#FictionFriday: The Penguin Photographer
Rosemarie Salentine almost died taking a penguin’s picture. Though it wasn’t really her fault, even if she had her obnoxious high-quality flash attached to her DSLR as she shot using her iPhone 5s, which was pointed at the waddling creature.
She’s lucky it was just a broken leg, a compound fracture in three different places. Or maybe it was unlucky. Had she simply fallen into the water and not smacked her leg on the side of the rock leading into it, she’d have been fine. Startled, maybe.
Her screams called forth a wail from the nearby sea otters, who jumped off the ragged rock formation and rained their terror down upon the onlookers in the form of a wave of water escaping their exhibit.
But Rosemarie continued to flail about — some would say she was looking for her camera, but to me she looked truly in pain. That or the water was really cold.
(I certainly don’t know. I’ve never swam with penguins in their zoo enclosure.)
Her camera and phone sunk to the bottom, where one penguin splashed in — it must have been adventurous, as it completely ignored Rosemarie’s shrieks — and tried to feed on it. No, it’s not a fish, you could just imagine it thinking to itself as it let those pieces of Rosemarie’s life continue to sink down further.
At least the EMTs were better at fishing than that penguin was, for Rosemarie’s sake, of course. They had her out within minutes by the time they arrived on scene. That’s quite well, considering Rosemarie slapped her fists down on the back of the technicians as though she thought they were King Kong, carrying her off over the shoulder and up the Empire State Building.
They stuffed her in the ambulance as the onlookers stood about. Half of them had their mouths agape, frozen in fear as the terrified woman continued her rampage, her screams, sobs and wails the only instruments she knew how to play.
The other half — I suppose I include myself in that — simply watched. What more was there to do? We could not help. And we certainly could not afford to divert our eyes from this mess in front of us.
So we watched as the ambulance pulled out of the middle of the zoo. It made its way to the parking lot, a couple of miles away from the penguins’ home. The vehicle would swung out wide to the right to get to the city street, which flowed down a hill and toward an intersection visible below and beyond the those sea otters.
The crowd, most of which had not dispersed (who would?), watched as the ambulance took off down the hill.
Yes, it’s a good thing Rosemarie Salentine didn’t die when she fell in with the penguins. The fiery crash that started from that out-of-control semi truck striking the side of the ambulance was probably far less painful.