Expectations are not full proof, and that was the case with Nikki Santos. When she arrived at the Windjammer Bar and Grill, she looked hotter than a summer in Phoenix. I was expecting some heavy flirting before we headed over to the Chief's sailboat and what I hope would be another round of marathon sex. But what I got was someone who just wanted to check out the place. "I never saw this place before, you know," she said, looking more like one of the tourists. She ordered a club soda and seemed more interested in the cute bartender than she was in me. Well, let's just say -I was pretty much invisible at that moment. I thought they exchanged what I thought were phone numbers, but it was just a napkin for her drink.
I had the beginnings of a buzz and decided it was probably better if I quit while I was ahead. It was apparent Nikki was in her detective mode as her demeanor pretty much said so. We made a little small talk about the joint, and when she finished her club soda, she said, "OK, Sam let's go!" I had to clear the fuzz from my head. When we stepped outside of the Windjammer, the fog was really starting to flow through the Golden Gate and began blanketing the bay. It was cool and a little damp, and it offered me the opportunity to take in a deep breath in an attempt to clear my head.
We found the Chief's boat, LADY OF ERIN, moored at the harbor's eastern end. It was a beautiful-looking boat. It looked brand new. It was gleaming white with red striping running the length of the vessel. Nikki must've read my mind when she said, "he just purchased it earlier this year." I nodded as I pictured the Chief and Maggie O'Halloran standing on the deck beneath the furled canvas mast as they were in the photograph. Obviously, a lot had happened since that seemingly happy couple had their picture taken on the boat.
We made our way down into the vessel and began searching the boat from front to back or stem to stern, a nautical term, I think. I was surprised at the condition of the interior. It was very neat, which would indicate no one had beaten us to the punch. I don't know shit about sailboats, but I soon discovered there's an awful lot of hiding places. We spent at least an hour and a half searching for something -anything that might shed some light on Chief O'Halloran's death, or Maggie O'Halloran’s for that matter.
I looked in every cabinet, drawer, and shelf in the stateroom. I found nothing that I could discern as pertinent to what we needed. Then, Nikki began shouting from the master stateroom, "Sam! I've got something here I think you need to see!"
To be continued...