Tickling the Dragon’s Tail
Between sun and sea, Kookaburra and Atlantis sailed south through the waters of Shark Bay, Atlantis in the lead.
For Trevor, being back at the helm of his beloved Atlantis was cathartic; for the first time since the pirate attacks, he felt truly whole again.
For Shane, at the helm of Kookaburra, the unease he’d expected was absent, and he found himself enjoying the voyage. He grew comfortable enough to engage the autopilot and dash to the galley to grab a snack.
Returning to the helm, sandwich in hand, he wondered how long it would be until Trevor grew hungry.
They cleared the south end of Dorre Island, still heading south as Dirk Hartog Island came into view to the southwest. In the open waters of the strait, Trevor felt his stomach rumble, and out of habit flicked on the autopilot prior to heading for the galley. It was only when he reached the stairs that he began to wonder what was aboard.
After a fast glance in the utterly empty refrigerator, Trevor opened the pantry, where he found turntables and storage containers, but absolutely nothing to eat or drink. He availed himself of a glass of ice water from the refrigerator’s dispenser, and then made his way back to the cockpit, giving himself a swift mental kick for not thinking to transfer any food over from Kookaburra.
Trevor stretched out in his helm beanbag, enjoying the sensation of wind and sun on his bare torso, though his mind did not stray far from food. He glanced back at Kookaburra, smiling until a sudden thought occurred, ‘Shane checked the galley, so he knew.’
With a wry shake of his head, Trevor picked up the helm microphone, set the radio’s power level to its lowest setting, and transmitted, “Hey Shane, are you receiving?” He knew Shane was monitoring VHF 16, which was standard practice. The low power setting limited the transmitter’s range, so he wasn’t too concerned about being overheard.
“Ahoy, Trev. Doing okay out there?”
“Fine, how are you?” Trevor asked.
“I’m just kicking back having a sandwich. It’s awesome. Really delicious,” Shane replied.
Trevor turned to look at Kookaburra again; she was a quarter of a mile behind Atlantis. ‘Yeah, he knows,’ Trevor thought, keying the microphone. “Did you by any chance notice anything missing from the galley when you checked it out?”
“Nah, everything was fine, just as it should be – except there was no food,” Shane replied, chuckling, and then adding, “I’m really enjoying my cut lunch.”
Trevor’s stomach rumbled again. “You could have mentioned that before we weighed anchor.”
“It’s for your own good. You and galleys are a dangerous combination,” Shane replied, laughing in the sun. “If it’s any help, I’ll be happy to describe this sandwich I made… it’s really very good.”
“Not helping!” Trevor replied, while rubbing his stomach. “How about tossing me some food? I’ll come alongside.”
“Uh, seriously, no can do. I’m doing okay, but I don’t know how to maneuver in close quarters at speed so it could be dangerous,” Shane replied.
“Just put her on autopilot, I’ll do the rest. A sandwich and coke would be great right now, please? I’m hungry,” Trevor pleaded, doing his best to whine.
“Either I’d be in your wind shadow, or you’d be in mine, and we’d have to come really close.”
“You could lower your sails,” Trevor pointed out.
“It took me a while to get ‘em trimmed,” Shane countered.
“But I’m hungry,” Trevor grumbled, checking the navigation screen and seeing that their destination was nearly three hours away.
“How about a few Mars bars? Wouldn’t those taste good right now?” Shane offered.
“Yeah, let me guess… you’re going to eat one and tell me all about it.”
Shane snickered. “Would I do that? Well yeah, I would… except I don’t have any aboard. The thing is, your uncle bet Ned a fiver that you’d sail without noticing the lack of food. I’m always keen to help in a good cause – and Ned losing a bet is about as good as it gets – so I helped by not saying anything when I checked the galley. But what I did do is hide the Mars bars aboard.”
Trevor laughed, long and loud. “They had a bet? Remind me to talk with Uncle Greg about that… Okay, Mars bars sound great – where are they?”
“Like I said, hidden aboard. If I told you, you’d only eat them,” Shane replied.
“Asshole!” Trevor mumbled, glancing around to try to figure out where they could be. He soon realized the futility, and glanced up at his sails as he began cranking in the mainsheet, feeling Atlantis accelerate.
“It’s really for your own good. You might get a cavity if you ate them,” Shane replied, laughing hysterically, as yet unaware of Atlantis’s increase in speed.
Atlantis surged ahead, accelerating through seventeen knots as Trevor again trimmed for more speed. “You’re falling behind. If I can’t eat until I get to where we’re going, I want to get there faster. So, you can either do a speed run to try to keep up, or you’ll be all alone when you take the pass.”
“Cruel and abusive bastard!” Shane hollered, glancing ahead as Atlantis pulled further away. “Blackmailing monster. Okay, you win… the Mars bars are in the back of the bar refrigerator, inside the drawer – so slow down!”
“I will, if they’re there,” Trevor replied with a chuckle, before dashing inside and retrieving the bars. He’d already wolfed down half of one before returning to the cockpit, where he played out the mainsheet. “Got ‘em, and I’m matching pace with you.”
“Cruel, that’s what you are – though even so, I’ll fix you a good supper when we stop,” Shane replied, nervously eyeing the navigation screen, and the narrow turn of South Passage he’d have to negotiate to make the anchorage.
Trevor picked up the trace of tension in Shane’s voice, and guessed its cause. “You’ll do just fine. Just lower the sails as we approach, then follow me in.”
With Atlantis in the lead, they slowly negotiated the sharp turn, narrow channel and tricky currents of South Passage. Shane found it tense, though easier than he’d expected. At last, he let out a sigh of relief as the cove came into view. He waited while Trevor anchored Atlantis and then, chewing on his lip, took Kookaburra in, hesitantly maneuvering her close to Atlantis and at last coming close enough to toss Trevor a line. With that, what was hard became easy, as they hauled the boats together, moored Kookaburra to Atlantis, and then, for good measure, deployed Kookaburra’s anchors.
Trevor bounded aboard Kookaburra to give Shane a hug. “You did great.”
Shane wiped the sweat from his brow with the back of his hand. “Thanks. It was kinda nerve-wracking, but I’m doing okay.”
Trevor gave Shane another hug and a pat on the back before glancing at the sun, which was low in the west. “We’ve got tonight and tomorrow night to get our stuff moved over to Atlantis, so let’s get started while it’s light.”
“Let’s move the anchor and the gun first; those need hiding,” Shane said, heading for Kookaburra’s galley, where the Makarov had been taped to the back of a drawer. Next, they retrieved their solid gold anchor, placing it in Atlantis’s anchor locker. With it secured and locked up, they turned their attention to the gun. “Let’s tape it behind a galley drawer for now; my uncle knows where my secret compartment is,” Trevor said, heading for the galley on Atlantis, gun in hand.
Next came the cash. Trevor led Shane to Atlantis’s crew cabin and then into that cabin’s head. He’d told Shane about his compartment, but Shane had never seen it. Trevor demonstrated how to open it, and then locked the cash inside.
“How many know about this?” Shane asked, with a note of concern.
Trevor nodded, thinking of the growing list. “Too many. My dad, Joel, Julie, and now my uncle, Officer Grundig, and Ned… and that’s just the ones I know of.”
Shane nodded, angling his head. “We should think about making a second hiding place. We’ll have loads of time to work on it soon.”
Trevor remembered an earlier discussion he’d had with Shane. “Good point. This is too short for a rifle anyway. Maybe something like those fake beams on Kookaburra.”
“That’d work. It’d be good if it’d hold the gold too – keeping it as an anchor makes me kinda nervous,” Shane replied.
“Me too,” Trevor agreed.
Most of their clean clothes – neither of them had a large wardrobe – were already stuffed into duffel bags, so those were carried across and deposited in the starboard aft cabin on Atlantis. Then it was time to sort out the galleys. “Mom said she’d stock Kookaburra before she and Martin take her out from Geraldton, but I don’t want to leave her too bare. The thing is, it’s going to take us about ten days to get to Melbourne from Geraldton and we don’t have enough food, no matter what. Plus I don’t like doing blue-water sailing without a lot of extra food and supplies aboard. We’re going to need to reprovision somewhere,” Trevor said.
Shane grinned. “Actually, we don’t. The galley is my department, so I rang Mr. Blake. It’s all handled; they’ll be bringing us a few boxes of food, which should be plenty to get us to Melbourne.”
“I’ll sure be glad when we can just stop in a port without worrying about the damn reporters,” Trevor said, giving Shane a nod of thanks.
Back aboard Kookaburra, they spent some time gathering up a few items. Trevor glanced wistfully at the spear gun. “I’d better leave this for Mom and Martin; it’s theirs,” he said, though he made a mental note to acquire two or three of them at his earliest opportunity.
They soon made their way to Kookaburra’s galley. Atlantis had a full set of galley gear, so they focused on moving the food, using a duffel bag to do so. “I think we should move all the food over now, not just most of it,” Trevor suggested.
“Cruel and abusive bastard! I’d go hungry,” Shane replied, with a mock pout. His eyes then fell on one particular piece of galley gear and, with an evil grin, he pulled Trevor’s garlic crusher from the cupboard. “We can’t forget this; Atlantis doesn’t have one,” he said, holding the garlic crusher – which Trevor so hated – out for him to glare at.
“I’d prefer to burn it,” Trevor grumped, remembering how he’d mistaken it for an EPIRB during his raid on the pirate ship, and then how the garlic crusher had proven useless as a mayday message, only to end up putting the press on his trail.
“Which would make it like most everything else you do in the galley,” Shane said, smoothly depositing the garlic crusher in the duffel bag. “We do actually need it; I’m making lasagna after we sail from Geraldton.”
Trevor frowned. “Okay, but first chance we get, we buy a new one and destroy that one.”
Shane shook his head. “Better to sell it. It’s been in the press, so I think it’d sell well.”
Trevor smirked. “Anything, just so long as I don’t have to keep it. I hate that thing!”
Soon, it was time to move the surfboards across, which took care of the last major items. With that done, Trevor and Shane had dinner before retiring to their cabin aboard Atlantis, with sleep the furthest thing from their minds.
In Florida, Jim Ainsworth studied the copy of Bridget’s asset list that Trevor had sent, which had arrived the previous day. He then glanced at the empty envelope that had contained the safe deposit box keys.
“What’s the verdict, counselor?” Dirk asked, giving his boyfriend a nudge. “You’ve been poring over that since it arrived.”
“A lawyer’s work is never done,” Jim quipped, only to frown at the asset list. “Near as I can tell, this is useless. I’ve checked a few items; they were sold or transferred years ago. My guess is the rest of it is the same. I’ve sent a copy to Gonzalez, and his forensic accountant thinks this would have been extremely damaging had it been used in the divorce filing, though it’s probably worthless now. The safe deposit box keys, on the other hand… They did some checking. Three of the boxes are still active under various names, all female. The interesting thing is that all three were accessed well after Bridget fled Florida. The signatures were a general match for what was on the card, and they have security camera footage of one of the people who accessed a box; she was roughly similar to Bridget, but definitely not her. The boxes were empty when Gonzalez checked. He’s looking into the others, but some were closed years ago. His best guess is Bridget sent people in to retrieve things.”
“When?” Dirk asked, his eyes narrowing.
“After Geraldton and, in one case, three days after that corpse-carrying boat arrived in the Keys,” Jim replied darkly, referring to the boat Bridget had sent Sanchez on.
Dirk scowled. “That means she could still be alive and operating.”
“It’s possible,” Jim said, with a scowl of his own. “Gonzalez thinks so, but he admits it’s a guess. The other explanation is she put the retrievals into play before something happened to her.”
“Does any of this explain why she was still after Trev?” Dirk asked.
Jim sighed as he glanced at the top page of the list he was holding. “Maybe, maybe not. She obviously didn’t need the keys or asset list. However, she might not have known exactly what was aboard, or maybe she just wanted to prevent anyone else from moving on those boxes until she could. That could explain it, but it might not. I don’t buy the power-play excuse that was floated via the Australian Embassy by the cartel, but… what if Bridget really did rip them off, and had the money stashed in some of the boxes? They’d need the keys – obviously somebody had some, but maybe not them. That’d mean Bridget went to Australia to stop anyone getting the only copies of the keys other than her own. She did have to leave Florida in one hell of a hurry, so maybe she used the old boxes and then regretted it. Too many unknowns here. The only good news is that if either theory is true, the threat is over.”
What Jim could not know was that he held the greatest risk to Trevor’s safety in his hands.
Charles Stiles took a sip of his iced tea. “It leaks too much oil, Joel. The street in front of the house still looks like an oil slick, and it wasn’t here all that long,” he said, with a sad but firm shake of his head.
“I could drain the oil out,” Joel offered.
Charles shook his head again, though more adamantly this time. “Its underside and engine compartment are covered with oily sludge, so it’ll still drip. Plus, you’d have to fill it with oil every time you found a potential sucker – I mean buyer... no, ‘sucker’ is a better fit. No one in their right mind would buy that car, Joel.”
“Trev did,” Joel pointed out.
“I rest my case,” Charles replied, with a chuckle. “Seriously though, it’s gotten worse with age.”
“Officer Gonzalez said I had to get it out of impound within a week, and that week ends today. They won’t keep it. I just need somewhere to park it while I try to sell it,” Joel reminded his father, though Charles was well aware of the fact due to Joel having mentioned it twice within the previous hour.
“What about Dirk’s house, or the parking lot of his chandlery?” Charles asked.
Joel shook his head. “I already asked Mr. Carlson. He said he can’t. There’s no on-street parking at his house, and he threw away all the oil drip pans that Trevor used to use months ago. He said the chandlery parking lot won’t allow him to park anything there long-term, and the parking for the marina slips, where Trev used to park, is being repaved – plus his parking tag for there is expired.”
“Dirk Carlson owns the chandlery, the nearby buildings and marina slips, and the parking lot too,” Charles pointed out, and then sighed. “Though I suppose we ought to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that his insurance might be the ones imposing the long-term parking rule. Joel, I know you promised to sell the car for Trev, but I’m not going to let it come here and make a huge mess. I’ll get a ticket that’ll cost more than that car could ever sell for. How much are you asking, anyway?”
Joel shrugged. “I don’t know for sure yet. Maybe I’ll try it at five hundred.”
“If you want my opinion, that’s a thousand dollars too high,” Charles quipped. “Look, I’d love to help, but it just makes too much mess.”
“I could put it in our garage,” Joel offered.
Charles shook his head. “Even if you cleaned out enough room for it, I don’t trust it not to catch fire. Besides, if a car could fit in there, I’d like it to be one of ours.” Like many suburban homes, their garage had accumulated enough stuff to leave no room for cars.
Trevor and Shane woke early, rising with the sun on the new day. Soon, they were tearing into a breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausage, and toast, washed down with coffee.
Trevor glanced at the weather chart and reported, “We should have good winds for the run, but they’ll be getting lighter as the day goes on so we’d better leave early if we want to get to West Wallabi before nightfall.”
Shane, who was still wearing just a towel, glanced at Trevor, and nodded. “Okay, let’s break in the shower tonight instead of now.”
Trevor had ordered Atlantis’s new showers due in large part to them being large enough for two people, so he gave Shane a pout. “We could spare half an hour.”
Shane crossed his arms. “I don’t want to try the approaches to West Wallabi in the dark, and besides, this is sexual harassment.”
“If you think this is, just wait until I get you in the shower,” Trevor replied, waggling both eyebrows.
“Yep, sexual harassment,” Shane replied, stepping into their cabin to get dressed, emerging in blue Speedos a few moments later, which caused Trevor to do a double-take.
“I very much approve,” Trevor said, letting his eyes roam.
“I just want to make good use of the sun, which is no excuse for such harassment,” Shane replied, with a mock pout. “Okay, I’ll go make the rounds on Kookaburra and get her ready to put to sea.”
Trevor made his own rounds of Atlantis, checking her bilges and systems, reveling in her newness, and thrilled to have her back.
On his way back to the cockpit, Trevor, who was wearing shorts, paused by his cabin door, before ducking in, emerging in Speedos and a grin moments later. He raced for the cockpit only to almost run into Shane, who gave him an approving nod and a wink.
“Glad you took the hint. Now, so a certain clueless yank won’t starve, I’m going to make us some sandwiches for lunch,” Shane announced, on his way to Atlantis’s galley.
“I’m actually capable of making a sandwich,” Trevor pointed out as he followed Shane.
“Not a good one, and besides, this is for me as well; most of the food is here, plus I don’t like leaving the cockpit. I’m not comfortable with solo sailing like you are,” Shane said, while making their lunches.
“Thanks for doing this – captaining Kookaburra, I mean. I know it’s not your thing.”
Shane paused to smile at Trevor. “I’m doing okay; it just takes some getting used to. It’s good practice; I’ll need to take my turns at the helm across the Pacific, unless we can find a way to keep you awake for a month at a stretch.”
Ten minutes later, they hauled up Kookaburra’s anchors and Shane motored clear, creeping into the channel while Trevor got Atlantis underway.
Trevor took the lead, heading out of South Passage and close by Steep Point, as Atlantis rolled on the long swells of the Indian Ocean. He waited until he saw Kookaburra’s sails rising to raise his own. Together, Atlantis and Kookaburra sailed south, bound for West Wallabi Island.
At eight that morning, Trevor retrieved the satellite phone from the navigation desk and dialed Joel’s cell.
Five rings later, Joel answered. “Yeah?”
Trevor chuckled. He knew what usually made Joel answer the phone that way. “Hi Joel. Did I catch you guys in the act again?”
Joel laughed, and Lisa’s voice came on the line. “Trev, you do have a knack for bad timing, but in this case you’re about a minute too late. So, how are things going?” she asked.
“Real well, I think. Well, you’ll be seeing me in the press soon, but we think we can deal with that. Anything new on Bridget?” Trevor asked.
“You’ve been in the news for the past few days, linked to the Geraldton bombings, plus that you’d been spotted in a place called Coral Bay.” Joel took a breath, and then fielded Trevor’s question. “Nothing so far, it’s like she’s dropped off the face of the Earth. We’re hoping that the blood they found on that boat with the corpses means she’s dead, but… that just seems too easy. The good news is that even if she’s alive, she’s probably way too busy hiding to make any more trouble for you. Hey, did you ever figure anything out from that weird recipe you found?”
Trevor flinched. He’d told Joel about the haggis recipe, and the asset list and keys. He didn’t want to lie to Joel, but he and Shane had agreed to share the secret of the tape and the gold with no one, for now. So, he prevaricated. “Uh, I’ll fill you in on that when I see you, I’m still being careful with phones.”
Joel tensed, suddenly remembering the bugs and the trouble they’d caused. Even though the police had long since found and removed them, the memory was a bitter one. “Good point, let’s be careful, but, uh, if there’s anything to do with the Bahamas, we need to know soon. We’re heading there for spring break, remember?” Joel asked.
“Yeah, I’m going to send you that list via e-mail. It’s probably useless because it’s over a decade old. The file will be password protected… I’ll use your ATM PIN for the password. Be real careful while you’re there, okay? Don’t do anything risky,” Trevor replied. There were two items in the Bahamas on Bridget’s asset list. One of them was still under her control – for a very specific reason.
“Okay, I’ll keep an eye out for it. Uh, one other thing; Officer Gonzalez called to tell me that your car has to be picked up from impound. They’d sent me a notice already, but I ignored it. I’ll try running an ad in the Auto Trader again, maybe for three hundred.”
With all that had happened, Trevor had forgotten about his dilapidated old Honda. “Whoa, don’t bother. I’ll be home in a few months. ”
Lisa fumbled in the dark to pull the phone closer to her ear, though Joel was still listening. “Trevor Carlson, I hope you mean you’ll be home to sell that horrible thing?”
“No, I’ll need a car there, so why not keep it?”
“TREV!” Lisa bellowed, her voice almost shaking the guesthouse. She then continued in a quiet tone, “You, who own two yachts plus a lot in the bank, want to keep that disgusting rolling wreck? Come on, you can afford a better car… not that I’m admitting that thing should be called a car.”
“Uh, how bad is it now?” Trevor asked.
“Bad,” Joel replied. “It was leaking loads of oil, and the clutch is burned out. It won’t lock in gear; it’s like it doesn’t engage right, like the clutch was partially depressed all the time. It starts to smoke after you’ve gone a few blocks, and I don’t mean the blue smoke from the tailpipe, this is gray smoke from the transmission area.”
“Sounds like it’s gotten worse.”
Lisa rolled her eyes. “Machines do tend to get worse when they’re worn out, Trev, and that heap was worn out long before you bought it.”
“Okay, I’ll have a go at fixing it when I get back,” Trevor replied.
“You are truly insane, as well as a glutton for punishment,” Lisa said, and then asked, “Hey, how’s Shane?”
“He’s doing great. Right now, he’s about half a mile off my port beam, sailing all by himself. We’ll be on the same boat again after tomorrow, but right now, we have two.”
It took Lisa a moment to understand. “You got the tub back!”
“She’s not a tub, Lisa,” Trevor replied with mock anger, and then laughed. “Yeah, we got her back yesterday. She’s absolutely awesome, even better than she ever was.”
“Congratulations, Trev,” Joel said, knowing how much Trevor had craved Atlantis’s return.
They chatted for a couple of minutes, catching up, and then made plans to talk again soon.
As the sun neared the horizon, the low expanse of West Wallabi Island appeared ahead. With Atlantis leading the way through the perilous reefs, they arrived in the sheltered anchorage – the scene of their encounter with Basingstoke and his raft – just before sunset.
They anchored the boats side-by-side and, although he could have simply stepped onto Atlantis, Shane, still wearing just a Speedo, dove overboard from Kookaburra to swim the length of Atlantis’s hulls.
Trevor was waiting at Atlantis’s port aft swim-dive platform when Shane arrived, and watched with rapt attention as Shane slowly hauled himself out of the water, muscles glistening.
Shane reported what he’d seen. “The cellophane and striping Ned put on Atlantis is a bit tattered. We’ll just have to hope it holds up until we leave Geraldton.”
Trevor leaned over the rail to look. “We can fix it up a bit with some tape in the morning.”
They went to the galley for a snack and, as they ate, Trevor told Shane about the call to Lisa and Joel. As Trevor spoke, Shane noticed that Trevor was somewhat uneasy, and asked, “What’s up?”
Trevor shrugged, and then sighed. “I didn’t tell Lisa and Joel about the gold or the tape, but it got me thinking… what about Mom and Martin? Kookaburra was hers, so are we wrong to keep her in the dark about the gold? I won’t do anything without your okay, but it’s just been nagging at me.”
“I’m happy whichever way you decide on that,” Shane replied.
Trevor sighed again. “I know but… It’s just… Part of me wants to tell them, but Shane, she… She faked her own death and left me to mourn. She didn’t show up when I got here, hurt and alone – she waited until she and Dad were free and in the clear of any legal issue. I kind of understand why she felt she had to, but it still bugs me a bit, and that makes me want to keep this a secret too, at least for now – plus, what if they tell Uncle Greg? I guess all that is why I think we should keep this to ourselves for now.”
Shane sat down to think. “Okay, I love the Blakes to bits, but let’s think this through. Mrs. Blake did give Kookaburra to you… actually, she was yours all along, and the gold was part of the boat, though she never knew. The way I see it, the gold is yours and always has been. We also know for a fact that she arrived here with a huge load of cash that she’d made in large part due to dealings with Bridget Bellevue, and that’s probably the root cause of the attempts to kill you. It’s also not as if the Blakes are hurting for money.”
“You were the first to see it as gold, so that makes it ours, not just mine,” Trevor replied, before falling silent to think. He knew that the cash his mother had arrived in Australia with was worth much more than the gold and that part of it was how the Blakes had purchased such a large farm and had no mortgage or other debt. “Yeah, it’s just been bugging me having to keep them and Uncle Greg in the dark after all they’ve done to help. I know we have to with Uncle Greg, due to his job.”
“I see no issue keeping it secret for the time being, and plenty of reasons to do so. Besides, we aren’t keeping this secret forever, just until we get the gold to a safe place and everything is sorted out,” Shane said, and then angled his head. “What we don’t know is what would really happen if the authorities did find out. I know the federal police would take it, but would they be able to keep it? It might help to know,” Shane said, already dashing to the salon, where the computer was set up. He soon had it running and connected to the internet via the satellite phone.
Trevor watched quietly as Shane searched, and then together they read several pages, some of which proved relevant, though none listed the actual text of the law. After half an hour, they returned to one of the first pages, an informational piece on rules for found treasure troves. Shane pointed to the section that they both found alarming, which read,
When dealing with found treasure troves that were intentionally hidden rather than lost, Australian law is in the main based on British common law, though it goes even further. Under Australian law – enforced by both local and national police – the treasure trove is deemed to belong to the Crown – the government – regardless of who found it, or where. At the discretion of the government, the finder may, or may not, receive a reward, though the amount varies. This stands in sharp contrast to the United States where in most treasure trove cases common law is disregarded and the title of the treasure trove is vested in the landowner, though in many states the person who hid it, or their heirs, have a greater legal claim to it than the landowner.
More searching gave support to this position, which prompted Trevor and Shane to scowl. “So, the government would steal it if we found it on land and it was our land. What about a boat, one that’s an American vessel? If anyone ever asks, we were in international waters when we found it, okay?”
“Absolutely, we were,” Shane confirmed, and then tapped at the screen. “From what we see here, my guess is we’d need a lawyer, and even then, we might still get screwed, plus be out a boatload of money for lawyer fees.”
Faced with the apparent likelihood that, under Australian law, the government might indeed steal the gold, Trevor’s mind was made up. “Okay, it’s way the hell better to keep this to ourselves. What they don’t know can’t hurt us. Let’s keep this secret between just us until we can figure out where to hide the gold.”
“Yeah, we don’t want it bloody nicked,” Shane said, nodding in agreement before adding, “And that means the tape as well, because it sort of mentions the gold.”
Trevor blinked as Shane’s words made him see another aspect. “Uh, if it’s hidden by someone, their heirs might have the best claim, so who would be Arnold Bellevue’s heir?”
“His wife. So Bridget might get it, or be able to say what becomes of it. No bloody way; I’d sooner toss it overboard,” Shane said.
“Me too,” Trevor replied.
With that matter settled for the time being, their thoughts turned as one to their planned shower.
As soon as school was out on Friday afternoon, Lisa and Joel drove to the police impound yard. “Where are you going to take that rolling toxic waste dump?” Lisa asked.
Joel gave Lisa a mischievous glance. “How about your house?”
“Yeah, right. My father likes you now, so let’s not wreck that, shall we?” Lisa chuckled, and then nudged Joel’s shoulder. “Maybe we should just take it to a junkyard.”
Joel grinned. “You’re forgetting; we do have a place…”
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Many thanks to my editor EMoe for editing and for his support, encouragement, beta reading, and suggestions.
Special thanks to Graeme, for beta-reading and advice.
Thanks also to Talonrider and MikeL for beta reading.
A big Thank You to RedA for Beta reading and advice.
Thanks also to Low Flyer, for zeta reading.
Special thanks to RickMD, for some major advice and help.
Any remaining errors are mine alone.