Wily Wiley - A Short Story
It looked like an easy bust. The target was seated in a lawn chair under the awning of the motor home, listening to Limbaugh on the radio and sipping a can of Pepsi. Last week, one of the Sheriff’s office detectives had finally discovered his cell phone number, and had secured a warrant. Armed with the warrant, they had learned his phone’s GPS coordinates from the cell phone company and now Pima County Sheriff’s Deputy Tom Pierce was standing at the rear corner of his motor home, armed with a shotgun.
Dave Wiley was a con man, and his latest scam had netted a cool five million from a law firm. He had represented himself as a real estate broker, and had ‘sold’ the firm a villa in the Bahamas, which actually belonged to a Greek shipping magnate. When the embarrassed firm discovered they had been duped, they had angrily pulled some political strings, and the hunt for Dave Wiley went into high gear.
Wiley had worn many hats in his brief career. Just twenty-eight, he had bought and sold mothballed airliners that actually belonged to holding companies. One of his ‘clients’ was a Hollywood movie star, who was at first furious, but later became interested in writing a script on Dave Wiley’s amazing ability to scam people who ought to know better. He had also bilked another scam artist by pretending to be a top ranked defense lawyer. That time, he had pocketed a large retainer and disappeared. He was well read, self educated, and said to be a genius.
Deputy Pierce certainly knew better than to go in without backup. He was fifty two years old and retiring in two months. But his backup was a good hour and a half away, just leaving another call. The motor home was parked at least fifteen miles away from the closest paved road, and although Pierce was familiar with the area's back roads, his backup was not, so it could be two hours or even more, and Pierce’s one big failing was impatience.
“Put your drink on the table and let me see two empty hands.”
Deputy Pierce was surprised that Dave Wiley didn't seem at all startled. He calmly did as he was told, raising his arms above his head.
“Though I heard someone. Nothing I could do anyway. I’m not armed and I have no weapons. Don’t believe in violence. Never have.”
“Get down on the ground, face down and spread-eagled.”
Wiley complied, and Tom Pierce cautiously approached, shotgun at the ready. He was less than five feet away when the world suddenly started to spin and the ground came up to meet him. Then everything went black and silent.
“Feeling better?” He was on the ground, but he was lying on something soft. His head was still whirling, and his vision was somewhat blurred. Dave Wiley was standing at his feet, holding his shotgun and watching him.
“I put you on my sleeping bag. What happened to you?”
Deputy Pierce tried to tell him that he didn’t know what had happened, but all that came out was gibberish. Wiley cocked his head and studied him for a moment.
“Let me see you raise your arms.”
Pierce tried, but to his surprise, only his right arm came up. He suddenly realized that his left leg also seem to be paralyzed. He tried to explain that, but again, all that came out was gibberish. He looked first at the shotgun, and then at Wiley, who smiled.
“Don’t worry Deputy. I just picked it up from where you fell. Like I said, I’m not violent. Your service weapon is still there, if you have a mind to, but I wouldn’t advise it. I think you’ve had a stroke, and you’ll need me for a few more minutes.”
He bent down and placed the shotgun beside Pierce. Then he took his cell phone out of his pocket and punched nine-one-one.
“I want to report a Deputy Sheriff down in the Sonoran Desert, about fifty-five miles west of Tucson. I think he’s had a stroke. He’s awake and alert, but he can’t talk and he’s paralyzed on his left side. He’ll need a life flight helicopter and fast. Can you locate us using this cell phone’s coordinates? Good.”
Wiley bent down and placed the phone on Pierce’s chest.
“Nothing more I can do for you Deputy. They’ll send a chopper for you.“
Deputy Pierce heard the sound of the awning retracting, and then the motor home fired up. Suddenly, Wiley was at his right side again, this time with a bottle of water. He placed in his right hand and removed the bottle cap. Then he patted him on the shoulder and was gone, the motor home lurching past in a cloud of dust. A half hour later, he heard the welcome sound of a helicopter, and he passed out again.
Two deputies and Tom Pierce’s wife watched as the doctor examined him. He asked Tom how he was feeling, but his answer was more gibberish. The doctor nodded and asked him to smile. He tried but only the right side responded in a crooked grin. The doctor nodded once more, then he advised the visiting deputies that Tom needed rest.
The doctor turned to Tom‘s wife. “I think he’ll recover well. He’s a lucky man.“
She thanked the doctor and he left.
A few minutes, later, the deputies left. Tom Pierce tried to talk to them and then to his wife, but the words meant nothing. Finally she sat beside him and began to talk.
“ It looks like that Dave Wiley character saved your life.” She glanced at him for confirmation, and he nodded his head. “Apparently, he got away. They set up roadblocks and looked for his motor home from the air but it looks like he just vanished. They said that if he had not acted as quickly and precisely as he did, you might not have survived the stroke. The emergency room doctors told me that with good rehab, you’ll probably recover most of your motor skills. You’ll even be able to talk again, and drive me crazy, since you are now definitely retired!”
She smiled and bent to kiss his forehead. When she sat back up, her eyes glistened with tears.
“Dave Wiley didn’t have to do that, Tom. He took quite a risk to save you. There’s a three hour stroke window, and thanks to him, you were treated in about two hours. If they ever do catch him, I’ll want to thank him.”
Tom smiled his new, crooked grin and raised his right arm, making writing motions with his hand. His wife placed a pencil in his hand and held the notepad as he wrote.
For a minute she stared as his scrawl and then glanced at him for confirmation, her mouth agape. He nodded at her, his lopsided grin still in place.
Tom had written, “You already thanked him. He was the phony doctor who just 'examined' me!”