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WARNING! Coarse language

PART FIFTY-TWO

“Risk and reward,” Caleb said to himself as he turned east on Florida State Road 54. “Risk and reward. Gotta balance how big of a risk to take with how big the reward is,” Caleb repeated, taking a long drag on his Marlboro before lowering the van’s window just enough to flick the butt to the side of the road. “I’m gonna find you, Hot Mama. I’m gonna. And, Lord, with your help, I’m gonna do it tonight.”

Caleb had learned that three routes led to Hot Mama’s lair tucked somewhere inside Trinity Preserve. The closest and most direct route to the Preserve was south on Community Drive from the Publix, the one he’d already used. The longest was from the west via Robert Trent Jones, and the third was coming from the east on Interlachen.

Having learned previously that Community and Interlachen Drives both led to the security gate just southwest of Interlachen Elementary, Caleb had hoped against hope that by entering from the west via Robert Trent Jones he might access Trinity Preserve without activating a security gate and its attendant cameras.

Longing for the treasure trove of information Google Earth and Google Street View could provide for reconnaissance, Caleb had driven south to the East Lake public library. Hoping to access the internet via an anonymous library computer hookup, Caleb had learned that in Florida access to a computer is blocked unless one has a library card. Angry at a system that denied him access to something readily available in other states, Caleb had stifled his anger in order to remain, as Bishop liked to remind him, inconspicuous.

Caleb was expert in gleaning information about locales via Google Earth and Google Street Views. He’d spent countless hours reviewing Google maps and then zooming down via satellite image and the three-hundred-sixty-degree ubiquitous view made possible by Google cameras.

Denied access at the library, Caleb had been tempted to use his phone, just as he would were he not on Elohim business. The temptation, though great, was quickly set behind him.

Bishop, via open-handed slaps and tongue lashing, had forever chiseled in Caleb’s brain the precept that Caleb was never to use his own phone to reconnoiter locations he and his fellow Army members would be visiting.

Catching him in the act, his brother at arms had demanded, “What in the name of holy fuck do you think you’re doing!? Why don’t you just call the fucking cops and say, ‘Hey! It’s us! Come get us!’ Never use your own phone on Army business. Use a library or paper map. Jesus, son! I thought you were smarter than that!”

The map book he’d picked up at the Shell station a few blocks south of the library showed Robert Trent Jones Parkway snaking east from where it intersected with Trinity Drive and Little Road. On the map there was no indication that a security gate blocked traffic just east of El Pardo, but entry into the fifty-five-and-older Heritage Spring community was, unsurprisingly, gate restricted from both the east and west on Robert Trent Jones as well as Garden Lakes Boulevard. Caleb had toyed with the idea of stealing a bicycle and exploring the golf cart lanes in search of access but decided that even if that could gain him entry, he’d be stuck at Hot Mama’s with no means for a speedy exit, a position he knew better than to put himself in.

Having already driven up and down Community drive twice the night before and east and west along Robert Trent to Heritage Spring’s security gate, Caleb was now heading east on Fifty-four in order to access Interlachen Drive via Gunn Highway. “Hot Mama,” he said with a smirk, “I’m a coming for you. Ready or not, here I cum!”