Portland to Poulsbo

I was supposed to be in Seattle in two hours.

The rental car agent was sympathetic but otherwise unhelpful.  I was at the mercy of heavy rain, wind, and traffic from Portland to Seattle.  It’s a three-hour drive in normal conditions.  This was a snag I had not prepared for.

I was so pissed. I was driving too fast and I knew it. I didn’t care. The Washington State patrolman was nice, at least. I’ll just bill the client for the cost of the ticket.

I’m nice like that.

I was in a rage. So, I stopped the car.

“OK, Kwan, breath. Slowly”, I tried several techniques to calm my nerves. I had a job. Yes, it was a BS job but a job nonetheless. I was so much more capable than what this job required. I had scored top female of my graduating class at Quantico and top five overall. That meant only 4 men scored higher in Procedure, Law, Firearms Proficiency, and Physical Fitness. It was my stupid Psych evaluations that prevented me from a choice assignment and possible admission to the Behavioral Science Division. I wanted to be a Profiler. I PLANNED on it. Only 3 other women had done that successfully before. I was determined to be the next.

A probationary assignment that went very badly put me on the street and out of a job.  But, Jack being Jack, he intervened and gave me a lead.  (Jack was my advisor at Quantico and the head of the Behavioral Science Division)

So, I had to drive to what my Nav computer called, “Poulsbo.” I was to investigate the mysterious “die-off” of an entire batch of hatchery salmon. This was the second complete die off, while still in pens, of fish dying for no apparent reason.

My temper started to rise again.

“FISH?!!”

I arrived in Seattle a little sooner than expected considering the conditions.  The skies cleared up a little after Olympia.  But the traffic did not.

The ferry ride from Seattle to Bainbridge Island was surprisingly relaxing. I needed it. Even the coffee was decent. Coffee Shops on ferries tend to be nasty, but not here.

The reputation in Seattle seemed to be true.

There was even WI-FI on the boat. Crazy.

I could focus on the task before me. Dead fish were serious here. The economy in Poulsbo was based on fishing. If the Salmon population was too small, the boats would have to remain in harbor. That was bad.

The drive to Poulsbo was pleasant.  It was well past seven when I arrived and the sun was only just starting to set.  The town was very quaint.  I had never seen a place so dedicated to its ethnicity.  It was like being in Scandinavia in the springtime.  The shops that lined the main street all had overflowing flower-boxes that exploded in colors and fragrance.  Wall murals depicted the town’s Norse heritage and fishing lifestyle.

I found my hotel with relative ease.  It wasn’t hard to miss.  The sign read “The Fishing Trawler” and was covered in colorful nets and sea buoys.  The robotic shrieking Sea Gull didn’t hurt.

The room was surprisingly clean.  The whole facility was a non-smoking establishment.  Washington State had been smoke free for several years.

I found a busy Fish and Chips restaurant within walking distance and marveled at how good the halibut was.  It was a far cry from Florida or Virginia. The people seemed warm and friendly too.  Commercial fishing, it seemed, was in trouble.  The region, and this town especially, had been hit hard recently.  It would be a shame to see a nice place like this come to an economic end.

I called the Tribal Sheriff and apologized for my late arrival.  We arranged to meet in the morning.

Ransom. His name was Ransom. I have never known anyone named Ransom.

NextA long and winding road.