King climbed up to the fly bridge, displaced me from the captain's chair. He picked up the microphone and said, "This is the captain speaking. We had a little turbulence back there, but it's going to be clear running from now on. So I'm going to turn off the seatbelt sign." Polite laughter filtered up from below. "And as an apology, I am instructing the cabin crew to bring you a free drink of your choice."
I started to go down, but King gestured me back onto the mate's chair. "Stay here. I can use a copilot."
King squinted into the distance. "Hell, I see why you were having trouble. The deck lights are strong enough to blind you." He picked up his microphone again and boomed over the P.A., "And we are going to turn down the cabin lights."
He flipped a switch, and the boat was suddenly dark. The only illumination was the lights of Key Biscayne. As my eyes slowly dark-adapted, stars appeared overhead. The only remaining distraction was the noise of the engines. But King seemed to draw strength from their vibration. He upped the power, raising the Ace's bow. The ride became faster and rougher.
The orange and green glow of the instrument panel gave King's face a hard, demonic quality. But his voice was gentle. "You know, Candidi, I find out a lot about people by taking them out on this boat. It's like one of those executive training courses where they take the guys out and make them climb cliffs together. Challenge your people, and find out what they're made of. Now look at your lawyer-puke down there. Elkins?" He turned and looked down. "Hey, that's what he is actually doing right now -- puking over the side."
A quick backwards glance confirmed King's observation.
"You see, Candidi, the only place a fellow like him is any good is behind a desk. I know a lot about lawyers. Even Roger -- own guy, the one down there scratching his beard -- he ain't much better. You got to keep them on a short leash or they'll make things so complicated that you don't want to get out of bed in the morning." He chuckled. "Turn your back on them, and they'll bill you for expenses faster than Goldfinger ran all that gold out of Fort Knox."