A little over two weeks later, Brad Harris, the final member of the Piney Creek Hunting Club, looked out of his office window and across the lot of new and used cars he sold. He had taken over the family business after his father retired. He was known as a very honest and trustworthy car salesman. That was almost worth its weight in gold in a town as small as Peoa. A radio beside him was broadcasting news of some new strain of flu that was being reported in China. Brad turned down the broadcast and continued looking out the window. In a small field to the west of the car lot, a small red fox kit played in the thick grass. The family of foxes had moved in last year and the parents had returned to the same den in the center of the field this year as well.
The phone ringing broke his concentration.
“Harris Motors,” Brad said as he answered the phone.
“Hey bud, you stopping by tonight?” asked the man on the phone.
“Hell yeah I am!” Brad exclaimed. “I’m heading to the range this weekend and that stuff is going to come in handy.” he added. The two men continued their conversation for a few more minutes. After hanging up the phone, Brad’s attention returned to the small fox in the field. Business at the lot had slowed down quite a bit recently.
Brad finished up his workday, locked up the office and lot, and headed a few blocks down the highway. Pulling up in front of a small, square building that had a huge, brightly painted teepee standing on its roof, he noted the rough-cut wooden sign that read, “Buck’s” hanging over the false-entrance flap of the teepee. The building had once been the main office for a large roadside motel, but after the motel had went out of business, it was purchased by an enterprising young man from the city, and was filled with a wide assortment of sporting goods. As he shut off his Ford Blazer, Brad listened to the news anchor on the radio talk about medical supplies and doctors that were in route to China. The report continued, the reporter stating that they were going there to help contain an outbreak of a strong, new variant of influenza that had killed hundreds of people within the first few days of its discovery.
“That crap is gonna kill us all someday.” he said to himself as he walked up to the store. The sign in the door read, “Gone fishin’ Will return at 8:00am.” Brad grinned as he pushed the door open and walked in. He knew that Dave wasn’t much of a fisherman, but tailored the look of the shop to fit the clientele of the season. Dave was sitting in a comfortable-looking, canvas-covered chair and watching a small television that usually played hunting video demos during normal business hours. A Chinese reporter on the television was standing in front of a huge hospital and was quickly speaking in Chinese. The English subtitles at the bottom of the screen talked about the hundreds of people that had been injured in a strange riot in a large city in northern China. The report continued that the size of the angry mob was growing at an alarming rate and nobody seemed to know the exact reason for the riot.
Dave cracked open a beer and handed it to Brad. “That’s some crazy shit that’s goin’ on over there.” he said as he went to lock the front door of the shop.
“Yeah, I bet it’s over that new flu thing that they have going on over there. They were saying this morning the death toll was climbing like crazy.” Andrew answered.
“Are you coming up to the range with us tomorrow?” Andrew asked as he took a long drink of the cold beer.
“Nope, I can’t get away until at least Thursday.” Dave said as he turned the key in the lock. “I’ve got a couple of BATFE guys that are supposed to show up on Wednesday for some kind of inspection and I want to make sure that every thing is in order for those suits.” he added as he walked back towards Brad and grabbed his already opened beer from beside the television.
They talked for a while about a new upper receiver group that Dave had received. It was one of the very first production runs of a new belt-fed upper for the AR style of rifles. Although Dave had waited over three years to get the upper and had spent countless hours linking together thousands of rounds of 5.56mm ammunition for it, he figured that he wouldn’t be able to shoot it until after the visit from the federal inspectors.
The men finished their beer and started loading ten heavy cardboard boxes into the back of Brad’s Blazer. The men agreed to get together that weekend to give the new upper a proper break-in. As Brad pulled away and started down the road, he grinned widely at the thought of the new upper in action. Dave climbed into his truck and sped off down the highway in the opposite direction of his friend.