Missing PSWA…

July 13, 2018

The annual PSWA (Public Safety Writers) conference is going on through this weekend in Las Vegas. I’m missing, but hope to be back next year! And I’m thinking about all I’ve learned at that conference while I’m writing a short scene in my current WIP Rhodes – The Caretakers, and it hit me quite strongly how I wouldn’t even have thought of such a scene for not having met so many wonderful Firefighters and First Responders at PSWA!

This scene will be reworked more than once–I’m a slow writer, but it made me want to say “thank you,” to my PSWA friends I’m not seeing…

And on the “writing sharing front” this post points out what has been discussed elsewhere many times, writing inspiration comes from many places in the world around us if we’re open to it…

At first sight by Walker Johns, Jasmine Fabero looked like an ethereal floating blur as she ran toward him. He was squatting on the ground next to his compatriot Mark, who was trying to resuscitate the soot encrusted body of Lucca Fabero. Walker had removed his helmet, face-mask, and breather—but his eyes had yet to refocus correctly. He knew from experience it would take a few seconds, but at this moment of first seeing her—it almost felt like he was looking at an apparition. Now, he could see her gait was more stumbling than running, and both her hands were grabbing at her face. Her jeans, T-shirt, and shoes were encrusted with soot and dirt just like her father Lucca Fabero.

An apparition alright. But up close—dirty, disheveled, and probably in shock—not a particularly alluring one.

Walker had seen victim shock and pain reactions before, but this time it was especially gut-wrenching. He knew her, and was a bit smitten he knew; consequently not having an appropriate verbal response he could draw upon caused Walker to feel quite inadequate. Seldom do in times of tragedy. A definite failing, he thought, for a first responder of any type. The reality of wanting to comfort a victim, and then being able to do so, were quite different personality attributes.

In a few more seconds, Jasmine was close enough for Walker to hear anguish and fear in her voice—and she was yelling, no, more like screaming her words—sounding so incredulous. “Is he just sleeping?”

Just minutes earlier, Walker had asked Mark a similar question. “Is he just passed out?”

Now at hand, Jasmine dropped to her knees on the ground next to him, repeating several times again, “Is he just sleeping?” She started to lean over—looking like she was going get in Mark’s way to hug her father, but Walker instinctively wrapped his arm around her shoulder and pulled her back. I need to protect her.

Another moment passed wherein no one spoke, no one moved. Quiet. Calm. Unreal.

Finally, and even though Mark didn’t look sideways at Walker or Jasmine, he was speaking to them directly—leaden and with palpable pain he said the dreaded words, “Lucca’s gone.”

Walker wanted to yell, to cry, pound his hands against something—anything. He couldn’t scream out his disbelief and pain like Jasmine had. He was doing a job. An important job. But I’m a grownup Volunteer Ambulance Technician, Firefighter, and Assistance Deputy. I don’t cry, now do I? Can’t show how I really feel, can I?

But regardless of what Walker Johns, Shiné “volunteer extraordinaire” thought his grownup self should do, in the real world, he found himself pushing-in-closer to Lucca’s side himself—then pounding on the prone man’s chest like a petulant child. “No, no,” Walker demanded of the world. “Not Lucca, not Lucca!”

Everything else, everyone else including Mark and Jasmine disappeared. It was just him and Lucca. He pounded on the old man’s chest again. Then again. He couldn’t help himself.

Then—Lucca’s manikin-looking body sat straight up, coughed—more like a wretch—turned his eyes to Walker and said, “What’s happened?”

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7 Responses to “Missing PSWA…”

  1. mmgornell said

    Thanks for stopping by, Kitty! Much appreciated. Slow going on this one–blaming it on the heat!

  2. Kitty Kladstrup said

    Great stuff! So glad a new one is coming…great passage.

  3. mmgornell said

    Thanks for stopping by, Vickie! I know what a busy lady you are, and I’m honored you made some time for me. Yes, dropping everything else is the key! I must say, my current excuse is this awful hot and muggy weather. Couldn’t possibly be laziness on my part (smile). In truth, I really like the story(s) in this one, and have it all planned out. Should be easy to write…but for some reason, slow going. But your encouragement is pushing me on…

  4. Drop everything else and keep writing! This is so alluring I must know what, why, all that stuff!

  5. mmgornell said

    Jackie H and Jackie V, thank you so much for stopping by. This is my second time responding to your posts–you’d think WordPress would be kind to me by now! Hope this takes. Your comments have encouraged me to write-on. It has been a really slow year on that front, but I think I’m finally getting back in the grove. Hope to have this third Rhodes saga out soon–ha, ha–been soon for almost a year now. But I’m plugging on! Yes, PSWA is my favorite conference, nice people, and I’ve learned so much there, especially in the Public Safety area. Thanks for your encouragement…

  6. E-hem. Could I have the release date of this new book? Because I definitely want to keep reading! I’ve thought about joining PSWA, but haven’t. Sounds like it would be worth it.

  7. photojaq said

    Okay…. now I want to know WHAT has burned and who is killed or injured!

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