Jimbo rubbed his nose vigorously, trying not to sneeze. Samuel was opposite him on the other side of the walkway, which was lined with heavy shrubbery. Their hiding places. That darned fly kept coming back and tickling his nose. He could have swatted it any other time, but he didn't want to make any loud noises. The terrorist group Mahmud, dressed in blood red, with dark red knives holstered through red belts and short snub nosed Rat guns, a new release from the Iranians that combined the power of a machine gun with a snub nosed pistol. It could fire hundred two caliber hollow point bullets in less than a second.
One might think that's not so bad, until you realize that at the velocity the bullets travel they will open a tenth penny hole on one side of you and blow out the other the size of a silver dollar. In other words size doesn't matter. Power and point do. You're dead. Bleeded out within several seconds.
He'd seen them practice with one of the weapons on an Egyptian soldier who got in their way. The man hadn't even been able to scream in pain. His body looked like Swiss cheese on one side and shredded tissue paper on the other. He had died instantly. No one walked away from a stream of those bullets.
Samuel could feel Jimbo's anxiety and let his hand rise several inches. A soft radiance glowed about it and then vanished.
Jimbo couldn't see the radiance when it struck him in the heart, but suddenly he felt as easy going as a smooth banana crème pie.
The troops finished passing and he and Samuel rose from their hiding places. Samuel pointed to a building to their left and Jimbo hightailed it there, knowing Samuel would be behind him. Only thing was, when he got to the building, Samuel was nowhere in sight. Then he heard the unmistakable rattle of the Rat guns.
"Damn it!" He roared, then hightailed it down the path, hoping he wasn't too late.
Samuel stood at the other end, surrounded by the Mahmud, their weapons smoking in their hands and everyone of their bullets smoking in a heap about Samuel. Not one bullet had struck him. Samuel just stood there with the most devilish of smiles, his hands out, the palms glowing a brilliant white.
Finally, the Mahmud ran. Not towards Samuel, but towards Jimbo.
Jimbo dove from their path. Not one of them slowed to try and catch him. He saw a brief glimpse of the face of one of them as he passed and the man's eyes were as big as moons. He ran as if all the Ifrits in Arabia were after him.
"They are." Samuel said as he gave his friend a hand up.
Jimbo turned to watch the Mahmud scramble for their jeeps, hop in, swerve in circles of dusty clouds, then race towards the horizon, leaving the grassy area Jimbo and Samuel stood within untouched and unharmed.
"But not for long." Samuel answered to Jimbo's unspoken thoughts.
"You're right." Jimbo said. "We've got work to do."
And they did. Rescuing the son and daughter of a teacher who was preaching peace to all men in the Middle East. His name was Gandhi Mohammed, and he bore an uncanny resemblance to all the portraits that had come down through time of the real Mohammad. His eyes were large and luminous and his children were all equally as bright and beautiful in their own ways.
They reached his humble abode, which had been surrounded by the brief grounds of shrubbery and grass. To the sides were simple gardens, with vegetables growing and clothing hanging from clothing lines strung from one post to another, flapping in the hot, arid winds of the desert they were in.
"God is with you." Gandhi told them as they hustled up to his porch, both breathing hard.
"Grab your children. We must hurry before they realize those weren't real demons after them." Samuel croaked, his throat dry from the hot desert air and the exertion of will he had just made to defend the humble abode.
Gandhi smiled patiently. "I will not be leaving here. Not now. Not ever."
Samuel and Jimbo exchanged looks of surprise.
"But I thought you hired us to rescue you." Samuel finally blurted out, confused and puzzled by the man's attitude.
Gandhi motioned to them. "Come inside. My daughter and son have prepared something to drink and eat for us."
They went inside. The interior of the home was as simple and humble as the exterior. All the furniture were handmade, and carefully crafted. The stove was a clay stove on the floor in front of which Darmilla, Gandhi's oldest daughter squatted warming up flat bread for their repast. Several moments later Desh, the son, came inside with a bucket brimming with fresh well water. He brought it to a counter, also handmade and then began filling clay mugs from it.
Gandhi said no more, but helped his children distribute the bread and water about the table, motioning to Jimbo and Samuel to sit as he did so. They sat, no longer confused, but wondering if the man had lost his mind.
Finally, Gandhi sat down and began breaking his bread. Before he put it into his mouth, he dipped it into water. "May the waters of Allah purify my soul."
He raised the wet bread to his mouth. "May the bread of Allay feed my heart and mind."
He ate the bread.
The children repeated the prayers, then looked sideways at Samuel and Jimbo to see what they would do. Samuel grinned good-naturedly, and repeated the prayers, followed by Jimbo, who said God instead of Allah.
"Sorry, Mister Gandhi, but I'm not really the Allah type of fellow." Jimbo apologized.
Gandhi and the children burst into laughter.
"What's so funny?"
"Allah and God are one and the same. There is no difference. You drink water in America. You drink water in Arabia. Water is water." Gandhi explained.
Samuel smiled at the confusion on Jimbo's face. "Just accept it, Jimbo. You won't win this one."
Jimbo nodded and began tearing into his bread big time. In a matter of seconds he had it finished and Darmilla scrambled back to the oven and pulled out a warming plate of ten or more to place on the simple table they sat at.
"But you still haven't explained why you're not leaving." Samuel said, after having ate one piece of the bread, which felt light in his stomach and very filling.
Gandhi finished his own bread, as if having not heard a word, then wiped his hands on a simple cloth and looked into Samuel's eyes.
"There never was any danger."
"What do you mean?"
"God tests us all, Mister Light, does he not?"
Samuel shrugged. He didn't disagree, he just didn't get the point.
Gandhi smiled. "I just wanted to see the two of you, and to thank you for the service you have offered my people and the people of the world. That is what I wanted the rescue from. From not thanking you."
He rose, then motioned to the door.
"When you return tomorrow. All will be explained. For now, be at peace and God be with you!"
Samuel and Jimbo got up. Jimbo snatched a couple more slices of the flat bread. The children burst into renewed peals of laughter, but said nothing.
Jimbo blushed and hurried outside, and Samuel followed him.
"Man, that has got to be one of the strangest dinners I've been invited to." Jimbo finally said, after polishing off the last of the breads.
They cut to the left and sought the shelter they had made earlier in the day. It was well hidden in the sands of the desert, using a cloth that blended with the sand colors. Beneath it was their jeep and supplies. Both men settled in for the night and laid down quietly to rest.
"Do you believe in demons?"
"Not really. Why?"
"Nothing. Just wondering is all."
Samuel was just about to drift off to sleep when Jimbo spoke again. "I believe in angels."
Samuel sat up so fast he banged his head on the open door of the jeep. "Owww!"
Samuel rubbed the sore spot and lay back down.
"What brought that burst of silliness?"
Jimbo rolled over and looked at Samuel, the faint moonlight of the desert Moon shining inside their camouflaged tent.
"I don't know. We've been through so much by now. I've got to start believing in miracles sometime, even with all your stupid powers."
Samuel laughed. "Go to sleep. We got to get up early and say goodbye to Gandhi and his children."
"Yeah. There's that." Jimbo said with a yawn. "Night, pal."
"Good night." Samuel said, falling into a peaceful sleep that night that he hadn't experienced in a long time.
When he woke up in the morning, Jimbo had everything packed and ready to go. Even the tent was down and packed into the back of the jeep. Samuel rolled up his sleeping bag, tossing out a lizard in the process. He picked it up and put his hand on it. "Sorry little guy."
The lizard's head perked up and its eyes rolled as a gentle green light flooded its shape. He set the lizard down and it looked up at him, then almost smiled and shot off like a rocket.
Jimbo started up the jeep and headed back towards the house. As they drove Samuel and Jimbo became more and more alarmed. The shrubs were gone. The path was gone.
Jimbo looked at his dash. "We should be seeing the house, where is it?"
He pulled the jeep to a stop and they both climbed out. They walked the area for about twenty yards in all directions, but no signs of anything having ever been there before.
Then they climbed back into the jeep and rushed towards where the other jeeps of the Mahmud had been. No marks there either.
"No storm last night." Jimbo drawled in his husky Texan accent.
"Jimbo. I get it." Samuel said, relaxing against his seat finally, the tension flowing away.
"Why you should believe in angels." Samuel answered cryptically.
They spent the rest of their drive pondering what they had experienced, and it wasn't until both of them climbed off the stairway from the Southwestern Airlines flight into Las Vegas that Jimbo announced. "They were angels. Damn!"
Samuel smiled. "Al would be glad to hear you believe in him."
Al appeared in front of them grinning. Samuel waved.
Jimbo talked towards where he thought Al was. "I think I believe in angels now."
But Al was not in that spot. He was to the right. A very pretty red head was in Jimbo's line of vision. She perked up at his words, then grinned.
She came to him and reached out a hand. "You're from Texas, aren't you?" She asked.
Samuel nodded to Jimbo and he headed towards the lounge with the redhead, talking up a storm. Al dropped back alongside Samuel as he headed for the lounge too.
"Can't win them all, Sam."
"How about one?"
Al laughed, then like the wise man he was...he vanished.