It was extra rough in the ocean waters of Long Beach, and standing next to Hueston [aka attorney] and Jonathan Ames, I saw a blonde woman screaming for lifeguards who were too far away and couldn’t hear her pleas. She was terrified and pointing at two Mexican kids, a girl and a boy, no younger than 10…no older than 12. They were in over their head, beaten by the waves, arms flailing, eyes bulging, drowning in their awful panic. A fat man started yelling, too. This wasn’t helping the kids. No way would the lifeguards reach these poor souls in time.
I sprinted towards the kids until the water was too deep to run and I dove into the crashing waves. Hueston was right behind me. The girl was closer so I grabbed her left arm with my right and spun her around, gripping her little arm tight against my neck and chest. I told her not to panic and that we were going to get out of this. I swam towards the shore with her on my back as waves tried to take us down. A few seconds later I was walking while carrying her on my back like they did in those war movies. Ames was there and I told the girl it was going to be okay. She thanked me and the blonde woman came over and assisted her onto the sand. I turned around for the boy and there was Hueston, carrying him to safety.
The adrenalin started to ware off and my good knee, the left one, felt compromised. It made me hobble more than usual but the emergency was worth the hassle. Having permanently damaged my legs 16-years ago, I’d relied on a certain candor of walk. All that gets thrown out the window when lives are at stake. Especially when you only have a few seconds to make haste.
And speaking of seconds: just the day before, I watched John Frankenheimer’s 1966 black & white art house film, SECONDS, starring Rock Hudson in an unusually challenging role for the actor. The director responsible for the original THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE  tells a creepy tale in the vein of Philip K. Dick, about what happens when you’re afforded the chance for a second chance at life. Leaving everybody and everything behind. To be “reborn” into a person you think you always wanted to be and the price you pay for such a notion.
After a rotten slag of a week and losing a big part of something that meant a lot in my life, it was good to feel useful again and give somebody else a second chance.