Before I compose a piece, I walk around it several times, accompanied by myself.
Today was a glorious summer day. The weather could not be more perfect. Miguel looked around to make sure the town was empty of people. He glanced up at the west tower, the one he preferred as a starting point. Adjusting his backpack he took out the wire cutters and cut through the chain across the entrance of the stairway. He was trespassing on city property. Hopefully that was the only law he would break today. He straightened his pole and started the climb up the shallow stairway. The pole had to go up first, it was flexible but it had to be taken up on the outside of the stairway. It was a tight squeeze.
Once he was on the platform he sat and looked around at the view. For more than a year he had wanted to do this walk. These two bell towers were part of the landscape of his life. Highland was a place for the poor and the middle class. From above, all the stores and houses looked magical. The rubbish and dirt was too insignificant to destroy the beauty.
The town of Highland, south of Seattle, was cordoned off from vehicles and pedestrians coming onto Main street. People were lined along the yellow police tape trying to see what was happening. Stevie Dangerfield, a Seattle Homicide Detective, had to park a block away even though Reggie Watts, her partner, suggested a way around the congestion. The crowd was quiet with solemn looks passing from person to person. Stevie noticed the two bell towers above the heads of the onlookers. There was a policeman standing on the platform of one of the towers. He was looking down at a swinging cable.
“Excuse us.” Stevie said. “Police coming through!” An older woman reached for Stevie and looked into her eyes.
“It was horrible. First the excitement then…..” A tear rolled down the deeply creased face. When they arrived at the barrier, Reggie held up the tape while Stevie stepped underneath. He flashed his shield at an officer and together they walked up the street until they were under the towers. A beige tarp covered what looked to be a body.
“What happened here?” Reggie asked.
“It appeared to be an accident at first but the medical examiner is unsure of the cause of death. I believe you are here to investigate?.” The officer looked gravely at the outline of the body on the street.
“Can you tell us who the victim is?” Stevie asked as she approached the body, gingerly lifting the plastic away.
“Sixteen year old male, by the name of Miguel Ramirez. His friend is over there. He witnessed the whole thing. Even has a video.”
“What whole thing?” Stevie asked.
“The kid was trying to walk a wire cable from one tower to the other. Can you believe it?”
Stevie noticed the officer was shaking a little bit.
“Who is in charge here?” Reggie asked. He was looking around at the investigative team.
“Detective Mullins is over there with the medical examiner.” He pointed with his left hand while his right hand seemed to be clutching his gun.
“May I go over and talk to his friend?” Stevie asked.
“I think that is fine. He is really scared.”
While Reggie approached the other men Stevie walked to the tower. She saw an opening with a stairway up to the top. There on the bottom step, huddled in a blanket, sat another teenage boy.
“I’m Detective Dangerfield. Can I ask you a few questions?” Stevie crouched down so that she was eye level with the boy.
He nodded but did not look up.
“What is your name?” Stevie asked.
“Are you alright, Jorge? Did they treat you for shock?”
“I don’t know. That doctor over there checked me out.”
Stevie stood and sat down next to Jorge.
“What do you have in your hands?” She asked.
“Hand warmers. They are helping me stop shaking.”
“You have probably told this story many times this morning but could you tell me again what happened to your friend?”
This is a work in progress. It may change and evolve as I write more. If you are interested in the story please leave a comment.