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Beyond This Point
Beyond This Point

C: Beyond This Point - The story, Rock Harbor, leads off  the five stories in this latest book.

Excerpt: When Pete came for a visit to the cottage, I told him what Chief Patterson had told me. Pete’s not a procrastinator.

I told Pete about the chief coming to visit, about the two McKay’s bodies found on separate islets, and everything I had read so far. Pete was fascinated by all the information. I told him how both bodies had washed up on separate but close islets.

He said, “Let’s grab Scott’s boat and go out there, Dad.”

“Right now?” I was looking forward to lunch at Clyde’s.

“Yeah Dad. You’re only pretending to be retired, anyway. Let’s get a look first hand while the trail is hot. We should find police markers at the latest scene and I know my navigator program has all those islets marked.”

My neighbor, Scott, had a small motorboat and allowed me to use it anytime he wasn’t. Pete got a gas can and filled up the little tank. I went to Pete’s van to fetch our bag of tools, spotting the crystal bowl filled with my favorite mints. Some things never change, I thought, as I took a handful.

It didn’t take long to head Down East, and we weren’t surprised to see a few old markers and tape as we approached Herter’s Islet. Though no one was around, there were footprints in the sand. We pulled up the boat and stepped out. Collecting evidence is always a tougher prospect on an island of sand, and we weren’t hopeful of finding anything. Pete handed me a Nikon and I started clicking away. There was a marker where Brian’s body had been found. We didn’t expect much else, but perhaps we could verify a few findings. After ten minutes, we folded up and headed down stream, to the next islet, looking for anything that might have floated with the current. We did the same for a few other islets.

Finally, Pete said, pointing, “That should be Markey’s Islet, Dad.”

We made our way over to it. Approaching, we both spotted a small yellow flag. “Take us over there, Captain, will ya?” I said to Pete.

We came up on a sandy mound, spotting more flags. “Here’s some pieces of the marker tape too,” I added, stepping off our boat.

This islet was slightly bigger than most of them, with more ledge, rocks, and green growth. Two of the rocks had some old rope tied to them. There were some beat-up lobster traps on the west side, and we figured some of the locals must stop off here for lunch and to store traps. I took pictures of it all and walked around. Finally, we packed up and headed back home. Perhaps the expedition could be considered a lesson in futility. But far too often, what doesn’t seem important at one point in time on a case can become very important later on. We headed back, docked Scott’s skiff, and walked to the cottage. 

–  –  –

The Next Act
   The Next Act

 The Next Act is our second detective book. We titled the second story of this twenty story book, Sick Call.

Excerpt: One of those cases particularly sticks out in my mind. I received a call from the CIO of the Bronell Company. He had gotten my name through a mutual contact, and we spoke for twenty minutes. The crux of the problem was that employees were getting sick. So why call a detective? That was my first question after Lenny Thompson explained that too many employees were getting sick, coming back to work, and then getting sick again. After dealing with health professionals, environmental testers, and other experts, they decided to call me.

After I hung up, I told Pete the scoop and he laughed. “Dad, there’s so many things in a building that can make people sick. Heck, there might be bacteria in the kitchen, EMF (Electromotive Force) problems, a dirty air building…remember Legionnaires’ disease?”

“I remember that; was it from the air conditioners?”

“I think it was, but why is he calling us?”

“Thompson told me they have a lucrative contract to produce software. He’s concerned about the possibility of electronic eavesdropping, espionage, and sabotage. When he went in to talk to the CEO, he agreed and told Lenny to call me.”

“Sounds like I better get out my TSCM (Technical Surveillance Counter-Measures) equipment.”

“I hope it doesn’t go to that extreme. Let me go see Thompson, and we’ll get a clearer picture, but yeah—maybe get those funky tools out.”

I never did anything like this case and my lack of enthusiasm showed.

I laughed and asked Pete what he had in his bag of tricks, eyeing the big suitcase he had next to him. “How prepared are we to check for a dirty air building, EMF, bacteria, mold, viruses, and all that nasty kind of stuff?” I asked.

“I’ve been researching, and I think we can get started immediately,” he said enthusiastically.

If I sounded less enthusiastic, it was because I knew it would be a tough assignment with little time to find the culprit. Add to that the fact that we might have to send samples to a notoriously slow lab. I had already started to regret taking on this assignment.

“Cheer up, Dad. Tonight we’ll go in for a full EMF inspection.”

I smiled, thinking how blessed I was to have an inquisitive kid who was an electronics engineer. I had never regretted buying him all those chemistry, electronics, and what have you gizmo kits he grew up building, and he never came close to blowing up the house either.

We arrived on the premises at 7 P.M. Once we were in the building, Pete opened up his briefcase, handed me a peculiar looking device, and said, “Take this around to every wall on the first floor.” After fiddling with it he continued, “If it beeps, mark the wall with this and jot it down in your notebook.”

“Are we testing for electrical, magnetic, or RF fields here, Pete?”

He looked up and grinned. “You’ve been reading I see.”

Off I went, and off Pete went in another direction, carrying a similar meter. Security kept an eye on us, and after a brief chat with the guard, Buddy Muller, he confided to me that he had watched the last group check the phones and computers, but nothing had come of it, and the rate of absenteeism was still out of control.

       -   –   –                                     –   –   –                              –   –   –

The story, Gold Fever, is also on audio below: As gold climbed to $900 an ounce, more and more gold commercials popped up. I never had the desire to own gold or the money to buy any, for that matter, but obviously people did. I received a call from my friend Frank Parsons one evening, asking me if I would be interested in a short-term security job C: The entire story on audio –   


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