Sunday, August 28, 2011

My Apologies

I've written three installments to One this weekend, and trashed all three. They sucked. Boooooring.... Writer's block has struck me, and I can't seem to shake it. Didn't even try an installment on Voyage to Liberty, since that was the last I posted, and I was so confounded on the other story. I think I need a vacation from work, and a few days' fishing to clear my mind and recharge. My apologies folks, but it wasn't from a lack of trying. Hopefully I can come up with something worthy in the next week...

Monday, August 22, 2011


Thank you Susan for your subscription!

Jack woke to the hot tropical sun streaming through the hatch. He rubbed the sleep from his eyes, totally refreshed and alive. The barely perceptible motion of the boat told him all he needed to know about the night's events, as did the sun pouring straight down the bow hatch on what would otherwise be a southbound vessel. Jack snuck a grab at Linda's rear as she stirred their breakfast on the galley stove, then emerged on deck to find Willie snoozing in the still cockpit. The Caribe now lay off the port side, both vessels twirled about in the swirling current. All being secure to his satisfaction, Jack then mounted the gun'nel, crossed over the life lines, and plunged into the glossy sea. The noise roused Willie from his blissful slumber, and Jack laughed when he saw him at the life lines with a ring buoy at the ready. “I ain't drowning” he said, then dove down deep beneath First Watch. He surfaced on the other side, then dove down again, swimming deep, deep down into the cobalt blue.

When he surfaced again, the boat was twenty yards to the west from where he left it. As was the Caribe, who's stern now presented. Jack watched the shadowy form of a shark pass well beneath him as he hoisted himself back aboard. A large omelette of powdered eggs, Rotel, and diced mahi mahi awaited him, along with a mug of what remained of the coffee. A rather weak brew, but still plenty enough for the well rested Jack. Willie finished up and went below to continue his sleep while Jack fetched his binoculars, more out of habit than necessity.

In them, he saw the remnants of Caribe's crew- those who were not asleep below- moving lazily about the deck. He could see them without the binoculars, but with them he could see their faces in detail. A dark black man, probably from the Caribbean. A slight red-headed fellow, likely of Irish descent by the look of his clothes and the pipe that protruded from his teeth. A thick bodied woman- not obese, but stout; with dark hair and eyes, probably of eastern European lineage. An older fellow, with white hair and beard, looking much like a Greek, who walked with a limp.

He studied them for a bit, then turned his attention to the surrounding sea. Nothing... Nothing but empty, dead calm ocean surrounded them, as if they had crossed into the equatorial doldrums themselves. Barely a ripple marred the oily surface, and the deep blue was only occasionally broken by the shadow of a shark or a billfish taking refuge in First Watch's shadow, along with the remora and myriad small fishes that ply the open sea. A small pod of dolphins came by, made game of the fish that lay in the shadow, and even sent a wayward chub over the bows with a swat of a mighty tail. Jack couldn't help but laugh with delight at the spectacle; and Linda smiled with him, catching sight of his grin from down below.

On and on they drifted across a mirror sea, barely a hint of wind to be found. Once again, a vast mat of sargassum enveloped them. Linda delighted in the small sargassum crabs, shrimp, and seahorses she found beneath the floating weed, and Jack delighted in a lively thirty pound yellowfin tuna that took his cast-netted puffer fish bait. Over an hour after hooking the speedy brute, having chased it 'round the deck six times, Jack finally sunk the gaff into it's shoulder and brought it aboard. Several delicious meals it would make for the four of them, and Jack was grateful to have landed the fish. As were the Caribes, who landed several more themselves, sending out tremendous cheers for each one as it came aboard.

Though the species varied, the same routine carried for days. The ships (for the second was now almost in hailing distance) and First Watch continued on with their whirling about in the current. Further northward it carried them, out into the open Atlantic. Out toward danger...

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Captain Jack Continued

A grand meal they had aboard First Watch, set to the cheers of the Caribes as they hauled in their own dorado, fished out from beneath the great mats of sargassum that had come to envelop the vessels as they drifted. Peggy, being much relieved from her sea sickness by the calm, set to cooking the tender fish as soon as the cuts were handed down from the cockpit. The four of them ate hearty, and when the dishes were dry, Willie said he'd take the watch, and let Jack know if anything came up.

Gratefully, Jack went below to catch up on lost rest. He sprawled out on the berth, interlinked fingers beneath his head. The cabin door opened, and Linda walked in, closing it behind her. Without saying a word, she began to unbutton the shirt she wore. Jack lay there motionless, speechless; simply admiring her striking beauty as she silently disrobed. With even greater attention, he watched her as she bent over the bunk, her erect nipples brushing his legs as she crawled o. ver him. She paused to kiss his belly just above the waistband of his shorts, then slowly worked her way up his torso. Jack ran his fingers through her hair, flaming red in the sunlight coming through the open hatch. At last she reached his neck, softly dragging her bottom lip across his skin before finding a place to kiss. Jack's hands now stroked her back, causing her to arch with pleasure as she made her way to his ear.

Finally their lips met, and for what seemed like hours they kissed softly and deeply to the rhythm of the gentle swell. Jack's hand ran from her soft face, down her neck, across her shoulder, then down to her firm breast which hovered just above his chest. Linda shivered as he traced her breast with his finger, then ran his hand down her side to her waist...

Their bodies lay intertwined, glistening with sweat in the still air. Noses nearly touching, both gazing deeply into each others' eyes. Jack's thumb lightly traced her elegant jaw, then to her ear lobe and back again to her chin. She ran her fingers lightly up and down his breast bone while her foot stroked his calf. They lay there for half an hour until one finally spoke.

Tell me about your life before” Linda softly whispered.

I was a boat builder” Jack replied, equally soft. “I had a good business. Kept mostly to myself. On Friday nights I'd go to the neighborhood bar to meet my friends, and on the weekend I'd sail. Sometimes with friends, sometimes alone. I had a good life...”

He trailed off, obviously lost in some vision of his past. Several minutes went by before he spoke again. “What about you?”

I was in school, studying to be a pharmacist.” she replied quietly. “One more year to go before...”

Did you have anyone special?”

No. Not really.”

Pity, such a beautiful woman.”

She blushed, then said “Not that I didn't have my troop of suitors, but I was busy with my studies.”

I bet you were. So how did you come to be at sea with our little band?”

My uncle lived in Rockport. We were a close family, and when the roundups began, he sent for me to come with him and my aunt. We sailed away for the Keys... God, Jack, it seems so long ago.”

It does. Like it was another life. It was another life.”

What do you think will happen to us?”

I wish I knew. I wish I knew where we could go in safety. If there is any safe place left, that is.”

Linda grasped him tightly, and there they lay, sleeping in each others' arms 'til sundown.

May 23, 2012

11:30 P.M. We had a rough time today, having to clear nearly a mile of bridge to cross the river. Again, we saw the aircraft fly high overhead in the morning, and back again this afternoon. Same general direction as before. We halted our operation on the bridge as it flew over, hoping our truck blended in with the general chaos strung out across the span. The afternoon flight, however, may have noted the path cleared. No way to know for sure.

We dined this evening on a roasted piglet that had the misfortune to cross Kevin's path in the afternoon. We were set on a canned ham earlier, so this ham on the hoof was a welcome substitute. Larger pig tracks line the river bank nearby, so we're all keeping an eye out for them. Not so much for dinner, but for safety. I am intimately familiar with feral hogs from Texas, but I have no idea how long it would take domestic pigs to go feral. I will assume it doesn't take long when regular feeding stops, and act accordingly.

Kevin turned in early, leaving Josey and I to sit in our camp chairs by the shielded lantern. We had a long conversation about each other's backgrounds, and we ventured off into some intimate details as our wine loosened us up. I will not go into details here. Then she told me of some thoughts or visions that ran through her mind when she was delirious with fever, and how it pained her during her moments of consciousness that Kevin might wind up alone, after all they'd been through. She broke down and sobbed for the loss of her husband, which brought a tear to my eye for my own Jenny. Seeing this, she reached over and wiped my tears with her hand, which then paused warmly on my cheek as we gazed into each other's glistening eyes. After what seemed several minutes, we both slowly moved our faces closer to one another, and hesitated. Tossing all restraint aside, I moved in and kissed her.

I pulled back sharply, fearing I had gone too far, that I had ruined everything. But my fear was unfounded, because Josey's big brown eyes softened, she smiled, and wrapped her arms tightly around me. Then she planted a kiss square on my lips; a long, lingering kiss, and she ran her fingers through my hair, stroking gently. And that is as far as I will go here...