Wednesday, 11:05 PM
Demons rode the waves that night.
The old sixty-horsepower outboard pushed the sixteen foot white
fiberglass skiff through the black water of the bay at a frightening
speed. Carp clung to the wheel of the center console, as if it were the
center of life itself.
Damn this is crazy, he thought. What the hell was he doing out here in
the middle of the night, in the middle of a thunderstorm?
The bay was rough. The storm seemed the meanest of the season. His six
foot frame shook with the cold, but he’d been in tough spots before
and had always come through.
The skiff passed quickly between two narrow bridge supports heading
south, coming dangerously close on the port side. The late night traffic
on the Gandy Bridge remained completely unaware of the small boat. Once
out from under the bridge, Carp could see the red lights at the top of
the two radio towers at the west end of the bridge. Lightning struck
often and deadly. The salty spray and rain had soaked him to the skin
long ago, the thunder claps making him shudder. Each flash of lightning
gave Carp a glimpse of the power plant and the dark outline of the
otherwise uninhabited island. He veered to the right, heading toward a
point halfway down the eastern shore of Weedon Island.
The skiff skirted the green and red navigational buoys that signaled the
entrance to the warm water discharge area of the power plant. No fishing
boats tonight. Carp continued into the darkness, the boat heaving with
Convinced by the last email message, he knew the treasure would be there
waiting for him. He felt it deep inside. The prize of a lifetime,
waiting to be dug up and taken away. Better than winning a lottery.
Visions of women, margaritas, and far away islands spurred him on. He
didn’t care what he had to do to get it. The black swells abated
somewhat as Carp brought the skiff alongside the island and out of the
direct blast of the northwest wind. Weedon Island has several smaller
islands, one of which is named Snake Island, grouped off its eastern
shore. He searched the dark shoreline for the narrow channel between the
When he finally spotted the entrance to the channel a hundred yards
ahead, Carp throttled down the outboard and raised the angle of the
propeller; the water in the channel would be very shallow. As the skiff
slowed, the storm’s fury lessened, slowing the rain to a drizzle, and
Carp sighed with relief. Everything was going to be okay.
Carp eased the skiff through the narrow channel and into the small bay
that separated the two islands. Once inside the bay, he steered left and
slowly worked his way down the western shore of Snake Island. As if on
cue, the clouds separated enough to let the moon shine down. Carp stood
mesmerized as he watched the moonlight shimmer on the sandy strip of
beach to his left.
The skiff glided silently in the now relatively calm water. He beached
the craft about halfway down the length of the beach. Carp hesitated a
moment. He thought he heard movement. “I must be hearing things,” he
said aloud, attributing his thoughts to a case of jangled nerves
acquired on the hard ride across the bay. “Nobody in their right mind
would be out here on a night like this.” Carp had memorized the email
Find the cluster of three palm trees at the center of the beach. Using
the center tree as a starting point, take sixty paces due east, then
forty paces due south.
The three palm trees were directly in front of Carp. He took his
position at the center palm, removed the compass from his left front
jeans pocket, and began counting paces. “One, two”, the going was
tough. In some places, Carp had to crawl through the thick growth of
“Fifty-nine, sixty.” He quickly turned to the south. Forty more
paces brought Carp to a small sandy clearing amid the thick growth. He
dropped to his knees and started digging in the sand like a mad dog. He
dug faster and deeper, oblivious to the fact that his fingertips were
beginning to bleed. Five minutes turned to fifteen. One foot turned to
three. Finally, he felt something hard in the sand. Digging around the
edges, Carp could make out that it was a small chest. There was no
stopping him now. He was home free. In a few minutes, the back breaking
work paid off, and he was hauling the small chest from its hiding place.
Carp could hardly breathe.
The lock on the wooden buccaneer chest looked old and decrepit. He found
a rock and broke the lock. With shaking hands, Carp raised the lid of
the chest. An object, wrapped in brightly colored, orange and white
cloth, rested at the bottom. He thought it very odd that something
buried for hundreds of years could retain such bright colors.
Carp lifted the object from the chest and unwrapped it. The bronze
statue had the face of a woman but the body of a man and was incredibly
beautiful, studded with rubies and emeralds. It strangely reminded him
of his ex-wife, but she would never see any of this treasure. He raised
the statue above his head, the moonlight reflecting off the bronze and
jewels and into his green eyes. His whoop of delight fell silent on the
night. He thought if only his friends could see him now.
But no one would ever see Carp again. A strange blast of light emanated
from the statue and infused Carp, vaporizing the fisherman into the
Excerpted from "The Sand Dollar Club: A Professor Rap Mystery (Professor Rap Mysteries) (Volume 1)" by Chet Stevens. Copyright © 2017 by Chet Stevens. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.