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Party Time on Lake George

by Ben A. Vanguarde

DOUBLE SHIFT TWO WEEKS LATER

Happy and reporting in for a double shift Don detoured to pass by the chief's office.  Wendy looked up from her desk and snarled at Don.  She got up and turned to fumble around with files in a cabinet drawer.  "Hi Wendy," said Don.  When there was no reply he tried again, "What's wrong?"

"Get away from me."  Wendy twisted her body and moved past Don as if he were aflame. She hurried off to the safety of the ladies room.  Don just shook his head, left, and reported in for role call.  Ziggi Waganna would know.  But Ziggi was away on police business in New York City.

Two days after it snowed the temperatures warmed a little.  Nothing remarkable happened on the afternoon shift and the midnight promised to be the same.  At 1 AM two large tour buses arrived and parked near the fort side of the parking lot shared with the boat docks and tourist strip stores.  Odd for buses because it was the middle of winter.  The bars closed without a call to remove the drunks.  It seemed like a quiet night ahead.

About 4 AM Party Time appeared on the lake and switched off her running lights as she made her approach to dock.  Don's eyelids dipped to close as his body begged for just a moment of sleep.  Unlike the other times, Don reached over to his thermos of coffee and poured a half cup.  Don could see people disembarking in the dark.

Don left the cruiser, zipped up his jacket, and walked across the parking lot.  The first passengers were still on the dock hustling their baggage.  Don switched on his flashlight and sprayed the crowd with light.  These was not tourists but shivering Hispanic immigrants from the third world.  In the distance Don could hear the two buses fire up their diesels.

"Stop!" Don ordered.  The people looked confused.  They inched their way forward as others pushed them to disembark.  Don drew his sidearm.  A person immediately wormed her way through the crowd on the dock.

"Don?  Thank God you're here.  My partners forced me."  She looked worried but relieved.  "I'll testify.  Let me finish tying up the boat."  Don nodded and let her pass.

"Back.  Back up," ordered Don.  The immigrants looked frightened at what they did not understand.

Quietly Stephanie picked up a rebar of steel, turned, and smacked Don's head from the side.  He went down.  She beat his head again and again.

"Stop!  The buses!" yelled Oszkar.

"Cover him with the construction tarp and then dump him."  Stephanie rose, plastered on a smile and ordered the horrified immigrants onto the buses.

Stephanie, Oszkar, and Richard stood on the dock until the busses disappeared over the hill leading out of town.  The men brought two heavy taped plastic containers up along the gangway to the dock and loaded onto Stephanie's pick up truck.

"Same as Metcalf," ordered Stephanie.  "You know what to do."  After the body and men were aboard the run-about, Stephanie turned on the garden hose, used for cleaning the boat, and hosed off the blood and footprints in the grassy area.

Rounding the turn to head north on the lake and out of Stephanie's sight, Richard throttled back.  "What do you think?"

Oszkar looked about at the dark woods on both sides of the lake.  "We don't have much time to go further.  And we don't have anything to weigh down the body."

"Just use the handcuff and hope for the best.  They'll find him this time."

"Damn her.  I told the bitch this was a bad idea."  With the handcuff on Don, they carefully lifted him and dropped him into the cold water.

"She never listens."  Richard engaged the idling engine and the boat roared back around toward the docks.

The shock of the cold water brought Don to consciousness.  He opened his eyes and let out a little air and followed the bubbles to the surface.  He popped up and looked about.  Through blurry eyes, the nearest shore looked to be a hundred and fifty feet away.  Don used his Navy basic training to swim handcuffed to shore.  His head throbbed and he could not feel all of his body.  The cold water pained like a thousand tiny daggers and sapped his strength.  He knew he was strong enough to swim this distance but his body weakened quickly.

Don strained to reach the shore, guessed it was only fifty feet away.  Don tried to move his body down to find the bottom but it was somewhere further below.  He tried use mind over matter but his body just lacked the energy.  Don could not keep his head above the surface and began to choke.  So this was to be the end?  Don fought to hold his breath as his body shivered uncontrollably.

A pair of hands grasped Don's water laden jacket and flipped him on his back and he returned to the surface and gasped for breath, coughing.  The silent swimmer held Don with one hand and sidestroked to shore.  Don shivered violently and could not voluntarily move.

"It's another cop!" shouted a female voice ashore.  "Are you nuts?  Throw him back in."

"Lanie, go make the fire as big as you can."  A young girl ran back into the woods.  "Stand up!" shouted the rescuer.  Don did not move.  The man struggled to raise Don to a standing position.

"Are you crazy?  He just means more trouble for us."

"Come on, man.  Take a step."  But Don could not move.  "Hon, this is the one that bought us the groceries."  The man bent and strained to lift Don in a fireman's carry.  As he struggled toward the building fire, he tripped over a root and fell on the forest floor.  Don's body had shut down his limbs in a desperate move to preserve core temperature.

"Laurie, run up to the road and flag down the first car you see.  We're gonna lose this one."  Ben Parker unfastened the jacket, tore off the shirt and bullet proof vest, service belt and shoes.  Ben dragged Don to the fire and draped him in their thin blankets.  Lanie and Ben shivered near the fire and waited.


Submitted: April 19, 2015

© Copyright 2021 Ben A Vanguarde. All rights reserved.

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Comments

LeeSchneider

I didn't guess Steph is a criminal. She is too ordinary I'd say. May be, I'm wrong. Think she has a plan to persuade Don, otherwise he would be already dead. She needs somebody in police office.

Wed, April 22nd, 2015 3:43pm

Author
Reply

I'm interested in your comment, "She is too ordinary..." What do you mean, Lee?

Wed, April 22nd, 2015 9:45am

LeeSchneider

She isn't dodgy. There are many ways to get rid of somebody without using violence, moreover she knows his point of weakness. To hit him on the head was silly. If she would do something else he wouldn't revolt while she insensibly took his holster and without it...

Wed, April 22nd, 2015 6:34pm

Author
Reply

This is just her personality, I guess. Thanks for commenting, Lee.

Wed, April 22nd, 2015 6:14pm

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