Ghost Marina on the Mississippi

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Chapter 18 – Building and Guarding the Wall – May 1944

Once the storm had abated a small coastguard vessel approached the entrance to the State Marina of Missouri and anchored across the opening. The mandate of the boat’s crew was to prevent any vessel entering the marina and if by some chance the mystery men had missed any boaters who were staying within the marina, who were now trying to exit, they were to be brought to the mystery men’s attention, fortunately, none did. During the afternoon, a small company of soldiers arrived and were bivouacked outside the marina operating an around the clock shift to prevent anyone entering the area within fifty yards of the marina.

Needless to say, the owners of the marina were outraged and demanded to know when they would be allowed to re-open. In addition, boat owners were livid that they could no longer gain access to the marina, many of them had made quite an investment on their boats. Even worse, there were a few boaters who lived on board but had spent the night on land to escape the wrath of the storm, they now had nowhere to go. As the disgruntled owners showed up to the secured gates of the marina the officer in charge gave them contact details to an office in St. Louis where a small staff was assigned to deal with ample compensation payments to appease everyone.

During the next few weeks, a small barracks was built to house the soldiers but more importantly, work commenced on erecting a large wall around the perimeter of the marina. The wall was being built to certain specifications with the last section, the entrance from the river, to be completed by a different company and would represent the final phase. The wall was designed to be two feet thick with a two-inch thick lead insert between the two one feet concrete pieces and the edifice would penetrate twelve feet into the ground. During the construction of the wall, the mystery man and his cohorts remained close by, supervising operations and ensuring no curious soldier tried to wander around the marina. Finally, the main part of the wall was complete and all that remained was to build the final section and to top the entire structure with barbed wire.

The day after the new company had dug the piles for the foundation of the section for the river entrance, the mystery man waited for the construction crew to return from the barge anchored just outside the marina’s entrance to the building site a few hundred yards up river from the wall’s perimeter. Once the builders had left, the mystery man and his associates went out on a small boat to inspect the work. It was approaching dusk as they moored the boat and climbed onto the tiny spit of land bordering the entrance. The mystery man walked over to the hole that had been dredged, dugout, then boarded, in anticipation of the concrete being poured into the casing.

“Damn, that doesn’t look anywhere deep enough, does it to you?” The mystery man said and stepped back to let the other three men judge the depth of the hole. As the three men simultaneously gazed into the abyss the mystery man opened his jacket and pulled out a pistol with a silencer attached to the end of it. If there was anyone within hearing distance, which there wasn’t, all they would have heard were three quick ‘phuts’ as each of the men were shot professionally in the back of the head. Two of the men fell forward into the hole, the remaining man fell first to his knees and then to his side. The mystery man wasted no time kicking the lifeless body into its muddy grave. With the largely vacant, construction pontoon in front of the entrance and the wall surrounding the marina, the mystery man was certain that his actions had gone unseen. Nevertheless, his eagle-eyes did a slow 360˚scan, seeking for potential witnesses. Satisfied that he was in the clear he boarded his boat and calmly returned to the building site. Nobody had seen him leave with the three men and there was no one to see him return by himself. The mystery man moored the boat and walked briskly to his car.

Early the next morning a boat, specially designed to pump concrete arrived at the site to complete the final section of the wall. To show his pleasure with the successful completion of the project, the mystery man was adamant that he should ceremoniously, direct the pipe that would spout concrete into the foundations of the final piece of the wall. As soon as he felt there was enough concrete to cover-up the evidence of his crimes he raised his hands and cheered as the construction workers echoed his sentiments. The mystery man shook their hands and thanked them profusely before leaving on the same boat he had come in on during the previous evening. The workmen would be finished that afternoon and the final touches of barbed wire would be completed by the end of the week. For the final time, the mystery man moored his boat and returned to his car. Once inside his car, he picked up a radio and pressed contact. There was a click indicating acknowledgment from the man receiving the call.

“Containment procedures complete.” Was all that the mystery man said. A couple of seconds later there was another click, the conversation was over, and the two men never spoke to each other ever again.


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