John D MacDonald – Barrier Island

“He won’t be taking any more.”

“That would be a real good line in a movie or on the TV. But right now between just us two, it sounds stupid. Plain stupid. You better get on back to work.”

“It isn’t anything I can just shrug off. I had bad dreams last night, like I could see his white face coming up through the black water instead of going down.”

“That’s twice you told me the same thing.”

“So I’m boring you,” Mike said.

“Those two boys down there at the yacht basin, you’re damn well sure they both believe I fired Jack and he packed up and took off.”

“They believe it.”

Tucker Loomis sat on the blue wooden crawl-through and watched big Mike Wasser walk slowly up the green slope to the gate in the wire fencing. He disappeared behind plantings and then Tucker saw him again for a few moments, heading down the road on one of the tractors the maintenance crews used to keep Parklands and the golf course looking trim and elegant. A small cruiser went by and gave him a quick blat on the air horn. He looked and waved. Mrs. Hennesey and her retarded daughter. Bought one of the big places with the money Hennesey made on fast-food franchises before his heart clogged up and quit.

He lifted his fist and started to thump it against the faded blue wood next to him, but the blow landed with a sudden and startling force. He winced and kneaded the edge of his hand. No need to fuss. The wind always blows and the dust always covers everything sooner or -later. Hennesey was asleep in his watertight box back there near town at Golden Gates Cemetery, wearing his best suit, asleep now for a year and a half, with no dreams to bother him at all, at all.


It is ten a.m. on Saturday, September twentieth, and this testimony is being taken in a small banquet room in the West Bay Hyatt Hotel in West Bay, Mississippi. I am D. Porter Mallory, Special Agent in Charge of a team investigating corruption and malfeasance in office in Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana as directed by the Washington Headquarters of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Present at this meeting are Albert Junkins, my executive assistant, James Mocinek of the Washington office of the Attorney General of the United States, Harvey Spelling, an attorney with the Bureau, Mrs. Helen Yoder who will give testimony, and Mr. Daniel Patrick, Mrs. Voder’s personal attorney. This meeting is being taped. A transcript will be provided to Mrs. Yoder and her attorney for their review and approval. Mrs. Yoder was not subpoenaed. She is a voluntary witness.

MALLORY: Mrs. Yoder, I want you and Mr. Patrick to understand just what this meeting involves. This is an informal questioning. The transcript will most probably be presented to a Grand Jury. The proceedings of the Grand Jury are secret, and will not be released to the press or to anyone else. It may be that the Grand Jury will want to see you in person and ask you additional questions. In view of the fact that you came forward of your own volition, I believe it will be possible to have Mr. Patrick with you should you be called before the Grand Jury. In the event the Grand Jury proceedings result in an indictment, and the prosecution feels there is enough evidence to bring this whole matter to trial, it is possible you will be called as a witness for the prosecution. Questioning at that time will lack the leeway and informality that prevails here. Is that clear?

YODER: Yes, it is.

MALLORY: Will you please describe the events of the night of July eleven and the morning of July twelve, over two months ago. Gentlemen, we will save all questions until she has finished her account.

YODER: At that time I’d been separated from my husband for over a month. He was up in Washington on business, and living with his sister when he was in town. There was a benefit out at the Parklands Yacht Club that night. Buddy, my husband his name is Hubbard Yoder but he’s always been called Buddy had bought two tickets for us to go to the benefit back in April, I think, when we were still together. The tickets were on my dressing table. They cost a hundred dollars a couple. I had decided not to go, and then on impulse I changed my mind. I felt restless, so I dressed up and went.

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