Thursday, November 8, 2012
Ten Minutes Late
It did not take Ernie long to make his way down to the boat launch area, which was deserted at the moment. Ernie reasoned that the serious anglers had already launched their boats and disappeared into the many arms and fingers of Shasta Lake. Others would arrive at the lake if and when the temperature got higher than 60 degrees. Most water-skiers and jet skiers would likely stay indoors today.
Ernie managed to secure a small skiff to rent for the day. He knew he was going to need it when the man at the rental office confirmed that he had just seen the Bellardis' houseboat leave the docks less than 10 minutes earlier. Although the man had not gotten a close look at the person steering the sixty-four foot craft, he just assumed it was Matthew Denherder. Who else could it be? After all, the houseboat's captain had sounded the Bellardis' customary farewell—two shorts, a long, and another short— on the air horn, as it glided past the no-wake buoy toward the towering interstate bridge.