09-25-2012, 09:31 PM
Fast response, I thought, as I guided the CG officers aboard the Angel. They must have been in the general area when I radioed in.
Harry, recovered from almost drowning, explained the whole thing to the two officers. His boat, the Southern Cross, had sprung a leak; how, he didn't know. They started sinking fast. He got his brother, Larry, his wife, Irene, and niece, Chelsea, to the top deck while he tried to save the boat. Larry flagged down the first boat he saw (ours) and, God bless them, they came to the rescue. Unfortunatly, he was still underwater, and would have been done for if not for "this guy over here"--he jerked a thumb toward Criss--who pulled him out and got him on board this one. He was going to buy him a beer when they got on land, he said.
The CG officers congratulated Criss on his heroism; they shook hands all around. Andi gazed adoringly at Criss. He was her hero, her idol, her dream guy! Nothing could tear her away from her beloved Criss Angel! Nothing, that is, except the Coast Guard. Turned out that there had been a report about a certain thirteen-year-old girl missing from home and had allegedly stowed away on board the cruiser, the Angel of the Lakes. They had orders to escort her back to Alpena and to her parents.
Andi was aghast. "Please, Aunt Vicky!", she pleaded. "Don't let them take me away! Please! I'll do anything!"
"Sorry, sweetie," I shrugged. "But if the Coast Guard says you have to go, then you have to go."
She turned to Criss in one final, desperate attempt to stay. "Please, Criss! Tell them I can stay here! They'll listen to you! Please don't let them take me away from you!" She flung her arms around him, sobbing.
"Andi," Criss spoke gently, stroking her hair, "You remember what we talked about earlier, about honoring your parents?"
She nodded, her face still buried in his chest.
"Well, your parents really loved you enough to go through all this trouble by calling the Coast Guard to bring you home safe. The least you can do is go with them."
She looked up. "You want me to go?" she asked disbelievingly. " I thought you loved me!"
"I do," he said, "and so does your family and a lot of other people. You hurt them by running away and scaring them, you know?"
"But I want to stay with you!" she wailed.
"Andi," he said, "when you love someone, you have to let them go when the time comes."
He grasped her by the shoulders, kissed her on the forehead, and gently turned her around to face the CG officers. "It's time," he whispered in her ear.
Criss guided her forward. One of the officers grasped her by the arm. "Come on, miss," he ordered. "We're taking you home."
He guided her to the patrol boat and helped her on board, along with the survivors of the Southern Cross, now at the bottom of Lake Huron. Andi gazed tearfully at Criss, who waved good-bye and blew her a kiss, as the patrol boat pulled away from view.
I sighed deeply. At least she'll be back with her parents, I assured myself. Management, as always, reminded me about our destination. We had to get to the Mackinac Bridge within the hour, or we would be behind. I was livid at the man's callousness. A family almost drowns and he's worried about "schedule"? I wanted to choke that guy with his own necktie! But, I restrained myself as I headed for the Mackinac Straits.
We arrived at the Straits by midafternoon, and you should have seen the crowds! Every form of watercraft was jamming the Straits: motor boats, cabin cruisers, bass boats, yachts, anything that floated and could carry people were there. The bridge itself was lined with people, all the way from St. Ignace to Mackinac City. Cheers rose and airhorns erupted in one huge blast the minute we pulled up. Signs, banners, flags, flowers--you'd think this guy ended world terrorism from the reception he got!
A half dozen jet-skiiers charged forward like some watery calvary and surrounded the Angel, positioning themselves as a makeshift escort. It loked mighty impressive, but I slowed to a crawl so as not to plow into our new "friends". I docked at St. Ignace, and Criss disembarked. It was then I could see why they had chartered a boat. No way could Criss have gotten through this mob!
Governor Granholm and the mayor of St. Ignace were there to welcome him, this idol of millions. I won't bore you with the speeches and all the ceremony; you probably saw it all on TV already. In a nutshell, he was welcomed to Michigan, and was awarded a commendation by the US Coast Guard for bravery for his rescue of the Southern Cross survivors. So was I, for that matter, but I'm not much for publicity. This was Criss' moment. Besides, he drove the boat to the wreck, remember?
Once all the formalities were out of the way, I finally found out why Criss chose the Mackinac Bridge for his TV show.
Last edited by Veritas; 09-25-2012 at 09:33 PM.