.
Five hundred gallons, race-grade automotive fuel." Aquila glanced up. "And, of
course, two rigs to haul all of the stuff. Looks good. Agreed price was
sixty-five thousand in exchange for the location and confirmation of the goods."
"You got it." Bandit replied, holding up a manilla envelope. "We'll follow you
to the trucks. Once you see them, just set the cash by the side of the road and
we'll grab it." Bandit tossed the envelope to Vig, who snatched it out of the
"Good catch." Wing' said. "Careful with that, it's photographic. Aerial photos
Wing' was interrupted by the sudden roar of the Jefferson's big block. He and
Bandit jumped behind the wrecker and Stag as the Jefferson bolted towards the
yard. Vig and Aquila waved their arms and yelled as the Jefferson barreled
toward them, bent on taking out the creepers. Bandit and Wing' were in their
rides as the beast came through the gates. Tires spitting gravel and dirt,
Lucky Seven and Skye II headed deep into the yard along their escape path. The
Jefferson followed close behind, firing cannon rounds with dangerous accuracy.
Several of the large rounds found a home in Skye II's rear armor plate. The
telephone pole loomed ahead, and Wing' fired and slowed, letting Bandit pull
away and get a chance to clear the falling wagon. The pole splintered with the
impacts, then failed as Wing' shoved the throttle wide open, passing under the
falling Ridge Liner with a few feet to spare. The Jefferson wasn't so
fortunate, sliding as it locked up all four wheels and taking considerable front
end damage as the bulk of the station wagon settled in front of it. A terrific
crunch resounded as the Sovereign slammed home and Lucky Seven simultaneously
rammed through the plywood covering the hole in the fence. Bandit slowed,
flipped his radio set on and keyed the mike as he left the yard.
"The next round to come at us is going to result in return fire. The ranks are
even now. I suggest you leave that loose cannon behind and get to the trucks
before we do. I'm debating whether or not we should just blow the whole
There was silence for a second or two, then the driver of the Jefferson began
"You two are damned lucky I didn't get any further than I did, or you'd both be
burning right now. Don't think that this isn't finished. I'm..."
Vig's voice broke into the tirade.
"Stampede, haven't you done enough damage? Don't provoke them into destroying
the shipment. Bandit, Wing', sorry, guys, if I'd known he was going to do this,
I'd have brought someone I knew better."
"All right, Vig...just get moving towards those trucks. We'll follow a quarter
mile back. Just drop the cash when you see the trucks, okay?"
"Deal. Hey, Wing', you alive?" Vig asked jokingly as he watched the blip of
the little coupe wander into the desert scrub.
Wing' didn't respond. In fact, he'd felt the blood drain from his face when
Stampede's name was mentioned. He'd been less than 20 yards away and taking
fire from the partner of the vig that had nearly killed him, putting him in a
coma for a month. He still remembered...a warm summer night, street drags in
Odessa. Skye I was stripped of armor and guns and wearing her best tires. The
light went green, the Courchelle next to him got a carlength and just as Wing'
opened the Nos bottle, the missle alarm sounded. It was a blur from
there...frantic clutching at the harness, blind groping for the hatch release,
almost out, road rushing by, and then fire, lots of fire, all around him. The
next thing he saw was the ceiling in the coma ward a month later.
Bandit's voice reached through the fog.
"Wing', talk to me, baby. You didn't blank out again, did you?"
Snapped back to reality, Wing' keyed his mike.
"Uh, yeah, I did...I'll be right there." He corrected his course leading him
into the desert and swung back toward the receeding lights of the three cars
headed west on the highway. He shook his head as if to clear the fog, then
threw open the little coupe's throttle and quickly closed the gap.
Back in the junkyard, a lone man dug under the hood of a Jefferson, trying to
get it restarted. He glanced through the fence and debris, down the road at the
fading red taillights of the little coupe.
"Someday, man...we'll finish the job. You won't last long. One of us is gonna
Tales of the Interstate
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