The police station was a hub of activity as Chief Grady and his deputies processed the herd of out-of-towners being charged with trespassing. In an effort to keep those they’d rescued from a repeat attempt at becoming part of an ocean-side buffet line, they tacked on a “reckless endangerment” charge; which allowed Grady to insist they could only be released into the custody of a family member or a medical professional. Having Doctor Garrett on site meant the perpetrators could elect to be placed in his custody or they were free to find someone else. Most chose Dr. Garrett, eager to leave the shabby jail cells for relative comfort on the ninth floor of the local hospital. Though some were bitter about the police’s interference, most of the loners behind bars were grateful that someone had cared enough to help. On one point, all parties agreed; they all appreciated Sharon Grady’s strong coffee, sandwiches, and homemade cookies as the lawmen and medical staff worked out the logistics of transporting so many people to the hospital.
While Grady and his deputies worked to process the arrests, Sue Taylor and her Neighborhood News team pulled into the station’s parking lot. She did one last makeup check before getting into position in front of the main entrance.
“Good evening and welcome to Neighborhood News. I’m Sue Taylor and this is tonight’s top story. Again, we have trouble at the shore. Our recently dubbed, ‘Suicide Beach’ is back in the spotlight as droves of out of town visitors descended… only this time it wasn’t to bask in the summer sun or spend a fun-filled family vacation splashing in the ocean. These downtrodden outcasts came with just one purpose in mind, to end their empty, miserable lives once and for all. One man has made it his mission to save these lost souls, our own Chief of Police, Thomas Grady. Together with his deputies, Steven Barker and Edward Kline, Chief Grady attempted to prevent one of the largest mass suicides on record.”
Sue Taylor paused for dramatic effect and flashed a sympathetic smile to the viewers at home. She knew she was sitting on a goldmine and her story was garnering attention from some of the bigger, national networks. In her heart, she didn’t care if people wanted to throw themselves into the abyss and end up vomited onto the beach as long as she got her ticket to the big time.
“Just through these doors,” Ms. Taylor continued. “Our police are working tirelessly to protect and serve, not just our community but everyone who ventures into their jurisdiction. The biggest tragedy is that, for each person saved, countless others slipped through the barricades and have met with an untimely death. At dawn, I will be on the beach with our cameras and the Neighborhood News team to investigate the tragedy seaside but, for now, come with me as we go inside for a rare glimpse into what fuels our brave lawmen.”
This time, Sue gave the camera her best come-hither look and curled her finger in a beckon. Below the camera’s scope, two interns crawled on their bellies and pushed the doors open for the golden-haired beauty charming their viewers at home. At first, no one inside the station noticed their new arrivals. Sue and her camera men were able to get into position and make an introduction before Grady caught sight of the intruders.
“As you can see, even into the dark of night our local police station is bustling as they process the…”
“Hey! Get out of here right now!” Chief Grady bellowed. “I’ve got news for you, Sue Taylor; I can arrest you for this debacle. For your information; it is a felony to aid, advise, or encourage another person to commit suicide and that story you did certainly sounded like advising and encouraging to me.”
A crack in the otherwise-professional veneer of newscaster Sue Taylor surfaced for a fleeting second before she regained her composure. She threw one baleful look at Chief Grady before signing off and “sending it back to the station”.
“You know, Chief, I’ve been touting you as a hero but perhaps I’ve been wrong in my assessment.” She sneered.
“You listen to me, Edna Sue Taylor,” Sharon Grady barked. “If you even think about saying anything unsavory or even moderately-unflattering about my husband, I will have no choice but to release certain pre-cosmetic surgery photos of you. Got it?”Sue shuddered, her eyes welling with the unshed tears of an overweight girl with bad acne, a hooked nose, nearly invisible lips, dull mousey hair and bad teeth. Few people remembered unpopular Edna and even less realized she was surgically altered to become the Neighborhood News’ own Sue Taylor. It was a secret she had vowed to leave buried in her past. She looked at Mrs. Grady with a mixture of hatred and respect. Well played, Sue thought silently and nodded to her nemesis before breezing through the door.