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So, struggling to balance myself and at the same time set a frozen shrimp on my hook, I was trying to keep an eye out for the shore patrol’s ATV when the shuttle suddenly came streaking in above the trees. It was a gaudy entrance, really. They hovered over the parking lot for longer than needed, then settled into the RV parking area having caused everyone on the beach and in the picnic area to stop what they were doing and gawk. There were fifty or sixty others enjoying the ocean so I figured there was a good chance this wasn’t about me. Still, the eagle and olive branch seals on the shuttle’s polished blue and white surface gave me pause to worry since I recently had more attention from government agencies than any mortal man should have to bear.

It was too good a day to waste. I cast out, teetered a bit, then slowly brought in the slack until I could feel the pyramid sinker. Waiting to feel the quick hard taps on the end of the line, I watched in the direction of the shuttle, hoping its occupants had other business.

Three of them emerged. They were not wearing beachwear. The lead man was short, balding, and wore a light blue Nehru-styled suit with matching sunglasses. He was followed by two in standard black Alfani’s with dark sunglasses. I don’t know why those guys don’t just have the word security embroidered in big letters on their suit backs.

The lead man took a confused path to the edge of the beach, chin up, looking erratically for a particular individual. Too late, I thought to turn my back. The delicate little man’s gaze zeroed in and locked on me. He made an obtuse gesture and began tromping through the sand in my direction, dragging his black suits along with him. Beach-goers continued to stop and stare at the three white-skinned, fully dressed invaders intruding on their shore.

He came to the rock-covered beach and began waving one hand as though it had a handkerchief in it. His bodyguards tried to conceal their embarrassment by scanning the beach for aggressors, though everyone had already decided this man was not worth their attention. I was far enough out that he had to yell, something he did not seem accustomed to. “Mr. Tarn… Mr. Tarn, may I interrupt your maritime quest for a word?”

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