Chapter One: The Coburn Mystery [Original Draft]

By June Morrall

The Body is Discovered

June 3, 1919

Frank “Kid” Zug, a mediocre pugilist, former sailor and sometime house painter, couldn’t sleep.

The hands of the clock in his hotel room read past midnight. He’d downed a few stiff drinks at the Social Hall, a hidden villa, two miles east of town and had a bite of dinner at the old Swanton House in the center of Pescadero where he was living at the moment.

“Kid” Zug couldn’t complain about Pescadero, he liked the atmosphere. With a wall of tree-covered mountains to the east, “Lincoln Hill” to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the west, Pescadero was the end of the line, a wild west town.

A month earlier a serious case of pneumonia had landed the 60-year-old Zug in the hospital on the other side of the tree-covered mountains–and he was still feeling weak. That and the drinks he had should have helped him sleep soundly.

He flicked off the light at 7 p.m. but after midnight a neighbor’s bloodhounds and a pack of local dogs began barking in front of Zug’s hotel on San Gregorio Road [now Stage Road] startling him out of his fitful sleep. The dogs were barking and running from one end of the dirt road to the other; they must have done so a dozen times. After an hour the barking finally stopped and the “Kid” sank into a welcome deep sleep.


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