The vultures

When I got to work this morning, Linda was telling Claudette about how Route 6 from Fairhaven across the harbor to New Bedford was closed, and she had had to drive up to Interstate 195 and over that way.

“Why, was the bridge closed again?” I asked.

Linda looked at me, and said to Claudette, “He doesn’t watch the news in the morning.”

“There was a terrible shooting at the Foxy Lady,” said Claudette.

“Is that what the helicopters were for,” I said. I had heard helicopters flying over our apartment all night long.

“The whole highway was blocked off as a crime scene,” said Linda. The news had said that there was blood everywhere.

Our letter carrier came in a little later in the morning. He and his wife like to leave the police scanner as they’re falling asleep. “We knew this one was bad,” he said. “You could hear it in the dispatcher’s voice. She was shaken.” He had heard her say that one of the police officers who got shot in the shoot-out with the gunman was hit in the face, and somehow managed to drive himself to the hospital.

This is what the New Bedford Standard-Times Web site had to say:

Gunman opens fire at Foxy Lady; 3 dead

A gunman sprayed the Foxy Lady strip club on Popes Island with bullets from an M-16-style rifle early this morning, killing two club employees.

The gunman, Scott C. Medeiros of Freetown, injured two New Bedford police officers in a chaotic firefight outside the club before eventually going back inside the club and killing himself, police said.

Most days, I take an hour-long walk, to try to keep myself at a minimal level of fitness. I head out across the swing bridge to Pope’s Island and then across into Fairhaven center and back again. Which takes me right past the Foxy Lady.

I decided to walk that same route this afternoon, same as usual. Trucks and vans marked with television station logos were parked all over the dirt parking lot of Captain Leroy’s Marina, which happens to be right across Route 6 from the Foxy Lady. Video cameras on tripods, lights on stands, and other television equipment littered the sidewalks. Thick electrical cables snaked out for the various trucks to the cameras and lights. A few people who looked like technicians wandered back and forth. I saw a man in a suit walking away from a camera, and a woman standing in the bright lights in front of a camera. Their heavy television makeup looked vaguely macabre.

“News vultures,” I thought to myself, “critters who come from far away and gather ’round whenever something dies.” Except that I happen to like real vultures; evolution has shaped them well to fit into a well-defined ecological niche, cleaning up carrion and helping the cycle of life to continue within their ecosystem. The news vultures will be gone in the morning, for they are not a part of the cycle of life here in New Bedford.

1 thought on “The vultures

  1. juffie

    Ah, vultures in the city. There are real ones, too, of course. Driving through heavily settled Philadelphia one day, there, in the middle of the road, by the remains of a chipmunk or other small animal, stood a giant turkey buzzard, red crop held high as a Main Line matron’s. As we swerved gently to avoid the bird, it never flinched, but looked us in the eye as if to say, “We were here before you, strange form of life, and we’ll be here after you, too, picking up the pieces.” We nodded our respect.

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