(Continued from Shadows)
Jimmy quickly directed her away from the parking lot where she was bolting for her car. “This way”, he called carrying the camera in one hand and jogging toward a bass boat that had tied up an hour before. What was his name, he tried to remember-Dan, Daniel…Donald! He thought it was Donald. He had talked to the fisherman about what he was catching that morning, the bait he was using, when they hit best…Jimmy wasn’t a fisherman but he was endlessly curious about things that he knew nothing about.
“Hey Donald!” he yelled, coming down the hill to dock. The large guy looked up from tying a leader onto his line. Good, it was Donald. “Can you help us?” he asked as Maggie caught up to him. Donald saw the camera and Maggie and realized that he was being pulled into the middle of something that could hit the TV News this afternoon. “Maggie Brown!” was all he could say.
“I saw someone jump off the bridge”, Maggie said by way of explanation. “Can you take us down there?”
“That bridge?” said Donald looking at the span downstream. Everything froze as Jimmy and Maggie stared at him. Please don’t be a complete idiot, Maggie thought. “Sure-Christ-that bridge”, he answered himself. “Get in…”
Maggie stepped in taking one of his thick hands to usher her to the middle seat beside his at the boat’s console. She noticed he had a 16 ounce beer can in a camo koozie next to the steering wheel. Jimmy untied the front and back without being told and jumped in the back managing the camera as if it were nothing heavier than a ladies purse.
Donald turned the key in the console and the 120 HP outboard rumbled to life. He moved it deftly out into the current and spun it toward the bridge. “Hold on”, he said turning his ballcap backward. Maggie was aghast at the speed and wind rush that the boat achieved so quickly. They were no sooner up on plane and flying down toward the bridge than the pilot was cutting the throttle to drop the boat back into the water. She had ducked her hear behind the windshield but could see, as the boat settled, Jimmy’s feet scampering past and knew that he was shouldering the camera.
“Get me in there Donald”, he barked, nodding at a small knot of boats that had converged at a spot on the water. The big man softly nosed the boat into the group while Jimmy stood up in the bow filming. Maggie looked up and saw a man in the water. Tough to tell but he was probably her age…and it looked like he had just deposited a small sack onto the back of a pontoon boat to which he clung. Wait a minute-that wasn’t a sack…
“Jimmy”, she yelled, “That’s a child!”
“Got it Mags”, he said never taking his eye away from the camera lens. The child was all pink one-piece and long black hair as she splayed out on the deck. “We go live in 4 minutes”, he called back to her.
Christ, she had forgotten. How could that happen?
Jake flopped on the floor of Donald’s bass boat, too spent to mount the seat. He sucked greedily at the beer the big man had given him and gazed up at the bridge. Maggie, her story posted, her live shot done, sat in a pedestal seat and, sucking on one of the fisherman’s cigarettes followed his eyes.
“What?” she asked. “What do you see there?”
“I always thought that jump would kill me.”
“You sound disappointed.”
He grinned and shook the empty can at Donald who tossed him another.
“Not today,” he said.
They sat in silence for a moment before he asked, “Did you see somebody up on the bridge?”
“When I jumped….”
The three who weren’t Jake shrugged. Donald hadn’t even seen him, Jimmy had been working with the camera facing the other way. Maggie had been the only one looking downstream, toward the bridge.
“Can’t say that I did”, she answered. “Of course, I didn’t see you…at the beginning. Why? Was there someone with you?”
Jake just looked up into the sunlight gleaming through the railing.
© TDR – 2017
(To be eventually continued…)