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Iron Herring

An imprint of Iron Stream Media

100 Missionary Ridge

Birmingham, AL 35242

© 2021 by the Estate of Jon Coon

All rights reserved. First printing 2021.

Printed in the United States of America

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise—without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Iron Stream Media serves its authors as they express their views, which may not express the views of the publisher.

Library of Congress Control Number: 2021933145

Photo Credit: tora_Brian Silcox

CAF Wings over Dallas

ISBN-13: 978-1-56309-431-6

Ebook ISBN: 978-1-56309-439-2

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A Diver’s Prayer

Eternal Father, strong to save,

Have mercy on me,

A wretched sinner.

In the name of your Son,

Who bound the wave and calmed the sea,

Please don’t add my name

To the list of those many brave men who lie asleep

In the deep.

At least not today.



Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Chapter 36

Chapter 37

Chapter 38

Chapter 39

Chapter 40

Chapter 41

Chapter 42

Chapter 43

Chapter 1

“I DON’T THINK THEY’RE COMING,” Carol Evans said. “He promised he was going to bring her, and he blew us off again.”

“Her” referred to the girlfriend Paul had not yet introduced to the family. Carol glared at the grandfather clock in the dining room of her new log-and-stone home. She ran her fingers through dark-red hair that came down to her mid-back, and gave Gabe Jones, the police diver and former partner of her dead husband, Charlie, a frustrated frown. Gabe, who sat at the head of the heavy walnut slab table, nodded back to her, acknowledging her frustration. He was godfather to both the kids and cared deeply about them and their mother.

The river-stone fireplace across the white pine, open main room floor had a small fire. Just enough to keep off the Florida evening chill. Emily, Carol’s twelve-year-old daughter, a summer blonde in tee shirt and jeans, sat mid-table with thumbs flying on her phone. “He’s not answering my texts. What a jerk.”

“When was the last time you talked with him?” Gabe asked.

“On Monday, and he promised he was going to bring her. He sounded good. Happy even,” Carol answered. “He was here for Sunday dinner. That went well and I thought we were making progress.” She shook her head, pushed her chair away from the table, and stood, as if there were somewhere better to go.

Gabe took his phone from his shirt pocket and placed a call to the state police dive locker where he worked. “Marty, this is Gabe Jones. Did Paul Evans show up for his shift on Saturday?” Gabe looked up. “He’s checking the log.” After a short pause, Marty returned. “Roger that. Thanks.” Gabe put his phone down and shook his head at Carol. “AWOL. Nothing. Have you got a number for that house?”

Emily put down her phone and looked worried.

“Won’t he get in trouble with the court for not showing up?”

Gabe nodded. “Probably.”

Carol glared at her phone, waiting for an answer at the house where Paul rented a room. “No answer. You’d think one of those kids would pick it up. Well, that’s it. We’re not going to wait any longer. Emily, give me a hand, and we’ll bring in the food. We’ll eat without them.”

Gabe’s phone rang. He answered, then listened before responding. “Right. Call Jim and tell him to load our gear. I’m on the way.”

“Again?” Carol paused on her way to the kitchen. “They sure know how to mess with a good dinner. Do you at least have time for a sandwich? It’s a really good roast.”

“Sport divers found a truck in the quarry. There’s a body. But it’s not a rescue, and that body’s not going anywhere without me. I’ll go load my stuff and then let’s sit down for a minute. At least we can say grace and do a little damage to your roast. I’m starved too.”

Jim Phillips, Gabe’s dive tender/surface support technician, waited at the water’s edge. He had the compressor set up and had unloaded the four 2,000-pound lift bags they would use to lift the truck. A wrecker had been called and the sport divers were drinking hot coffee while they waited to be interviewed. Dusk was intruding.

“It’s kind of wedged in the rocks at fifty feet. You’re going to have to lift it before the wrecker can pull it out. We can help if you want?” Eddie Baker was mid-twenties and stout. Gabe noticed the PADI instructor slates hanging from his harness.

“Thanks, but our liability insurance won’t let that happen. You said there’s a body?”

“Yeah, a girl on the passenger side. Couldn’t really see much. Too bad.”

“Thanks for your help, Eddie. Always. If you would leave your contact info with the officer in the black and white, and then you can go. I really appreciate your calling this in.”

“Can I ask you a question?”

“Sure, shoot.”

“Do you like your job? I mean, isn’t it a really cool job for a diver?”

Gabe smiled. “Sometimes. Not so much tonight.”

“Yeah, guess not. Well, stay safe.”

“You too. Thanks again.”

“We’re ready for you,” Jim called. The compressor was running, the old wooden bench he would sit on to dress and the dive radio/com unit set up. Gabe went to the bench wondering how he could get her name. Maybe there was a purse.

He sat in his sweats and pulled on the drysuit. Soon, he was dressed, the AGA full-face mask and bailout bottle in place. Jim gave him the double tap on his shoulder. He got up and walked down into the water. Standing waist deep, he pulled on his fins and dropped down to his knees.

He checked his air, BC, crossover valve for the bailout tank, and then the com. “How do you read?”

“Loud and clear,” Jim answered.

“Roger that. Let’s go diving.” He rolled face down, paused, and

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