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The Monkey Wrench Gang 28


  “What about your … fingerprints?” he panted.

  “What finger … prints?”

  “On the carbine.”

  “Won’t do them … any good.”

  “Oh no? They can … trace anybody … for chrissake.”

  “Not me.” Bonnie ran, proud hair streaming, breathing hard but steady. “I have never … been fingerprinted … in … my … life.”

  Hayduke was impressed. Well I’ll be fucked, he thought. “Never even once?”

  “Not even once.”

  All went well. Sun down, the hasty desert twilight darkened swiftly into night. The sky like a purple colander admitted points of starry light from the burning sphere beyond. No aircraft appeared. Hayduke recovered the fencing pliers and chain saw (property of Dr. Sarvis). They walked through the night back to the jeep which they also found, after a number of false ventures, under its Vietnam camouflage net, undisturbed.

  As they were removing the net, folding it up and packing it away, they heard the unnecessary sirens, saw the superfluous whirling red lights of a Navajo Tribal Police van charging down the highway toward the bonfire of the helicopter. Standing on the hood of the jeep while Hayduke packed, Bonnie watched the police van stop, turn and charge through a barbed-wire fence and across the dunes toward the fire. The truck advanced a hundred yards before bogging down in the sand. She could see, even by the poor light of the stars, that the van’s rear end was sinking deeper and deeper as the man at the wheel (Officer Nokai Begay) kept on stubbornly gunning his engine while his assistant (Officer Alvin T. Peshlakai) stood outside waving a flashlight in his eyes and shouting instructions. Their wheels were still spinning, their motor howling, their voices still yelling when Hayduke slipped his own vehicle, lights out, quietly back to the highway.

  The highway should be swarming with les flics? Quite so. Hayduke kept his lights off and when the first headlights appeared coming his way he turned the keep onto the wagon road which paralleled the highway. Stopped and waited. An unmarked car rushed past, followed immediately by another.

  He turned back on the highway and followed it for another ten miles, driving without lights. Dangerous? Perhaps. But not impossible. Hayduke had not too much difficulty staying on the road. Bonnie Abbzug chewed her anxious knuckles and offered plenty of unwanted advice like, “For God’s sake turn the lights on. You want to get us both killed?” His only immediate worry was horses: hard enough to see horses at night even with the lights.

  They arrived at the dirt road leading northeast to Shonto and Betatakin. Hayduke turned and once well away from the state road switched on the lights. They made good time, stopping only at a lonely spot out in the desert, between two wind-stripped, dead and silvery junipers to recover the goods, packed in heavy canvas duffel bags, which the Gang had cached there after the railway bridge operation. That had been Hayduke’s idea—he wanted the dynamite in the bags for what he called “sanitary” reasons and for easier backpacking later. Abbzug had salvaged the empty boxes; that was her idea.

  As Hayduke loaded the two bulging bags into the rear she again complained, “I’m not going to ride in the same car with that stuff!” but again—“Walk then!”—she was overruled. They trundled on. Getting low on fuel. Hayduke stopped near the familiar Park Service campground at Betatakin. He groped under the seats until he found his Oklahoma credit card, a length of neoprene tubing—My leetle robber hose, señor, as he called it fondly—and disappeared into the darkness with siphon and two gasoline cans.

  Bonnie waited, rehearsing once again all the tedious questions about her own sanity. No question at all about that of her companion, or that polygamous jack-Mormon river guide, or poor mad Doc. But what am I doing here? Me, a nice Jewish girl, with an M.A. in Classical (yech!) French Lit. With a mother who worries about me and a father who makes 40,000 a year. Forty thousand what? Forty thousand ladies’ foundation garments, what else. Me, Abbzug. A solid, sensible gril with a keppela on her shoulders. Running around with these crazy goyim in the middle of Arabia. We’ll never get away with it. They got laws.

  Hayduke came back, two full cans pulling his arms down straight. Groping again under the front seats—copping as he did a free feel between Bonnie’s thighs—he found his spout and poured ten gallons into the tank. Started to walk away again with the empties.

  “Where’re you going now?”

  “Got to fill the auxiliary tank.”

  God! Gone. She waited, cursing herself, wanting to sleep and quite unable, dozing in fits and waking up in terror.

  Sound and smell of pouring gasoline. They were off again, into the night, running as Hayduke liked it best, full and cool. With transfigured license plates both fore and aft. “We’re from South Dakota tonight,” he explained.

  Bonnie groaned.

  “Relax,” he said, “we’re crossing the river soon. We’re getting out of this overdeveloped hypercivilized goddamn fucking Indian country. Going back to the canyons where people like us belong. They won’t find us in a million years.”

  “Ought to call Doc,” she mumbled.

  “We will. Soon as we get to Kayenta. We’ll stop at the Holiday Inn, have some coffee and pie.”

  That thought cheered her for a moment. The image of bright lights. Formica-topped tables, central heating, actual regular dues-paying American citizens with shaves! and haircuts! eating New-York-cut steaks with two vegetables on the side, salad, warm rolls wrapped in a cloth, a split of wine—no! yes!—recalled home, and decency, and hope.

  The road passed through a galvanized tunnel underneath the Black Mesa & Lake Powell Railroad. Hayduke stopped.

  “Now what?”

  “This’ll only take a minute.”

  “No,” she cried, “no. I’m tired and I’m hungry and the police are all over the reservation and I’m scared.”

  “Only take a minute.” He was gone.

  She put her face in her hands and cried a little, then dozed off. In her dreams she heard the click of snapping fence cutters, the vicious whine of something like a tiger in the jungle of the night, sinking its teeth into helpless flesh. She was awakened by the sound of a crash, authoritative, and a cacophonic jangle of falling wire.

  Hayduke rushed back, breathing hard, scowling with ill-suppressed delight. He jumped in, jumped the clutch and burned away, turned left at the highway and drove north toward Kayenta, Monument Valley, Mexican Hat, the trackless canyons of Utah—escape.

  Passing through Black Mesa Junction in a light traffic of summer tourists, Navajo pickups and state police, they saw the lights of the loading depot burning brightly. Separate power source. The coal conveyor, bridging the highway forty feet above their heads, was also moving. Slowing his jeep, Hayduke stared at this critical node of the power complex.

  “Keep going,” she said.

  “All right,” he said. “Sure.”

  But one mile farther and he had to stop. He pulled off on a side road, shut off lights and cut the motor. He looked at Bonnie’s pale face in the dark.

  “Now what’s the matter?” she said, coming fully awake.

  “Got to,” he muttered.

  “Got to what?”

  “Take a piss.”

  “What else?”

  “Finish the job.”

  “I thought so. I knew it. Well listen to me, George Hayduke, you’re not going to do it.”

  “Got to finish the job.”

  “Well I’m not going with you. I’m tired. I need some rest. I’ve had enough explosions and fires and wrecks and guns. I’m sick of it all. Sick of it. Sick of it. Just sick of it.”

  “I know.” And as he took out his backpack and stuffed it with the food and water and tools he would need, he gave his girl her working orders. She would drive on and wait for him at the Holiday Inn at Kayenta; who could think of a safer place? How much money did she have? About forty dollars. She could use her father’s Gulf Oil card, good at Holiday Inns. Establish credit and credibility. Never mind the risk. Too late now. Take a hot
bath. Call Doc and Smith, arrange a meeting at the abandoned Hidden Splendor Mine, on Deer Flat near Woodenshoe Butte. If he, Hayduke, didn’t make it to Kayenta by night after tomorrow, she should leave the jeep there and go on to Hidden Splendor with Doc and Seldom. Tell Doc not to forget the magnesium. Very important. What else? He removed one of the duffel bags from the jeep, and the chain saw, sharpener and fuel can.

  “I wish you wouldn’t do this,” she said. “You need rest too.”

  “Don’t worry, I’ll be under a tree somewhere tomorrow and I’ll sleep all day.”

  “You haven’t had a decent meal since noon.”

  “I got enough gorp and jerky in the pack to last me a week. Also we got a cache near here. Take off.”

  “Tell me what you’re going to do.”

  “You don’t want to know. You’ll read about it in the papers.”

  She sighed. “Give me a kiss.” He gave her an impatient kiss.

  “Do you love me?” she asked. He said he did.

  “How much?” she wanted to know.

  “Will you get the fuck out of here!” he roared.

  “All right all right, you don’t have to yell.” Sitting now behind the wheel of the jeep, she started the motor. Her eyes shone with moisture in the dim glow from the dashboard. He didn’t care. She raised a knuckled forefinger to her cheeks and rubbed away the preliminary leakage. Exchanging his hard hat for the salt-rimed leather sombrero, he didn’t even notice. She raced the engine. “Can I have your attention for a moment?”

  “Yeah?” Pulling on gloves, he stared at the bright lights of the loading towers.

  “Just one thing I want to say to you, Hayduke, before I go. Just in case I never see you again.”

  He looked everywhere but at her. “Try to make it short.”

  “Bastard. You sonofabitch. What I wanted to say is I love you, you ugly sonofabitch.”

  “Fine.”

  “Did you hear me?”

  “Yes.”

  “What did I say?”

  “You love me and I’m glad. Now get the hell out of here.”

  “Good-bye.”

  “Good-bye!”

  Eyes blurred, she drove away. Alone, buzzing down the asphalt trail to Kayenta, heart beating, her pistons leaping madly up and down, Bonnie Abbzug relapsed into the sweet luxury of tears. Hard to see the road. She turned on the windshield wipers but that didn’t help much.

  Alone at last (Jesus Christ what a relief) Hayduke unbuttoned the fly of his jeans and fumbled it out and staled proudly, like a stallion, upon the hard ground, the beer cans and pop bottles, the squashed aluminum and broken glass, the plastic six-pack carriers and forgotten wine jugs of Navajoland USA. (Jesus Christ what a relief.) As he pissed he saw particulated images of stars a hundred thousand light years beyond our solar system glittering briefly, but bravely, on the trembling mirrors of his golden dew. He pondered for a moment the oceanic unity of things. Like the witch doctors say, we are truly all one. One what? What difference does that make?

  The grandeur of his reflections gave him solace as he bent to his lonely and ill-rewarded labors. Reconstituted, the chain saw in one hand, the loaded duffel bag in the other hand and an eighty-pound pack on his broad mortal back, George W. Hayduke tramped forward—a staunch and unplacated force—toward the clanking apparatus the tough red eyes the armored jaws the tall floodlit and brazen towers of … the Enemy. His enemy? Whose enemy? The Enemy.

  23

  At the Hidden Splendor

  Bonnie raised her stick from the juniper coals and checked the cremated marshmallow impaled on the tip. She pulled it off with her teeth and swallowed it down in one gulp, like a burnt oyster.

  “I always thought only little childern ate them things,” Smith said.

  “Well, I like them,” Bonnie said, “and I’m an old crone of twenty-eight. Doc, hand me some more.”

  He tossed her the bag; she put another on the stick. Sun going down behind the Henry Mountains. Cool shadows sweeping down from Elk Ridge. Below, a thousand feet down and five miles south by line of sight, the nude rock of Natural Bridges National Monument shone dull gold in the waning evening light.

  Waiting.

  She sighed. “Let me see those newspapers.” Munching on her crisp black marshmallow, she read for the fourth time—or was it the tenth?—the account, on page eleven, of recent depredations in the Black Mesa area. Authorities Reveal Widespread Sabotage. Coal Train Derailed Second Time. Steel wedges found near tracks. Mysterious explosion blows top offloading and storage towers. Name scrawled in sand: “Rudolf the Red, Native Avenger.” Investigations continue. Police suspect large-scale organized band known as “Crazy Dogs.” Renegade clan from Shoshone tribe. Coal conveyor destroyed by explosives in four different places. Gem of Arizona, world’s largest dragline excavator, partly destroyed by fire in engine room. Damage estimated at one and a half million dollars. Only clue: “Rudolf Knows.” Power line leading to strip mine cut for second consecutive night. Message scrawled in sand: “Rudolf the Red Knows.” Cooling fins riddled with bullet holes, 80,000-volt transformer ruined. Pipe fitters strike in third week. Railway and power lines patrolled by aircraft. Coal company officials mystified and angered by wave of vandalism, “Work of idiots,” says Arizona Public Service Company Environmental Coordinator. Secret monitoring device installed on coal conveyor. Pipe fitters’ union denies allegation of industrial sabotage. “Remember Fort Sumner—Rudolf.” Tribal Council promises inquiry into secret Navajo dissident group known as Ch’indy Begays (Sons of the Devil). “Remember Wounded Knee—Rudolf the Red.” American Indian Movement denies any knowledge of Black Mesa incidents. Arizona Department of Public Safety, Navajo Tribal Police and Coconino County Sheriff’s Office request assistance from FBI.

  Bonnie folded the paper in disgust. “I don’t see why they have to bury us in the back pages. We worked hard.” She extended a hand to Doc. “Let me see that other paper. No, the old one. Last week’s.”

  She opened last week’s paper (the Arizona Republic, Phoenix) to page seventeen and looked at her picture again, an “artist’s conception” based on verbal descriptions by the helicopter pilot and the Burns security guard. A poor likeness, she thought. Her hair too dark, her chest much too prominent. “Why do they have to make me look like Liz Taylor?” she complained.

  “What’s wrong with that?” Doc said.

  “It’s not just, that’s what’s wrong with it. Liz Taylor is an overweight, double-chinned, middle-aged matron. I am a petite and strikingly beautiful young woman.”

  “I’d call the drawing an idealization.”

  “You would.” She looked at Hayduke’s picture. The drawing showed simply the head and bulky shoulders of a man wearing a construction worker’s helmet and a bandanna which covered all of his face but the eyes.

  HELICOPTER DESTROYED IN FIRE. Pilot and guard assaulted and robbed by saboteur and female companion. (“Female companion” indeed.) Discovered near site of power-line sabotage, girl fled when approached for questioning. Caught by pilot and security guard, abducted at gunpoint by construction worker wearing handkerchief as mask, both wanted for questioning by authorities. (“Abducted!”) Armed and dangerous. Pipe fitters deny any involvement. Rudolf the Red is not an Indian, asserts Navajo Tribal Chairman. Rudolf the Red is an Indian, insists Jack Broken-Nose Watahomagie, self-styled “war chief” of the Shoeshine Crazy Dogs. Speculations rife. Indian or non-Indian, these depredations are the work not of one man but of a well-organized and large-scale conspiracy, informed sources disclosed privately. Coal company has long history of labor troubles.

  Bonnie refolded the paper. “What rubbish.” She made as if to toss it in the fire. “Do we need this anymore?”

  “Save it for George,” Doc said. “He’ll get a big kick out of it.”

  “Don’t put anything more on the fire,” Smith said. “Gettin’ too dark. Gotta let that fire die out. Don’t want ol’ J. Dudley Love to spot us from down below there, do we now.”


  “He’s looking for all of us, eh?” says Doc.

  “Well, we’re what they call wanted for questioning.”

  “How did he get my name?”

  “I figure he must of got it from that pilot picked you up at Fry Canyon that time.”

  “That pilot is a friend of mine.”

  “No comment.”

  Bonnie studied her watch in the coagulating dusk. “That George,” she said, “is now exactly four days and five hours late.”

  Nobody said anything. They watched the dying fire and thought each his own and her own thought. And that thought which each thought secretly was: Maybe we’ve gone far enough. Maybe George has gone too far. Maybe it’s time to stop. But only Doc would confess it.

  “You know what I’ve been thinking,” he said. The others waited. He took a puff on his stogie, savored the smoke, expelled it in a flat blue stream. Poorwills called from the oak brush. Bats gathered and dispersed, out hunting under the blue-gold sky. “I’ve been thinking that after we finish this bridge job …”—if George ever gets here, that is, but he did not speak the thought—“that perhaps we should, well, give ourselves a bit of vacation. Say for a few months, at least. Only a few months,” he added quickly, as he noticed Bonnie appear to stiffen. “Then, when things are quiet again and this area is not so hot, we can, so to speak, resume.”

  They considered the proposition in silence, a long pause following Dr. Sarvis’s remarks. The coals of the fire shone on. Waves of darkness moved westward over the plateaus. Nighthawks patrolled for supper.

  “We’re not deciding anything until George gets here,” Bonnie said. Chin set, lips compressed, she stared darkly into the remains of the fire.

  “Of course,” Doc said. “But the rest of us have to make contingency plans all the same.”

  “Doc, you know what I found yesterday down there at the mine works?” Smith said. “You see that big tank sets up above the road, on that wooden frame? That thing is half full of diesel fuel. Yessir. Five hundred gallons of diesel fuel in that thing if there’s a drop.”