Slow Boat To....Death

Started by Brendon Muldoon at Jun 02, 2021 10:04 AM
April 21, 1924
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19 Posts

Brendon Muldoon

Motor Officer, Miami PD
834
?Years Young
101 Posts

"You know, I got me a hunch on this one."


The first thing that hit Bredon Muldoon was the cool salt air and the slow bobbing motion as he forced his eyes open. He was laying in the bottom of a dinghy, clad only in his now filthy boxer shorts, maybe half a mile out to sea off the coast of Miami. His wrists and ankles were chaffed and sore as if he had been bound, but he had no memory of being trussed up, which gave him pause. What was he doing in this rowboat out in the Atlantic? He sat bolt upright, the boat wobbling side to side from the effort and that was when he saw the first one.

A dorsal fin perhaps a full meter in height, three feet of maneating danger protruding from the water as cruised just past the side of his wooden refuge. Then another, perhaps smaller by the size of its dorsal, and a third appeared off to his right. There was blood in the boat, he had been laying in it, what kind of blood mattered not at all. That clearly meant there was blood in the water, and that was a bad sign. It was at that moment he saw a rope tied inside the lip of the side rail and suddenly it was tugged hard, almost capsizing the craft.

With aching fingers, he let go of his handhold and went to work on the knot which was obviously tied to a chunk of something to help attract the sharks. the painstaking work was interrupted when again it was hit, and again he held on for dear life, the boat talking on seawater, which washed out most all of the blood. The boat righted itself as he worked on the now soaked rope, anticipating another hit on the bait and perhaps the moment he would be catapulted into the water with the preditors and the end of his life as he was devoured. Finally, the knot yielded to his painful efforts. "Why were his hands so sore?" flashed through his brain as the rope slipped quickly from the side of the boat, which meant the bait was dropping to the bottom of the sea.

There was a single oar, which was secured to the side of his prison by a single nail well above what would normally be the waterline. But he dropped back, near exhaustion. Two of the ocean's finest predators were still circling the boat, not as close as before, but they were still there. He looked to the oar and the nail which for some reason was not hammered all the way into the wood. That meant even more work to free it, and then the task of paddling the dinghy to shore, and that alone would be a monumental fete.

He lay back needing a moment to catch his breath, and to think. First, he could not for the life of him figure out how he got there, in that damned boat, and not only that, he was at a loss to explain what had happened in was it hours, days? He had been in Lieutenant Baxter's office, he was Brendon Muldoon, a motor officer with the Miami Police Department. So he believed he knew who he was and where he worked, and who his boss was, but how long ago was that? And again, how did he get there, in that boat, as shark bait?

TBC


Wow! 1

Brendon Muldoon

Motor Officer, Miami PD
834
?Years Young
101 Posts

"You know, I got me a hunch on this one."


Brendon lay back, he was tired, this strength sapped and for no good reason that he could think of. He knew that he needed to begin paddling toward shore, and he needed to do that son=on before he drifted farther out into the Atlantic. He recalled everything except for the most recent past, work, his apartment, friends, and colleagues, the number of his motorcycle, and countless other things that were all but insignificant, like his ex-wife.

There he was, bobbing around in the ocean and when he lifted up the dorsals were nowhere to be seen, and that was a momentary relief, then again, there was the sun rising farther up in that beautiful cobalt blue sky and he with his lily-white Irish skin. That drove him up to his knees, and his struggle with the oar to free it, and to begin working at his own rescue.  There was not a boat on the water, yet had he come around a bit earlier he would have seen a motor launch moving away, chumming.

Be that as it may, the current had in fact drawn him further out to sea. The cause of his loss of strength was still a mystery to him, no matter, there was a task at hand, save his own life before he was fried to a crisp by the sun, or devoured by the sharks that he had no doubt were still somewhere close. and so, after struggling for some time with the oar, it came loose and he nearly collapsed, panting from the exertion. Yet he pulled himself up to his knees and looked about, he put the oar in the water and started turning the boat toward the slowly disappearing coastline, then began alternately rowing side to side, slow progress, but progress.

TBC


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Brendon Muldoon

Motor Officer, Miami PD
834
?Years Young
101 Posts

"You know, I got me a hunch on this one."


The dinghy was not really conducive to paddling, but there was no other choice if he hoped to survive the ordeal. That was his number one thought and driving force, and slowly, with the tide going in, at least the sea was working with him. Where he gathered the newfound strength to paddle from was yet another mystery in what had become a string of them.

What had happened that he found himself in dirty boxer shorts adrift in the Atlantic with sharks circling the bloody boat? He tried to recall where he had been, and when it was. Was it day or night? And why would this have been the outcome? What he did surmise was that someone or someones had decided to do away with him in a most unique way, which led to the question 'why?'

There were a number of mobs, but none so inventive. Their methods were pretty straightforward, if the ocean or any body of water were involved, it would have been cement shoes. A bullet to the head. Fed to the gators, so this was not a mob hit, he was pretty sure of that as he paddled shoreward. But it was still a long way to go, and that burst of energy and strength was waning.

If he got out of this he would find out who did this to him, and he would extract payment!

TBC


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Brendon Muldoon

Motor Officer, Miami PD
834
?Years Young
101 Posts

"You know, I got me a hunch on this one."


It seemed he'd been at it for hours, and yes, he could see the headway he'd made, the shoreline was definitely closer than it had before, but his hands were sore, and his arms were on the verge of giving out, yet he struggled on, while back pain was beginning to take its toll.

Most of the strength he had, had waned almost at once, but the Irishman was a fighter, and he was not about to give up, even though the swells moving in toward the sandy beach, still, perhaps a quarter of a mile away, were increasing in size, but helping in deference to the chop, which was also on the increase.

Brendon Muldoon dug harder if that was possible, each stroke taking an almost monumental effort to press on. Anger had been his early ally, but that too was seeping away along with the strength he had. He paused mid-stroke fighting for a breath, his lungs screaming for air. He wanted to scream, but nothing came. He collapsed in a heap. He had stopped sweating. Brendaon Muldoon was at the end.

It sounded a long way off, but it was unmistakably a powerboat powering down. He struggled to get to his knees, rising to his feet was out of the question, but he could wave that paddle, he had the will to do that

-------

"What's that to there?" She asked suddenly, pointing to an object in closer to the South Miami side.

"Looks like a dinghy to me, lets have a look. Maybe tow it in, if not it's liable to get hit can't have that." He explained. "Probably came loose, the tide's going...what the hell! Somebody's in the damned thing!" He turned the boat and inched up the throttle and eased alongside."Easy man! What the hell are you doin' out here?" He turned to Max, "Get some water, wait I'm going in his boat, toss me a line"

Max knew what he wanted and why. She scampered forward and took the bowline, scampered back as he slipped into the dinghy and tossed him the line.

"Hold 'er steady Baby!" He called as he headed for the bridge, grabbed the wheel, and held the boat on a heading with the dingy "Okay Mac, we gotta get up onto the yacht. This yer boat?"

"You get a ladder, I can get oehp it!" Muldoon stated, he was winded, but he got that out.

"Ladder's on the stern, I'm gonna let go the bowline an' drift back to it!" With the boat at idle, it would inch forward, and that would be enough. "You look pretty rough, somebody don't like you?"

Muldoon just grunted and nodded as Jimmy watched the Liberty, but kept looking back at the man. The cover lifted up and the stairs were visible. The man made his way to the side of the yacht and grabbed hold, then hauled himself up onto the first step, then one step at a time reached to the top on fell forward on the deck, Jimmy made his way to the stern, and got himself on board.

With a good deal of strength, he managed to pull the man into the cabin and muscled him onto the sofa. Once that was accomplished he went to the bridge. "Do me a favor, Max" He said as he grabbed hold of the wheel, "Run them throttles up for me!"

 


Liked 1

Jimmy Drummond

Mechanic, Driver, Racketeer
834
?Years Young
52 Posts

"If it's got an engine, I can drive it."


Muldoon rolled onto his back from his side, a couple of deep breaths told him he was still alive. Even though he was not sure how that happened. He had been out of it, there was motion, a hull bouncing on the swells. It was the boat, the one pulled alongside the dinghy. The young guy that had rescued him. Got him aboard and was taking him to shore.

He blinked a number of times, felt the aches in his muscle, his arms, his back, and neck, the sting of the sunburn. His hands were sore, he held them up, both were blistered from the oar. His knees ached. He knew without looking, they too were rubbed raw from the paddling in his attempt to save himself.

With some effort he sat up, nausea hit him and he grabbed hold of the cushion beneath him. "'ello dere!" He called, his voice cracking with the effort.

"Take the wheel Max."Jimmy said and swung down into the cabin. "You really need to lay back and rest, I've called the Coast Guard, we're taking you into Miami, they have called an ambulance. You're in pretty rough shape, you know."

I was ooeht in that damned boat and left to die. They even choehmmed fahr sharks to 'elp everythin' alahng. I've no idea why, ahr who, joehst, just that they ded. Whoever the 'ell they are!" He forced himself to say, then fell back, out of breath. "Please, call Miami PD, Lieutenant Baxter."

"You got it. What's your name?"

"Moehldoon." came a markedly weak reply. Jimmy hustled back to the bridge, they were closing in on the Miami Marina Jimmy throttled back as they passed the buoy. He took up the mic, "Miami, this is the Liberty, call Miami P.D, Lieutenant Baxter, get him down here. I can see the ambulance, thanks, Miami."

"Calling, your welcome Liberty." Came the reply.

Jimmy looked at Max with a grin, "More excitement than you probably planned on. This could take some time and that might mean heading back to get you to work on time."

"That's okay, Jimmy, this couldn't be helped. You saved that man's life." She said with pride.

"Ah, that's a we, Max, we saved that guy. Man, did you hear what he said about whoever did that to him chummed for sharks?" He asked as he guided the yacht into the nearest slip where the ambulance crew was waiting.


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Lt. Baxter

Police Detective
784
?Years Young
46 Posts

Jimmy Drummond was a name and a face to Baxter, even if his file wasn’t quite as thick as Michael O’Rourke’s. Most of what the smuggler’s minion did took place out of Baxter’s jurisdiction: but he was pretty sure the young hotshot driver and mechanic was partly responsible for a lot of the illicit materials being smuggled into the state and would be more than capable and willing to do more than just run the boats that brought it in. He may even have done more already. It was very likely that one day Baxter would be laying his hand on Jimmy Drummond’s collar.

But not today.

Today Drummond was the hero of the hour, and he’d grant the lad that, at least.

As the ambulancemen mastered the swell of the docked yacht to get the half conscious Muldoon all stretchered up, ready to bring the exhausted man ashore, Baxter, flat footed on the dock, only caught Drummond’s eye the once, and gave him a gruff nod of thanks, an acknowledgement that today was a truce and he wouldn’t be turning the boat upside down looking for drugs or booze.

The ambulancemen did their job with speed and care and were quite adamant that the beetle-browed Chief of Detectives must not talk to the half-dead cop. But Baxter possessed a will harder than any adamantine. He pushed his way toward the supine Muldoon and gave his shoulder a shake, to the consternation of the ambulancemen.

“Muldoon, Muldoon! Snap out of it! Listen, LISTEN! This is important. Where are Betty Wu and Magnolia Brown?!!” he asked urgently, hoping that the big Irishman knew the whereabouts of the two missing girls.


Jimmy Drummond

Mechanic, Driver, Racketeer
834
?Years Young
52 Posts

"If it's got an engine, I can drive it."


“Muldoon, Muldoon! Snap out of it! Listen, LISTEN! This is important. Where are Betty Wu and Magnolia Brown?!!”

Brendon raised up a little, "Who? I - I doehnno 'ahnest. I've, I lahst maybe a day ahr mahre, Lieutenant," Muldoon replied groggily, then dropped back. "Doehnno, doehnno what 'appened."

Jimmy jogged up to the copper, he was one you could spot a mile away. But, this one was well known in Miami. The rare honest cop. "Hey, Baxter, We found him in a dinghy trying to paddle in with one oar. He didn't say anything about what happened, or how he got in that boat. Glad we came along, I don't think he'd a made it."Somebody didn't like him, that's for sure."

Now, Jimmy Drummond was not much for officers of the law, but in this instance, it was different. It was clear he'd saved a copper, and, it was clear this had been something done by the underworld, but who, and why? Professional curiosity he supposed.

Jimmy checked his watch, and if Baxter didn't detain him, there was still time to catch lunch up on the boardwalk, well, what there was of a boardwalk.


Lt. Baxter

Police Detective
784
?Years Young
46 Posts

Brendon raised up a little, "Who? I - I doehnno 'ahnest. I've, I lahst maybe a day ahr mahre, Lieutenant," Muldoon replied groggily, then dropped back. "Doehnno, doehnno what 'appened."

Baxter couldn’t hide the disappointment on his face. Glad as he was to see Muldoon: he feared he had been done away with completely, but the fact that the girl he was meant to make contact with and, bizarrely, that girl’s room-mate, had gone missing was still weighing on his shoulders oppressively.

Jimmy jogged up to the copper, he was one you could spot a mile away. But, this one was well known in Miami. The rare honest cop. "Hey, Baxter, We found him in a dinghy trying to paddle in with one oar. He didn't say anything about what happened, or how he got in that boat. Glad we came along, I don't think he'd a made it. "Somebody didn't like him, that's for sure."

Rowing with one oar? It was almost a metaphor for this whole investigation, going round in circles.  

Jimmy checked his watch, and if Baxter didn't detain him, there was still time to catch lunch up on the boardwalk, well, what there was of a boardwalk.

“Wait!” Baxter let the ambulancemen load Muldoon onto the ambulance and loped after Jimmy. “Dummond!” he hailed him.

“Listen, Muldoon there isn’t the only person gone missing. There’s two girls, too. One’s a Chinese, Betty Wu, sometimes calls herself Judy Wong, the other’s a white girl, Magnolia Brown. If you hear anything on the grave-vine…”

He held up his hand “I know, I know… passing information to the cops, especially after saving the life of one isn’t going to look too great for your reputation. But these girls are innocent, and I don’t need to know anything more than where they are and if they’re still alive.” He didn’t like to have to ask underworld figures for help, and there was no kind of ‘deal’ associated with any of this: there would be no mutual scratching of backs. Baxter just put it out there: up to Drummond, if he knew or found anything out.


Jimmy Drummond

Mechanic, Driver, Racketeer
834
?Years Young
52 Posts

"If it's got an engine, I can drive it."


“Wait!” Baxter let the ambulancemen load Muldoon onto the ambulance and loped after Jimmy. “Dummond!” he hailed him.

"Hold on Max," Jimmy stopped, turned toward the copper."Yeah?" So here it was, he was going to harass him about the boat, sure as hell! It never fails.

“Listen, Muldoon there isn’t the only person gone missing. There’s two girls, too. One’s a Chinese, Betty Wu, sometimes calls herself Judy Wong, the other’s a white girl, Magnolia Brown. If you hear anything on the grave-vine…”

"Hey now. Wait a sec." Jimmy protested. Not that he would have left this Mudoon character out there to fry in the sun, even if he knew he was a cop, the just wasn't his style, now Baxter wanted to know about a couple of missing dames.

He held up his hand “I know, I know… passing information to the cops, especially after saving the life of one isn’t going to look too great for your reputation. But these girls are innocent, and I don’t need to know anything more than where they are and if they’re still alive.” He didn’t like to have to ask underworld figures for help, and there was no kind of ‘deal’ associated with any of this: there would be no mutual scratching of backs. Baxter just put it out there: up to Drummond, if he knew or found anything out.

Jimmy smiled, "Well, then there, now. Look, I need to get my girl some lunch. You wanna come up to that greasy spoon on the walk, we can talk. I need what you know, if, I'm gonna do any good for you. And unless you got some miracle up yer sleeve, I gotta get her back for work this evening. Oh, and my name, her name, and the boat don't make the radio or the papers."

Mary just looked on with real interest, it wasn't like she didn't know what he did for a living, besides the garage. But all of this was more than she expected from a cruise up the coast for lunch.


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Lt. Baxter

Police Detective
784
?Years Young
46 Posts

"All right, but let's make it snappy." 

Baxter would normally have had nothing to do with low-lifes and criminals: once you started making deals with hoodlums, that's when the wheels came off the wagon and your moral integrity started to slide downhill. 

But he felt personally responsible for Betty's disappearance: surely it was no coincidence that she had disappeared without trace the same night that Muldoon had gone undercover at Chinese Charlie's place where she worked and where she was his contact. And that being said, he would at least tell the mechanic a little more of the tale.

The cafe was a dingy affair in the light of day, but Baxter had eaten in worse. Not exactly a proper place to take a lady, but he wondered how much of a lady a companion of Drummond must be! He took off his hat as they entered, revealing the bald pate that few rarely saw. He looked about the place like it was a murder scene.

"You got a regular table?" It was more of a criticism than a question.