Rating Adult overall
Disclaimer: I own none of the characters in this story and make
no profit from them
Summary: Set in the early 1940's, Spike is a G-man sent on
a mission in the Applachian mountains to search for
and destroy illegal alcohol when he has an accident.
Xander is a moonshiner who takes him in.
Making his way down the slippery hillside, Xander finally
reached the site of the wrecked car.
Everything was exactly as he had left it yesterday, confirming
his suspicions that no one else would have come along in time.
Xander was glad he hadn't turned his back on the injured man.
Even if he was turning out to be a real pain in his ass.
The steam from the engine had cooled and by the looks of the
puddle underneath, all the fluids had drained out.
Xander knew that by leaving the car out here sooner or later
one of the other men that live on this mountain would find it.
When that happened it would be stripped slicker than a skinned
possum, the parts sold off or used to patch their own vehicles
or farm machines.
Xander just shrugged.
Didn't matter none to him.
This crumpled pile of tin wasn't gonna help him get rid of
No, Xander knew he was stuck with him.
For now anyway.
Still suspicious, Xander decided this was an excellent opportunity
to find out as much as he could about the mysterious traveling
He started with the trunk.
Using the keys that were still in the ignition, he popped the lid.
Blanket, road flag, and spare tire. Worn with nearly no tread.
'Funny, you'd think a man living on the road would have a
trunk full of stuff.
Dirty clothes, reminders from home, nasty picture postcards
to yank his stick to.
Slamming the trunk lid shut he moved around the passenger side.
Peering into the crushed front seat, Xander saw the box of
books that had tumbled on impact.
One full set of encyclopedias A thru Z.
Due to the damage, the crumpled car door would not open, but the
window had shattered, so reaching in he picked several
up, one at a time.
Each was checked.
Xander noted that most still had stiff spine bindings meaning
they had never been opened for display.
Either the salesman had no one who wanted to look at his
books or he had not tried very hard to make a sale.
Throwing the last one down on the pile, he then pressed the
button to open the glove box.
Riffling through the papers, he found a registration stating
that the car did indeed belong to one William J. Beemish
of New York City.
According to the documents Mr. Beemish had owned the car
for nearly two years, yet the papers were crisp.
Brand new feeling.
Nothing criminal about that, still.....
Only other thing in there was, of course, a pair of gloves.
No family photos, no gum or candy, nothing personal that
identifies the personality of the driver.
Something about the whole scene reminded him of the acting
productions he was in at college.
It all had a staged feel about it.
"Shit, Xander. Get a grip. You're too fuckin' paranoid."
Finally he jerked open back door on the passenger side.
The two cases were still there, untouched.
That's when something else odd struck him. Xander remembered
looking in the suitcase yesterday and finding nothing but
some clean clothes.
If there were no dirty ones in the trunk then it meant he had not
been here more than a couple days, cause God knows there
were no laundromats on this mountain.
So how did a man from New York get here in two days, and
just how many fuckin' sales did he think he was going to make
to people that he assumed couldn't read anyway.
One way or another, Xander had determined he needed to get
some answers from the stranger laying in his bed.
Kneeling down on the wide floor of the back he retrieved
the other case from under the seat. Mr. Beemish had
probably stuck it under there to be out of sight.
That was more than likely what had saved the bottles from
damage in the accident.
Opening it up, he wrinkled his nose in disgust.
Wild Turkey. Red Rose. Black asp.
Some bottles with no label that had obviously been refilled several
The names were all ones he knew well.
Cheap rot gut his father would drink when he could afford it.
But then that was before his own still started producing enough
to drink himself to death.
Xander knew he had found part of what he was looking for.
These were the intimate details of William Beemish's life.
It might not explain who he was, but it sure as hell
told Xander what the injured man was.
He was nothing but a waste of space.
He was a fuckin' drunk.
The alcohol was the family photos and the memorabilia from home.
It was all he needed in his life.
It was all here, glowing gold and shimmering white in these bottles.
The flood of memories of his own childhood came back to him
in a rush, and before he could second guess himself, he made a
Closing the lid of the suitcase, Xander held it high over his head
and slammed it to the ground as hard as he could.
The sound of the smashing glass echoed throughout the woods,
temporarily stopping the singing of birds and chirping of the
tree frogs. Even the breeze flowing through the branches froze.
For a few seconds, the woods stood still waiting to see what
Xander would do next.
Seconds passed and just as suddenly as it stopped, it resumed.
The birds, the frogs, the sound the movement.
It all went on like nothing had happened.
Xander picked up both cases to return to the cabin. Before he
could take one step, a red bird flew down, a cardinal,
wild and free, and to his amazement, landed on the broken
It chirped and looked at him, it's head turned to the side.
Then,showing no fear of him, it flew off.
Four years of college didn't change the inner man.
Xander was mountain, born and bred.
He was raised his whole life to know the signs and omens.
The signposts that life sends you to show you when you are on
the right or the wrong path.
City folk get them too, they are just too busy rushing around
and bein' better than everyone else to see them.
It wasn't something that determined his every move, but he
was smart enough to recognize and respect them when they
Like road pointers his momma used to say. They can aim
you in the right direction if you are smart enough to read them.
Xander considered himself a very smart man.
He took this as a good sign.
He knew he had done right, and any indecision was immediately
Mr. Beemish, the alcoholic, just climbed on the wagon.