As the sun set slowly in the east, the McDougal family sedan soared through air and crashed violently into Caliko Lake, fully emersed by the drink in mere seconds. The man who sent them into their watery graves sat behind the wheel of his old farm truck, in a daze of disbelief, smoke funneling out of the engine and blood running down his face. High on liquid intoxicants, the man turned off his vehicle, though left in neutral, and stepped out onto the dirt, wobbly as all heck. Like a newborn giraffe, he buckled and bended, each step a terrific struggle. Knowing he would hang for this, his only fuzzy recourse was to join them in a casket of lake water. Suicide by self-drowning, as to avoid a life of shame and imprisonment. Made perfect sense at the time.

The man, bearing an intense stare and a clenched jaw, waded out into the icy November water. A few breaths away from full on catatonia, his next step touched no bottom and he found himself dunked, not unlike a chocolate chip cookie in a tall glass of cold, crisp milk. He scrambled to bob up to the surface for air and in hopes of finding proper footing because as of that exact moment, suicide was no longer on the days agenda.

When that moment subsided, another moment came to pass, this one being the arrival of several cops cars and an ambulance resembling that of a hearse more so. The man splashed his way onto the shore and fell to his knees, gasping for agitated breaths. As he was met with two officers of the law, he surveyed the bank… and his filthy truck was nowhere to be seen.

The officers, Benson and Bensin, of “no relation”, as they’d always introduce themselves, helped the shivering man to his feet. Officer Bensin called out to a woman officer as she climbed slowly out of the squad car. “Brenda, bring us a blanket, will ya?”

Brenda shot him nothing more than an icy stare. “Officer Bensin, on the job you will refer to as me Lieutenant Small or you will be reprimanded, do I make myself unadulteratedly clear?”

Bensin frowned. He hemmed and he hawed. “But Brenda… muffin! You can’t expect me to call you Small when you’re oh, so lusciously big!! Right, baby?”

Everyone present laughed, including the man dripping wet. Brenda shot back three words as loud as they were unholy. “Shut up, Teddy!!” She rummaged through the trunk and then threw it at Bensin. “Here’s your damn blanket!”

Meanwhile, divers dove and they connected chains to the rear of the sunken sedan. Upon pulling it free of the wintry waters, two things were made public news by Lieutenant Small, the acting sheriff. Firstly, a family of four had accidentally made a “wrong maneuver” and wound up “killing theyselves” and secondly, that the “cold, wet hillbilly” had tried “his doggone dangdest” to save this poor family and is therefore recognized as a hero. Case closed.

The next morning

Mother and father, Ralph and Beverly, wake up simultaneously beside each other in their bed, in their home and bolt up to a sitting position. Unbeknownst to them, at that exact second their two children, Bev junior and Elliot, also draw waking air. And everyone is soaking wet…..

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