Rivers Run Deep

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Cammytrice, May 17, 2015.

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  1. "C'mere, you fairy!"

    "Oh man, not again..." Cliff mumbled to himself. He'd just finished healing from his last fight. This was starting to become a habit.

    Cliff turned to see who was calling this time. He froze when he saw the size of the group, or rather, the size of the men in the group. Dock workers from one of the other riverboat companies. How had they known? He was hardly around the other boats. Well, that didn't matter right now, did it? Right now, Cliff had to decide whether to stand and fight or run. Taking another look at the group of four huge bruisers, he decided to leg it. Why'd he have to park outside the docks, today of all days? Maybe, just maybe, he could make it to his car in time.

    Cliff took off, his leather-soled shoes gripping the wet macadam under him, but not as well as the rubber-soled work boots as the dock workers. The skies opened up just then, pelting him with hard drops as he pushed as hard as he could. He wasn't going to make it, but he still ran hell-for-leather, just hoping he could at least make it to the street. No such luck.

    Something hit the back of Cliff's head, and pain seared through his scalp as he went down. He hit the ground full force, striking his head on the ground as well. Fully dazed, he could do little but try to curl up to protect his head from further blows as the brutes descended, using fists and feet but thankfully nothing else. That was a small blessing.

    Cliff was barely conscious as he felt himself being dragged by his ankles. Where were they taking him now? Couldn't they just beat him up and leave him alone? They weren't going to torture him now, were they? If he could think properly, Cliff would've really started to worry, and if he could hear past the blood pulsing through his ringing ears, he'd have heard the boats rocking and straining against their ropes as the river carried the rainwater swiftly downstream. The only thing that penetrated his fog was the bell, meant for just that purpose. Before he could register its meaning, though, Cliff felt himself being lifted and becoming weightless, then splashing down into the cold, sucking current.

    #1 Cammytrice, May 17, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 25, 2016
  2. Chief Joshua Monro sat below deck in the galley of his cutter, a 99 foot boat fitted with a 3"/23cal. gun on her bow, a Coast Guard vessle patroling the waters for illegal transport of alcohol. Currently, the boat, the USCGC Sea Hawk, was docked at her secured dock freshly back from a long patrol.

    Joshua sat back and sipped his coffee, listening to the radio and winding down from his patrol. He was looking forward to a boring few days while they resupplied and cleaned up. He wasn't expecting to pull someone out of the water that night, but it did tend to happen. When he heard his boy on watch yell 'man overboard', he nearly spilled his coffee jumping up. He ran up to the top deck and took the boy's binoculars. Yep. That was a body in the water, rushing down and into boats and the like. Damn it.

    He threw a couple orders around before grabbing a life preserver and diving into the water. Even at 37, he was a strong swimmer, able to fight the current and make his way towards the man in the water.
  3. It was all Cliff could do to keep his head above the water, but even swim team training hadn't prepared him for battling the current while half-beaten to death. He gulped down a lot more of the fetid water than he'd have liked, only the burning need to breath kept him from staying under too long. The water in his stomach and lungs was starting to weigh him down, though, and he could feel his arms slowing. He wouldn't be able to keep this up for much longer. Then, the dreaded blackness started closing in.

    No, stay awake...stay with it...

    But his body refused to listen any longer. With one last, weak splash of his arms, Cliff felt his head slip under the water for the last time. The darkness was better than feeling yourself drowning. He let it take him.
  4. Joshua didn't have time to curse or even think about much besides conserving his energy and fighting the current at the same time. He got to the man just as Cliff slipped under the surface. He reached down and grabbed him by the shirt, jerking him back above the surface of the water. "I've got you!" he said, turning the man and helping him grab onto the life preserver. When he realized the man was mostly unconscious, he used the rest of his strength to keep Cliff above water and somewhat on the life preserver. It was time to let the current carry them, focusing mainly on keeping them from crashing into the boats but not so far out to miss his own boat. It was a tricky situation, but he had done it enough times.

    When he got beside his own boat, he reached out and grabbed onto the rope ladder someone had thrown over the side. He hooked a foot in and sighed. Now he could relax. He passed the man up to the men on board and climbed up himself. Cliff was put on his stomach so the water could drain from his lungs, then back on his back so they could make sure he was breathing and do CPR if neccessary.

    Chief Monro walked over and dropped down on the deck beside him. "Smith, go call for an ambulance." he said, taking over the seaman's job. He leaned in to listen for breath and heard nothing. Great. He turned his head, holding Cliff's nose and giving him a few breaths. This guy really needed to start breathing. He did not want to put another tick under the list of bodies he had pulled out of the water. He wanted that tick under 'lives saved' instead. It was a much better column to keep score under.
  5. Cliff sputtered and choked up water, automatically turning his head to the side to keep from swallowing it down again. He still was nowhere near coherent, but he knew enough to know that he was out of the water and laying on something solid. He knew the motion under him well enough to know he'd been pulled aboard a boat. He didn't bother to try and think further than that, just focused on coughing the polluted water from his lungs as best as his bruised ribs would allow. They didn't feel broken, but they still hurt like hell. Just like his burning lungs and throat. Everything hurt, but he was glad to still be alive to hurt.
  6. "There you go!" The chief said happily, rolling the man onto his side so he could choke out the rest of the water. He pat him on the back and took a blanket one of his men brought up. He laid it over the man and smiled. "Ambulance is on its way." he said, though he did start patting the man down for broken bones and the like, taking stock of his bruises and any cuts he might have. "I'm Chief Monro with the Coast Guard. You're on our boat, safe and sound. What's your name?"
  7. Cliff coughed again, painfully, and squinted up though swelling and water-burned eyes at the Chief. He could hear his voice, like it was coming through a wall, and blinked a bit in confusion. He couldn't understand most of what he said, but the last sentence was simple enough to decipher. "Cliff..." he choked out. "Cliff West..." He closed his eyes again and sagged back, his body shivering with shock and cold. "Th-thank you..." He at least wanted to thank the man while he could. He couldn't do much else, but he could do that.
  8. He smiled. "Just doing my job, sir." he said, making sure he was wrapped up in the blanket so he could stay warm. The water had been cold as fuck and he gladly accepted a blanket himself. He heard the siren wailing and growing closer. The ambulances were always pretty fast when they called for one. "Ambulance is close. You just stay where you are, alright, Mr. West?"

    Two of his men jumped off the boat to tell the ambulance where to go, as if they needed directions. The paramedics came up and the chief stayed close but out of the way, telling them what he saw and how banged up he seemed to be.
  9. Cliff groaned as he was poked and prodded by the paramedics, and cursed in pain as they moved him onto the stretcher. He was glad to be off the cold floor and onto the canvas fabric of the stretcher, though. The paramedics strapped him in, and hoisted him up. "Tell...my dad..." he said in a hoarse voice to the older man still hovering close to him. "Ernest West...West Shipping and Tours..." He coughed again, and let the paramedics carry him down to the waiting ambulance. By the time they had settled him in, he had passed out again.
  10. Ernest West. Ah, yes. He inspected those boats quite often. He hadn't had the pleasure of speaking to the owner though...

    The next morning, Joshua walked into the hospital and was soon knocking on the door of Cliff West. He walked in wearing his blue work uniform and smiled. "Good morning, Mr. West." he said, walking up to the bedside. He held out a card that him and his men had signed for him. "I wanted to check up on you, make sure you were doing alright. How are you feeling?"
  11. "Better, thanks. And please, call me Cliff." He coughed a bit and groaned, his lungs and ribs still not getting along. He gingerly pushed himself up to a more upright sitting position before accepting the card. "Thank you, Chief. I definitely would have drowned if you hadn't been there. You saved my life." He shook his head. Of all the times he'd been beat up before, he'd never come so close to dying. This was a first, and one he hoped to never repeat again. "Dad's been to the police and the boss of the men who threw me in, so hopefully you won't have to pull me from the river again...Doc said I might catch some pneumonia from all the water in my lungs, but I'm strong enough despite my bruised ribs that it shouldn't be too much of a problem. They might send me home today or tomorrow..."

    Cliff stopped rambling long enough to finish reading the card, then set it on the bedside table and quirked a smile at the older gentleman. "Dad's eager to offer you all a reward as thanks, but since you're government paid, he's not sure if that'd be strictly kosher. Please, you'll let us know if there's anything we can do for you all while you're in dock?" His speech was punctuated by the occasional cough and clearing of his throat, but it had lost the hoarse tone it had the previous evening.
  12. "Good, good. We've filed a report ourselves. The police have already been by to talk to us. You'll have to thank your father for us, but we don't need a reward. It's our job." He smiled. "You're the third person I've pulled out of the river this month, and the first one who kept breathing, so I'm glad to see you're doing alright. The most I can ask of you and your father is to stay clean. I've never had a problem with any of your boats carrying any bootleg alcohol and that just makes my job a lot easier."

    He fidgeted with his hat a little bit. "If the two of you want to come down and get a tour of the ship, we'd be glad to give you one. We're set for another week long patrol starting Monday, but we're back and forth, so I'm sure you'll see us around."
  13. "I know I would. Dad's much more for the business than the actual boats, but I love getting down into the engines. Any engine, really," he smirked with a cough. "But maybe not until I'm past this cough and don't have to worry about the pneumonia. And healed up a bit. Dad's given me mandatory time off. Said it's not good for business, booking tour cruises with a busted face. Truthfully, though, I know he just wants to keep me away from the docks until those bastards are put away. And honestly, I don't mind staying away for the same reason..." He sighed and shook his head again. "I still don't know how they found me out, or why they decided I was the threat..."

    Usually his beatings were the result of him flirting around with a guy at a club or a speak. But he never flirted at the docks. Sure, he brought friends around a time or two, but he never mixed his business with pleasure. The dock workers were strictly off-limits, but then none of them were really his type anyway.

    Cliff had drifted into a thoughtful silence, eyeing the flowers and cards dotted about the room already, and smirked at the signed pair of water wings, a gift from his friends on the swim team. They were all pretty worried for him, but like all college aged young men, they showed their concern through teasing and embarrassing gifts. They figured water wings would be best for someone on the swim team who had nearly drowned in the river.
  14. He nodded. "Best to take care of that cough first. My father always said that the most important thing a man can do is to take care of himself. He can't help other people if he can't help himself." He laughed softly and looked around the room. The water wings made him laugh. That was really funny. He knew a couple of guys on his boat who needed some of those.

    He had no idea what the man was talking about, being found out. But, that seemed like personal business. Maybe he had been sleeping with one of the guy's wives or something. And they sure as hell did a number on the guy's face. "Word is, the guys that did this to you are looking at attempted murder charges. So they won't be around for long."
  15. Cliff shrugged, not wanting to think about them anymore. "So, how'd you become a guy who jumps into the river to pull sorry sots like me out of it?" he wondered with a self-deprecating smirk. He was joking about the sorry sot part, but the question was an honest one. He certainly did look the part of a Coastie. Cliff himself didn't go for overly-muscled types, but this guy had guns to spare.
  16. The man chuckled and moved over to take a seat. "My father did it, so I did it. He was in the Life-Saving Service up off Staten Island. In New York. I joined when I was old enough and back in '15 it became the Coast Guard. But I've been jumping into cold water to save people as a job since I was 16. As a hobby since I was 15." He chuckled again and shrugged. "It's in my blood, I guess. It was that or become a teacher like my mother, but that seemed like too much schooling. Far easier to push a boat out, row for a while, then jump into the water to pull people out of it. Or, in this case, jump right from my boat and swim upstream." He laughed and smiled. "Hoping my oldest will take after me, but his mother's poisoning his mind against it..."
  17. Cliff quirked his eyebrow at that. "Yeah? You and the missus not get on? Or is she more worried about the danger?" he wondered. Could be both, but if Cliff had to bet money on it, it'd be the former. Nobody uses the word 'poison' without there being bad blood somewhere along the line. And mothers, well, women really, could be very good at poisoning when they felt particularly angry about something. Plus, he'd called her 'his mother'. That was always good for a story.
  18. He chuckled. "We've been divorced for 7 years now. She took the kids back to Staten Island. Said all the traveling wasn't good for them and that if I was going to be gone all the time, she might as well have the freedom to do as she pleased while I was gone." He said with a grin, but there was a sour tint to his voice. "So, now I only see my kids over the summer and she usually pulls something that keeps me from keeping them for too long." He shrugged and waved a hand. "But that's neither here nor there."
  19. "Mm, career man, then," he surmised with a shrug. "Oh well." Cliff coughed again and seemed to lose a bit of his spark, beginning to tire. "So do you get much time off?" he wondered. "What do you usually get up to when you're in port?" Maybe what most sailors he knew did: drink. Even if their job was to keep booze out of the city, when they were off work, none of them seemed to complain that it still got in. He didn't suggest that out loud, however. "Believe it or not, I'm actually on the swim team at the university. Hence the water wings over there," he smirked with a lazy wave at the swimming aid. Of course the guys had gone for the ones decorated like actual butterfly wings. "Golf team, too."
  20. The man laughed. "Yeah. Career man. And I've paid for it but I haven't really learned my lesson." He looked over at the water wings and smirked. "Well, put those on next time you decide to get thrown off a dock, alright?" He looked over. "You were damned lucky to not hit any of the boats or get dragged right under...Specially dragged under a boat. Over all, aside from, you know, gettin' the shit kicked out of you and thrown off a dock, you ended up pretty lucky."

    Golf team? Huh. "I used to be into golf. Haven't played in a while, though. Might be nice to get back into it. Honestly, when I've got time off, I spend it on the boat unless my kids are in town. Planning on spending all of my saved up leave time to take off a couple months this summer when they're here. Trying to convince myself the boat can still run without me." He chuckled and shook his head. "Are there any good golf courses in this city?"
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