‘That Damned River’
Gregory V. Boulware, Esq.
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Gregory V. Boulware, Esq.
“Well gentlemen, shall I enlighten our esteemed gatherers to you’re – shall I say, most recent activities?” The ranger smiled. The four zoo officials looked at one another. The mayor, the commissioners, and the three captains looked at them as well. They did not answer.
The ranger waited as he nodded to his colleagues. Professor Francis stood with several papers in her hand. “Madame Mayor, Commissioners, and Gentlemen of Our City’s Law Enforcement Community…I have documentation that supports a belief that our city zoo officials have first hand knowledge of counsel given and granted to a research project on the Alaskan Bear Project.” Genailia peered directly at the four learned and stunned men. She put down the papers and picked up a batch of photos. One by one, she passed them out to the panel members. They in turn viewed them while passing the pictures back to Genailia. The ranger said, “I’ll ask you once more…what in the hell have you all to do with this bear and its physical alterations?” He glared directly at the assumed leader of the group – Dr. Horatio Martin Mulberry, P.H.D., D.V.M. The dumbfounded group leader frowned and grew angry. “What are those damned papers in your possession?” The Doctor of Veterinary Medicine barked. His questioning demand was announced with ferociousness as his eyes narrowed and reddened with a cold and defiant stare. The evil eyes darted and fixed directly on Ranger Glenn after glancing off the two professors.
Gerald replied, “They are documentation and photographic proof of you and your revered colleagues’ involvement in this insidious experiment with wildlife manipulation!”
The three other officials, Dr. Stephen Lazzaro Steigleton, P.H.D., Dr. Martini Rossi Henrikson, P.H.D., and Lawrence Salzy McGorsky, Anthropologist, Archeologist and Doctor of Veterinary Science. Mulberry stood and motioned to the other zoo officials. They rose in tandem and filed out of the meeting room arena. In the corridor outside the mayor’s office was a contingent of reporters. They’d gotten wind of a heated discussion in connection with the mauling attacks of last month. One particular journalist found a way to listen in on the private conversation exclusively.
Salestian “Sally” Michaels was born and raised in Philadelphia. He got his start as a ‘South Philly’ newspaper boy. In the heart of the ‘Mafiosi’ community, Michaels shined shoes, ran errands, and did odd jobs for the guys. “Good Fellas” like Angel Brondidi and Nick “the Needle” Scarily. Sally, as his friends and adversaries called him, hung around the corner bars on Passyunk Avenue. The little Black Kid was a pest. But the guys liked him. Nobody dared call him ‘Nigger’ or “Lil Black Sambo.” Angie didn’t like it. The last man that did it went missing a couple of days later. He was found six months later. The body turned up while workers were rehabbing an old pier of the Tioga Docks on the Delaware River. The body was found in an old rusted out fifty-five gallon oil drum in the basement of one of the storage piers on site. He seemed to have a rather large clown like smile. It turned out to be a blood-coagulated slit from ear to ear, just under the chin. The lips were frozen shut around a sausage that was shoved in his mouth. He’d been there for some time. The coroner estimated a five to six month period. The drum, like many others, went unnoticed n the waterfront of the old docking pier that was mired and caked with sludge from oil off many barges docked at the old piers along the strait.
The missing man slapped Sally n the top of his head and kicked in the butt. Laughing with his friends, the drunken white man chided about the little nigger kid’s hanging out and panhandling for dimes and handouts. He said to his compatriots, “Look at them sambos…beggin and shinin for our hard-earned dough. The Black bastards ought to be lickin my spit and wiping my ass just for the privilege of lookin at me!”
But the dude messed with the wrong lil black kid. This kid was Angie’s kid – his protégé.
Michaels knew of a little closet-like door right next to the personal entrance to the mayor’s chambers. It was an old broom closet not in use for years. The walls were paper -thin. One of which rotted to the point of disintegration. It was due to be replaced and had been neglected for work elsewhere in City Hall. The reporter kept this accidental info to himself. He stumbled upon it one day while chasing a story. City Hall suffered a temporary blackout one summer during his first year of reporting. He stumbled upon the room in the dark while seeking the men’s restroom. Sally got wind of some of the best inside stories for a rookie reporter right from that little room. At the young age of eighteen, he got the job through an acquaintance of Angie’s. The guy owed Angie a couple of favors, so he hired Sally in order to appease his situation with the good fellow. He really didn’t like the kid because he was black…but he was Angie’s kid. From an errand boy in the copy room, Sally grew on Adam Silvestry. The two old guys sponsored and paid for Sally’s college education. After graduating Philadelphia University with a degree in Business Administration, Sally worked a few jobs around town. They were basically dead end jobs where many yes men hung out – hoping and kissing ass for promotions. Salestian wanted to write. He took a few journalism courses at Temple University and chased a few stories for the Globe. He was always under the watchful eye of Silvestry.
During a mayoral election, Sally got an inside scoop while hanging out with one of his Old Italian buddies. His buddy was a South Philly committeeman who had some pull around town. After his first feature story, Sally was hired full-time as a reporter for the Globe. From that point on, he was and had become an ace reporter as well as earning journalistic respect and town and in Camden too.
The inside scoop on this story will win him a Pulitzer Prize, he thought. He was enjoying the birds-eye view on this scoop – a big time story and its unfolding events.
Glenn said to the mayor, “The animal that we seek is a product of an insane experiment. The zoo guys are directly involved in it. They are manipulating plant and animal species for the purpose of stimulation and enlargement of growth. I suspect their capitalistic egos are tasting and smelling huge financial and notoriety gain – at the expense of the animals and us… Deaths be damned – its collateral damage in their eyes.”
“So what do we do about it?” Asked the mayor. “What do we do to get this animal and keep it from killing anyone else?”
“My team and I will deal with the animal. The question is what will you do in dealing with the assholes that brought this shit here?” Replied the ranger.
Finkles’ green eyes seemed to flash red. “OK men…that’s it…let’s get to work! I want this nightmare ended – give the ranger anything and everything he needs and or wants!” She paused and glared at the two captains. “And I mean everything!” She placed special emphasis on the word everything as she stormed out of the reception room through a door into the private mayoral chambers. Once there, she snatched the receiver of the telephone from its cradle. Buttons were punched feverishly. She was more than angry. She was pissed…totally. From outside of her chambers, the demanding and tumultuous screams could seemingly be heard throughout the city hall infrastructure. Professor Rockford just followed along in silence.
The police captains glared at each other while standing in place like pillars of salt. The commissioners nodded at one another upon departure from the meeting room. The ranger, Genailia, and Vernon were already descending the stairway from the top floor. They had no time to wait for elevators. Glenn was anxiously screaming orders to his pre-assembled team by way of two-way radio. He kept the unit on his holster attached to his belt, next to his cell phone. Genailia was anxiously giving directions to her staff via cell phone. Her administrative and investigative staff was centered and housed in the old “Germantown Hall” located at Germantown Avenue and Haines Street in the Germantown area of Philly. The 14th District was right next-door – it used to be housed within the Town Hall structure until they became separated with the construction of the new and modernized building, The command center of Captain Samuel!
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