On Nobles Island, most people think nothing ever happens here. And usually it doesn’t. Normal days are spent with people working or beaching, or sharing everybody’s business at my bar, Dunno’s or with Elaine Wilding, independent contractor of gossip. Days come and go pretty much the same, except for Party Monday. My dad, Samuel Nobles, started Party Monday to help boost business after the weekend. Monday’s are known as the dead zone in the bar world, so, if you’re sorry it’s Monday, time to celebrate. You come by and get your first drink for a dollar, no matter what it is. Good deal, huh? It was a money maker from the jump and (because I’m not stupid) when I took over Dunno’s, I kept it.
I’m Sawyer Nobles, and Dunno’s has been owned by my family since before Prohibition. My great grandfather opened it about 20 years before Carrie Nation went all crazy with her ax. Since we’re an island, we managed to avoid most of that. Dunno’s attracted people who wanted to drink without being arrested and later, people who had made a boat load of money making bath tub gin. It worked out, because when you’re an island off the coast of Florida, cops don’t really spend a lot of time giving you static if they’ve got to take a twenty minute boat ride before they can arrest you. So, Dunno’s has been in the family for a while now and I’m just the latest Nobles to run it. My ‘day job’ is being Sheriff, which isn’t that hard. We mostly have to arrest people who drink too much or speed through town. There’s not a lot of murdering going on around here. Until this Party Monday came and Mike Hapsburg changed all that.
I was at Dunno’s, had the liquor stocked and the peanuts in their bowls. It was almost quitting time for most of the little shops, and the tourists were coming in from the beach, ready for sunburn ‘medicine’. They ambled along the sidewalk, marveling at our palm trees, how quaint we were and wondered how much it would cost to live here. Me, I was just sitting down to throw back a beer and made the mistake of looking up. Scratch that. Not a mistake exactly. More like one of those moments when you think, what the hell is that?
‘That’ turned out to be Mike Hapsburg’s body landing on Stevie Linwood’s classic blue ’66 Corvette. I watched with my mouth hanging open as the fiberglass split apart, the bright blue pieces flying like shrapnel everywhere, a few of them right at me. I ducked and said a quick thanks to my old coach for all the drills he made us run.
Straightening up, I was drawn by the sight of the body dressed in standard Nobles Island issue, khakis and a tee shirt, now molded to the interior of the car. He was wearing one flip flop and I wondered where the other one was. Twisted body parts and no small amount of blood came into sharp focus and the closer I got, the more certain I was that, yeah, this was definitely Mike. I wasn’t the only one who came to look, either. Old Man River (no, that’s really his name) came hobbling up, leaning on his cane. He looked at Mike, the car and then me, said, “Well, there goes that money,” followed by “Stevie’s gonna be pissed,” and moved on his way, shaking his head muttering something about the folly of ruining a great car.