The man with the baseball cap stifled a grin as he approached the jetty that was still blocked by the police. Among other spectators, he watched the still smoldering remnants of the fishing boats. When he had seen enough, he walked away, and his smile turned to a full laugh.
From the Baltimore Gazette, August 16th.
Attack on crab fishing boats claims one life.
In yesterday's nocturnal attack on four crab fishing boats, the company founder, Carl Foster, was killed by the fire on board. The boats of his fleet burned down completely. According to a police spokesman, incendiary devices had been thrown at each boat, causing large fires within minutes. Police believe that the perpetrator approached by boat to carry out the attacks. Surveillance cameras along the jetties, where the ships were anchored, have no record of the crime. As the fires leapt, significant property damage occurred to two other boats as well. The homicide division has begun investigating, but there are no leads and no suspects yet. If you have any information, contact your local police station.
* * * *
The man with the Red Sox baseball cap and matching blue jacket stifled a grin as he approached the jetty that was still blocked by the police. The hot August wind tore at the yellow tape, causing a whirring sound. The man was among twenty spectators who stood on the walkway to watch the smoldering remnants of the boats. The stench of burned plastic and wood was in the air, competing with the smell of salt water.
“What a tragedy,” a haggard man to his left said to no one in particular. The people around him nodded in unison.
The Red Sox fan didn’t believe the commiserating tone. People tended to enjoy tragedies that occurred to others. They fed their hunger for bad news, as long as those catastrophes didn’t hurt them or their loved ones. If that happened, they would accuse the police, the politicians, and then some to right the wrong. However, the man didn’t know whether the spectator was referring to the dead man the firefighters had found or the damaged boats. His clothing—jeans, practical boots, and a non-descript light brown cardigan—did not reveal any relation to marine sports. Maybe he was just as curious as the rest of the crowd.
“The papers write that Foster was a thug—had been for years,” a woman with the pointy face of a mouse said for all of them hear. “They say he went fishing with his crew in the marine reserve off the coast.” She pointed toward the open sea and huffed. “That’s illegal.”
“Maybe he just needed to make a living,” the portly man at her side answered. “We all do, don’t we? And fishing isn’t really an easy job.” Maybe because his hair was already receding and left half of his head bare, he wore a mighty moustache in his round face like a statement that his body could still grow hair. From the way he stood beside her, he appeared to be the mouse’s husband. “Some people have to.”
“Tsk,” she replied derisively. “You tend to have an apology for everything.” From the look she gave him, the man with the baseball cap assumed she considered the portly man her possible killer if there were gasoline and a match within reach.
Maybe not the husband, but a neighbor who has had enough of her mousy bickering. The Red Sox fan pondered on this thought.
“And in case you didn’t know—we aren’t talking about a poor fisherman, who hardly made a living. Foster makes millions with his fleet. Or had so far.” The mouse clasped her hands around her purse and nodded firmly. “Thugs must be punished,” she declared. “One way or the other.” Her warning glare ensured that she had the final word.
The man with the baseball cap fully agreed with that opinion and turned away to where no one could see his smile break through. It had been a good night, and there were more to come. He still smelled the gasoline, the drenched coils of rope, and the acid fumes emanating from the sizzling enamel. The previous night was literally burned into his memory.
Farther away from the crowd, his smile turned to a chortle, then to a full laugh. The day was looking up.
* * * *
From the Baltimore Gazette, October 15th.
One person was killed at the Juniper Marina on Monday night when a yacht exploded and sank half a mile off the coast. The explosion is the second one in a month. So far, police have blamed the explosions on the owners’ carelessness. A spokeswoman for the police said that the latest explosion claimed the life of Jonathan Hilbur, owner of the Hilbur Waste Disposal Company located in Baltimore, which specialized in the removal and disposal of hazardous waste. Police investigators have not yet released information about what caused the explosion. Upon request, the police stated that the ninety feet yacht will be lifted and examined. Police are still searching for witnesses present at the marina close to or at the time of the explosion. If you have any information, please contact your local police station.
* * * *
Jacklyn drew circles on Nicolas’s bare chest. “And what do we do on this fantastic morning?”
“Stay in bed?” Nicolas asked, batting his eyelashes.
She gasped in mock astonishment. “You don’t know anything better to do?”
He lifted his fingers to count. “Have breakfast in bed, coffee in abundance, take a nap later…”
“I’m just a poor boy. I need your sympathy.”
Jacklyn, physiotherapist and part-time mistress, raised her brows as far as they would go. “At this hour you’re flinging a quote from Bohemian Rhapsody at me?”
“I didn’t even expect you to know Queen.” He folded his hands behind his head. “I thought you were only into classical music.”
“Right.” She continued drawing circles, the catlike smile returning to her face. “I remember introducing you to the opera.”
Nicolas, FBI agent and part-time submissive of his lovely lady, looked smug as he guided her hand farther down his belly. “I introduced you to this body.”