Authors: Frank Kaminski
By: Frank A. Kaminski © 2015
Please, please, please remember as you are reading this story, that this is a work of fiction. Although I tried to make the plot and the characters’ actions as realistic as possible, it is still fiction. I did not base this story on the shooting in Ferguson, MO, nor did I base it on the subsequent protests that ensued afterwards. In fact, I began writing this story many, many months before any of the events in Ferguson ever took place.
This is my first published novel, and I do not have the resources to hire a professional editor to proofread my manuscript. With that being said, if you come across a grammatical error here or there, please bear with me. I’m not perfect! I appreciate your understanding!
Also please take note that I am a proud American. I am also a recently retired U.S. Navy veteran of 22 years. All of my references to the military and the chain of command within this novel ARE FICTIONAL! I know in my heart that the brave men and women in the armed forces of the United States of America would never react to the circumstances as they do in my novel. But, once again, this is fiction. To have a excellent story, sometimes you just gotta make stuff up to make it sound right!
Thank you so very much for your time, and I hope you enjoy reading my book!
Even though the streets were predominantly abandoned, a man named Fish drove his Mustang through Oak Harbor cautiously. It had been snowing large, soggy flakes almost non-stop for most of the afternoon and into the evening. The sky was pitch dark, and a soft white blanket of snow over four inches deep covered most of Whidbey Island. Fish had waited all winter for these conditions. He needed a good snowfall in order to execute his plan. It had happened to be his lucky night, because snowfall is a rare treat in western Washington State, and when it actually
snow, it seldom did so to that extent.
Fish had bought the Mustang GT the previous spring, brand-new of course. With summer right around the corner, he had envisioned cruising with windows down and elbow-out-the-window on Highway 20, casually waving at all the pretty girls hiking and biking their way through the island along the Pacific Northwest Trail. What he truly ended up getting, however, was a super-sized car payment that rivaled a mortgage and nothing but eye-rolls from the ladies on the trail.
Back in that spring, Fish was so emotionally driven to obtain that Mustang that he provided the dealership with absolutely zero resistance to their offers and up sales. He said “yes” to the unnecessary extended warranty, and ‘yes’ to the GAP insurance, and of course “yes” to the criminally high interest rate. He just
to have that car. With no down payment he financed the entire debacle, including the tax and all the extras. After only nine months into the contract, he was so monetarily upside-down in that car that he couldn’t see daylight.
Fish wasn’t like most people who accept their mistakes and carry on, easing those mistakes into the natural order of things until they are nothing more than all-but-forgotten memories and misgivings. Oh, no. Fish was a fixer. If something was wrong he would do anything within his power or purview to make it right. His tenacity to fix things worked in favor of people close to him as well. He had no tolerance for injustice, and would go to great lengths to rectify an adverse situation, even if it meant placing himself in personal jeopardy to do so.
So, on that unusually snow-sodden evening in late January, Fish set out to make things right for himself. The basic concept of The Plan was very simple: Total the car in order to collect the full value of the Mustang and wipe the slate clean. After all, he had insurance, and thinking back to that dreaded spring at the dealership he remembered signing that ‘GAP insurance thingy’ that would pay off the difference between the book value of the vehicle and what he actually owed the bank. He had less than a year left until he could retire from the Navy and didn’t want the Mustang’s debt to haunt him, as he planned to take a break from the daily grind and only live off his retired pay for a while, if possible.
Fish figured that the safest and easiest way to ensure a totaling would be to roll the vehicle a few times in a reduced speed rollover. He had done his homework, and found the perfect steep embankment along Heller Road that transitioned into a gentle sloping grade downward to the homeowner’s huge yard at the bottom of the hill. There was nothing to slam into during the roll, not even a small fence, and the gentle grade after the steep embankment would prevent the car from rolling repeatedly out of control. Fish also knew that the homeowner at the bottom of the hill was a sweet elderly woman who loyally fed the deer that traveled back and forth from the fields to the greenbelt on the other side of Heller Road. Deer crossed that road all the time to sample her vittles and taste her salt lick. Swerving to avoid one would be the perfect excuse to give the po-po when they arrived to take the report.
Snow continued to fall as Fish conducted a dry run through the crime scene to make sure that some recent deer tracks were at least partially evident and that the snow plows had not yet passed through, which could possibly ruin The Plan if there wasn’t enough snow on the road to make him skid. The rollover had to look like an accident in every possible way, no doubt of fault.
Thankfully, everything looked good, the snow was definitely deep enough and he noted some partially snow-covered deer tracks on the shoulder. His heart pounded and he grinned with villainous delight as he drove to NW Crosby Street and cut across to Oak Harbor Road, which would take him back to Heller after he passed the Naval Station access road. Fish noticed that there wasn’t a single vehicle on the snowy streets besides his. Not even base traffic. Everyone had been avoiding the snow. Everyone but him.
As he rounded the curve leading past the Chief’s Club next to the base, Fish accelerated to forty miles per hour. The speed limit was 45 but he didn’t want his skid to be too long as to raise suspicion of him driving too fast for conditions. The Mustang performed rather well in the snow with hardly a wobble, and Fish marveled at it for a moment before re-focusing on The Plan. He had brought with him a North Face beanie and some gloves, which he quickly jammed into his jacket pockets to ensure they would not get lost during the impending toss-around. He would need them to keep warm while he waited for the cops on the side of the road. He tapped himself on the chest, double checking his breast pocket for his cell phone and it was there, safely secured within its confines by a double Velcro strip. All set. The car continued to push forward, cutting through the snow beautifully as if it had no idea what was about to come of it.
“Okay, here we go.” Fish calmly said to himself and moved his right foot from the gas to the brake.
“And, there’s the deer.” He swerved right to avoid the imaginary animal and then slammed the brake. The anti-lock brakes activated and rhythmically thumped the pedal under his foot, but the semi-soaked snow prevented his tires from maintaining any type of grip. The Mustang rapidly slid toward the narrow shoulder.
“And, execute!” Fish shouted excitedly and jacked the wheel sharply to the left at the precise moment. This ensured that the Mustang’s tires would catch on the lip of the shoulder and flip the car over, instead of simply running down the embankment on all four wheels, which would only damage the car and likely not total it. The action also mimicked an amateur driver’s panicked attempt to save himself before careening over the side. But Fish was a superior driver, and would never have cranked his wheel to the left when faced with an
dilemma of that nature.
The poor Mustang bellowed a raspy complaint as its undercarriage high-centered on the gravelly shoulder for a split second before plummeting over the edge.
“Jesus!” Fish screamed like a little girl and nearly filled his boxer briefs as the car impacted the earth on its side and multiple airbags deployed. Oops, he had forgot about those. His hands left the wheel and he was pinned against his seat as he went zero gravity during two full rotations.
When it was over, Fish realized that the whole ordeal had been a lot easier than he had anticipated, it was almost even fun! The Mustang came to rest on its wheels, so he wasn’t upside down or anything crazy like that. Once the airbags dissipated, he took a quick assessment of his situation. Both the driver side and passenger side windows were totally busted out and the windshield had fully spider-webbed. As for injuries, his left elbow was throbbing, his right wrist hurt a bit, and his head was sore. He wasn’t sure what he had hit with his elbow and wrist, but the top of his head was tender from beating against the roof of the car during the rolls. Fish was six foot four and that was to be expected. Other than that, he was fine. The Mustang, however, was not. Fish removed his keys from the ignition and had to use his shoulder to forcefully bash the stuck driver’s side door open.
The car looked like absolute garbage, and Fish howled in delight as he put on his beanie and gloves. He did a little victory dance, but realized during the disco that what he was doing probably looked bad, and glanced over at the house whose yard he had invaded to make sure he didn’t have an audience. All the lights were off in the house, the old gal must have been in bed already or wasn’t home. Shrugging his shoulders, he decided to climb back up to the road and call the police.
The friendly 911 dispatcher informed him that it would be a few minutes before emergency services would arrive due to the inclement weather. He denied any serious injury and made certain that the dispatcher wouldn’t send an ambulance, there were other people who might need it instead. Especially during a snowfall. Rookie snow-drivers always made sure of that.
It was twenty-two minutes and several paces back and forth in the snow before a lone squad car arrived. An overweight, obviously frustrated Island County deputy on overtime emerged from the flashing vehicle and into the falling snow outside. He sized up the anxious Fish for a moment and then popped his trunk open with a remote. He didn’t say a word as he removed some blaze-orange hazard cones and placed them on the road. Fish wasn’t sure if he should be saying anything or doing something, so he just stood there at the ass end of the police cruiser and kept silent. After the cop placed the cones, he went back to the driver’s side of his vehicle, and Fish thought for a few moments that he was just going to take off, but he didn’t, and came back out with a clipboard.
“I’m Deputy Moore. Dispatch said you waved off the aid car?” He asked.
“Yes, sir. I’m a little bruised up but nothing serious.” Fish replied, rubbing his throbbing elbow.
“So you rolled it, eh? That sucks, you had a pretty nice ride there.” The fat cop asked with a disingenuous smirk.
“Yeah, uh, there was a deer.” Fish replied, trying to act shaken and disturbed as best he could.
“Deer, huh? That figures. That stupid old lady down there feeds ‘em.” He flapped his hand toward the homestead at the bottom of the hill with disgust. “That reminds me, we need to send another deputy down there to chew her ass again.”
Fish raised his eyebrows in slight shock at the deputy’s apparent contempt, foul language and unprofessionalism but said nothing. He couldn’t jeopardize The Plan by pissing off a grumpy old cop. Furthermore, even though she probably
a nice old lady, the cop was right. She was putting people in danger with her needless compassion for the animals, and needed to quit. There was plenty of greenery on the island and the deer would be just fine without her vittles. Maybe Fish was doing her a favor by this accident, for it could have been much worse. An SUV filled with teenage girls without seatbelts and the same event could have ended up deathly.
The deputy asked Fish for all the usuals, and he had to climb back down the hill to retrieve the registration from the Mustang’s glove box. As the deputy began filling out the report on his clipboard by flashlight in the snowy night, he took a look at Fish’s driver’s license and stopped mid pen-stroke.
“Hooker. Your name is Fish…Hooker? Wow, seriously?” The cop asked.
“Yeah. I don’t think my parents quite thought that one out.” Fish replied sheepishly.
“No, they sure the hell didn’t! I haven’t seen this jacked-up a name in a long time!” The cop shouted and let out a scratchy burst of laughter. Fish played his game and laughed right along with him, but in reality he wanted to wrap his hands around the asshole’s neck and squeeze the Crisco out of that fat bastard.
Deputy Moore completed the report and give Fish a preliminary copy, then waddled his way down the hill, almost taking a spill in the snow, and snapped a couple quick pictures of the battle-scarred Mustang.
After arduously climbing back up the slippery hill and completely out of breath, he asked if there was somewhere he could drop Fish off so he could stay warm while he called his insurance company and arranged for towing.
Fish answered, “I have a buddy that lives on Swantown.”