Saturday is here and I'm running episode 2 of Beach Patrol: Saturdays.
Seafront Meadow Park This park runs for several dozen acres and its western limit extends as far as and borders Cove Beach. Some areas of the park have been set aside and landscaped for sports and games but the largest portion has been left wild and is sporadically heavily wooded, with dells and knolls, a path runs from Cove Beach to the park and further paths criss-cross the park, which are frequented by walkers, hikers and joggers alike.
Verde Zona Hill Community A couple of miles south of central Bay City is the exclusive Zona Verde Hill Community, a small woody and hilly region with a maze of undulating roads that lead to a number of cul-de-sacs populated with discreetly positioned lavish, sometimes grandiose mansions set in expansive grounds and gardens. Sweetwater Estate A small walled estate with a high concrete wall that rings a large colonial style house, the grounds also contain a long veranda, pool, tennis and basketball courts and a summerhouse.
Bodie Muchannon Ditch’s 14 year old son, Bodie is headstrong and impulsive, he has lived with Ditch since his parents divorced 4 years ago.
Eric Cooke A fairly intense man, Eric is the owner of Cooke Gyms a small chain of gymnasiums throughout Southern California. He is a fitness and workout fanatic and it shows, he took his obsession and turned it into a successful business.
James Gail Like all good jockeys, James Gill is a small, slight man, alo gregarious and confident, hedonistic and impulsive, he's a known gambler and this has got him embroiled with a race-fixing court case that broke last year.
Milo Yoyo the Mime A mime, what else can be said. Who hires a mime to entertain children? Milo wasn't saying anything!
1st June 1996
On Friday evening, Ditch made calls to all of our heroes, asking them to come in half an hour early, despite some grumbling from some of our heroes, they managed to arrive early
Run Around A smudge of rosy golden light along the eastern horizon and behind the Bay City skyline marked the beginning of a new day as our heroes arrived at the HQ in the pre-dawn quiet of a city not quite ready to stir from its slumber. The meeting room that Ditch led our heroes into was filled with the pungent aroma of coffee as Ditch and Barney roused themselves with the day's first hit of caffeine. Stella made coffee for everyone as Ditch began explaining. "You may be wondering why I've called you all here?" he said wryly.
Ditch went on to explain that the northern edge of Cove Beach borders Seafront Meadow Park, which is partially a lightly wooded and bushy wildlife reserve on the edge of Bay City. Joggers frequently run up along the edge of the beach and follow a path into the park. There were numerous paths and trails that criss-cross the park which the joggers took. For the last week or so, two muggers have been hiding in the foliage and targeting early morning joggers with knives for valuables and cash, if they have any.
Bay City PD was too busy dealing with a recent increase in drug related crime to assign a detail to the muggings right now and won't do unless matters escalate, Ditch had other ideas though....
With the help of Barney, Ditch wanted to set a trap to catch the muggers and he wanted one of our heroes to be bait as a jogger and potential victim! Ditch explains that he was too well known around the beach to be a lure and no one would ever believe Barney with his brawny physique would ever be a jogger - Barney gave Ditch a sidelong glance! Ditch believed one of our heroes would be perfect because they are all newbies.
Some discussion followed, Art outright refused to be the bait, stating "I'm just too tough looking and no mugger would ever try going for me!". In the end, following further discussion Winter volunteered to be the jogger. She changed into some shorts and a tee-shirt, next Winter needed some valuable's to display, luckily Stella was at hand with her handbag, the former stewardess pulled out a tangle of fake gold jewellery, including a necklace inset with a topaz. "It's my birthstone," Stella revealed. Winter pursed her lips and exasperatedly donned the colourful accessories.
Our heroes' plan was simple, Art, Doc and Stella would hide at various points in the park which seemed a likely spot muggers might use and Winter would go jogging. Hopefully it would lure the muggers out. Ditch and Barney would have to be further back to avoid arousing any suspicion.
Winter put on her headphones and tape deck, then went jogging through the leafy forest, coolly shaded in the dawn light and it worked! Two muggers;Jay Burton and Connor Hamilton while brandishing knives had stepped out ahead of her when she passed through a thick copse of trees. They gestured for her to hand over the jewellery, Winter was beginning to do so when she heard a scream! The muggers had acted in sight of Stella; who had burst from her hiding place to charge them down whilst blowing her whistle. Running seemingly in slo-mo, Stella caught them flatfooted, grabbed one of them and started lashing out at him with her walkie-talkie.
Unfortunately, being further away, Art and Doc didn't hear this and were completely oblivious, Ditch began running down the path toward the commotion, Barney - on his quad had to take a torturous circular route to get there.
The muggers knowing something was up, turned and fled, Stella managed to maintain her grip on Connor Hamilton. Two more still-hidden muggers then emerged from the foliage to also run for it, Winter gave chase. Doc noticed the three fleeing muggers enter a clearing with Winter in pursuit and ran after them, unfortunately an old 'Nam injury chose this moment to flare up and Doc couldn't maintain the pace.
Meanwhile, Connor Hamilton couldn't escape Stella and having had enough of being hit with the walkie-talkie, surrendered. It was about now that Art got wind of the fracas that was underway and spotted Winter and Doc chasing the muggers, Art immediately made for them, grabbing a sturdy looking loose branch as he left cover, a fast runner, Art quickly made ground on one of them. Getting close, he struck Taylor Ball a blow with the branch, it slowed the mugger down enough for Winter to barge him down and Art immobilized him.
The remaining two muggers continued running, with Winter in pursuit. they reached a car, jumped in and drove away. Winter managed to get a good look at the license plate. Later she would give it to Barney and Bay City PD would use it to track down one of the muggers, who would then give up his colleague. By this time, Ditch had caught up with Stella and helped her secure Connor Hamilton. Meanwhile, everyone could hear the drone of Barney's quadbike's engine somewhere in the distance and out of sight, but he was nowhere to be seen?
Learn To Fly With the mugger problem dealt with, it was time for our heroes to begin their shift on at Lifeguard Tower 2 on Cove Beach.
Soon the sun-seekers has begun streaming into Cover beach and before long it was typically busy sunny morning. Doc was leaning on the tower's railing while watching the beach with his binoculars. Further out to sea, Doc could see a small speedboat towing a paraglider, as he watched he saw the cord attached to the paraglider snap, the abrupt change in line tension caused the paraglider to sway alarmingly, the flier, Harley Marks lost control and spiralled down into the sea. The speedboat, oblivious to this, motored on. It didn't look the paraglider had hit the water hard, but the parachute could prove dangerous. Doc immediately dived in and began swimming out, the ocean swell was with Doc and he quickly reached Harley and ensured that he was safe. The speedboat then circled back round, Sid Massey, the pilot having realised what had happened. Doc and Harley were picked up and the boat returned to Cove Pier.
On the way back, Doc took the opportunity to lecture them on the proper safety procedure to follow to prevent incidents such as these from occurring.
Hard To Handle A couple of hours later and Cove was getting even busier, our heroes and Doc in particular suspected something was up? He had noticed that about a dozen members of the Cove Bay Surf Club, including their president Jesse Brooks were on the beach and they seemed to tangling with some people. Doc realised that it was another surfer club; The Diamondbacks came from north of Santa Monica, they had a fairly thuggish reputation and now they were on Cove Beach looking for waves and the Cove Bay Surf Club weren't happy. It looked like a riot was going to kick off.
Art and Doc ran over to calm things down with Winter in tow, back at Lifeguard Tower 2, Stella was wondering if she could make refreshments for all of them. Doc tried to de-escalate the situation, trying to get the rival clubs to cooperate but his words fell on deaf ears. Art tried to intimidate them into settling down but they weren't impressed. Finally, Winter tried appealing to their common sense, warning them that the police would be called if a fight broke out but they didn't listen, she was a teenager after all! Winter turned round and headed back to the lifeguard tower in disgust.
It was heating up, a crowd had gathered to watch the threats, pushing and jostling, Jesse Brooks and Corey Woods, leader of The Diamondbacks went for each other, Art and Doc tried to pull them apart, Doc managed to drag Jesse Brooks away who in turn gave him a right hook to the face for his troubles! Doc had had enough and he left them to it, there was nothing Art could do. Meanwhile Ditch came running down from Lifeguard Tower 1 to investigate, even he couldn't see a way of getting them to stop. All they could do was keep the gawking crowds from getting too close.
True to her word, Winter radioed Beach Patrol HQ and got them to put a call out to the police. By the time the police did arrive in force, the fracas was mostly over and the surfers were for the most part sitting around nursing their bruises, it didn't stop the cops from arresting them and carting them off.
Towards lunchtime a radio call came in: An individual aboard the yacht Lucky Oasis had fallen ill and collapsed. "Bodie's on that yacht!" exclaimed Ditch over the radio, Bodie was Ditch's son. Bodie had been invited to a birthday party with his friend Ellis Cooke aboard the Lucky Oasis.
The Lucky Oasis was situated about a mile off shore, armed with coordinates Ditch ordered our heroes to come with him into one of Beach Patrol's speedboats, the powerful modified vehicle carved through the waves and soon arrived at the vessel, a large seagoing pleasure yacht. After getting aboard, our heroes were taken into a large and opulent dining room and to the stricken person, it was Bodie's friend, Ellis, guests, staff and crew had silently surrounded him as Rorty Walker, first mate attended him. Doc checked Ellis out, vomiting, acute abdominal pain, slipping in and out of unconsciousness; all signs of poisoning, most likely food poisoning. Doc asked Ellis what he eaten in the last day, none of the information provided by the poorly Ellis looked like the cause, at the party, Ellis had eaten the same things everyone else had and no one else was suffering food poisoning? Stella suspected it might have been deliberate, but who would want to target a fourteen year old boy?
Ditch radioed back to shore, calling for an ambulance to be waiting at Cove Pier and Ellis was carefully loaded aboard the speedboat, before heading back, Ditch allowed our heroes to so stay aboard the Lucky Oasis and look into the matter. The party atmosphere had evaporated and the yacht was heading back, it would arrive at the docks in about thirty minutes.
Eric Cooke was the boy's father and whose birthday party it was, he explained that apart from family and guests, the yacht had been hired and came with a crew, the catering, band and children's entertainer (a mime) had also been hired. Stella took Eric Cooke aside into a cabin (Eric's wife looked askance a this!) and asked him if anyone had threatened him. Eric admitted he was unsure, recently a representative from a company had approached him, wanting to buy his small chain of gyms, he had felt suspicious and had gotten the company checked out and it looked like it was a shell company, Eric had refused to sell his gyms. Stella then took a quick look around the galley and found nothing suspicious.
Once the Lucky Oasis had docked, all the hired staff disembarked and went their ways and there was nothing more our heroes could do and had to get a lift back down to Cove Beach.
Waiting For Tonight
The early shift had ended at it was time for our heroes to sign off for the day. They were at their lockers getting changed when Kenny Eddmer approached them. Kenny asked our heroes if they could help him out with a problem. After some deliberation, our heroes decided to help Kenny out.
Kenny looked around furtively. "Don't let the LT know but I moonlight as a process server," he admitted. "And I need some help getting to someone,". Further deliberation occurred between our heroes, they weren't sure whether they wanted to get involved. "There's twenty bucks in for you!" Kenny offered. It was enough!
Kenny went on to explain that he had to serve a court summons on James Gail, who was a successful and well known horse jockey, he become embroiled in a race-fixing scandal that had broken last year. James Gail wasn't and easy guy to get to, while was diminutive, he didn't go anywhere without a pair of very large bodyguards. Kenny had just learned that James Gail was holding a party tonight at his estate in the exclusive Verde Zona Hill Community and was hoping our heroes could help him crash the party.
After getting dressed up for the night, our heroes met with Kenny in Doc's jeep and followed him in his sports car as he led them into Verde Zona. As the name suggested, the community was located on a secluded, wooded hill beyond Bay City's southern outskirts. The large well-appointed homes were spaced well apart and sat in generous grounds, usually ringed by tall fences and walls. They were connected by meandering small lanes that experienced little traffic as there were no through-roads here.
Kenny took our heroes to a white-walled residence called Sweetwater Estate. Our heroes could hear music thumping out of a sound system as they parked up round the corner and behind a line of other parked cars. Looked like the party was in full swing. Our heroes checked the front way in, a couple of burly doormen were manning the front, there was no way in through there they decided, they then strolled to the back of the estate and took a look round until they found a stretch of wall that didn't seem lit.
The high wall was topped in a row of iron spikes to deter climbers. fortuitously, Stella had bought a line of tough cord with her - that she kept in her handbag, she tied off a loop and flung it over one of the spikes, then she easily climbed up, positioning her lithe form between the spikes. From her vantage she could see an expansive house with a wide veranda, a pool, tennis court, basketball hoops and a summerhouse, all of surrounded by several acres of grounds. Stella helped the others up-and-over the wall and they were in!
Quite coolly, our heroes approached the veranda, there were a lot of people having a good time, eating, drinking, hanging out in the pool and so on, Stella noticed a bevvy of working girls here some dealers openly selling drugs, it included Charlie & Davey, the two dealers she had seen and bought drugs from at Club Lagoon two weeks ago. She went went up to Charlie and bought another packet from him, he didn't recognise her. Again, she took one of the pills!
Kenny and our heroes moved through the party unnoticed until Kenny spotted James Gail and pointed him out. The diminutive man was in the veranda, sprawled on one of the sofas, flanked by a couple of girls and as Kenny said two bodyguards stood close by. There was no way past the two men, so Stella offered one then the other bodyguard some of the contents of her packet and a good time, but both of them were too professional to fall for it. So instead she turned to James Gail, perhaps she could tempt him? It worked, he brushed off the other girls and ignored his bodyguards to approach the delightful Stella. "Are you really James Gail?" She asked huskily. "Yeah honey," came the reply. "You've been served!" Stella stated, pulling the papers out of her handbag.
James Gail's mood soured immediately, he swore and tossed the papers aside, he waved at his bodyguards and told them to throw Stella out, she didn't resist as they took her by the arms and led her out. Stella tried in vain to get back in, but the doormen had been warned about her and she was forced to walk back home.
Kenny and the rest of our heroes partied for a while, at least into the small hours of about 3am before heading back home to sleep off the rest of the night.