Once again, the old red ship in the harbor was as black as night inside. Using his flashlight for just a moment to get his bearings, Sam started off down the corridor. He passed an open hallway to his right but dared not try the flashlight again. Just as he passed it Sam heard a flurry of movement behind him. He crouched and turned in a defensive move just in time to feel the weight of a man drop on him. A heavy man. The air was forced out of his lungs. Gasping and reaching for his pistol Sam felt a fist connect with the side of his head. It was a glancing blow which still hurt, but didn’t put him down. As Sam grabbed his pistol he pulled out the flashlight with his other hand. While the light momentarily blinded his attacker, Sam lashed out with his foot, striking the man in the gut. The attacker dropped to all fours. Sam used his pistol to smash the man in the back of the head, dropping him all the way to the floor. Not getting a good look at his pursuers the first time he was on the ship, Sam wasn’t sure who this was. Monty or Jerry was his guess. Suddenly hearing footsteps approaching, Sam lifted his gun and squeezed off a shot toward where his new assailant had appeared from around the corner.
“The next one goes right through your forehead pal,” Sam said. Shining the flashlight in his direction revealed the new guy to be Michael, Madame DuPree’s right hand man. “Nice to see you again, Michael,” Sam said, sarcastically. Michael stood without speaking. “Chatty as ever, I see,” Sam quipped. Behind the man, Sam could see light spilling from the same room he had rescued Christi from. “Alright Michael, this is how it’s going to go down. You’re going to grab your friend off the floor here,” Sam said, motioning to the first assailant. “You drag him into this room and then we”re all going to have a friendly little talk. Unless you’d rather not. Then I’ll just kill you. Either way works fine for me.” Michael, with just a moments hesitation, walked to the prone man on the floor, scooped him up under his arms and dragged him around the corner and into the lighted room. Sam followed. Inside the room Sam found a surprise waiting for him.
“Oh Sam mon! I’m so glad you are here. You’re saving me again!” Christi cried. Christi was once again tied to a chair. Beside her, also tied up was Madame DuPree. Behind the two women was another man. Probably Monty or Jerry, whichever one wasn’t being dragged in by Michael. The man began to raise the 45 in his hand, but Sam stopped him.
“You’ll die for trying buddy,” Sam said, holding his 44 at the heart level of the man. “Lay the gun on the floor and kick it my direction. It ain’t worth it pal, just do it.” The man looked at Michael and then back at Sam. He did as Sam told him. Picking the pistol off the floor Sam kept one on Michael and the other on Monty/Jerry. Suddenly Monty/Jerry lunged. Sam brought both pistols to bear on him but before he could get a shot off, Michael was on him. Michael’s arms wrapped tightly around Sam’s, keeping him from shooting behind him. Sam twisted in Michael’s grip just enough to bring his pistol up and squeezing off two quick shots, landed both bullets in Monty/Jerry’s abdomen. The man screamed and dropped to the floor. Michael reached out and grabbed the gun in Sam’s hand. Twisting it backward, Sam let go with a yell of pain. Michael’s grip had loosened on Sam however, and he twisted out of his arms. Backing up several steps, Sam pointed Monty/Jerry’s gun at Michael. Michael lunged at Sam.
Sam started shooting. Just as he did, several policemen came barging through the door. Behind them was Captain Amos. Everything came to a halt. Several guns came to bear on Michael even though Sam had shot him twice. The big man hadn’t even flinched when Sam’s bullets hit him. But with as many police as there was, his choice was either quit or get killed. He stood quiet as he was being handcuffed.
“You alright, Sam?” The Captain asked. “Good idea for you to wear that wire,” said Amos. “I think if we search this boat, we’ll find what these goons were up to.”
Everyone, except Sam was handcuffed and taken down town. Christi begged and pleaded with Sam and the police to set her free. Sam told her they needed to get everything sorted out and if she didn’t do anything wrong, she would eventually be let out. She was not happy. She screeched and cried all the way out of the ship.
A few days later, Sam sat at his desk. As the workman finished his new glass window he tried to recall how many of them he’d had replaced. “You know,” the man said to Sam. “You’re putting my kids through college with these window replacements. Not that I mind, but maybe you ought to think about a solid door.” Sam wrote him a check and sent him on his way. Just as he was thinking about Christi and hoping she would make out okay, the phone rang. It was Captain Amos.
“Yeah, Sam,” he began, “Looks like your girlfriend’s story checks out. We’re letting her go. She’ll need to stick around awhile to testify but for now, she’s free. Pretty much looks like what you told us. The old lady was selling drugs and the big guy was working for her and selling drugs in direct competition with her. They’re all going to plead not guilty of course so it looks like it could be a lengthy trial. Oh, and your girlfriend wants you to come pick her up. Now.”
“She’s not my girl….” Sam started to say, but Captain Amos had already hung up the phone. Sam was reluctant to pick her up. She was a material witness to the crimes and so was Sam. They were both heavily involved and any contact between them could be problematic. But the Chief sort of okayed Sam picking her up, so… Sam grabbed his coat and started to head for the door when something fell out of his pocket. He stared at the object on the floor. It was a Tarot card. The back was facing up and it had the same design as the deck Madame DuPree had used. Sam sighed heavily, bent down and picked it up. How the heck did that get in my coat, he thought. Turning the card over proved to be a bad idea. It was “The Lovers.”