Not surprisingly, he found that back in the United States there were minimal legitimate job opportunities for individuals with his particular set of skills. Almost inevitably, he gravitated toward a life of criminality. His first ‘job’ after leaving the Army was that of a mid-level enforcer for a smalltime drug lord in Spanish Harlem. It was somewhat joyless work, but it paid the bills and gave him opportunity to vent his violent proclivities. As might be expected, the quality of his work did not go unnoticed, and he began to rise rapidly through the ranks.
When Billy Joe got married in 1978, just before his twenty-ninth birthday, his new boss gave him a white Cadillac convertible as a wedding present.
However, as Billy Joe and his new wife Dolores soon found out, neither of them were in fact the marrying kind. Like his own father, Billy Joe had a wandering eye, and his newfound relative status and wealth ensured that there was no end of nubile volunteers willing to take a ride in his convertible. For her part, Dolores had her sights set on someone even further up the criminal food chain than Billy Joe.
Billy Joe eventually found out that Dolores was cheating on him, although he did not know with whom. He confronted her with the facts as he knew them. She pointed out that what was good for the goose was good for the gander.
Billy Joe didn’t know much about geese, but he did know that he was not an enlightened enthusiast when it came to the issue of equal rights for women. Since Dolores would not back down, she gave him no choice.
So, one dark night Billy Joe placed Dolores’ lifeless, weighted down body in a remote marsh in the Meadowlands near Newark airport. He had killed her quickly and relatively painlessly. He felt he owed her that at least.
Unfortunately for Billy Joe, Dolores’ paramour, Ramon, was the younger brother of Billy Joe’s current employer, now one of the largest drug kingpins north of 110th Street.
Ramon asked his older sibling for permission to kill Billy Joe as a matter of honor. Unfortunately for Ramon, his wish was granted.
By now, Billy Joe had figured out that it was Ramon with whom Dolores was having an affair. He had also figured out that Ramon was not likely to let this go. His impression had been confirmed by Miguel, one of Ramon’s bodyguards. Miguel hated Ramon because the latter had previously had an affair with the former’s own wife. Miguel hoped that Billy Joe would kill Ramon. Better still, the two of them would kill each other. Miguel didn’t much care for Billy Joe either.
Billy Joe was standing in a doorway across the street from the Bronx townhouse that Ramon lived in. He had picked this particular doorway because the house was abandoned and completely dark. It was also about fifty yards down the street from Ramon’s front door, and therefore not directly in his line of sight as he exited the building. He knew Ramon’s car, another Cadillac similar to his own, but bright red. It was parked directly in front with the engine idling. Ramon’s two bodyguards were in the front. Miguel was the driver.
Foresightedly, shortly after his return from overseas, Billy Joe had located a fellow vet who prided himself on his large arsenal of Vietnam war weapons and ordnance. Cradled gently across Billy Joe’s body was an M16 A1 automatic rifle, locked and loaded with a 30 round magazine of 5.56 by 45 mm cartridges.
Strike first, strike fast, and strike for keeps.
He waited for Ramon to open the car door and begin to ease himself comfortably into the backseat of the Caddy. The two bodyguards appeared to be talking to him as both had their heads turned rearward. None of the car occupants noticed as Billy Joe crossed the street, his gun held out of sight and pressed up against his side. It took less than four seconds for him to get within twenty feet of the car and level with its rear door. Miguel noticed him first, and began tearing frantically for the gun under his right armpit. But by then, the muzzle of the M-16 was already extended, and starting to spew fire and death.
Billy Joe raked the gun back and forth methodically, watching as the three bodies inside the car jiggled like demented marionettes. After emptying the clip, he replaced it with a fresh one. It was unlikely that anyone on the block would come out to try to make trouble given the deafening carnage that had just ensued, but it was always good to be careful.
Hearing and seeing nothing, Billy Joe walked slowly around the corner to where his own Cadillac was parked. He popped the trunk, placed the M16 inside, and drove off. Other than pausing for gas, burgers, and the occasional pee, he didn’t stop until he reached Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Billy Joe had always liked Santa Fe.