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June Bugs, Part 8

[Read first installment here]
[Read second installment here]
[Read third installment here]
[Read fourth installment here]
[Read fifth installment here]
[Read sixth installment here]
[Read seventh installment here]

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Bridget’s wails only concluded when she came to stand alongside the now deflated boat. Leaping onto the rubbery plastic which pooled at her feet like puddles and acted as if it were quicksand, she neared him enough to determine he still had breath. Once assured, she gave way to the incoming emergency personnel.

“Be careful,” she hollered at the female firefighter who’d begun trudging over the plastic. The woman didn’t seem to hear her. Seeing Jake, Bridget ran straight at him. “You all need to be very careful. You’ll kill him trying to rescue him!”

“What are you talking about?”

“The boat, Chuck, landed on that damned spiny palm!”

“Jesus,” Jake breathed as he raced away towards the scene. A  few more personnel joined him in the race while the remainder of the crews were finally making progress with the fire. Just in time, too. Any further, any higher, and the deadened branches above would have surely caught fire.

Bridget shook her head and turned her attention back on her beloved.

“Abbey! Don’t!” Jake screamed.

As much as she wanted to close her eyes, Bridget couldn’t. So she offered her prayer up while watching the devil dance in the balance.

“You’d never guess what I had to take care of this morning,” Chuck yanked off his work gloves and kicked off his boots before entering the kitchen where Bridget had a tall glass of iced tea already waiting.

“Something to do with that cursed palm?” She knew that was one of several things he planned on doing that morning. He hated pruning that tree and came to detest the previous owners because they planted it. More times than she could count he’d come in from the task bleeding out of numerous puncture holes dotting his body. Enough so that this time she made him wear a cup and his Kevlar vest to protect his most vital areas. The last time came far too close to the family jewels. Of course Jake chuckled  about that saying that it if it had actually happened, they could go into business performing vasectomies and call it the Natural Vasectomy. Until, of course, Chuck pointed out that given Jake’s playboy behavior, he ought to be their very first customer.

“Yep. Go on, love, guess.”

Her eyes searched his body looking for any signs of injury. Surprisingly she found none. Or rather, worrisomely. Before making any attempt to guess, she peered out the window towards the palm. Oh why couldn’t they just tear it out and be done with it? She nearly said that when it occurred to her that Chuck would take it to task and they’d lose the entire house. Knowing him, he’d plant a ton or so of TNT underneath the cursed thing and kaboom. No more house. Maybe even no more Chuck. She slammed her eyes shut and swallowed.

“I have no idea,” she turned back to face her husband who was in the process of grooming his mustache with the spread of his fingers.

“No, no. That’s not how this goes, love. Three guesses.”

“Fine. You found a nest of rats, a beehive, yellow-jackets.” She doubted it was any of the aforementioned simply because they’d had all of the above. Odds were that he wouldn’t be having her guess if that’s what was found.

That devilish twinkle in his eyes lit up his face as he shook his head. “Raccoons,” he then said. “But that’s not the half of it. They were all dead. Skewered like they were about to go on the barbecue. Two clean through. I think the others might have been attempting to help.”

“What? That’s impossible. How could that even have happened?”

“From the looks of it, a family of five were out and about for a midnight ransack and two of the adolescents lost their grip on the neighboring oak. I’m guessing that one was DOA and the other struggled for a bit, probably crying out which prompted the other three to jump to the rescue.” He certainly had the skills and making to be a wonderful homicide detective.

“That’s sad. Incredibly sad.”

“I agree, love,” he said as he pulled her into his arms.

She began crying when she imagined finding him in a similar pose, his body skewered at the ends of those needled branches.

“What is it, Bridge?”

“Promise me that from here on out we hire an arborist or a gardener to handle that damned thing. I couldn’t bear the thought of you becoming its next victim.”

Thankfully he agreed and come every February and September, Bert’s Trees comes by and trims it up nicely.  It’s an all-day task and quite expensive seeing that they had to buy special tools to manage it properly. Worth every penny as far as Bridget’s concerned.

“It’s all right, Bridge.” The sound of Jake’s voice tore her from the memories. “He got very lucky. It looks like the thickness of the boat combined with the bag his parachute was in, the jacket he wore, and the carcass of a possum worked collectively to save him from serious injury.”

“An opossum?” Bridget’s head got stuck on the imagery.

“Never mind that. Let’s get you into the ambulance and off to the hospital. He broke a few bones, but nothing life-threatening.”

Bridget only heard about half of that. Because right then, another explosion tore through the night. A rapid succession of bangs, pops, and whistles. Up in the sky, the fireworks wrote out a message. Bridget was still wondering how he managed to get them to write in the sky when Jake grabbed her up and carried her to the waiting ambulance.

Chuck was conscious though maybe not very lucid by the time she reached his side. She leaned over him and kissed his cheek, whispering, “I love you, too, you big dummy.”

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The Adventures of Jake and Chuck is an interactive (meaning that you can jump in and add your own take on the story by leaving a comment), never-ending story about the crazy hijinks partners on the Winslow police force seem to get themselves into on a fairly regular basis. Find their newest adventure posted here weekly (subscribe now so you don’t miss another exciting episode).

As always, ratings, likes, and comments are much appreciated and help fuel the muse!

 

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