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"Thank heaven you saw me!" exclaimed Ted Long as he feebly helped make fast his battered yawl to Dr. Hall's chartered fishing boat.
Hall reached over the side and assisted the bedraggled yachtsman aboard.
Long staggered into the shade of the cabin and sagged upon a berth. He removed his cap to wipe the perspiration from his brow, revealing a bald, freckled head.
"Drink this," said Hall, holding out a cup of water.
Long gulped it frantically, asked for a second, and when he had downed it, told of his ordeal.
"Bill Smith and I were sailing for Bimini when the storm hit us. The sails, rudder, and radio went in the first five minutes. We barely managed to keep afloat.
"We drifted five days, lost. Three days ago our fresh water supply gave out. Bill went crazy with the heat and thirst. He started to drink the ocean water. I tried to restrain him -- I hit him. He -- he struck his head against the starboard rail. He's dead! It's my fault!"
Hall climbed into Long's disheveled yacht. In the little cabin he found Bill Smith laid out on his back, dead. The criminologist studied the bruise on Smith's jaw and the one at the base of his skull.
Back on the fishing boat, he warned Long grimly, "You're going to have to tell the police a better tale than the one you told me!"
Why didn't Hall believe Long?