The Writers Voice
The World's Favourite Literary Website

The Women on Whitehead Street


Bob Chassanoff

Chapter 4

After breakfast Jason told them they were all going back to Key West. "I just got here," Sarah said in her long Alabama

"Jase, we haven't even buried Penelope yet," Addie said adamantly.

Jason started to tell her to forget about the horse, then decided to hold his tongue. It had been thirty-six hours and the
carcass would be ripe and bloated in this climate.

"Addie darling," Harry said. "We have to get back to Key West, and there's nothing to be done for Penelope. Here, bring your
guitar. Will you sing for me, lassie? You know what a sweet voice you have and how you can soothe the heart of a savage
beast," and Harry glanced very obviously at Jason. Jason smiled, seeing Harry was still an old German fox.

"We have enough of those around here," Sarah said sourly.

Addie was embarrassed. Her chin went down and bumped against where her collar bones met. Her long hair fell around her head.
Then she looked up with tearful eyes. "All right, let's get going. There's nothing to be done for poor Penelope." They set
Ulysses free. Harry said the house's cistern would provide enough sweet water for the horse until he could arrange
transportation for the stallion to Key West.

Harry and Jason walked behind Addie and Sarah along the trail to the anchorage. Jason thought they were an interesting
contrast. The women were both wearing white sailor's ducks and roomy, white cotton pullovers. Addie was tall and slender
with lots of curly dark hair; Sarah was shorter with straight blond hair and a fuller figure.

"How did they get to be friends when you got here? You were a carpetbagger weren't you?" Jason spoke plainly when he talked
to Harry.

"Yes and no. I bought Big Pine Key for next to nothing but all the locals knew I was a fool-that the island was worthless-so
there was not much resentment against us. Except for one of the girls in Addie's school class that year, she was a real
fireater from Richmond, punched Addie in the nose, and called her a 'dirty Yankee bitch'. Do you want to know how Addie
reacted?" Harry was full of pride.

"What did she do?"

"Addie went and lay down in the middle of Duval Street and stopped traffic. She said she wouldn't get up until the people of
Key West accepted her as one of their own, or they could just run her over. Well, they accepted her and now she's their
little darling," he said with pride. "Sarah was the first."

"Sarah's family is in Mobile. How come she has spent so much time in Key West over the last decade?"

"Her mother passed away and her father remarried. Apparently Sarah feels more comfortable living with Salina Samuels, her
mother's sister," Harry explained.

When they were aboard the Pegasus Harry hoisted the mainsail and Addie worked the tiller. They moved out of the cove and
Harry set the jib.

Addie strummed her guitar and pointed at Jason. "You start us off, Jase. We're just a bunch of salty island warts compared
to you," Addie challenged.

"All the world is sad and weary everywhere I roam," Jason sang. Addie knew the chords and they went through Suwannee River.
Next came She Wore a Yellow Ribbon. "She wore it for her lover who was in the cavalry." Addie smiled at Jason as she sang
out in a high sweet voice.

They made a good quartet. The girls were sopranos, Jason played a passable tenor, and Harry filled the baritone slot.

Later Jason asked, "Who settled Key West?"

Sarah, the teacher, had all the answers. "John Simonton bought the island from a Spaniard in 1822, just after Spain ceded
Florida to the United States. But the navy came here first, before many settlers."

"Do you know who came here?" Jason asked.

Sarah gave him a quizzical glance. "I just said the United States Navy, silly."

"Sarah, I think Jase wants to know what officers were in charge of the force the navy sent here," Addie explained gently.

Jason smiled at Sarah, so she would know he wasn't insulted. Actually, Jason liked delightfully obtuse belles like Sarah
because they were easily predictable.

"Oh, of course. Matthew Perry surveyed Key West in 1822 and David Porter chose the island as a base during 1824. There were
pirates raiding the commerce in the Caribbean back then."

"There still are a few," Jason commented.

"No. There is just one and I don't think he has long to go," Sarah said, giving Jason the old up and down, and then she
nodded at Addie. "The government recognized Simonton's ownership in 1828 and he began to subdivide Key West for settlement."

"What about Indians?" Jason asked.

"The Seminoles were tenacious. During December of 1836 an army major named Dade led an expedition of over a hundred infantry from Tampa northeast to reinforce Fort King and was ambushed by Seminoles led by Osceola," Sarah said. "It was a massacre. After that the Seminoles were attacking whites all along the east coast of Florida as far north as Saint Augustine. The army campaigned south from Georgia and from Tampa, but the going was hard."

"Those West Pointers learned to fight by reading about Alexander in Persia and Caesar in Gaul," Harry stated. "Osceola and
his Seminoles in the Everglades were a different matter; no easy nut to crack for any regular army."

Jason nodded, thinking Florida, what a worthless piece of real estate to fight and bleed over.

Sarah went on, "It was quiet, but uneasy, for a couple years; but then in August 1840, the Seminoles struck at Indian
Key-burned out Captain Housman's compound-and murdered Dr. Henry Perrine and five others."

"Jacob Housman brought on the massacre himself," Addie said. "The year before he offered to kill or capture every Indian in
Florida for $200 a head. They hated him."

"And certainly a mistake for the Indians. Dr. Perrine was a prominent individual with friends in high places. The army
hunted them all down after the Indian Key Massacre," Sarah finished.

Pegasus reached Key West just after dark. Addie and Sarah handled the piloting, while Harry kept silent and Jason followed
his lead. The men spent the night in a rooming house near the Samuels' residence where Sarah and Addie slept.

The next morning Harry and Jason went to a general store. Jason walked right to a glass-topped counter and looked down on a mediocre selection of pistols. A gun rack of rifles and shotguns hung on the wall behind.

"Good morning, sir. How can I help you?" The clerk was a slight man with bright blue eyes, which darted about trying to
watch Harry, Jason, and several others who were looking over his merchandise. Jason decided he was the proprietor.

"Let me see that Henry rifle," Jason said. "Harry, do you like the shotgun, the long, double-barreled twelve gauge?" The
clerk handed over the arms and they examined them. Harry nodded his approval, and Jason said, "I want this repeater and the shotgun." That just about cleaned his rack. "Let's see your handguns."

Jason bought two Colt single-action revolvers: one with a six-and-a-half-inch barrel for outside and one with a five-inch
barrel for inside work. He paid in bank script and had the arms and a crate of varied ammunition delivered to Tift's Wharf
for the Pegasus.

Then they split up. Harry went to buy provisions, and Jason decided to talk to Wyatt Scott.

Jason walked along Duval Street and after he passed the office of the Key West Register, Rob Stevens came out the doorway
and started after him. Jason quickened his pace to give Stevens a little sport.

"Mr. Pike," he called and Jason stopped in front of Maria's Cafe. It was late enough in the day for lunch, so Jason went
inside and Stevens followed.

"Your usual table?" Jason asked when Stevens caught up, breathing hard, just inside Maria's front door.

They got seated and ordered steak sandwiches and a carafe of wine. "Are you going to level with me this time?" Stevens

twirling his chin hairs nervously."

"You're going to scoop the navy. I'm on my way to see Commander Scott right now." Jason produced a thin cigar and lit it.
Stevens sat back, away from the smoke.

"Get your note pad out. Jack Carney is one nasty bastard and I'm going to tell you all about it. He tried to kill Addie!"
Jason said too loud just as Maria was bringing them a bottle of red wine.

"What, who try to kill Addie?" Maria put the tray down and glared at Jason.

"Addie is okay, Maria. Everyone is fine," he said slowly.

And Stevens confirmed Jason's message in comforting, simple Spanish so Maria went back to the kitchen.

"That's the beginning of another gossip trail right to the Cuban community," Stevens said, impatient, obviously anxious for
Jason to deliver the story.

Jason told him how Carney raided Big Pine and stole everything of value. He even told Stevens how he came to kill Luc
Chevarant, and then took a piece of paper from his pocket. "They left this pinned to his collar." Jason handed the reporter
the paper with the dead pirate's name printed on it. "I would guess they want to see his obituary in your publication."

Stevens nodded, examining the small piece of paper. "Chevarant was a career soldier. He held a high position in Louis
Napoleon's regime, and lost all in 1870, when the Germans won the war with France."

Jason nodded. "That makes sense."

"Not much remorse, Jason?" Stevens asked.

Jason poured them both some wine and sipped from his glass. The beverage was fresh and hearty, but unsophisticated-still
sharp. Jason decided it was a vintage appropriate for a warrior. "I wish I'd got Carney instead."

Stevens worked at his note pad, writing furiously. "But don't you make me sound like a bloodthirsty vigilante," Jason
specified. "Carney came to Big Pine for Addie. I didn't go chasing him all over the high seas. That's the navy's job. Isn't

Maria brought fried, breaded steak with slices of raw onion on Cuban bread. Jason left his cigar on deposit in the ashtray.
Stevens stopped writing to eat half his sandwich. "Are you

suggesting I should criticize the navy?"

"Yes, I suppose I am. Are they a sacred cow?" Maria's Cuban steak sandwiches were tasty, but chewy and greasy.

"To some extent they are. But we'd be very happy, if they would add a steam frigate to the squadron based here. A frigate's
several-hundred-plus crew would help the local economy and probably solve your problem."

"So, make the piece about the Big Pine attack sound like a plea for help," Jason suggested. "All Key West needs more naval
presence." Jason noticed the smoke from his cigar was bothering Stevens and tamped it out.

"Thank you. But, what about treasure?" Stevens asked too casually. He had no ability at guile or deceit.

"What treasure?" Jason asked, working on the sandwich, knowing he would need more napkins.

"Interviewing you, I imagine, could be compared to giving a

hammerhead shark a dental exam," Stevens commented.

"I like that," Jason said, smiling. "It's too early in the game to talk about treasure. Just write that Carney's motive was

revenge." Jason kept eating and glanced at Maria indicating a need for another napkin. "There is something else. Harry
Gorten and I are going back to Big Pine to continue our study of the island's development potential. We are leaving in a day
or two," Jason told him.

Stevens wanted to twirl his chin whiskers; he kept reaching for them but his fingers were too greasy. "I assume you want me
to print that?"

"Yes," Jason said, wondering why Stevens was being so cooperative.

After the sandwiches Maria brought egg custard in a caramel sauce. "I'm going to need some exercise, if I keep eating like
this," Jason said.

"Somehow I get the impression that obesity is not your problem anymore than it is mine," Stevens responded.

Jason lit the cigar that had been waiting for him in the ashtray and sat back. "So, when are you going to do some

"Oh, I don't know. When are you going to tell me everything?"

"Probably when I want everyone to know everything," Jason said, a little annoyed.

"You want to use me as a conduit to set a trap for Carney up at Big Pine, but you won't level with me."

"I'm on the level. I just won't tell you what I don't want all of Key West to know, at least not yet," Jason added to keep
him on the hook. "Besides, Stevens, you run a newspaper. Being a conduit for information is how you make a living.

Jason grabbed the check and paid Maria. It was the least he could do. Stevens thanked Jason and went back to his office not
overjoyed, Jason knew, but certainly with enough truth to write an exciting story. Jason walked off to talk to the navy.

Wyatt Scott was in his office. Jason was surprised to see he wasn't wearing his jacket, but his white shirt was perfect. And
Scott didn't sweat either, which seemed impossible in this climate. Jason wondered if Scott would cast an image in a mirror.

"Sit down, Mr. Pike," Scott invited. "I found out you're the one that burned General Lee's supply depot at Ashland,
Virginia, in March of 1865. When the locals get wind of your past, there will be hell to pay. You have no chance of becoming
a popular individual on Key West."

"Popularity! I'm not here to run for mayor. Scott, I got ordered to burn Ashland by the same government that bought you your
big, fancy desk."

Scott sneered at Jason. "Amusing point, but not relevant to the conversation," Scott countered and Jason knew he was right.
Jason decided he was doing a less-than-great job of making friends.

"All right. Let's get relevant. I told you at our last meeting about setting a trap for Carney. He's looking for the
location of a treasure salvage site Harry Gorten knows about. Carney tried for us once and I believe he will again. Harry
and I are going back to Big Pine. You stake out that part of the Keys with your ships and you'll have a good chance at
confronting the Raven.

"I can't leave one of my sloops in a stationary location. We've got trade routes to patrol. You're lucky Lieutenant Jeffers
was handy when Addie Gorten arrived here. That's the only reason he rescued you so quickly." Scott stood up as if to pace,
then realized his office was too small.

"Mr. Pike, why did you stay up there alone? Did you really hope to get a chance to kill Jack Carney and still get away?" He
looked at Jason as if he'd just jumped off a cliff and survived only by the most major of miracles.

Jason ignored Scott's question, and asked his own. "I killed one of his officers, a Frenchman called Chevarant. Ever heard
of him?"

"You murdered a pirate!" Scott sat down, and left his mouth open. "An officer?"

"Don't be so concerned. He wasn't a gentleman, at least not when I shot him. If you won't turn loose one of your precious
ships, then lend me a squad of marines. You can station them at Big Pine Key for a week or two, can't you?"

"No. I only have one squad for each ship. I suggest if you and Harry Gorten can't take care of yourselves up at Big Pine,
then don't go back. This is a frontier of its own kind, you know." And, Jason knew, Scott's naval station was as
under-staffed as most army posts on the western half of the continent.

Scott shuffled some papers to let Jason know the interview was over, and Jason walked back to Duval Street, wondering why
Commander Scott was so intent on not doing the job he was sent here to do.

Wade Estes crossed the street to join Jason. "Hello. I heard you had some trouble up at Big Pine," Wade said.

"Not much. That bastard Carney came for us. I killed two of `em and the rest went swimming back to sea." Jason smiled
confidently at Wade.

"Uh!" Wade was perplexed, not sure, Jason knew, if he was making a joke.

Jason stopped, faced Wade, and grew serious. "Do you know anything about how these pirates are targeting Harry Gorten and
me? They came close to killing Adrian with a volley of rifle fire; they shot a horse out from under her. I don't mind a good
fight, but what kind of miscreant shoots at a woman, especially one as lovely as Addie?"

"Well, word is Harry Gorten knows where Spanish treasure is and doesn't want to share it with anyone else."

"Share! What the hell are you talking about? You mean pay them off?" Jason asked.

"Well, it would be the easiest solution. The treasure is supposed to be quite substantial isn't it?" Wade worked his cigar
around his mouth.

"Not my style, counselor. I'm surprised at you, Wade. You were brave enough on the Bluebird. Why the sudden change

to an appeasing point of view?"

"We had a plausible plan and surprise on the Bluebird when we confronted Carney. Now all you have is bad odds."

"I'm a man of means, Wade. Carney can't bluff me. I can meet any raise they make."

"If you escalate, so will Carney," he said somewhat sadly. And unfortunately, they had Harry's heavy gold and emerald cross
and 120 pounds of silver to do it with.

"So be it," Jason said stubbornly.

Wade nodded. "That's an unfortunate choice, but have it your own way," he said and walked off.

Jason went over to the anchorage on the gulf side where Harry was waiting, sitting on a crate next to livestock pens, and
making up a limerick.

"There once was a hermit named Dave.

He kept a dead whore in his cave.

When asked about the smell,

I'll never tell.

But think of the money I save."

Jason smiled, knowing the Gortens were a talented and artistic clan.

"There she is," Harry said when he noticed Jason. "Big, old, and in need of plenty of work. John Lowe's wife named her the
Sweet Pea. We'll rename her, but she's the only idle ship in Key West large enough for our purpose."

Jason stared at the brig. She was listing to port and did not look at all seaworthy. The Sweet Pea's rigging was hanging

haphazardly and she needed to be scraped and painted.

Jason looked at Harry curiously, wondering at the level of his gullibility. "I bet a good salesman could sell you Niagara
Falls and tell you just how to move it down here to irrigate your

citrus plantation," Jason said.

Harry laughed. "C'mon, let's go out and take a look." There was a small rowboat on the beach; and Harry pushed her off, got
in, and shipped the oars. Jason joined him and sat in the stern as Harry rowed out to the brig.

This anchorage was a circular shaped inlet off the lee side of Key West. The locals kept their boats here, and any larger
shipping, that was going to stay in Key West for longer than it took to unload and load cargo, also usually moored here.

When the little rowboat bumped into the brig, Jason grabbed the bow line and climbed up the outboard rigging, over the
gunnel, onto the deck, and tied off the line.

"What's that odor?" Jason asked when Harry joined him.

"Probably a dead rat," Harry said nonchalantly.

"Oh, you're right. I do recognize that smell, now that you

mention the source."

"Jase," Harry cleared his throat theatrically, so Jason would listen attentively. "Give this ship a chance. She is certainly
unkept and neglected, but the Sweet Pea is sound and will be seaworthy when cleaned up and rigged with sail."

Jason nodded. "Show me. How much water is in the hold?"

The hold was dry and the hull timbers showed no sign of rot. In fact, Jason was surprised to see rusty, iron cross members
horizontal along the waterline and slanting at forty-five degree angles back and forth, bolted to and reinforcing the hull
timbers. This was composite construction, a combination of the first uses of iron in bolstering wooden sailing ships. Jason
knew this ship had come from England and had been built in the 1840s. She was solid, and of a proven design.

The ship was listing because the ballast, consisting of chunks of coral rock, had shifted to one side. The Sweet Pea was a
hundred and twenty feet in length with a beam of twenty-eight feet. The forward hold was easily large enough for the steam
engine. Harry and Jason examined the forecastle and the crew's narrow quarters below. Aft, there was another hold and below
the quarterdeck were a series of cabins. Jason stepped down the companionway to a small room with a table attached to the
deck in the center of the cabin. "This is the chartroom," Harry announced. There were three doorways off the chartroom, one
on each side and another to the rear. "These two are tiny cabins with bunk beds," he indicated the two hatches to port and
starboard. "Aft is the captain's quarters."

Jason entered a wide, but narrow, room with a bank of windows looking out astern of the ship. There were storage lockers, a
desk, and shelves on the walls.

"All right, I apologize. She does seem fit. But there is one more thing to check," Jason said, walking back up on deck and
peeling off his shirt and pants. He went for a swim and dove under the brig with his penknife. The hull was unyielding even
to a thin, sharp blade and Jason tried a dozen different places.

"Well, lets go talk to John Lowe," Jason said, unhappy he had not thought to bring a towel.

Lowe owned a large, pleasant house on Southard Street and met them outside in the garden. He was a handsome, tall man and an
excellent sailor. Lowe also proved to be a businessman eager to sell or lease the Sweet Pea, and their short negotiations
were amiable.

"Sweet Pea is a sister ship to the Vicar of Bray and

built at Whitehaven, England, in 1841. Their plans are on record

at Plymouth and with Lloyds in London. Should be easy for you to

order any custom-made additions from the British shipyards," Lowe

answered Jason's primary question. Jason wanted to replace rusted bracing and have armor plates cast to mount along the
waterline. He wanted the Sweet Pea's sides strong enough to bounce a six or nine-pound projectile back into the ocean.

Jason gave Lowe a deposit to hold the brig until the salvage gear arrived. And Lowe agreed to arrange for a ship's carpenter
and a sailmaker.

After they were done with Lowe, Harry asked, "How did you make out with Scott?" as they walked along Southard Street toward

"I got a negative response from the navy."

"I told you about Wyatt Scott. He wants to be an admiral and the best way to get promoted is not to take chances."

"Harry, isn't there any local political or commercial pressure on Scott and the navy to stop Carney?"

"Carney's clever. He doesn't pick on the locals. He likes foreign ships passing through, and newcomers."

"You mean carpetbaggers like John Rhinehart?"

"And us," Harry said, his head nodding as if he was certain. "Did you know Carney was a blockade-runner during the war. He
brought a lot of commerce in and out of Key West despite the federal occupation."

That explained why the locals tolerated him, Jason realized. "Scott wouldn't even consider giving us a squad of marines. He
says he needs them all on his sloops."

"That's not true. There's a platoon billeted at the east

Martello with nothing to do. Those boys sit around throwing coconuts in the ocean and shooting at them."

"Who's the officer in charge?" Jason asked.

"The fort is commanded by an army officer. But the marines are under their own lieutenant, Crawford Wales. He's one of
Addie's old boyfriends. And he answers to Commander Scott."

"Well, lets go have a talk with him. If the marines are willing to participate on their own, Wyatt Scott, who is ever so
cautious, might figure he'd be off the hook if there was some kind of debacle."

Harry knew where to borrow a wagon and a team and they traveled south along Duval, until Jason saw Addie. She was carrying a
pad and her case of ink pens for sketching. Cump barked when he saw Harry and Jason approaching and jumped up onto the

Addie was going to the beach but Jason asked, "Wanna come along with us?"

"Sure," she said.

They stopped at the Samuels house, where Salina made the group lunch in a basket. Harry followed Duval Street to the end.
Then they took the trail that led east between the sea and the railroad. The railroad connected Fort Zachery Taylor and the
supporting Martello towers. The red brick towers protected the southern coast of Key West fronting the straits, and the
landward approach to Fort Taylor.

They drove past the West Martello and followed the railroad to the twin brick fort farther along the shoreline. The
Martellos were triangular-shaped forts with a tower in the center of each compound. The thick masonry design of the tower
was impregnable to smooth-bore cannon. But with the coming of large-bore, rifled guns; masonry could be breached by a
dedicated naval bombardment. In short, the Martellos were obsolete before they were finished.

Addie, Harry, and Jason walked into the heavy structure and Jason, hot and sweaty, immediately appreciated the cool air and
the dark. A private showed them to a small office where a tall, thin man was sitting at a little desk illuminated by a
kerosene lamp, and reading. He looked up when he saw Addie in the doorway and stood with a wide, toothy smile growing across
his mouth.

"Hello, Addie," he said happily.

"Hi, Crawford." She gave him a quick embrace and pecked his cheek. "Let's go outside. I hate these tiny, cold stone rooms."

Addie waited to introduce Jason until they got back in the sunshine. "Crawford, this is Jason Pike, Pappy's regimental CO
during the war." She took Jason's arm, so Crawford would know how it was between them.

"Jase, this is Crawford Wales, Lieutenant, United States Marine Corps." And they shook hands.

"A pleasure to meet you, sir. Addie has spoken of you quite

often," he said.

"Probably too often," Jason said, and they laughed.

"I apologize for being out of uniform." Crawford was dressed in light, baggy cottons like the rest of them.

At each embrasure of the fort there was a well-kept Columbiad gun. Jason glanced up at the citadel that rose massively from
the fort's courtyard and could see the muzzle of a heavy cannon, probably a Parrot Rifle, pointing out toward the
unpredictable seas. Above the gun the Stars and Stripes flapped about freely and proudly in the brisk wind coming off the
straits. "Everything seems in order to me, Lieutenant Wales," Jason complimented.

Crawford Wales was a boyishly handsome man in his late twenties with a bushy head of black hair that had turned prematurely
gray. He also wore a heavy mustache that engulfed his upper lip, a real soup strainer. His lean face was tanned, but not
wrinkled and weathered like the locals. Addie had told Jason that Crawford Wales was from Duluth, Minnesota.

Addie invited Crawford to join them for lunch; and they had a picnic under a palm tree, just off the beach. The group shared
anchovy and tomato sandwiches and then fresh fruit for dessert, needed to kill the pungent taste of the fish.

Then Addie went to feed, and sketch seagulls and pelicans. She knew why Jason and Harry came to talk to Crawford Wales. So
Jason, a man who accepted that patience was not a strong point of his character, asked Crawford directly to suggest to
Commander Scott that his marines might be of more service to their country, if they came along to Big Pine Key to shoot
criminals instead of coconuts.

"Commander Scott is my direct superior. He's already said `no' to you. I would only irritate him by bringing up the matter

So Wales was no fool. They discussed the situation and finally he voiced a basic question. "Why do you want to go back
there? What does occupying Big Pine have to do with your salvage plans?"

Harry scratched his head. "Crawford has a point. We don't have to protect my orange trees."

"Why don't you just stay on Key West?" Wales asked.

"It's a question of `will'. I'm pitting myself against Carney. And there are other considerations that concern you,
Lieutenant. Big Pine is Harry Gorten's private property within territorial limits claimed by the United States."

"Mr. Pike, you sound like a patriot or, worse, a politician. You people are dangerous. You can argue, even lie, with a lot
of sincerity," Wales said with an easy smile.

Jason could have taken that as an insult, but he knew Crawford was right. "You have a point. I appreciate your candor and
your position. I'll work this out another way."

"I have no doubt of that."

Jason thought about his openness and said, "Wyatt Scott is afraid to do anything. I met Jeffers; he is anxious, but
inexperienced. What about the other two navy lieutenants, Allison and Case?" Jason was flattering Wales by asking his
opinions. He was also trying to draw him out to learn if he would fight, if Jason could ever get Wyatt Scott's cooperation.

"Sanford Allison is young, untried. Scott keeps him in the

Atlantic between here and Jacksonville. It's a peaceful route. Andrew Jackson Case is a veteran; he's no stranger to
gunfire. He'd be your pick if you can get Scott to agree to one of your pirate-catching schemes," Wales finished.

"Doesn't seem much chance of that," Harry added his two cents.

"We'll see. When can I meet Case?" Jason asked.

"His sloop, the Shenandoah, is due here in about a week,"

Wales answered.

"Good. So you think Andrew Jackson Case might be willing and ready to fight?" Jason probed.

Crawford looked into Jason's eyes with his own penetrating glance. "I'm perfectly willing to fight pirates. But I won't
fight with Scott. Andrew Case is no fool either. He won't go up against Scott. It would be suicidal as far as our careers
go. You'll have to take up the matter with Commander Scott, or you go over his head. He can't hurt you the same way he can
either of us."

"Jase, come and pose for me," Addie called, and beckoned with a slender arm. She was providing an easy withdrawal to a
sticky situation Jason had created.

"You're right; I'm sorry. Excuse me, gentlemen."

He walked over and sat down next to Addie. "I'd like to drag you out into the surf and ravish you," she said mischievously.

"But there are too many witnesses," he finished for her.

"I know," she pouted. "Not having much luck with the marines are you?"

"Nope." Jason shook his head.

"Crawford still likes me. I might be able to bring him around, tease him a bit," Addie suggested. She was smiling wide and
her eyes playful.

"Who are you trying to tease, Addie?"

Her lovely eyes went wide and then she looked down at the sand and moved some around with a long, exquisitely shaped index

finger. "I was just joking. I guess you called my bluff," she


Jason used his own, rather gnarled, index finger to lift Addie's head up, and to look her in the eyes. "I know. I wouldn't
let you do something like that." Maybe she still had feelings for young Crawford Wales, he worried.

Jason was concerned for their relationship because Addie's love might be an infatuation that would fade with time, the time
they were spending together right now. The ten years they had spent apart allowed Addie to take his memory and expand the
parts of his character she liked, while forgetting the more unpalatable facets of Jason's nature. Now that her father wasn't
a soldier and they weren't fighting the war anymore Jason couldn't hide under the umbrella of patriarchal and patriotically
approved violence. The bloodletting that might come in the next few months could turn her against him. Addie followed
Audubon when she did nature stills. Her bird sketches were tranquil and accurate; and Jason knew all bird lovers were
intrinsically pacifists.

"They all look alike," he said about the seagull Addie was drawing.

"That's what they think about us," Addie responded. "So, what are you going to do, Jase?"

Jason reached over and kissed her. "I'm going to plot a new course for the same port."

That afternoon they went back to town and Jason bought Addie a new dress and matching shoes. She wouldn't wear the shoes;
they hurt her feet.

Then they went to the port master's office, and Jason posted letters for the next outgoing ships headed up the Atlantic
coast and across to Great Britain. They would need some help to raise this treasure and Jason knew a few talented
individuals who might like to spend a pleasant summer season yachting in the Caribbean.

During the afternoon, while Harry and Jason were discussing salvage strategy and relaxing, drinking lemonade on the porch of
the Samuels' home, John Asbury, Captain Rhinehart's first mate, stopped by and invited them out for a walk. So they took
Cump and walked over to the beach.

"It's all over Key West about you being Harry's friend, and everybody is speculating what you're going to do," he told
Jason. Rob Stevens' story about Carney's visit to Big Pine in the Key West Register was mostly responsible for Jason's

"I don't care," Jason said. He picked up a coconut and threw it in the water, so Cump could go for a swim.

"You should. All the rumors are going to get back to Carney. He's got ears all over Key West. Some people are not so happy
we embarrassed Carney or that you killed Luc Chevarant. And now that you're here with your money, people that laughed at the
idea of Harry finding a treasure . . . " Asbury turned, and said to Harry, "Are not so sure that you're crazy."

"I guess I was better off when the locals thought I was just a fool. Who's talking about us?" Harry asked.

"Most of the crowd at the Lucky Spot," Asbury said.

"The bar on Front Street?" Jason asked.


"Let's go there. I'll buy the beer," Jason offered. "If we are going to have any trouble with the locals on Key West, I
would like to know it right now."

"We'll attract a lot of attention," Asbury said.

"We'll probably get in trouble," Jason voiced. "But, hell! When I was a kid, gettin in trouble was the only real fun I ever

They walked along Whitehead toward Front Street, neither of Jason's companions thinking to remind him he wasn't a kid
anymore. Cump came along wagging his tail happily, as if they actually were children going for a walk and kicking a can.

`The Lucky Spot Eatery & Drinking Establishment', the sign said, was a seaman's bar. There were large open windows for
ventilation; no glass to get thrown through if a fight broke out, Jason observed with some relief. The room was rectangular
with a raw wood bar along the left wall, tables along the right wall all the way to the rear, where the swinging doors led
to the kitchen. Behind the bar on the wall was a Confederate battle flag, a saber, and a crude painting of Bobby Lee on his
gray horse. On the other walls hung examples of Key West's first industry: ship wrecking. There were parts of ships and wood
carvings, pieces of sails, and-in the corner mounted on a shelf-a figurehead: she had long hair, strong features, and proud
jutting breasts.

 From the kitchen, in the rear, Jason could smell fish cooking and bread
baking. "Can we get any oysters here?" he asked.

"Of course," Asbury said. He gave Jason a strange look, because Jason wasn't supposed to like oysters, usually the fare of
common folk, and Asbury knew Jason was wealthy.

"You can also get in a fight and have a knife stuck in your back," Harry added, looking around carefully.

Jason smiled. "If I start any trouble, keep an eye on my back."

They got settled at a front table and ordered rum and a platter of raw oysters with a hot sauce consisting of crushed

Jalapenos, vinegar, and lemon juice. The small, dark-skinned

waiter also brought a loaf of, what the locals called, Bahama

bread still hot from the oven.

Jason noticed the men at the other tables were watching them. They were all curious about Harry and Jason. John Asbury's
eyes glanced anxiously around the room. Jason knew they were getting too much attention, just by watching how nervous Asbury
was. "John," he said quietly, "stop looking about and eat an oyster."

A big man with puffy, bulbous features and sparse blond hair came out from the kitchen and had some words with the bartender
who nodded toward Jason, Harry, and Asbury.

"That's Samson Pool. He owns this place," Asbury said.

"Will he buy us a pitcher of beer?" Jason asked.

Harry laughed. "He hates Yankees and carpetbaggers."

Jason shrugged. "Then I'll buy him a beer." He poked a hole in a new cigar with a wood match and said, "You there!
proprietor, will you join us for a beer? I'll buy."

Asbury lowered his head and rubbed the bridge of his nose, as if he wore uncomfortable spectacles. "Mr. Pike, what are you
trying to do?"

"Find out where the locals stand," Jason whispered.

Samson Pool looked at Jason incredulously, as Jason reached behind to another table and grabbed the back of an empty chair.
He pulled the chair over and flipped it around to their table in one smooth motion. The big Key Wester nodded and walked
around the bar.

"Bring us a pitcher, Holly," Pool said over his shoulder to the bartender.

Pool tapped Asbury on the shoulder and he moved over to take the new chair Jason had pulled up next to himself. Pool sat
down opposite Jason, and the bartender brought a pitcher, glasses, and placed a spittoon on the floor against the wall, at
least three feet from the table. Samson Pool had a big wad in his cheek.

"I'm Jason Pike. Glad to meet you, Mr. Pool," Jason said and waited to see if Pool would offer his hand but Pool, instead,
used the spittoon. It was to far away to dribble into; he spit a projectile of tobacco juice right into the spittoon, which
rocked back and forth with the impact. And Pool sipped his beer.

"I know who you are," he said to Jason and nodded at Asbury and Harry. "What do you want, Pike? I don't do much trade with
rich Yankees." Pool didn't smile.

"You could make an attempt to be friendly. I like these oysters," Jason complimented, and ate one.

"Samson," Asbury said, "Mr. Pike wanted to meet you. That's why I brought him here."

"You must have been informed how I feel about carpetbaggers, and you killed John Saunders and Luc Chevarant," Pool said to
Jason. "I liked the Frenchman, despite his aristocratic bearing. His great-grandfather was at Yorktown with Lafayette. Did
you know that, Pike?"

"Uh, I was in a gunfight when I met him. I didn't have time to ask." Jason's great-grandfather was also at Yorktown as an
engineer on Lord Cornwallis' staff. But Jason chose not to mention it.

"What do you want to tell me, Pike?" Pool asked sourly.

"Harry and I are doing a salvage operation for a lost Spanish galleon; and our business seems to be common knowledge. I was
just wondering if we were going to have any trouble with you or any of your friends?" Jason asked, smiling, good-naturedly.

Pool spit, and then locked eyes together with Jason as he leaned forward. "I can't imagine what you're talking about," Pool
said, calm and nasty. He sat back, rolled his head around, and wetted his puffy lips with his tongue. "Wrecking is an open
industry. Any person or group that finds or recovers anything from the bottom of the ocean can keep it; providing, of
course, they can hold onto it," he added with a sneer.

"Samson," Harry said, "I've tried to be a good neighbor since I came here, and most of the folks in Key West like me and
they adore Adrian. Is there something I have done wrong?"

"Yeah! You moved here. Nobody asked you Yankees to come down here. And you think you can pull a fortune out of our waters
and waltz off. You think we'll let you steal that much wealth from us?"

Jason had to take over because he saw Harry was turning red. In a second he would be at Pool's throat. "The treasure is
Spanish, stolen from Indians all over Central America over two hundred years ago. How can you, even remotely, consider it
yours?" Jason asked.

"We've been salvaging wrecks off the Florida Keys since the 1820s."

"And I thought you were just a saloon keeper," Jason said.

Pool ignored the comment. "Harry, your plantation is a complete failure and Addie is supposed to get married--if the Key
West gossips are as accurate as usual--to this rich Yankee industrialist. So why don't you just flag this salvage site for
us and go back up north where y'all belong."

"I don't like the cold weather or anybody telling me what to do," Harry said, his hands turning to tight meaty fists resting
tautly on the table's surface.

John Asbury looked all around and then down at the buttons on his shirt. Jason decided if his chair had been oiled, Asbury
would have simply slid down out of sight under the table and burrowed through the floor.

"Samson," Jason said. "Harry and I soldiered together. When I was his captain, he didn't like me telling him what to do

"Only when you were wrong, Jase," Harry said lightening the mood. Jason smiled and broke ash from his cigar in the small
metal tray.

Pool tapped his fingers on the table and sipped his beer. "Will you consider taking in a partner? Charley Dardy has two
ships and could be a great deal of help to you. He knows salvage and he will be crucial in ferrying supplies from Key West
to Hawk's Channel."

Harry shook his head. "Dardy probably murdered Jacob Ivy. We won't deal with that black-hearted bastard." And Jason had to
go along with Harry's call.

Pool's expression grew grim as he leaned over sideways to use the spittoon-another direct shot to the target-and then he
looked up at Jason questioningly.

Jason glanced at Harry who nodded. "We don't need any partners," Jason said.

"But you need enemies? Try and do this treasure salvage by yourselves and you'll have more adversaries than you can handle.
You two will be overwhelmed with opposition," Pool threatened. "Make no mistake about us, Pike. We're organized with good
leadership. Carney will come at you. If you consider how many old friends he has in the Caribbean, he will not be coming

Well, Jason shook his head, so much for breaking bread together and beating swords into plows. He glanced at Harry and there
was fire in his eyes. "Do your worst; we're ready." Jason glared at Pool. "Right now, or whenever you or any of your friends

Jason was holding an empty glass tightly in his left hand, his arm laying flat on the table. Samson looked at him fiercely,
running his tongue around his mouth. There were no guns or knives handy, but Jason was pretty sure what Samson would do to
provoke a fight and was ready.

When Samson Pool spit tobacco juice across the table at Jason, he swiftly raised the tumbler and caught the brown spittle
halfway between them. Some even splashed back on Pool's face. Jason righted the glass and slowly lowered it to the table.

Pool tried to push the table into Jason, but Harry's large, iron hands held the table steady, as if in a vice. Pool wiped
his face. "Get out of here, both of you," he said softly, trying to hide his humiliation from the men at the other tables.

"Good day to you, sir. I must say your establishment is somewhat lacking in hospitality," Jason said.

They walked outside and Harry commented, "The food wasn't very good anyway."

Jason shrugged. "We never got a bill."

"If you go back there, you better take a gun," Asbury said. Jason noticed how shaken he was from the confrontation.

"If I have to go back to the Lucky Spot, I'll burn it to the

ground," Jason said.

When they got up the block from the bar Jason stopped under a shade tree and turned to Harry. "Do we have anything to fear
from that big oyster shucker?"

"Not from him and his cronies, but if he allies himself with

Charley Dardy; Dardy has ships." Harry shrugged his shoulders.

"How do you know he killed your Indian buddy?" John Asbury asked.

"Dardy hates Indians," Harry explained.

"But that doesn't make him a murderer, Harry," Asbury said.

"Jacob Ivy told me some things before he got burned up. Nothing conclusive, or I would have gone to the marshal, Jim Jones.
But he certainly told me enough to make me suspect Dardy. Key West is a small, close-knit community. There aren't that many
people capable of, or inclined to murder."

Jason looked at Harry critically. "You gave your suspicions away to Pool and now those thoughts will get back to Dardy. If
he wasn't an enemy before, we certainly have to consider him one now."

John Asbury said he had to get home and left them at the corner of Duval and Fleming. The retriever followed Asbury down the

"Cump, get back here," Jason called after the silly dog. He followed everyone.

The next day Harry and Jason made ready to sail the Pegasus back to Big Pine Key. Addie had her arms around Jason as they
stood on the small pier. "This is the second time we've said goodbye and I've had to worry about you. Why do you have to do
things like this?"

"We will miss the tide if I take the time to explain. I told you I wouldn't change."

She reached up with her right hand and ran several fingers down Jason's cheek. "So you did," she said with stoic
resignation. "Hurry back. I don't want to be apart from you for long."

Jason kissed Addie and held her against him. Her hair smelled like fresh flowers and he kissed the spot under Addie's ear
where the delicate jaw line met her long, soft neck.

Then Harry got impatient and Jason jumped aboard. Cump barked, eager to join them, but Addie quieted the dog and made him
sit. They both watched as Harry hoisted the sail and Jason pushed them off from the pier.

Addie waved. "You two old dogs of war be careful. I want you both back in whole pieces."

"What did she call us?"

"Who knows? She's been reading the classics again," Harry said.

As the Pegasus sailed off, Addie stared after the small ship and worried. Like during the war, she thought. Addie wiped at a
wet eye. "They fight the wars, but we suffer them," she said softly.

Addie walked back to Duval, which was very dusty from all the morning wagon traffic and the windy gusts off the straits. She
sneezed and turned left on Front Street. Addie attracted some whistles and jeers from admiring sailors in this part of town,
but the atmosphere changed when she reached Simonton Street. First there were warehouses, then public buildings, and
finally, a church. Then the neighborhood became residential with frame houses and palm trees. Young children played in the
yards and the palms ruffled above, the bright sun breaking through where it could.

Addie's sad mood had changed, so she went across the street at the corner with Fleming to the new Sears public school, where
she saw Laura Gentry with her class. The youngsters were sitting on the ground under a tree and Laura was reading to them.
Addie waited patiently off to the side until the teacher finished the passage and one of the polite girls in the first row
pointed to Addie.

Laura assigned the class a few pages to read by themselves and walked over to greet Addie. Laura Gentry was another tall
lanky woman like Addie, but she had ruddy skin with freckles and reddishy orange hair that seemed to just go everywhere. And
she wore a very wide-brimmed straw hat against the sun. "How are you? I haven't seen you in weeks. Is it true what Sarah
said? You're getting married? To the Yankee?"

"I said `yes'," Addie admitted.

"And he's rich?"

"Stop that," Addie chided. "That's the problem. I don't know if I can be comfortable in his world. It's all going to be so

Laura laughed heartily, enough so her class heard and looked up from their reading. The ladies walked a little farther away
to another palm tree. The class went back to their lesson.

"Don't worry about learning to be wealthy, Addie. You're smart enough to grow into it gradually," Laura advised. "Do you
think he really loves you?"

Addie smiled spontaneously, lusty joy clearly displayed on her guileless face and in her sparkling eyes. And Laura broke
into another deep laugh; this one made her bend over at the waist. The kids looked up again, this time curiosity all over
their clever, young faces. Laura recovered her composure and gave them a stern glance and they quickly went back to their

At the same time, Addie looked toward the school and spotted a bald head with whiskers at a window, watching them. "Well,
now I know you love him, but does . . ."

"Laura, the principal is observing us," Addie warned.

"I've gotta go. See ya later." She walked back to the class. "Oh! Cousin Melanie is coming to visit," Laura said over her
shoulder. Addie smiled and continued her walk down Simonton to the Samuels house. She reached up and caressed the side of
her nose, just where she had endured an indignity ten years before. Then she flexed her right hand and made a fist,
tightening her grip until her nails gouged into her palm. So, Mel was coming to visit. Addie smiled again. She decided the
day was getting better as it grew older.

Jason and Harry tacked east all day. Harry was certainly not a proficient sailor, but he knew the waters; and the Pegasus
was an easy ship to handle. "She's got a very heavy keel," he comforted Jason. "Even I couldn't capsize her!"

Jason lit a thin cheroot, savoring the fresh tobacco and the safe passage Harry promised.

When they arrived on the island Harry pitched a tent just inside the trees, close to the shore to keep an eye on the
anchorage. Jason and Harry waited four days for the pirates to come, but they never did. Finally Jason got bored, so they
went back to Key West.

After their camping trip to Big Pine Key Jason rented a large four-bedroom house on the corner of Whitehead and Southard
Streets near the naval base. Both Harry and Addie were impressed by the spaciousness of their new residence. They'd brought
back all of Addie's water colors and oils and hung them in the rented mansion. The first floor was taken up by public rooms:
living room, dining room, and a library; and the cook shed was out back. Everyone got their own bedroom on the second floor.
Jason's room was next to Addie's and he considered cutting a connecting door.

"This is too extravagant, Jase," Addie said.

"It's more than we need right now, but I have good reason for wanting a large house," he explained. Jason also bought a
wagon and a team for transportation.

There was a fenced yard and Harry bought livestock. Jason had been the son of a farmer once, but his years of soldiering,
law enforcement, and especially the last eighteen months as a

munitions robber baron had left him devoid of the satisfaction

Harry and Addie took in tending the animals. Addie looked like a

shepherd and had a calm, easy manner even the most fidgety

critters came to trust. Harry acted like a farmer, but Jason couldn't change the image he had of Harry as the tough-as-nails
sergeant major during the war. He looked silly collecting eggs from

under a chicken's backside.

One morning, after they were settled into the new house, Jason read the Key West Register until Addie and Harry finished
their chores. Then Jason placed their weapons in the back of the wagon.

Jason, Harry, and Addie traveled south and then east along the shore past the Martellos until Addie finally asked, "Where
are we going? There's nothing out here. You can shoot anywhere."

"I want to take a look around," Jason answered. The track was bumpy, and they went another mile and a half. "What's that
shack up there just off the beach?" he asked.

"That's Harriet Arbuckle's house. She died two years ago. No one bought it; no one wants to live here. No one even comes out
here, so what are we doing here? You old soldier boys could have shot coconuts with the marines," Addie said sarcastically,
as she was rubbing her backside.

"I like to go exploring. Maybe Harriet left a treasure map hidden under her floorboards." Jason smiled at Harry and glanced
at his pocketwatch. It was a quarter to eleven and another warm, bright cloudless day.

After Harry set up targets along the shoreline, Jason worked with the long-barreled Colt revolver and Harry sought the
spread pattern of the shotgun at varying distances. After a quarter hour Jason abruptly excused himself and Harry commented,
"Sometimes Addie's lobster omelettes go right through you."

"Pappy!" she yelled and punched Harry in the arm, hurting her hand a bit.

Jason walked around the little house and into the woods. Darcy Lamont's note had reached him the night before and specified
eleven, and inland from the Arbuckle house for a meeting. Jason found her waiting in a small clearing. Darcy was standing,
holding the reins of a very nice mare with a proper English saddle. Both Darcy and her mount were sweaty from even a short
ride in this tropical climate. "Trying to get some exercise?" Jason asked.

"I'm trying to keep my figure; it's harder as you get older, but I like riding." She looked clean and healthy, if not fresh.

Darcy nodded toward the booms of Harry's shotgun. "Good excuse to come out this far."

"Addie didn't think so. She was bouncing along on those

wagonboards, and that girl doesn't have a real ample rump."

"She's an adorable and lovely child. The talk around town is that you have proposed. Do you care for her that much, Jason?"

"No, Darcy. I want her for her old man's plantation."

"Stop joking," she said and looked at him inquisitively enough to arouse Jason's curiosity, and the answer was obvious.

"You want to know why I'm interested in a little salty island wart like Addie when I could court real wealth and beauty."

"She's beautiful, Jason. I'm not saying she isn't."

"You're thinking maybe there might be something to the treasure story, if I'm gonna hang around long enough to take a wife."

Darcy smiled, and used a soft cloth to brush the moisture from the horse's coat.

"We're mounting a serious salvage effort, Darcy. A steam engine and diving bell are ordered, and we're going to install them
in a ship and raise that Spanish treasure. Harry showed me impressive samples Jack Carney stole when he raided Big Pine.
Want to invest? Got any money saved, Darcy?" Jason ventured.

"I already told you what I think about this. Divers will get lucky and find a stray coin or piece of jewelry. But an
extensive salvage operation will never make a profit. You'll never find a caché of treasure down there worth half of what
you are going to spend looking for it." She slapped the horse's rump for emphasis, and the mare bumped into Jason.

"Well, it's my money to waste. What do you have to tell me? I hear you've got nosy neighbors, the Watlingtons. There's an
old maid daughter?"

She nodded. "That's why we are meeting here. Don't come to visit, unless you want to cheat on Addie and have it known. And
you're going to have to really go . . . "

"All right!" Jason cut her off. "I understand how it is. Suppose I come late at night, after you are closed, and quietly
through the backyard?"

"Like a `thief in the night'," she said.

"No. Like a `cat in the dark', as you taught me to move, Darcy," he responded. She smiled and laughed quietly.

"What else did you find out?" Jason went on.

"Carney sailed for Georgetown, Grand Cayman. He can buy cannons there and have them smuggled out to his ship at night. Then
he's going to Jamaica for mercenaries. Apparently he takes your endeavor more seriously than I do."

"How did you come by that information in such a timely manner?"

"He left off some hands that came into Key West quietly to visit families."

"Do you know anything about Jamaican mercenaries, Darcy?"

"They come in all different colors and tastes. That island is a haven for desperate criminals, and the ill-mannered."

"Is there one known as `Uriah'?"

"Yes. How did you find out about Uriah Stogger?

"Eavesdropping. What do you know about him?"

"He's a big, heavy bull of a man, older, with an English accent. I met him in Havana a few years ago. I don't know where he
came from, but he showed up in the Caribbean about five years ago. Uriah Stogger has the manners of an officer, but he's
gone to hell. He strikes me as a dangerous man with a heavy chip on his shoulder. He's lost his conscience, but not the
ability to lead others."

"Jase," they heard Addie call from the beach.

"I'd better get back. Wait until we start shooting again, before you ride west," Jason advised.

Darcy nodded and Jason helped her mount up. Then he walked back toward the beach and met Addie behind the house. Addie was
suspicious and looked around Jason to see Darcy riding off. They walked arm in arm back to the beach. "Don't mention her to
your old man, not yet," Jason ordered.

"Okay, I understand. You're devious conspirators meeting in

secret, and Pappy has a loose mouth when he's been drinking."

"That's correct," Jason said, actually knowing Harry's experience as a noncommissioned officer taught him to keep a
confidence better than most. He just didn't want to tell Addie anymore than she had already seen.

"What I don't understand is why my backside is so sore. If I had known we were going to traverse the length of the island by
wagon, I would have brought a pillow."

Jason grabbed her to him and held her gently by her backside. "I'm sorry, Addie. I forgot about your adorable little bum
being so tender. I'll make it up to you anyway you want. I promise. Just tell me what you want," Jason offered.

"I'll have to think about that," she said slowly and Jason knew he had made a mistake.

The next day Jason went to the Key West Register office to look through past issues. Rob Stevens was out but his assistant,
a pretty Cuban girl who introduced herself as Marissa, brought him a stack of newspapers.

The old issues of the Register, like all old newspapers, were dusty and smelled bad. Jason went through them, a year at a
time, back to events before the war.

The first interesting tidbit came in the summer of `58. Wade Estes married Lorena Harrington May 5, 1858 in the First
Baptist Church. "Their reception was held on the lawn of the Harrington House under the shade of the palms," the article
stated. Sarah Dumont was present with her parents, and the prettiest flower girl.

Jason made a point to survey the shipping news. In the spring of 1857, Carney's Raven was sighted off Key West. Then several
negro bodies floated into the harbor. During 1855 Dr. Samuels broke his arm. He fell out of a tree trying to rescue a
neighbor's cat. Jason smiled as he read the guest column they gave the good doctor, so he could describe the inconvenience
and pain of a mending arm.

There were all kinds of interesting items, and Jason read back until 1845. He took detailed notes about Key West's prominent
people which he hoped would all weave together into the fabric of a conspiracy. But there was just background material here.
Darcy's information would be helpful but also always peripheral. What Jason really needed was an observer, a spy.

As Jason turned the dusty pages of the old newspapers, he decided to go to Jamaica and see Uriah Stogger. There was nothing
for them to do in Key West, at the wreck site, or Big Pine Key, until the salvage gear and the armament from Britain
arrived. Maybe he could convince Uriah Stogger not to join Carney. Either way Jason wanted to size him up. If he seemed
dangerous, they could deal with Stogger right then, before he could link up with Carney.

Jason thanked Marissa when he was done and left, happy to have avoided another interview with Rob Stevens, who always had so
many questions Jason was not willing to answer.

Chapters - Prologue - 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 -11- 12 - Epilogue

U.S. Federal Copyright 'TXU 603-893

Critique this work

Click on the book to leave a comment about this work

All Authors (hi-speed)    All Authors (dialup)    Children    Columnists    Contact    Drama    Fiction    Grammar    Guest Book    Home    Humour    Links    Narratives    Novels    Poems    Published Authors    Reviews    September 11    Short Stories    Teen Writings    Submission Guidelines

Be sure to have a look at our Discussion Forum today to see what's
happening on The World's Favourite Literary Website.