John D MacDonald – Barrier Island

“I don’t know what to say.”

“I took you up on the hilltop, my friend, and I showed you a piece of the golden future that could all be yours. Let me make something else clear. Unless we work this out, you and me, in a way that satisfies me, not only are you not going to have anything more to do with Parklands ever, but you are not going to do much business of any kind in West Bay or anywhere near West Bay. No bank is going to go along with any deal you try to set up. I’m not a vindictive fella, Bern. I just feel that deceit and disloyalty should be punished.”

“Jesus Christ, Tuck!”

“I better be Mr. Loomis until we get this worked out, Gibbs.”

“What is there to work out?”

“Haven’t you been listening? There is a cold breeze blowing on my ass. There is a chance that my friend at court will get his balls back in running condition and he’ll do just like he promised in the beginning. But suppose he don’t. I’m going to be there in court looking like a dummy when they bring up these deeds to Ezra Feeney, Jack Simms, Dutch Stanfield and Frankie Phipps. Those four all work for me. What can happen in court that can make me smile and smile? Take a guess.”

“Uh… it turns out they have enough money to buy the land?”


“Oh! It turns out we have no record of those deeds?”

“You’re getting warm.”

“But how can you handle the recording ”

“Didn’t that little girl of yours, that Dawn Marina ”


“Anyway, Marina Marino, the one you get to screw every once in a while at the Waveland Motel.”

“I guess I shouldn’t ask how you know that.”

“No, you shouldn’t ask, but I’ll tell you. When I wondered if it could be you jerking me around, I had some people look into your lifestyle, and they come up with this Dawn woman. Anyway, she did the notarizing?”

“The deeds all came back to the office with the signatures of the principals and the witnesses and they came back all notarized in your office. She took them down for recording.”

“But she is a notary public?”


“And you tell her to notarize a blank sheet of paper, she’ll do it, won’t she?”

“Yes sir. I guess so.”

“Be sure, damn it. Will she?”

“Yes sir.”

“I don’t think we’ll have to use her for anything at all. But the two of you, you and Dawn, you got to get any trace of those deeds and sales out of your office and off your records. So you make that little lady notarize some blank sheets and you hide them away and when she asks about them, which she will, you just smile mysterious. Can you do that? I just want to ‘know she’ll be there if we need her. What we’ll do on those four, we’ll make up a new set of originals and we’ll have somebody else sign as notary, and I’ll have some other people sign the names of Phipps and Feeney and Simms and Stanfield. The witnesses will be some people that don’t exist. I can guar an-goddamn-tee you that those boys that work for me will have no memory at all of buying any land. Warner will make sure the copies in the court house get switched.

You take care of your office and I’ll take care of everything else, and then if it comes up at the proceedings, it is going to look like a plot against me, like some clumsy kind of shit cooked up by the ecofreaks.”

“There’s a lot of loose ends, Mr. Loomis.”

“So you and me, we clip off every one we can find. And what you have to do and this is important is to keep your mouth shut. Let whoever tried to screw me think they’re getting away with it. That’s important. Maybe it won’t ever have to come out if my little friend gets his self back on the track. But if he doesn’t, I want to be ready to run a counter-play. Is that clear?”

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Categories: John D MacDonald