It was Tuesday night, January second, 1996. I was working the swing-shift at Sequim Rehab, a nursing home not far from where Highway 101 crosses the
I was halfway through doing rounds when the charge nurse called out, "Hey Bill, telephone call for you. It's Debbie again."
That was me, Bill Busby, Nursing Assistant Certified. Debbie; that was Debbie Dubois, ex-fiancée.
"I'll be right there," I called out, "Just gotta wash my hands."
I took the phone off the hook in the hallway. "Hello? Debbie?"
"You've got to come get me, Bill, right now!"
"Well Tillamook's a long drive from here. Might take a couple hours or so. Why right now?"
"He killed a guy. Stabbed him with a knife. Buried him in the side yard. And then, when I asked him 'what about the DEA surveillance?', he just
laughed, said, 'As long as they keep thinking I'm going to lead them to some bigger bust, I can do anything I want, even get away with murder.'"
"Okay, I'll leave as soon as I can. We're short staffed already, they aren't going to like letting me go."
"He took my gun away! I pulled it out and he just walked right up and said, 'You think I'm afraid of that little pea shooter? That's just a .25', then
he took it out of my hand and shot the floor, said 'see how small that hole is? You wouldn't be able to stop me with that before I'd broken your
"Okay, I'll get there as soon as I can, see you in a bit."
I hung the phone up and went over to the nursing station, "Mary. I'm going to have to leave."
"What? No way! We're short staffed."
"Debbie's in trouble, and I've got to go get her."
"You have got to be kidding me. After she took off with that guy she just met at a bar? I was glad when she left. You even got happier."
"Yeah, I guess you're right, but I still have to get her."
"You're crazy! You don't owe her anything! Okay, if you finish these rounds, I'll talk to Bettie and Terese and see if they'll split your section for
the next rounds."
"Thanks, Mary. I appreciate it."
About twenty minutes later, I was done with rounds. I went back to the nurse's station, "I'm done Mary. Will Bettie and Terese cover for me?"
"Yes, they'll cover for you." She was looking down, with her face slightly turned aside. When she looked up, I could see that she'd been crying.
"She's gonna get you killed. You know that don't you?"
"Yes, but don't worry. I'll think of something. Oh, and one other thing Mary, it's a long drive and I'm broke and nearly out of gas. Would you happen
to have twenty dollars I could borrow?"
She reached over to her right and got her purse from the corner of the desk and dug around. "Here's ten dollars." She held it out but didn't let go of
it. "I like you. We all do. Don't die for her, she isn't worth it."
"I'll think of something." I said. Then she let go of the 10 dollar bill.
When I reached the back door I paused and turned around. Terese stood with hands on hips, shaking her head, slight expression of disgust. Sweet Bettie
stood staring, mouth half open, wide eyes glistening. Mary, her composure recovered by then, looked resigned. I went through the doorway, the door
closed behind me.
Back in my apartment, after changing out of my work uniform, I reached for the phone and dialled the number that Debbie had given me.
From what I had gathered from previous phone conversations with Debbie, Jim Strickland was a major drug trafficker, making runs from Port Angeles to
Kingston and then down through Tacoma to Portland. Between him and three enforcers, two other drug traffickers had been eliminated. He'd been under
DEA surveillance for just over a year.
It had been only 6 weeks earlier that she and Jim had recognized each other at the saloon closest to where we lived. They'd known each other in
Kingston about 10 years earlier.
Only 2 months had passed since I'd moved out of our upper level apartment to a lower level apartment. She refused to move out so I did.
The phone at the other end picked up, "Hello."
"Is that Jim?"
"Yeah, You Bill?"
"I've been expecting you to call ever since Debbie got off the phone."
"She okay? Could you put her on?"
"She's okay, but she's asleep. She went 3 days without sleeping. Soon as she got off the phone with you she just laid down on the floor and went to
sleep. I had to carry her to her bed."
"I've never been down the Oregon Coast, could you give me directions to your place?"
"There's a couple of different routes, easiest would probably be get on the 101 by Discovery Bay, then just stay on 101 South, past Shelton, Aberdeen,
on through Astoria. When you get close to Tillamook, look out for . . . It's about 250 miles, a lot of it winding road, probably take about five
"Got it. See you in about five." Then I hung up the phone, picked up my holster belt, fastened it around my waist, pulled my 4" barrelled Colt King
Cobra out, opened the cylinder, and checked my load. Yep, 125 grain silver tip hollow points, closed the cylinder, holstered my weapon, slid it around
to the hollow of my back and put my field jacket on.
Five hours is really a long time, considering I was going to fetch back someone who I had hoped could have lived happily ever after without me. I
really, really didn't want to be making this trip.
It was 3:10am when I walked up toward the darkened house. The door opened in to darkness. I walked in, looked around.
"You're Bill?" Jim was crouched down in the corner to my left, close to the window. The wall under the window was reinforced with sand bags. Jim was
holding an M-16 with a 30 round magazine. Two more 30 round mags were sitting ready on the sand bags. "Shut the door, and try to stay away from the
"I can't believe I finally get to meet the big bad dead eye shot Bill that I've had to hear about so much over the last week. I was really expecting
to see someone a bit more like Rambo, AK in each hand and a knife in his teeth. Are you even ex Special Forces?"
"No, actually I was a fighter mechanic in the Air Force. See this patch? Air Force Systems Command, kind of R&D testing phase."
"What about your dead eye aim? Did you bring your 357?"
"Sharpshooter level 4, 25 yards, untimed, timed, and rapid fire. I thought it best to leave it in the car, for obvious reasons."
The obvious reasons were the 4 DEA agents, 2 FBI agents, and 6 local Sheriff's deputies surrounding the house in full combat gear.
"Yeah, they showed up about 15 minutes ago." Jim said, "I've got the perimeter wired for alarm. Soon as the alarm went off, I killed the lights and
yelled out that I had a hostage. They wanted me to send her out unharmed, but I told them that some one was already on the way to get her. They just
had to wait before the party could begin. Truth is, I didn't think I'd be able to wake her up."
"You got her Beretta? She said you took it."
"Yeah, here it is." He pulled it out of his coat pocket and handed it to me. "She was waving it around, I had to take it, she could have hurt herself.
Why'd you give her a stupid .25 anyway?"
"I tried to get her to pick the .380, but after she shot both of them a few times, she wanted the Beretta. It is kind of cute after all."
edit on 3-5-2015 by pthena because: (no reason given)