Chapter 6

The sun's rays had to work a little harder to catch up to the two old Stingrays as they thundered Westward along the PCH towards Malibu. Everything else was left in the dust. The twin black and blue streaks could almost have been a single vehicle, they were so closely matched. They parted momentarily to flow around a couple of cars doing a third of their speed. Then again moments later, and again. The early morning commuter traffic was building more quickly on the PCH, than it had back in the Malibu hills, and within moments both men slowed and merged into the growing congestion.

It took a determined effort for Milt to relax his iron grip on the wheel, relax his shoulders, and begin to unwind from the unexpected flight of fancy. He glanced left again, and the black Vette's driver threw him a salute that hinted at a military background, and that revealed a missing pinky finger. Then a thumbs-up and a broad smile. Milt stared at him for several seconds, "judge mode" instinctively kicking in, trying to size him up, to guess what sort of life had produced a man like this, and what strange twist of fate had caused their paths to cross. Whoever or whatever he was, Milt came to the conclusion he must be one of the "good guys", and smiled and waved back. Then he pulled in front, slowed, and turned into the driveway of Gulls Way. The Black Vette slowed as well, but didn't follow. Milt threw him one last wave over his shoulder as the black wrought iron gates closed.

Milt coasted to a stop and took a deep breath. Wristwatch. Pulse. After all he'd been through, he couldn't hide the triumphant grin that spread across his face seconds later. He turned the radio on again, and was greeted by a bouncy melody

Oh well, a touch of grey

Kind of suits you anyway

That was all I had to say

And it's all right

I will get by

I will get by

I will get by

I will survive

Milt threw back his head and laughed, as he slid the Vette into first and idled up the driveway towards the house. Still smiling, he studied the gatehouse windows carefully as he passed... nothing. Good! He felt like a million bucks, like a new man, and the last thing he wanted right now was an awkward explanation, with McCormick throwing more verbal darts at him. Sure they would come eventually, it was a cornerstone of their strange relationship, and Milt felt like he could fend off a million of them. But not now... not this morning.

As the rumble from the idling V8 crept past, a shadow moved in an upstairs window of the gatehouse. A curtain fluttered. A second smile flashed in the early morning sunshine. And dark curly hair bobbed slightly as a head nodded in approval. But no one heard the quiet voice, tinged with admiration, whisper "Ride on Kemosabe. Ride on..."