The had entered Tucumcari an hour earlier and were pushing through the second neighborhood in search of bikes. They had managed to find another child trailer and had already hooked it up to the newest bike, which Amy now rode.
Rocky barked and chased a squirrel up a nearby tree as they approached a large, two-story house. They forced the garage door open but moved on when they realized it was empty. They searched three more streets, each trip into a garage leaving them more hopeless.
“What about that house?” Kyle asked, pointing to another cookie cutter house. Sitting in the driveway was a grey Range-Rover with a bike rack hanging from the back door.
“Sure, kiddo, why not.” Peter said, heading up the driveway. The door to the garage was already open six inches. As they had with every house so far, Zach and Brian stood ready with guns in hands as Peter lifted the door. They wasted a bullet as a black cat came screeching out of the garage, Rocky quicklygiving chase.
Kyle looked after the two animals and made to go after them, but his mother rested a hand on his shoulder. “We’ll get Rocky before we leave, let him blow off some steam.”
Peter was already in the garage, trying to pull down the bicycle from it’s mounts on the ceiling. “Good find,” He called out to the boy.
“Really good find,” Zach said, pulling down a cardboard box with an infant trailer designed for twins pictured on it. “Tell you what, Brian, you stay here with me, keep your gun ready while I build this, and the rest of you can search more houses.”
“You sure?” Amy asked, and Zach grabbed a few tools off of the walls. “Yeah, this’ll be easy.”
Over the next hour, Peter and his group found one more bike, bringing there total to six, leaving the need for only one. They had also found another pump, as well as a few cans of vegetables with the labels partially torn away. They had also been joined by Rocky, who had given up his chase of the cat.
Zach had not fared so well and only had half of the trailer built.
“Need a hand?” Peter said, walking up.
“Maybe,” Zach admitted, unfolding the instructions before him. Together, along with the instructions, they managed to assemble the carrier, and transferred almost all of the remaining supplies to it.
“Ok, we could use one more of these things,” Amy said, indicating the trailer, as she threw in the last package of food, macaroni and cheese, that had been forgotten at the bottom of the basket long ago.
“And one more bike.” Peter said.
“Well, let’s head back to the main road and we will see what we find along the way.”
They zigzagged down the streets of weed-riddled lawns, checking in every garage they could force open, but struck out as they came to the main street heading towards the highway.
“Well, this sucks,” Brian said, walking and pushing the last shopping cart.
“We’ll find you something.” Julie said, riding circles around the young man.
“You want to ride now?” Julie asked, coming to a stop beside him.
“Sure,” He said and they switched places.
They rode, slowly, allowing Julie to keep up for another hour, placing them on the outskirts of the city.
It was then that the man in the blue apron showed up again, this time leading a brunette woman across a truck stop parking lot.
“Hold it right there,” Peter called out to them, and they both stopped.
“I told you earlier that I did not want any trouble,” The man called out, raising both hands in the air, as did the woman, who happened to be carrying a revolver.
“We heard you.”
“Then can’t we just move along?” The woman said with a thick French accent.
Peter glanced at his companions, who all nodded, save Amy.
“Miss, would it make you feel better if I told you where you could find another bicycle?”
“Sure,” Amy said, smiling at Brian.
The man and the woman argued amongst themselves before finally, “It’ll cost you. Four cans of food.”
“We don’t need the bike that badly.” Peter said, feeling the glare from his group.
“Ok, two cans.”
“You get them after we see the bike.”
“Sure thing man. Name’s Henry.”
“Hello Henry, I’m Peter, and this is Zach,” He said. “The rest of you wait here. We’ll be back in a few.”
Peter made a show of checking the ammunition in his shotgun and the pistol at his hip and Zachariah followed suit, before the three men took off, after Henry told the Frenchwoman to stay put. “This better not be a trick.”
“It isn’t, not with you guys having all of that firepower.” They walked back through a maze of the remaining eighteen wheelers, the trailers all busted open and raided. They stood before a candy-apple red Peterbuilt rig, and Henry said, “On the back of that one, in between the trailer and the cab.”
Peter nodded to Zach who went to take a look. “I’ll be damned,” Zach said, climbing up onto the flat of the cab. He took a knife from his belt and began to cut at the bungee cords, and soon had dropped an ten speed down to the ground.
“Nice doing business with you,” Peter said, nudging Henry, who took the hint and headed back to his companion. It was nearing dark once everything had been shifted enough that they could completely abandon the shopping carts, after having given the couple two cans of vegetables, a corn and a baked beans.
“Do we trust them to stay away?” Julie said, watching the pair walk westward.
“I don’t think we can get far enough away from them tonight, even with the bikes, that if they really wanted to, they could try something. We’ll just have to be extra vigilant.”
“They have no bullets. That’s what they were arguing about, Bullets or food.” Brian said, smiling.