Suddenly Victor realized Salazar had left him and Evan unprotected on the Blew Bayou. He immediately started searching the bait wells, the pockets alongside the boat, for a weapon. He'd grope around in the dark, grab hold of something, and then examine it when the lighthouse flashed on. He found a fishing gaff, some lines, a net, and a set of boning knives. When he opened the leather box, the knives were lined up by length. He pulled out the two shortest ones and handed one to Evan.
"What am I supposed to do with this?" The lighthouse flashed on, and the knife looked smaller than a box cutter in Evan's hand. "This would barely scale a redfish."
Victor's first impulse was to laugh, but the breeze off the water had shifted. He sniffed. The air carried an electrical charge that buzzed around and through his body. It smelled like fear. "Why don't you check the cabin," Victor said. He started up the ladder to the fly bridge. "There's got to be a pistol on this boat somewhere."
The bridge on the Bertram was twice the size of the Lady Luck's and three times as complicated. When the lighthouse flashed on, Victor gawked at the navigational gauges that spread out fifteen strong across the dash panel. He could pick out the depth finder, the fuel gauges, and the clock, but the rest boggled his mind. A black ball compass bobbed at the panel's center, and the helm rivaled the size of the steering wheel in Victor's car. He gripped the wheel's slick chrome. How he'd like to pilot this beauty! The bow of the boat pointed toward the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico, while the stern provided a perfect view of the Skyway Bridge. Victor imagined flying this yacht across the sleek waters of Tampa Bay.
"Hey!" Victor heard Evan calling from the deck below. "I found a pistol."
Victor headed for the ladder and was halfway down when the lighthouse beam lit up the deck. In that flash, Victor saw a skinny kid with his hair stuffed beneath a baseball cap. The stowaway was pointing a gun at Evan's back. The light flicked off, and Victor froze.