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For All Nails Pt 138c: The Second Attack

June 3, 1949
Angel Island
California
1300 hours

"Danny! Que pasa?" Deputy Sheriff Daniel Ortega turned from checking out the
giggling college girls in the blue Tahitis. "Hey man!" He waved, with his left
hand. Almost six years since he'd watched the field medic amputate the tattered
stump of his right hand and he could still feel it twitch sometimes. He
switched to the Spanish that was all he'd heard before the age of 10.
"Shouldn't you be bilking a fat nortam, Jose?" 

"The day is young, the day is young..." Jose Marquez slapped his old comrade on
the shoulder and grinned. They had grown up in the same village in the south of
the island, joined the Army at the same time in 1940, and served together until
Ortega had been invalided home. Marquez had been home for two years, ever since
he'd dropped a crate on his foot in the PX. His limp was long since gone. "And
shouldn't you be hanging out with your novio sheriff?" 

"Euh, he's been working all week, I think he's passed out at home somewhere."
Ortega paused, weighed his friendship with Marquez, and decided not to mention
the case. "You know those white boys, get them on something and they're like a
dog with a chicken bone..." He laughed. "Remember Monroe, from the Amur?" 

Marquez laughed, loud enough to catch the attention of the tourists walking
past them on the beachwalk. The stonework had been far more expensive than the
boardwalks at other beach resorts in the area, but it was durable enough to
survive the years of wartime neglect that had destroyed other waterfronts. "Si,
and I wasn't the one who had to drag his ass back in the bunker!" He looked at
Ortega as they continued their slow walk down the beachwalk. "We missed you at
the meeting last week, Danny. All the boys were talking." 

"Yeah, well..." Ortega bounced up and down lightly on the balls of his feet for
a moment, his boots crunching on a faint coating of sand, then looked back at
his friend the shopkeeper. "I've been busy. You know how it is when the city
people start flooding in, I don't even sleep, much less have time to make it to
Acy-Homby[FN1] meetings..."

"You made time last year, me amigo." Marquez looked at the deputy. "If you want
to back out, man, you wouldn't be the first-" "No, Jose, it's not that..."
Ortega walked over and leaned against the railing, looking out at the crowd of
sunburned tourists at rest, at play, in the water. "You won't catch me voting
for Silva anytime soon, but I don't think the UM boys are going to do any
better. Maybe if there was some kind of third-" The world seemed to freeze.
"Oh, shit." 

Daniel Ortega's eyes focused beyond the crowd, beyond most of the swimmers, to
a small figure on an inflated raft and the grey triangle behind him. He blew
his whistle, hard, and yelled, "GET OUT OF THE WATER! NOW! PRISA! PRISA!" He
vaulted the railing, still yelling. 

The next few moments were a mosiac of screams, a stampeding crowd, the bright,
pitiless sun, and finally the red, red surf, so much red from one small form. 

--

1600 hours
Prescott's Point
Andrew Jackson[FN2] High School

"So, we've closed the beaches, and I've got deputies on shore; armed with axes
and rifles. If they see the shark, they'll do their best to kill the bastard.
In any event, a Shore Patrol crew is on its way to the island, professional
shark hunters, and they'll kill the bastard." Sheriff Walker Bush paused for
just a moment, enjoying an last instant of peace. "Does anyone have a
question?" 

"Yeah!" Antonio Molina leapt to his feet; a grizzled fishing boat captain and
ex-Navy man too old for military service in this war. "I say we put out in our
boats with some bomba and guns and the whole town hunts for this nino-asesino!
My boat and arms are ready!" Most of the men in the room stood up to cheer;
Bush hammered on the podium so hard he shook the Mexican flag behind him,
shouting until he got the crowd's attention. 

"No, damn it!", he shouted through the growing murmurs, which rapidly became a
tide. Many of our best young fishermen are at war, all our modern boats have
been conscripted. You men know what happens to greens on a wooden boat, much
less with a tiburon in the water-" 

"Cabron!" A man Bush recognized as a friend of his chief deputy sprang to his
feet and pointed right at the sheriff. "You're trying to hold us back, just
like your novio Silva held us back-" A shot rang out, the sheriff and the crowd
looked in amazement at Deputy Daniel Ortega. "Cerrar de boca!" He reholstered
his revolver, surprised to find his hand shaking. "You know he's right." 

Bush seized the moment, speaking in staccato."If any of you men are thinking
about sneaking out, let me tell you that you are not guh-nuh-do-it. I know many
of you fish for your food, so I won't stop you. But if I hear of any of you men
going out to hunt for shark, or helping anyone else do it...well, I'll hit, and
I'll hit hard."

---

The blow struck Sheriff Bush across the face, knocking him back a step and
resounding in the empty parking lot. "You...BASTARD!" Marlene Kissinger might
have been pretty, before her German husband was killed taking Madagascar and
her Steven had fallen victim to the beast. "I just found out that you KNEW
there had been an  earlier attack and didn't close the beach! You narrow-minded
pig!" 

She turned and stormed off before Bush could say a word. 

---

Thoughts? 

[FN1] A shortened form of the Spanish "Steel-Men", another one of those swell
veterans' organizations. 
[FN2] Formerly "The Kramer Academy"