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My parachute guided me about two miles south of this long, weaving, dirt road. Sun shone through small gaps formed by leaves and branches from above, the ground speckled where the light met the dirt floor. I was surrounded by a dense forest, massive trees and bushes surrounding me. My long trench coat acquired a layer of dust, my dress shoes covered in mud. I could feel small pellets of sweat running down the side of my cheek, eroding the dirt that had gathered there.
Philip Viggiano and his men had been discovered. I had found their drug hideout way out in the emptiest part of Vietnam. I was a cell phone call away from making the biggest discovery in a decade; I just needed to get back into service range.
My private plane waited about four miles up this road. Surely they would have service between where I was and where I was going. I continued to walk, my arm stretched out as far as I could, looking for any signs of service. My free hand engulfed the handle of my short-barreled revolver. I was ready for anything. Between my teeth I held a piece of paper stating the location of Viggiano’s hideout. In my front pocket, I had all the evidence, a handful of papers, all paper-clipped together, that would put these men in jail.
From under my ruined dress shoes, I heard a piece of metal clink down the road. My curiosity forced me to go pick it up. My fingers slipped through the loose dirt where the metal piece sat. I scrapped away the small layer of dust that lay over top the object. Around the edges, the piece was rusted, with sharp edges, one of which cut my index finger. As I examined it further, a thick letter “V” revealed itself, surrounded by what seemed to be marijuana leaves. This piece looked as if it had come from a knife handle. This was surely a route traveled by Philip and his men. I was in enemy territory, a major drug highway, which, by the looseness of the dirt on the road, allowed me to infer that it had been traveled upon numerous times.
A soft humming filled my ears. It was a rumbling from ahead. Gun shots filled the air as I saw dust rise from the ground around me, significant signs that told me I was being shot at. It was, sure enough, men working for Viggiano firing at me from down the road. Perhaps he had heard I had important documents, ones that would put him behind bars for a long time.
I could see a car approaching, two men waving their guns outside their respective windows. I had to move now. One man jumped from the car twenty feet away, a small pistol in his right hand. I sat sheltered in the thick forest, ducking behind a shield of large leaves. I needed service now.
The man called an unfamiliar language, while the other man, carrying a rifle, hopped out of the car. From under the large leaves I crouched behind, I took aim. My hands tightly wrapped around the gun, I pointed directly at the front tire. My tense finger pulled down the trigger. The pressured air caused a small explosion, enough to make the men glance away. Now was my chance. I took aim once more, and shot the man with the small pistol in his leg as the other man quickly loaded his rifle. The wounded man shrieked with pain, as the rifleman looked around baffled, searching for the source of the shot, wincing at the sight of blood and the sound of agonizing terror coming from his partner.
I took off from my sanctuary of large leaves racing to the vehicle. Turning towards me due to the soft sound created by my pant legs rubbing against small plants along the roadside, the man with the rifle dropped his gun and ran towards the drivers’ door. I had already beaten him. I hopped in the passenger side, grabbing the door handle behind me. Before I could get the door shut, I noticed his hand was in the way of the door closing, his pointer-finger curled around the bottom hem of my shirt. I clenched the handle of the door with both my hands as I smashed it shut. I heard a small crunch, and a giant yelp from outside. I opened the door to let the crooked, mangled arm fall limply at the rifleman’s side, tears streaming down his face, his cold black eyes staring at his destroyed limb. His finger nails were parallel with the top part of his wrist as blood gushed from a large break in his flesh. Time to go.
I shifted into gear as fast as I could and raced down the dirt highway. Within a mile I had found service, my foot heavy, pushing on the petal stiffly. I pressed the dials on my cell phone.
“Hello?” a deep voice called from the other line, “Johnson here. What’s going on?”
“We’ve got em’. The drug lord Philip Viggiano, and his men, have been discovered. I have full evidence and am a plane ride away from the returning to the U.S.”
“Well done. This is great! We’ve had a strong lead on this case, but we’ve never been able to gather enough evidence. Call back when you’re back in the states. We’ll be waiting for you to get here so we can examine everything,” he said, “Have a safe flight, okay?”
“Will do,” I said, a smile forming on my face.