Friday, March 3, 2017

Just Another Day in a Mystery Writer's Life

My son had a meeting in our Ventura office and I went with as his support staff. I never mind going along. I love going places and meeting people and the ride to Ventura is beautiful. Once the 101 passes out of the sprawl of the San Fernando Valley, it winds through an area of rolling hills. Because of all the rain we’ve had the hills were so green it looked like Ireland.

Eventually the 101 snakes through a mountain pass and then as the road steeply descends there is a panoramic view of strawberry fields, houses, distant mountains and in the far distance the sparkle of the Pacific.

I always bring crochet along for the road, which I mostly forget because I am too busy looking out the window.

My son’s meeting was finished just about sunset so we decided to go for a walk on the Ventura Pier before getting McConnell’s ice cream and stopping at the outlet mall for sneakers- the perks of going along. I’d never walked on that pier before and as we started toward the tip, I was entranced by the view of one of the channel islands in the distance. I’m pretty sure it was Santa Cruz.

Just then we saw a boat with a flashing light come racing across the water. It was clearly some kind of patrol and slowed when it approached the pier. After going around the tip of the pier, it stopped along the side.

By then we were next to the boat and I saw that it was harbor patrol and there was a man standing on the back of it. It was almost dark and hard to see too well, but I could make out a crowd of people up ahead and then I saw there were two cops at the end of the pier.

No one was being allowed to go to the tip of the pier. We stayed with the crowd to see what was going on though we both already had our own ideas. My son was convinced there was a body in the water that might have fallen off a freighter since we were close to a shipping lane.

I thought I saw someone standing between the two cops and wondered if a person was threatening to jump. For a moment I had to wonder - do I find trouble, or does Trouble find me?

Our waiting around was ended as the cops moved toward the assembled people and ordered them off the pier. As we backtracked, we passed life guards, divers, and more cops headed to the action. Nobody seemed to be moving fast which meant either they were there for a recovery or just in case something happened. One of the cops even said hello to me.

I would have asked him what was going on, but I think my son would have pushed me off the pier in embarrassment if I had asked. When we finally got off the pier and were walking along the water to the parking lot, a boy went by on a skateboard. Who knows why, but he started to talk to us and apparently, he’d been all the way at the end of the pier and knew all about everything.

According to him, someone was threatening to jump. I took no pleasure in being right.

The good news is that I don’t they he or she did jump. I couldn’t find anything about the situation in the news.

Still it struck me how different two people could see the same thing so differently. To me going to the pier was a peaceful way to end the day. But here on the edge of the continent, someone who was at the end of their rope saw it as a violent way to end their day - for good.


Linda O. Johnston said...

And you can develop several plot ideas from that all too real scenario!

Betty Hechtman said...

Linda, you're right.