Ghost Marina on the Mississippi

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Chapter 26 – The Full Realisation is Assumed – Modern Day

The four men hung around the home for another hour or so explaining to Mr. Laarsen everything they had unearthed to date, including the sinking of the boats, the skeletons and jewelry.

“I bet those mysterious men had something to do with that, they were shifty looking, always slinking around.” Mr. Laarsen’s eyes were reduced to slits as he explained his recollections of them, “they always appeared to be up to no good like old-fashioned outlaws with their hats and their long coats.”

By the time they had finished swapping their stories and catching up on the neighborhood, the visitors decided to take their leave, the cookie tray had long been depleted.

“Thanks again Mr. Laarsen,” Jason said, shaking the man’s hand once more, “you’ve been a great help.”

“Let me know what you find out eh?” Mr. Laarsen said.

“Sure will Mr. Laarsen,” Bill said, then the four men left, on their way out they thanked Mary for the snacks.

“So, what are you thinking?” Chuck asked Jason as they were pulling out of the home’s small parking lot.

“Tell you what, I need to check up on this Beardsley fellow. Why don’t I meet you in the pub after lunch, I will reveal what I know?” Jason said cryptically.

“Sounds good,” Chuck said, and the others nodded their heads in agreement.

Nothing further was said on the short return trip back to the marina. Once they arrived, Bill and Archie climbed into the convertible and drove away, Jason went to his boat and Chuck hung around with his grandson, Charlie, as they both fiddled around with lines on the docks.

Jason climbed onto his boat and immediately got to work on the internet, starting with government sites looking for Captain Beardsley’s military records, it didn’t take him long to hit pay-dirt. Unfortunately, Beardsley had been assigned to the U.S. 7th Armored Division and had been one of the men murdered during the Malmedy massacre on December 17th, 1944. Further research revealed that the soldier had only recently been assigned to the division. Beardsley had previously been a member of the Office of Strategic Services before being seconded to the British Specials Operations Executive. Jason dug a little deeper and discovered that both the organizations Beardsley had been assigned to operated behind enemy lines performing sabotage and covert operations. But Jason could find no reference to anything that could link Beardsley ever being in the vicinity of St. Louis. Jason backtracked and began making more structured notes on Beardsley’s postings to see if that would shine any light on the solution.

It wasn’t until Jason found an insignificant headline in the archives of a local Atlanta paper, Beardsley’s home town. It was just a snippet that mentioned the soldier had returned stateside to recuperate from an injury incurred during active service and that he couldn’t wait to return to England to continue the fight against the Germans. The article was dated April 2nd, 1944. Maybe security wasn’t what it should have been, after all, what spies would have been reading a local rag? But there it was, the place that Beardsley was going to be temporarily assigned to while he was back in the U.S.

“Bingo,” said Jason out loud.

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