Sergeant Nathan Seven Elks had a rage on him so hot it was likely to pop the blue and red lights on the roof of his patrol car. His hand hovered over the parking brake as he considered doing a skid-turn. But no; these roads through wild, sagebrush Idaho carried so much grit the tires would probably bite and he'd end up on his roof.
He watched the beat up old truck recede in his rear view mirror and swore through his teeth. 'Those Williams boys - sons of. Get what's coming to 'em one day.'
Nathan's guts twisted inside him as he imagined Billy and Jimmy Williams laughing at him, but then, cresting one of the many humps in the road ahead was Johnny Hawk's big old sedan - straight out of the sixties with never a new paint job since.
The anger began to subside. Johnny as a good kid. Got drunk once in a while, rowed with his Ma, but kept himself out of the heavy stuff.
Johnny flashed his headlights, sounded his horn and steered over the double whites. The Hell's going on today? thought Nathan. They all taking lessons in cop-baiting?
Perhaps not. Johnny was leaning out his window waving him down. He looked almost white, and he a full blooded Blackfoot. Nathan flipped a switch which set the roof lights strobing. The cruiser and the sedan pulled up door to door, a maneuver Nathan wouldn't even consider with someone he didn't know very well.
'What up Johnny!' said Nathan, voice calm - almost flat. 'What's biting your tail?'
'I got a kid in here. Found him on the road a ways back. I think he's dying.'
'Hit by a car?' said Nathan, craning his neck to get a look in the back of Johnny's sedan.
'No. I don't think so. He's not all mashed up or anything - just kinda twitching and snorting. And he got no shoes. Been robbed I reckon.'
An image shot through Nathan's mind, of the Williams boys bushwhacking the kid and swiping his shoes. 'Them no good Williams sons. You turn that heap around quick and follow me.'
'Okay Bear. The County hospital?'
'Nope! Too far. We'll take him to Medicine Dove.'
By the time Johnny turned his car, Nathan's cruiser was just a set of flashing lights and a cloud of dust. Johnny put the pedal to the metal. The kid slumped on the back seat and breathed deep and heavy - out for the count.