By Ron Hudson
Copyright 2011 Ron Hudson
Del Whipple was dreaming about being with his wife on their vacation on a white sandy beach in Kauai. As she dipped in and out of the surf, her hair glistened in the sun. Her blue two-piece bathing suit matched the chromatic sky over the remote cove. He lay near the edge of the lapping waves and gazed at the grey cumulus clouds above. A ray of sunshine vectored through, their solid beams disbursing into a milky evanesce as they reached the ocean. The gulls were diving in and out of the calm waters, no doubt retrieving substance that would allow them to sit in the sand and nap with their lazy companions. Behind him massive green fronds of palm trees swayed in the gentle breeze. The wet sand on his back had a soothing affect. As he briefly regained his consciousness, he realized that it was not wet sand against his back at all. It was something quite different. Blood! It was his blood, and a lot of it.
Del had been raised in several states as a result of his father being a career warrant office in the U.S. Coast Guard. He was born in New Orleans, Louisiana where his parents met, and after a passionate romance were married. At the age of one, his father was transferred to Kodiak, Alaska where he worked as a telecommunications specialist. Del and the family loved the adventure of being transferred every three or four years to a new location. San Francisco, Long Beach, California, Norfolk, Va. were only a few of the places Del had lived before he came to El Paso, Texas as an eleventh grader. His father was stationed at the El Paso Intelligence Center, referred to as EPIC, which was a Federal facility responsible for coordinating Federal and other agencies involved in drug law enforcement.
Del was on the football team and very popular in high school. He was so good at football that in his senior year, he was offered, and accepted, a scholarship by the University of Texas at Austin. After the first year of college, he was permanently removed from the team due to a back injury experienced on the field. It was not a permanent injury, but the recuperating period was long enough that he had to leave the team. He was not disappointed by this turn of events, as he never expected to pursue a football career after college. He was really interested in becoming a lawyer and enrolled in the university law program where he first met Kristi Hand. They were in several classes together but the relationship was only casual. The law school curriculum was strenuous and both of them had very little time for anything outside of academic interest. Kristi continued her studies and went on to pass the bar examination in Arizona, where she had been raised and attended high school. Del dropped out of college in his junior year, and with his father’s help got a job as a systems analyst at EPIC in El Paso.