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The Women on Whitehead Street
A Story of Treasure & Old Key West
"Revolutions produce other men, not new men.
The mold of the species is permanent.
That is earth's burden."
Barbara W. Tuchman
"Don't do it, Charley. Please don't cut me again," the Indian pleaded, tears and
blood mixing on his cheeks.
"Tell me where you found those Spanish pieces of eight?" Charley Dardy asked,
obviously irritated. "It's almost dawn. I been torturing you for over two hours!
Where's the wreck with the Spanish silver?" And Dardy punctured a hole an inch
deep in the Indian's buttocks with a rusty fishing knife, and twisted it. The
Indian screamed in agony, hanging from ropes around his wrists, tied to the roof
joists of the remote boathouse. Dardy had even tied his ankles together so the
Indian couldn't kick out, and Dardy took pride in his thoroughness.
Dardy felt no remorse at the Indian's suffering. "Osceola's Seminoles killed my
parents during the 1840 raid on Jacob Housman's compound," Dardy explained. "I
was just a small child, hiding in the underbrush, and I watched as they
bludgeoned my father and then used their knives on him. After that they raped
and murdered my mother."
The Indian, Jacob Ivey, was a Mestizo, half-Indian and half- Spanish. The fact
that Ivey was a Christian raised by Anglican missionaries in the Bahamas didn't
trouble Dardy at all. He didn't care much for the English either. "Why don't you
just talk, and we can end all this?" Dardy counciled, trying to sound
"Because then you'll kill me," Ivey said dejectedly.
Dardy nodded, understanding the logic of his reasoning. "All right. We'll keep
going until you run out of blood." Ivey had cuts all around his torso, so Dardy
cut away his blood-soaked pants.
"Charley, you're gonna go to hell for doing this," Ivey muttered painfully.
"Aw, you don't really mean that. You're a Christian Indian; your God will
forgive me," Dardy said in a mocking tone. Watching others in pain never
bothered him. "I'm gonna do to you, what I saw you savages do to my daddy." He
grabbed Ivey's genitals and jerked hard, bringing the bloody knife close.
When it was over Dardy put Ivey's small bag of silver coins in his pocket and
thought about what the Indian had finally said before he died. Harry Gorten, the
carpetbagger on Big Pine Key, knew where the wreck was. Dardy knew Gorten was a
stubborn Yankee and had that useless island to himself, except for his pretty
daughter that lived with him.
Dardy picked up a lamp and peered around Jacob Ivey's small, cluttered
boathouse, filled with old fishing gear, nets, and carpenter's tools. It was a
shame about Ivey's sturdy fishing boat, but it would look suspicious if he moved
it outside. Dardy put the lamp down on the floor, unscrewed the cap, and tipped
it over until kerosene poured out on the old wood planking.
It was just before dawn, the air moist and cool, the sky dull black, starry, and
with a brilliant, full moon. Dardy looked around to make sure he was alone and
knew there was plenty of time for him to get away before anyone noticed the
Fires were common on Key West. Clapboard construction, careless drinkers, and
frequent lightning strikes all made it easy to use arson to cover up a murder.
Dardy walked home slowly, occasionally gazing up to admire the clear, starry
sky. He changed his bloody clothes, ate a big piece of corn bread with butter
because it was time for breakfast, and walked to work.
U.S. Federal Copyright 'TXU 603-893
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