That Night at the Jetties
We smoked some dope in the van on the way to the jetties. Then Fat Vince broke out the water pipe. Atheist said something about the rock festival—the Stones and Johnny Winter on stage together. Ronnie told us that he made out with Vicky Crawley on a blanket in the rain. He said she let him unbutton her shirt, French kiss her with his hand in her bra. I was glad it was dark. I’d have been embarrassed for getting stiff. Weeds opened a bottle of cherry wine. We swigged it real good, passed it among the six of us. It was the blue lights in the windshield that alarmed us. The cops, I mean. Scootch looked out the driver’s window, told us not to freak out. They were at the pier with an ambulance. Folks fished from the pier at night, ‘specially weekends. After stumbling like bowling pins from the van we walked over to the police cars. In bits of conversation between onlookers and some of the cops we learned that a boy had the calf of his leg torn off by a six-foot tiger shark. I heard the kid’s father plead with the ambulance driver to let him ride with his son to the hospital. Then he told a friend to make sure nobody messes with the shark because he wanted to have it mounted. We watched the boy, my age, carried to the back of the ambulance on a stretcher, the gash and bloody flap of flesh and muscle torn from the bone. Somebody told a cop who was writing a report that the boy was fishing from the pier. He had something big on the line, couldn’t reel it in. He went down to the shore walked into the water and pulled the nylon over his shoulder, and with his back to the waves dragged the fish onto the sand, but not before it came up behind him and took his leg. The cop set the clipboard onto the hood of the car, walked to the gray and white slab of meat in the sand. Emptied his gun—six rounds—into its head.