Death on a Vineyard Beach

Death on a Vineyard Beach by Philip R. Craig Read Free Book Online

Book: Death on a Vineyard Beach by Philip R. Craig Read Free Book Online
Authors: Philip R. Craig
only come back to me if the wind came around to the northeast, an occurrence that was not foretold by my radio weatherman. I put one fillet in the freezer, and the other in the fridge. Then I rinsed and sorted the quahogs. I put two dozen littlenecks in the fridge for the evening’s hors d’oeuvres, and the rest, bagged, into the freezer. I also bagged and froze the cherrystones for future clams casino. Then I steamed the stuffers.
    When the shells opened, I cooled and ground the meat, mixed in minced onion, chopped celery, chopped green pepper, bread crumbs, and a few doses of Dos Gringos hot sauce to pep things up, and put the mixture back into the shells. I put a bit of bacon on top of each shell, and put the shells into the fridge. Stuffed quahogs would follow the evening’s littlenecks on the half shell and precede the baked bluefish with dill sauce.
    I had a ham and cheese sandwich, washed down with a couple of bottles of Sam Adams, then, abandoning my bathing suit so as to ensure the quality of my all-over tan, and clad only in Tevas and dark glasses, I mowed the lawn, filled the bird feeders, and washed a couple of loads of clothes, hanging them afterward on the line of the solar dryer.
    By the time Zee got home from work, I was dressed again, and had the littlenecks open and the Lukusowa waiting. She got out of her uniform and into shirt and shorts, and we went up on the balcony, where we sipped and nibbled and I told her about the telephone call.
    â€œI said we’d go, but I can change my mind if you don’t want to.”
    â€œI’ve been thinking about that whole business,” said Zee. “I can’t decide whether this Marcus guy is some sortof crook, or what. I mean, why would he need a bodyguard? Who needs a bodyguard?”
    â€œI don’t mind guarding your body,” I said, leering.
    â€œHow sweet.” She fluttered her long, dark lashes and patted my thigh. “Anyway, I think I do want to go. Just to see what kind of a man he is. How about you?”
    â€œMe, too. For the same reasons.”
    â€œThen let’s do it.”
    Like many casual decisions, this one had unanticipated consequences.

   6   
    Shortly before seven that Saturday, a dark-windowed Cherokee came down our driveway and turned around in the yard. The driver’s door opened and Vinnie got out. I recognized him as the driver of the Cadillac I’d seen at the Wang Center. We left the screened porch and went out to the car.
    â€œGood evening,” said Zee.
    Vinnie thought about that. It didn’t look easy for him. “Good evening,” he said, as he opened a rear door for us.
    Vinnie drove efficiently. He took a right at the end of our driveway, a left at the blinker onto the Airport Road, another right onto the West Tisbury Road, and drove on through West Tisbury and Chilmark to Gay Head. There, he turned off into one of those unobtrusive dirt driveways that lead away from the island’s paved roads. There was a mailbox beside the driveway with the name Gubatose written on it.
    Tangled trees and undergrowth were on both sides of the driveway. About fifty yards from the pavement we came to a gate. There was a weathered sign on it saying PRIVATE PROPERTY , and forbidding hunting, fishing, and trespassing. On this side of the gate was a space where cars could turn around and go back. On the other side of the gate, abouthalfway up a tree, the evening light glinted momentarily on a partially hidden object that appeared to me to be a camera of some sort, aimed at the gate.
    Vinnie touched a button on his dashboard, and the gate swung open. We passed through, and it swung shut again. We drove another fifty yards, and the narrow, dirt driveway widened and became paved. It wound up through increasingly manicured grounds until it emerged onto a rolling lawn that rose to the top of a hill. The road curved up toward a white slash just below the ridge, and as we approached

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