The Mystery of Seagrass Island (Chapter 5)

Later that evening, Lloyd and Margie were helping the same neighbors that Lloyd had talked into leaving just before the storm. Margie was getting a recipe for boiling lobster from Cindy, the talkative one of the two. Her husband, Corey, just grunted for the most part and looked unhappy to be there. Margie and Cindy’s heads were together concentrating on remembering all the steps when suddenly there was a loud, urgent knocking at the door.

Lloyd couldn’t help but notice that Corey instinctively reached to his side as if to look for a weapon and then dropped his hands and let out a breath slowly.

“I’ll get it,” he said, as nonchalantly as he could.

He opened the door and two police officers stood there blocking the entrance. “Can I help you?” he asked.

“I’m sorry to disturb you, sir,” said the older one. We are looking for Lloyd McDonnell. We were told that he might be here.”

Corey stepped aside almost as in relief. “Of course, he’s right here,” he said and pointed to Lloyd.

Lloyd walked up and shook their hands.

“Nice to finally meet you, sir,” the younger officer said. “You are a legend around here. I’m Frank, I mean Corporal Lightly and this is my Sergeant, Saul Martinson.”

“Well, thank you,” said Lloyd. “Now what is all this about? Is there something I can help you with?”

“Actually, there is,” said Sargent Martinson. “We are a bit short handed…”

“Now wait just a minute!” interrupted Margie from across the room. “Lloyd is retired!”

“Mrs. McDonnell?” asked Martinson. “It is such a pleasure to meet you. Your sleuthing abilities have been admired for years. I had heard that you and your husband retired to Seagrass Island but I didn’t expect to see such a young woman as you. Why, you’re too young to retire.”

“Aww… are so sweet,” said Margie as she put her hand over her face in modesty. A sudden shade of red brightened Margie’s cheeks as she became aware of the trickery going on. “Now wait a minute!” she said. “Are you buttering me up?”

“Is it working?” he asked.

“Well, maybe just a little,” she said. “I guess we could listen to them Lloyd. What would that hurt?”

Lloyd had been watching the scene unfold and admiring the tactics of the officers. He said with an indulgent smile, “I guess it wouldn’t hurt to hear it, dear.”

Everyone listened carefully as Sergeant Martinson explained the situation on Seagrass Island. “There is a lot of flooding in the low lying areas and some trees have pulled the power lines down. Some places are still unsafe but we have crews working to get everything back in order. As you know, we only have a limited force here on the island but that is usually sufficient. We are borrowing a lot of men from the Charleston police force currently but without bringing someone in from the upstate, we don’t have any detectives available.”

“What do you need detectives for?” Margie asked.

“Why, the murder of course,” said the officer.

Lloyd and Margie both looked up and said in unison, “What murder?”

Sargent Martinson rubbed his chin and said, “Well, the body that you found earlier today had a large quantity of poison injected in it before it was strung up to look like a suicide.”

“How did you find this out so quickly?” Lloyd asked.

“The coroner spotted the injection area pretty quickly and they ran a blood sample over to Charleston. Having all that extra help here for the storm seems to be working in our favor. The commissioner wants this solved quietly and quickly. He has enough on his plate trying to help the Mayor keep morale up after the storm. We wouldn’t want to add any more panic to the mix, now would we?” The officer looked hopefully at Lloyd and Margie.

“This would be a one-time emergency kind of thing, right?” said Lloyd. “We aren’t coming back full time.”

“Definitely,” chimed in Margie.

“Great,” Martinson said. “Captain Ralph said he knew you two would be willing to help.”

“Captain Ralph?” Said Lloyd. “That settles it. We have to help, Margie.”

Margie rolled her eyes. “Alright, alright, but not for Captain Ralph,” – she drew out the “f” sound as she said it. “I will do this for you dear,” and she hugged Lloyd’s arm to her body.

Lloyd smiled down at her. “Thank you dear,” he said.

“Okay, Sargent,” said Lloyd. “Catch us up to speed.”

“Well, you already know about as much as we do,” he said. “You said you had met the victim before, Seth Logan. He was a local boy for the most part. He lived here when he was young. Moved to the mainland as an adult and then came back here to live about two years ago. He worked for the Arts Center so you will want to talk to Annabelle Poe, but you already know that. Oh and he was a tree hugger. An environmentalist is what he called himself I believe. The only conflict that I have been able to find out about so far has something to do with him and that new scientific research facility that was built on the far side of the island. I haven’t been there yet to talk to them but they might have some info.

Lloyd rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “I haven’t been over to take a look at that thing either. They just finished it a couple of months ago and Margie said they made a nice donation to the Arts Center as good neighbors. I haven’t heard anything negative about it. Wasn’t it something to do with studying the wildlife on the island?”

“Yeah, that’s the story that I heard too but then why would that bother our ’environmentalist?’ Something to look into anyway.”

“Sounds good. You gave us a good place to start,” said Lloyd. “We’ll check in with you when we find out anything. Thank you for coming by, Sergeant, and you too Corporal.” The two officers tipped their hats to Margie and left.

Lloyd closed the door and turned around, “Well, Margie, looks like we have a mystery to solve!”

Margie smiled and said, “Okay, I guess we better all get some rest.” They said their good nights to Cindy and Corey and went back home, exhausted from the day’s events.

To be continued…