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Authors: Darrel Bird

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Riding The Whirlwind

BOOK: Riding The Whirlwind
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Riding The Whirlwind


Darrel Bird

Copyright 2011 by Darrel Bird


Smashwords Edition

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This E-book is a work of fiction. All names,
characters, locations and incidents are products of the author's
imagination or have been used fictitiously. Any resemblance to
actual persons living or dead, locales or events is entirely




Riding The Whirlwind


Part One


Paul Gilford was a failure. He was shy so he
failed to make friends with girls, he failed to make his Dad proud
and so he never heard the words ‘I love you’ from his Dad, he
dropped out of high school, he failed at that, he did get his
G.E.D, join the service and manage to get an honorable discharge
after three full years and go to college, but he knew in his heart
he had really failed at that too. Paul Gilford got good at failing,
if he wasn’t good at anything else, he was good at that.


He got married and had children, and tried to
start a start a T.V. business following college, but he failed at
that too when he got down in his back and couldn’t open the store.
He failed at jobs, not because he couldn’t do anything he put his
mind too, but because he was driven to fail, so he would quit them
and move on.


Finally he moved his family to a quaint
little community near Oregon’s Columbia River.

It was a beautiful little community with
friendly neighbors, surrounded with forest, mountains and water, a
little slice of heaven that was the very ends of the world for Paul
Gilford, because Paul Gilford was a failure. He had skills a
plenty, but there was no work for Paul Gilford in or near the small
town of Mist, Oregon.

The black filthy clouds of depression would
roll in like a sudden thunderstorm and they would roll over him and
roll him under, suddenly, and without mercy, with the stunning
force of a locomotive, disemboweling him, gutting him, raping


Paul kept failing and backing up, lunging at
life again and again, until Mist was where he had backed too, A
tiny town with a two churches, a filling station and a half assed
grocery store.

He had ‘Got saved’ a few years back, but he
figured there weren’t no way he would succeed at that, he did the
best he could, but he figured he would fail God too, after all, if
he couldn’t please his Dad, he sure as hell couldn’t please God now
could he?


The church had gotten to selling ©Amway to
each other and some folks talked him into going to a sales meeting
in Astoria. He drove his Ford clunker down there chasing after some
tiny bit of hope and before the meeting was over he saw the
blankness in the eyes of the believer and knew they didn’t have
squat, but a bunch of hot air, there just weren’t no money in


On his way back depression hit him like a ton
of bricks, he ripped his tie off and the buttons of his suit coat
and that fueled the rage that was building. The clouds of
depression kindled a rage and frustration and out of the core of
that, a rage began at him self so complete in its destroying power
that it became blacker than the inside of hell and hate and self
loathing consumed him in its entirety.


There was a long straight stretch of road
that ended in a curve with a rock face falling down to the road and
he decided to end it all on that rock face. He gave the old Ford
the gas when he hit the straight stretch, but all the old Ford
would get up to was ninety, he ran it up all she would go and his
plan was to just jerk the wheel which would take him head on into
the rock face… done. When he got to the rock face his hand would
not steer that car at that rock cliff, a power greater than his
rage kept the car going straight and he could not bend that wheel!
For three seconds he did not own his own two hands. He went
squealing around the turn not doing anything except take a few
dollars worth of rubber off the tires.

He pulled into a turn out and killed the
engine and there he cried out his frustration, he beat his head on
the steering wheel because he couldn’t even kill himself.

He drove the old Ford on home and walked in
the door of the two story rented house, his suit coat torn open and
a scratch across his chest from his own finger nails, his white
shirt stained with blood, he said nothing to his wife as he climbed
the stairs to bed, and she knew better to question him. When he got
that way it was best to leave him be, and safer too.


He was at the one pump filling station the
next morning as Ron Nash pulled up in his old Chevy pick-up.


“Get any work yet Paul?”


“Nah. You got any?”


Ron Nash was a logger, a simple man who did
hard work snaking trees out of the North Western forests.


“I hear Ryder is looking for a choker setter,
why don’t you scoot on down to their office today before someone
else gets it?”


“I have never set chokers Ron, I wouldn’t
know how to begin.”


“If Ryder takes a liking to you, they’ll show
you.” He shot a stream of brown tobacco juice at a bug crawling on
the gas pump and missed.


“Ok, I’ll go down and see him, and thanks


“Its ok, I know what it is to try to feed a
family. See you at church this Sunday?”


“I don’t know, I might.” The depression had
rolled on leaving its dregs of emptiness, hopelessness and


Ron spat another stream and hit the bug,
contemplated his aim for a minute then cranked his truck and drove
off. The bug scratched and slid down the gas pump as it struggled
for traction in the spit.


Paul pulled in to the Ryder logging office
and yard, which was a trailer, set on concrete blocks out at the
edge of town and looked around at the logging trucks sitting idle.
Grass and weeds were doing their best at reclaiming cast off

The loggers had been hit hard by the economy,
government regulations and the tree huggers who wanted to stop them
from logging. City slickers from Portland and San Francisco who had
never done a days work in their entire life went around the country
yelling about the spotted owl and chaining them selves to tree’s.
He knew nothing about logging accept to avoid the logging trucks
entering the highway with their loads, but he knew if he didn’t get
substantial work they would be on the move again with even less
than they had gotten there with, which was nothing, but what a
broken down station wagon could carry.


Paul hated the cities, only the most
desperate of circumstances could drive him to them and he was
afraid of cities like Los Angeles. He shuddered to think of where
they might end up as he opened the door to the Ryder logging
operations office.


Ryder himself was sitting at a beat up desk
piled with papers, maps and coffee cups, a grizzled man of about
60, his bearded and wrinkled face told of the years in the


“Well close the damned door, we got enough
skeeters in here already.”


“Yes sir.” Paul closed the door gently behind
him and approached Ryder’s desk, the door creaking back open behind


“You have to slam it. I been meaning to get
it fixed.” Bill Ryder had been saying that for fifteen years.


“What can I do for you son?”


“Ron Nash said you were looking for a choker


“Can you set chokers? You don’t look like a
logger to me.”


“No sir, I’m not a logger, but I’m willing to


“Setting chokers is hard work son, it ain’t
no place for a panty waist up there. I had a good choker setter and
he up and moved to Idaho. The son of a bitch left without a


“Well sir, I’m willing to work if you will
give me a shot. I need this job.”


“Family man Huh?”


“Yes sir.”


Ryder pursed his tobacco stained lips and
leaned back in his chair, “You say you know Ron Nash and he put you
up to coming out here?”


“Yes sir, he belongs to my church group.”


“He’s a good man.”


“Yes sir, he is.”


“Well…if he sent you I’m going to give you a
try, you be here at 4 in the morning and the boys will take you on
up there. The pay is fourteen an hour.”


“Go out there and find old Ed Brubaker, he’s
out there working on that red rig and tell him I said get you fixed
up with some cloths and a hard hat and my name ain’t sir, its Bill,
now get on outta here.”


“Yes sir.”


Paul turned to go, “And slam that damned door
behind you!”


Paul slammed the door which didn’t latch and
he slammed it a second time. He looked around at the trucks until
he spotted a red rig with a couple legs sticking out from
underneath the rig.


He walked over to the truck, the legs weren’t
moving and he wondered if something was wrong, he gently tapped a
booted foot and the leg jerked.

A man with a wrinkled bearded face covered
with grease crawled out from under the rig.


“What the hell you want sonny?” He wiped
tobacco juice off his mouth with a dirty sleeve.


“I’m the new choker setter, Bill said to tell
you to get me some cloths and a hard hat.”


“The new choker setter you say? The old man
must be getting desperate. Ok, I’ll see what we can round up.” He
stood up wiping his hands on his greasy pants.


“You ever worked in the woods boy?”


“No sir, I haven’t.”


“Well you cain’t were tight clothing out
there, you got any money?”




“Hmmm… you look about my size, lets go down
to my house and we’ll fix you up with something, but you’ll have to
give it back when you get paid.”

He walked over to a nearby pickup, “Come on
and get in.”


They drove down to a little shack about a
quarter mile down the road and pulled into what passed for a
driveway, the yard was cluttered with over grown weeds and junk, Ed
pulled the truck around to the back of the house. The back door
hung loosely on worn hinges; a dog of questionable breed rose up
from near the door and ambled over to greet them.


“Get out of the way Clyde, go hunt something
you lazy peckerwood, gowan now!”

The dog paid no attention as Ed limped toward
the door.


Clyde followed them in to a room with a
washer and dryer and general mayhem, the place smelled of soiled
clothing, rotten meat and other unidentified smells which made Paul
want to hold his nose.


A soiled set of work clothes hung on a hanger
off a rusty nail on the back wall. The hickory shirt looked like it
had seen better days; the legs of the pants were ripped in two


“These have been hanging here a while, Bill
says I cain’t go back out in the woods no more, gettin’ to long in
the tooth.” He spat a stream of tobacco juice at Clyde as Clyde
nimbly ducked and the tobacco juice hit the floor. “You mights well
have them, hell, you don’t even have to pay me back.”


Paul held the shirt and pants up to him, he
thought they would fit, Ed took a hard hat off another nail and
handed that to him. “You can adjust the band to fit. It’ll do.”


“Put your feet in these corks so I can tell
if they fit” Paul took his shoes off and pull the spiked boot’s on,
they felt a tiny bit sloppy, “They feel a slight bit to large.”


“That’s what you want, you don’t want them
too tight, they fit.”


“I appreciate this Mr. Brubaker. I’ll pay you
for them when I get paid.”


“No sweat kid, just go out there and do a
good job for Bill and he’ll treat you right, you sluff off out
there, he’ll kick your ass off the job so fast it’ll make your head


“I aim to do the best I can.”


“I know you will son.” He clapped him on the
back. “Now come on, I got to get back to the yard.”

BOOK: Riding The Whirlwind
4.05Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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