A Reservation for Murder
A Lieutenant Morales Mystery
“Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.”
Sun-Tzu, Chinese general and military strategist, (400 BC)
“You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.”
Nothing much ever happens on Pine Island. So it was all the more surprising when a man who was fishing from the Matlacha drawbridge saw a body floating in the water in Pine Island Sound just a few feet away from the bridge. It was even more surprising when that body turned out to belong to Mike Sullivan.
The body of Mike Sullivan was the first body discovered in Pine Island Sound that January. But it was not the last.
Mike Sullivan was anything but an ordinary kind of guy. He was a part- time fisherman and a full-time jerk. Although he had been on the island only a few months, he had managed to alienate half the island. Night after night, as he sat drinking Coors Light after Coors Light at the bar of the Sunset Bar and Grill, he boasted about his many conquests to his few friends and anyone else who would listen. He claimed that there wasn’t a woman on the island that he couldn’t bed if he really wanted to. And with his wavy dark hair and brooding brown eyes, many a woman on the island had already fallen to his charms.
Recently, Sullivan seemed to have come into some money, no one knew for sure from where or how much. But he was clearly spending it freely. He had bought himself a brand new, candy apple red, Ford F-150 pickup truck with a trailer hitch. The trailer hitch was for a new 32 foot fishing boat which he now kept moored near the Bonita Lodge. A couple of people from the island had been surprised to see him in downtown Fort Myers on several occasions recently wearing a blue pin-striped suit and fancy black loafers, rather than the scruffy jeans and rubber waders he usually wore. That new suit would come in handy now that he was dead and the undertaker laid him out for his funeral, The island’s undertaker, Jeffrey Bonnett, always prided himself on how well the deceased looked in his funeral parlor after he had worked on them. “Hell,” Bonnett often bragged, “some of these poor bastards look better dead than they ever did when they were alive.”
He was particularly proud of the work he did on Sullivan. “He looks like a movie star.” he said, “A goddam movie star.”
When word got around the island that Sullivan had been found dead in the waters of Pine Island Sound, there were not a few men on the island who were relieved. And quite a number of women who were moved to tears.