‘A Pillar of Salt’
Gregory V. Boulware, Esq.
…Here We Go Again!
Another excerpt from the highly acclaimed action adventure, “Fairmount.”
Sirens screamed…seemingly from everywhere. The eeriness of the moonlit night chilled the souls of all witnessing the frightening and tragic event. The female driver who was involved in the fender-bender, stood still. When she reached her car, a 2006 Mercedes XE – she stood…shivering. The woman stared with the eyes of a statue, a pillar of salt. Her face stone cold and pale chalky white…just screamed. She wasn’t aware of her scream. The remaining eastbound drivers of the group were also not aware of her scream. The scream lasted until the first EMT injected her with a sedative, calming her. The scream assailed all the ears in the vicinity. The scream died on the examination table at the hospital ER.
CSI and several other investigation units scoured the scene…flood lights illuminated all of the terrain – from the marsh along the river up to the guard rails of the route 76 highway above the railroad tracks. The entire nighttime darkness virtually became a daytime scene due to the powerful emergency searchlights.
The mayor scrambled her entourage and cohorts together in an attempt to explain the situation to the media and citizens of Philly. She didn’t know what to say. She didn’t know what to do. She excused herself and disappeared into another room of her City Hall Office. She sat down and cried.
Ranger Glenn was returning from Juneau Alaska when he got the call from his subordinate officers. He was alerted just as he was pilling into bed after the long airplane ride back to Philadelphia by way of New York. The trip was an investigative research and information-gathering endeavor. The trip was long…he was tired. The fact-finding trip proved fruitful. The expedition was intended as a how and why this animal, which belongs in the Alaskan wilderness, found its way to the Philadelphia area.
Barrow Alaska is the Northern most cities in the United States (Atka is the Western most in Alaska and the country) – Juneau is the largest in Alaska and the US, 3,100 sq. miles). Gerald visited several wildlife sites, animal refuge areas, and wild animal experts and rangers in the Juneau, Anchorage, Talkeetna, Denali, Glacier Bay, Kenai Fjords, and Kodiak Island Alaskan territories while ending his investigation in Barrow. It was when he stopped in to look around a few lumber camps, a scenario of possibilities and circumstances started to take form. The travel route of the unreported – undetected bear family.
Captain Samuel was entertaining guests at his Mount Airy home when his cell phone alert sounded. Elizabeth, his wife, their three children, 16 year old Garreth, 12 year old Randall, and 8 year old Teresa – along with Willice’s in-laws, Christine and Frank Ramorez, his two brothers Russell and Steve, and parents Ernest and Valerie Samuel jumped to attention when the Captain became rigid and stopped laughing. Willice stopped flipping burgers on the Barbie as well.
The Samuels’ were proud of their sons. Russell was the manager of the ‘Well-Stop’ restaurant and bar in the Germantown section of Philadelphia. Steve worked in a Chestnut Hill bookstore, while Willice rose through the ranks to Lieutenant and to Captain of the Philly Police Department after graduating Philadelphia University – formerly known as Textile University with a four-year degree in Business Administration. The family Samuel were not wealthy. Ernest worked for several construction companies while raising his children. Valerie was a data processor at a suburban area insurance company for many years. They were a hardworking, close-nit and loving family who struggled to eldest son through college. Willice was the first and only male child to attend and graduate with a baccalaureate degree. His mother earned an associate degree several months prior to Willice’s birth. Russell and Steve decided to wait for college – they weren’t really interested in attending anyway.
Captain Jarard Noodles, aka, “Noodle-head Noodles, as referred by his subordinates and many who knew him, rose through the ranks by way of nepotism…his father and grandfather were cops before him. Jarard was a die-hard bigot. The ‘good-ole boys genre was born to him…he hated Blacks, Asians, Latinos, Mexicans, Indians, Jews, and women – as well as anyone else whom he deemed a lesser being – most everyone except white folk who thought and believed like him. The aforementioned groups, he believed were not his equal…to be subservient to white folk – especially to him. They were born to kiss his Irish ass…many in his charge did – but not Willice. Jarard barely made it through high school. He was at best a ‘D’ student…he sometimes earned a ‘C’. He hated to read and write. His subordinates voice taped or read his reports to him on a regular basis. His directives were recorded and later typed by administrative assistants for dispersal among the ranks of his district unit officers. He was raised in the ‘Fish Town’ neighborhood of the city.
Mayor Finkles got dressed in a lavender colored pantsuit with black pumps on her feet. She squawked into the multi-faceted telephone speaker system…Commissioner Dexter Talis listened intently. The mayor ordered her press secretary to prepare an announcement to the stave off the press reports. The last thing she wanted was a panicked and in-informed populace. The mayors’ entourage was at the ready when she appeared…waving a let’s go signal while disappearing into her waiting limo after exiting her Chestnut Hill residence…enroute to the parks’ west-river drive.
It took the mayor all of fifteen minutes to reach the horrific and catastrophic scene. The newspaper, TV, radio, and network news media were already encamped at the site. The mayors’ personal police escort carved a direct access route through the barricades and intrepid news-hawks. She stepped out of the car, surrounded by bodyguards and her immediate staff. Microphones and cameras made an attempt to smother her. She waved her left hand and with a sternful glance…indicating no interviews or statements. The bulbous police bodyguard squad insured non-interference as she made her way to the central rescue zone.
The coroner was already loading the lower half of the dead cop’s body into the van as the two captains arrived on scene. “Damn”, exclaimed Captain Noodles while viewing the bloody scene and what was left of the cop. “One of the witnesses is already at the hospital,” stated a 14th District Sergeant. Captain Samuel asked, “What in the hell kind of animal are we dealing with?” The swat team commander reported to commissioner Talis. “We’ve found a blood trail leading back from the roadway down to the river’s edge. All that we found was a couple of fingers, a pool of blood, very large animal paw-prints, and crushed shrubbery… Nothing else…whatever it was, it’s gone!” Captain Samuel ordered the gathering of all witnesses for a Q and A at central detective headquarters – the Roundhouse at downtown Eight and Race Streets. The search and rescue floodlights lit up the river, on both sides. Up and down the river, from one side to the other, the search continued. The search continued until dawn. “What in God’s name are we up against?” voiced Commissioner Tanex. The Police Commissioner just arrived on the scene at about 6:30 A.M. He received the report from Lieutenant Commissioner Talis. The commissioner was out of town on official business with the Governor’s commission on crime in Harrisburg. The mayor was standing close by directing a rap-up of last night’s massacre. A voice answered the commissioner…
It’s a bear…a rather larger than life monster Kodiak bear. The voice of dread was that of the newly appointed Environmental Protection Agency agent and Governmental National Parks and Wildlife Ranger Gerald Glenn.