Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas in Jail – Part 1 of 3

(Excerpt from Vengenace Is Mine)

They put me in a small holding cell at the Galveston Police Station without booking me. One of the guards said I'd probably be released soon, but after the cruise ship blew up, they changed their mind. I was photographed, fingerprinted and moved to a larger, private cell alongside other prisoners.

I started to call Angela when I was offered a phone call, thinking she might have more pull with the police, but I called Dad instead. He was in an airport in Los Angeles and wanted to cancel his trip and come to Galveston. I talked him out of it by telling him the police would learn I had nothing to do with the cruise ship bombing. They would find out that Tex and I had helped the investigation by discovering the place where the bomb was probably made. Dad's voice was more serious than I'd heard in some time while he was probably making his decision about coming or not. Finally, he said for me not to worry because he'd take care of everything.

I don't know if all the jail scuttlebutt was accurate or not, but based on what I heard from jailers and inmates, the bomb had exploded in the crew's quarters on the cruise ship. The ship's name was the same as the name on the ID card Tex and I had found in the warehouse. Since the explosion was below the water line, the ship sunk quickly. No one in the rumor mill here knew how many people had been lost, but I heard there were other ships in the area picking up survivors.

Sitting alone on the steel bed, I couldn't help thinking the bombing could have been prevented if we'd found the cruise ship uniform sooner and acted faster. I had this nagging feeling of responsibility for what had happened. Maybe I shouldn't have tried to do anything about Sarah's death. I was clearly in over my head. And what about Tex? He could end up in prison again for helping me. I didn't know if he was on parole still or not, and I wasn't sure if he had a permit to carry a weapon. What he'd said in the warehouse about putting his gun away before we called the police made me doubt it. Do they let ex-cons have permits? Probably not.

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