It is now October 2006, and many monthes have passed. I am trying to finish SILENT FALLOUT, ( over on Blogroll on side) and should hopefully be in the hands of a caring agent this year sometime.
But if there are times I seem to be serving cold coffee here at the cafe, I do apologize.I have gone back and reviewed my tale about a small town battling a Huge Corporate Beast, but also how Goverment Entities failed on every level.I was just one person , and the goal of SILENT FALLOUT is to help normal everyday citizens fight back. And I am re-writing much of it because it dawned on me that all of us need Better Tools to Fight Incompetent Corrupt Government Powers- on all levels.
[Originally written March 1st 2006 ]So this week Lilly of Lose the Noose has a Corporate Dedication Week. Blog Friends have emailed me offline and said "Well Enigma, do we get ANY Whistleblower tales ?" The Answer is yes, I am going to give you a snippet of my tale. The names of the town are hidden for now to protect me and my son ( this will change once book is published). Please know this, I have been working hard on on my Whistleblower book SILENT FALLOUT , and my story is more than personal. And it is the Other Side of Erin Brockavich's tale...what happens when Things Go Very Wrong. So what I am going to do here is give you a piece of the Enigma story, it is a clip of a chapter.Remember this I am merely a mom, a nurse, I don't work for any Government agency or any business, I have no corporate loyalties. I am only loyal to the Truth , my family, and my friends, and that I take care of those that matter. When you are done reading this Ask yourself, WHAT would you have done had you been in my shoes ?
A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT FALL 1999: THE BEGINNING OF THE MYSTERY
In the fall of 1999 I had moved to a small town in the Northwest. I had lived in the Northwest for almost 12 years, mostly in Seattle. As Seattle changed in the 1990's due to Dotcom Wealth , we moved to the smaller town for some peace and quiet away from the Hustle and Bustle. We moved in to the little wooden chalet above the Big Lake, it was quiet and peaceful and looked like a New England Camp Cabin. The tall pines and cedars by the Big Lake provided shade and that deep woody retreat that our family was needing. I was struck that the Lake had some mysterious qualities that I could not identify. We lived less than a quarter of a mile from the Lake- the Lake was visible from our house's back deck. And if we looked down the back of our Hill we could see a small meandering Creek that led to the Big Lake. I expected to see many birds and deer and other wild animals. I went out and bought binoculars and bought books on Northwest Fauna, Birds,Animals etc. My son was eight at the time. He was more interested in the X Files and Harry Potter. We were homeschoolers, so I figured Any and All Lessons would be Welcome.And the Lessons arrived on a Dark and Stormy Autumn Night.
We went to bed, my husband was down working in Seattle. My son came into my room, and we curled up on the Big Ol' Bed and watched Monty Python videos and read Harry Potter. There was a storm raging outside, the Tall Trees were creeking and swaying, and the winds howled. Our two dogs also snuggled on the bed with us, the old Scotty Dog and the big old Bassatt were not fond of storms, they loved the Bed with warm blankets and cookies and milk.
My son fell to sleep and at about 2am I let the dogs out on the back deck to pee. ( I know , not very dignified, but better than them being eaten by a mama cougar). They immediately started barking vigorously at something in the Dark. I came out on the Deck with them, and down the Hill , through the swaying treees I could see Tanker Trucks down at the Creek, and I could smell a strong wafting smell," Mr Clean meets a Skunk" was what we later called The Aroma. It was pungent and stinging, it took my breath away and made my eyes tear. The Trucks were Red, even in the Deep of the Night I could see that they were Fire Engine Red. I went and got my Birding Binoculars. I could see no Writing on the Trucks, but I could see three workers in slickers slogging about yelling at each other. I could see hoses laying by the Trucks. I knew the Trucks and the Aroma were connected and I was wondering WHY they would be so close to the Creek. I was worried. I brought the Dogs in and I sat on my sofa looking down the Hill and listened to the trucks come and go until Dawn. And yes, I wondered was this Midnight Dumping ?
The next day the Aroma was so strong I could not open the back sliding door to the Deck. I got my maps out and traced The Creek down to the Big Lake. I wondered if the Chemicals could reach the Lake via the Creek? And I wondered where the Water Intakes were ? And I wondered how Many People drank water from the Lake. I wondered What I was susposed to Do. And I prayed that I would never see the Trucks again.
Night Two of the Awful Storm arrived. And we snuggled on the Bed again as the Tall Trees Moaned.The Dogs ate the spilled popcorn and burrowed under the covers. At 2am again I let the dogs out, the Aroma was not as pungent as early in the day.
I stood in the Doorway hunched in my robe and prayed the Trucks would not return. And as I stood there, the Trucks arrived.
Double Tankers, and as the rains had stopped I could hear the Tankers and the men yelling and I could even hear a Loud Gushing Sound, almost like Paul Bunyon pissing. I went and got the binoculars and saw fluids gushing out of the Trucks, and the men were rushing more. And the hoses were merely tossed to the side. And The Trucks were backed up to the edge of the Creek.The men were coughing and gagging and yelling more. I wondered what the Hurry was ? I stood on the Back porch deck bundled in an old coat with a scarf aound my face so I could barely breath. I had put the Dogs inside- I was afraid that the men might hear them.Yet the Trucks were loud and the men were loud, so I was pretty sure that they had not heard them.
I went inside and stood by those glass doors and Watched Midnight Dumping behind my Home.. I stood there and wrestled with my thoughts. Should I call someone? What would I say? Where were the trucks from? What were they dumping ? Was it Dangerous ? Should it be in the Water ? How many gallons are in a Double Tanker ? Is the Creek near the Water Intake? How many people drink out of the Lake ? Would drinking or bathing in the Aroma hurt People ? I had only lived there for five weeks, I did not know Enough. I knew I needed to Know More to know What to Do. I knew in my heart and the cold clammy pit of my stomach that I was going to have to do something Drastic.I knew that I needed Answers, and it was Not just about me and my son and my dog. I knew in my gut that it Mattered and that it effected others.
I stood in the Dark and made a Decision.It was only the First Decision of Many. There was no turning back from that moment ever.
I went inside and dressed in an old pair of jeans and black and quickly pulled some clothes out for my son, and also threw together a knapsack full of supplies, cookies and flashlights, a camera, and a map. I made a Decision that if they came back for another Dump that I would follow the Trucks, so that I could get the Answers.
I am a nurse, a mom, I have limited MacGuyver or Magnum PI skills my son would point out this fact out later half asleep as he munched cookies with the dogs as we followed the Tankers down the winding road that ran by the Big Lake. He pointed out that they were going pretty fast. I pointed out that they were going fast because they were now Empty after visiting Our Creek. He pointed out that it was fun wearing Black like Scully and Mulder. He also pointed out it was fun being sneeky. He also pointed out that they were pretty Sneaky too , with those Dirty license plates. ( I sat and wondered if this would end up on the Homeschooling Scoresheet as Not A Good Idea). He promised that he would not tell his dad, it would be Our Little Secret. I wondered as I drove did Others Know about the Midnight Dumping ? the Red Trucks? My son the detective looked at it as an Adventure, and I played along. He even giggled and said "Hey, maybe this is Our X File ". I looked at him, all of eight, with his shiny questioning eyes and his cookie crumb chin and prayed that the Answers would not hurt him. But I was more than worried about Our Secret X File.
Epilogue to the First Snippet of the Whistleblower Mom's Tale:
The Truckers drove much faster than me, but they were not carrying prescious carsick cargo of dogs and child. I lost them on the Back winding road by the Lake as they headed into Town. I wondered Where they came from. I knew that I didn't want to see them again. I also knew that following them was too dangerous they drove like crazed fiends on those dark wet back roads. I knew that they were headed to Town and that the answers to the Mystery were in or near the Town. I also knew that maybe living near a Midnight Dump Creek was not a good thing, and I would have to figure out What to Do ? Alot would depend on How Bad the Dumping was ? Who the Hell would Do Such a Thing ? Did they have Children?Who decided to do this? Did they Know that they were Hurting people ? What kind of Monster would do such a thing? Thses questions ate at my soul as I drove that road by the Lake with my son following the Poisonous Tankers on that dark and stormy night in 1999. And I knew that week that I would never let him drink Water from that Lake again. And I knew that this was only a small piece of a Very Large Dirty Dangerous Puzzle. It would become a Road full of Corruption and Deadly Secrets and Rich Officials that leaves dead and sick people in it's wake.It would teach me that Evil has Faces and Names. It would teach me to have Faith in everyday folk, Heroes who faced a Billion Dollar Company with Courage that I did not know existed.
Within 48 hours of seeing my first Red Tanker Dump it's first load on a Dark and Stormy Night all I would know for sure was that 90,000 people drank from the Big Lake. And My Creek was the Closest to the Water Intake.And that this was not the Only Place they Dumped. And by April 2001 I would find The Red Trucks Home and see them up close, and Know Exactly What they were Dumping.
And that was only the Beginning.....