8.8: Part One
Jeep trundled down the flawed Arizona blacktop, the tires
roaring on the uneven road surface as the Eagles Hotel
California blared from the radio.
MacGyver didn’t notice. He was clutching the wheel
so tightly his knuckles were white, and his fingers strained.
Every now and
again, he’d glance into the rearview and see an
unfamiliar face look back at him.
The hair was
the same long blond mullet as ever, but it was more disheveled,
as if he didn’t care anymore. And long gone were
the clean-shaven features of a Phoenix employee who actually
gave a damn, replaced by a dark beard that changed his
But then, a different
look, for a different, changed man.
That was the
The Jeep coughed
as if to sense his unease, and after a second, the growling
engine cut out leaving the 4x4 to roll to a halt at the
side of the road.
and looked wearily around.
There was nothing
here for miles, save for a long dirt track with tumbleweed
spinning wildly down it. The trail obviously led to a
home of some variety, but who would actually choose to
live in this hellhole was beyond MacGyver.
he climbed from the Jeep and popped the hood, fiddling
aimlessly with the engine as if he cared whether he got
it running or not. After a moment, he ambled to the passenger
door and retrieved a half-drunken bottle of tequila.
Mac turned the
bottle over in his hand and then let out a long breath.
Before he could
take a swig, a Ford pickup emerged from the nearby track
and paused at the blacktop.
The thing looked
like it had done several tours in ‘Nam, complete
with bullet holes. The paint – or what was left
of it, was faded and in places rusted through, but the
driver didn’t seem to care.
As MacGyver watched,
the man jumped from the cab, and it was quickly apparent
that he was as scruffy as the vehicle he rode in. A torn
blue plaid shirt hung out of his faded, filthy jeans,
and long greasy, brown hair poked from beneath an oil-covered
The driver nodded
to Mac, rubbed at the stubble on his chin in thought,
then reached back into the Ford and retrieved a rifle.
But this was no ordinary weapon; it was a state-of-the
art, sniper’s tool.
to pull a gun out when you find a stranded motorist.
MacGyver kept the thought to himself as the man approached.
looks like you got yourself a touch of car trouble?”
The guy bobbed his head towards the stricken Jeep. “My
names Boden, Marcus Boden. Anything I can do to help?”
He sniffed as he spoke, as if he was assessing the situation.
his head. “Nah, I think I spotted the problem. Loose
lead to the distributor,” he offered, not taking
his eyes from the rifle in Boden’s hands.
It was a Barret,
known to the military as an M107 – not exactly the
twelve gauge local yokels usually carried. “Nice
piece of hardware you got there.” He stared at the
gun with an expression that screamed admiration.
to notice and he apparently liked the flattery. “Oh
I know my weapons,” he oozed. “Got me a whole
lot more back at my place.” He gestured back towards
the trail. “I guess you could call me a “collector”
Mac nodded and
finally took a swig of the tequila before offering it
up to the other man.
drinking hard. When he’d finished, he wiped his
mouth across his shirt sleeve, tossed the bottle in the
air and fired, obliterating it into a myriad of glistening
shards that showered them like rain. “I can have
any gun, any time,” he boasted with a grin that
suggested his teeth got way less care then his weapons.
doubt the claim. In fact, he had hoped that was what Boden
was going to say.
was something he wanted – badly.
a certain weapon I wouldn’t mind getting my hands
on, but let’s just say I wouldn’t want the
hassle of all the paperwork to register it…”
He waited, watching Boden’s reaction.
and walked to the edge of the highway, looking out into
the distance as if he expected a police cruiser or worse
to come screaming over the horizon.
There was a stony
silence, only broken by the caw of a bird flying overhead
as it hunted its prey.
turned back, but there was no mention of guns. “You
passing through these parts, or sticking around?”
his eyes as if an extremely painful memory had been awakened.
He shivered, and then seemed to push away the emotion
to look back at Boden. His voice had turned cold, and
his features looked haunted. “I’m just drifting
right now,” he muttered. “Maybe I’ll
stick around tonight, though, if you know a decent motel?”
dryly. “I know lots of motels, but not one of them
is decent around these parts.” He raised a brow
and pointed back the way MacGyver had come. “Bubbly
Betty’s is back that way. It’s about as good
as you’re gonna get.”
Mac nodded his
thanks and slammed down the Jeep’s hood, climbing
back behind the wheel to crank the engine.
watching until the Jeep was back on the road before clambering
back into his own truck.
Instead of carrying
on with a journey, however, he simply turned around and
drove back up the dirt track, as if his sole purpose had
been to toy with MacGyver.
* * *
Betty’s Diner & Motel
on the edge of his bed with his head in his hands. There
was too much information going through his brain to process,
and none of it was pleasant.
He looked up
at the beat up table that he was supposed to dine on,
and his eyes locked with the brown paper bag that took
Huffing, he stood
up and ambled over to it, pulling out a full bottle of
bourbon. He sat the Jack Daniels down and stared at it.
Outside, he heard
the scuffling of boots and guessed he had visitors. Two
seconds later, there was a rough knocking on his door.
open,” he said just loud enough for his guests to
slid the door open and breezed in, followed by another,
younger man who seemed just as scruffy as his fellow traveler.
you don’t mind my bro and me searching you out?”
He turned and jerked a thumb. “This is Mitchell,
my baby brother.”
Mac sniffed as
if he didn’t care one way or the other. “What
can I do for you boys?” He pointed to the bourbon.
“Want a drink?”
his head. “Nah, this is more of a business call…”
forwards, overshadowing his elder. Despite his age, his
face seemed more grizzled – more battle-scarred
and his frame was taller and stockier. “Let’s
cut to the chase? The weapon you wanted with no strings
ironically. “Smith and Wesson 500, complete with
“You like ‘em big, huh? But do you got the
money to pay for the size?”
Mac slipped a
hand into his jeans pocket and brought out a wad of cash.
He tossed it down next to the Jack Daniels. “Good
the wad, slowly counted the money and then looked at his
brother. There were unspoken words between them. Then
he tucked the cash into the top pocket of his torn denim
jacket and nodded. “Okay…if you’re so
interested, c’mon outside and take a ride with us.”
about it, then grabbed the bourbon, cracked off the top
and took a long gulp. “Why not,” he eventually
conceded, following them out to the same Ford he’d
* * *
The Bodens remained
silent on the drive out to some unknown desert spot, and
Mac didn’t care to make conversation with them.
He was here for one reason only, and that didn’t
really include socializing.
The little trip
took about twenty minutes down the highway, and another
twenty bouncing around over rough sand and rocks until
they came to a small impromptu range.
It was a crude
affair, obviously used by the Bodens as their play ground.
Empty broken bottles littered the desert, along with obliterated
soda cans and all manner of homemade targets.
Here and there,
a broken skeleton of a small animal suggested the Bodens
liked to play at killing too, but then that didn’t
at the stubble on his chin again in habit as he watched
Mac examining their handiwork. Then he began to set up
more bottles and even some paper targets that billowed
in the evening breeze.
if I’d wanted to play Dirty Harry…”
Mac started to joke, but Mitchell cut him off, and he
didn’t sound amused.
not here to play,” he barked. “You’re
here to prove to us you can handle a 50 cal before we
let you loose with one, money or not.”
testing me? Why?
Just because there had been a time when he’d abhorred
guns, didn’t mean he couldn’t use one quite
effectively – the army had taught him that.
would be no point in him trying to buy one now.
to the pickup and came back with a Desert Eagle in his
hand. “Not the greatest, but good enough to see
if you can shoot, or if you’re all mouth.”
He pushed the automatic into MacGyver’s palm and
simply waited, staring with deep eyes that bored into
whatever he looked at like a mining drill bit.
Mac turned away
from the searching gaze and instead focused on the targets
that had been set up for him. He felt the weight of the
Eagle and swallowed hard.
This was bringing
back recollections he’d rather have stayed buried.
Pointing a rifle at Murdoc when he’d lost his memory.
Or an automatic at Pete after he’d again gotten
amnesia and been convinced his best friend was a bad guy.
The images in
his brain blurred and moved further back in his history.
Having to prove himself on the rifle range in the army
before he could progress to bomb disposal, and then, the
real crux of it all…
father showing him a gun, and that experience ultimately
costing Jesse his life.
the thoughts as best he could.
What he needed
to remember was why he was here now.
He checked his
weapon’s clip and flicked off the Eagle’s
Then he turned
to the first row of bottles, aimed, and then fired off
three shots in rapid succession until all the targets
were no more than piles of shattered glass.
he spun around to the paper targets, putting a hole right
in the heart of every silhouette.
finished, Mac thumbed the safety back on and passed the
automatic back to Mitchell. “Good enough?”
eyed one another, and then Marcus spoke up. “You’ll
do.” He slapped Mac on the back a little too heartily.
“I’ll get you the Smith and Wesson by tomorrow
a brow. “And just how do I know you won’t
take my money and run?”
More eye contact
between the Bodens, and this time, it was Mitchell who
finally broke the silence. “Because we have another
little proposition for you, if you need work?”
I need work?”
“Well something has to pay for that drinking habit
you seem to have.” He looked Mac up and down cheekily.
“And you ain’t no lottery winner dressing
and acting like that.”
face screwed up as if he was getting angry, but just as
quickly his features changed back into a smile. “Fair
enough, you’re right, I’m…between jobs
right now. If you have something, I might be interested.
What’s it involve?” He rubbed at the back
of his neck absently.
The Bodens wouldn’t
back for their pickup without saying a word.
for just a second. “Stick around, we’ll be
in touch,” was all he’d cryptically offer
before joining his brother back at the Ford.
them go, but even after they’d vanished over the
horizon he couldn’t help but think about the sensation
the Eagle had caused as it sat in his palm.
How the cold
metal had felt against his skin, or how the recoil had
made the muscles in his hand tense.
That, and the
fact that he was now stranded forty minutes into the desert
without a ride back to Bubbly Betty’s.
* * *
walked a couple of miles before he’d gotten back
to the highway and been able to get a ride. Now, as he
sat back at the table in his room, he was feeling tired
and unsure of what he was getting himself into.
Part of his mind
screamed to get in the Jeep and just leave, but the other
half taunted him with what he needed to do, and why.
He stood up and
walked into the tiny, slightly grimy bathroom to look
in the mirror. It was crazy-cracked, but still good enough
to see the stranger reflected back in it.
The person who
had once been Angus MacGyver, hater of guns.
Mac stared into
his own dark eyes, searching his soul, for what?
He rubbed at
the beard that adorned his face, hiding the man, hiding
the truth, perhaps?
at the door, breaking him from his thoughts, and he returned
to the present.
he simply invited.
Marcus breezed back in, and both pulled up chairs at his
table, leaving MacGyver with no choice but to sit on the
edge of his bed. He dropped down heavily and ran a hand
through his unruly mullet.
like a man who can’t sleep?” Marcus smirked
as if he knew something, but then maybe he did. “Got
a few skeletons in your closet, Mac?”
up sharply. He’d never told either Boden his name.
“And your point is?”
a hand under his jacket and came out with a large white
envelope. He dropped it down onto the table. “We’ve
been doing some digging. We like to know all about the
people we offer jobs…”
“So, you got me. I’m a bad boy who got fired
by his previous employer for misbehaving.”
think it was a little more than that.” Marcus emptied
out the envelope and spread out several files, photos
and newspaper clippings. He picked up the first. “Looks
like one Angus MacGyver used to work for the Phoenix Foundation,
and get this, he used to hate guns – wouldn’t
even pick one up.” He paused, scrutinizing Mac for
ago. Another me.” MacGyver’s voice was low,
and his eyes said they were reliving another painful memory.
“You lost some girl on an assignment, what was her
name again?” He picked up one of the files. “Oh
yeah, one Dr Sharon Millward? That was the start of your
little downward spiral out of control, wasn’t it?”
He tossed the file down and picked up another, this one
accompanied by a photo of Sam and Jack Dalton. “Of
course, losing some stranger was nothing compared to losing
your son and best friend because of your own mistake…”
up and turned his back on both men. They were pushing
When he didn’t
respond, Marcus joined in the tirade. “You could
have saved them both if only you’d picked up a gun.
But I guess you paid the price for that mistake. Your
Phoenix file says you got a little psycho after that,
even getting pulled off subsequent assignments for being
fixated with the very things you used to hate. Eventually
they fired you, didn’t they?”
Mac finally turned
back to face Marcus, and there was moisture in his eyes.
He clenched and unclenched his fists as if he had the
uncontrollable desire to punch something – or someone.
he kept his voice level, even if the guttural tone suggested
anger. “So what’s the big deal? I learned
the hard way that sometimes the only thing you can do
is fight fire with fire. It was just a lesson I got taught
too late to save my son…”
He moved to a
cupboard, and pulled out another bottle of tequila. He
shook it at the brothers.
the great Pete Thornton mentioned this in my Phoenix file
too, huh?” Mac set in on the table in front of the
Bodens. “The way I see it, you guys like guns, I
like guns, what do you care how I got to be this way?”
matter,” Marcus pushed. “We don’t want
anyone working for us who’s…emotions or
morals might let them down.”
suddenly. “Then you have nothing to worry about.
I lost any sense of morality the day Sam and Jack died.
The day I killed them by not acting…”
up the tequila bottle and took a gulp. He savored the
taste, licked his lips and then nodded to his sibling.
“Fair enough,” he spoke to Mac. “You’ve
got the job.”
would be doing what?” Mac dropped back down on the
bed, this time lying down with his hands clasped beneath
his head on the pillow. He was staring at the ceiling,
his mind racing again.
going into security for us. Specifically, the gateman
at Fairmount Studios in L.A. The position is yours, no
questions asked, no interview on site. All you have to
do is turn up.”
“All I have to do? C’mon guys, you
don’t recruit someone from the side of the road
to just baby sit a gate?”
pushed up from the table, looked down at the information
spread out on it and then simply walked to the door. Mitchell
followed like a sheep.
As they reached
the opening, Marcus paused and turned. “Just be
on time. You start Monday at 8a.m. Any further instructions
you’ll get later, when we’re ready. Understood?”
silently, but made no move to get up from the bed as they
He lay there
until he heard the low grumble of the Boden’s’
Ford fade into the distance, and then clambered to his
Mac checked the
window, making sure both brothers had left.
quiet, but that didn’t mean the Bodens didn’t
have someone watching him – they seemed the type.
He looked at
his watch, waited a further five minutes, and then grabbed
the Jeep’s keys and his brown leather jacket.
The Jeep was
close to the motel room door, and MacGyver scooted out
to it as stealthily as was possible in broad daylight.
He glanced around,
but apart from a few truckers daring to eat in the diner,
the small lot was empty.
Mac cranked the
4x4’s engine, gunned the gas and raced out onto
the highway so fast he left a dark trail of rubber behind.
The Jeep groaned
as he spun it too quickly out towards the desert and over
the rutted, pothole-filled terrain, but he ignored its
Every few seconds,
MacGyver’s dark eyes darted to the rearview, scouring
the horizon for a tail.
So far he was
in the clear.
He carried on
for another mile anyway, being careful to put himself
a good distance from Betty’s without being out of
range for his car phone to work.
pulled the dust covered Jeep to a halt and killed the
engine. With one last look over his shoulder, he picked
up the phone seated in the center of the car and dialed.
The number seemed
to take an eternity to connect, and once it had, it rang
in his ear even longer before the person the other end
Mac paused as
he heard the voice on the line, the day’s past events
haunting him already.
Could he actually
go through with this?