In Cold Water

My former work colleague in Germany sent me today a newspaper article breathlessly describing a “scene just like from an action movie” in Schwerin. Long story short, a drunken twenty-year-old drove his Nissan Sunny (funniest part of the story for me) off the road, over a small pedestrian walkway, down some steps, and onto the frozen Pfaffenteich, which is a large pond/small lake in the middle of town. His three passengers disembarked and attempted to get the car off the ice and back up the steps--and nearly succeeded--but when the driver saw a police car, he decided to turn tail and escape by racing to the opposite shore, covering about 600 meters (2,000 feet) before the ice gave way and he and his car plunged into the dark water. The style of the article is the icing on the pond…er, cake. Perhaps channeling Truman Capote, the reporter opts to write the article in the present tense and alert us to the characters’ states of mind. Here’s my translation of the best bit:

But before the car can go completely under, the young Grambower [Grambow is a town] escapes the vehicle. Because his escape on foot proceeds exactly where the ice becomes even thinner, he breaks through into icy water a few meters from solid ground. His strength quickly fades; he will not survive for long in the icy water.

The police, who already fear the worst, hasten from the southern shore to the northern one. At first silence reigns. But then the officers hear a light splash. They extend to the victim a wooden board, can finally pull him on shore…

Whew, that tension’s so thick it could sustain the heft of a Nissan Sunny!