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|Chapter 26: Dueling Theories|
As he arrived at the Atlantis, Joel used his key to let himself into the salon. He locked the door behind him, glanced around the quiet yacht, still feeling a good buzz, looking for something with which to amuse himself. His eyes fell on the navigation desk, and he sat down and powered the system on. He then spent half an hour checking weather, charts, and projected courses.
After a while, Joel grew bored. Not quite ready for sleep, and still enjoying his buzz, he began looking for something else to do. His roving eyes encountered the navigation desk’s drawer, and he opened it. First, he spent a few minutes playing with Trevor’s sextant, and then he carefully examined the EPIRB.
Returning the devices to the drawer, his eyes fell on Trevor’s sea journal, which he’d been mildly curious about for a while. Pulling it out, Joel headed for his cabin to lie down and read. After the first page, Joel drifted off to sleep.
Every day since his return, Jim had opened the chandlery. It had been five days, and just as he was beginning to hope that the pressure was off, Jim received a phone call from Officer Gonzalez, requesting a meeting. Unable to delay any longer, Jim agreed, in spite of the danger it posed. To Jim’s surprise, Officer Gonzalez proposed a meeting at Dirk’s home after business hours. Perplexed on many levels, Jim accepted.
When Officer Gonzalez arrived, in plain clothes, Jim ushered him into the living room. To Jim’s surprise, Officer Gonzalez took a seat, making no move to look around or search.
“My client isn’t here; he’s away on business, has been for a while,” Jim said, getting down to business after the introductions.
“I’m not looking for him at the moment,” Officer Gonzalez replied with a shrug. “As you’ve no doubt confirmed by now, the warrant has been rescinded. Dirk Carlson is free to return. I’ll want to interview him soon, but for now, it’s you I need to speak to.”
“As you know, only my client can waive attorney-client privilege, so I’m not at liberty to divulge anything regarding the case,” Jim replied.
“Actually, that’s not quite true, councilor. Privilege only applies to communications between you and your client. Also, it only applies in matters where your relationship is one of attorney-client. I note that you are not a criminal attorney, and thus, given your personal relationship with the client...” Officer Gonzalez said, letting his voice trail off.
Jim shook his head. “Nice try. I’ve been Dirk’s attorney of record for years, and that predates any personal relationship. Secondly, I’m licensed to practice law in this state, period. Therefore, attorney-client privilege applies.” Jim was on firm legal ground and knew it; a law license is not specific for a type of law, and thus a lawyer who normally takes only civil cases could take a criminal one.
Officer Gonzalez gave Jim a faint smile. “I’d suggest hearing me out, Mr. Ainsworth. Attorney–client privilege, as we both know, applies only to communications with your client. It does not necessarily apply to your conversations with others. I’m specifically referring to his son Trevor, and with Joel Styles. I’d also like to know exactly how you found them.”
Jim’s eyes narrowed. “If I was given information on their whereabouts by my client–“
Officer Gonzalez held up a hand. “Yes, spare me the legalities. I’m already aware that you, on behalf of your client, have been obtaining information from Trevor’s cellular phone and financial records. Let’s cut to the chase here; I’m investigating two murders, and your client is a suspect.”
“Two?” Jim arched an eyebrow in honest surprise. “I was there when you spoke to Trevor. Surely you don’t still think he’s dead?”
Officer Gonzalez smiled. “I’m quite satisfied that I was speaking with Trevor Carlson. That’s not who I’m referring to. The two victims are Rachael Carlson and Arnold Bellevue
Jim didn’t recognize the second name. “Who is Arnold Bellevue?”
“The seller of the Ares, who died under very odd circumstances at about the time the sale was finalized. Your client is one suspect.” Officer Gonzalez replied, deliberately avoiding mentioning that Bridget Bellevue was his primary suspect in her husband’s murder.
Jim blinked. The odd interview was beginning to make sense. “You have another suspect for that murder and you’re fishing for information.”
Officer Gonzalez nodded. “That sums it up well enough. As you can see, it would be in your client’s best interests to give me whatever I need regarding the Bellevue case. Right now, he’s right on the edge of being indicted for both. If you take the Bellevue case out of play, I don’t have enough to indict him for the murder of his wife – yet. The fact is, if he’s not guilty of both, he may very well have information pointing at who is, though he might not realize it. Now, are you willing to discuss your visit to Italy, or not?”
Jim could see both the opportunity and the danger. “To the degree that it does not, in my opinion, harm my client, yes. I can also think of something that might greatly interest you,” Jim said, and told Officer Gonzalez about the anonymous e-mail he’d received, and what it contained.
Beginning to take notes, Officer Gonzalez asked, “Who, aside from your client, knew you were in Italy?”
Jim considered that question for a few moments, and decided that it would be best to answer honestly. “No one, and that includes Dirk, until I called him with Trevor.”
Officer Gonzalez raised an eyebrow. “You didn’t tell your client that you were heading off to Italy to find his son? You did it on your own hook?”
Jim assumed that was a challenge to the basis for attorney-client confidentiality. “You don’t stand a chance in hell of making that stand up in court, and you know it.”
Officer Gonzalez shook his head. “That’s not what I meant. I was just verifying that your client didn’t know. Would you be willing to forward that e-mail to me?” Jim nodded, and Officer Gonzalez continued, “If you were over there at his behest, it would make little sense for him to contact you anonymously with information. If he didn’t know, then he wouldn’t have been contacting you either. So, if it wasn’t him, who else knew you were there? I was assuming he may have told someone, but he can’t if he didn’t know. So, who did know?”
Jim gave an open-handed shrug. “The truth is that I have no idea, and I’ve been trying to figure it out ever since receiving the e-mail. One candidate was Robert Whitaker, who Dirk was suing in order to pressure him to give us exactly that, but he’d have no way to know where I was, and he’d have been far better off to identify himself and be rid of the lawsuit. Also, as near as I can determine, he didn’t have access to all of the information in the e-mail. I can’t think of any other suspects.”
Officer Gonzalez nodded, not in the least surprised. “If you do find out who sent it, and it was not your client, you’d be well-advised to tell me. One other thing I’d like to ask; how did you find the Atlantis?”
Seeing no harm in answering because Dirk had nothing to do with it, Jim explained how he’d used the bank records to find the Marina di Stabia, and then gotten confirmation from the clerk that Trevor was going around the world, and how geography made Trevor’s course obvious. Jim went on to describe his use of the radio, leading to his arrival on Atlantis.
Officer Gonzalez gave Jim an approving nod. “Clever. However, you could only do much of that because you were there. Unless our e-mail sender was there as well, I can only surmise that they used other means. Incidentally, you’d best hope that Trevor remains alive and well, because if anything happens to him, you and your client are both going right to the top of my suspect list.”
Jim considered the implied threat. “If I was going to be a party to anything like that, I’d have hardly set myself up as a suspect by making my presence there known to you.”
“It had to be said, councilor. It’s my duty to protect that kid from any perceived threats, even ones I consider unlikely. Now, what I’d like to do is interview your client. Will you allow that, under these circumstances, or will you advise him not to speak with me?” Officer Gonzalez asked.
“I’ll advise him to answer no questions, given that he’s a suspect in both murders,” Jim replied.
“What about if you are with him for the interview, and can advise him in progress?”
Jim shook his head. “The answer is still no. I cannot allow him to run the risk of inadvertently implicating himself, and in that context, a non-answer could well have that effect.”
Officer Gonzalez had assumed that would be the answer, but had seen no harm in asking. “Then can I submit questions to you, in writing, and you choose which ones, and how, they are answered? The questions will not be about Rachel Carlson’s death.”
Jim considered that for a few moments. “Provided that the questions are submitted while my client remains at liberty, and we can review them with no time constraints, I cannot see the harm. I’ll forward you the anonymous e-mail right now, and that will give you my e-mail address. Send the questions there.” Without waiting for a reply, Jim stood up and walked to Dirk’s computer. Jim accessed his e-mail account – it had a web portal – and then asked Officer Gonzalez for his address.
Officer Gonzalez gave Jim his personal address, not his police department one, and then said, “I’ll be in touch, councilor.”
“Assuming I happen to be in contact with my client soon, what assurances do I have that he won’t be arrested? You could take him in without a warrant and then just reissue it. I’m heading back up to Cocoa Beach tonight; I have cases that can’t wait and I won’t be able to come back down here for a few weeks. My client, I assume, would like to return and keep his business open.”
“No guarantees. If I uncover any further evidence implicating your client in either of these cases, I’ll arrest him. However, at the moment, I have no such intent. The best I can offer is my word that it is, barring further evidence, safe for him to return. You might note that I did not attempt to search this residence when I arrived, nor have I asked his whereabouts,” Officer Gonzalez replied, as he stood up to leave.
Officer Gonzalez returned to his police station, and his first stop was the switchboard desk, where he told the officer on duty. “A Dirk Carlson will be calling me; put him through to my cell, day or night. The same is true for Trevor Carlson or Jim Ainsworth; they are helping me with a murder case. Jim Ainsworth is in Cocoa Beach, so I’d guess he’ll be calling during office hours,” Officer Gonzalez said, though he wasn’t expecting any calls. He was fishing, attempting to flush out whoever was leaking confidential case file information to Bridget, a fact she’d been blatant about.
Next, he stopped by for a chat with Detective Alfred, and after a casual greeting, said, “I think I have a problem; I tried approaching Jim Ainsworth, Carlson’s lawyer, over the phone to cut a deal, but he won’t tell me a dammed thing, which neatly torpedoes one of my two working theories; that Carlson isn’t the killer. Ainsworth denies it, but he is in Italy and met with the Carlson kid, which fits right into my current working theory: that the lawyer and Carlson are setting the kid up to follow his mother to a watery grave. Jim Ainsworth is still in Italy: I think he’s waiting for a chance to ice that kid and make it look like an accident.”
Detective Alfred arched both eyebrows in surprise. “The attorney is part of a murder plot? That makes no sense at all.”
Officer Gonzalez smiled. “Oh it does, if you dig a little, like I have, up in Cocoa Beach. I had an interesting chat with that lawyer’s neighbor. It all fits. Those divorce papers are the key. Why were the Carlsons getting a divorce? Turns out, there’s one hell of a good reason why we were tracking Carlson up to his lawyer’s house in Cocoa Beach every week; that lawyer and Carlson are lovers and have been for years. Carlson killed his wife in order to avoid the divorce and losing half his assets plus custody of his kid. It fits the Bellevue case as well; he died during the sale of the Ares, and Carlson had motive; Bellevue was an attorney, and attorneys tend to know a lot of other attorneys. If he knew Jim Ainsworth is gay, he could have pegged what was going on between Dirk Carlson and Ainsworth, and maybe threatened to disclose it unless Carlson paid high for the boat, which Carlson evidently did. I think Bellevue pushed for even more, and then Carlson decided to end the problem once and for all, just like he did with his wife a few years later. That’s my working theory, but I’m pretty damn sure of parts of it. Carlson killed them both, and his kid somehow put the pieces together. The blow-up between Carlson and his kid happened when Carlson found out Trevor had found the divorce papers and was searching for the wreck of the Ares off Bimini. Carlson knows that finding it would result in a murder rap, and that lawyer is trying to protect his lover by offing the kid, or maybe Ainsworth had a hand in the murder itself and has as much to lose as Carlson. I think something spooked Ainsworth this time, or he’s setting up an alibi and waiting for a better opportunity, but I think he’ll kill the kid if he gets another chance.”
After taking a few moments to think it over, Detective Alfred replied, “That’s top-notch police work. I’d have never suspected the lawyer of active involvement, but if you’re sure of the relationship, you’ve got a case, a good one.”
“What should I do about protecting the kid?” Officer Gonzalez asked.
“Where is he now, and when will he be back?”
“Last I heard, he’s near the Strait of Messina, running scared. He’s not coming back until he’s eighteen. He’s heading around the world, and he’ll be transiting the Suez Canal in ten days,” Officer Gonzalez said.
Detective Alfred nodded. “I think you’re fine. He’ll keep his head down from now on, and that makes it unlikely he can be found. He’s also way the hell out of our jurisdiction, so I wouldn’t worry about him. There’s not much you could do before he gets back anyway. The best thing you can do, in my opinion, is pursue a grand jury indictment against Carlson.”
“What about the lawyer?” Officer Gonzalez asked.
“Got any hard evidence?”
“Nothing hard so far, just circumstances and my gut read,” Officer Gonzalez said.
“Give the bastard enough rope and let him hang himself,” Detective Alfred said.
“That’s my plan exactly,” Officer Gonzalez replied, with a hint of a smile.
Walking back towards the marina, Trevor felt the warm breeze on his face, and listened to the raucous calls of seagulls echoing across the calm waters. It was nine o’clock by the time he reached Atlantis and, as quietly as he could, let himself into the salon.
Happy but tired, Trevor crept towards his cabin, not wanting to wake Joel.
Joel was already waking up, and heard the salon door open. Hopping out of bed naked, he flung a towel around his waist before heading for the salon. “So what happened?” Joel asked, as soon as he reached the salon, making Trevor jump.
Trevor spun around, grinning. “It was wild. After you left, Torsten and I went to his room. Oh God, he’s hot. We had breakfast this morning, but then he had to get ready to go; he’s flying home in a few hours.”
Joel plopped down on the built-in sofa and arched an eyebrow as Trevor walked over to take a seat. “You left out everything between getting to his room and breakfast. Knowing you, you probably went to his room and challenged him to a game of chess. So, did you get to use those condoms?”
Trevor laughed, and then began to blush slightly. “Yeah, three of ‘em, actually. Neither of us got any sleep at all. Torsten was great, in every way. If he lived near me, I’d even try to learn Swedish.”
Joel arched an eyebrow. “I guess that means you like Swedish meatballs?”
Trevor doubled over, laughing, his blush deepening. “Oh yeah, along with every other part of him.”
“He’s Swedish, so that makes him a Viking... and Vikings have very horny helmets and big hammers. Did you help him with his horny problem by polishing his helmet?” Joel gave Trevor a wicked grin and added, “Torsten... sounds kind of like Thor. I guess that fits... All gay Vikings with a lisp are named Thor, but only on the day after they have sex.”
Trevor stared at Joel for a few seconds, and then asked, in a puzzled voice, “But Torsten doesn’t have a lisp?”
Joel gave Trevor a sad shake of his head. “Think about it. They’re all Thor the next morning.”
It took a couple of seconds for his tired mind to make the connection, but then Trevor cringed. “Okay, I get it, sore... Man, that’s bad, even for you.”
Joel laughed, and then gave Trevor a thoughtful, puzzled look. “So, which one of you is Thor today, or are you both?”
Amazed that Joel was comfortable talking about that, Trevor answered, “I’ve always felt that it’s better to give than to receive. Torsten is the opposite, so it worked out great for both of us.”
“So, you played hide-the-salami all night, did you? And Torsten is Thor today. Way to go! Now you won’t explode for a while,” Joel said, snickering, and then he glanced at the shirt and shorts Trevor was wearing and asked, in a mock sour tone, “Hey, you had sex in my clothes? That’s gross!”
Trevor chuckled, shaking his head. “Torsten took them off me pretty damn fast after we got to his room.”
Joel wrinkled his nose. “You got naked? Eew, too much information!”
Trevor grinned and laughed. “Oh shut up... you’re talking about hiding the salami and using condoms, and this freaks you out? Yeah, right.”
Joel shrugged. “Hey, I’ve got to have something to bust you about.” Joel noticed the sleepy look in Trevor’s eyes, and asked, “What’s the plan for sailing? Are we staying here for a while, or heading for Greece after you’ve had some sleep?”
Trevor grinned and glanced towards the cockpit. “You know how to take Atlantis out, so how about I grab a few hours sleep while you do it? That way, we can make one last stop in Italy tonight, and head out across the Adriatic tomorrow. I’ll help you cast off if you want, but after that, she’s all yours.”
Joel’s jaw dropped, and then closed again. “Are you serious?”
Trevor nodded. “Yeah, I am. I’ll crash out in my cabin for a few hours, just make sure to wake me by one, or I’ll sleep all day and end up being up all night.”
Joel was floored. “The wind is off the dock, so cast-off will be easy and I won’t need your help. Get some sleep, man, and thanks,” he said, knowing that Trevor had just shown the greatest possible trust in him. Joel got up and headed for the cockpit, on his way to go up on the open deck and release the mooring lines.
Trevor nodded and stood up. Heading for his cabin, he called back, “Anytime. You do know you’re not wearing any clothes, right?”
Joel stopped and glanced down at his towel. Unwilling to admit that he had indeed forgotten, he shrugged. “Like I care. If it falls off while I’m handling the lines and anybody wants to watch, they can have an eyeful,” Joel replied. It was, he reasoned, true enough.
Trevor eyed Joel’s bare chest. “I don’t care if you forget your clothes, but put the safety harness on, okay? Me being asleep is like you being alone on the boat.”
Joel nodded. “Okay, Captain Bligh. Will do, I promise, even though I wonder if you just like seeing me in that harness because you’ve got some kind of fetish. Now, go get some sack time. Hey, what’s the next stop we’re heading for?”
“Wherever you decide is fine by me.” Smiling sleepily, Trevor added, “Have fun and try to avoid running into land.”
Trevor entered his cabin, stripped off, and piled into bed. He had confidence in Joel, who had taken Atlantis out to sea from port a few times previously, but never alone. Even though Trevor had faith in Joel, he also knew that casting off could get tricky, so he laid awake, listening to Joel’s footsteps above and the purr of Atlantis’s engines. Trevor felt the boat begin to move, and then he heard the engines rev up. Seconds later, Trevor let himself drift off into the sleep he craved.
Jim paced in the condo’s living room, as he had been doing since he’d arrived. After Officer Gonzalez had left Dirk’s home, Jim had driven to Tampa, where he’d parked several blocks away from the condo, just in case his car now held a tracking device. Taking a deep breath, he continued the conversation they’d been having. “Dirk, on one hand, I think this cop is offering us a golden opportunity, but it’s also one hell of a risk. You’re a few months from the statute of limitations, so you dare not get him looking into your case too closely. I think the best measure is to stall him. Answer a few of his questions selectively, but that’s it. My biggest worry is, sooner or later, he’ll push harder, opening doors that we need to keep closed,” Jim said.
Dirk, sitting on the sofa, nodded. “That other murder case shocks the hell out of me. I’d always thought Arnold Bellevue’s death was an accident.”
Jim sat down beside Dirk, and with a shake of his head, replied, “Yeah, that complicates everything, as if it wasn’t complicated enough already. I’d have to say being a suspect in both cases has thrown a big ‘ole monkey wrench into your plans.”
Dirk chuckled sadly. “I guess it’s looking that way, huh? So, how do we play this?”
Jim let out a long breath. “For right now, I take you to my house so you can get your car, then you head home. Leave the tracking device in place, and for God’s sake don’t go anywhere near Lisa or Joel’s houses. Reopen the chandlery and play it by ear. I told Officer Gonzalez that I have a big case backlog that will keep me up in Cocoa Beach for a while, so that gives us an excuse for some more delays. If they haul you in, don’t say a word other than demanding to see me. They can’t hold you for more than seventy-two hours without charging you, and at the moment, I don’t think they have enough, not yet. What I’m more worried about is what comes later. You’re forever off the hook if we can keep them in the dark and avoid an indictment until Christmas, because the seven and ten year statutes of limitations will be up. As long as the police are focused on the murder cases, you’re fine, but if they start peppering you with questions about the Bellevue case, it could lead in directions we dare not go. So on the drive here, I got to thinking... We haven’t had a vacation together yet, and the run-up to Christmas would be a good time to start.”
Dirk gave Jim a skeptical look. “I’d rather not do anything that lets a killer off the hook, so I’d like to help that investigation if I can.”
Jim shook his head. “Too dangerous, because we don’t know where it’ll lead. There’s no statute of limitations for murder, so a delay of a couple of months, especially after all this time, won’t hurt their case at all, even assuming that you can actually help them, and that’s something we’ll need to figure out. Now, about the vacation; obviously, we’ll make it somewhere we can drive to, and make damn sure there are no tracking devices on my car. We’ll pay cash, so nobody can track us. I’m thinking six to eight weeks for the trip, depending on the situation with the cops, and just run out the clock.”
“What about the chandlery and your practice?” Dirk asked.
Jim shook his head. “Not a problem for me; I’ll have a couple of associates divvy up my case load. You can’t shut the chandlery for that long without taking a massive hit, but you don’t need to. There’s this wonderful new invention called the employee. Maybe you’ve heard of them? They do stuff so you don’t have to and you pay them for it.”
Dirk rolled his eyes and laughed. “Yeah, as it so happens, I know what an employee is, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable leaving a new hire alone and in charge for so long.”
“So retain a business management company to keep a damn eye on the place and you’re set. Dirk, you can’t run the store from jail either, and unless you’re careful, that won’t be an issue because you’ll be in prison and your business and house will be gone anyway. Come on, you know I’m right.”
Dirk sighed and nodded. “Okay, count me in. When do we leave, and where are we going?”
“I’m thinking west... We take our time, drive across country, end up in Arizona, hike the Grand Canyon, then head for Vegas, then up to Oregon and Washington... Maybe Yellowstone... just see where the road takes us. We can do some camping, stay at some resorts, just have a good time while the statute of limitations clock runs down,” Jim said, smiling as he envisioned the trip.
“Can we give Trev your office number, and check in with them occasionally? What about having him call us? I don’t–”
“Relax,” Jim said, smiling as looked in Dirk’s eyes. “I’ll get us a phone we can take, a pre-paid or something, so it’s not registered to us.”
“Jim, thanks for what you did; for going all that way, getting Trev to call me, and everything...,” Dirk said, letting his voice trail off and giving Jim a warm smile.
Aboard Atlantis, sailing south in the Gulf of Taranto, Joel stood at the helm, still in just a towel though wearing the safety harness. Joel stood alert, keeping an eye on nearby shipping. He kept glancing at the navigation display, trying to pick a destination. He checked the weather plots – which were updated every fifteen minutes, via the download-only satellite receiver – and noted that the wind a few miles offshore was forecast for twenty two knots out of the west, with minimal seas in the Gulf; perfect conditions for a high-speed run.
Half an hour out of Taranto, Joel re-trimmed the sails, and watched the navigation display as Atlantis slowly accelerated to eighteen knots. Grinning in the wind, Joel checked the navigation display again, punching in a new destination, smiling as he saw the result.
At eighteen knots, Joel knew that Atlantis required a careful hand, and so he stayed at the wheel for three hours as Atlantis cut through the seas, heading southeast down the inside of the heel of the Italian boot. Joel loved every minute of it.
The hills and rugged coast rolled by, a few miles to port of Atlantis, as she sliced through the Gulf of Taranto, churning through the waters, heading for Cape Ristola at the tip of the Italian boot heel.
Approaching the cape and the following turn to port, Joel began reefing in the sails, and then smoothly turned downwind as Atlantis rounded the cape, two miles offshore.
Between the twin capes of Ristola and Meliso lay the Bay of Leuca, Joel’s destination. The bay, just over a mile across, is bounded on the north by the town of Santa Maria di Leuca, a scenic, sun-splashed place, with traditional houses clinging to the hills and cliffs around the bay, cascading down to a sun-swept sandy beach and marina at the town center.
Taking great care, Joel anchored Atlantis near several other yachts, a few hundred feet off the marina entrance.
With Atlantis secure, Joel took off the safety harness and glanced at a clock, smiling as he saw that he was only half an hour late to wake Trevor.
Joel’s first stop was the galley, where he started the coffeemaker, and then opened the refrigerator to grab a couple of ice cubes.
Quietly, Joel entered Trevor’s cabin, finding Trevor asleep on his back, covered from the waist down with the sheet.
Trevor was lightly dreaming, just random scenes from the recent past, turned and changed, as dreams are wont to do. Into those dreams, something, intruded, subtly at first... a touch, and then a chill, growing stronger, its frigid hand pulling Trevor from his dreams.
Taking a deep breath as his mind focused on the cold sensation on his chest, Trevor’s eyes fluttered open, seeing the fuzzy form of an ice cube nestled between his pecs.
“Joel,” Trevor mumbled, reaching for the ice cube and swatting it aside, a smile coming unbidden to his lips and he heard Joel’s quiet laughter.
“You told me to wake you up, Trev,” Joel said, standing beside the bed and grinning.
Blinking away the fog, Trevor sat up and said, “I don’t remember saying anything about ice.”
Joel snickered. “Call it part of my payback installment plan, for getting me with a bucket full.”
Trevor rubbed his eyes, his smile belying his grouchy tone. “You’re in my cabin with me naked, again, and you’re still in a towel.”
“Yep, definitely sexual harassment on your part. Hey,” Joel paused to sniff the air, “you don’t smell of sex. You sure you got laid last night?”
Trevor grinned. “Very sure, and the last time was in the shower before we had breakfast. First time I’ve ever done that, and it was awesome.”
“Whoa, gross, way too much information,” Joel replied, feigning a look of disgust and covering his ears for a moment, and then adding, “So I guess you’ve had your monthly shower, then.”
“Okay, I’ve been awake thirty seconds, and you’ve already accused me of harassment and not bathing. What next?” Trevor asked.
Joel shrugged. “I’ll let you know when I think of it.”
Trevor gave Joel another look, and frowned. Then he said, in a serious tone, “Man, you said you’d wear the harness and you aren’t,” Trevor said, assuming they were still at sea.
Joel was surprised by the sudden change in Trevor. “Yeah, when we’re underway, and I did. We’re at anchor,” Joel replied, puzzled by Trevor’s intensity.
Trevor paused for a moment, listening and feeling the motions and sounds of his boat. “Oh yeah, sorry. Where are we, anyway?”
Joel grinned. “How does Santa Maria di Leuca grab you? We made great time; around eighteen knots most of the way.”
Trevor grinned and nodded. “Dude, that’s awesome. Great job. I thought we’d still be at sea.”
Joel smiled proudly, puffing out his bare chest. “Thanks. I had a blast. According to the weather plots, we’ve got a good weather window for the Ionian Sea in the morning, and it should hold all the way to Greece.”
“So, we’ve got most of the afternoon to see the town, and then we’re riding at anchor until morning. Got any ideas for what to do tonight?” Trevor asked, already knowing the answer.
Joel grinned and nodded. “Beer night, of course. Hey, the coffee should be about ready, want me to get you some?”
Trevor shook his head. “Nah, I’ll get dressed ready for shore and then have some. Thanks for making it.”
Joel turned for the door. “I’ll go get dressed too. We’re close to a marina with a pier, so we can take the Zodiac in.”
Joel returned to his cabin, where he tugged on a pair of red lifeguard shorts and a black tank top. As he loaded his wallet and keys into his pocket, his eyes fell on Trevor’s sea journal, still lying on the bed. He left it where it was, intending to read it later, and pulled on his shoes before joining Trevor in the galley for coffee.
Leuca, at the tip of the Salento Peninsula (the "boot heel" of the Italian "boot"),
A closeup of the
above picture, showing Atlantis at anchor. For anyone with
Google Earth, you can see this yourself,
© 2010 C James
Please give me feedback, and please don’t be shy if you want to criticize! The feedback thread for this story is in my Forum. Please stop by and say "Hi!"
Many thanks to my editor EMoe for editing and for his support, encouragement, beta reading, and suggestions.
Special thanks to Graeme, for beta-reading and advice.
Thanks also to Talonrider and MikeL for beta reading.
A big Thank You to RedA for Beta reading and advice, and to Bondwriter for final Zeta-reading and advice.
Any remaining errors are mine alone.