Joseph Walker plunged feet first into the inky black waters of the Ohio River. He was shocked at first, terrified next. He sank to the bottom with such speed an anchor couldn’t have done better.
As his feet hit the mud he felt the suction of water infused silt seal around his ankles tightly. He fought, but only heard the pops of his hip joints asking him to stop. Air bled in bubbles from his mouth as he screamed.
When Joseph Walker went to college to take intro to Biology and mathematics 101 he was already publicly known as a successful business man with two small fast food booths. One at the Huntington mall the other in Charleston’s. He was pulling in 30k a month all going to a trust fund until he finished two years of college.
He started these booths when he was sixteen.
Before that he had been selling soda’s and candy to his fellow students from sixth grade through tenth and had a sizable savings account down at First Federal, sizable in that he was able to rent a booth at the Huntington mall for six months
It didn’t hurt that his father died when he was ten and left him almost nine thousand and his mother began receiving SSI benefits that mainly got saved due to her success as a chiropractor.
It’s not the first time death bankrolled a star.
At eighteen he was certainly not the youngest freshmen to enter Marshall, nor would he ever be considered the brightest.
But everyone knew him.
Everyone knew his businesses and associated them only to him, not to the mother that worked all three places equally.
On paper Joseph was the owner.
In public Joseph was the owner.
Behind the confines of his family home he was nothing more then an employee.
So as he started college with the intent of getting a bland degree in business he was instantly popular.
He drove to school in a Beemer.
Wore the fashions displayed on models in all the cool magazines.
And dated secretly only boys.
On a dock jutting out over the Ohio River is a group of his new college friends.
Boys and girls.
A young boy of seventeen and a pretty college freshman lean over the dock and peer into the murky depths of the river. They expect to Joseph emerge. They expect to see the water burst upward as the famous boy comes up for air. Expect that if they jumped in they would be eaten by giant catfish or worse. They respect the boy for doing what he did for a simple dare. That was Joseph.
They wait for the other to do something and watch the water slowly lap against the dock as if made of a thicker substance and no one they loved were under it fighting for their life.