Your name is Eagle Tempestro. You are an adventure-loving ex-pat cooling your jets on the sugar sand beaches of Ambergris Caye, Belize. This tropical island, buffeted from the Caribbean Sea by the second largest coral reef in the world, is a playground, a postcard, a paradise.
It is the perfect spot for a washed-up souse like you to waste away your remaining days. In the eighties, Madonna sang, “This is where I long to be,” about your adopted island while rubbing her cleavage in a red flamenco dress. You feel the same way about La Isla Bonita, but you prefer Hawaiian shirts.
You, Eagle Tempestro, are a Lothario and a spendthrift with angry husbands and debt-collectors chomping at your heels the way alligators once did. In your younger days, you swashbuckled, globe-trotted, and fortune-hunted. You were a gambler, a mercenary, a daredevil, an adventurer. Now your biggest fight is repelling the hangover you’ve been earning since Maria made landfall in ‘17.
Your only remaining spoil is a gold medallion featuring a skull and crossbones that you wear on a thick gold chain around your neck. It is your last goal in life to ensure that you are buried wearing it. This is your prized possession and a reminder of your greatest failure.
You’d found the Perezoso treasure. You. Found. It. She was a historic eighteenth-century shipwreck. And it was in only fifteen feet of water. It was snorkel depth, perfect for secretly recovering the loot all by yourself. No salvage ships, no government. Just you.
When you found the treasure, you grabbed the encrusted medallion, but a storm drove you home. That squall lasted three days. For three days, you stared out at sea waiting for the moment you could return. But when you did, the treasure was gone.
You can’t remember today’s date, your birthday, or the price of a rum punch, but you can tally the days since the Perezoso treasure slipped through your sea-wrinkled fingers.
That storm had been intense. It shifted the shoals. But you’d marked the GPS coordinates. It should have been there when you returned.
Had you celebrated too gleefully at the bar that night?
Had you flashed your medallion to the wrong hombre?
Had someone braved the storm, the seas, the lightning, the driving rain to salvage what you would only collect on a calm, sunny day?
Unfortunately, like many nights spent at the Marinero Borracho, you cannot recall the specifics.
During your swashbuckling years, it had always felt like fate was guiding your adventure. You cavorted through life with bluster and aplomb, escaping every scrape with a smile and a story. But that storm rocked your confidence. You’ve been—if we’re being honest here—paralyzed to make a decision ever since. What if you make the wrong choice?
Your waiter arrives, bringing a note along with your next rum punch. You read the first line: “I urgently require your assistance.” You smile assuming the rest will be a plea from a lonely vacationing housewife for a field trip she will not be putting in her scrapbook. That is the kind of note the young Eagle Tempestro would receive.
But this note does not go on to mention assignations, longing, or loins. This note mentions a mission.
I urgently require your assistance. My colleague, Jon Pott, is missing. He was headed to an archeological site on Shark Caye, but never returned. I need to find him without involving the authorities. I can pay you $10,000. Will you help me?
Y or N
You read the note again. Definitely, danger and intrigue are foreshadowed. Archaeological dig? Shark Caye? No authorities? It sounds like a job for Eagle Tempestro—the young Eagle Tempestro, that is, the one who swashbuckled, globe-trotted, and fortune-hunted. On the other hand, when you calculate how many days you can spend on the beach with a ten thousand dollar bar tab, the proposal has its plus sides.
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