“Is he okay?” I asked.
“No, he’s dead,” Lloyd said to me. “Know what I mean?”
Lloyd looked me directly in the eye and a chill ran down my spine, which was half to do with Nico and half to do with Lloyd’s preternaturally blue eyes. Match those peepers with his black hair and 6’4” lithe body, and he was every bit of a vampire who just happened to have a tan.
Carlos and Lloyd brought Nico down to a cabin, while one of the deck crew called ahead to Bocas Town Marina to say that we’d need an ambulance to drive us less than half a mile to the hospital.
“I suppose we should tell Walter,” Lloyd dryly said, clinically looking over the body. “I’m not this kind of doctor, I suppose, but I’d say massive coronary. Drowning?” He tenderly touched Nico’s face. “Good night, dear friend.”
We abstained from speech, as drunken revelers stomped around above us. Carlos paced and let us know that we’d need to give the ambulance driver cash when we arrived, as soon as someone could find him. The driver also had a cab that went to Bluff Beach and back, where sometimes he’d spend the day if business was slow. It was unclear whether the vehicle was technically an ambulance at all.
“Of course it is,” Carlos said with a bad poker face.
“Lexie,” I heard Olivia sing from the top of the stairs. “We need you! Migs has a very particular concept for this photo—”
“Can you come down here, Olivia?” I meekly asked.
“Migs has a concept for disembarking very artfully, taking photos while,” she continued, walking into the room and laying eyes upon the corpse. “This is not happening. God damn, this is not happening. What happened? Is he okay?”
Lloyd lit a cigarette.
Of course he did.
“I’m not that kind of doctor,” he said for the second time, stopping when Walter walked into the room.
Walter appeared not to believe what he saw; his dear friend laying still on the bed.
Olivia looked wildly around the room.
The boat docked at the key side and I heard footsteps as our partygoers disembarked above us. Carlos had his crew tempting people away from the ship, making the masses forget that they hadn’t moved on to a second snorkeling spot.
Walter sat silent, head in his hands, elbows on his knees. Olivia, Carlos, and Lloyd heatedly discussed what would happen next. The room went silent when the next thing that Olivia said was, “Let’s keep this quiet until we know what happened. I want to have all the information before we tell the guests.”
Oh no. She’s up to something.
When the group started talking again, Lloyd nodded and motioned towards Carlos and said, “Just let the captain there tell them there was an unfortunate snorkeling incident. I get it, Olivia. Ducks in a row and all that.”
“I’m not saying snorkeling incident,” Carlos chided. “I’ve got insurance to worry about. Unfortunate snorkeling incident? What’s wrong with you?”
“You want a list?” Lloyd calmly asked.
How could you fault a man for being crazy when he so casually owned it?
Did they have a point? I suppose that it might have been wise to wait until it was clear what had happened. Lloyd looked at her, in what I can only describe as clinical bemusement, and gifted her with enough rope to hang herself. He abruptly offered to remove himself from the boat and treat the remaining guests to a late afternoon cocktail at the Pickled Parrot, five minutes across the bay on Isla Carenero.
Walter made a b-line for the bathroom, hand clasped over his mouth.
Lloyd ran his hand through his thick dark hair as he put his sunglasses on, lighting another cigarette, smirking at everyone remaining through his dark lenses.
He handed me a wad of cash for whatever corrupt local might need it and left, turning back to cynically say to Olivia, “I’m so very sorry for your loss.”