Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Another Excerpt From "The Steamer Trunk"

“You grew up here in the Bahamas, didn’t you John?”

“Yes, my parents moved here from England before I was born.”

“Do you know why the pirates would have hidden so much liquor in the caves around here? Were they smuggling it?”

“Yes. The pirates made money by running the liquor to the heavily taxed colonies.”

“So, this rum running is nothing new in the Bahamas.”

“It’s been going on in one form or another since the 15th century but Prohibition in the U.S. has increased the demand like never before.”

Rob grinned mischievously. “You feeling like a little adventure?”

John laughed as he headed his boat back toward Nassau. “I thought you’d never ask.”

Under John’s skillful navigation, they caught up with the officer’s boat quickly. Dan and Bob grinned and waved. “We had a bet on how long it would take you to show up.” Dan yelled over the noise of the engine.

“You know us too well,” John hollered back.

Soon afterward Dan cut his engine and eased his boat into a concealed lagoon. John followed suit. “What’s up?” asked John.

“Look over there.”

The men watched through binoculars as Theo and his men pulled up to a schooner. They off loaded several cases of liquor from their boats. “Looks like they had other sources of contraband than just Mark,” John observed.

“Is this undiluted?” they heard the Captain ask.

“Sure is.”

The captain selected one of the bottles at random opened it and handed it to one of his crew. He tasted it and nodded.

“Wonder why he didn’t just taste it himself,” Bob said.

“That’s Bill McCoy,” said Rob. “He’s a teetotaler. He wouldn’t have accepted that liquor if it had been diluted and he only deals in quality brand names.”

After he’d been paid, Theo and his men pulled away from the schooner and proceeded toward America.

“Darn,” said Dan. “The Coast Guard can’t arrest them for having empty boats.”

“Maybe they held some back for themselves,” said Bob, hopefully.

“It sounded like Theo was concerned about the Coast Guard catching them. Wasn’t that why he had Sam and Timothy load some of it in Timothy’s boat?” Rob asked.

“Maybe it was just coincidence that they ran into the schooner and they decided to take advantage of it,” John guessed.

“Are you going to keep following them, Dan?”

Dan shrugged. “No point.”

They waited until the schooner was out of sight to go back to JJ’s Island.

A few days later JJ's Police Department received a report from the Coast Guard.

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