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Chapter 22: "Bad Day At The Office"


Monday night/Tuesday morning, Smith and Thompson bunked at a seaside motel instead of driving all the way back to Tacoma in the middle of the night. They had to go back out the next day anyway. The two walked to the tavern next door to their lodging after they checked in and dropped off their bags. There were just a few patrons, a few pool tables, a few screen doors, a jukebox. The place wasn't intentionally nautically themed but as form follows function it was steeped in its own unavoidable seaside culture. They ordered a couple of lagers and sat on their asses for about an hour, watching the sports news on the tube, speculating about and questioning their arguably tenuous forensic role in the ocean. One way or another, there was one more day of it, and if nothing turned up, they could just go back and pound sand at home farther inland.

“We might have better luck hunting than fishing anyway,” Smith said.

“Cheers to that,” Thompson answered him.

The rain continued through the night, and the Tacoma boys walked through it to the diner next to the tavern next to their motel when breakfast time came. After that, they headed back to the dock and met with the crew. Today's plan was for the Coast Guard staff to dive the area where the Blint Mary was found floating crewless—headless, as it were—full of dead monsters, sharks, and a number of its crew's body parts.

By 8 a.m. they were back out on the water again, with the same crew as yesterday, again headed north for the last known living location of the Blint Mary's crew. The divers were ready with their SCUBA gear, and it was into the drink with them after the interim captain killed the diesels and anchored near the mouth of the Juan de Fuca Strait.

The dive team returned about a half hour later. Crewman Smith: “There is all kinds of shit down there. Among the lagan, that cigarette boat we saw yesterday, or certainly one like it, is down there, smashed but fresh—we can crank what's left of her up from this deck right here and now. Beyond that, there is some commercial fishing gear down there too, but it may or may not be relevant. Some of that stuff might be the Blint Mary's—it's hard to tell.” The crew prepared the gear for raising the evidence from the floor of the shelf.

Thompson and Smith took up a rod from the boat's tack room, and with some coaching from the captain, they wet a line while they helped keep an eye on the water around them.

About noon, they ratcheted up the smushed-up cigarette boat using one of the deck cranks, and set the little wreck down on the deck. There was not much left of it—pretty much just the engine and engine compartment—what hadn't splintered and carried away with the current. The salvage itself would have been much longer than the lion's share of it they raised if it hadn't been so obliterated. It looked like it had been hit with another, bigger vessel, or Bigfoot, or who knows what.

As they all stood on the deck, considering the seemingly blunt and recent demise of the fagboat, they were all suddenly knocked to the deck, as the Blint Mary took a sucker punch of her very own. Another jet boat had nailed her portside, and she took on water and immediately began to list, and it was immediately clear, even to the landlubbing detectives, that she going down. The three divers went to work on the lifeboat apparatus. Everybody on board were already wearing life vests.

A moment later there was a gunshot, then another, and then another, as Smith started putting rounds from his sidearm into a wolfzombiebitch that had boarded damaged side of the boat. The captain also broke leather, and Thompson followed suit. Smith's target fell, but kept flopping around, in some kind of a seizure/breakdance death-rattle tantrum. The captain grabbed a fireman's axe that was hanging at the boat's muster area outside the cabin, and removed her head, but it took several strokes, indicating that their flesh must be more sinewy and gristly than some regular animal or person.

Then, another one jumped over the portside wall, and Thompson put five hollow points into her. Then she also started flopping and flagellating about the deck where she fell, and the captain finished her off with his axe as well. Smith ran across the deck, and peeked over the portside, then again quickly ducked, and yelled back that he could see one more in the attacking boat. He moved, low, about 10 yards from his position where he had looked over the edge, then crouched, waiting; all three men waited for the third one to come over the side from their positions. But when she came over, despite Smith's having moved, she came over right on top of him, swinging a glistening doubleheaded axe.

He shot four times before she reached him, as she came over top of his head, but she still managed to plant that axe into his back from above and with a fury. Then they both crumpled. The captain ran over and ended the writhing of the third furry. Thompson followed to see that Smith was quickly bleeding out. It was obvious he wasn't going to make it. And, listing and sinking fast, the Blint Mary was thus doomed.
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