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Of Giants and Angels

About Giants and Angels IV
„Wait Arty…I’m sorry, but could you bring me my jacket and your wonderful book?“
Nick searched his jacket for the pen with shivering hands. Then he tried to write…it was difficult because he could barely see through his blurred vision and his hand didn’t want to work.
Okay HELP and the telephone number of the Riptide…and yes CODY…that had to be enough.
“Arty…go to Grace and give her your book…I wrote something inside…just show her and tell her where I am. She should give Cody a call…he will take care of the rest. Can you do that for me?”
“Yes Nick…I can do that. But what shall I do when Aunty Grace isn’t at home…perhaps she is at the hairdresser or the butcher…?”
“You can give the book to your uncle Will as well…It really doesn’t matter Arty.”
“Okay…but Nick”, the older man hesitated.
“Uh… Arty?”
“You are my friend Nick? Is that right?”
“So you can you do me a favor as well?”
“Whatever you want Arty…”
“Could you fly me to my Mom? I miss her so much!”
Ryder closed his eyes and took a deep breath.
“I don’t know if I can do that Arty, but I promise, I’ll try my very best…but you have to go now.”
Arty stomped through the woods. From time to time he looked over his shoulder. He didn’t like the darkness and his Dad had always told him not to be in the woods in the darkness.
But Nick was his friends and he was so sick and Arty wanted to help him!
Arty speeded up and with the first rays of dawn, his fear was blown away.
Nearly at half past eight he saw the first houses. He was ravenously hungry and his mouth watered at the thought of Aunty Grace’s breakfast.
Arty knocked at the front door and when the grey-haired 73-year old lady opened, Arty awkwardly took her in his arms.
“But Arty…where are you coming from?”
“From the woods ,of course! Aunty Grace…do you have some pancakes for me?”
“Sure come in. Did you go through the woods in the dark?” She asked incredulously when Arty had taken place at the kitchen table.
“Yes…I am hungry…”
“Will…Will! Could you please come to the kitchen?” Grace shouted.
A man, over 70 years as well, entered the room. Despite of his age, he was still an imposing guise.
“Arty…where are you coming from?” Will was surprised and studied his nephew.
“Did something happen in the forest?”
Arty shrugged and concentrated on stuffing another pan cake into his mouth.
“Arty, I asked you as question!” Will insisted.
Grace put a hand on Wills arm…they both had learned that it made no sense to press Arty. Therefore they let him finish his breakfast in peace.
“Listen to me Arty”, Grace started and tenderly stroke Arty’s tousled hair, “why are you back from the forest?”
Arthur looked at her for a while…obviously trying to remember.
“Nick sent me.”
“Nick? Who is Nick?” Uncle Will asked his nephew.
“He is my friend!” Arthur proudly answered the question.”He’ll fly me to my Mom!”
Will and Grace exchanged a worried look.
“Well, so Nick is your friend…where did you met Nick at all?”
“Uh Uncle Will, he fell down from heaven…and the Mimi as well.”
“He fell from heaven?” Will asked to make sure that he understood it right.
“Yes…he fell from heaven and now the Mimi is broken and Nick hasn’t the right tools with him and…and…” Arty scratched his huge head.
“And where is your friend now?” Grace asked cautiously because she knew that Arty would pull back as soon as he had the feeling that they wouldn’t take him seriously.
“Nick is in my hut now.”
“So, why didn’t you bring Nick here?” Uncle Will wanted to know.
“Oh…poor Nick. He is sick and so tired.”
Will gave his wife an alarmed look…Arty couldn’t make up such a story…that was absolutely impossible!
Suddenly, Arty remembered the book in his pocket and he jumped up from the kitchen table and pushed over his cup.
“Arty…where are you going?”
“My book…Nick wrote something in it!” Arty went to the coat rack and returned with his book.
Grace opened it and gaped.
“Will…look, here is a telephone number and a name…Cody and he scribbled HELP!” She handed the book over to her husband.
“Yeah…listen Arty,is Nick hurt? And what about this Mimi? Is it a plane or something like that?”
Arty nodded sadly.
“Uh yes…Nick is hurting…he couldn’t walk and I carried him to my hut.”
Grace tenderly stroke Arthur’s hand.
“And the Mimi?”
“Uh, Mimi is funny…she is laughing…but perhaps now…perhaps she is hurting as well!”
“Grace I’m going to call this number now. I hope I can find out something useful. Then I take the Jeep and Arty and I drive to the forest…if this Nick really exists, he might need help.”
“Nick is my friend!” Arty protested.
“Calm down Arty! We go and pick your friend up…I promise.”
Will went to the living room and dialed the number they had found in Arty’s book.

“Riptide Detective Agency, my name is Murray Bozinsky. How can I help you?”
“Um, sorry Sir…my name is Will O’Donnell…you don’t know me. Listen,I want to talk to Cody."
“Please wait a minute Mister O’Donnell.”Murray shrugged and handed the phone over to Cody.
“Cody Allen…what can I do for you Sir?”
“Mister Allen…this is a real funny story and I don’t know where to begin at all. My name is Will O’Donnell. I have your number and a message from a certain Nick here in front of me. Do you know a person named Nick?”
Cody felt the hair rising in his neck and he had to clear his throat.
“Yes, of course. Nick…Nick Ryder. He is my partner and friend. What is wrong with him?” Allen tried to suppress the rising panic.
“I’m sorry Cody…uh, sorry, Mister…?”
“It’s okay, just call me Cody.”
“Arty,well Arthur my nephew showed up here half an hour ago or so and he told us an incredible story about Nick who fell down from heaven and a certain Mimi. I don’t understand it. But your friend gave him a message to bring it to us.It looks like a cry for help…he seems to be in trouble!”
“Good heavens, what happened?” Cody asked his voice audibly shaking.
“I’m really sorry but I can’t tell you. Listen Cody,I’ll take Arty and drive to his hut in the forest.
Arty told me that Nick is there. As soon as I have found him, I’ll bring him here to Barstow. Do you have a pen at hand? Okay, I give you my number.
“Well…go on …yes I got it. Listen Mister O’Donnell, we will hit the road immediately. I guess we can be in Barstow - I’d say in two to three hours. Where do we find you?”
“You can’t miss it. Just at the entrance of the town…a closed saw mill. Listen, Cody my wife Grace will wait for you.No matter what happens! We’ll see us!”

“Murray! Hurry up! We have to go to Barstow…Nick is in trouble!”

Nick tossed and turned. The pain had grown stronger and the fever had turned higher. The young man didn’t know how long he would be able to hang on without help.He asked himself if Arty could stand up to the task he had lay on him. But Ryder was too tired to think about it…Arty would come back to his hut…somewhere along the line…one way or the other.

“Come on Arty…we make a tour with the Jeep.”
“Oh, that’s great Uncle Will! Where do we go?”
“We go to your hut…we have to go and see how your friend is doing!”
“Nick…his name is Nick! He will be happy to meet you Uncle Will!”
“Of that I’m sure. Grace…I think we will be back in an hour and a half or so. Take care that an ambulance is waiting here by then and it would be good to have the police here as well!”
“But Will…you don’t believe that…”
“It’s just in case!”
“They can’t make Arty responsible Will! They cannot do that…he is a good boy!”
“Calm down Grace…we have to wait!”
“But if they sent him to one of these awful institutions…he will not survive it! And I won’t survive it as well!” Grace sobbed.
“Grace, don’t let it get to yourself right now…just do what I told you. We’ll see about the rest when I am back!”

With the Jeep the two men were able to drive into the woods but the last two miles were so thick that Will and Arty had to go by foot.
Will carefully opened the door of the hut.
“Hallo, is anybody there?”
“Here…I’m here…”
Will entered the hut and spotted Nick.
“Good heavens…boy, you must be Nick.” Will set down on the edge of the bed and gave Ryder a worried look.
“Need…help.” Nick whispered. “Arty…where is he…he’s okay?”
Will nodded.
“Nick, hi…that’s Uncle Will.” Arty said from the background.
Will inspected the wound of the injured man and frowned. “Should have been here earlier.” He murmured.
“Nick, listen…we take you to my car. It’s not far away and then we drive to town as soon as possible.
Grace has already called an ambulance for you. You just have to hang on a little…I know you can make that.” Will assured the young pilot.
Ryder nodded weakly. “Can…can’t walk…no way…”
“Don’t worry Nick, Arty is very strong…he’ll bring you to my car.”
These were the last words Ryder caught. He had mobilized all his strengths to stay awake until now…

Will drove as fast as even possible back to town.
Luckily the ambulance was already waiting in front of his house.
Nick was examined and after he was ready to be transported they brought him into the nearest hospital.
Will had a lot of trouble to keep Arty from entering the ambulance to be at Nick’s side.
Will had no choice at all…he gave his statement to the police, well the few information he had and after that he and Arty went to the hospital.

Cody drove with lightning speed and Murray really didn’t know what made him more insane…the fear how Nick was or the prospect to land in the roadside ditch!
“Cody…only three more miles and we have reached Barstow! Do you think we can make it without accident?”
“Murray, Nick…he needs us. Perhaps he is injured…and he knows no one!”
“I know Cody but it won’t help him at all when we have an accident!”
When the detectives finally reached the saw mill, Grace already waved at them from the front door.
“You must be Cody, right?” She offered her hand. “I’m Grace, Arty’s Aunt. He has found your friend.”
“How is Nick? Where is he?”
“He is in the hospital, I’m sorry I can’t tell you more.” Grace apologized.
“Was he conscious when you saw him?”
“No…he wasn’t. If you want, I can show you the way to the hospital…I think I would be good for Arty as well when I am around.”

When they entered the waiting room of the hospital, a very tall man rushed towards them.
“Aunty Grace…they have to operate Nick!” He said with tears in his eyes and Cody assumed that the hulk has to be Arty.
He made a few steps in Arthur’s direction and offered his hand. “I am Cody…I am a friend of Nick. Arty, your Aunt told me what you have done for Nick…I want to thank you for that.”
Arty shook his head. “I don’t know you…Nick hasn’t told me about you.” With these words he let himself fall down heavily on one of the plastic chairs in the waiting area and buried his face in his hands.
He was visibly overwhelmed with the situation and the fact that Nick had been whimpering the whole way back to Barstow and Arty wasn’t able to calm him down made it even worse.
“I am Will… you already know my wife. Arty didn’t give me any peace…we barely couldn’t hold him back with three men…he wanted to stay with Nick. He didn’t want the stuff to take your friend to the OR…Arty was afraid they could hurt him.”
Cody and Murray exchanged a puzzled look.
“Look…Arty is retarded. But you have to believe me he is a soul of a human being and he really took a shine to Nick!”
“Of course Will, sorry we have to thank you for all you have done. Can you tell me how Nick is?”
“They didn’t give us much information so far. But he has a nasty wound at his side…I’ve seen it myself and he has fever, probably an infection.” Will shook his head. “I’m sorry, that’s all I know.”
Cody ran up and down the waiting room…he was nearly mad when finally a man entered the room.
“I’m Mister Ryder’s physician. Are there any relatives here?”
Cody and Murray simultaneously answered: “Yes…we…”
“Please gentlemen, one after the other.”

“Sorry, my name is Cody Allen and this is Murray Bozinsky. We are Nick’s friends and partners.”
“So you are not relatives…”The doctor scratched his head.
“Listen, Nick has no relatives…WE are his family!”
“Okay, than let’s go into my office. I don’t want to discuss Mister Ryder’s condition in the waiting room.”
“But we can talk right here…Arty and his family took care that Nick was brought here.”
“Okay, as you like it. Well, Mister Ryder has a really nasty wound at his right side…highly infected and he has a rather high fever. Fortunately there are no internal organs affected. If he had been brought here earlier…well it would have been better.”
“But he will…he will get well again?” Murray stuttered.
“Sure he will…don’t worry. He get powerful and highly dosed antibiotics and as soon as they start to work and we gain control over the fever, he will recover fairly soon. His other injuries are painful but not dangerous…a few contusions and bruises and two cracked ribs. Oh and a laceration at his scalp…all in all quite painful but as I told you, not dangerous. He is sleeping now but you can go and see him if you want to…but please not all together, okay?”
Cody looked around…everybody agreed that he should be the first visitor…except Arthur.
“I want to go to Nick as well…now! He is my friend…I don’t know you!” He pointed at Cody.
“It’s okay Arty…I go to Nick now and I promise, as soon as I am back it’s your turn.” Cody offered.

Nick was lying in a narrow hospital bed, the grids pulled up. He was pale and covered in sweat.
Various monitors were beeping and two IV bags dropped medication and liquids into his veins.
“Nick…can you hear me?” Allen patted Ryder’s hand.
“Cody…is that…you…why took it …so long?” Nick slurred still under the influence of the anesthesia.
“Sorry, pal but it is a longer story.”
“I’ve got time…just tell…me.”
“I guess we wait until you are better, okay!”
“We worry about her later. But believe me this flying monstrosity is in a better shape than you are Nick!”
“Arty…where is he…”
“He is waiting impatiently outside…it looks as if you have a new friend…guess a friend of the lifelong kind.”
Ryder tried to smile. “He’s someone very…special…honestly…at the beginning, he scared me nearly to death…”
“That’s perfectly understandable…he is a real impressive figure!”
“I’m ashamed…without him…I were probably…”
“He is a great guy Nick and you don’t have to feel ashamed. I’m sure; Arty didn’t recognize that you were afraid of him, really. Seriously, he thinks you are an angel or something like that because you fell down from heaven!”
Ryder had to laugh but grimaced in pain. “An angel? Who…me? Wow, Cody, please don’t make me laugh…it hurts like hell.”
“Oh yes I had to bite back a laugh as well. Obviously, he doesn’t know the real Nick Ryder… Honestly Nick, I’m sorry…I mean the way I acted on the boat…I chased you away with my moods…it’s my fault that you landed here.”
“You are talking nonsense Cody…how can it be your fault? The Mimi was hit by a lightning…Boom, in the middle of the cockpit…that’s why we crash landed”
Allen shook his head in disbelief.
“A lightning?
“Yeah…so stop talking nonsense…that’s the last thing I need right now. Listen Cody…could you sent Arty in before I bit the dust?”
“Sure…to tell you the truth, I promised him to make it short so that he can see you too. I don’t want to make him angry…he is huge! Listen, I come later and stay with you…as soon as Arty is convinced that you are going to be okay.”
“Cody…you don’t have to sit here…I think I’ll be sleeping and…”
“I know but I want to sit here with you…no discussion pal. By the way, Murray is waiting as well, outside.”
“Murray is here too…but he has to work on his program…why?”
“Do you really think he could have stayed at home and work on this…I don’t know what! We will stay here with you!”
That’s great Cody…thanks.”
Arty sheepishly stood at Ryder’s bed. All the monitors and the noises they made were new to him and he was afraid.
As a precaution, Will and Grace had attended their nephew. They knew too well how Arthur could react.
“Hey Arty…how are you?” Ryder asked hoarsely.
“Hey Nick…I’m fine.”
“Come here”, Ryder patted on his bed. “Hey, it’s okay. Don’t be afraid.”
Arty approached closer and tenderly stroke Ryder’s hand.
Nick took Arthur’s paw in his hand and squeezed it as firm as he could.
“Thank you Arty…thank you my friend.” He whispered before he fell asleep.

Grace and Will were able to convince Cody and Murray to stay with them in their house until Nick had recovered enough to go back home to King Harbor.
After a few phone calls the two detectives had managed everything and they agreed to the generous offer of Arty and his family.
During the first three days, Nick was rather groggy and his friends limited their visits to a minimum.
At the fourth day, the young pilot looked a lot better and was impatiently waiting to get released.
The small hospital room was quite overcrowded with Arty, Grace, Will, Murray and Cody and there was a frenzy of activity…especially because Arty didn’t stop to arrange and rearrange Nick’s covers and several bouquets he had brought in the last days.
“Hey Murray, could you try to find out where I can hire a crane to drag the Mimi out of the forest? Uh, I better don’t think about the costs!” Ryder moaned.
“The Mimi is already out of the forest!” Boz answered meaningful and gave Arty a cheerful smile.
But Arthur didn’t react and so Will took the lead.
“Nick, as a retired saw mill owner, I still have a remarkable motor pool and we are talking about heavy engines, son. God thing, that I didn’t sell all of them”, Will thought out aloud, “but there are things, you cling too much too! And now it paid off…to make it short…we took your Mimi out of the forest Nick.”
“You really did…I don’t know what to say…who is’ WE’?”
“Well, Cody, Murray, Arty and I, we made it.”
“It looks as if I had chosen the very right place for my crash landing!”
“Nick, you should have seen Arty…he is incredible…he is so strong!” Murray swooned over Arthur’s abilities to work with his bare hands. “He is as strong as a Grizzly and to tell you the truth…he looks a little bit…”
“Murray!” Cody and Nick interrupted Bozinsky’s torrent of words.
The cheerful atmosphere was interrupted when a police officer entered the room.
“Hallo Mister Ryder. My name is Officer Blake. I’m here because of the crash of your helicopter.”
“Uh…I already talked about it with a colleague of you.”
“I know Sir. Actually it’s not a matter of the crash Sir…it’s more a matter of the consequences.”
“Consequences…what consequences are you talking about Officer?” Nick asked sharply.
“Well, I am here to inform you about your civil rights Sir.”
“About my civil rights? Sorry but I don’t know what you are trying to tell me Officer.”
“Listen Mister Ryder, I talked to your physician and he made it very clear…after his opinion, an immediate medical treatment would have saved you a lot of trouble Mister Ryder.”
“No, you listen to me now, Officer! I went down in the middle of the woods…it was nearly dark outside…how the hell could we have reached the town?” Nick suspected where this conversation led to.
“Anyway…you have the right to arraign Arthur O’Donnell for denial of assistance in a minor case. I only wanted to advertise you of this possibility Mister Ryder. It is up to you Sir. But if you consider starting legal proceedings, you can get in touch with our local Police department, Sir!”
With these words the police officer left the room.
There was a deathly silence in the hospital room for a few seconds until Grace started to cry.
Arty sat on a chair, deeply absorbed in a magazine and Uncle Will put a protective hand on his nephew’s shoulder.
Nick was totally perplexed.
“Oh my God…Arty is in serious trouble…” Grace sobbed.”They will send him into one of these awful institutions…it will break his heart!”
“Grace, no!”Ryder interrupted her. “There is nothing you have to fear…Arty saved my life! This idiot of Officer talked a lot of nonsense!”
Arty gave Ryder a chiding look. “Nick, you shouldn’t say such nasty words! I told you before…do you remember?”
“Listen, Will and I, we gave Madeline – Arty’s mother – our word of honor on her deathbed, to take care for him. We couldn’t adopt him and so he is under our tutelage as long as we live.
It is hard enough…Will and I we don’t get younger and it is only a question of time…” Grace sobbed again and Murray patted her hand not really knowing what to say.
“The guardian’s court is very rigorous and we have to conform to a lot of requirements. If Arty comes into conflict with the law…they take him away and send him into a mental institution. It will happen soon enough…as soon as we are no longer able to care for him and the thought is making me crazy…we hoped that we would never be forced to experience it!”
“Listen Grace, I don’t plan to do what officer Blake suggested…that is nonsense! Arty saved my life…he carried me over miles…he cared for me, the best he could. Without him I probably would be dead!” Nick’s voice cracked.
“Arty is my hero and nothing, believe me nothing will happen to him Grace!”
Grace gave Ryder a gentle hug. “God save you son.”
Will O’Donnell took a deep breath.”I’d like to thank you as well. You really relieve us of a burden Nick. Grace and I we don’t know what will happen to Arthur when we are gone but I guess my wife and I have to bother about it.”
“Listen Will…I mean…is it difficult to take a guardianship? I would like to do it for Arty…I don’t feel obliged, don’t get me wrong…I simply would like to do it…from the bottom of my heart!” Nick said with a trembling voice.
Will and Grace exchanged a surprised look.
“Oh Nick that is so nice…but unfortunately there must be at least two persons to guarantee for it.” Grace answered.
Murray came up to Nick’s bed and said firmly: “Okay, now you have two persons!”
Cody went to the other side and asked: “Would it work with three persons as well?”
Grace and Will were speechless and deeply touched and the atmosphere in the small hospital room couldn’t have been more emotional.
After the O’Donnell’s had left, despite of Arty’s vehement resistance, the three friends were among themselves.
“Hey guys…thank you for what you have done for Arty and me!”
“That was the only deal here Nick and you don’t have to thank us. We don’t know Arty and his family very well but we can change that…after all they made our decision very easy…well I can only speak for myself, of course. What about you Cody?”
UH…I totally agree with you Boz. Without Arty…you probably were not here now Nick…so it was the very least we could do. But honestly I ask myself where we home them…I mean when they visit us in King Harbor. With Arty on board, I guess the Riptide will prostrate!” Cody laughed.
“We will find a solution guys. Listen, I talked to the Doc. I will be released tomorrow morning…I just don’t wanted to talk about it in front of Arty…I don’t know how he would have reacted.”
“Uh…it will hurt him when you leave…but he will understand it Nick. What shall we bring around for tomorrow?”
“Some clothes would be great…my shoes are all right. Listen Boz, I guess there is a library here. Could you buy a picture book for me?”
“You want a picture book? Nick are you sure, you are okay?” Cody asked.
“I’m fine, calm down. Yes a picture book and it should deal with planes or helicopters and a pilot would be great as well. Do you think you can get something like that?”
“I’ll do my very best.”
“Okay one last request, I promise…if you could get me a pen and a pad that would be terrific.”
Murray pulled both out of his pocket and handed it over to Nick.
“What are you doing with it?” Allen curiously asked.
“Uh…nothing special…I just scribble down some of my thoughts. Well you pick me up then tomorrow morning? Let’s say nine o’clock, is that okay for you?”
After Nick’s papers had all been filled out and signed, the three friends left the hospital for the O’Donnell house.
Suddenly Nick nearly panicked: “Murray, did you get that book…I really forgot it in the whole excitement finally being released.”
“Don’t worry Nick…look I hope it is after your taste.” Murray handed the book over to Ryder.
Nick was happy when he flipped through the picture book with a funny helicopter on the binding.”That’s great Boz. It couldn’t be better…Thank you!”
Ryder got a few sheets of paper out of his pocket and carefully placed them between the pages.
The O’Donnell’s were already waiting for the arrival of the three detectives and Grace had spiffed Arty up…The poor devil of course didn’t know that Nick was there to say goodbye. Given this fact, the mood was relaxed and they all enjoyed themselves with coffee and homemade cake, talking about anything and everything.
But time flew and the three friends still had a few hours to drive back home.
Nick hawked and patted Arthur’s knee: “Listen Arty…I have to talk to you…”
“What is it Nick?” Arty gave him his brightest smile.
“Well…I…I mean we…well we have to go back home. You know to King harbor…I told you about it. You know we live there and…”
Arty looked at Ryder, the hurt visible in his eyes. “Nick…no, you cannot go away. Cody and Murray they can go, I don’t mind…but you are my friend! You have to stay here with me…we go to my hut! If you don’t like the hut, we can stay here with Aunty Grace and Uncle Will as well…”
“Arty, please calm down. I can’t stay here…as much as I wanted to…look I have a home of my own and I have my work. And the Mimi is already at home and I have to take care for her…I cannot stay!” Ryder tried to stay calm.
Arty jumped up from the table and rushed out the door.
Will wanted to follow him but Nick stopped him and said with a pleading look in his eyes. “Will, please let me do that! I’ll be careful…I won’t hurt him, I promise! ”
“Grace nodded. “He is in the barn. He always backs down there when he is upset…just …please be gentle Nick.”
Ryder followed Arty into the barn.
The hulk was sitting on a bale of straw, crying free from restraint.
Nick sat down next to him and put his arm around Arthurs shoulder.
“Listen Arty…you can visit me in King Harbor whenever you want. You take Grace and Will and we will have a lot of fun together. Have you ever seen the Sea?”
Arthur slowly shook his head.
“The sea is wonderful Arty…you will love it. As soon as I have repaired the Mimi, you come to King Harbor and then the two of us will take a flight…I promise…You have my word of honor. In the meantime we can phone whenever you want. Aunt Grace has my number and I have your number…what do you say big guy?”
“But…but I cannot read…you know that!”
“Don’t worry, Grace and Will, they’ll help you.”
Arthur nodded sadly but suddenly his face light up: “Are you flying me to my Mom?”
Nick tilted his head and thought for a moment. “We will fly Arty but I am afraid, we can’t get that high to meet your Mom. You know the Mimi is an old lady…but I can bring you a lot closer to your Mom…I promise.”
Arty nodded and smiled. “I’m sorry that you have to go Nick.”
“Wait a minute, I nearly forgot, I have something for you…a gift.” Ryder pulled the book out of his pocket and showed it to Arty.
“A gift? For me…is it the Mimi?”
“Yes and now listen Arty” and Ryder started to read.
“One of these days, a pilot called Nick took his helicopter, The Screaming Mimi, up high in the blue sky…”From time to time Ryder turned a page.
Arty listened fully taken in the story and when Nick had finished, the huge man embraced him vehemently.
“Thank you Nick…that’s the greatest gift I ever got!”
The Goodbye was sad and ended in tears and the first few miles back home, nobody of the three friends said a word. Each of them had to find a way to get over this emotional experience.
But then Allen was curious and asked: “Nick, tell me what’s the deal with this picture book?”
“Uh Cody…that’s a long story and to be honest not necessarily one of the stories a guy likes to talk about.” Ryder closed his eyes to escape a further cross examination.
“You’d better say something you don’t like to talk about!”
“Okay…if you want to interpret it that way…you are right. One fine day, I’ll tell you the whole story but now step on the gas Cody…I want to go home.”

About Giants and Angels III

About Giants and Angels III

Ryder tried his best to sound as cheerful as possible after he had inspected his jacket…a pocketknife, tissues, a pen…
“Okay Arty, let’s go to your hut now.”
Nick was able to keep in step with Arthur for the first two miles. But then the throbbing in his side intensified and the young pilot felt the blood running down his right leg.
He felt lousy…his whole body was aching. Probably a few cracked ribs and lots of contusions, he thought grimly. On the other side, he was able to walk and besides the laceration, his head worked properly…he had no reason to complain.
“Arty do you think we could slow down a little?” He asked shortly later with a slightly slurring voice.
Arthur gave him a surprised look: “But we are walking very slow boy! It will be dark very soon. Nick, you have to promise to tell it anyone…you have to swear it!” Arty gave Nick a pleading look.
“You have my word of honor Arty! I’ll never betray you!” Ryder gasped and pressed his hand on the hurting wound. “But at least you should tell me what’s wrong!”
“You know…I am afraid of the dark!” Arthur looked down and Ryder felt his heart cramping. Arty, a man with the stature of a bear… afraid of the dark!
“ Listen, you don’t have to be afraid Arty…I’m here with you…together we will make it!” Ryder was stunned where his sudden confidence was coming from.
What if he would keel over and Arty would run away in panic? It would be his death…Nick wished he never had taken the Mimi in the air that day. He should have stayed at home and ride out the affair with Cody!
Cody, where the hell are you when you are needed? Nick felt anger building up inside.
“Come on Nick, we have to go!” Arthur urged.
With increased regularity, Nick stumbled over his own feet. He felt like he was walking for hours.
“Damned!” He cursed when he faltered again and was in danger of falling down to the ground.
“Nick, you really shouldn’t say words like these!” Arty lectured him.
“That’s not nice…I’m sure my Mom would have given you a pat on your mouth by now!” Arthur nodded.
“Sorry…but I’m so tiered…so damn…how far is it until we are at your hut?” Ryder couldn’t stay on his legs any longer and slumped down with a groan.
Arty knelt down next to the injured man.
“Nick…what’s wrong with you?” He asked with fear in his voice.
“Can’t…can’t walk Arty…I’m sorry but I can’t.” Ryder whispered.
“Okay, then I’ll carry you Nick!” With these words, Arthur picked Ryder up from the ground and stomped away.
Nick wanted to argue at first but he was too tired. Besides it hadn’t made much sense to object.
Nick had lost his sense of time. He didn’t know how long Arty had hauled him through the thick forest until they finally reached Arty’s home.
Arthur opened the door and carried the injured man inside. It was pitch-dark and Ryder couldn’t see anything. He only felt something smooth underneath him…a bed.
“I’ll make us some light Nick and then I make some fire so that we have it warm and comfortable.” Arty announced.
A few minutes later it was a shade lighter and Nick looked around.
A few candles were the source of light but that wasn’t surprising. A hut far away from any semblance of civilization…well, to Nick it felt like that in this situation…well, they ordinarily hadn’t electricity on their disposal. But it became cozier and that comforted him.
Arty had heated a cast-iron stove and had put a kettle on.
The only luxury, Artys home had to offer, was the bed Nick laid on now.
There was a dresser and a few racks with dishes…a chair and a wonky table with a wash bowl on it. This was definitely not the Sheraton!
Ryder closed his eyes and tried to sort out his thoughts.
They were safe here in Artys hut. It was warm and there was surely a source of water not far away.
There was no reason to be unthankful…to the contrary! Nick decided to rest a little and then he would take care of the wound at his side. But first of all he had to thank Arthur for dragging him to his home.
Ryder shook his head…he knew that he wasn’t a light weight but Arty hadn’t wheezed…not a single time. That was astonishing…Arthur was astonishing!
“I make you a cup of tea Nick and then I take some water and wash your face…I am afraid…of the blood…”
“Yeah, that’s a good idea…uh Arty…I want to thank you…”
“Why that Nick?”
“Thank you that you helped me out of the Mimi and thank you for hauling me all the way…”
The giant smiled from ear to ear: “But you are my friend Nick!” He simply answered.
“Sure Arty…but what you did for me was terrific…without you I had never made it!”
Arty didn’t answer. He went to the stove and brought Nick a cup of tea.
“Drink it Nick, it will do you good!”
Ryder drank the whole cup nearly in one swig. He hadn’t realized how thirsty he was.
Arthur came back with the wash bowl and a towel and started to wipe away the blood from Ryder’s face.
The injured man was surprised how careful and neat Arty did it, given the size of his hands.
“Well boy, now I’m no longer afraid of you.” The hulk said after he had finished.
“Would you like a bowl of homemade chili? My aunt Grace is the best cook around the world and every time I visit her, she gives me something to eat to take it with me.”
Ryder shook his head…he wasn’t up at all to eat.
“But you have to eat Nick…by the way you are my friend and my guest and it wouldn’t be very polite not to share my food with you.”
“Thank you Arty…I can try it later. Listen, do you visit your aunt very often?”
“Oh yes, I visit her each time when I have finished drawing my lines.”
“Your lines Arty? What lines are you talking about?”
“Wait a minute.” Arty brought a small slate and a piece of chalk. “Look…these are my lines Nick.”
Arthur showed Nick the slate. There were two vertical lines on it.
Nick thought twice…that must be Arty’s calendar!
“Arty, how do you know when it is time to visit your aunt again?”
“Grace…her name is Grace. Listen Nick that is so very easy!” Arty answered and started to draw on the slate.
“If it looks like that, it is time to go to aunt Grace and my uncle Will again!” Proudly he showed Ryder his masterpiece…four vertical lines and one dash.
“Ah I see Arty…every five days! That’s great Arty! You are a really clever guy!”
Suddenly Arthur’s face became a sad expression.
“No Nick..I am not and you know that very well! People laugh at me because I am so stupid!”
“Don’t! Stop it Arty! You are not stupid at all! You are strong and brave and…”
“It’s okay Nick! Everybody knows that I am an idiot and I don’t care anymore…but sometimes…” The giant wiped his eyes with a sigh.
“Oh Arty, sometimes people are really cruel! But listen…I want you to know that the people who laugh at you are the real idiots!” Ryder patted Arthur’s hand gently.
“You really think it is like that?”
“I am sure it is like that, believe me!” Ryder felt incredible tired and miserable.
“Arty…I think we should try to get some sleep. We have to go…to town…tomorrow.” Nick slurred.
“Au…fine! Then you can meet Grace and Will!” Arthur was happy.
Arty shuffled to the dresser and came back with a well-worn, small book in his hand. He pushed the chair next to the bed and sat down.
“My Mom used to read it to me so that I could fall asleep easier. Do you want me to read it to you Nick?” Arty held out the book in front of Ryder’s face.
‘The Animals in the Forest’. The title was barely readable…a picture-book.
“Yeah Arty…that would be great.”
Arthur opened the book and started. Nick was touched deep inside because except the title, there was no word written in this book.
Arty told him by heart what his Mom had told him years ago and from time to time, Arthur turned a page…until Nick finally slept.
Nick woke up in the middle of the night, shivering…the throbbing in his wound nearly unbearable. He felt sick.
Ryder touched the dressing over his side. It was hot and sticky…he felt too hot as well. That wasn’t a good sign at all! Damned the infection had spread faster than he had expected. Despair crept up. He wouldn’t be able to make it to Barstow like that! Arty couldn’t haul him so far…well of course he could but Ryder knew too well that he himself would never make it.
“Arty…” he shouted with quivering voice. “Arty…are you asleep?”
Ryder heard a rumbling and then steps. The flickering of a candle gave a little light. Suddenly Arthur stood right in front of him in all his impressive size.
“What’s wrong boy?” Arthur asked half asleep.
“Arty…I…I feel bad. Have a fever…you, you have to go for help.” Ryder whispered.
Arty sat down on the edge of the bed and put his hand on Nick’s forehead.
Horrified, he took it back. “What happened Nick…did I made something wrong?”
“No Arty! It’s not your fault. Ryder pulled away the blanket and exposed the bandage. Arty looked away, in fear.
“No Arty…you have to look at it…I can’t please Arty!”
The older man reluctantly looked at the wound and frowned.
“It was the same with Ginny! I didn’t want her to suffer…I had to make her dead!” Arty said absently, tears in his eyes.
Ryder felt his pulse racing.
“Ginny…who, who is Ginny?” He wheezed breathlessly. “Listen Arty…I need help, a few pills and a new dressing…everything is going to be okay…I don’t have to die from this! Do you hear me Arty?”
The hulk slowly shook his head.
“My Mom felt as bad as you and then she simply fell asleep. Aunt Grace said that she is an angel in heaven now! You know she watches over me from there…is your Mom in heaven as well?”
Ryder nodded weakly. “Yes Arty…my Mom…is in heaven too.”
“Uh, you have to be very sad as well…did you fly to her with your bird?” Arty curiously asked.
“No, no…Arty…you cannot visit the people there that easy…that’s impossible.”
“What a pity!” Arthur answered. Nick as soon as you are better, I’ll show you where I have buried Ginny. Do you want to see it?”
Ryder swallowed down the raising panic. “Arty…who…tell me about Ginny…”
“My dad gave her to me…she was so beautiful!”
“But…your Dad…how could he…”
“He got her from the animal home. She was a half-breed you know, but she was so beautiful and so smart…a lot cleverer than I am.”
That took a weight off Nick’s mind but at the same time, he felt an incredible shame.
How on earth was he willing to imagine that Arthur could do any harm to a human soul?
Ginny was his dog and Arty had put her out of her misery.
But what if Arty decided, to put him out of his misery as well? Ryder’s heart started beating furiously.
“Ginny…was your dog, right Arty?”
The giant nodded sadly. “The best dog you can imagine! Do you like dogs?”
“What happened to Ginny?”
“A wolf attacked her and hurt her really bad…she was so tired and sick…just like you now!” Arty wiped away a tear.
“Do you want to see her grave now?”
“Later Arty, I promise. Listen, can you bring me your watch…the watch your Dad gave you?”
Arty nodded and brought Ryder the watch.
The injured man blinked and shook his head. Damned, he couldn’t see the digits…everything was blurred.
Okay…it was around half past four in the morning. The sun would rise soon.
“Arty…I have a big request…I know you don’t like the dark”, Ryder carefully pondered each word. “But I need help… do you understand me?”
Arty nodded and stared at Ryder.
“Arty…you have to go to town…now!”
“But I can take you to the town with me…I can carry you if necessary!”
Ryder shook his head: “I’m sorry Arty but I …I …it’s too late for that…I can’t! Can you do me this favor?”
“Yes Nick…I’m on my way!”
“Stop Arty…can you bring me your board and the chalk?”
Arthur did what Nick had asked him for and waited curiously.
Ryder tried to sort out his thoughts. He had to give Arty a message for his uncle and aunt. But Ryder knew that Arty wouldn’t be able to manage it without memory aid, as sad as it was. On the other hand, the chalk on the board would probably smudge…and then?

About Giants and Angels II

About Giants and Angels II

Arthur O’Donnell contentedly tramped through the woods. Only a little time and he would be back to his hut…his castle.
Here, nobody eyed him doubtfully and moreover, nobody could bullyrag him.
Arthur shrugged his shoulders……the town made him afraid and people didn’t really like him.
He knew himself that he was different…he was slow and deliberate.
He could not read or write and the whole thing with all these numbers really frightened him…indeed not much for a fifty-five old man. His heart cramped at the thought of the woman who had loved him more than everything else on this world… just the way he was…his Mom!
She had loved him…a hulk…to be precise, he looked like a Grizzly-Bear! Probably the reason, why the kids ran away- screaming- as soon as he appeared in town.
But Arthur was tame as a lamb and he could never hurt a fly!
After his mother’s death, Arthur totally backed down into the forests.
He owned a very simple hut he got from his Dad, who had taken him for hunting when he was a little boy.
After the sudden death of his father, Arthur’s mother didn’t allow him to go out into his beloved forests, although Arthur knew every stone and the animals, encountered him with a kind of trust and respect…it was really special.
Now, Arthur only went to town when his supplies were exhausted and then he visited his parents at the cemetery and brought them flowers he had gathered on his way.
He also met his uncle and aunt. He had worked in his uncle Will’s sawmill until Will O’ Donnell had decided to retire a year ago. Arthur had been able to move the biggest trunks with ease…if mother nature had only given him the intellect of a five-year old boy, at least she had equipped him with the force of a bear – and this fact and his gentle nature, made him to a very special human being…if one just took the time for a second sight.

Arthur stood still for a moment when he heard the crack of wood…a sound he knew too well from the time when he had worked at his uncle’s sawmill.
But here, deep in the forest where it was so quiet, it made him afraid!
He heard a loud crash…like the one he had heard, when Charly’s gas bar exploded, a few years ago. Yes, and now, he could smell the same scent in the air…gasoline.
The hulk quickened his pace…something most have been wrong because the birds were flapping around in sheer panic and Arthur had to fight the excited animals with his huge hands.
A few meters away, there was a thick smoke and Arthur stopped in fear…there was a huge, pink monster on the ground and it made alarming noises and Arthur rubbed his eyes because he couldn’t believe, that it laughed at him with a huge mouth.
The big man shook his head in disbelieve…thought that he must be dreaming.
His Mom had always assured him that monsters didn’t exist …and now he had to face the truth.
Cautiously he approached the monstrosity that groaned and gave out clouds of smoke.
It had a kind of wings and Arthur remembered that he had seen something like that before on the television…right, it was called bird. But what the hell did it made on earth then? Wasn’t it supposed to be in the sky? The giant asked himself and scratched his head.
Finally he plucked up his courage and gave it a closer look.
Carefully he climbed the ladder to Mimi’s cockpit and his heart nearly stopped beating from horror.
“Oh my God,” he exclaimed when re recognized a man sitting inside the monster. Was he dead?
Arthur tentatively touched the man’s shoulder through the burst window…no reaction. So the huge man tried it again, this time a little stronger.
The young man groaned. Blood was running down his face and Arthur called: “Poor boy! Are you hurt? You are bleeding!”
Ryder heard a voice through a thick fog. Was he dead? He tried to open his eyes but somehow he couldn’t manage it. His entire body felt shaken and there was a throbbing pain in his right side.
“Boy…can you hear me?” The voice called again and Nick moaned and tried to make out the direction of the strange voice.
“Yeah…can…hear you.” He whispered and opened his eyes in slow motion.
“Gosh! I thought you are dead,” a man, who frightened the pilot, answered.
Who was the stranger? He had long, shaggy hair and a nearly grey full beard and his head seemed huge.
Damned, who is this guy…he looks like the evil hulk from ‘Grimm’s Fairy Tales’! Ryder thought to himself.
“Where…where am I?” Nick asked and tried to move.
“Oh, you are in the forests. Did you fell from the sky?” The hulk asked.
Ryder nodded: “Yeah…looks like that.” The young man blinked his eyes a few times and stared at Mimi’s panel. It was a complete disaster…the radio set a bundle of cables and the rest dashed to shivers. No way to make an emergency call, Ryder thought, panic rising deep inside.
“Who are you and where do you come from?” Ryder moaned and tried not to stare at Arthur.
“I’m Arthur and I come from town. I have visited my uncle and my aunt…but I live here…I mean in the forest. And who are you?”
“Nick…my name is Nick Ryder.”
“That’s a very nice name…Nick Ryder.” Arthur said with devotion.
“My friends call me Arty. You can call me Arty as well…you are my friend, right? My Mom always told me not to talk to strangers…but you are kind.”
Ryder groaned and thought: ‘I must have a streak of luck! I am hit by a flash and have to crash-land in the woods – Mimi and I are not in our best shape and the only person who is able to help me out of this mess is a hobgoblin with the brains of a small child!
The young pilot felt blood running down his face…hot and sticky. Might need some stitches, Nick thought. As soon as the rush of adrenaline had ebbed away, a constant pain started but Nick couldn’t locate it. Everything hurt! But he had no choice. This hulk was his only possibility to get out of here. Even though Ryder didn’t dare to give his aching body a closer exam he was fully aware that he needed some help…professional help! That was for sure.
“If you want to…I am your friend, of course. Listen Arty, do you know a village or town close by here?” Ryder asked weakly.
“Yes, Barstow…boy, I’m just coming from there!”
“Uh, I am sorry Arty…I didn’t know. How long does it take to Barstow?”
The older man looked down to the ground…visibly ashamed. “I’m sorry boy. Look, I’m not familiar with numbers.” He admitted.
“Uh, that’s not a problem at all.” Ryder answered and tried to suppress the upcoming despair.
“Listen Nick, my dad showed me a very clever trick.” Arty rolled up the left sleeve of his jacket a little bit and proudly presented an old watch.
“This is a gift from my Dad. Look Nick, I always start at the same time…see, when the small clock hand is here and the big one there. And when I am back at my hut, suddenly the small one is here and the big one there: It works on its own…that’s great, isn’t it?”
Ryder had difficulties to follow Arthur’s explanations because everything became blurred. He blinked several times.
“Sorry, but could you show me your trick again Arthur?” Nick asked weakly.
“Of course I can do that. But we still are friends? Or don’t you want to be my friend after all?” Arthur was disappointed.
“Sure we are friends…why…how do you come to think we are not?”
“Well, if you are my friend you have to call me Arty! Do you forget that?”
“I’m sorry…Arty. Probably, I really forgot it…but I’ll concentrate in the future.” Nick answered with a sigh. “Do you like to show me the trick again now?”
Arty was more than happy and beaming with joy he did what Nick had asked him for.
Okay, he needs about three hours from the town to his hut, Nick calculated…that means 8 or 9 miles…damned! There was no way he could make it so far in his condition.
“Arthur…uh sorry, I mean Arty”, Ryder shook his head as if he could sort out his thoughts that way.
“Look…maybe if have hurt myself…just a little nothing dramatic. But possibly I cannot walk so good…but I need help! I have to get out of the helicopter…go to town…I need a doctor! You know what I want to tell you?”
“Boy, don’t be afraid! I will help you. I get you to my hut and tomorrow we are going to repair your bird and you can go home again! Your Mom is probably anxious because you aren’t home yet!”
“Yes…probably. Listen Arty, it is not that easy to repair my helicopter. To do that, we need special tools and I haven’t them here with me.”
“No problem Nick…we can look in my hut. I have lots of tools…hammers, screwdrivers, saws. Whatever you want, Nick.”
“Sounds good Arty! How far is your hut away from here?”
The older man shrugged. “Don’t know…haven’t watched the clock hands!” He held out his left arm to show Nick his golden watch again.
“A nice watch, Arty…really.” Ryder suppressed a wave of pain and despair. ‘What do I do now?
A damage survey would be a good start he thought and tried carefully to move in the pilot’s seat.
Not a good idea…he had to hold his breath for a few seconds until the pain was bearable. Something was pinned in his right side and it burned like fire. It doesn’t felt good. Damned I’m stuck!
“Come on boy…you have to step out now! We want to go to my hut…do you remember?” The giant prompted.
“Arty…I’m stuck somehow…I’d like to get out really but I can’t get up! Listen, I stay here in the Mimi and you go and bring help. Would you do that for me Arty?”
“Is Mimi the name of your bird?” Arthur curiously asked with bright eyes.
The injured pilot nodded.
“I’m sorry Nick but I cannot leave you here in the woods alone!” Arthur vigorously shook his huge head.
“I would never do something like that. You don’t know the woods and it gets very cold in the night. By the way there are wild animals and snakes around!”Arty shook his head again.
“I am strong…very strong…as strong as a bear, my Mom used to say!” Arthur gave Nick a proud look.
“I can get you out of your Mimi!”
“No, Arty…don’t…listen, I’m not sure if that’s a good idea…I…something is pinned in my side…a sheet of iron…I don’t know…doesn’t feel good!” Ryder gasped.
“Let me have a look!” With these words, Arthur ripped open the cockpit door. Of course he wasn’t aware of the fact that this action caused Nick a lot of pain. He only wanted to help his friend and when Nick cried out in pain and lost consciousness, the giant flinched in horror.
“Boy…Nick…wake up! What’s wrong with you?” Arty incessantly patted Ryder’s cheek.
Nick concentrated opening his eyes. ‘Please let this only be a dream…let me wake up in my bed on the Riptide…please!’
“Nick, you cannot sleep…not now! We have to go to my hut! Did you already forget it?” Arty shook his head. “It’s getting dark soon! You have to get up now!”
Ryder swallowed heavily and nodded.
“It’s okay Arty…just give me a few minutes…than we can go!”
To get out of the Mimi proofed to be a very painful venture and Nick had to suppress numerous curses.
He knew for sure that Arty never wanted to hurt him with his rash action and it would absolutely make no sense to try to explain it. But Arthur’s release operation had created more harm than good and as soon as Nick had solid ground beneath his feet, the injured man inspected the throbbing wound and nearly passed out again.
An ugly gaping wound extended to his back.
The sheet of iron or whatever it was had slowed down the bleeding as long as it was pinned in his side but now…Nick secretly prayed that Arty’s hut wasn’t far away. He was totally aware that he wouldn’t be able to walk a long time.
“Arty, before we start… in the cargo bay…there is a first aid box…we will need it. Could you go take it for me?”
Arty gave Nick a puzzled view and Ryder dawned on the fact that the older man absolutely didn’t understand what he was talking about. Holy shit, the pilot moaned.
“Arty, do you see the large door there?” Ryder pointed at the door to the cargo bay.
Arthur nodded: “What’s inside Nick?” He wanted to know.
“Don’t worry Arty. There are only a few boxes with tools in it… and a small black box with a white cross on its top. That’s the first aid box. Can you go and take it for me now?”
“Of course I can do that for you! You are my friend…or not?”
“Sure I am your friend Arty!”
“Fuck…just open up!”Ryder cursed after the third attempt to open the first aid box. His hands were shaking too much and sweat from exhaustion and blood from the laceration on his head were dripping on the black box.
“Nick, you shouldn’t say such bad words. One doesn’t do that!”
Ryder blinked and gave Arty an irritated look. “You are right! I am sorry!”
“Give me the box. I’ll open it for you!” Arty took the first aid box out of Nick’s hands ripped away the lid and gave the box back to the pilot, as if it was a precious object.
“Here Nick.”
“Thanks Arty.” Ryder opened his shirt and slipped out of the right side.
As soon as Arty saw the lot of blood, he covered his mouth with one of his huge hands and suppressed a cry of fear.
“Calm down Arty…it looks worse than it really is!” Ryder soothed.
“I’m going to make a bandage over it to stop the bleeding and then we can go to your hut!”
“Arty…could you…I mean it would be nice if you would wrap the bandage over the compresses!”
Arty shook his head in sheer horror: “I can’t…I cannot do that Nick…it makes me afraid!”
Ryder closed his eyes for a few seconds…great! A mimosa was the last he could use now!
“Okay Arty, I can do it on my own but you don’t have to be afraid, okay?”
Arty suspiciously watched as Ryder tried to wrap the bandage around his body and after the dressing went down to the dirty ground for the second time, the giant shook his head and said.
“Let me do that for you…I’m not afraid anymore!”
“The dressing was anything but professional and much too loose. It was only a question of time when the bleeding would get stronger again.
Besides, the bandage had touched the dirty forest floor – so it was not sterile. This thought made Nick grin…the part that had been pinned in his side wasn’t sterile to a hundred percent as well.
Wonderful prospects and if the whole situation hadn’t been so grotesque, Nick surely would have made a few jokes about it.
He considered his chances: Bleeding and hurting deep in the forest with a stranger. Nick didn’t know if Arthur was dangerous or just retarded and if that was the case wouldn’t that make him more dangerous…?
As a matter of fact, he needed help…the sooner the better! A badly bleeding wound under insanitary conditions would become a problem soon…very soon! Too soon, perhaps?
“Okay Arty, we are done. Let’s go to your hut now! Stop, you could do me another favor!”
“Just tell me what I can do.”
“My jacket…it is inside the cockpit. Just in case if it gets cold.”
The hulk nodded and ran his fingers through his beard. Obviously, he was overcharged with this word as well.
“And where do I find this Cockipot thing? Well the jacket, where is it?”
“Uh…the cockpit? That’s where I sat when you found me Arty.”

“Ah, I see…I go get it.”

About Giants and Angels

About Giants and Angels

„Damned Nick, how many times do I have to tell you to close the door to the Wheelhouse? It can’t be that difficult!” Cody griped.
At the moment, the agency was in a real calm. No new cases, not even one of these hated observation jobs during the night. They were totally off-time and this fact ticked the three detectives off.
Murray was the only one who used this time in a prolific way to write new computer programs which he sold for good money to a reputable client.
It restocked their account and made sure their regular income.
But Cody and Nick stood each other in the way and boredom was a real inconvenient factor for a being-together in chime.
“Sorry, but I had my hands full when I came on board…do you remember? I took the mail…by the way what the hell can happen if this stupid door is open while we are on board?” Ryder asked, visibly irritated.
“You miss the point here Nick…I talk about principles. I am under the impression that you simply refuse what I am asking you…just to make me angry!” Allen answered sharply.
“Yes, you are totally right! I really do my best to make you angry….the sooner the better! It is like a kind of sports for me you know? To be honest Cody, you are an over- grateful victim!
Just look at yourself…you look as miserable as sin! It is really scaring…you should go out to blow the cobwebs away! Who knows, perhaps that will help and you finally stop to harass innocent people with your filthy mood!”
“I am in a filthy mood? You cannot be serious Ryder! Who is running up and down like a tiger in the cage the whole day? You’d better think before you criticize other people. Sorry, I forgot…according to Ryder’s Law, it is YOU who is always right!”
“Cody, did somebody lately have the guts to tell you how obnoxious you are? Unbearable and pedantic! I am so pissed off you cannot imagine how much…”
“Oh, if it is the same feeling like your presence causes in me, well than I know quite good what you are talking about!”
“Hey…hey, hey…guys! Are you fighting again?” Bozinsky had just entered the salon of the Riptide.
“Are we fighting?”Allen asked. “Listen Boz, we are just discussing a little.”
“Okay, but it is absolutely not necessary that the whole neighborhood has to witness how both of you are behaving!”
“I don’t know what you mean Mur Whom are you talking about?” Ryder answered.
“You want to guess Nick? I am talking about Cody and you. You are acting like in the Kindergarten…worse! Don’t you have better things to do than to go for each other’s throat in a five minute rhythm? This is absolutely embarrassing, you know?”
“Oh sorry Mur…we really didn’t want to hurt your feelings.” Allen answered ironically.
“We are not talking about my hurt feelings here Cody Allen…we are talking about your behavior and how you treat other people. That’s what I cannot accept! You should really check yourself!”
“This is great…I am the only guilty one here…as usual and both of you are singing from the same hymn sheet here! What about Nick? Do you think he doesn’t make any mistakes Boz?”
“Cody, please…my brain is fried! I just wanted to ask you and of course Nick as well to phase down your acoustic level so that I can concentrate to my work and finish this bastard program! Is it asked too much?”
“Uh, with the biggest pleasure Dr. Bozinsky…Doc of the Shrinkology! How could we dare to delay your creative work? That is unforgivable!” Allen cut Murray down.
“Cody, just cut me a break here!” Ryder intervened. “Listen, Murray is right! We are acting like fools and he really needs some peace to work. Otherwise he never gets this new program done!”
“Thank you Nick, to be honest, at the moment we really need every Dollar.” Boz answered.
Okay, we should all behave like civilized human beings and each of us should take regard for the others. It will be the best if Nick starts and tries to close the doors behind him…and he should clean off the chaos he has left here and in our bedroom…that would be sufficient for me guys.” Allen rode on.
“Cody, you are such an idiot…you know? If you remember it was me who cleaned the salon this morning and concerning our bedroom, there are only your ugly clothes lying around! There is absolutely nothing of my stuff! Tell me, what do you want from me? Do you want to hound me out of the boat or what? Congratulations, you a only so much away from it!” Ryder made an unmistakable gesture with his thumb and forefinger.
“Uh, a few days without you around were really balm for my soul…PAL!” Allen barked and Murray’s mouth was open…astonished and frightened together.
“But Cody…how do you come to say something so infringing and mean?” He asked flabbergasted.
“It’s okay Murray, let it be.” Ryder said.
“This was brief and to the point. I think it will be the best when we finish the conversation here and now!” Ryder went down the steps to the stateroom, he shared with Cody.
“Gee! Cody, that was so …mean! What the hell came over you?” Murray asked sadly.
But Allen stood there…defiant, hands in his pockets.
“I simply had to say it…it has to be said. We get in each other’s hair so badly and before we break each other’s skull…I think it will be better when he takes a hike for a few days…by the way, the Riptide is MY boat!”
But it is our home! Do you forget that? What about me? Should I pack my things and look for another place to stay until you have calmed down?”
“No…no Boz!It is a totally different thing with you. You are quiet and normal…to be honest, I barely see you. But Nick, he is always in my way and that makes me furious!”
“Cody, you really don’t know what you are babbling…I have no idea what’s wrong with you but I can tell you one thing for sure: That is not the way to treat friends!” Bozinsky went downstairs, shaking his head.
“Nick, what are you doing?”
“How does it look like Murray?”
“well, you are packing…sorry you are stuffing. Where do you go?”
“Uh, I thought, I’ll take the Mimi and take a little time-out until Cody has calmed down.”
“Listen Nick, I think he didn’t ment what he said…you know…”
“Probably you are right Mur but we are sitting here together like chickens on the stick…and as you have learned, that’s not good. Okay, we have no case to solve and I could need a little distraction as well.”
“Nick, running away isn’t a solution.”
“But I don’t run away Murray. I only take a tiny hiatus, that’s all, I swear.” Ryder answered and patted Murrays shoulder.
“So you are not angry with him?”
“Oh my, Boz! How do you come to think that? We have gone through worse…that’s…that’s just a kind of cabin fever…nothing more…not worth to mention it! What do you think…how about packing a few things and coming with me? It would do you really good. By the way, it wouldn’t be bad for this old crank if he has to sit around here all alone – believe me, he would certainly move heaven and earth at least after twenty-four hours, to get us back! Well Murray, what do you say? This is your last chance.”
“Believe me Nick, there is nothing at the moment, I would like more…but I have a contract to fulfill. I am sorry. I’d like to come with you. Honestly, I am really scared when Cody behaves like that.”
“Never mind Boz, This is only one of Cody’s famous mood swings. I’m sure he already regrets his emotional outburst. But perhaps you could ask your contractors for postponement.”

No, that’s not such a good idea Nick. You know me, I am very careful with contracts and I promised to deliver the program as soon as possible…but if you are not angry with Cody, you could stay at home as well!”
“Theoretically, you are right Boz, but you know me as well…once I have something in my mind, I have to do it! By the way, Cody needs a proper thinking-off. Listen, stay out of his way and never forget to close all the doors! But don’t slam them! That is one of the things he doesn’t like as well!” Ryder said with a grin.
“You are a lucky guy Nick! You take the Mimi and fly away…I have to stay here on board and have to consider each single word I want to say very careful…not to mention every step I make!” Murray said with a sigh.
“Keep smiling Murray. I am sure, I won’t be that bad and probably I am back sooner as you imagine! No matter how stupid he may act, remember that he is our friend – among friends you are allowed to lose control, from time to time” Ryder took the bag, he had packed in a hurry and went upstairs, where Allen sat and browsed sullenly through a magazine.
“This is typical Nick Ryder! As soon as things get difficult, you take a powder!”Allen grumbled.
“First of all, others than you, I don’t see any difficulties here and secondly, I don’t do a runner at all!”
“And what do you call it?” Allen asked and pointed at Nick’s bag.
“Uh, I take a little time-out and give you the chance to recover from me and my inadequacies! There is nothing wrong with it!”
“You run away…that’s a matter of fact! You are simply not able to deal with conflicts…you never were!”
“Okay Cody. Listen, I go away because I don’t want us saying things we could regret later…things we cannot take back. I don’t want it to happen – is it really so hard to understand? Call like you want…but I think a little distance will be good for each of us.”
“But I don’t want you to go! Stay and we solve our problems!” Allen insisted.
“Cody, there are no problems we have to solve. The only problem for Cody Allen in fact is Cody Allen! And you are the only one who can solve it…and to make it easier for you, I take a little time-out. It’s simple, isn’t it?”
“You are extremely generous Nick…another brilliant Ryder-move…you have my respect! But it only shows me, that you always draw back as soon as things get thorny!”
“That’s enough Cody! You are as contentious as a fury…we are not married! I’ll take the Mimi and fly away…Basta! I don’t give a damn if you like it or not! Just do me the favor and get drunk in a bar…pick up a wicked blonde or provoke a brawl…but please come down from this trip! And before I forget it…Murray is taboo! Don’t you dare to take your bad mood out on him…or I swear…”
“What? Do you want to threaten me Nick?”
“Threaten you? Not at all Cody, I just hold out the prospect for a proper beating for you in case you don’t keep away from him! You got it PAL?”
“Uh…I’m trembling with fear!”
“I can imagine that very well, because you know my left hook! But now you have to excuse me, I am really late…if I don’t get Mimi up in the air very soon, we will not make it very far today.”
“Do you give us a call? It’s not as if I were interested where you are…it’s just Murray…you know he always worries.”
“Sure, it is Murray…listen I will call for Murray’s sake…as soon as I have found a nice place to land the Mimi. Is that okay for you?”
“I really don’t care…but do you have an idea where to go at all?”
“Uh, Las Vegas would be great…I wasn’t there for years and it is only about two hundred miles away.”
“Sounds like a plan. But do me the favor and leave your credit cards at home!”
“Come on Cody, you know my attitude toward gambling, drugs and prostitution…calm down. I will look for a nice hotel and sleep the whole day. In the evening I’ll do a pub tour…no one-armed bandit, no roulette or any other of these hustler games…you have my word of honor!”
“Okay then…take care Nick.”
Nick was deep in the thought about the route to Las Vegas. He would fly over the San Gabriel Mountains and he looked forward to see the wonderful woods behind the mountains…it was an incredible sight.
Ryder loved flying and the anticipation for his trip made him speed up his pace.
On board of the Mimi he made a fast check procedure of the instruments and as soon as he got the permission to take off via radio, there was nothing that could keep him on the ground.
In case of good weather and wind conditions, he would be able to reach Las Vegas shortly before sundown.
Ryder enjoyed the view of the snow-covered mountain peaks and the trees that were stretched beyond the peaks were shining in wonderful colors late in the afternoon.
Nick let out a pleasant sigh…he had every reason to feel happy!
Ryder had nearly crossed the mountain chain when the sky suddenly darkened and a queasy feeling came over the experienced pilot.
It looked as if a thunderstorm was brewing up…a real serious danger in the mountains.
But far and wide, there was no chance to land the Mimi - that was for sure.
Ryder sent a quick prayer to heaven…only a few more miles and we are out of danger, he thought to himself. But he wasn’t able to suppress the uneasy feeling that started spreading in his stomach.
Suddenly, Mimi was hit by a heavy squall and went into a dangerous tailspin sideways.
Time to make an emergency call, Ryder thought. But before he was able to put his plan into action, a huge flash crashed down on Mimi and within a few seconds, all the displays on the helicopters manual were gone.

At the same time on board of the Riptide, Murray tried to explain his blond partner the advantages of his new computer program.
“Cody, look…I just printed it out…here, well it is as if…”
Suddenly Allen jerked and pushed down his still half filled bottle of beer….it’s contains poure4d over Murray’s documents.
“Oh, no…Cody! Look at this mess…what’s wrong with you?”
“The flash…I talk about this giant flash Mur! Didn’t you see this gigantic flash? Allen asked in sheer aghast.
“What flash are you talking about Cody? Probably you mean the signal of the lighthouse at the end of the bay, Buddy.”
“Murray…this, this was an incredibly lightning…you must have seen it…I saw it!”
Bozinsky went over to the windows and thrust aside one of the sun-blinds.
“Listen Cody…we have a star-bright heaven….you must have make a mistake!”
“Murray, I know what I have seen…believe me!”
“Listen Cody…a lightning is a kind of an electric unloading…a huge electric unloading and it needs a lot of thunderclouds, you know…look, you need at least two different…”
“Murray, just spare me with your scientific ramblings…I, I know what I have seen…or felt…okay?”Allen shook his head.
“As a matter of fact, I have a very bad feeling here…shouldn’t Nick have called, yet?”
“Cody Allen, that is typical for you…first you can get rid of him as soon as possible and then you start behaving like a mother goose!” Murray chuckled.

Damned, Ryder cursed and pushed a few switches…but nothing happened. Okay…we have to bring you down as smooth as possible now, Nick said aloud…don’t leave me in the lurch now Baby, he bagged…we can make it!
Ryder somehow managed to leave the mountains save but Mimi started to spin around towards earth…Come on, a few feet…damn…there must be a clearing in this damn forest!
The thunderstorm raged over the mountains and that was a big luck but if he couldn’t find a place to land the Mimi…it would be over…
Mimi started to trundle and sway back and forth and the pilot tried with all his forth to keep her in check. A hopeless endeavor when the earth gravitation was on top of things!
Damned…Ryder couldn’t avert that Mimi was Mimi streaked the first treetops and belling loudly slumped earth ways!
All along to earth! Accelerating! The young pilot didn’t know what to do…I am so sorry Mimi, he thought…I never wanted it to end like that, were his last thoughts before the helicopter hit the earth with a roaring noise and Ryder lost consciousness because of shock and pain.

I am so sad!

Really...do you know what Carnival means in Germany? Oh, forgett about it,,,intelligent people makes fools of themselves,,,really. IT is awful and I don't like it, but it is a time, when we slow down ur business because people are not responsive...that means, I have time off...not so bad,
BUT MY MOM GAVE ME A CALL...we live in the same house ! She could have come over...no, she ordered me! ! And ordered my to come...well I did. Thinking my Dad could be worse than in the morning after I settled an infusion. And I was looking for him several times today...
I found her sitting in the kitchen waiting for me to be a Make-Up Artist to give her the appearence of 'Poirot..the Clown' I couldn't believe it ...she really gave me this thrill!!!I I really thought my Dad was  sick and she just wanted me to make a 'Clown' out of her? Believe me, I really did my best and after the third attempt she was satisfied!!!
My husband had invited my earlier that day to go out and have a good meal but I  dumb rememberd him what day we have and told him that I would cook a good meal...I really did, but unfortunately we were not able to have it together...because my Mom wanted me to make a Clown out of her....That's strange an my husband is really 'pissed off'...so beig everybody's darlimg isn't that easy! And I am sad now because my day is somehow spoilt...despite of my best efforts! Sigh!

Nick Ryder

My Nick Ryder ABC

A –Awakening after the war it was Cody who made an awakening possible for Nick after this cruel war.

B – Betrayal is like a kind of death in Nick’s eyes.

C – Confidence the confidence between Cody and Nick is stronger than words can tell

D –Devotion Nick would do a lot to make his friends happy and he would give his own life to rescue each of them.

E –Energy Nick Ryder’s energy seems to be inexhaustible

F –Friendship Nick knows that it is a flower that needs a lot of attention and care

G –Gratitude is a mutual affair and Nick knows he doesn’t need to talk about it

H –Hope Cody gave it back to Nick und still does until today

I –Idealism is Nick’s engine to help people in need.

J –Joy is a feeling that Nick nearly had forgotten…

K –Kindness- on the first view, Nick isn’t always a nice guy but if you take the time for a second sight, you reveal his true human nature.

L- Love was only a four-letter word for Nick…until he found Cody.

M –Moonlight sitting on deck of the Riptide when the moon is shining is the best time for Nick to think about life, friends and future.

N –Nightmares are still coming but with Cody at his side they are so much easier to bear.

O –Optimism was a hard lesson to learn but now it is the most natural feeling for Nick.

P – Pain is hard to take but with Cody’s help its only half as bad.

Q –Quality no matter what Nick does it is always on a high level.

R –Realism Nick is clever enough to take nothing for granted.

S – Sincerity is in Nick’s opinion the most important thing for a vivid friendship

T –Truth although Nick knows that it can hurt sometimes, he always tells the truth.

U –Understanding other people's feelings was a hard lesson to learn for Nick.

V –Vulnerability Nick may have a rough exterior…his heart is made from gold.

W –Words Nick doesn’t need a lot of words…he speaks with his eyes.

X –X-Mas- Nick was never able to celebrate it but with his best friends it gets better from year to year

Y –Youth- Being young wasn’t easy for Nick but Cody gave him back a little of his lost youth.

Z –one out.  Sometimes Nick needs a little space to do so but his friends know that it is his way to recover his soul.




The Missing Link


Nick was away for three weeks now. Away to his annual Duty for the Reserves and Cody felt the urge to go to Camp Stewart…to see him…even though he knew that the Army would never let him do so!

Three weeks of desire but more than that of fear that something could happen…something bad…an injury…a fight, because of Nick’s temper ... something that could extend his absence…a thought, Cody didn’t really want to consider.


All he got in the past three week,s were the regular but short calls in the evening, Nick telling him and Murray that everything was okay. But it had been too long now and Cody felt a strange tension…something he really couldn’t explain. Of course, Nick had been away for his duty so many times before, but it had never felt so strange…it wasn’t right!


Their business in King Harbor was dangerous, that was for sure. But they had each other to take care for one another. In the reserves, Nick was kind of alone and Cody was more than alone at home!

Even though Murray tried his very best to distract him, Cody felt like amputated…he started to count the days until Nick’s return…he had started to coun,t already at the third day!

It would be so good to have him back…back at the Riptide, back home…and Cody resisted the urge to give Ryder a quick call at Camp Stewart.

He knew that it would only upset his best friend being called and so Cody decided to bear the last three days like a man.

But this evening something unusual happened…Cody sat beside the phone but it didn’t rang. The blonde picked the phone up, turned it up side down, shook it , as if it would help or could answer his worries…but nothing occurred.

“Hey Cody, what are you doing with the phone?” Murray asked his friend.

“Well, I think it is damaged.”

“Uh, it worked an hour ago…how do you come to think it is kaput?”

“Just a thought Boz…”

“I see, you are waiting for Nick to call! Listen Cody, perhaps he has a late flight and isn’t able to call!”

“Oh, I hate these late shifts! Whoever cares about the risks of flying in the night? The Army can’t pay him enough for this, you know?”

“Well Cody, it is Nick’s choice to stay in the Reserves and to be honest, I think he kind of likes it…after all he gets the chance to fly the newest Choppers!”

“Yeah, the newest funny helicopters and nobody knows how they react…Boz, a risk that can’t be calculated, after my opinion!”

“Come on Cody, Nick is an expert pilot he knows what he is doing and the Army can be very happy to have him to test the Choppers!”

“Well that’s exactly my problem…well, we don’t really know what Nick is doing during his duty at the Reserves, right? So, who can assure us, that he will come home in one piece, he?”

“Uh Cody, have you ever heard about the theory of the self-fulfilling prophecy?”

“A self-fulfilling… what? You really drive me crazy Boz!”

“I try to make it as easy as possible for you Cody! If you think long enough for something to happen…well long enough and intense enough…it will finally happen! That is what it means. Why don’t you do me, Nick and above all yourself the favor and stop racking your brains…Cody, only three days and he’ll be back home! You made it over three weeks now, what’s another three days?”

“It’s 72 hours Boz…72, that’s a lot when you get nearly rigid with fear!”

“But I don’t get it buddy…what are you afraid of?”

“If I only knew Boz…it would be easier to bear, believe me! I have, I have such a bad feeling, you know?”

“Listen Cody! Nick is absolutely reliable. Until today, he called every evening nearly at exactly the same time…upright! Probably he has something important to do!” Murray shrugged.

“Murray please, what could be more important than to give us a short call …only to help us not to worry about him?”

“Cody, Nick is a grown up man you know! He doesn’t has to justify himself! Not to you or me or somebody else! He is at the Reserves and he is training cadets…that’s the most important thing for him at the moment and he owes his full attention to his pupils and by the way he is absolutely obliged to the Army!”

“Oh Boz…its just…I feel so helpless without him. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy to have you here but I miss him…it is as if something is missing!”

“Yes, the Missing Link!” Murray nodded.

“What are you talking about Boz?”

“Oh just about one of Charles Darwin’s famous theories… it’s about evolution…The Missing Link! Listen Cody, you got what I tried to tell you? He will call us of that I am sure and now please calm down, yes? Are you hungry?”

“No, not really but now that you talked about it, what have you to offer?”

Two hours, anXXL pizza and five bottles of beer later, Allen was soothed a little when suddenly the phone rang. Allen was on his legs as quick as a flash.

“Riptide Detective Agency. My name is Cody, sorry Cody Allen of course!”

“Wow Cody, whom did you expected for heaven’s sake in the middle of the night?” Nick asked from the other end.

“Thank God Buddy, you are finally calling! Damned what took you so long?” Allen complained.

“Sorry Cody…I wanted to call earlier but I had to manage a tremendous pile of papers!” Ryder answered.

“Well that’s the lamest excuse I’ve ever heard Nick. Do you know how much I got worried…we got worried?”

“Cody, once again, I am really sorry but I couldn’t call earlier. Are you and Murray okay?”

“Except of the fact that certain person,s whose name I don’t want to say now, never play the game…yes, we are alright!”

“Come one Cody calm down! I said I am sorry what else do you want me to do?” Ryder felt absolutely uneasy.

“Yes you are right Nick…tell me what was so important that you nearly brought me to the verge of an heart attack?”

“Listen, I will be home tomorrow…how does this sound?”

“It sounds as if you are in trouble Buddy! Did you do something wrong? No please, you are not ill…you don’t sound ill at all! Oh my God you crashed in one of these helicopter evaluation versions and got hurt! Where are you hurt Nick?” Allen was going mad.

“Cody, would you please calm down! What’s wrong with you pal? Listen I am well and all the helicopters are intact. All of my cadets stood the proof by the first time and my task is finished that’s all. If you have the time and the inclination to pick me up  at the airfield tomorrow at 9 o’  in the morning, that would be great!”

“Tomorrow…nine o’clock? Sure Nick! Good Lord I am  happy you finally come home!”

“So am I Buddy. We see us tomorrow…tell Murray that I called!” Nick hung up.

“It was Nick right?” Is he okay Cody?”

“Yes, everything’s under control Mur. He’s coming home tomorrow early in the morning.”

“Wow! That is so boz!”

“Uh, I am not sure…I already have a weird feeling!”

“Cody, I want to be honest…you have a unique talent to interpret a catastrophe in nearly every good thing! You have to work on it…when can we pick him up?”

“Nine o’clock at the Airfield Mur.”

“Okay then we will have the whole day to spoil him rotten and make it as easy as possible to settle down again.” Murray was happy by the thought.

Nick approached his friends, who were waiting since half past eight, at a hurried pace. He didn’t want to show the slightest infirmity…the less Cody and Murray knew about his upcoming mission the better. The last thing he wanted was to involve his best friends into this affair.

“Hi Nick!” Murray excitedly brandished his skinny arms.

“Hi Boz!” Nick jumped light-footedly over the barrier and gave his friend a cordial hug.

‘Thank God…obviously he isn’t injured!’ was Allen’s very first thought.

“Hi Cody!” Nick welcomed Cody with open arms and squeezed the blond man firmly. “Oh man, it feels so good to be home again!”

“And we are more than happy that you are back safe and sound Buddy!” Allen answered a little cautious.

Cody knew Nick better than anybody else. Allegorically he could read his best friend like an open book – no matter how hard Nick tried to hide his feelings. And Cody could feel Nick’s tension in all his partners gestures and he realized the tiny wrinkle between Nick’s brows…it only showed up when Nick was either in emotional stress or in pain! Cody decided that there must be something Nick had to nibble at and he was firmly determined to lift this secret!

“Nick, we planned a vast dinner at Straightaway’s for tonight!” Murray babbled cheerfully.

“But in case you are too tired…what is totally understandable…we could stay at home and order a large pizza or Chinese food…whatever you want!”

“Oh Boz! I am really sorry but I just wanted to change clothes quickly and then I am already away. But tomorrow…I promise we catch up on it. And you can decide. Anything but Army muck!”

“What does it mean, you are away? Where do you have to go Nick…if this question is allowed?” Cody asked frowning.

“It’s no big deal Buddy! I have to settle an affair. It is really nothing worth to talk about!” Ryder lied and his stomach cramped. Lying was definitely   not his cup of tea. But to pull the wool over his best friend’ eyes was an act of treason and Ryder felt sick!

“Okay, just let me summarize the facts!"Allen started and stared at Nick.

“You disappear from the screen for over three weeks and a few minutes after your return you declare that you just came back to change your clothes because you have better things to do!”Allen was obviously hurt.

“No Cody! It’s not like that…I, I just have to …damned, I have to go! I promise you from tomorrow I’ll be back to a 100 percent!”

“Wonderful…that’s really great Nick! How the hell do you imagine a partnership, not to talk about friendship? I mean, you vanish for weeks just to play a little war in the desert und leave us here. We are allowed to take care of everything and incidentally, we were a little worried if you would come home healthily! And then you are back earlier and inform us that you are quasi passing through! Thank you…Thank you very much! Don’t you think you owe us at least a little explanation?”

“Please Cody…” Bozinsky started to intervene.

“What is it Murray? Are you not interested why Captain Ryder is allowed to come back earlier and why he has to go away at once? You know what Boz? The Army never let you from the hook without a reason…I know it from my own experience!”

“Listen Cody…perhaps you are a little excited at the moment! Nick has a thing to settle…where is the problem?” Bozinsky asked lamely.

“Oh that’s something I gladly explain to both of you! I feel fooled and kind of pranked…that’s my problem!”

Nick felt more and more miserable. He was like a spider…he had to go on spinning his web of lies otherwise he would risk to endanger Cody’s and Murray’s lives!

“You are right Cody, I lied on both of you…well let me try to say it another way…I didn’t tell you the truth!” Ryder cautiously started.

“I knew it! Here we go…what did you wrong Nick? Did you steal silver out of the officer’s mess?”

Ryder grinned at the thought of Cody’s proposal. “Of course not Buddy. Listen… we all had a long and exhausting day  and sat together in the mess…you know that…we drank a little, talked a lot of nonsense and sometime we started to play poker! At the beginning the amounts were minimal. But the game grew more interesting and we started to raise the stakes!”

“Nick no! You never play for money! That is Ryder’s Law!” Cody reminded him.

“You are totally right but you know how it works between Officers…you know it yourself Cody!”

“How should I know Nick? If you remember I quit the Army after the Military Police!”

“Whatever…anyway I had put all my money and the game was in a totally crunch mode. I really thought that’s my game…I am going to win, it’s my Baby! But I was broken as I told you!”

“What happened next?” Murray was fascinated.

“Well, I wanted to hold on because I was so sure to win and the two guys left offered me to wager a flight in the Mimi. Well I couldn’t resist…I mean flying people around in the Mimi is my second leg, you know!”

“And you’ve lost?” Allen asked incredulously.

“Nick, apart from the fact that you never play for money…you are the best poker player I have ever seen! I guess they have ripped you off Buddy!”

“Uh…I’d say they had the better cards Pal! That’s all…it wasn’t my game…it’s simple but true. But you know: Gambling debts are debts of honor! And I don’t want people to say that Nick Ryder doesn’t pay his debts you know?”

“Yes, that’s out of the question…and now your Army Buddy’s want you to fly them around? You told them what they will get involved with? I mean…the Mimi isn’t really a high tech chopper!”

“Thank you for the reminder Cody…they know what they are facing…that’s the lure for them even though you cannot understand it!”

“One last thing Nick…”

“Let it out.”

“Isn’t it a freak that your colleagues got released as well earlier, just at the same time like you?”

Uh..that…not at all…they had finished their duty a day earlier…you know before my cadets made their exams…listen they had two cadets less …both of them.”


That answer took a load off Nick’s mind and he was relieved when Cody stopped to persist.

“Okay guys…we’ll celebrate tomorrow!”

“Where do you fly with your Buddy’s? Murray casually asked.

“Uh…Tijuana…” Nick didn’t dare to look at his friend.

“Tijuana…Nick are you totally mad? What the hell do you want in Tijuana?” Cody was not far away from exploding.

“Calm down man! What’s wrong with Tijuana? We were there as well!”

“Thank you for reminding me pal. Yes we were there…in prison! Tell me what are your friends planning? Do they want to buy some drugs perhaps…believe me there is no better place for buying crack! Tell me Nick, what mess did you get in?”

“Listen Cody, no drugs!” Ryder lied. “They just want to have a great time.”

“Have a great time…in Tijuana!” Allen shook his head.

“Do you remember this…I mean this club?”

“This club? That’s too flattering Nick! Cathouse would hit the nail…a cathouse of the worst class… this is rock-bottom!” Cody nearly shouted und Murray nodded in agreement and felt uncomfortable only at the thought…it wasn’t as if he or his friends had ever entered the brothel. The first impression had been sufficient to make themselves scarces!

“First, Cody…they are not my Buddy’s not even colleagues and second I don’t care at all what they want to do! If they want to catch a disease…okay their decision! I only pay my due…that’s all.”

The whole situation became more and more hairy for Ryder and he didn’t know how long he would be able to preserve his pack of lies. Now it was the right time to take the offensive!

“Is your cross-examination finally finished?” He asked his friends.

“Okay Nick, do whatever you think you have to do…but I can’t help I don’t like it!”

“Cody, just trust me. Buddy you trust me…yes?”

“That’s the dumbest question ever Nick! Of course I trust you but my gut tells another story and that you are hiding something! When will you be back?”

“Uh, I think early in the morning…you don’t have to wait for me!”

“Oh we never intended to wait for you…just one more thing…you don’t bring drunken, roaring officers with a testosterone level of astrological heights on board?”

“Jesus no! Cody what do you think of me?”


Nick changed his clothes and headed for the Mimi. He felt totally miserable. He had betrayed the best friends he ever had and was going to risk his skin without any backing from his partners! How should they help him if they didn’t know he was in trouble? Damned Ryder!


At three o’ clock in the night, Nick wasn’t home yet, the phone rang in the salon of the Riptide and Cody and Murray nearly collided at the try to pick up the phone.

“Go on Cody.” Murray told his friend but Allen hesitated for a few seconds…phone calls in the middle of the night never meant something good. But he had no choice…he had to answer.

“Uh…LT Quinlan! It’s you! Yes I see…of course! No…we didn’t know! We are on our way!” Allen was chalk-white…his hands trembling.

“What’s wrong Cody?”Murray whispered and nasty goose bumps crawled over his entire body.

“How the hell should I know?”

Cody’s words were so harsh that Bozinsky involuntarily flinched.

“Oh, sorry Boz! Nick…damned…they are taking him to the King Harbor memorial! That’s all I know! Hurry up!” Allen stammered.

“Calm down Cody! What did Quinlan say?”

“You mean beside the usual heartwarming words?”

“Whatever Cody!”

“He told me that he will kick all the Army officers in their asses…the generals as well, as soon as he is through with Nick! That’s what he said…are you happy now?”

Quinlan met the two detectives in the hall of the Emergency unit.

“What a damned shit! I swear, I’m going to break Ryders bones if there is something left to break! What did he think he’s doing out there!” The policeman was furious.

“LT….” Cody tried to soothe him. “We don’t know what you are talking about…really!”

“And you think I should believe this bullshit? You really think I am an idiot!”

Cody and Murray decided that it would be the best not to answer Quinlans question.

“I am really sorry LT but we haven’t the foggiest notion! Nick came back from the Reserves yesterday, early in the morning just to vanish only an hour later!” Murray replied.

“And he really didn’t tell you what he was going to do?” Quinlan shook his head in disbelieve.

“Normally you stick together like beggar’s lies! What the hell did he do with those Army freaks in Mexico and damned why did he wreck this pink monstrosity he mistakes as an helicopter?”

“Who wrecked the Mimi? Nick? He would never smash the Mimi voluntarily! Never!”

“That’s not my main concern now…what did he wanted in Mexico?”

“He wanted to bring his comrades there…they wanted to amuse themselves…kind of that!” Allen answered.

“Oh, they would certainly have had a lot of amusement…I mean six pounds of crack should be sufficient! But unfortunately they decided to bring it here…into the United States of America and that is my territory! And now lots of Army amateurs are swarming around! Nobody knows what to do and the initiator of this mess…is as alwasy - Flyboy!”

“Why the hell does Ryder never try to use his big ugly head to think…only one time! But I promise, I will find out what happened!”

“Uh, LT Quinlan…do you know where Nick is? How is he?”

“He is been taken care of right now. The MP’s wanted to take him to the Military hospital as well as his comrades but I thought that wouldn’t be in your interest! They acted like maniacs…blathered about Ryder being on an undercover mission…I don’t know! He was kind of responsive when I saw him last…but he looked lousy!”

Cody and Murray started to pace the corridor, waiting for someone to bring them news about Nick’s condition.

The whole scenario was weird…Nick’s story unreliable from the beginning. But finally they had allowed being fobbed off! Cody was angry…angry and frantic, ashamed! Damned the blond didn’t know what to feel at all! Nick had told him a lie! But why? He hadn’t acted like a good friend…otherwise Nick wouldn’t be in hospital now! If he had only insisted harder, he could have stopped this mess!

“Is anybody waiting for Mister Nicholas Ryder?” A middle aged nurse suddenly stood in the corridor.


“Uh yes Madam! My name is Murray Bozinsky and this is Cody Allen. We are Nick’s…Mister Ryders friends and business partners.”

“Okay gentlemen…we have a problem here…”

Cody felt his stomach cramping. A problem…was this the paraphrase that Nick’s condition was more serious that he had imagined?

“What is it? How is he doing?” Allen gasped.

“Please Sir, calm down! Your friend is doing quite well under the circumstances. The problem is that officially he is still in his Reserve Duty and consequently, the question of costs has to be clarified! Normally he belongs to the Military Hospital. Something went wrong!”

Cody sighed: “ Listen don’t worry about the costs! We will account for everything! Now tell us, how is he? Is he badly injured?”

“He is a lucky guy…a very lucky guy! A broken arm…two broken ribs, a few bruises and lacerations and last but not least a mild concussion.”

“That’s what you call a lucky guy?” Murray asked her.

“Measured against what could have happened…yes! Do you want to see your friend or do you prefer to discuss a little more?”

“Of course we want to see him! Are we allowed to visit him at all?”

“Follow me. He is in the Recovery Unit.” The nurse let them to the other tract and opend a door.

“But don’t stay too long. He needs a lot of rest!”

Cody and Murray approached Ryder’s bed. The injured man was deathly pale, dark circles under his eyes. His right arm was in a cast and numerous patches and bandages covered the visible parts of his skin and face.

Cody took a deep breath and patted Murray’s shoulder.


“Nick…Nick can you hear me?” He asked softly and took Ryder’s cold hand.

Nick tried to move and groaned.

“Cody…is it you?” He whispered weakly.

“Yeah, it’s me Buddy. Murray is here as well. Everything is going to be okay. You had so much luck…it’s not so bad…in a few weeks you are in shape again.”

“Aw…doesn’t feel…like that!” Ryder opened his eyes in slow motion and tried to locate his friends through a veil of grey.

“I’m…sorry…so sorry…”

“I want to be honest Nick… you should really be sorry! I thought we would trust each other and tell each other everything! How could you lie on us?” Allen asked accusingly and Ryder startled.

“I…I never wanted…to …please…believe me! I had no…choice…they would have…hurt you….they have no…qualms!” Ryder was exhausted.

“That is absolutely the lamest excuse I’ve ever heard Nick Ryder! Murray gave Allen a taunting look.

“What’s wrong Murray? Only because he is lying in an hospital bed  doesn’t mean that we forgive and forget everything!”

“Of course not Cody but it’s not the right time to discuss it and it is absolutely the wrong time for blames!”

“I’m sorry…I wanted to explain it…to you…later.” Ryder moaned.

“Sure thing…if necessary you would have made up another quixotic story! I didn’t know that you can be so narrative!”

“Cody…please…can we fight later…I’m in terrible pain and I’m sick…please.” Ryder begged.

“Okay Nick but this affair isn’t over and done!” Allen got up and squeezed Ryder’s hand forgivingly.


The next morning Nick felt a little better and a shy smile flashed over his still too pale face when his friends entered the room.

“Hey guys!” He greeted Allen and Bozinsky and raised his good arm and nearly pulled out the IV.

“Good morning Nick. How are you?”

“Very much better…really!”

“I’m glad to hear that!” Allen was kind of reserved.

Nick was embarrassed because he knew very well what was preying on Cody’s mind.

“Do you have a little time?” Ryder asked and looked from Allen to Bozinsky.

“Of course we have time Nick!”

“Okay, I want to tell you a story. Why don’t you sit down.”

“I hope it will not be another Ryder fairy tale…I heard enough of them!” Allen warned in a friendly ton.

“No Cody…the truth…you have my word of honor---Ryder’s Word of Honor…so to say!” Nick closed his eyes in exhaustion.

“Listen Nick, you don’t have to  do it now…if you don’t feel good, we can talk later…as soon as you feel better!” Bozinsky offered.

“Thanks Boz, but I want to explain it to you…now.”

“Go on Buddy!”

“Well the day I didn’t call you as usual, my Colonel had ordered me to come to his office. I make it as short as possible…he told me about two officers who are involved in drug dealing. The Colonel asked me to nail the bastards…well I couldn’t reject…they bring the drugs over the border and sell it on our streets…they sell it to kids! I don’t know how you feel about it…I couldn’t stand on the sidelines!

Besides we have a code of honor…well I always thought we have something like that! But persons like them make a mess on the Army’s reputation…”

“But how were they able to bring the drugs over the border?” Murray wanted to know.

“No problem Boz. As an instructor you are allowed to fly whenever you want, at all times no matter if day or night, alone or attended by others. Provided you got the clearance for take-off. Nobody really surveys it! It’s a shame, but I think they will change it now…I really hope they have learned from this!”

“ You want to say, these officers insolently used Army choppers to transport drugs?”

Ryder nodded and closed his eyes. He was so tired and had a murder head ache but he knew he owed his friends an explanation. So he tried to block the pain out and continued.

“Colonel Simpson knows that I have a helicopter and so he proposed that I should try to contact them. By the way Cody, I consciously played like a dumb and believe me it nearly broke my heart. But I had to get things going. Everything went like clockwork and the chance for a relatively safe transaction for them made these bastards talkative…you know the rest of the story.”

“Not entirely Nick. You brought them to Tijuana and they picked up the drugs and then you flew back right?”

Ryder nodded, totally tuckered out.

“What the hell happened on the flight back? Why did you have to make a forced landing?”

“Good question Cody. Ray, one of these guys suddenly lost his head…I guess he is on the needle himself. He tried to convince Peter , the other one, to kill me…”

“But they could have already done it in Mexico!”

Theoretically…yes, but they recognized that Mimi is kind of bitchy and doesn’t let touch her panel from everybody …by the way, I am the only one  at all who is able to start her…I guess  Peter and Ray didn’t want to take the risk to be forced to stay in Tijuana longer than necessary.”

“Yes Nick and what happened next?” Murray was mesmerized.

“Wow…there was a grapple. Peter shot Ray and a ricochet shoot broke up Mimi’s dashboard into piece parts!”Ryder answered with a sigh.

“Well I think that’s half as bad as your injuries Buddy!” Allen moped.

“It’s nothing…just a few scratches…”

“Sure, a broken arm isn’t a big deal and a few broken ribs not worth to mention! Especially if the person in question is equipped with super forces just like you Nick! And yes a concussion is a piece of cake especially in your case because this part of your body…Buddy, is not used very often!”

“Come on Cody…there is no need to be ironical…Okay!”Ryder replied.

“Nothing is okay Nick! You could be injured worse or you could be death…did you ever spent a thought on this fact? You were lucky, right! But you shouldn’t take it for granted! Perhaps you think about the consequences next time.”

“Okay, you are right…but I had to do what I had to do and you are the first one who should understand me! What would you have done?”

“I would have brought my friends into the loop at least!”

“Yes, sure and bring them into a life-threatening situation? You don’t believe what you just said yourself!” Ryder was out of breath. His fiery temperament forced him to breathe quickly, an effort his broken ribs answered with a pain that nearly let him pass out.

“Nick…Nick…are you okay?” Allen was concerned and patted Ryder’s cheek.

Nicks face was nearly colorless but he nodded, eyes close; “I’m okay…”

“The hell you are…damned Nick! Let stop fighting for now, but we’ll discuss it later!” Do you hear me?”
“Thanks Cody…I can’t go on any longer!” Ryder answered and opened his eyes terrified when the door was pushed open.

“Good morning gentlemen!” Quinlan called unusually good-humored.

“I thought, I make a courtesy visit and convince myself that they take good care of you Ryder! There is no cause for complaint as I can see!” Quinlan was very close at Ryder’s bed now.

“Quinlan…I don’t know what to say…” was all that Nick could manage.

“Well, Ryder, unfortunately that won’t help us much…to be honest I am not here as a civilian.”

“Does it mean I’m in trouble?” Nick asked quite abashed.

“Well Ryder, I’m not here to congratulate you for your last masterstroke!”

Ryder groaned: “Hey Quinlan I’m not feeling so well…could we postpone our conversation for a few days?”

“I’m really sorry Ryder…that’s out of discussion. You know, I have my instructions…it’s the same with your Army regulations. You understand me…do you? It’s the weekend and I really want to close this tricky case. Otherwise I wouldn’t have my peace of mind and I am sure nobody wants me to feel like that! Right?”

Nick shook his head another movement that caused pain and a wave of nausea rushed through his aching body.

‘Now a blackout would be the right thing to avoid Quinlan’s questions’ Ryder thought but unfortunately a faint never came at the right time. Nick accepted his fate.

“Of course nobody is interested to ruin your Weekend Quinlan…ask whatever burns your soul!” Nick accepted his fate.

“Okay Ryder, listen! The next time you cause such a damn mess I’ll kick up your…well you know what I mean! And you should thank God every day to have those two guys as your friends! Without them you were really a poor devil!

 By the way Ryder…you should try to relax…you look like shit!”












New York Can Wait/4

As soon as Janet had left the room, Ryder pulled out the IV in his hand, snatched the crutches beside his bed and hobbled to the wardrobe.

He inspected his clothes…a dirty jacket and shirt and a ripped, blood stained jeans. But it has to do it for now.

He slowly made his way back and sat down on a chair and started to dress. It was more difficult that he thought it would be…difficult and painful and he felt dizzy with every movement.

‘Not one of your brightest ideas, Ryder!’ He thought to himself. ‘But I have to do it…right now…there is no other way!’


“Stop! Mister Ryder what are you doing here for heaven’s sake?” The nurse on duty asked him.

“You absolutely belong to your bed!” She resolutely demanded and wanted to push Ryder back.

“I know…” Ryder slightly bent forward to read her name tag and nearly fell over…”Uh sister Anne. And believe me I’ll take your advice and go back to bed as soon as I am home!”

“Mister Ryder, please listen to reason!”

“I really appreciate your care but I have to go home!”

“Well I see…but I need your signature that you left the hospital against medical advice on your own responsibility!”

Ryder nodded and signed the papers. Then he limped to the exit door.

Luckily there was an empty cab right in front of the hospital and the driver was a real nice guy and helped Nick into the car.

After he had told the driver where to go, Nick closed his eyes…he was exhausted. His short ‘stroll’ had totally devitalized him and he felt the sudden urge to throw up. ‘Oh no, Nick…not in the cab!’

He regarded the boarding of the Riptide with horror and the prospect how to get to bed didn’t make it easier. Well and Murray would properly read him the riot act…that was for sure!


Cody was stunned when he found Nick’s room empty. But his friend couldn’t be far away because his bed looked as if the injured man has just left it.

Allen went to the nurse’s lounge.

“Pardon me, but I am looking for Nick Ryder. He isn’t in his room. Do you know where I find him?”

“Your friend discharged himself from hospital, I’d say half an hour ago…against all common sense, I’d like to add! But we cannot keep him here against his will. As much as I know, he had to go home…I’m sorry but that’s all I can tell you!”

“Well, did something strange happen? I know he doesn’t like to be in hospital but even Nick is so reasonable not to chance his luck this way!” 

“He had a visitor shortly before he left that hastily! An attractive young lady ...”

Cody didn’t need to hear more. He angrily went back to the house.


“Janet…Janet…where are you?”

“I’m in the bedroom!”

“What did you said that made Nick react like that?”

“I don’t know what you are talking about Cody.”

“You know damned well what I’m talking about!” Allen answered sharply. “After your visit he left the hospital in a mad rush!”

“Well…I’d say that he recovered quite fast…that’s great! You see, nothing stands against our trip to New York now!”

Allen seized his girlfriend by the arm.

“What have you done Janet?” He asked her dangerously calm.

“I simply asked him to let you live your own life Cody. That’s really not a crime!”

“I cannot believe it…”

“Darling, you were not able to think straight…so I had to…”

“I’m very well up to make reasonable decisions!” Allen interrupted her.

“The only problem is that my decisions are not to your taste Janet!”

“As you may suppose Cody! But we are not only talking about your future here…it concerns mine as well and to tell you the truth unlike you, I have exact visions how my future will look like!”

“Okay, I guess that was it then!”

“It all depends on you Cody!”

“Why can’t we talk about it calmly when you come back from New York?”

“Because I will not return…I never planned to come back!”

“Ah, I see…my contract is probably prepared…of course totally to your taste!” Allen was perplexed.

“That’s true…your signature is the only thing missing!”

“So why didn’t you signed it for me as well? You felt so confident about the whole thing!”

“Don’t talk such a nonsense Cody. You know as well as I do that this would be forgery. But I really believed you had a spark of intelligence left…and wouldn’t waste your life so aimless!”

“Give me thirty minutes to pack my things…I go back to the Riptide!”

“You have all the time in the world Cody. Just do me the favor and lodge the key of the house into the mail box when you go. I’ll give the broker a call…the hiring contract expires at the end of the month and I didn’t renew it!”


Allen entered the Riptide …his boat, his home with two bags and despite his fight with Janet he was in high spirits.

Nobody was in the salon so the blond man went downstairs to the small kitchen.

“Hi Murray!” He greeted his partner who was preparing a pot of tea.

“Oh Cody…thanks God you are back!”Bozinsky answered beaming with joy.

“So am I and that was a hearty welcome…thanks Boz!”

“Cody, you won’t believe what happened…”

“I know Murray…I know. I was at the hospital but the bird has already flown!” Allen sat his bags down.

“You’ll stay?”

“Of course I’ll stay Boz!”

“Uh Cody…how are you feeling…I mean…”

“Things will sort themselves out again…but I think we have other problems to deal with at the moment!”

“You said it! Cody I really don’t know how we managed it to get him onboard, downstairs and into bed…I only know that I am totally tuckered out…and so is he!”

“Now I am here and I’ll take care for him! How is he doing?”

“Don’t ask!”

Well I go and take a look myself. Did you make the tea for him?”

“Yes, you know how his stomach reacts to anesthesia and too much painkillers! The tea will help him. But I am afraid the painkillers we have on board won’t help him much!”

“Don’t worry Boz, one of the nurses was so nice to give me antibiotics and real potent stuff against the pain!”

“Thanks God! I’ll bring the tea as soon as it’s done!”

Allen entered the small bedroom he shared with Nick.

Murray had really made it as comfortable as possible for the injured man but a look at Ryder’s face was enough for Cody to see how bad the dark haired man was feeling.

Nick was chalk-white and a fine shade of sweat covered his face.

Allen cleared his throat and Nick opened his eyes startled.

“Cody…what are you…doing here?” He asked weakly.

“I live here…that’s my boat!”

“Aw…you now…what I mean.”

“But that was my question pal…what are you doing here?”

Ryder shrugged…”I was going stir-crazy…you know…”

“Yeah I know…how are you Nick?”


“I’m okay…and you?”

“Oh Nick! Don’t you try to lie on me…I see how okay you are. You can barely keep your eyes open and you are in pain, that’s obvious!”


“And you have the balls to ask me how the hell I am!”

“You are my friend…I’m worried! So, how are you feeling…I mean really…”

“I am furious with you Nick!”

“But why?”

“Because you are so incredible stupid and brainless…that’s why! How could you bugger off the hospital?”

“First…I didn’t bugger off…I released myself and second…oh man…I didn’t want you to get trouble because of me…that’s so difficult for you to understand?”


“Janet…you know…”

“No, I don’t know Nick!”

“Look Cody, as long as I would have been in hospital, you wouldn’t fly to New York with her. I know it and you know it as well. So I thought to myself…if I am at home, things would be easier for you and Janet wouldn’t go wild…you know! And…and…”

“And what? You bonehead?” You are talking nonsense you know? It must be the pain! How in this world should Murray help you here? Did you ever spend a thought on that? There are steps everywhere on the Riptide and you are hobbling on crutches! Murray isn’t physically able at all to support you!”

“I’m really sorry…I can manage it on my own…believe me!”

“Forget it, you cannot make it without help at least in the first days and you know it quite well!” Allen fished two small bottles of pills out of his pocket.

“Oh dear…I really forgot to take them with me…”

“Obviously! And without the antibiotics you would have a bad infection within a few hours…and then genius?”

“I would have…would have got them…anyhow…”

“You surely wouldn’t!” Allen held up one of the bottles. “Without these friends of yours, you will surely go up the wall in no time. You are such a…”

“Cody, I’m so sorry. I really didn’t want all this to happen. I never wanted you to have to fight with Janet because of me!”

“Forget it! You take your medicine now and then you try to sleep. In the meantime I see if I can find something to eat here on board!”

“How is he?” Bozinsky wanted to know.

“Well he is doing quite well. But he is stupid and stubborn as usual! You know him!”

“And you? How are you really doing? What about New York and Janet?”

“New York and Janet? Good question! I’d say cancelled until further notice Boz!”


Allen went back to the bedroom to make sure that Nick was sleeping but the man was still awake.

“I thought you are taking a nap buddy!”

Ryder shrugged. “Can’t…”

“You are in a lot of pain…uh?”

“Bearable…but it’s not only the pain Cody. I have a guilty conscience…do I really stop you to live your own life?”

“Ah…what a shit Nick…of course not! How do you come to think it?”

“Well the fact that I got shot did it put you under such a pressure that you couldn’t go to New York with her…I need an honest answer Cody!”

“No, of course not buddy! Have you got a fever?” Allen felt Ryder’s forehead.

“Answer my question!”

“Nick I don’t want to fool you…of course I was shocked when I saw you on the ground…bleeding and in pain, that’s normal…isn’t it? But to stay here…I mean that’s not sense of obligation you know…I do it on my own free will and with all of my heart! Just because I want to be close to you and I know for sure you would do the same for me, buddy!”

Ryder nodded, tears shining in his eyes. “Thank you Cody! That really means a lot to me! Look, Janet assumed that I had planned it…you know…to make you stay here! My God, I guess she doesn’t know how it feels…that it hurts like hell!”

“Are you serious? That’s totally funny. But I assure you that I know, you would never act like that! To be honest I am grateful that she showed her true colors in this critical situation. Better now than later…perhaps too late? Who knows? And Nick, I want you to know that you were right…I mean about Janet…from the beginning! I wished so hard and I really tried…oh, just forget it! But you can do me a favor Nick!”

“If I don’t have to leave the bed…you can have everything Cody.”

“Nick, promise me…and I mean it…promise me to chain me at the ship’s rail if she ever shows up in King Harbor again! And you are not allowed to release me until my brain has gained the upper hand over the rest of my poor body! Do you think you can do that for me Nick? Nick…”

“Well of course…I can do that…sounds like…a lot of fun…but what brain are you talking about?”