Ghost Marina on the Mississippi

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Chapter 28 – Cover-Up Revealed – Modern Day

“Jeremiah,” Chuck said, the other four men just looked at him. “Captain Jeremiah Cartwright of the U.S. coastguard. That’s who we can talk to, he’ll know what to do.”

“Can we trust him?” Bill asked the question everyone else wanted to ask.

“Let me put it to you this way, the man should have reached the rank of Admiral years ago, but the stubborn, undiplomatic son of a bitch could never play the game. The man is as honest as the day is long. Yes, we can trust him.” Chuck replied confidently.

“How do you know him, Chuck?” Jason asked.

“Been coming through here for years, started off as a young seaman apprentice and I’ve watched him come right through the ranks to Captain. He’s held various posts but is only really happy working the rivers. I’ll get in touch with him and set up a meeting. He is a busy man, so I don’t know when he will be able to fit us in.”

“Well, I don’t think there is any more we can do until that happens,” Jason said. “Maybe I should return home to Cleveland until the meeting is scheduled.”

“What? Don’t you like it here?” Bill said.

“Is it the company?” Archie asked.

“No, no,” Jason smiled as he replied, “you’ve all been great but if the meeting is not going to be for a while I thought I should go home for the weekend and see the girls.”

“It won’t be that long, if he’s in the area he could be here Monday,” Chuck said. “Anyway, we’ve had so much fun the last couple of days couldn’t bear to see you go yet. This is the most excitement we’ve had in years.” Bill added and the others all murmured their agreement.

“Perhaps we could go and visit the marina?” Archie asked.

“I think not,” Jason said positively. “For one, I wouldn’t want to risk going through that tight entrance again until all the concrete is safely cleared. That’s a job for a marine construction company. Secondly, now that we think we know what my grandfather was carrying, the area would have to be tested for contamination before anyone could set foot in there. In fact, I should be tested, I went diving to the boat where the damn stuff was stored.”

“You’re right!” Chuck said, with Jason believing he was thinking of his welfare until that is, he continued, “that will get Jeremiah down here in a hurry.”

“Let me go and call him right now,” Chuck said, then he got up and left the bar.

Dexter took the opportunity to leave the table to replenish the now empty glasses of beers and he returned a couple of minutes later with five more brews. For the next ten minutes or so, they swapped ideas and scenarios that would explain all the deaths of the people on the boats. Jason’s grandfather and his mate could easily be explained because of their closeness to the operation but why the deaths of the others?

“I can understand them wanting to shut up old man Grimshaw, but the people on the Streamer?” Bill said.

“Maybe they came in contact with my grandfather and his mate and they too needed to be silenced,” Jason suggested.

“What, all of them?” Bill asked.

“It seems a bit over the top, doesn’t it? But then there was the head buried in the wall, I can’t explain that one either.” Jason said.

“Maybe there are others buried in the wall,” Bill said.

“They could have been the other mystery men that Laarsen spoke of and this Beardsley fellow could have bumped them off too!” Archie said as though a sudden revelation had hit him.

“You know, that’s not a bad theory,” Dexter said, and Jason agreed.

“Which would mean Beardsley was the only person left alive that knew what had really happened in the marina, until now,” Jason said, to no one in particular.

Before any further assumptions could be made, Chuck returned looking all pleased with himself.

“I got hold of Jeremiah and gave him the gist of the story. He’s a desk-jockey now in St. Louis, he said he could drive down for lunch on Tuesday and we will meet with him at 1:00. Meanwhile, he will contact the Environmental Protection Agency to have someone get in touch with me to get you checked out as soon as possible.” Chuck nodded his head towards Jason, “Jeremiah will also arrange for an EPA toxicological team to be on standby so that they can move in as soon as they can get access to the marina.” Chuck managed to blurt out in his excitement, before adding, “how about that then? Impressed or what?”

“That is impressive, Chuck,” Jason said, “let’s just hope our suspicions are correct, otherwise we are going to have egg on our faces.”

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