County Lines by Bob
Billy Cairo slid a 325 grain bullet into the remaining empty chamber
of his .480 Ruger Super Redhawk.
Equipped with a 9 1/2 inch barrel, the double-action revolver packed
enough wallop to knock down a bull elk at 200 yards. Attach a scope
and that distance would triple.
More and more hunters were putting down their rifles and using
this super-magnum handgun to kill larger game.
Billy was preparing for larger game, the most deadly kind, humans.
The kind that would shoot you, stab you, bash your head in, kill
you without hesitation for the change in your pocket or purse.
Billy carried the weapon in a custom-made leather shoulder holster.
For backup, he carried a 9-millimeter Beretta strapped to his ankle.
For added backup, he carried a Texas Defender double-shot derringer
loaded with extra-velocity .38 special rounds in the right front
pocket of his Levis.
Billy had the proper permits to carry his weapons in public. When
he was younger, however, he wasn't an avid follower of government-imposed
Growing up in southern Georgia, he poached deer and gators. He
ran illegal catfish lines. He snatched bass with a weighted treble
hook. He gigged frogs in restricted areas.
Every game warden in the district wanted to nab Billy as a trophy.
But none possessed the nerve to follow him into the deepest regions
of the Okefenokee Swamp.
Jimmy Blue Eyes, a Seminole Shaman, taught Billy to navigate by
the signs of the swamp, by the shapes of the giant cypress, by the
motion and the color of the water, by the way a gator points its
head while warming in the sun.
Jimmy taught Billy how to live in the swamp, what was edible,
what wasn't, what plants to heal what illnesses, what plants to
avoid, what plants to apply to keep off mosquitoes, gnats, and deer
Jimmy taught Billy about the mystical properties of the Water Poppies,
which grow abundantly near the underground streams that feed the
"Only use it to contact the Great Spirit," Jimmy would
say. "Do not use it indiscriminately."
During one such encounter, Billy asked the Great Spirit what the
meaning of life is.
The Great Spirit answered, "Dew on leaves in early morning."
"I don't understand," Billy said.
The Great Spirit replied, "Wings of eagle flap without thinking."
Billy remembered those words of wisdom as he spun the cylinder
of his Ruger .480. A perfect rotation. An expertly manufactured
instrument for a professional.
Professional Billy Cairo found people and convinced them to talk.
He was paid by a man named Jones.
Jones worked for a clandestine committee, formed to investigate
Jones wouldn't be paying Billy this time, however. This was private.
This was personal. This was for Jimmy Blue Eyes.
Jimmy's daughter Emily had disappeared while working as an aide
for a government official. The cops had let the trail get cold while
posing for cameras and talking to reporters. Typical, Billy thought,
more concerned about how their hair is combed than catching the
Jimmy Blue Eyes believed the worst had happened to his daughter.
Billy picked up the trail and followed it to Deak and Tino, two
mafia lowlifes in Philadelphia.
Posing as a drug dealer who could easily be ripped off, Billy lured
the two hoods to Atlanta, where he tossed them into the trunk of
his '67 Cadillac and drove to his cabin, on the banks of the Okefenokee.
The pair were handcuffed back to back in the corner, watching
Billy load, check and double check his Ruger Super Redhawk.
"The deal is simple," Billy said. "Tell me who paid
you to eliminate Emily and I won't kill you. Don't tell me and I'll
blow your heads off. Before you decide, though, let me introduce
you to someone."
Jimmy Blue Eyes entered from an adjoining room.
"This is Emily's father," Billy continued. "If
you don't talk, he's going to skin you alive before I blow your
After Tino and Deak ratted out the person who hired them, Billy
and Jimmy dumped each punk into matching 12-foot flat bottoms and
paddled deeper and deeper into the Okefenokee. Gators on logs splashed
into the water as the boats approached. Water moccasins, protecting
their territory, zigzagged toward the intruders.
"One of the few snakes that hunt humans," Billy said.
"Enough venom to kill a dozen horses. An extremely painful
way to die. Screaming and flopping about."
Billy and Jimmy paddled to a small savanna, jumped out and pulled
the boats to shore. Pointing his Ruger toward Deak and Tino, Billy
said, "Get out."
Both whined, "You said you wouldn't kill us."
"I'm not going to kill you," Billy said.
Billy tied Deak and Tino loosely to a sand pine. He dragged a boat
over to a cabbage palm about a hundred feet from the two and leaned
it upright against the tree. "We'll come back and get it later,"
he told Jimmy. "These clowns are tied up tight."
Billy and Jimmy paddled away in the other boat. After going about
a quarter mile, Billy said, "Stop here."
He attached the scope to his Ruger .480 and looked toward the savanna.
Tino and Deak had untied themselves and were headed for the propped-up
Billy squeezed the trigger. Tino and Deak hit the ground. A grapefruit-size
hole appeared in the boat.
"Revenge is sweetest when served slowly," Billy said.
"It won't bring Emily back," Jimmy replied.
Billy nodded and began planning a serving of justice for the official
who had employed the soon-to-be gator droppings.
Overton County News
415 West Main Street
P.O. Box 479
Livingston, Tennessee 38570