Hunter's Moon by Randy Wayne White

Hunter's Moon by Randy Wayne White

By Randy Wayne White

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Archaeologists believe that royalty lived atop those pyramids. The equivalent of post-Columbian royalty still did: The celebrated man was staying in a cabin on the highest mound. From the aerials, I knew the layout. I also knew that Ligarto’s Prohibition-era docks were on the western shore along a private channel. That’s why I was approaching from the east. To the east, water was seldom more than chest-deep, scarred with reefs of oyster and rock—okay for canoes, bad for powerboats. A fringe of mangrove swamp buffered the island so there was no easy place to land.

If the hit team landed on the ridge, he’d walk into their arms. The president might even mistake one of his killers for me. I pictured him approaching with his hand outstretched. An easy target. I imagined his transitioning facial expressions—confusion, surprise, realization . . then anger. The man was a fighter. Would his last thought be that I’d betrayed him? Yes, the logical conclusion. His brain might spend its final microseconds, racing a bullet’s furrow, trying to make sense of my treachery.

Yes, the logical conclusion. His brain might spend its final microseconds, racing a bullet’s furrow, trying to make sense of my treachery. I paddled harder. I’ve known patriots and I am no patriot, but communal allegiance is deep-wired; dates to the Paleolithic. We are predisposed to sacrifice for the greater good. The greater good for what—a nation, a sports team, a street gang, a religion, a murderous cult, a pal—varies with our backgrounds. The possibility that an American president might die believing I’d betrayed him was repugnant.

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