Fishing . . . for Trouble // Part 1
A true story in the style of a Dateline Podcast. Sort of.
Note: On the way to Florida last week, we binged some True Crime podcasts. As such, I could not get Keith Morrison's voice out of my head when I began to write this, so gave up and gave space for Keith to do his thing. The following is thus presented in the style of what might appear on an episode of Dateline. For better or worse.
Narrow channels like the one outside the Airbnb’s back deck seemed ubiquitous in this part of South Florida, winding along the broken coastline on their way to the Atlantic proper. The sun was unencumbered by clouds and the forest green water was calm, as it had been all week. In fact, the water remained that way most days in this southern paradise, protected as it was on each side by retaining walls and the sloping lawns of the homes that lined the canals.
Abby and Phil Mullins, along with their four children, had already enjoyed a few days in the rented home, fishing off of the dock and making day excursions to the local beaches. January 5, 2023, was shaping up to be another laid-back family vacation day.
But would it be?
Early that beautiful morning, Abby and the youngest son, Sam, had gone to get donuts, a tradition on Mullins family vacations. Ask any of the family and you’ll likely hear the hearty refrain, “We really like donuts.”
While Abby and Sam were out, the rest of the kids still nestled in their beds, Phil busied himself tidying up from the day before, an activity he knew all too well by now.
“We are really messy. It’s incredible how messy. Mind-blowing, really”
Indeed it was. Photos of the trip show the extent of the mess, with what appears to be every cup and glass in the home sitting around the living room and kitchen, each one half-filled with some liquid or another.
Ah, the joys of family life.
But who could blame them? This was vacation after all. Besides, why change what is a good thing for the majority of the family just to save the sanity of a couple?
While he was waiting and cleaning, Phil reflected on how much he was looking forward to the day, a day that the family agreed would involve not much more than hanging out at the home, swimming in the pool, and fishing from the dock that hung over the serene canal. Phil even hoped they would see a manatee, as they had earlier that week.
“I like manatees. They’re big.”
Indeed they are.
The sound of crunching gravel outside caused Phil to peek around the unwashed glasses and cups now piled next to the sink. Seeing the rented car pulling into the drive, Phil secured the stack of dishes and went to the front door. Abby and Sam had arrived. Donuts were here.
But that wasn’t all that was there. As Sam entered the house, he carried not just a box of Dunkin’ donuts but a white plastic bag. Peeking into the bag, Phil noted some miscellaneous fishing supplies, obviously bought from a local bait shop for the days fishing activities. “Cool,” Phil thought to himself.
But WAS it?
Little did Phil, or anyone in the family, know, the contents of that bag would contain more sinister implications, setting in motion a sequence of events that would redefine the family’s definition of “recreational activities”, possibly forever.
Coming up on Fishing for Trouble:
A sudden pain. A family trying to assess the damage. GPS directions turn mysteriously inaccurate. And . . . a routine check-in to the immediate care center turns, well . . .odd.
“I mean, she had to know why I was there. Both hands were on the counter, and one obviously did not look normal.”
To be continued . . .
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What a cliff hanger ... I can't wait for the next episode! As all good Netflix patrons, I'm accustomed to binge watching and have little resilience or patience while waiting out a commercial, much less days or weeks for conclusions to shows. Get back to writing!!!!!