Due to light and erratic winds, it took Atlantis two more days to sail two hundred miles, and Trevor found himself approaching the Strait of Gibraltar at dusk.
As the sun set over the Atlantic, Trevor entered the approaches to the Strait of Gibraltar, nervously eying the dozen returns already on his radar display.
Maritime traffic flow worldwide obeys similar rules, such as keeping to the right in any designated lane. For the Strait of Gibraltar, which runs roughly west to east, this means that eastbound traffic from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean keeps to the southern – African – side. Thus, as dusk turned to darkness, Trevor found himself looking at the golden lights of Tangier, Morocco, as he passed three miles to the north.
Due to the erratic winds, Trevor engaged his twin diesel engines and furled the sails, preferring to make the passage on engines rather than sails. Maintaining pace with a freighter two miles ahead, Trevor motored through the entrance to the straits at eight knots.
Less than nine miles wide at its narrowest point, the Straits of Gibraltar are a spectacular sight, even at night. Along the southern shore, the predominantly golden lights embrace the dark and looming mountains, while on the north, the glittering multicolored lights of Spanish towns illuminate a less-rugged shore.
Trevor, aided by his binoculars, took in the sights as he motored through the strait, accompanied by the steady thrumming of Atlantis’s engines, and the soft hiss of water sliding past her hulls.
Five miles east of the narrowest point, the strait begins to open out, like an enormous funnel, into the Mediterranean Sea. There, on the north side of the strait, lies the mouth of Gibraltar Bay, shaped like an inverted U, which opens onto the strait, facing south. Forming the eastern side of the bay and separating it from the Mediterranean is a narrow peninsula jutting south, the southern end of it consisting of a narrow fin of rock two miles long and over a thousand feet high – the Rock of Gibraltar.
Upon noticing that he had a cell phone signal, Trevor dialed Lisa. “Hi, it’s me.”
“Hello idiot,” Lisa said in a slightly downcast tone.
“Hi Lisa,” Trevor answered carefully, knowing that she would be feeling down. “I sure wish you were coming too.”
“Me too,” Lisa said, in a downcast voice, but then she sat up a little straighter and by conscious effort assumed a more cheerful tone. “But I’m really happy for you guys. You’re going to see a lot of fun stuff. I’ve been to Europe before, but neither you nor Joel has, so have fun. As for me, I’ve got a job lined up at the supermarket to keep me busy.”
“Thanks Lisa,” Trevor said, well aware that she was acting cheerful in spite of feeling left behind. “I miss you. Is Joel there?”
Lisa chuckled. “Nope, he flew out yesterday.”
“Oh shit, that means he’ll be in Gibraltar before I get there, or is he there already?” Trevor asked, assuming Joel had caught an earlier flight.
“Nope. He’s still arriving tomorrow at noon, Gibraltar time, as planned. There was no way to make a connecting flight on the same day because the flight from Miami lands after the daily Gibraltar flight takes off. He’s staying in a motel overnight at Gatwick Airport in England. He called me right after he checked in and he’s probably sound asleep now, given the time there... and by the way, where the hell are you anyway?”
Trevor glanced out, across the dark waters, at the African shore’s golden city lights and silhouetted mountains. “I’m looking at the lights of Africa right now; I’m just a couple of miles away from it, transiting the Strait of Gibraltar. I’ll be docking in Gibraltar in about an hour and I’ll meet Joel at the airport tomorrow. I’ve got his arrival info.”
“He thinks he’s got to get a hotel and wait for you. Maybe I should call and let him know... but nah, surprise him,” Lisa said, trying to imagine the view Trevor was seeing.
After the call ended, Trevor focused his attention on his navigational display. The port of Gibraltar, including the yacht basin, lies at the northwest corner of the Rock, in Gibraltar Town on the Bay of Gibraltar, and it had just rolled into view on his screen.
Trevor checked his cluttered radar display, looking at over a dozen westbound blips. To reach the Bay of Gibraltar, he had to turn to port and head due north, across the westbound sea-lane. He moved from the port to the starboard wheel in order to have a clearer view of the westbound traffic and spun the wheel, swinging Atlantis ninety degrees to the left, coming out on a heading of due north.
Advancing the throttles to the stops, Trevor felt the roar of the engines rumbling through the deck as Atlantis surged ahead, accelerating to her maximum under-power speed of fifteen knots for the dash across the busy strait.
It was two o’clock in the morning when Trevor motored into Gibraltar Bay, the lights of Algeciras, Spain, on his left, and the looming dark bulk of the Rock of Gibraltar on his right. By three, he had entered the yacht basin and tied up.
His alarm woke him at ten and Trevor went ashore to take care of customs, power, water, and Internet access for Atlantis via the yacht club. As he returned to Atlantis, Trevor looked to his south, across the harbor road, spotting a bus bench with a familiar sign; the bright red letters of a Safeway supermarket, proclaiming it to be just a few hundred yards away. ‘Cool, there’s a supermarket close by, and Gibraltar is British so no language problems here.’
Trevor looked a little to his left, at the looming bulk of the Rock of Gibraltar. ‘That’s a lot bigger than I thought it was.’
The thunderous roar of jet engines caused Trevor to turn around. ‘Convenient to the airport, too,’ he thought wryly, watching as an airliner completed its takeoff roll, lifting into the sky just three hundred feet north of Trevor, its engines loud enough to make Atlantis’s deck vibrate.
Gibraltar’s airport straddles the narrow, flat part of the isthmus north of The Rock. The western end of the runway protrudes into the Bay of Gibraltar, and also forms the north side of the Gibraltar Yacht Basin. ‘At least I don’t need to take a cab to pick up Joel.’
Using the password and settings he’d been given at the yacht club desk, Trevor logged in over the WiFi network, and checked flight arrival times. Joel’s British Airways flight was listed as on time and scheduled to land in an hour.
Trevor found himself continually checking his watch, eager with anticipation as he jumped onto the dock, heading for the airport, a small map in hand. His route was a short one; after taking the main jetty to shore, he cut eastwards between some shops to reach Bayside road, taking it east for three hundred yards to reach the intersection of Winston Churchill Avenue.
At the intersection, paused to look at the traffic island, taking a moment to understand what it held: an enormous sundial, built atop a raised flat disk that looked a lot like a satellite dish pointing straight up. From its center, a stainless steel dial post, in the form of a stainless steel arrowhead, angled northwards. Trevor stopped to stare at the enormous sundial for a few moments and then looked at the ground below it, seeing that it was surrounded by small, equally spaced clumps of flowers at the periphery of the circle.
The sundial's design, along with the giant letters denoting the cardinal points of the compass, reminded Trevor of the stylized compass rose on the giant map of the world, which decorated part of a wall in Atlantis’s salon.
Trevor resumed his stroll, walking towards the airport on Winston Churchill Avenue, the only road that ran from Gibraltar to the Spanish frontier a few hundred yards to the north, crossing the runway as it did so.
Trevor stood at the automatic road barrier, watching in bemused interest as an airliner took off, passing with a roar just a few hundred feet in front of him. Then, the barrier lifted, and Trevor walked along the pedestrian walkway adjoining the road as it crossed the runway.
The airport terminal was just north of the runway on his right, and as Trevor approached, his first thought was, ‘It looks like a small strip mall, minus the parking lot.’
After entering the tiny, single-story terminal, Trevor looked at a flight arrival board and saw that Joel’s flight was five minutes early and would be landing in fifteen minutes.
Trevor looked out an east-facing window, noticing that there were no jetways and that passengers walked across the apron to get to the terminal.
When Joel’s British Airways flight from Gatwick touched down, Trevor moved to the window, waiting. He spotted Joel’s blond head coming down the air stairs, and although Trevor waved, Joel didn’t look up as he walked into the terminal, his flight bag over his shoulder.
Joel looked up as he exited the gate, paused for a moment, and then grinned broadly and ran up to Trevor. “You’re here,” Joel said, pulling Trevor into a brief hug. “I thought I’d be waiting for you.”
“Damn, it’s good to see you,” Trevor said as he pulled away and started walking with Joel towards baggage claim. “How was the flight? Got jet lag?”
In an animated, excited tone, Joel replied, “I slept pretty good last night at Gatwick and the flight here was only a couple of hours, so I’m fine and excited as hell. I can’t wait to get out and see stuff. I’m so glad to be here and anyhow, it seems like forever since you dropped me off and I swam to my car. I’ve missed you and Lisa has too. Are you okay? I mean, you crossed the fucking Atlantic alone, man. That’s some kinda ballsy or some kinda crazy, probably both.”
Trevor chuckled at Joel’s excited rambling, and as they reached the baggage carousel, said, “I’m okay,” Trevor replied, suppressing a shudder as he remembered how close he had come to death. “And crazy too, but what else is new?”
The two friends laughed and joked around until Joel’s suitcase arrived. Trevor took the suitcase and then they walked out of the terminal, turning left, and Joel got his first look at the Rock. “Whoa, it’s huge. I’ve been studying up on this place all week, but to actually see it, wow... Okay, I’ve been checking out Gibraltar on the ‛net so I know we can walk from here to the yacht basin, right?” Joel asked.
Trevor nodded his head, towing Joel’s wheeled suitcase. “Yeah, it’s a short walk.”
When they reached Atlantis, Trevor took Joel to the same cabin Joel and Lisa had shared. Tossing the suitcase on the bed, Trevor said, “That’s not a big case. Did you bring your skateboard?”
Joel nodded. “Yeah, and I’ve got your outboard part too. Skateboards are probably the best way to see Gibraltar, from what I could find out. It’s only about three and a half miles from here to Europa Point on the south tip and everything else is a lot closer than that.”
“You really have been reading up on this place,” Trevor said, and then added with a grin. “Good, you can earn your passage by being my tour guide.”
Joel laughed and unzipped his case. “No problem there, this is gonna be awesome and like I said, I’ve been reading everything I could find on Gibraltar. So, how long are we here for, anyway?”
“I’ve got this spot for three more days. If we’re ready to go by then we can sail out or pay a fee and stay put. I’m trying to avoid fees but it’s not that much so we can do it if we aren’t ready to go.”
Joel looked at Trevor before replying, “I’m going to help you with costs and stuff. I was going to anyway but believe it or not, my folks suggested it. I need to hit an ATM but after that, we’re set.”
“Wow, that’s great, thanks. I’m kinda hoarding my funds as much as I can. I’ve got a long way to go and I’m sure I’ll have repairs and stuff on top of normal expenses.”
Joel flipped open the suitcase and pulled out his skateboard. “One board in working order, and these are for you,” he said, pulling out a small box and eight large tortilla chip bags, handing them to a surprised Trevor. “The engine part is in the box. Lisa said she could never find good tortilla chips in Europe so we thought I should bring you a supply.”
“Wow, thanks,” Trevor said. “I ate what I had aboard on my way over.” Trevor glanced at the now-empty suitcase and said, “You sure travel light.”
Joel laughed and pulled a single small stack of clothes from his flight bag. “Yeah, intentionally. I like shopping, man... And do you think I’d pass up the chance to do some in Europe? Hell no! So, I brought along as little as I could.” Joel pointed at the Levis and T-shirt he was wearing. “I’ve got these, which I wore yesterday too so they’re kinda ripe now, plus three pairs of underwear and socks, a tank top,” he said, pulling the socks and underwear from the top of the small pile and dumping them in a drawer. “And a pair of shorts. I figured I could buy what I need or maybe borrow some of your stuff until I can go shopping. It’s summer, so I’ll just need shorts when we’re at sea.”
Trevor grinned and shook his head. “You want to go shopping, huh? Are you really sure you’re straight?”
Joel laughed and spun around, punching Trevor lightly in the arm. “Oh shut up. I won’t drag you along if you don’t want to go but come on, it’s Europe. Just because I’m straight doesn’t mean I don’t like shopping.” Joel paused and arched an eyebrow. “Anyhow, look who’s talking; you’re gay and you hate shopping,” he said, giving an exaggerated wrist flip.
Trevor laughed hard at Joel’s antics and shot back, saying, “You keep that up and I’ll maroon your ass on some deserted island. Okay, we’ll shop before leaving Gibraltar and I’ll even go along. I’m so glad to see you that I’ll even suffer the agonies of shopping.”
“If you don’t shut up, I’ll forget I brought these along, you damn perv,” Joel said with a chuckle, reaching into the case’s internal pocket and pulling out a red rectangle of shiny cloth, which he proudly unfurled, revealing his red speedos. “I thought I was going to have to wait for you and meet you as you sailed into port. I was going to be waiting on the dock in these, just like Lisa said you demanded, you perv.”
Trevor laughed and then hesitated, wondering if it was okay to say what he was thinking. After a few seconds, he decided to go ahead, and said, with a slight hint of unease in his voice, “Now you tell me.”
Joel picked up on the delay and the awkwardness in Trevor’s voice, and guessed its cause. Trying to let Trevor know it was okay, Joel punched him in the arm. “You’d have made me wait, I know you would, you ass.”
“What are friends for?” Trevor replied with an easy laugh.
Joel nodded and smiled, zipping his empty case shut. “Let me grab a shower and put on some clean clothes, then let’s head out and start seeing this place. What have you done since you’ve been here?”
Trevor laughed, and as he turned to exit the cabin, said, “Took care of the customs stuff and then walked to the airport to pick up your sorry ass, and that’s it. Okay, I’ll grab my board and wait for you.”
Opening a storage bin that was built into the salon sofa, Trevor pulled out his skateboard and then grabbed an extra set of keys from the navigation desk before sitting down to wait for Joel.
Less than five minutes later, Joel bounded out of his cabin in shorts and a black tank top, toweling his hair with one hand and trying to pull his shoes on with the other, resulting in a comic stumble.
Trevor grinned and laughed. “Slow down man, the Rock isn’t going anywhere.”
Joel shrugged. “I’m just revved up to see this place.”
When Joel finished toweling his hair and getting his shoes on, Trevor handed him the keys. “That’s my spare set, so you can get back into the boat if we get split up. The salon doors lock and so do the access hatches. I always lock up when I leave the boat.”
“Thanks, okay, you ready to roll?” Joel asked, not waiting for a reply, heading for the salon door with skateboard in hand.
Trevor was almost as eager as Joel was and so assumed that his friend was just anxious to see Gibraltar. Trevor followed Joel out, locked up, and the two friends tore off down the jetty on their boards. When they reached the streets, they headed south, tearing along the pavement, doing jumps off the curb and annoying a few passing pedestrians.
When they reached the main street of Gibraltar Town, the number of pedestrians made skating difficult, so the two friends kicked their boards up into their hands and walked, checking out the small shops and cafes that lined the street.
Spotting an ATM, Joel jogged over to it, and soon had three hundred British Pounds in his hands. Slipping the notes into his wallet, he said, “These are larger than dollars, they won’t fit right.”
Trevor looked. “Same with the larger Euro notes. I just fold each one over.”
After Joel had put his wallet away, Trevor noticed him checking the time again and asked, “Do we need to be somewhere?”
Joel shook his head and sighed. “I didn’t want to say anything yet but we’re supposed to call Lisa at three, local time. There’s some stuff going on at home... Lisa has been trying to find out about that divorce stuff, and she found... something else. She told me not to tell you yet because she’s getting the details this morning, her time. And... There’s another problem. Your father has called my house a couple of times already, and if he does and gets ahold of my parents, it won’t be good. My folks don’t know you’re a runaway, and if they find out...”
“Oh, shit... if they find out, they’ll make you go home?” Trevor asked.
Joel shook his head. “Nope. They’d probably tell me to, but no way in hell did I come all this way just to turn around and go home. What I’m worried about is them telling your dad where I went; they know my tickets were to Gibraltar. We’re fine until tonight, Florida time, because they won’t be home until then but after that, what if they tell your dad where you are? There aren’t all that many places in Gibraltar Atlantis could be, right? Could he have you arrested and sent home? He’s been looking all over the place for information on you since you left. He calls Lisa’s phone almost daily.”
Trevor shuddered. “I have no idea. Maybe, but I don’t think it would be fast. Any way you could call your folks and find out?”
Joel nodded. “Yeah, I have to call them tonight anyway. If they’ve heard from him, they’ll sure as hell say so. Do me a favor though... I don’t like lying to them when I don’t have to, so don’t tell me where we’re heading for after we sail from here, okay? That way I can honestly tell them I don’t know, it’s just somewhere in the Med.”
Trevor shook his head. “Tell ‘em that and you aren’t lying, because I’ve got no idea, other than we have to go east because I need to end up at Suez. I figured you’d have some places you wanted to see and we’d figure it out as we go.”
The two friends resumed their walk south, and Joel arched an eyebrow to ask, “So you really don’t know? Okay... but anyway, that’s why I was so hyped to get out and see Gibraltar today, just in case we’ve got to leave. I didn’t want to worry you until we called Lisa, but I don’t like hiding stuff. Anyhow, sorry to bring you more stress from home, Trev.”
Trevor answered by giving Joel a punch in the arm. “Don’t worry about it, I’m not. I’m just glad to see you. We’re gonna have a blast, man.”
Joel grinned. “Count on it. Okay, what do you say to seeing some good stuff this afternoon, just in case we have to make a run for it later?”
Trevor nodded, looking to his left, at the looming Rock. “Sure, but I don’t know where to go.”
Joel laughed and returned Trevor’s punch in the arm. “I do. There’s an aerial tramway less than a mile south of us that goes to the top of the Rock. We can go up on a one-way ticket and then make our way back.”
Trevor opened his mouth to ask how they’d get back down, and then as the realization hit, his eyes snapped down to the skateboard in his left hand, and then up at the Rock, which loomed over a thousand feet over Gibraltar Town. Trevor snapped his head around to look at Joel and said, “We ride down, right?” Joel grinned and nodded, and Trevor whooped, spinning around as he walked. “Oh yeah, that’s gonna be a hot run.”
Upon reaching the tramway, Trevor turned to watch a car, dangling from its cables, ascending the west face of the Rock of Gibraltar. Joel got in line and waited until Trevor joined him. When they reached the window, Trevor reached for his wallet, but Joel jostled his arm and said, “On me, man.”
Ten Pounds and two tickets later, the two friends were in a crowded rectangular gondola, rumbling out of the station and ascending over the parking lot. They watched, mesmerized by the view, as they climbed higher.
When they reached the summit, they walked out onto the windy observation deck, looking east across the Mediterranean. “Wow, this is some view,” Joel said, a little awestruck. He pulled out his cell phone and snapped a few pictures, including one of Trevor standing next to the railing, hunched against the wind.
The summit terminal is actually in a saddle between the Rock’s two high points, which are at the north and south ends, so Trevor and Joel, after a quick look at the map display, took to their boards and began skating Signal Station Road, which runs north and uphill.
Skating up the incline in the hot, humid air, Trevor felt his t-shirt begin to cling and peeled it off, tucking it into his back pocket, reveling in the feel of the wind on his bare torso. Joel shed his tank top a few moments later, and after gaining higher ground, they paused and looked to their south, seeing the mountainous African coast in the distance. Joel checked his watch and was about to mention the time when Trevor jostled his arm, pointed at a brown lump a dozen yards away atop the viewpoint’s concrete wall, and said, “What the fuck is that, it looks like a monkey!”
Joel looked, and then looked at Trevor’s shocked face and said, “Nope, you’re seeing things. No monkeys here. That’s a lump of wood.”
Trevor took a few paces forward, squinting against the warm, gusty wind, his eyes fixed on the hairy brown creature’s back, and stopped as it swiveled its head to stare at him. “That’s a monkey!” Trevor said, staring at the creature.
Joel stood at Trevor’s side, glanced at the creature, and then said, in as nonchalant a manner as he could manage, “I don’t see anything, just a lump of wood. I think you’ve been at sea so long that you’re hallucinating.”
The monkey scampered down off the wall and loped towards Trevor, who said, “Joel, whatever you’re selling, I ain’t buying. You can’t tell me you don’t see it now.” Trevor flinched as the monkey leaped at him, freezing as it perched on his shoulders, behind his neck, and began grooming Trevor’s hair.
“You’re imagining things,” Joel said solemnly, his mouth beginning to twitch.
Speaking barely above a whisper, Trevor said, “Get this thing off me!” He could feel the monkey’s feet clutching the bare skin of his shoulders, and wondered if they had claws.
“Relax, they’re usually harmless as long as you don’t move,” Joel said, reaching for his – formerly Trevor’s – phone, and using its camera to snap a picture of Trevor and the monkey.
“Joel,” Trevor hissed.
Joel held his finger up to his lips to shush Trevor. “Don’t startle it. You’re not supposed to let them climb on you, because if you startle or upset them, they can bite. Give it a minute or two and it will get bored and go away, assuming it doesn’t find the lice it’s looking for in your hair,” Joel said, and then dialed the cell phone, hoping he’d correctly remembered the international prefix and codes.
Lisa answered, and Joel said, “I’m in Gibraltar, looking at a monkey.”
Lisa chuckled. “Hi Joel. I miss you. So, looking at Trev, are you? How is he?”
“Aside from the monkey on his back, just fine,” Joel replied casually, struggling not to laugh. “I just sent you a picture.”
Lisa looked at the picture that had just appeared on her phone, and began to laugh. “Oh my God, that’s so funny! When did you take it?”
“Just now. It’s still there,” Joel replied, and took another picture to send. “It’s checking him for lice. Monkeys groom each other, so that means it thinks Trev is another monkey. Perfectly understandable when you think about it, given the strong resemblance...”
Trevor cringed as the monkey began examining his ear, and whispered through clenched teeth, “Joel, the next time we go diving, I’m giving you a two-ton weight belt.”
Lisa cracked up completely as she looked at the second photo. Finally, she gasped, “Joel, honey, considering that you and Trevor look enough alike to be brothers, I’d ease off on the monkey cracks if I were you. Now, tell Trevor to put the monkey down; I need to talk to both of you.”
Joel snickered. “He can’t. According to what I read on Barbary Apes, you don’t want to irritate them or they might bite. It just scrambled up on him by surprise. There are loads of pictures with them sitting on tourists like this, so it’s pretty safe unless you irritate them. You’re supposed to just let ‘em get bored and go away.”
“You could have told me that you knew about these damn things,” Trevor grumbled, being careful not to move.
“I didn’t think it was going to climb on you,” Joel replied, and then said for Lisa’s benefit, “There were signs about the monkeys on the cable car and at both stations, but I guess Trev is either oblivious or can’t read. He was shocked when he thought he saw a monkey, so I told him he was seeing things. Then it climbed up on him.”
The monkey leaned forward and looked down at Trevor’s nose, and Trevor, keeping his head level and chewing on his lip, looked up at the monkey’s head. Joel saw the shot and took it, sending it to Lisa, who laughed so hard she nearly fell out of her chair.
“Joel, that picture is priceless,” Lisa gasped.
As suddenly as it had climbed up, the monkey leaped away, loping on all fours back to its perch on the wall, and Trevor bent over and began brushing his hair forward with his fingers. Then Trevor stood up, sweeping his hair back, and glared at Joel, who had finally succumbed to his urge to laugh and was cracking up.
“The monkey ran off,” Joel gasped into the phone.
“Then give the other monkey the phone and lean in close so you can both hear,” Lisa replied.
“Get your revenge on me later, Lisa wants us both to listen,” Joel said, as he closed the gap between himself and Trevor, and the two friends leaned their heads together so they could share the phone. Joel put his arm around Trevor and pulled him close, huddling against the noisy wind.
“Hi Lisa. I hope you know I’ve got to get Joel for this,” Trevor said.
“I think that’s a given, monkey boy,” Lisa said, chuckling. Then her good mood faded as she said, “I’ve got news about your father, none of it good. Long story short, I e-mailed Julie and told her what’s going on, including about the divorce papers. She got ahold of her friend Bridget Bellevue, who you met, and asked her to look into it. I guess Julie gave Bridget my number because she called me and asked me to go see her this morning, and I did. Trev, there was an investigation into your mother’s death. It’s still open and your father is a suspect. They’ve never had enough to charge him, but they suspect he’s at least involved. That’s why they were trying harder to find you than they normally would for a runaway teen. According to Bridget, they’re wondering if he killed you too, because all they have to base you running away on is his word and you making that big cash withdrawal. She also said to tell you she was sorry; when she met you, she thought you were, quote, ‘An idiot for running away.’ She said that you’re still unlikely to get a Florida court to emancipate you without proof, but she said that running was probably your best option, under the circumstances. Anyhow, that’s the info I was waiting for.”
“Oh shit,” Trevor and Joel said as one.
Trevor swallowed once before saying, “I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, not after seeing those divorce papers, but damn... I can’t believe he’d... I can’t believe he’s a killer, Lisa. I think he’s hiding something, but... I guess this seals it; I’ve got to keep going. I can’t come back, not until I’m eighteen.”
Lisa let out a sad sigh. “I kinda figured that. Trev, there might be another way. Bridget said you probably couldn’t get emancipated without proof. So, what if proof of some kind was found, about whatever your dad did and is hiding? Julie asked Bridget to help if she could, and Bridget said she would. Maybe, with some digging, we can find something and then you could come home.”
Trevor, for the first time, began to feel a shred of hope. “Yeah, maybe, but that’ll take time. If things come together before I transit the Suez Canal, I’ll turn around. Just be careful and don’t get yourself into any trouble, okay?”
“Okay, I’ll see what turns up,” Lisa said.
“Lisa, don’t go see Trev’s dad, promise?” Joel asked.
Lisa chuckled. “I promised you that before you left, and I won’t. Bridget told me the same thing. Anyhow, I’m going to see what I can find in the records at the courthouse and library, which should be safe enough.”
Looking out at the Atlantic from the deck of a house in Cocoa Beach, Dirk said, “Where is he? I’ve done everything I can think of, but not a damn trace. I tried to get the police to tap Trev’s phone – the one his friend Joel has – but they won’t. They’re more interested in investigating me.”
Jim nodded. “Joel isn’t suspected of a crime and trading phones isn’t illegal. You’re damn lucky Trevor withdrew that money, because that makes his disappearance look like he ran away. If not for that, you’d have likely been indicted. It’s rare to get a murder conviction without a body, but it has happened. Right now, all they have is a strong suspicion. I could be a lot more help to you if I knew the whole story, Dirk. I believed you when you told me you had no role in your wife’s death, and I still do. I’ve honored your request to ask no questions of you until it’s been seven years since her official date of death, but the renewed investigation puts you at serious risk. We both know there’s no statute of limitations on murder, so what you’re hiding can’t be that. Tell me, Dirk, so I can protect you. At the moment, I’m flying blind.”
Dirk sighed. “I wish I could, Jim, but I’d be putting you at risk too. I’ll tell you when I can, you have my word.”
Jim nodded, and began pacing his deck. “You’re already under police observation, and you said they’re being pretty blatant about it at your store. They don’t act obvious to gather information; they do it to put the suspect under pressure. Expect them to start turning up the heat. I’ve been expecting to see them here; your phone records would be more than enough to connect us. I’ve got nothing to hide so they can’t do a damn thing to me, and they’re not as likely to screw with an attorney, so I have no objections for myself, just for you.” After a few seconds, Jim added, “Your idea of forcing your son’s friend, Lisa, to cooperate is unlikely to succeed. Filing a lawsuit against her father for his daughter’s causing you emotional pain by withholding information is a long shot in the extreme. Most likely, the case would be thrown out of court and you’d be paying the costs for both sides.”
“I know, I just want to put some pressure on them. I’m hoping that her father will see that the easiest way out is to get his daughter to tell me whatever she knows. Damn it, Trev’s out there in the Bahamas somewhere, despite the fact that the Coast Guard haven’t picked up his AIS radar transponder. He’s probably changed it, because he knows that’s how I found out he was off Bimini last time. He’ll start searching off Bimini for Ares again, I know he will. I have to stop him. If anyone knows where he is, it’s Lisa,” Dirk said, with a note of desperation creeping into his voice.
“I thought you said they broke up?” Jim asked.
Dirk stared out to sea. “They did, but they’re still close. My guess is Lisa didn’t like playing second fiddle to that damned boat so she broke it off, but I don’t know. If anyone can lead me to him, it’s her, and I don’t care what I have to do. I have to stop him, Jim. She won’t talk to me; I’ve tried calling her a hundred times. Get the lawsuit papers ready for filing.”
“And if this doesn’t work?” Jim asked, arching an eyebrow.
Dirk looked down at his feet, and then shrugged. “Let’s cross that bridge when we come to it.”