CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE BY COMMITTEE (9)

You leave Drew and Pauline and go again through the door marked Captain’s Lounge. The tiny alcove is unchanged and you look at the photograph of the Islander Express and try to gauge from it just how much of the enclosed top-deck cabin area you’ve seen. It looks like there are five glass panels that run along the port side of the boat in the photo, although it’s a little difficult to tell because of the exposure. You make a mental note and open the door into the lounge area.

Gavin is here. He has his back to you and is rattling the knob on the door opposite where you stand, the one with the red sign which reads Do Not Enter: Boat Crew Only. You can see the sign peeking over his right shoulder—he’s hunched over, examining the knob closely. Gavin turns and acknowledges you and goes back to the doorknob.

‘Hey gimme your credit card,’ he says without looking at you again.

The Captain’s Lounge has two window panes over the seating booth on the port side of the boat. That leaves three for the bridge, or whatever is behind that door that Gavin is at.

‘I’m not giving you my credit card,’ you say. ‘What are you doing?’

‘Do you know how to pick a lock?’ he says. He turns around then and casts a quick glance around the room and focuses on the cabinets under the sink on the starboard side, across from the blue padded booth and the table. ‘Think there’s a screwdriver in here?’

You don’t move. ‘Is that the bridge in there?’ you say. In here, out of the glare of the sun and the hot salty stillness of the ocean air, you are actually a little cold. You weren’t expecting to be on Catalina Island for very long—enough for some drinks, an early dinner maybe, listening to Eric and Lavinia talk about what they did in Massachusetts, in Florida, in Hawaii, maybe looking around for a waiter to get a cup of house coffee, ignoring Lavinia’s superfluous details about renting a car on the Big Island, becoming slightly and irrationally irritated by the way that Eric keeps his head turned toward Lavinia when she speaks and when he speaks to you, even if their physical closeness means that he is for all intents and purposes staring at her ear canal—and you haven’t brought a jacket with you, or anything warmer to change into once the sun starts to go down and the temperature drops into the ocean.

Gavin is moving around the room now, opening drawers and cabinets. He looks for a long while into the cabinet marked First Aid Station. ‘No screwdriver,’ he says. He sounds defeated.

‘What are you doing,’ you ask again. You step over to the still-open drawers under the microwave on the counter and find a small half-page-size pad of paper with the blue and red Islander Express logo centered on the top of each page. You can’t find anything to write with, though.

‘I figure, this’s gotta be where the captain captains, right?’ Gavin says. He pulls a large red metal first aid kit out from under the counter. ‘Where else are you going to find a drink around here?’

‘You’re breaking into the bridge to get a drink?’ you say.

‘Hooch,’ he says. He winks. ‘I figure a criminal mastermind like yourself has gotta have a few tricks for getting through a locked door.’

‘Har har,’ you say.

The door looks solid. The hinges are visible along the left side. There is hardly any space at all along the bottom of the door, and there is a whitish dragged arc across the thin patterned carpet from where the door swings inward into the lounge area. The Captain’s Lounge has a drop ceiling with acoustic ceiling tiles and two long strips of fluorescent lighting that are, thankfully, turned off. There’s also a grate covering an air duct above the door back out to the alcove that you just came through.

‘Hey,’ Gavin says. The mirth drains from his face. ‘You gonna confess, or what? I don’t want to sit here on this ocean for the rest of my life.’

‘I didn’t do anything,’ you say. ‘At this point I’m not even convinced that anyone else did, either.’

His eyes widen slightly. ‘Convinced? You’re looking to be convinced?’ He sets the first aid kid down on the counter and flips the lid up. He pulls out a small pair of black-handled scissors and takes a few test snips in the air. ‘Does this mean you’re taking the case?’

‘You’re a moron,’ you say. ‘The captain says she won’t move the boat until she has a culprit. It isn’t me. If I can find out who it is, we can get going.’

Gavin holds a small brown bottle of iodine up to the light from the window and peers through it. ‘And I’m the moron,’ he says.

‘Do you see a pen in there?’ you ask.

‘Guy’s got a clipboard downstairs,’ Gavin says. ‘Crew guy. You got any leads?’ He smiles.

‘Good luck with your hooch,’ you say, and turn to leave.

‘Hey hang on,’ Gavin says behind you. ‘As your lawyer I think I’m entitled to know what you’ve got so far. Or at least to borrow your credit card.’

You turn around again and look at him. He’s tucking two white plastic spools of medical tape into one pocket. He pulls something out of the first aid kit.

‘Got your pen,’ he says. He looks at the object in his hand. ‘Oh, it’s a flashlight.’

WHAT DO YOU DO:
Shared publiclyView activity