John D MacDonald – Barrier Island

“I don’t know when he’ll be back, really. Maybe I can help.”

“Okay. Maybe you can. But I got to know if he’ll be able to keep an appointment at four o’clock today.”

“Does he know about the appointment?”

“No. I’m making it now, okay?”

“Let me look at his schedule.”


She stared into space for a little while and then said, “He should be free at four o’clock.”

“You going to write this down?”

“I have already written it down, sir.”

“Tell him to be at Feeney’s place at four. Tell him Feeney has some more things he ought to know.”

“How do you spell Feeney?”

“How the hell many ways can there be? You just tell him. Okay?”

“Yes, I’ll ” But the man hung up.

Jeanie had walked back to Dawn’s desk. “Okay?”

Dawn smiled at her and looked beyond her. “All taken care of, dear. I think my boss has come to take me to lunch.”

“How nice for you!”

“Isn’t it, though?”

The Waveland Motel was ten miles west of West Bay on Route 90. Bern Gibbs swung in and parked his dark blue BMW around in the back and then walked to the front office for the key. Garcia was on the desk. He nodded and picked the key off the rack and slapped it down in front of Bern.

“Don’t you give me that smirk, boy, or I’ll get Stace to fire your ass out of here.”

“Big deal. Who would he get to work as cheap as me? Maybe I’ll quit anyways. This little old place is next thing to dead.”

As he walked back to the unit he wondered if it made any sense to keep on sneaking out here to be with Dawn. If Tuck knew about it, a lot of other people knew about it. And sooner or later Nita would know about it. He didn’t like to think of what that might do to her. But he couldn’t think of any way he could stop himself from doing what he was doing. The small pale body of Dawn Marino was addictive. Strange, because she was constructed so much like Nita. The same disproportionately heavy thighs, same slight over bite same large black pubic V, same large brown aureoles around her nipples. But this body was magic and the other one had become boring.

He unlocked the door and they went in and turned on the rackety air conditioner. They undressed in haste and piled onto the bed and, within moments were joined, thrusting, moaning. After they had sagged into postcoital surfeit, they moved to lie side by side, her left leg heavy across his lower belly.

“God, I needed you,” she said. “I kept thinking about it all morning.”

“Me too.”

“Just before you got to the office a funny thing happened.”

“What kind of funny?”

“Funny like strange. There was this call for Wade and the man told Jeanie it was important. Both Ellie and Wade were out and she couldn’t get rid of the guy so she gave me the call and I let him think I was Wade’s secretary. He set up an appointment for Wade to meet him at Feeney’s place at four this afternoon. He said Feeney had something to tell him.”

“Does Jeanie know what he wanted?”

“No, I didn’t tell her. I just told her I took care of it. What is Feeney’s place? Like a bar?”

“Did the man tell Jeanie what he wanted before he told you?”

“No. And I didn’t leave any message for Wade either.”

The rackety window air conditioner cycled again, starting with a thump, settling down to a rumble. As he looked at her she stuck her lower lip out and blew her dark hair away from her eye, and smiled at him.

“So the man thinks Wade will be there?”

“I guess so.”

“He didn’t give a name?”


“What did he sound like?”

“What do you mean?”

“Like an educated man or a bum or what?”

“He sounded like anybody. It was just a voice. Maybe a little bit rough-sounding. You know, like he would have a temper. Like he wouldn’t put up with any kind of shit.”

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