Detective Gerry Sharpe fired 13 shots, all center mass. She calmly and methodically pushed the clip release button on her Glock 21. The empty clip fell and she slammed in another. The next 13 rounds were all head shots perfectly centered as well. She removed her safety gasses and ear protectors, then wrangled her dark hair into the grip of a red hair band.
“Beat that,” she said. Her dark eyes sparkled.
“You know I can’t,” her partner Pete Jansen said.
“Not with that antique,” she said, referring to his Smith and Wesson snub nose 38 revolver.
“I’ll have you know this was the standard of the industry for decades. My dad never left home without his snubbie,” he fired back. “And it fits so nicely in my pocket.”
“Anyway,” he continued. “I did some reading up on this Great Loop thing. You know it takes at least a year,” he said as he took aim. “You have to follow the seasons around the eastern half of the country, including the Great Lakes. Don’t want to be in northern Michigan in November.” He fired six shots, re-armed with his speed loader, fired six more, then pushed the target return switch. The cardboard target with an outline of a person on it had only four holes in it, none of which would be considered a kill shot.
“Hey. I’m from northern Michigan. What’s wrong with northern Michigan?” Gerry shouted from down the hallway. “Jeez! This coffee machine sucks. I can’t pour a cup without making a freakin’ mess!”
“There is nothing wrong with northern Michigan Gerry, unless you’re travelling by boat. Boats don’t move so well through all the ice,” he said somewhat sarcastically. “All I’m saying is you have to get your boat through the Mackinaw straits and start heading south before it gets too cold. Then you have to get around Florida and start heading north before it gets too hot.”
She handed him a steaming mug and eyed his target.
“Nice grouping. I think you pissed him off.” She patted him on his massive back. “You’ve got to get a modern weapon. Here, take mine, I’ve got a few.” She flipped the well-oiled piece around so that the grips faced out.
“A few? Thought you’d have dozens,” he said, refusing the offer with a wave of his hand.
“Yeah but who’s counting.” She holstered the gun and took a sip of coffee. “I wish I could take a year off.”
“That’s my point, Gerry. A whole year together on a little boat. Could you do that with your husband?”
“Ex-husband. And no friggin’ way. We were at each others throat in a 2500 square foot house!” She pecked at her cell phone.
“Pardon my French, but the dude’s a prick, Gerry. No offence.”
“None taken. He’s a wicked prick. Anyway, boat’s not so little. Look.” She turned her screen around to face him. She had the specs of a Great Harbor GH 37, the same model used by Dave and June Caruso on The Great Loop.
“Three floors, full size appliances, washer, dryer, queen sized beds. More than what I got on land.”
“It outta be. Keep reading.”
Pete grabbed the phone and scrolled down. His eyes opened wide.
“Wha! Half a mill? Are you kiddin’ me?”
“I kid you not, and that’s for a fixer upper.”
“Well, if this boat is worth, say, something north of half a mill, and you count in the victim’s life insurance, which is also north of half a million, that would be a darn good motive for murder. Wouldn’t you say?”
“I would say. But that’s just me. It’s my job to say that, but with no body, no witnesses, and basically no evidence whatsoever, it’s gonna be a tough nut to crack. All you got is your damn gut instinct. Not really enough to go to the chief with. She’s already bitchin’ about all the time we’re spending on what’s supposed to be an accident. Are you sure about this?”
“People kill for less, Gerry, a lot less.”
June Caruso toiled away in the backyard of her modest Waretucket home. The small seacoast town on the south coast of Massachusetts boasts a summer residency of nearly fifty thousand people, yet after Labor Day, that number dwindles to a less than ten thousand.
She labored for hours. Trying to get her garden just right. Just the way she wanted. It was hard work, but well worth it. Her irises were beautiful, as were her stella d’oros. They shone bright yellow beneath the tall cypress which she loving grew from small saplings. She wiped the sweat from her face with a red and white kitchen towel and settled into a tall drink laced with dark Black Seal rum. Her favorite. She swirled it around in the glass, enjoying the clink of the ice, then tucked her legs under her and leaned back into the cream-colored Adirondack chair. She was pleased. Not so much with the lawn mowing part, a job her husband usually did regularly, depending on the weather of course, specifically, the rainfall. No rain, no lush, green lawn. Fortunately, there was not a lot of either going on this hot, humid summer. Still, the yard always looked so much better after a trim. “Time to drag out the old lawnmower,” she thought. Oh well. One must do what one must do. Life goes on. She was about to get up when her cell phone nearly vibrated off the glass-topped table.
“Yes. This is she.”
“Good morning Mrs. Caruso. This is detective Jansen down at the precinct. I wonder if I may have a word with you sometime today. In person, I mean. Are you busy?”
“Uh. alright. I guess so. What’s this about detective?”
“I just need to clear up a few details. It won’t take long. I promise.”
“Could you make it later on this afternoon? I have someone coming by to look at my boat.”
“Sure. How’s four o’clock work?”
“That’ll be fine Detective Jansen.”
“Good. We’ll see you then. Goodbye.” Pete hung up the phone and looked at his partner.
“What?” Gerry asked.
“She’s selling the boat.”
“So soon?” Gerry raised two well-trimmed eyebrows.
“I think it’s time to see the chief,” Pete said. “If I’m right, that boat is a crime scene, and it’s about to sail away!”