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Sailor Sam

Sailor Sam

Postby fastback65 » Sat Dec 26, 2015 1:28 pm

Sailor Sam

Chapter 1

The sun reflecting off the water on to Sam’s tanned neck, finally got the best of him. Between the fiberglass dust and the sweat and the sun, Sam had had enough for the day. Pulling his shirt off over his head, he kicked off his deck shoes and walked the twenty feet to the water and dove in. The water was warm, but cooler than Sam and it felt invigorating to submerge himself. He swam around for a few minutes, hopeful that he had gotten most of the irritating dust off him and out of his hair. He walked back to the boat and picked up his shirt and shoes and headed for his shanty on the hill overlooking the beach. The boat had been a project for the last five years. It was a derelict boat that had washed ashore after a storm. Sam looked up the registration and contacted the owners, who wanted nothing to do with the boat. The insurance company had paid them for the boat and they considered it the property of the insurance people. Sam got the name of the company and contacted them and asked about the boat, and made an offer. They sent him a title and the boat was his free and clear. “Free,” thought Sam, “That's a laugh.” Sam had invested a sizable sum over the last five years, but now he could at least see the end of the project.

Ever since he was a young man fresh out of the Navy, Sam had planned to one day have his own boat and sail the world. He scrimped and saved and then the boat almost fell into his lap. There was damage, but nothing that he couldn't fix. He started on the inside and refurbished the cabin. It was a forty footer and would be plenty of room for one. He rearranged the stateroom to give him maximum storage space. He planned long trips and would need the extra space for food and supplies he would take along.
Sam built a wooden box and fiber glassed the interior and finished them in gleaming white. Then using an expanding foam, he coated the outside of the boxes and built another larger box to put them in. A tight fitting insulated hinged top was attached and latches were installed, and Sam had effectively created a built in cooler.

Opening a long neck Barq's root beer, he walked up to a shady spot on the deck and reflected on his life. Sam's parents were a strange couple, his Father had been a drunk, to put it kindly, and his Mother was a mouse. She would tolerate the frequent beatings and drunken rages and his propensity to unload on her and Sam, in exchange for the easy life and the social status she enjoyed as his wife. It had all settled into a routine. Father gets drunk, Father picks on Sam, Father starts hitting Sam, Mother asks him to stop and Father beats Mother. It had become so predictable that on drinking days, Sam would stay at a friends house or he would go down to the piers and fish for crab. He became friends with some of the old men that lived in the area and they convinced Sam that the Navy life was what he needed. When Sam turned seventeen, he started asking his Mother and Father to sign the papers and let him join. He had put in three summers in summer school and graduated a year early. Sam's Dad couldn't wait to get him out the house and signed quickly, his Mother was the hold out. Sam’s Dad told her to sign and Sam was on his way to becoming a sailor.

The Navy was good to Sam. He traveled the world and saw a lot of the sights he had dreamed of. Romance wasn't a part of Sam's life plan, but, there were a few ports of call that held a special interest for Sam. Most of Sam's enlistment was during peace time, and when it wasn't he served on a supply ship. He spent his entire twenty four years without a single shot being fired at him. When the Government started downsizing the military, Sam saw the writing on the wall and mustered out. Thing had not gone as well at home, one night Sam's dad had come home drunk and mean. He started to curse Sam's Mother, and the mouse finally roared. She pulled a chrome plated snub nosed thirty eight special out of her pants pocket and put all five shots into Sam's Father's chest. Reflecting for a minute, she calmly reloaded and fired once more, this time into her own forehead. The years of beatings and degradation were over in less than a minute. Sam had no siblings so the entire estate was left to him. There were numerous holdings and two rather large life insurance policies. Sam would never have to work again, unless he chose to.

Once Sam was home from the Navy, he got a job in the IT field. He had the training form the Navy and all the correspondence courses he finished. He lived frugally, and bought a small run down beach house and made it livable. Now his passion was finishing his boat and sailing the world.

Back in his beach shanty, Sam took down his well worn notebook from the bookcase and once again went over his inventory. The “have it”, list had grown a lot shorter than his “need it”' list. He did some quick figuring in his head and thought he could have everything on his list in a couple of months. Setting a goal in his mind, he wanted to have the boat ready to launch, fully stocked in three months. He knew he could do it. First thing Monday morning, he would ask his boss for a one year leave of absence. His plans were coming to fruition. Sam climbed into bed and as soon as his head was in the pillow, he was dreaming of the adventure to come. The sun streaming through the window woke Sam early. It was Saturday and he could put in a full day on preparing his boat for the trip. He jumped up showered and as soon as he got dressed, Sam jumped in his old jeep and headed for town. His first stop was the old Blue Goose cafe. It had once been a part of a long gone Amoco truck stop, now it was just a stand alone cafe that happened to be attached to the old truck stop.

“Morning, Sam,” came a cheery voice from behind the counter.

“Morning, Irene,” Sam replied, with a huge smile on his face, “How about the usual this morning?”

“I started it when I saw you pull in,” answered Irene, setting a scalding mug of strong black coffee in front of him. “You know, you are awfully predictable. Sam.”

“When something works, you just don't go changing it,” said Sam, opening the newspaper someone left on the counter.

“Looks like nothing but more bad news,” said Sam, thinking out loud, “This economy is going to heck very fast. This may be a bad time for me to take a year off.”

“Who's taking a year off,” asked Irene, as she sat a plate of eggs, sausage, grits and biscuits down in front of Sam.

“I have been thinking about taking a year and sailing the world,” said Sam. “It has always been a dream and I almost have my boat ready to go.”

“Take me with you Sam,” Irene implored. “I don't have anything here but this crummy job.”

Sam had often thought of asking Irene out on a date, but he knew the really attractive girls, like Irene, wouldn't give him the time of day. “All right,” Sam countered, “But we will be gone for a year. Do you think you could stand my ugly mug for that long?”

“Sam,” Irene started in a serious voice, “I have done everything but hit you over the head with a hammer to get you to ask me out, and now you want to know if I could stand you.”

“Are you serious,” Sam asked, suddenly startled, “I have wanted to ask you out since I first laid eyes on you, but I thought there was no way you would go out with me. I am going out in about a week for a two week shakedown cruise, if you would like to go, you would be more than welcome, although, there is only one stateroom on board as I have converted most of the free space into storage for my one year trip. I suppose I could sleep on the deck, weather allowing.”

“We will work all that out, email me a list of what I will need to carry with me, and I will have it ready.” Irene said.

“What about your job, won't old Tom have a fit if you ask for two weeks off?”

“I'll get my girlfriend Nancy to cover my shift. She loves to flirt with Tom, and Tom, actually thinks she is serious,” said Irene.

When Sam left the Cafe, he went straight to the bank. He withdrew all they would let him have at one time, and told the banker to do whatever he had to do to free up the rest of the money. Leaving the bank, he went to the marina and pulled out his list. He told the counter man to fill it for him and to double up on everything. “I'll be back tomorrow morning to pick everything up,” Sam promised. Next stop was the oil bulk plant. He arranged to rent a small tank and have it delivered to the boat and filled with diesel. The small Yanmar diesel engine on the boat was very efficient and the three hundred gallons would last a long time. “Better add enough Pri-G to that order to keep that diesel good for at least two years,” Sam added.

“You might want to get some algaecide for the fuel too,” the salesman suggested.

“Make it so,” said Sam, as he walked out the door.

Chapter 2

Two weeks later, Sam stood on the dock, smiling from ear to ear. The boat was afloat and he was ready to take it out of the small craft harbor for the first time. He took the precaution of having a small skiff tied across the stern and a salvaged Seagull outboard secured to the transom. If anything happened, he could easily make it back to shore with the skiff. He climbed into the cabin and did a double check of the radios. Having assured himself all was ready, he went back to his house to get the rest of his gear and scuba tanks and secure the house. No sooner than Sam had everything locked up, he saw Irene turning off the road in her baby blue MG roadster.

“I thought I was going to have to leave without you,” yelled Sam, “Glad to see you made it.”

“I would have skinned you alive, if you had left me,” joked Irene, “I had to go over a few things with Tom and Nancy. Tom wasn't too crazy about me leaving. He thinks a lot like you do. He said if things don't get better in the next few weeks, he is going to close the cafe and retire.”

“I couldn't blame,” said Sam, “Tom isn't getting any younger, and the damn casinos on the beach have put just about all of the Mom and Pop places out of business. You ready to head out?”

“I have to admit, I am a little nervous, I have never been on a boat before,” said Irene, “If it gets too scary, will you promise to bring me back?”

“I will do whatever you ask, just relax and enjoy the ride. You may experience a little sea sickness at first, but it should fade after a while.”

With Irene on the deck, Sam cast off the ropes and jumped aboard, the little three cylinder diesel pushed them steadily out of the harbor toward the open water. Sam opened the cuddy and started hanging sails and hoisting them up the main mast. Irene was an apt pupil and did her part to assist. Soon the diesel was shut down and they were riding the wind. The boat was performing beyond Sam's wildest expectations. Irene positioned her self on the flying bridge and was amazed at the porpoises that appeared to be leading the way. Sam stood behind the wheel, thinking all was right with the world. Looking to the bow, he could see what he considered the most perfect woman in the world, and the feeling of the solid deck beneath his feet gave him an immeasurable sense of pride, knowing he had done the work himself. Sam turned the bow to the South and prepared to go even further into the Gulf of Mexico. As night approached, Sam pulled the sails down and let the boat come to a stop. Checking the sonar and radar, he decided it would be safe to drift. They were miles from any known obstacles. Irene was in the galley preparing supper for the two of them. Sam raised a small table on the deck and placed chairs on either side. Turning the LED lighting down to a more intimate level, he set the table and prepared drinks. Irene served the perfectly cooked filets and fresh asparagus. Sam had brought enough fresh food to last the entire two weeks. He didn't want to use any of the dehydrated food stuffs on this trip. This trip was as much to impress Irene as it was to prove the seaworthiness of his boat. After supper, the dishes were cleaned and everything was put away. Now was the time for getting to know one another a little better.

Sam was surprised to learn that Irene had grown up in Kansas, far from the ocean she seemed to love so much. “I guess being so far from the ocean, I always wanted to see it. Then when I came here on a school trip, I knew the Gulf Coast was going to be my home. I left a pretty good job in Kansas, sold everything I could and drove my little car down here. I saw a sign in the Blue Goose window, and Tom hired me on the spot. I knew nothing about cafes or how to waitress, but Tom was patient. I will never get rich there, but somehow I was fulfilled. I had a sense of home, for the first time in my life.”

Ton filled Irene in on his life, both the good and the bad. Casually and almost imperceptibly, they found they were holding hands, and enjoying the sights, and sounds of the Gulf at night.

On the fourth day out, it started raining. It rained quite a while, and then it really started raining. Irene became more than a little anxious, but Sam quickly assured her that all was well. He sent her below, while he pulled down the sails and secured the deck. Sam came below deck and closed the hatch and turned on the weather radio to listen for any warnings. Irene came out of the head with her hair wrapped in a towel and one of Sam's tee shirts and nothing else. Hearing nothing in the way of an emergency on the radio, Sam invited Irene to the galley for a snuggle and hot cup of coffee.

“Irene,” Sam began, “I could not imagine a more perfect scenario. Being here with you on the boat, It is almost overwhelming.”

“I feel the same way, Sam,” Irene said. “I have enjoyed every second of the ride, so far.”

“Irene,” Sam started, “I have planned on a solo cruise for as long as I can remember, but now, I don't think I can do it, unless you are with me. Quit your job and come with me, I have enough money for both of us. You will never need to work again, unless you want to.”

“Sam, are you sure?” Irene questioned. “You know this is a big step. One year together on a forty foot boat, will get tiresome at times. It is hard to be that close to anyone for that length of time. Do you think we could make it work?”

“I will ride behind in the dinghy if that is what it takes to make you happy,” said Sam as he pulled her into and embrace and kissed her.

Waking the next morning, Sam smelled the comfortable smell of bacon and coffee coming form the galley. He quickly dressed and entered the small space just as Irene was placing everything on the table.

“Good morning, sleepyhead, did you sleep well,” Irene asked good-naturedly?"

“I don't remember ever sleeping so well,” Sam answered, “I felt so secure and comfortable sleeping in the bed with you.” Let's secure everything and head for home, I want to push up the date for our trip and I have a few things to take care of before we go.”

“Eat first, you burned a lot calories last night, lover boy,” Irene teased.

Chapter 3

Sam set a course for home and while Irene took the wheel, Sam showered and got dressed. As soon as he had finished, he took over the steering duties and Irene took a long hot shower. The favorable winds had the couple home in short order and Sam piloted the boat to his dock. With the boat secured, they said their goodbyes and Sam set out for town.

“I told you two weeks ago, to have my money ready,” Sam told the banker, his voice rising just a little. “I want to close my account and I want all my money, now!” San reiterated.

“I am afraid banking regulations won't let you take that much at one time,” the banker explained.

“It is my money, and I want it now,” said Sam, parroting a familiar commercial. “I am going to be gone for over a year, and I want to tie up all my loose ends. Do whatever it takes. I will be back in the morning, and I expect to take what is mine when I leave.” Sam turned on his heel and went to the coin shop down the street.

“I want to buy as much gold and silver as I can without leaving a paper trail,” Sam told the vendor, keenly aware that the government could and probably would seize precious metals.

“I can do it in small increments, and the deal has to be cash only. I will try and give you all the metal at once, but I will have to make it look like it was done by multiple buyers over a period of time. Not exactly legal, but I don’t trust the government either.”

“I appreciate it,” Sam told the man, “I will make it worth your effort.”

Sam picked up his order from the marina, then went to his favorite sporting goods store.

“I need a Mossberg mariner shotgun with a 20 inch rifled barrel and a 28 inch multi choke barrel, a case each of 00 buckshot, 1oz. slugs and a 2 cases each of 6 shot and 4 shot. I would prefer the saboted slugs. I will need two Kimber Classics in .45acp and 4 cases of Speer Gold Dot 200gr. jacketed hollow points.”

The clerk, who was a friend of Sam's, asked “did you hit the lottery?”

Sam replied, “I am finally going on my cruise, and want to be certain I am prepared. You never know what you are going to find out on the water.”

“You might want to take a rifle or two as well,” Sam's friend replied.

“I have the rifles covered, but you may want to add 3 cases of the Hirtenberger .308 if you still have any.”

“I have 5 cases left, I can make you a deal, if you take it all,” said Sam's friend.

“Do it, and I will be by tomorrow morning to pick everything up. I will need extra mags, and belt rigs for the pistols and slings for the shotgun,” Sam added.

Sam turned for the door and stopped, “make it two Mossbergs,” Sam added, “and make sure they are the synthetic stocks, not the wood model.”

“Will do,” Sam's friend answered as the door was closing behind Sam.

The cafe was relatively busy with the beginning of the dinner crowd, Sam took a seat in the corner and waited for Irene to come take his order. As soon as she saw Sam, she came to his table, bring water and a set of silverware, “What can I get 'cha, Hun?” she asked in her best cafe waitress voice.”
Sam laughed and said, “Just bring me the special, I am hungry enough to eat anything.”
Sam sipped on his water and reflected on the last couple of weeks. After years of boredom, suddenly his life was running like a runaway train. For the first time in a long time, Sam felt alive, like the world was running on his schedule, instead of the other way around. He barely noticed the meal appearing in front of him he was so lost in thought.

“Penny for your thoughts,” Irene broke him from his trance.

“Actually, I was just thinking how much my life has changes since we got together. This is truly the best I have felt since, well, ever,” said Sam, looking deep into Irene's eyes. “What did Tom say when you asked for time off?”

“He said I could have all the time I needed. He made a deal to sell the cafe and he was retiring. He also gave me a little severance package, a percentage of the sale. He said I earned, so I took it. I want to invest it in something for my old age.”

“Let's talk about investing later, but right now, hold the money close. I think the banks are fixing to screw everybody over. I am having a heck of a time, getting my money out,” warned Sam. How about when you get off, come on over and let's do a little “planning”.” said Sam.

“I will be there about 8:30 or so,” promised Irene.

Irene was as good as her word, showing up at 8:30 pm on the nose. “Well, I like punctuality,” said Sam, “How did you make it so fast?”

“Sam wanted to get out of there, we bussed all the tables, loaded the dishwasher and while Sam was cleaning the kitchen, I cleaned the front of the house. We did about half of what we normally do. It's like people don't want to eat out anymore,” lamented Irene.

“It's more like they can't afford to eat out anymore, or at home either. Grocery prices have gone through the roof in the last three months. I guess you have figured out by now, that I like to hold my money a little tighter than a lot of folks do. When I buy things that I know I am going to need, I like to buy in bulk, and a lot of times, I avoid the big name brands and buy the store brand items. It's not like I can't afford it, I just can't tell the difference in the store brands and the fancy labels,” Sam continued, “Why pay extra if they taste the same. I have enough food on my boat for the two of us for 8 months. I have a shipment due any day that will give us a full years worth of food for both of us. I also have fishing equipment, and today I bought us some shotguns and ammo for us to be able to hunt with if have to.”

“You shouldn't have bought a gun for me,” Irene started, “I have never held a gun, much less hunted anything. To tell the truth, I am a little afraid of them.”

“A gun is a tool,” said Sam, “It is no more than a hammer or a screwdriver or any other tool. A gun has no intent, the intent lies with the holder of the gun. I intend to teach you how to hunt and how to defend yourself, if need be.”

“Whatever would we need to defend against,” Irene asked, “There is nothing but water out there.”

“When we leave here, we will be sailing into International Waters, there are no police, there is no 911, and no one will protect us if we don't protect ourselves. When we reach the Caribbean, there will be the danger of pirates and potentially unfriendly governments that will take our boat and if we are lucky, set us adrift in the dinghy. If we are not lucky, they will simply shoot us and throw us in the ocean, you might not be so lucky,” Sam's message becoming clear to Irene. “I have a pistol, a rifle, and a shotgun for both of us. I will teach you how to use each one until you are proficient,” Sam told Irene with finality.

“If you say so,” Irene said, “but I may not be the best student you ever had.”

“Maybe not,” said Sam, “But you will be the prettiest.”
"Never, under any circumstances, ever become a refuge... Die if you must, but die on your home turf with your face to the wind, not in some stinking hellhole 2,000 kilometers away, among people you neither know nor care about." - Ragnar Benson
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Re: Sailor Sam

Postby fastback65 » Tue Dec 29, 2015 8:41 pm

Chapter 4

Sam was at the front door of the bank at nine sharp. The guard was unlocking the door just as Sam reached for the handle. The manager saw Sam and motioned for him to come into his office. “Sam, I am going to bend a few rules, and try to get all of your money out to you today. I am only doing this because your Dad and I were friends,” the bank manager explained to Sam. “I have almost all of the cash and I have to tell you it is quite a sum. I am going to give you two hundred fifty thousand in cash and the rest of the money I can give to you in cashier's checks, if that is acceptable to you. If you want to come back in a couple of days, I may be able to swap out cash for the checks.”

“I appreciate the effort you are making, I will be in town for six more days and then I am going to gone for a year,” Sam explained his plans to the manager. “I am going to rent my house and I have arranged for him to make the payments to a rental agency. They in turn will bring the money to the bank and place it in my safe deposit box, less their fee. I hope the bank will be here when I return.”

“Sam, I am going to be straight with you. The bank is on shaky ground. It's not just us, it is the whole industry. You really should put the money in an account, instead of a safe deposit box. The interest will be negligible, but, the account will be insured and should things go bad, you will at least have a chance at recovery,” said the banker.

“That makes sense to me,” said Sam, “Leave the account open and I will give the number to the rental agency and change my instructions to them. I will see you in three days. Do you suppose the guard will walk me out to my jeep?”

“We will both walk out with you,” answered the manager, “A quarter million in cash is a good sized package. Please be careful Sam and write if you need anything.”

Sam's next stop was the dock. He took the packages of bill on board his boat and went down into the bilge area. Taking a screwdriver out of his toolbox, he removed some screws from a board and opened a hidden compartment. Carefully stacking the money into the insulated waterproof compartment he had built while refurbishing the boat, he was able to pack all of the money inside, except for what he would need today. He replaced the screws and took pains to make certain the heads of the screws looked like they had been there forever. A little vinegar will quickly add a little rust to the steel screw and a smudge of dirt here and there will camouflage them.

Sam got back in the jeep and made for the coin shop. The owner acknowledged Sam as he walked in. As soon as the owner finished with the customer he was helping, he told Sam to come on back. They walked into a small office and Sam was shown the gold and silver. “I was able to get quite a bit,” said the owner, “I hope you are going to take it. If you don't I am going to have a lot of money tied up for a long time.”

“I said I would,” said Sam, “How much is it and what is the total?”

“There are two hundred fifty gold eagles and five monster boxes of silver eagles. The Gold is two hundred eighty thousand and the silver comes to forty three thousand five hundred fifty five dollars. Grand total with tax is three hundred thirty three thousand dollars and I always give a standard discount of five percent for cash, so you owe me three hundred sixteen thousand.”

“The bank will have the rest of my money in three days, I am going to leave you three hundred dollars in cashiers checks to hold the metals. When the bank calls me, I will come by and we can go to the bank together and swap the checks for the metals, if you are agreeable,” said Sam.

“That works for me,” agreed the owner.

Sam left the coin shop and drove to the gun shop. He parked in back by a roll up door and pressed the delivery bell button. In a minute or so, an employee raised the door and let him in. The employee loaded all the guns and ammo into Sam's jeep while Sam settled his bill with some of the cash he brought. Leaving the gun shop,, Sam realized it was lunch time, so he headed for the cafe.

Irene gave a wave and a smile as she saw Sam coming in the front door. Sam took his usual seat and noticed for the first time, just how empty the diner was. Irene came over with a glass of tea and the day's special for Sam. She sat down in the booth across from Sam, and said, “Congratulations, you are my very last customer. Tom has decided that he is closing after lunch to give the new owner a little extra time to get things ready. I am going to be off in about 20 minutes and I want to go and get some clothes for the trip.”

“About that,” Sam started, “would you mind a lot if I went with you?”

“Not at all, sweetie, but I never figured you for the shopping type,” she teased.

“I'm not,” said Sam, “but, you have never spent a lot of time on a boat and I don't want you to spend a lot of money on cruise wear, because most of the time we will be working. You need some good work clothes, some gloves, and good serviceable deck shoes, of course, you will need a bikini as well.”

“Am I being shanghaied,” she asked? “I thought this was a pleasure cruise.”

“Oh, it is,” Sam added quickly, “but there is a lot of work to sailing when there is only a two person crew, and you never know what might happen. I would say two or three dress up outfits would be plenty. We will, after all, undoubtedly make a few ports of call.”

Sam dug into the meat loaf and mashed potatoes with gusto. When he finished, he walked up to the counter and shook Tom's hand and thanked him for all the good meals and wished him well with his retirement.

“Take good care of her,” said Tom pointing to Irene, “She is the closest thing to a daughter I have ever had.”

“I will defend her with my life,” promised Sam.
"Never, under any circumstances, ever become a refuge... Die if you must, but die on your home turf with your face to the wind, not in some stinking hellhole 2,000 kilometers away, among people you neither know nor care about." - Ragnar Benson
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