MIW  Submission #6 

Prologue

“Yelp! Yelp! Yelp! A high pitched cry pierced through the air before the different sound of “splish . . .splash” drowned it out.

“So long you little pain in the ass! Raymond cackled as he couched ove and allowed  his bundle to drop slowly overboard into the cold, greenish scawater of the Gulf of Mexico.

Suzie, yelped in fright even before she hit the water and kept on sqealing as she struggled to keep her head upright, simultaneously paddling with her paws. The Shih Tzu hated being in any water, even warm bath water. Suzie had never felt so cold. The towel Raymond used to cover her face, to make sue she couldn’t anticipate what was coming, now floated free. Her owner stretched out over the boat to capture the moving piece of evidence with one hand. Using his other, Raymond pushed down strongly on the small animal’s sinking head, to quickeen the drowning.Suzie’s startled eyes glared at her master in fear ad shock at the same moment that her spirit pleaded to be saved. Although completely under the water, the pitiful, panicked animal managed to continue to struggle. Raymond lost his balance, falling forward far enough to get his arms and the front of his shirt wet, before he managed to recover escaping his own fall into the cold abyss.

Raymond had stopped to pick up a brick-like piece of broken concrete devris from under the Jolly Bridge, before heading to the marina. Now, little Suzie, with her dark brown eyes strained open from the salt water and her front legs flapping away, was being tugged down by that very piece of debris, secured to the rope tied around the poor dog’s collar. It did the job and pulled the frantic animal under. As Suzie sank cold, salt water stung her lungs as they filled with saltwater while pressure from the depths of the Gulf water’s fishing grouns made her last suffering moments ones of excruciating pain. Raymond hadn’t bothered to have the poor creature euthanized before her burial at sea. Now, nothing could be heard but the sound of waves hitting against the boat.

Waiting several minutes to be certain the dog was gone, Raymond then shook out the soaked towel, folded it and laid it to rest on the deck of his vessel. Next, like a criminal trying to hide evidence, Raymond grabbed the doggie life jacket next to the towel and stuffed both into a large plasitc bag, before putting them away. He hadn’t anchored, so this captain o the twenty-two foot vessel turned the engine back on, took a quick look around for any potential eyewitness, saw nothing and pulled away.

Raymond would motor about in the open water for the next two hours before heading back to shore. He would use some of his time to concoct a story as to the accidental drowning of beloved Suzie. It would run along the line of how some stupid-ass boater had suddenly sped dangerously close to them, causing too high and strong a wake. Suzie had slipped right off the back bench seat, where she had been standing. Without any warning, how he grab her? Of course she had her life jacket on and he had circled round and round. Suzie never resurfaced. She must have hit her head on the side oof the boat or worse on the propellers. He could only guess. In an instant the small Shih Tzu was gone. What could he do? Call the Coast Guard to come and out search for a do? It was too late. Nothing could be done. The other boat hadn’t eve slowed down, let alone turned back to see wha harm they had caused. He yelled and yelled out to them, but to no avail. Out aways, far from the channels with no other boats in close sight that might help, there was nothing he could do.

The husband would give it awhile for this story to sink in. Then he planned on cajoling his wife with the suggestion that maybe it was for the best. Fast and quick! Suzie had been diagnosed with cancer and had only months to live, with trips to the vet and pain to endure, despite palliative care. Noww she was at rest.

Once Raymond reached home, he pitched his story. In the days that followed, the husband didn’t waiver. His wife wasn’t buying it, not for one minute!

ONE

They call it “Paradise,” be they tourists or long time residents. This Island, inhabitated by the Calusa people before the Europeans arrived, was composed of 22.8 sq. miles. Half of these miles consisted of land, the other half water on the Southwest Gulf Coast of Florida. This spectacular Island had it all. A beautiful, white sandy beach with plenty of fishing, shelling and recreational boating that was topped off by the gorgeous sunsets to the delight of seasonal as well as allyear-round occupants. Homes, condos, hotels and restaurants snugged the shoreline and inlet waterways. Sailing, kayaking, paddleboarding or navigating the fast waverunners was a favorite way to enjo the waters as well as experience the beauty, shelling and wildlife found on the surrounding Ten Thousand Islands. With a little luck, you might even catch a glimpse of some playful dolphins cruising right by you.

At a slower pace, Tigertail Beach was the nesting site for several endangered species and migrating birds. It featured an Observation Tower with telescopes to better view the wildlife scene. Nearby, over on Tigertail Court, a pair of nesting bald eagles can be seen around their sanctuary. The “Environmentalists” who managed to sneak in such nature preserves, albeit with lawsuits, complained endlessly about overdevelopment. However, most Marco Islanders enjoyed their creature comforts, so they overlooked the mad dash to transform nature’s treasures into man-made slabs of concrete.