The drop-down window shades remained locked up tight from late last night. Remains of the party that took place overnight still littered the picnic table, and empty beer bottles lay everywhere.
I opened up the side door and found the interior in the same condition. Usually, Duncan arrived early to clean up and get ready to open at noon. It was apparent that he’d never shown at all this morning.
Locking the door behind me, I headed down the footpath toward his bungalow. His small pad was situated not far from the bar. Ideal for a quick run home if he’d had too much of his inventory or to bring company if he got lucky.
Either way, He’d never been late to clean and open up. In the ten years I’d been helping him run his little enterprise, he’d always shown up. Duncan was as reliable as my old watch.
A fine mist of sand and water covered the bungalow porch, but no tracks indicating him entering or leaving. He never locked his door, so that didn’t mean anything. Inside, no Duncan passed out or extra females’ bodies in the bed either.
I opened a beer from his fridge and sat on the wicker chair on the porch. Last night wasn’t as straightforward as I wished, but I remembered him saying something about meeting a guy to make a deal. What kind of deal? Who? When where? I had no clue.
So I started back up the path to the bar to find Duncan was there. The bar was clean and open when I got to the beach. “Hey, Buddy, where you been?” He grinned and passed me an icy beer.
It looked like him, sounded like him.
But it wasn’t him.