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The Surrogate Lead Detective
They were combing the waters alongside the beach looking for a nine year old boy taken by the under water currents here at Seaside Park. Detective Laura Kimber found herself drifting away from the search and just staring at the Long Island Sound.
Why did there have to be such ugliness throwing pall over the beauty before her?
A young rookie broke the silence as his voice got high with nerves and said,” I think I see some movement ahead.”
Kimber did not respond to him as she looked at control. “Get us over there now!”
Helplessness poured through the sheer astonishment of finding Noel Rivera at the center of the movement. Looking for a nine year old boy at a packed beach shouldn’t be happening, but it was.
Kimber sighed, for the lost boy and for herself, and for all these others manning their positions in the search. Everyone with worried looks on their faces came to give a hundred percent, and for that she was grateful.
Was this what it meant to be lead detective, the feeling of helplessness? Of wanting to just stare at the sound and do everything personally, yet to be able to delegate responsibilities even in an emergency. She’d rather track down killers, thieves and pimps, whores, anything other than searching for missing and lost children.
Still unable to get the palms of her hands to stop sweating, she turned toward the front of the search boat. “Are we there yet?”
No one replied. That’s when she realized that the question was only said in her head, and not voiced to anyone else. It was nerves getting the best of her.
The surrogate lead detective stepped toward the front of the boat, hoping her legs weren’t shaking, at least no more than her hands were. Maybe if she just sat back and barked out commands, no one would see the worry in her face.
“Kimber,” someone called. “I got something.”
“Pull it up!”
Detective Laura Kimber paused; suddenly tensed she took in a deep breath. For the first ten heartbeats she expected someone to say something as they worked the waters in front of her. By the fifteenth heartbeat she expected the worst. However, the search party continued working the waters diligently.
“It’s something,” one of the searchers said calmly.
Kimber forced herself to ignore everything around her, but the action of the movement. She anchored herself on that searcher’s steady voice and forced herself to sound calm. “Progress?”
“It’s the boy!”
Fear was relentless, even though they found Noel Rivera so many rude thoughts filled her mind. She held her breath. They could call her lead detective and they could call her sir, but she wasn’t a real lead detective and the feeling of dread reminded her of that.
Through a constricting throat, she said, “get him up now!”
Conscience twisted her heart. She saw them lifting the boy out of the water and quickly attended to him medically. They were prepared to handle anything that came their way, but she felt helpless. She paced forward, glaring at the boy and life suddenly hit her. The boy started screaming as the search party roared with content. They slapped one another on the backs and hugged each other.
It was such a sensation, to feel joy conquer fear that it overwhelmed the lead detective. Kimber grabbed for balance and knew she didn’t want to be anywhere else, but there on the search boat with a lost child found safely.
© 2013 Frank Atanacio