The Marriage Question (A Lieutenant David Chan Mystery, Part Twenty-Five)

Deciding it would be better not to do so, Chan did not mention to Yamamoto that Nina Goo had called him at home last night.  He’d not been the one to initiate the call, after all, so no use giving his partner more to wonder about in terms of Chan letting his feelings get in the way of the job.

The first thing Chan did, aside from artfully ignoring Yamamoto upon arriving at work, was to look into the law regarding marriages at sea, their validity, and the procedure for recording them.

When he’d asked Nina where the ship was registered, she’d taken a wide range of guesses.

“I think it probably wasn’t California.  Maybe Norway. Or Florida?  Or was it Mexico, or somewhere in the Carribean?”

When Chan had asked her if she had a copy of the marriage license, Nina had become even more upset by the conversation.  He’d been unable to calm her down, and her parting words were a sobbed suggestion that he ask Byung Yu for a copy.

This possibility Chan did no relish.  Another confrontation with Yu would perhaps drive the Lieutenant beyond the pale of civilized behavior.

Chan was able to determine that contrary to popular opinion, marriage aboard ship was not extremely common, since the captain would have to be officially licensed in some way to perform the ceremony.  Although some were, the majority were not.  On ships sailing out of the Bahamas and Bermuda, however, shipboard marriages were actually quite common because both places acknowledged them officially, and all Bahamian and Bermudan captains were indeed authorized to perform the ceremony and the marriages were recorded there.

The official recordation of marriages on ships not related to those two would take place at the homeport.  This was not as easy to figure out as Chan might have hoped, since the homeport might or might not be in the country of origin.  For instance, a ship whose country of origin were, say, Norway, might be home-ported in Los Angeles.

Unless Nina could come up with something a little more specific, Chan had doubts he could track down any official record of her marriage to Byung Yu.

Chan shook his head, thinking about how following this tack, finally asking Yu point blank for the marriage license, would lead him down that maniac’s driveway again.  The thought of the shootout at the O.K. Corral flitted across his mind.

* * * * *

Aloha #WriterMonday, I hope your week is off to a good start. Today’s #WritingPrompt is


Use it to inspire a piece of writing, and then post that piece on your site and link back to me, or simply leave it as a comment below. I would love to read it : )

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