Ruby's and Roo's Adventures in Austin - continued
Chapter 2 - continued
With a crazed shirtless man riding next to me, I managed the characteristically sharp turns, which skirted towering cliffs of limestones, of RR 2222. I glanced in my left mirror and saw a little red Miata sports car speeding along. When it passed us, we both observed that the blonde, Julie, was driving and that Roo was in the front passenger seat.
My shirtless friend said, “What the fu--“
I interrupted, “Jesus H. Christ, she has Roo!”
He said, “Follow her! She knows the coordinates for the next geocache location!”
I said, “She’s got my dog!”
I followed her to the turn-off for Mount Bonnell. When I made the turn, I started to laugh. I said, “Oh, ha-ha, ha-ha, that’s a good one.”
He said, “What’s so funny?”
I said, “Your friend with the gun kept asking where his cash was. Did he think the geocache was money?”
He said, “Fielder always was the dumbest one in the family.” We shared an uncomfortable laugh.
I said, “It is a fun game. I have done it several times. You go to the website and pick the locations you want to go to and obtain the geographic coordinates. I have a GPS, or you can use your phone. I found a metal tube in one of the most creative spots -- it was in a very small magnetic tube that looked like a bolt and was attached to a metal light post. It looked so real. The log book had barely been signed. Not too many people had found that one. Sometimes there are many phases to one cache. Like you have to find one, read the clue or figure out the puzzle for the next coordinates. They can be a lot of fun.”
He gave me an annoyed look and said, “Yeah, my aunt was a real card. She thought it was a great idea to send us on a treasure hunt to find our inheritance.”
I said, “I think Julie is probably going to Mount Bonnell. Did you know that Mount Bonnell was formed due to a fault with over 600 feet of throw? We’re in the Balcones Fault Zone, which was formed when...”
Rudely interrupting my geology lesson, he said, “Shut up.”
When I sneered back at him, I got an idea and said, “I can be a big help to you. It can be really tricky to find the actual location of the cache, even once you have arrived at the correct coordinates. If there is a puzzle or code to figure out, I am your woman!”
Giving me that dumb look again, which must by now mean that he was thinking, he paused for a second. Sneering, he said, “Okay, sister, but you will do what I tell you.”
Having that feeling I just ate cotton wool, I said, “I am not your sister.” I did not like the look he gave me.
I guided my truck along the narrow two-lane road that followed the Colorado River and climbed to the parking area of the park. I always enjoyed the spectacular view of the river. Mount Bonnell was the highest point in Austin, at seven hundred and eighty-five feet above sea level. You could either take a long steep flight of stairs to the top, or start at the northern most end and walk slowly up a wide and long limestone inclining path to the top. Guess which one Julie and Roo took.
She was already half way up the stairs when we started. I was about to call out for Roo when Mr.
Shirtless grabbed my sore arm and said, “Don’t say anything. I want her to find it first. Then we’ll join her. She can’t be trusted.”
I thought, oh, but I can trust you?
I kept my free hand on the handrail, as much as possible. The one hundred and six limestone stairs were very steep. As usual, there were lots of people going up and down. A few of them were slow and in front of us. Mr. Shirtless rudely shoved his way through as I apologized. He held my other arm, and every once and while, squeezed it to make sure I remembered who was in control. Patiently, I was waiting for my opportunity to show him who was really on top (not a euphemism) – only because he asked for it and my arm was killing me.
Julie read her electronic hand-held device one more time and then searched the area. She stopped and looked up with a puzzled look on her face. She was obviously having a hard time finding the location of the cache.
The rule is to look for anything out of the ordinary. My keen geology-eyes immediately observed a small thorny barrel-shape cactus, known as the horse crippler, at the base of a cedar tree. It looked out of place under the shade of a tree. Cacti always need full sun and would easily rot away in the humid climate otherwise.
He said, “She can’t find it.”
I said, “I know where it is. See that barrel cactus there, the one with all the sharp thorns?”
He said, “That one under the tree?”
I said, “Yep, it looks out place, doesn’t it? I bet you it is under there.”
He said, “Let’s go show her.”
He pulled me over to Julie. The he left me with her and said, “Keep an on her. Watch and learn.” He trotted over to the cactus and started loosening the dirt around the outside of the plant. The ground gave away and he easily lifted the cactus up. A hidden compartment was revealed containing a canister.
Meanwhile, Roo sung out, “Rooooo.” I lovingly bent down and wrapped my arms around her. We were both so glad to be united.
Julie said, “Rider, you found the cache!”
Rider brought the canister over to us and handed it to me. He said, “Here, you figure it out. It is in some kind of code.”
I stood up and took the canister from him. I was too curious to object. I studied the code and soon figured out what the next coordinates were.
After saying what the coordinates were out loud, I looked at my GPS. I said, “Looks like the next location is on the east side of town, at the Texas State Cemetery.”
Rider said, “Great, let’s go.”
Julie said, “I’ll follow you, with your dog.”
I said, “No, you go with Rider and Roo goes with me.”
Rider said, “No, she is right. The only way we’re going to trust you, is the dog rides with Julie. Let’s go.” He shoved me away from Roo and Julie grabbed the leash.
Just as we made it back to our vehicles, we all saw Fielder, the guy with the snake tattoo, back out of the parking area and zoom off.
Julie said, “Damn it, he must have been watching us. I bet he is on his way to the cemetery.”
Rider said, “Let’s go!” We all jumped into our vehicles and followed in pursuit of Fielder.
From Mount Bonnell, I drove to MoPac and then took fifteenth street all the way to IH35. I got caught at several lights and lost Julie on the way. I zigzagged over to eleventh street and Navasota Street, where the main entrance to the cemetery was. Julie’s and Fielder’s cars were already parked when we arrived.
Rider and I jumped out my truck and raced inside. I wanted my dog and he wanted his prize. We split up looking for them. I went up the hill where all the famous people were buried and he went toward the area where the Confederate soldiers were buried. When I got to the top of the hill, I saw Julie standing with Roo by a headstone halfway down. I rushed over to her and grabbed Roo’s leash. I looked at my GPS and she looked at her phone. We checked the coordinates and decided we were in the right place. Of course, there were headstones everywhere. Rider soon joined us.
Rider said, “Okay, genius, what do we do now?”
I said, “Well, look for what is out of place.”
While Rider and Julie were searching the area, I studied the headstone I was next to. It did not look like the others. It had an ornamental piece on top of it that made it different from the others. I walked over and lifted the top piece off. Walla, a hidden compartment was revealed. Rider and Julie rushed over. Rider pushed me out of the way and grabbed the canister.
As we studied the code to find the next coordinates, Roo uttered one bark and then laid down next to a huge monument. I thought, yes Roo, dead person, lots of dead people. I walked over to her and petted her cute little head. She did it again. She barked once and then laid down. Uh, oh, she was getting insistent with her signal for a dead person. I let her lead me around the monument, and to my horror, Fielder was lying on the ground with a big bloody gash in his head. His gun and a bloodied shovel were lying next to him. I searched for a pulse, but found none. Julie and Rider came around the corner of the monument and found me standing over Fielder. Rider and I both looked at Julie.
Julie said, “I didn’t do it. I am not a killer. Did you do it?”
Rider said, “Hell no, I was nowhere near here. Damn, we should have never left Pete out of this. He so crazy, he probably did it.”
I said, “We had better call the police.”
Julie said, “After we get the next coordinates.”
Rider said, “And after we’re gone. Here, figure it out.” He handed me the paper. I did as he asked.
I said, “The next coordinates are going to led us to Republic Park in front of the federal courthouse.” Great, I was going to be with a possible murderer or two, as well as be pinned as an accomplice for a murder by the feds. I wished I had minded my own business.
To be continued…..