Monday, February 16, 2009

come to where i'm from////part2

getting to louie's on time was a real challenge for bobo. there were so many places he had to "check in" out there on the beach in 1963. the casino was still standing & that was tommy kennedy & ernie magaha's joint. bobo had to look up his old crony joe seeley, the caretaker of the fishing pier & aaron grimsley of the islander package store. at my age, i was allowed out onto the pier but not into any of the other places---i waited impatiently in the car. back then, there was none of the kiddy solicitude we see nowadays: my solitary car moments were never commented on---a muttered "sorry" or even a gesture like ice cream. nada. we did get to louie's close to the scheduled departure time. i suspect that was because bobo knew louie wouldn't wait.

louie had 3 jeeps & they were all filled w/nets, garbage cans, coolers filled w/beer & sodas & they were equipped w/the coolest overhead lighting, strapped up onto the tops of the jeeps. a little kid didn't really mind being shunted off to the side when he's confronted by all this. they gave all the kids silly little tasks---"make sure this doesn't come untied, ok?"---but that was just fine. it was a big expedition & we were little kids, we understood our places.

during these halcyon days, vehicles could be driven out onto the beaches, like daytona, so the jeeps took us right down to the water's edge. this was summer time & the gulf was as warm as spit but us kids still squealed when we first hit the water---the clarity of the water illuminated by the overhead lights still stunning in memory.

we'd been crabbing for maybe 45minutes, jeeps slowly moving along the shoreline, arc lights pointed out & into the water, giving us better vision than daylight could have. we waded along in small groups, nets in hand, randomly scooping down into the water, occasionally pulling up a crab, usually pulling up nothing. there was the quiet deeper voices of the adults, solemn but soothing. suddenly & w/no apparent rhyme or reason, the crabs began to swarm. i'm not talking about us pulling up a few more crabs then earlier. the crabs began to rush the shore in groups of 40-50, coming in relentless waves out of the depths & onto the shore. there was just our little group between them & their apparent destination.

"it's a jubilee!!!," someone yelled ecstatically. from that moment on, all i remember is the mass of crabs swarming, our nets heavy w/them & more pressing on. we just kept tossing them into the floating garbage cans. as we filled those, they were rushed off in the jeeps back to louie's & more were fetched. by now, we were filling 5-6 big cans every hour. the crabs just kept coming & we kept lifting them up out of the water & heaving them back down into the cans. we didn't have time for kid's play. this was serious fun, you could tell by the adults who were very serious but ecstatic. we felt like we were part of something that rarely, if ever, occurred & all the muttered "i'll be damneds" & "unbelievables" just legitimated that feeling.

all this exuberance & happiness was stopped in a heartbeat by a simple police radio broadcast. "be quiet!," was the shouted command & all activity ceased, we strained to hear scratchy transmission. there was initial confusion. "ok, i need a 10-9 on that last transmission," louie replied to what sounded like random numbers to me. again, it all came spewing out, "we got a possible 261 w/a possible 10-54, out near your 10-20." "wait a minute, slow down," was what i remember louie repeating into the mic. it seems like a nude bloody young("she ain't older than 17, louie" was what i heard)woman had appeared at the sheriff's substation back down near the pier. she'd been raped & her bf shot. she'd waved down a random car out on the beach road & they'd brought her to the station. her bf & his car was still out on the beach.

louie directed one jeep to head on up & find the abandoned bf & car.

end of part2

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