There's a bar in Austin, Texas, called Jake's Place. Jake's was a large bar, with a typical Texas cowboy decor. Prior to the invasion it would have been jam packed at this time of day. Now, with work and good liquor hard to find, Ben had the place to himself.
"What is this stuff?" Ben asked the bartender.
"It's some moonshine from Arkansas. We might get some beer in from St. Louis next week, if the deliveryman makes it through."
Ben understood. A deliveryman himself, he knew the route west from Missouri was dangerous. The only secure driving was from Arizona to the coast where the ChiMex had more patrols on the main highways.
"What are you hauling this week?"
"I have a load of golf balls for some resort in the California desert. The Chinese do love to golf."
The door opened, letting in a blast of Texas heat. A car engine roared and the sound of gravel spitting from the tires overpowered the sound of an old Hank Williams tune playing on the jukebox. Ben noticed the bartender's eyebrows shoot up and he swiveled on the stool to see who walked in. She was solid, not skinny - short brown hair with some gray, tight jeans, a black Harley-Davidson t-shirt, and a beautiful stag and leather handled bowie knife strapped to her leg. She walked over to the bar and took the stool on my left.
"That your rig out there?" she asked.
"Where are you headed?"
"I'm delivering a load of golf balls to Palm Springs."
"I need transport. Do you have room?"
Ben stared down at his shot glass. He took a slow sip. He turned to face her.
"What's in it for me?” he asked.