A Richard L. Wren Mystery-Adventure SamplerRichard Wren / Actions & Adventure / Mystery & Detective
A RICHARD L. WREN
A RICHARD L. WREN
Featuring two brand new short stories from the worlds of
Joshua Rogan and Casey Alton & Smitty
Excerpts from each of Richard L. Wren’s
previously published novels.
FOR MY FICTION READERS, A GIFT.
Want a free copy of CASEY’S SLIP, my first novel?
Go to my website, www.rlwren.com and sign up for my free occasional email newsletter, and I’ll send you a PDF copy of the book.
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New stories Copyright 2015 by Richard L. Wren
Casey’s Slip Copyright 2010 by Richard L. Wren
Joshua’s Revenge Copyright 2012 by Richard L. Wren
Justice for Joshua Copyright 2014 by Richard L. Wren
Murder Made Legal Copyright 2016 by Richard L. Wren
All rights reserved.
Material from this book may not be used (other than Fair Use) without express permission of the authors.
Also by Richard Wren (and Loyd Auerbach)
Self-Publishing: It Ain’t Rocket Science (2015)
Poor Richard Publishers, Lafayette, CA
I’d like to introduce you to the characters and stories of my mystery-adventure novels. Two of my novels feature Yosemite Park Ranger (and martial arts master) Joshua Rogan. The other two feature unusual detectives: Casey Alton, a self-proclaimed sailboat bum, and Smitty Smith, former head of a biker gang.
To do this, I’ve written two new short stories, each featuring my rather atypical crime solvers.
I’ve also included short excerpts from each of my four novels (four so far, of course – a new Joshua Rogan novel is in the works).
Naturally, I’m doing this to get you to read my novels.
But there’s more:
If you go to my website, www.rlwren.com, and sign up for my occasional email newsletter, I’ll send you a free PDF of my first novel, CASEY’S SLIP.
Without further ado…
CASEY & SMITTY
And catch something they don’t want.
By Richard L. Wren
To any not familiar with the Casey Alton series
Casey Alton: Late 20’s college drop-out, happy go-lucky gypsy California coast sailboat captain until he’s forced to join forces with the leader of the Oakland Devils motorcycle gang forces when they’re both accused of the same murder.
Smitty Smith: Aging somewhat reformed leader of the Oakland Devils motorcycle gang with a violent history and an entirely different definition of what’s legal and what’s not legal than his attorney daughter.
In the first novel, CASEY’S SLIP, the two are thrown together to solve a murder they’re wrongly accused of committing.
CASEY & SMITTY GO FISHING
“What the hell was that?” Smitty shouted. They were cruising slowly just north of the Golden Gate Bridge, trolling for salmon. Casey jumped forward and shut off the engine. “Doesn’t sound good, does it?” he answered in the sudden quiet.
They had been trolling for a couple of hours with no luck when suddenly the boat had shuddered, slowed down and a loud knocking sound had started.
“Sounds like it’s from under the boat, give it a rest and start it up again, maybe it’s something that’ll float away.” Smitty suggested.
Casey looked around them at the open sea. They were about two miles offshore and maybe five miles north of the Golden Gate. Not a good place to lose an engine.
“You ever repair a diesel at sea?” he asked Smitty.
“Hell yes,” he replied boisterously. “There ain’t no maritime or motorcycle engine I haven’t repaired, land or sea.”
Casey knew that was an exaggeration but with Smittys lifelong history with motorcycle gangs and ownership of many boats there was probably lots of truth to his bravado.
He waited a few minutes and pressed the starter. The engine caught immediately and sounded sweet but the heavy knocking was still there. He quickly switched off again. “It’s rhythmical and steady and it’s not the engine.” Casey said.
“I think you’re right,” Smitty agreed while lowering himself into the engine compartment. “Give it a quick start again while I’m down here.”
Casey started the engine again then quickly stopped it after just a few revolutions. “Definitely not the engine and not the drive shaft, at least not in here.”
Casey heaved a huge sigh. It was if he had seen this coming from the first knock but had hoped against hope he was wrong. “You mean it’s something underneath and one of us has to dive down to find it and it’s probably not you.”
Smitty smiled a knowing smile, “Yep, I’m much too old to do something like that.”
“Guess I’m stuck. Whatever made me want to be your son-in-law?”
Smitty laughed. “Maybe my bubbling personality?” He paused theatrically. “Or more likely my beautiful daughter?”
Josh ignored him. “We sure as hell can’t use the engine until we find out what kind of damage we’re doing. The only thing I can think of is a bent drive shaft or prop blade.”
Smitty scratched his head. “That’s kinda’ what I was thinking too.”
Casey struggled into a wet suit and lowered himself over the side. Smitty had insisted on lashing a line onto him, “just in case.”
In a short time, Casey popped back up onto the surface. “You’ll never believe it. It’s about two or three feet of nylon line wrapped tight around the shaft with a float still attached to it. The float’s what was banging against the boat.”
“Can you cut it loose?”
“That’s part of the problem. The heat from the drive shaft melted the nylon and now it’s just one big blob of plastic around the shaft, but I think I can cut the float free.” With that he freed his belt knife and dove back under.
Smitty was beginning to get worried about how long he was under when a large red and white float popped up to the surface followed by Casey a second later.
“Got it!” he sputtered waiving a piece of blue plastic line in his hand. “Somethin’ else too.”
Smitty used a boat hook to snare the float while Casey clambered aboard. “That the line you had to cut?”
“That’s it. I think we snagged the float then the line wrapped around the shaft and we stopped so quick the line didn’t snap.”
“What about the melted plastic on the shaft? Do the shaft and prop look okay?”
“Think so, give it a try.” Smitty pressed the ignition key, the engine roared to life, the knocking sound was gone. Smitty heaved a sigh of relief while Casey took off the wet suit and said, “it didn’t look too bad, just a hard, lopsided lump on the drive shaft, not hitting anything. We might take it little easy on the way in, just in case. What do you think?” Casey was purposely deferring to Smitty, after all it was Smitty’s boat.
“I think she sounds fine now, not a quiver. What about the line?” he asked pointing to the line Casey had fastened to a cleat along the railing. “You got my curiosity aroused now. Usually the floats attached to a crab pot but I don’t see any others around.”
Casey said, “Something’s not right. What wrapped around the shaft was the extra line tied to the float. I’m pretty sure the float was supposed to stay beneath the water surface and it was just an accident we ran into the floating end of the line.”
“I’ve heard about guys doing that. They get so pissed off at other crab boats ripping off their traps they hide their floats underwater and then find them with a combination GPS and fish finder, could be.”
“Yeah but you said this isn’t crabbing water here.”
Smitty stood up and took a careful look at the shore. “You’re right. Actually it’s totally illegal to go after crab here.”
“So?” Casey strung out.
Smitty slowly responded. “So I wonder what’s at the other end of the line.” He walked over to the line, grabbed it below where it was cleated and started heaving. “It’s coming. Slow and heavy but it’s coming,” he snorted.
Casey walked over to help him. For a few minutes they heaved together until Smitty secured the line on a cleat and said, “that’s too much work, let’s put it on a winch.”
The winch instantly made a difference. Turning the handle was easy but each full turn only took in about six inches of line. Gradually they made progress until about fifty feet of line was coiled at their feet behind the winch. Casey was the first to see anything.
“It’s not a crab pot. Way too big!” he announced.
They took another ten turns on the winch. “It’s a chest of some sort.” Casey noted.
“Whatever it is it’s heavy,” Smitty said. “I think if we slide it around to the stern we can use the dinghy hoist to haul it in.”
“Hold it.” Casey said. “If this is something illegal like drugs maybe we’re being watched right now.”
Smitty took another turn around the cleat and they both stood to scan the horizon. There were no other boats in sight. “Where’re your binocs?” Casey asked. “I want to scan the headlands. Who knows, they could be keeping a watch on the spot from there.” He thoroughly swept the headlands jutting out from the mainland and saw nothing suspicious.
They walked the line to the stern, secured it to the dinghy davits and started pulling the chest to the surface. The last twenty or so feet of the line to the chest were replaced with much heavier rope. “Whatever it is they expected to hoist it up again onto something,” Smitty said eying the much stronger rope.
They carefully hoisted the chest aboard and watched water pouring out of several holes drilled on its lower sides. Somebody had carefully secured a rope harness around the chest so that it had been in no danger of breaking away from its mooring.
“Now what,” Casey asked.
“This.” Smitty answered and pulling out his knife from its scabbard started slashing the ropes. “Nobody’s watching, now’s the time.”
In a moment the ropes fell away and the chest was totally exposed. It was a green metal chest with thin reinforcing strips of bare metal running around it from top to bottom. It had two hasps holding the lid down, each locked closed with heavy wire. No padlocks.
Smitty deftly untwisted the wires and with a gesture threw the chest lid open dramatically saying, “open sesame,” then stepped forward and looked inside.
“Oh crap,” he mumbled and stepped backwards, “it’s a body.”
Casey shouldered him aside, looked down at the body for a moment and said, “it’s a young girl, really young.”
“Christ, now what?” Smitty said, mostly to himself. He grabbed Casey’s arm and swung him around. “Maybe tie the whole thing up and put it back, nobody knows we were here.” He let go of Casey’s arm and pounded his fist into his hand. “Forget I said that. I suppose we better turn her in, question is where? Sure as hell, not the police.”
Casey immediately agreed to that. Neither he or Smitty wanted anything to do with the police anytime, anywhere. Smitty’s long association with a dangerous local motorcycle club and Casey’s more recent affiliation by marrying Smitty’s daughter were enough to raise the hackles of police. Add to that their recent successful taking down of a corrupt local district attorney and it was understandable why they were persona non grata at most police departments.
Casey took a closer look at the body. “She can’t have been here long and there’re no wounds I can see.”
Smitty cautioned him, “don’t move her, we’ll have enough trouble explaining this without you poking around.”
“Right,” Casey agreed. “But there’s something else in here, underneath her. There has to be, it’s way too heavy.” He closed the lid, replaced the wire fasteners and started retying the binding. Suddenly he snapped his fingers.
“Got it,” he exclaimed. “Get on the horn and call the Coast Guard. Tell them what we found and that we’re heading toward their docks with the chest. We’ll dump it all into the Coast Guard’s hands. With any luck we’ll end up just being a postscript to the whole thing.”
Casey kicked the engine into gear and started back toward the Golden Gate Bridge while Smitty tried to raise the Coast Guard. When he told them they had found a chest with a body in it in the ocean just north of the Gate, the operator immediately ordered them to stay put. Smitty told them it was too late they were already half way to the Coast Guard station but they had the GPS location where they had found the chest.
“We’re sending a boat to meet you.”
Casey wasn’t surprised when shortly thereafter he spotted a small cutter come roaring out of the entrance to the bay. The station was just inside the Golden Gate and the Coast Guard was famous for their quick response time.
The Coast Guard vessel deftly sidled up next to them and in a moment they were side-tied together. An officer came aboard, examined the outside of the chest, declined to re-open it saying that would be a job for their forensic department, heard their story, examined and recorded Smitty’s ownership papers, made copies of their I.D.’s, loaded the chest on their boat and ordered Smitty to follow them to the Coast Guard dock.
At the dock two young seamen handed mooring lines to Casey and courteously asked them to remain with the boat. They watched as the chest was unloaded and taken into a sterile looking white building. An hour went by. Smitty was about ready to raise some hell when a delegation of two officers and 4 enlisted men strode purposely toward them. Smitty eyed them dubiously.
“Would both of you step off your boat please?”
“What the hell?” Smitty blustered.
“I’m sorry sir, but there was something in the chest beside the girl’s body which requires that we search your boat. It’s for your own protection.”
Casey’s mind immediately jumped to the thought of something radioactive. He grabbed Smitty’s arm, “C’mon, we don’t have anything to hide.”
Three of the seamen and one of the officers were on the boat for over a half hour. Casey and Smitty watched them from ashore. It was if they were looking for something specific. Something not too large judging by where they looked as they conducted a thorough bow to stern search. The officer was the last to disembark and he gave a “thank you, sir” and a smart salute to Smitty as he walked by.
Smitty reached out and grabbed his arm. “Hold it,” he barked. “What the fuck’s going on?”
The officer said, “Sir, all I can tell you is that there was contraband in the chest and we needed to make sure that none had been removed before you handed the chest over and you’re free to go.” He shook his arm free and walked away.
Smitty was livid. “They got a lot of nerve. We coulda’ left that poor girl there and nobody’d be the wiser and that’s the thanks we get. Screw them.”
Casey calmed him down. “Relax, Smitty. We did the right thing and now we’re out of it, that’s what we wanted right? Let’s get outa’ here and head for home.”
The fired the engine up, cast off and headed for the Brooklyn basin harbor on the Oakland side of the bay. An hour later the boat was securely berthed and they were on their way to Smitty’s home high in the Oakland hills. On the way they discussed whether or not they should mention finding the chest and the body to Josie.
Casey laughed, “We’ve only been married a few months but she’s been your daughter for years, you think you can keep a secret from her?”
Smitty joined him. “Okay. We tell her, but no one else, right?”
As Smitty coasted to a stop in his driveway he said, “some of the guy’s are here,” pointing to four motorcycles clustered in front of the garage door.
“Down in the basement guzzling up all your beer,” I bet.”
“And what else is new?” Smitty agreed.
At the front door their agreement to share the day’s happenings quickly became moot. Josie was waiting with a message.
“What in hell have you two been up to? I got a real threatening message a few minutes ago, what’s going on?”
Smitty answered. “It’s a long story, what was the message?”
Josie led them into the kitchen where coffee was ready. “It was kind of long and garbled so I took notes. He said something about watching you two fishing and that he’d been using a telescope from the headland to track you and that whatever you thought you had found it was theirs and they wanted it back and were willing to kill to get it and you’re supposed to meet them tonight at eleven at your boat dock.” She said it all in one breath without stopping. “So what’s this all about?” She added.
Smitty looked perplexed. “How’d they find me? Who are these people?”
Josie answered. “Oh yeah. He said he’d copied your registration number from the boat and pulled some strings to find you.”
“That must have been one strong telescope.” Casey observed.
“All right you two, quit stalling. What’s going on?”
They brought Josey up to date quickly. She then applied her background as an attorney and experience in the district attorney’s office to their problem.
“Amazingly, you two miscreants made the right decision by going to the Coast Guard so your skirts are clean there. Did the Coast Guard say anything about the body?”
“No but we knew there was something else in the chest because it was so heavy. We didn’t move the body to look.”
Josey made a decision. “As your attorney I need to contact the Coast Guard and tell them about the phone call.”
After a short discussion, Smitty reluctantly agreed. “But for Christ’s sake, keep the police out of it,” was his final summation.
Once she explained she was an attorney representing the boat owner that had found the chest and why she was calling she was asked to wait and put on hold for a short time then a series of clicks and a voice.
“This is commander John Lucich of the CGIS. You say you got a phone call demanding the chest you found?” The voice was deep and commanding.
“My clients did, yes.” Josie replied. She put a hand over the phone and whispered to Smitty, “CGIS?”
“Coast Guard Investigative Service,” he whispered back.
“Did they leave a phone number or any way to contact them?” The officer asked.
“No but they threatened that they were ready to kill to get the chest.”
“So they think your clients still have it.”
“Obviously, and my clients want some protection.”
“Hold on for a moment?” he asked. Shortly he came back, “Where are you?” Josie told him where there home was. “All three of you?” he asked.
When she told him that was the case he issued an order to her, “all three of you stay where you are. I’m bringing a contingent with me, we’ll be there within a half-hour. We need to catch this group and I think we need your help to do it. In the mean-time take any phone calls you get and if it’s them agree to anything they say, got it?”
Josey was skeptical. “A half hour from Sausalito?”
“Your call was transferred to me here at Coast Guard Island, just across from where your client’s boat is moored.” He hung up.
“I never heard of the CGIS,” Casey said.
“Been around forever.” Smitty told him. “They can operate like a police force anywhere the Coast Guard is authorized to go, anywhere in the world.”
“But this seems like a criminal case to me,” Josie interrupted.
“They’re authorized.” Smitty shrugged, then added. “Good hands to be in, I think.”
In less than a half hour two sedans pulled up in front of Smitty’s house. Evidently the officer’s research hadn’t been complete enough to include Smitty’s background and his face registered surprise at the number of motorcycles in the driveway at this upscale neighborhood.
Two officers emerged from the first car, introduced themselves and suggested they move into the house. Four enlisted men stayed inside the second car.
Casey recognized the three bars on the sleeve of the commander and confronted him.
“Commander, we’re sure as hell not happy about you ordering us to stay put. We found a crate at sea, turned it over to the Coast Guard and expected that to be the end of it. So what the hell is the threat we’re getting all about?”
The commander didn’t waste any time. “First things first, the group that contacted you is very dangerous as you can surmise by the fact they killed the young girl you found. They’re what’s left of an underground group that the FBI has been tracking for over two years. Because of what you found we think we can catch them, but we need your help.”
Josie raised her voice. “I don’t think we’re interested in helping, it sounds dangerous and you have lots of help available.”
Smitty added, “I don’t see why they are so interested in the case or the body of the young girl. That doesn’t make sense to me.”
The commander held up his hand like a traffic cop. “There’s more. I think the officer that searched your boat said something about contraband?”
“But he didn’t find anything.” Casey interjected.
“And that’s why we let you go. That would have been the end of it except for the phone call you got. What we were looking for was gold ingots. We found out they stole this gold from a mint supply store in Seattle, Washington so they could travel anywhere in the world. More precisely, highly negotiable gold bars. That’s what we were looking for. We found close to three hundred, ten-ounce gold bars in the bottom of the case, worth over four million dollars and wanted to make sure you hadn’t walked off with any.”
Casey made a quick calculation. “That’s almost two hundred pounds, I wondered why the case seemed so heavy.”
Josey was more concerned about the young girl. “But what about the girl? Do you know who she is?”
“Not yet. We’re running fingerprints on her now. “Our medical examiner said she might have been suffocated but he wasn’t yet sure.” The commander seemed almost callous in his brevity.
“It’s the money they desperately want and they think you have it so we want to set a trap and we need you to do it.”
“I thought as much.” Smitty said, throwing his arms up in the air. “You probably want us to agree to meet them and try to trap them somehow.”
“That’s correct,” the commander told them. “But we need to trap them in the act, as it were. They either have to take the gold or the chest physically into their possession for us to arrest them. That means you have to meet them and act as if you’re taking their threat very seriously when you let them take the chest.”
Josey objected strenuously. “I don’t like it. These guys already killed that young girl, who’s to say they don’t just haul off and kill my husband and my dad?”
“A couple of things. We assume they’ve already determined the case isn’t on the boat, that would have been the first thing they did, so they need you two alive.” He pointed at Casey and Smitty. Beyond that we already have your boat completely surrounded so you’ll be completely safe.”
Casey pointed out a flaw in their plan. “How can you trap them with the case when the actual case is not there?”
“Ah, but it is. You see you’re just as greedy as they are. Once you found the gold in the bottom of the chest you got rid of the body and hid the chest on your friend’s tugboat.”
“You mean Andy’s tug?”
“Exactly. You meet them, reluctantly divulge the chest’s whereabouts and lead them to it. When they check the contents, we got them! The important thing is you must convince them they need you to get to the chest.”
Smitty, who was often on his friend’s tug said, “that’d be pretty easy to do.”
Josey shot him a dirty look. “It still sounds awfully dangerous they’ll probably have guns.”
“Not as many as we have, besides there’s a reward for information leading to their capture. I think it’s around forty thousand dollars.”
Casey and Smitty looked at each other for a grinning second, then simultaneously nodded. “We’ll do it,” Smitty said.
Josey shook her head in disbelief.
“Good,” the commander said. “here’s the plan. You drive down there about ten thirty, we’ll have two armed men concealed in the back seat. Get on the boat and wait. We’ll have plenty of men there but you won’t see them. Act afraid, play up to their sense of control and do what they ask. Make up a story about how you got rid of the body and found the gold. Be willing to just get out from under. We’ll have night vision glasses on you the full time. The chest’s suspended under water from the stern davit. We thought the thugs would buy that coming from you and it keeps everybody on deck in full view. They’ll need you to retrieve it.”
“Sounds like a plan to me,” Smitty offered.
“Then what?” Casey demanded.
“The moment they touch the chest searchlight will light them up and a dozen or more guns will be trained on them. Men will appear as if by magic surrounding them and you two will drop to the deck. It’ll all be over in a second.”
“What about the gold, is it really there?”
“Absolutely. We need to catch them with it. As soon as they’re cuffed you will be free to go with our thanks.”
“And maybe a reward.” Smitty added.
The commander repeated the instructions, left two armed sailors with them and left.
The two sailors were somewhat startled to see four middle aged, burly bikers emerge from the basement rooms when Smitty asked, “it’s going on six, who’s for Chinese?”
After introductions were made and explanations were given for the uniformed sailor’s holstered guns, Chinese food was sent for. The sailors helped wash the dishes and talked about their homes until it was time to leave.
Smitty parked his car as close as he could get and he and Casey walked down the ramp to the boat. The two sailors quietly got out and hid themselves behind a nearby building. Except for the lapping of the water against the boats it was very quiet. Casey glanced at his watch, a half-hour to go.
Across the ramp and two boats down he could see Andy’s tug faintly visible in the moonlight. As eleven approached Casey began to think they should be armed. It seemed more and more dangerous waiting unarmed to meet dangerous killers by arrangement at a deserted harbor.
“Why did we agree to this dumb idea?” he whispered to Smitty.
A few moments later a car quietly coasted up beside Smitty’s. Smitty poked Casey’s arm and pointed. They both watched the car for several minutes until both of the cars doors opened and two men got out. Casey noted that the dome light had not gone on when the doors opened and he reasoned they were being very careful. One of the men turned a flashlight on and inspected the inside of Smitty’s car. They then stood silently listening until one of them abruptly shone his flashlight on Casey and Smitty. It was a strong light and succeeded in blinding both of them so they couldn’t watch the men approach. One of them stayed on the dock with the flashlight while the other boarded and jammed a gun in Smitty’s back.
“Where is it?” he demanded.
Casey was worried about the gun and volunteered, “it’s not on the boat.” Quick as a flash the man palmed the gun in his hand and swung it hard across Casey’s temple. “I asked you where it is, not where is ain’t,” he snarled. He jabbed the gun back into Smitty’s back and Casey heard the unmistakable sound of a revolver being cocked from the dock.
Smitty and Casey both put their hands up in the air, acting as submissive as they could. “Right over there.” Smitty said, pointing at the tug. “It’s all there,” he added. Smitty stole a glance at Casey. His forehead was bleeding profusely.
The gunman jammed his gun harder into Smitty’s back. “So you opened it?” he spat.
Casey needed to take control of the moment. He blurted out, “We got rid of the body, she’s deep in the middle of the bay.”
“Son of a bitch,” the one on the dock exclaimed.
“Go on,” the one on the boat said accompanied by another prod from the gun.
Casey had a story ready. “We took her out and wrapped her up in a blanket then decided to take her to the Coast Guard station but on the way we noticed the wrapped packages in the bottom. When we saw what was inside we decided to wait a couple of days and see what happened, maybe we could keep the gold. So we weighed her body down and put her back in the sea where we found her.”
They guy with the gun asked the other, “what d’ya think?”
Without a moment’s hesitation he answered. “Makes sense to me, let’s get the crate and get the hell out of here.”
Once more the gun jabbed hard. “Take us,” he commanded.
The rest went like clock-work except when Smitty was pistol whipped by the guy with the gun because the davit jammed and he grew impatient. Casey expected the Coast Guard to jump out of hiding to protect Smitty but nothing happened. When the case came dripping out of the water the men dragged it aboard and rushed to get at its insides.
In a few minutes the top was opened and they had boxed gold in their hands. At that exact moment searchlights flashed on, commands to freeze were heard, one of the men ran for the dock and the other dove into the water. The two sailors from Smitty’s car were waiting at the head of the dock, guns drawn, and that one was captured. When the one that dove into the water came up and found he was surrounded by Coast Guard boats and sailors, he turned on his back and surrendered. Not a shot was fired. A Coast Guard cutter pulled up, searchlights ablaze, and tied up to the tugboat. The two men were handcuffed and together with the chest were offloaded onto the cutter. A dozen armed men appeared out of the darkness and jumped aboard.
Casey and Smitty sat on their boat and watched the Coast Guard quickly and efficiently wrap up the operation. Just as the cutter was casting off it lines, the commander and his two sailors came down the dock.
Casey stopped them. “Is that it? It’s all over?”
The commander reached over and shook hands with each of them. “It went well didn’t it. We got both men and retrieved all the gold without a shot being fired.”
“But what about the girl, what about her?”
“There’s still no identification. There’s no record of her fingerprints on file anywhere and she doesn’t fit the description of any missing person. Unless those two admit something it looks like she’ll never be identified.”
“So unless they confess, she remains a nobody?”
“It’s a shame but you’re right. By the way, for a number of reasons this whole operation remains a secret. It will not be publicized and it probably won’t come to trial.”
“Which means you don’t want us talking about it either I guess.” Smitty asked.
“Can we rely on you for that?”
“Anything for the Coast Guard.” Smitty replied.
The commander started to leave then turned back. “Oh, I almost forgot. About the reward. It totals over forty-five thousand but I’m afraid you won’t get it. It seems that your daughter’s firm is listed as an associate at the Martinez District Attorney’s office and you two are listed as her employees and as such you’re ineligible for any reward.” With that he swung aboard the cutter and it pulled away, leaving Smitty and Casey speechless.
After several minutes of silence during which they absorbed what they had just heard, Smitty turned to Casey and with a perplexed look on his face said,
“No trial, no identification for the dead girl and no reward, what the hell just happened?
Casey absorbed the question for a minute then rose to his feet and stepped over to the dock as Smitty looked at the caked blood on his forehead.
“Nothing. That’s what happened, Smitty. Absolutely nothing.”
A Joshua Rogan Adventure Short Story
Richard L. Wren
To those not familiar with the Joshua Rogan adventures:
Joshua Rogan: World champion Karate, Ninja and Parkour expert and a walking lethal weapon, doubles as a married Yosemite Park Ranger to avoid unwanted publicity. He spends his spare time with the remaining Native American Indians in the valley, absorbing their forest survival, tracking and fighting techniques. He’s continuously confronted with dangerous situation that only he can solve.