He pointed to an area beyond a bank that rose steeply from the highway's right shoulder. "I lease orchard land up there," he said. We were about to talk peaches and apples when the air was filled with the vrrroooom! of two motorcycles bumping along the crest.
Rudnay swore under his breath and jerked the wheel of his Cherokee violently to his right, and we shot off the Interstate, down through the ditch—kawhump!—up the near-perpendicular bank, up, up.... And now we were riding the crest, and it was a chase. Banjo music, please. Burt Reynolds, where are you?
The two kids on the bikes looked over their shoulders. The Jeep was gaining. Their eyes widened. They wheeled and stopped—and waited. Rudnay skidded to a halt and was out the door. I reached for my .45. Oops, forgot to bring it this trip. There was a conversation I couldn't hear. The kids turned their bikes and drove off slowly, all the while looking over their shoulders. Rudnay watched them until they were out of sight.
"Just wanted to scare 'em, to keep 'em out of the orchard," he said. "Actually, they weren't doing anything wrong; that strip they were on is public land. There's trouble if they go in the orchard, though; there have been thefts. Now they might think twice about it. I mean, here they are, riding their little cycles, and they see some maniac racing off the highway like that. I think I sent 'em into shock."
People who know Rudnay say it's typical of his style. Controlled lunacy, seemingly irrational behavior, but always with a master plan. Stanford Coach Paul Wig-gin, who coached Rudnay and the Chiefs for two and a half years, puts it another way. "Jack Rudnay," he says, "lives in the bizarre."
Retired Defensive Tackle Tom Keating, a teammate of Rudnay's for two years, tells this story. "The year is 1974, the strike year," he says. "The rookies are in camp, we're out on the picket line. Jack is one of the leaders of the Kansas City strike faction. David Jaynes, the All-America from Kansas, is the No. 1 quarterback in camp. We read a quote of his in the paper. 'I will lead this team to victory.' Uh huh, we think.
"Now the strike is over, and we're on the field for our first practice. What does Jack do? He takes a scissors and cuts the crotch out of his football pants. Jaynes is the first man to take the snaps, Rudnay is over the ball, Hank Strain's in the tower with his bullhorn. Jaynes is trying to impress the coach. He looks left, he looks right, he calls his signals in a clear, authoritative voice. 'Brown left, red right, 23, ready, set.' He reaches down for the ball.... 'Whooo!' He jumps. The ball goes flying.
" 'What's going on down there?' Stram says from the tower.
" 'He won't take the snap, Coach.' Jack says.
" 'O.K., let's get another quarterback in there.' That's the beginning of the end for David Jaynes."