The Lifeguard © A European Story
CALM WATER STORMS
DEEP SEA DEMONS
AND RESCUES OF LOVE
When ghost of the past wash up dead on the beach
It's a calling to rescue the souls in the present day.
The Lifeguard Captain, his former clandestine life as a Special Op’s Commando and his counter intelligence nemesis resurrect to life from clues washed up on the beach. This time around it’s a about a mystery billionaire cartel leader, the human slave trade used to extract the most valuable rare earth minerals sold on global markets. They’re both victims of a changing world that’s affected by climate change. One may lose his fortune; the other may lose his rescue team. Both will die if they don’t change with the times and let go of the past. Revenge is not in the rescue training manual and it’s not a profitable venture for private bankers and a criminal cartel leader.
Everyone can’t be rescued, some fortunes can’t be recovered, money can’t buy everything, but a professional Lifeguard Team will save their Captain to live another day.
And being rescued is a second chance to make it right.
Inspired By Real Events.
The names, locations, rescues, recoveries, references to governments and law enforcement, organizations, companies, real persons, friends and family have been changed to protect the innocent, their privacy, anonymity, including any past or open, inquires & investigations that may be pending.
TO MY FELLOW RESCUERS & FIRST RESPONDERS.
We all know there is no single hero in this service. A life saved from a single action or reaction begins from those who trained us and hard sobering experience. It takes a network of teams we work with ambulances, hospitals, air rescue, law enforcement, and the army of volunteers we call in as needed. Our existence is due to government budgets and planning allocated for us to serve. The same government bureaucracy we love to complain about, limited budgets, restrictions, laws, rules, regulations, liabilities and yet we co-exist because of them.
We are a professional public service, not for everyone, yet a service for everyone. A mission of duty and honour that’s instilled in our souls.
Passion, skill, care, measured and weighed in raw life successes large and small. We dwell in afterthought, sometimes torment, of what could we have done better or did we make the right decision?
Sometimes we live with the weight that we can’t save them all.
In those rescue moments, we exist in a zone, a dimension of millimetres and milliseconds where space and time are stretched.
Every breath is so precious.
Recovery operations are peaceful and final.
Long shifts, days blur into nights, nights blur into days.
It’s our recovery as rescuers and first responders that is the most difficult, we keep to ourselves.
We all need to be rescued at some point.
My prayers are with you all.
Dedicated too, and inspired by the Lifeguard’s wife.
The master at rescuing her man’s soul.
To find passion, love and life as to what you’re really good at, is always inspired. And I have been.
Thank you, my Angel, I always believed it was true. There were times it took time to really see you. You taught me so much. You stood by me in those days when I was blind. Helped me stand up again and point me in the right direction. I learned how to play again. It’s only you that sees and knows, I’m only a simple boy trapped in a man’s body. And every day in love with you.
I have been blessed in more ways than I could ever imagine.
The Lifeguard is a developing story slated for publication in Q4 of 2021. Inquires for a short version, pitch deck, are available. Only for legitimate, professional publishers, reputable agents, and established media organizations.
THE LIFEGUARD. (COLD OPEN-SNAP SHOT)
Just say it out loud, or mouth the word in silence. “Salt” you can taste it. It provokes a sensation of some kind, invokes a memory, a flashback with every human in every culture around the world.
The smell of salt in the air.
The sensation of salt on your skin.
The sting of salt on an open wound.
One of the natures ever-presence simple compounds in one form or another; Sodium (Na) and Chlorine (Cl). The Mediterranean has one of the highest salt contents for a large body of water in the world.
Historically, wars have been fought over Salt. It’s been used as currency, gifts, peace offerings, plunder, bounty and a preservative for just about everything humans can eat. Too little, or too much salt will kill you. Yet an essential building block for all life as we know it, we can’t live without.
Yet the saline ambience is an essential part of the work and lifestyle of paradise in the Mediterranean.
The Lifeguard Station:
Captain of the Lifeguards and water rescue services is always the first in. It’s the same, more or less, every day. Just the way he likes it. The old WWII two storey watch station warehouse with big bay windows. It’s an active job with just enough excitement, changes in the weather, the same smell in the Lifeguard station, same crap coffee machine that moans, groans, vibrates and leaks likes it’s the last breath with every grind of the beans. The grit of fine sand on the rescue station floor that never goes away no matter how much it’s cleaned. And there’s that ever-presence, taste, smell, feel of Sea-Brine-Salt in the Lifeguard Station. Daily Lifeguard reports printed out, piled up on the desk from the day before from around the Islands, slightly wrinkled, fingerprint smudges and coffee stains.
The monotone beep of online notifications loading up on the computer screens from the police, rescue services, coast guard, satellite weather live stream and forecast and a steady government paycheck that pays the bills. Its good work, a satisfying public service career.
THE LIFEGUARD (PROFILE):
Dirk Jennings, or “DJ” the nickname that stuck with him for life. Captain of the Lifeguards and Chief of the water rescue services for just over 10 years. Thanks to his best mate from the SAS, the Malta Police Chief Constable, a born and bred Maltese-Brit, that convinced DJ’s wife, this is the job for him. Thinking back it saved his soul from the rat race he was locked into.
The past is the past. A former Lifeguard on the South Coast of England, Royal Marine, a decorated SAS officer with 8 years of service, wounded three times in action, third-time wheelchair-bound for almost a year. Rehabilitation, the endless bureaucracy fighting for government benefits, back to university and working a bland boring bank internship to arise as a top International London wealth management- Private Banker, only to be thwarted by the fall out of the financial crises, new bank regulations, private clients with exposed dark backgrounds that used to be papered over by bank compliance officers and rated as VIP customers.
It all capsized. Name brand banks that denied everything blaming their market traders and private bankers for tainted accounts, stock trades and deals the banks approved.
Government bailouts, downsizing, mergers - acquisitions. The aftermath of regulator inquires, lawsuits, criminal investigations, legal fees, license suspensions, their only child that died from some strange staph infection contracted in hospital, another miscarriage and then the depression, alcohol and drugs. Those dark days are over now...
Malta is now fully compliant with EU international banking laws. There might be a few old school money managers that DJ recognizes from the old days that are slow to change. But they’re on the extinction list like the dinosaurs……………… It’s a new world now.
Malta, the beautiful Mediterranean archipelago that has preserved thousands of years of history, architecture, art, traditions, legends and folklore. Tourist hot spot and laid back international business centre.
There are three things DJ loves every day; the wife that saved his soul, his best mate Police Chief Ryan that saved his life and his job.
DJ’s best mate Chief Constable Ryan, saved his life several times in combat on clandestine missions in some of the worst and cursed places on earth. The two have to team up again for a Maltese rescue of a different sort. Chief Ryan and a few handpicked trusted Police officers and Lifeguards will learn from DJ and Ryan to operate stealth, undercover and will be forced to work out of the box, at times bending the law and risking their lives as they all band together to confront an evil, not of their world trying to establish its self on their shores of the beautiful Mediterranean Archipelago.
THE SON OF A SON OF A SAILOR.
DJ’s pedigree is a fourth-generation Seaman, a lineage of Navy, Coast Guard and Merchant Navy.
Most middle-aged men will boast about what they did, where they have been, whom they know and revel about the good ol’ days gone bye. For DJ it’s all about the comeback story, not the past. And now it’s about quality of life, love, staying fit and doing what he loves to do. Back to the basics, back to his roots.
“A man of the sea I was meant to be and the sea will always be in me”.
The motto of his forefathers, the motto when he was a young Lifeguard in South England and the motto now.
STORY LINE -SNAP SHOT:
DJ’s world that he loves is about to cross paths with his past by mere chance in the early dawn morning when two bodies wash up on the rugged Maltese Coastline. No signs of visible trauma, DJ and Chief Ryan immediately notice the victims are professionally trained up fit, outfitted in military-grade open water commando swim kit lite gear, with all the high tech gadgets, GPS, night vision, waterproof encrypted radios, cash, pirated sim cards, portable fold-out drone, satellite phones, a change of expensive designer casual clothes sealed in plastic with the Royal Yacht Club
Later DJ’s Lifeguards find a neoprene bag washed up on a beach containing a small hand full of silvery metallic cubes that turn out to be extremely valuable, untraceable that can be deposited in any bank, traded or loaned against.
During the dawn recovery as the police officers scan the coastline for clues in the dawn light, as bodies are being loaded in the ambulance, instinct directs DJ to turn his binoculars away from the water to the plush villas on the hillside overlooking the cliffs and pristine clear water where just for a second he sees a long nautical telescope looking back at him and the recovery operations and then a shadowy figure folds it up and disappears behind the shadows of the well-manicured garden hedges.
It becomes clear the two victims were dropped off from a passing cargo ship at night.
On closer inspection of the bodies, DJ and Chief Ryan notice a faded tattoo on the inside arm of one of the victims. Later, post autopsy, the tattoo is digitally enhanced; it appears to be the insignia from India- Special Forces. An insignia long forgotten by the two best friends. A past connection to their clandestine Military operations. A link to one of their former key counterintelligence assets that would be better off forgotten.
Questions and clues start unfolding a dark picture…
Why and how did the professional swimmers drown?
Who’s watching them?
Could it be a connection to one of their past brutal counterintelligence sources that were involved in war crimes and profited from the conflict in some of the most godforsaken parts of the world?
Is there a connection to their former Commanding officer that he never disclosed or maybe tried to communicate before his recent death?
Or could it be a clue to one of DJ’s notorious former private banking clients?
Is it all connected?
Why the Island nation of Malta?
The Resurrection of Deep-Sea Ghost, as the two best mates call it.
DEALING WITH REAL LIFE EVENTS
The Lifeguards are key in finding clues, creating confusion with criminal cartel bosses and diversions within some of the world’s notorious security agencies. Stealth, cool, high-tech, low tech, smart, fiercely loyal to their Captain and team. They arise in the story, respected, feared and loved.
Climate change, migration, refugees, pollution, pirates, smugglers of every kind, unruly careless tourist of every sort. All real-world issues, modern-day situations the region has to deal with.
Real rescues that will shock you, surprise you, bring a tear to your eye, and a rare glimpse into the post-traumatic stress syndrome that first responders never talk about and how they deal with it.
Rescues of love. Professionals risking it all. Pushing the limits of their own lives, all in, and those who die trying to save others.
Cold soul rescues. The ones that are being saved will actually try to drown the rescuer out of sheer panic. On multi victim rescues, the Lifeguard has to decide who lives and who gets left behind.
Rescues of the soul; DJ’s recovery, his team's recovery as they lose a few of their own and not every rescue is perfect. Sometimes the new rookies have to learn the hard way.
In modern time, the Mediterranean Sea exposes other clues, learning the realities to read human trafficking, refugees and migrants. Whatever is out there aimlessly drifting at the whim of the Sea currents and trade winds, all washes up on a beach somewhere at some point.
How this is all intertwined in the mystery connected to DJ and Chief Ryan’s nemesis of their clandestine military past and DJ’s former life as a private banker with a client list of some of the world’s top suppliers and brokers of high-end rare earth minerals isn’t clear at first.
A matrix of events that will force DJ to search the deepest parts of his soul and resurrect his brutal survival skills from the past using what he learned in the military, the business world, Lifeguard experience, counterintelligence in a new world reshaped by new rules and a new life while leading a professional Lifeguard Team in a Mediterranean paradise with real-world issues.
DJ’s summary on this; “I’m surrounded by political agendas, bar room critics, social media rescue experts, wanna-be’s, and parents trying to push their youngsters in the system for social status reasons. It’s like there are them and us. Inspiration comes from the rescue team, not overzealous parents and critics in the background who have never done it nor never tried.
The Back Office
DJ gives credit to the back office. As head of the National Sea Rescue and Lifeguard Captain DJ is on the front lines every day. But it won’t work without the back-office staff of colourful characters that manage the bureaucracy, budgets, endless paperwork, lobby the politics, procure equipment from the most unlikely of sources and have connections from the Parliament, sanitation union workers, police, military, financial institutions, public utilities, casinos, Posh Yacht Clubs and even a notorious biker club who back up DJ and his lifeguards in an odd, unofficial alliance, as one rescue is bonded by another in a silent code of honour.
Officially DJ has “No Comment” on how this works. But he does issue a cautionary advisory to his Lifeguard team. “Please do not attend any back-office parties for safety reasons”.
Go-Deep Live-It Feel-It:
DJ’s rescue of the soul is centred on his wife and best mate Police Chief and a few good Maltese friends and DJ’s core Lifeguard team that believe in the greater good and honour of the Island nation. Salvation and survivability will come from a deeply ingrained set of values in Maltese culture that few know or see but the clues to the Islands honour, loyalty and perseverance are enshrined in the country’s flag that is commonly overlooked and taken for granted. The story exposes true grit, human qualities of fortitude, integrity, tenacity, loyalty. Average people arising to the occasion and doing extraordinary services, beyond the call of duty
Moving Story Line:
The storyline moves as DJ leads the team in charge of the coastal safety of an Island Nation known for finance, posh yachts, designer fashion, tourist party scene, pristine natural surroundings, international film destination and thousands of years of Mediterranean history and several million tourists a year. Or as the Lifeguards say; “we rescue them all, the good, the bad, the ugly and the stupid”.
Even though some of DJ’s professional rescue team and are at times unruly and colourful souls with a reputation that proceeds them, police complaints, social media scandals, the subject of political debates and moral criticism from the all-mighty leaders of the Church, it all works.
DJ will tell you with a grin and gleam in the eye, “I have some high-risk souls working for me. But then again, We’re in the high-risk management business”……” all good”.
It’s all about the teamwork, “The Team” safety and survival. DJ learned it as a young Lifeguard on the South coast of England, learned it again in the special forces, again in international business and for sure his personal life. The days of the lone cowboy, go it alone, are over……. Well…. Kind of……
Interpol and top international intelligence agencies are on the hunt for a mystery Cartel leader and his associates. In hot pursuit with sophisticated tactics, unlimited resources, allot of high tech and big egos. They're all suspicious of each other but fail to realize there are two local pros in the know, with a plan, to remove everyone involved off the islands that will thwart the pursuit of top suspects and cartel leader of an ancient dark trade with state sponsors.
But in the end, one secretive intelligence agency will figure it out and will trade information and protect DJ and Ryan for clues and answers, in exchange for a favour.
Is it a plan to rid evil off the Islands? Or a plot to erase the past connection of a Cartel leader to the Lifeguard Captain and Chief Constable or both? Some sins are forgiven, some wash away, and some are hidden with ghost of the deep.
Demons From The Past:
The Lifeguard’s matrix, his past, the resurrection of a nemesis, desperate migrants, human trafficking from the eyes of a professional rescuer-first responder in charge of safety for millions of tourist a year.
Police become overwhelmed with Interpol alerts, suspects on the move, arrest, a mystery cargo ship seized, a foreign intelligence operative is assassinated. A submarine surfaces for a night rendezvous. The Lifeguards do a rescue on a super yacht owned by a Cartel boss. Anybody can reward the Rescue team for a job well done, but no one can pay them off as witnesses.
What’s the connection to a network of elite foreign asset managers, private bankers and brokers? Why are they coming and going from notorious secretive offshore tax havens, discrete meetings, and anonymous clients in the lucrative rare earth high-value mineral trade?
How is it related to migrants and human trafficking? What’s the business behind it with a mystery Cartel, yet they have no business in Malta? Why are they congregating in the middle of the Mediterranean on an Island Nation?
Whom does DJ recognize from his former private banking days?
Did the Lifeguard’s rescue someone or something that will expose the Cartel, feared by the bankers or has something been recovered extremely valuable they want returned at any price, or is it all connected?
Somewhere in the Lifeguard daily logs, rescue reports, the answers come to life.
Their military past both DJ and Chief Ryan need to reconcile with, questions they’ve always had privately. Who was actually directing them outside the wire? Were their professional skills used to eliminate an emerging competitor in a lucrative rare mineral trade? Were they used as a hit team?
Before his former commanding officer died some years before, he wrote a personal note, words of wisdom. A prophecy of sorts, hanging on the wall at the side of DJ’s desk next to the stunning Sea view, he glances at those words every day. One of DJ’s top rescue swimmers, Asperger’s syndrome he’s a quantum math grad student, quite, loner, figures it out in a minute. It’s a coded warning.
Turns out, the death bed note written some years before holds clues. What did he know? What kind of prophecy is this?
DJ and Chief Ryan dive into their military past, resurrecting memories and piecing together events as to what they saw and remember and what they really meant as to the clues of the present.
Can changes in climate force corrections in the darkest of business empires?
Flash floods, heatwaves, record setting winds, landslides, food shortages, insect swarms, new diseases, freak violent storms. Logistics interruptions, roads closed, shipping port delays, market price gyrations, credit lines called in, OTC derivatives, short traders, long traders, options, futures, buy-sell, clearing accounts, market makers. And a spike in illegal migrants.
Ruthless cartels in the pricy profitable rare mineral trade, used in global everyday products, don't take IOU's, credit and never trade in debt as bankers do.
There's an old saying with commodities exchange traders of the past that still holds true today, "Pigs get fed, Hogs get slaughtered".
Is Malta a convenient meeting point, an agreed neutral zone, or debt collection destination where souls of the trade pay to play or wash away forever? The Mediterranean Sea holds many ancient secrets...
The Hunt, Gangsters in Paradise, (follow the trail)…….
THE TEAM, get to know the Pro’s, see through the eyes of a professional rescue squad.
DJ leads a team of twenty full-time, year-round Lifeguards for the Island Nation. To qualify for the Nations Sea Rescue teams as a Full-Timer, Aka; The (A-Team) has to pass a gruelling military-style test for fitness, certified rescue swimmer, classes, in theory, equipment training, crowd conflict and de-escalation, boat certification, helicopter rescue training, marine environment classes and all of them are certified Paramedics and on the job work experience counts.
The Lifeguard qualification course DJ has created for Malta is famous all over Europe and then some. Other countries, militaries, Police and other international rescue services will pay to send their Lifeguards and rescue staff to pass the course. It’s legendary and you’re part of a legend if you can qualify.
The (A-Team) elite Malta Lifeguards-Rescuers are awarded and the only ones allowed wearing the coveted rescue Trident-Maltese Cross insignia. The entire Island nation knows any man or woman with this insignia on their uniform and kit is the best of the best. And they have to keep fit, gym passes are included, mandatory swimming time, free diving test are all part of the drill, on the job. Even the local shops, eateries and taxi services will comp a member of the teams when in uniform (on duty) with the prestigious Maltese Cross Rescue Trident.
During the high season the rescue staff number doubles and more, with part-timers (seasonal) and Lifeguard volunteers and Jr. Lifeguards from the water rescue association are recruited as needed during peak season. For the basic qualified part-timers, Jr. Life Guard and rescue volunteers, if they hang in there, a season or more, schools and the University education system will give them on the job training work credit towards graduation. If the rookies can survive a full season with DJ’s team, they can put it on their CV (resume) with a stellar letter of recommendation. Every employer knows; if you cut it with DJ and the crew, you’re employable. As a result, there’s no shortage of young people trying out, full time, part-time or volunteers. It’s how to keep the top certified Pro’s and experience that counts.
The Power Girls
(The entire Rescue Team will tell you “There’s no Beach Barbie Dolls here”)
The Sea Rescue profession has been historically a man’s world.
With DJ and the crew that’s changed.
DJ’s “Power Girls”, as he has coined the phrase are diverse in ethnicity, skills and are absolute Pro’s. These women are a key component to the story and an inspiration from real-life events.
DJ has a team of top qualified woman, smart, fit, rough and tough and DJ’s rules are equal pay and equality in work and leadership throughout. Sadly there are men in the government bureaucracy and male tourist that misjudge, discount or stereo type these women for their fit physiques and misunderstand their personable communication skills and their passion and loyalty for the job. DJ and the guys have a special way defending their rescue woman, from this type of discrimination case by case, surprising and creative but works…….. As the guys say in Lifeguard slang, “dis our home girlz & ur dis’n all of us”.
DJ’s Power Girl rescue squad includes the young, mothers, professional athletes, ex-military, academics, several from a notorious biker club and a pop star that ditches the bling scene, drops her stage name, no makeup, grunge summer lifestyle, un-recognizable during the season for the job she loves and the inspiration for her music.
As the professional woman suit-up for the tourist season it’s “Game On”.
In a brutal storm rescue, two orphaned migrant children victims of human trafficking tell a babbling, scattered, rambling, story that makes no sense. Or are they witnesses? Police don’t get it, neither does the child welfare NGO workers.
Asking the right questions to get the right answers is an ability to live in a child’s world, child’s play and care only a mother can coddle. The little ones know people and places better than investigators. It takes a mother, one of DJ’s top Rescue Lifeguards with love, patients, care and kisses and finesse to coax the drawn pictures from a kids world and translate them as to who, what, where, when and why.
Mum’s are everyday hero’s, this one is the real deal Rescue Mom.
The Jr. Lifeguards:
DJ’s Jr. Lifeguards train hard, work hard and are ingrained from the very beginning with a check, check, double-check on everything, equipment, weather, communications, first aid kit and teamwork. They are a critical backup and essential field support component with the “A” Team both behind the scenes and out in the field “On Duty”.
The hours are long, at times the weather is brutal and sometimes a few rude beach tourists treat them with no respect.
All the Jr. Lifeguards have first aid badges, swim qualifications and free dive certificates, and they know how to crew, organize and some even help operate the rescue boats as needed.
Multicultural, hilarious, hip, cool, awkward, trendy and unlike some of their other school mates fiercely loyal to each other regardless of social status, physical differences or economic backgrounds.
“#Nda-RzQklub” as the Jr. hot-shots are known on social media and in school.
Social Media has a tragic dark side the Rescue Corps have to deal with. Chats, office app’s, selfies and streaming media work both ways. As Parents and child guardians become more distracted on their mobile devices, the rescues of small children become more intense, fast, lighting speed reactions and eagle eyes are part of the job. The Lifeguards are managing a trending risk. Soul moving rescues we can all learn from for the sake of the little ones. The Jr. Lifeguards are hip to the scene, quick to see the risk. It’s the adults that can learn from the Jr. Lifeguards and some Parents don’t pay attention.
It’s the young teens, girls and boys, future professionals, the Jr. Rescue Squad that come face to face with raw life and death challenges, tears and fears, and a passionate focus that will help find the clues and rescue their Lifeguard Captain lost at Sea.