A Bitcoin Hoarder and a Nay-sayer
The below story is the prologue for the upcoming thriller series, “Tracking Satoshi’s Killer.” An announcement is soon to come with a synopsis and a schedule for the posting of the episodes.
Please excuse the screwed-up line spacing. Coaxing sensible fiction format out of forced centralized forum format is not a skill that a writer has.
The below story is the Intellectual property of Rich Vedder. Write-protected by ProtectRite®
Written by Rich Vedder -- April 1, 2017
Standing with my bare feet washed by the surf, I’m shipwrecked on a sandbar isolated in vast sapphire waters of a remote area of the southernmost Bahamas. The love of my life, the forty-foot sailing sloop, Crypto Lady, purchased by my profits from Bitcoin, floundered in a storm and lies on her side in the sand. If she were fifty feet to the east she’d be floating free in deep water, but getting her there is no small task as you don’t easily move twelve tons of fiberglass and lead. The nearest civilization is small Clarence Town seventy nautical miles to the north and I’m fifty miles off the closest island freighter route. Short of a lucky break, help isn’t coming this way anytime soon.
I look across the blinding-white sands to my yacht-mate, Lori – a young, slender looker wearing her red bikini. Reading a novel, she lounges in the shade of a makeshift tarp fastened to the stern. I have to give her credit for holding out so far because stranded on a sandbar for two months is a recipe for insanity, but then again, she hasn’t been of much help lately either.
I tear a leaf off the solitary mangrove at the edge of the surf, pop it into my mouth, and chew. Seems as if I gravitate towards this scraggly bush. And why do I keep chewing on its leaves? Poor thing’s got it worse than me. Hell, it looks as if it’s sprouting out of the sea when the high tides cover its leggy roots. I’ve watched it claw for survival day after day for two months. Day after day -- all the same -- the trade winds always blowing from east to west, the sea constantly marching from east to west, the fiery heavens arcing over us from east to west - it’s come to seem as if this sand spit’s the only solid thing in our universe, and then maybe not so solid at that, as it struggles to hold from getting swept away. Like us? No, not like us. The sandbar’s struggling to stay, we’re struggling to leave.
I go to Crypto Lady’s bow and check the tension of lines of thick kedge ropes that I’ve rigged to pull her out of her sand trap -- that’s if I can get enough dug out from under her. I listen to the thrumming of the taught ropes as the surf rakes them where they angle down before disappearing into the depths. Waves rudely thump and splash against my beloved ole girl’s seaward side shifting the sands and reclaiming what I had dug out yesterday. Time to get back to digging. I slide under my yacht’s curved bilge, take-up my piece of driftwood, and begin digging sand from under. After a few swipes, my board breaks with a loud crack. I fling it aside, pull myself out, and head over to Lori. “Help me dig. Tomorrow’s spring tide could be our chance to get out,” I say.
She looks up showing the toll that the harsh elements are taking on her features. “My back hurts. That digging’s a man’s job.”
She’s good crew and I have to admit that I’ve grown fond of her, but sometimes she can be a pain in the rear-end. “We don’t have the luxury of lounging if we want to get out of here,” I counter.
“Luxury?! What a hoot! You get rich on bitcoin and look where it’s gotten us!” She pops up and gets into my face. “But oh nooooo! -- won’t part with a single one of your precious coins to call Georgetown for a tow!!”
“We’ve been through that. A tow would be every bit of five thousand and…”
“Charge your damn sat phone!” she interrupts.
“Bitcoin’s going to rally again soon. I’d be…”
She covers her ears with her palms, “I’m not even going to hear that!” She then snatches her salt-soaked paperback from her beach chair and shakes it in my face. “I’ve read this stupid book four times!” She huffs, flings the book to the sand, and stomps off towards the water.
I shrug and head off looking for a stronger piece of driftwood for digging.
From seemingly out of nowhere, Lori cries, “A sail!!”
I rush to her side to see a sailboat in the distance. “Gotta’ send distress!” I yell and scamper up Crypto Lady’s side and Lori follows.
Walking on what was once vertical bulkheads of my boat’s now impossibly canted interior, I snatch the flare kit, scramble up to the cockpit, and fire off two. We watch for a moment and I can see that the boat has turned. “They’re going to help us! I know it!” We dash below and Lori begins digging for fresh clothes as I get on the radio trying to make contact, but to no avail.
The tide has risen covering the sandbar and we stand in ankle-deep seawater watching a well-founded forty-five-foot sloop approach under full sail. The headsail furls and a man darts to his bow and tosses the anchor with the yacht still underway. A moment later his anchor sets and swings the boat around deftly leaving her stern not more than a hundred feet from us - a ballsy maneuver.
Jackson Greenspack -- a husky, sun-darkened middle-aged man in a fresh flowered shirt -- perches on his stern which bobs in the waves. Below him, the name ‘Clamslammer’ is painted boldly across his sleek transom. It strikes me of how grubby and desperate we must look as he takes an uncomfortably long moment to critically inspect what he sees, then says, “Water’s spread too thin there, huh?”
“Can you help us with a pull?” I plead.
“Maybe. When you ready to try?”
“Sunrise tomorrow. Spring tide. Should be an extra foot of water.”
“Tell ya’ what. Join me at sunset for cocktails and we’ll talk about it.”
”Good deal! -- we’ll keep digging til’ then.”
I stop digging sand as the blazing sun is working its way towards the western horizon and watch Lori climb from the boat clutching her waterproof pack bag. “Going somewhere?” I ask. She couldn’t look guiltier if she’d been caught raiding a church collection plate.
“Just to check out the guy’s yacht.”
I pull myself out from under the bilge and face her, angry that she’s going off to leave me to dig alone. She gives a guilty shrug, slinks off to the water, dives in, and swims pulling her floating bag behind her with a lanyard clinched in her teeth. I go back to the work of digging with a sinking feeling.
_**It’s an hour **_before sunset and I look across the water to see Lori helping Jackson rig a sunshade above Clamslammer’s decks and it’s troubling to see that his attention is on her slender curves more than the chore at hand.
_**At sunset, facing **_Jackson from across his cockpit, I sip on a beer as he knocks back double Havana Club rums. The air and water sit unusually thick and still as dirty-gray clouds creeping in from the east make for a pallid evening sky.
“Clamslammer!” Jackson beams. “Hawking penny stocks in my office over the marina, then hopping on my yacht and keel-grinding clams to get through the shallow channel.” He humps his hips and laughs.
Lori pokes her head out of the companionway. She’s drinking fine Cognac and is getting tipsy herself, “Awesome galley! Refrigeration runs twenty-four seven?”
Jackson grins, nods, and thrusts his empty glass to her.
I gaze at Lori, miffed by the way she has established her presence below.
“Good on your beer?” she asks me.
I shake my head apprehensively as I have the painful thought that she could be preparing to jump ship as she disappears below. As unhappy as I am about this developing situation, I must move ahead with the deal to get my boat off the sandbar. “Two thousand’s too much,” I say to Jackson.
He shakes his head. “Not too much. Hell, it’d cost a fortune to get a tow from Georgetown.”
Lori pops up, hands him a fresh drink, then darts back down.
Jackson stomps on his cockpit sole with confidence, “Two hundred horse Perkins. Gobs of torque. I’ll get you off. You got cash?”
”Cryptocurrency. If we agree on a price I can call and have cash in your account within an hour after my boat’s off.”
Jackson sours, “Is it like bitcoin?”
”Friggin’ bitcoin. Bunch of anti-establishment decentrals trying to disrupt the world‘s what they are.”
Lori pokes her head out, “Bitchin’ ice maker, Jackson!” He grins in response.
I need to find out what Lori’s going to do, so I say, “Let’s get going. Any cleaning you need to do down there before we leave?”
She gets an apprehensive look, then to Jackson, “You sure you going to get Crypto Lady off?”
His face spreads into a guilty grin, “Depends.” He then looks away with a soft gurgling sound, looks back to her, and says, “You tell me. Which boat you going with if I don’t?”
Lori’s face flips to me and her eyes flash panic, then to Jackson, “Don’t ask me that!” She darts below.
I sit in shocked silence as Jackson rubs circles in his cockpit sole with a foot. “Uhh …” he Murmurs. He works his thumb over the top of a winch as if he’s polishing it, then turns my way with his eyes cast low. “I don’t take that bitcoin stuff.”
I sit for a moment as the audacity of what he’s doing sinks in, then, “It doesn’t matter, you get dollars into your account.”
He rises and heads for his companionway. “I don’t want to have anything to do with that Ponzi scheme,” then he goes below.
As bad as things have gotten, I must trudge ahead with trying to get my boat off. I poke my head into the companionway and look for Lori but can’t see her. “Lori! You coming with me or not?” I yell.
“Go on. I’m staying here. I’ll get my things later,” comes her voice from behind a door.
I slam my fist onto the cabin top. “Damn you!” I take a moment to think, knowing that I’m too angry for my own good. Can’t get distracted from what I need to do. I then climb into my dingy and row back towards my stranded home.
Wind from the east has broken the still and distant thunder warns of a storm brewing on this dark night as I dig sand by the dim light of a kerosene lantern. I can hear the two thrashing about on Clamslammer as they take down the sunshade. Jackson must have continued putting down double rums because he sounds drunk as he bellows at Lori, “Leeward end first!”
It’s three a.m. I had not paid much attention earlier when Lori had come and collected her possessions. The storm is approaching and should be a Godsend for my task as the rising winds whistle through Crypto Lady’s rigging promising to bring a surge of extra water. The thick lead rope of my kedging tackle throngs and sings like a jumbo piano wire as it is taught with tons of pressure as I crank it in inch by inch on a winch in my canted cockpit. My boat gives a shudder and I think that she might have moved a bit.
Sunrise is soon to come but you wouldn’t know it as lightning cracks the black sky and wind and rain whoosh and howl stinging my exposed skin. Slaving on the winch, I’ve moved Crypto Lady a total of three feet and each small surge gains a little more as the water rises. I hear faint sounds of the two knocking about on Clamslammer and catch Jackson yelling, “Throw it now!”
The raging storm is now overhead and I’m practically swimming in masses of water. I take in another inch of rope and it cries in protest and the fiberglass combing supporting the winch cracks and bulges as it is already far beyond its designed load. I crank with more force and Crypto Lady moves, but then bumps to a stop against something hard. Am I to be defeated when I’m almost there? I have to do this - it’s all or nothing - win or lose. I straddle over the winch, brace firmly, and give it everything that I have with all the leverage that I can muster. I’m seeing stars when Crypto Lady gives a painful moan, shivers, slips forward, and then stops again and teeters on a hard spot. It’s then that rope breaks with a mighty BANG! and missiles by me slapping my calf. Just as it looks as if everything is lost, a rogue gust of wind shoves her sideways. She teeters to the right, hesitates, and then slides into the water and floats free. I scramble, grab my readymade anchor rode, spin it onto the winch, and furiously grind my way towards deeper water.
I haven’t gotten far when the bow of Clamslammer comes drifting by. She’s broadside to the storm and heading for the sandbar with Jackson on the bow with a line coiled to throw. “Catch my line!!” He tosses and it lands beside me. “Help me!! Three thousand!! Got it below!!”
I let the line slide into the water and say, “I don’t take dollars.” Then Clamslammer disappears into the storm.
The storm has left the morning air clean and crisp. Crypto Lady rides on her anchor in twenty feet of water with my kedge ropes lying on the bottom beneath her. I’ll come back for them after some R&R in Georgetown - milk, bread, fresh produce, fresh water …
Lori sits on the high rail of Clamslammer gazing into nothingness like a zombie as the big yacht lies on her side at the edge of the sandbar.
Jackson appears from his companionway and gives me a look that pleads for help.
I crank my engine and check the cooling water spitting from the stern exhaust. Everything’s surprisingly shipshape considering what my ole girl’s been through. I go to the bow and begin hauling the anchor.
Jackson shakes his fist. “Better help me off or I’ll have you live to regret it!”
I’m in my cockpit now. I put the engine into gear and look to him. “I’ll check the value of the dollar when I get to Georgetown. Be back in about a month,” then I motor eastward, set my auto-helm steering, hop up to the foredeck, and hoist my mainsail.
More of this series can be found at my website http://trackingsatoshiskiller.com. You'll probably need to type in the http:// because SEO work has yet to be done on the site.
Bitcoin address: 1DJJqUERJoLfhKRdjiZq6DxUnBL28wTyY1