I just read Triple G's family story about the old grave yards and started to respond, but a voice in the back of my head kept saying, "What happened to Ike and Ginger?"
So I'll get back to that family thing soon
But now here is another episode of "Ike and Ginger"
Ike and Ginger – The Island
Ike didn’t think of anything but the rhythm of his breaststroke as he moved through the waves. Blinking and spitting out the salt water, he moved into the darkness as if on a mission. Each stroke was a consistent movement. His stamina did not waver.
And as the light stated separating the water from the sky, Ike stopped. He bobbed in the water for a minute to check the fading stars then looked at his gold Rolex then faced the rising sun. A quick sure nod assured him he was headed in the right direction.
Ike continued his 1-2-3-4 strokes in the warm water, but he knew he was still far from any land and depths held their own dangers.
As the sky brightened from a darken red to an orange, the waves white splashes and continuous movement helped him focus on his leg kick. He moved in powerful jet motion through the water, creating a wake in his path.
Just as the orange orb broke the surface of the horizon, in the middle was a black dot. Ike smiled then took another mouthful of salty water. He had calculated right and his rescue was in sight.
A second wind filled his chest and Ike dove his head down pulling his arms together to a hand clap, then turned the palms and pulled them around his body to his side, then with a quick jerk, thrust them forward again, barely breaking the surface of the water.
The dot at the center of the rising sun became larger. While everything around seems to have motion, this point was solid and still.
As if directed by a laser, Ike continued his strokes in the same steady pace that moved him closer and closer.
Then suddenly he felt uneasy. He felt the water change temperature. A wave grew colder than it had been. Then from the other side a cold wave.
Without breaking stride, his body tightened into a ball, then he pushed his foot out into the cold water. Thud!
Then like a ballet pirouette, his body spun in the water with a fast karate thrust into the water. Thud!
And as suddenly as he had stopped, Ike turned back to his breaststroke and continued to the spec in the distance. Two denizens of the deep were going home with bumps and bruises and nothing to show for it.
With every stroke the outline of the island lay before him. And the current was beginning to help pull him forward. Each stroke was more powerful than the last and as the sun began to bake Ike’s back, he could see the white sand. The sound of breaking waves was a welcoming call.
Finally he put his head down into the water, closed his eyes, arms outstretched and let the waves deliver him to the white soft sand. As the water receded, Ike stood up. His legs were wobbly from the journey, but as he twisted his body and waved his arms, he got back his sea legs.
Blinking in the diamond reflection of the water, Ike reviewed his watery path. His mind flashed back to the sinking, the lost grip, and the long dark night. He scanned the water but there was no signs of wreckage or any indication of life.
So with the past behind him, Ike turned to face his new challenge. The white ribbon of beach kissed the water and was interrupted by a wall of green. Lush leaves and thick stalks presented a jungle wall swaying in the constant rhythm with the breeze. As Ike scanned the formidable forest, the breeze was quickly drying his droopy clothing. It was deathly quiet except for the lapping water at his feet.
Ike turned to the right and started walking down the thin beach surveying the greenery for an entrance. He checked his watch. It was noon. He looked up at the increasingly hot sun and decided it would be cool in the shade so he plied two giant bamboo stalks apart and stepped inside.
In the shady darkness, the sound vibrated. Birds were singing in every pitch and flavor. Calls to partners and friends announcing a stranger had entered their paradise.
Ike could only see about two feet in front as he pushed back giant leaves and branches. His bare feet sank in the decaying leaves and fallen limbs. Though it new environment was protected from the sun’s rays, the moister dripping off the greenery produced a thick humid air. Ike’s clothing was wet again. He pressed forward.
As if directed, he moved between the branches lie a cat, until the thicket thinned out. Taller pines shaded the dirt floor blocking the growing warmth of the sun. The temperature dropped as Ike paused at this clearing. A two inch underbrush seem to spread everywhere like a soft brown carpet. Crunching the pine needles under raw feet, Ike moved forward to points unknown.
Then the sound of water appeared. Ike stopped to catch the origin of the sound and not the reverberation off the moist walls. Moving left, the volume of refreshing water increased. Through the web of branches and shadows, rays of sunlight peppered a path ahead.
Ike brought through into the bright sun on another white sandy beach.
“Was this the same beach?” he pondered. “Was this the entire island or had he walked in a circle?”
Across a narrow stretch of water there was another white sandy beach. And the water was moving in a different motion. The water moved away from the beach instead of toward the beach. This was a cove. This was an inland waterway.
Ike knelled down in the soft sand and dipped his hand into the clear fast moving water. Lifting it gently to his lips, he sipped a taste. The water was cool and fresh.
Totally out of character for Ike, he jumped up and ran into the steam. Lifting his hands into the refreshing liquid, he showed himself while dancing twirls, splashing waves, and letting out an unexpected call.
Then he stood still. He still didn’t know where he was. He didn’t know who or what else occupied this tiny spec of land. He didn’t have any food. He hadn’t slept in days.
Ike slowly exited the water.
Standing on the beach again, he looked up at the sun, glanced at his watch, made a mental note of his surroundings and decided to move off again.
Moving inland on the beach the pace was easier, though the soft sand reminded his legs of the hours of swimming. The scenery changed little except for the occasional brightly color bird flying out from the canopy or the outward reaching leafy branch seeking sunlight.
Then a sight he did not expect. He wiped his eyes and saw a boat. It looked to be beached. He quickened his pace kicking up sand trails.
Yes, it was a boat. The hull had been cracked as if it had been driving full force into the sand. The jungle had weaved its web of vines and leaves over the bow, but Ike could make out the name. “Mai Thai”.
Ike scrabbled aboard and began searching for food. Seat cushions, fishing gear, a torn shirt on the wheel, empty cans of beer, and then “Eureka!” a treasure trove of cans. Beans, and fruit.
Without checking the expiration date, Ike pulled out his trusty knife, flipped open the blade and stabbed the lid. With a jerking motion the soft metal was no match for his sharp blade. Prying open the lid, Ike paused to smell the contents.
“Seems alright?” he though.
Pouring the contents down his parched mouth, he chocked on the first gulp. Catching his breath he swallowed. It had been the first meal in several days and he had not realized how hungry he was.
Ike jumped away from the Mai Thai’s hull to avoid the barnacles. Another refreshing drinking from the fresh water stream to wash his delicious yet questionable meal down, Ike turned back to the boat.
“What was it doing here? Who drove it? And where were they?” were the thoughts in Ike’s mind.
Looking ashore, he noticed a parting in the green wall.
“A pathway perhaps?”
Sloshing up to the shore, he made note of his location, entering into his mental map of where he was.
Deciding to explore the pathway, Ike re-entered the forest green and the unknown.
Climbing over fallen trees and scraping pass sharp bamboo, he bobbed and weaved his way every step following another’s long ago.
Then he noticed the ground had changed. Instead of sharp pine needles and soft mushy decaying leaves, it was crunchy. Crushed shells divided the rotting forest floor. It was at least a meter or two wide and curved thought the trees.
“This is a man made path?” Ike thought. His mind raced as he scanned both ways on the new road to adventure.
“Which way to go?”
He looked at his feet. The light darting through the canopy lit the left side of the path.
“Then left it is.” He said with confidence and off he went.
After several twist and turns Ike came across another surprise.
A 1928 Rolls Royce. Rusted and decaying in the middle of this forest jungle next to a seashell road.
“What the heck is this doing here?” He thought. “How did that little Mai-Thai fishing trawler get this big auto on this overgrown island?”
Ike checked out the glove compartment and found only dust, spider webs and years of bad weather.
“Better call Maaco”. He said stepping over a tiki lamp pole.
Continuing down the path his heart quicken at the next site.
Ike stepped over a fallen iron gate that maintained it padlock, but kept no one out and walked between the white stone columns topped with multi-legged lions, some missing their paws.
A large brownstone building stood before him covered in vines as if hidden from all mankind in this green blanket of a jungle.
“What kind of place is this? “ he questioned.
None of this made any since to an already baffled mind. Exhausted yet energized by his new discovery, he walked up the steps to the double doors. They were already opened, inviting curiosity of its contents.
The cool marble floors felt comforting to his bloody bare feet. As if a child in the candy shop, Ike gazed at the opulence and slowly walked down the hallway in awe. Paintings of smiling men poised together for a setting. All with a look of content, knowledgeable yet with a smile of playfulness. Huge mirrors in gold frames reflected the silhouettes of vines and branches growing out of the floor and walls.
Ike peered into several rooms in passing but did not enter. Too much to take in at one time, but he wandered on.
Then, there was a noise.
It came from above.
He backtracked down the dark hallway to the foyer and a giant stairway.
There it was again. He heard it again.
Then a sign against the wall caught his eye. It seemed to be a plaque of some kind.
Leaning over and blowing off the dust he read “The Enigma Club”. He placed the sign back against the wall in its original position and looked up the stairway.
Slowly climbing the stairs Ike pondered his deliverance to this island. A dot in the ocean if seen by only one. A savior from whatever the world was doing to itself outside. A refuge for a moment in time. But the past was gone and he had to make a new future.
Light shown out from one of the rooms. Someone was walking. The sound of a bottle and the clinking of glasses filled the hallway.
Ike shyly crept up to the doorway and peered into the room.
The velvet drapes had been drawn back to let in the light. It filled the room with a warm dusty haze. The oriental carpet strewn with dried leaves still appeared thick and lush. The walls were covered with more painting of men in suits looking very formal and poised. Dusty bookcases were full of volumes of leather bond novels with gilded gold titles.
“Ha, ha, ha” a loud cry came out, “ Where have you been?”
Ike’s head swiveled toward the voice and his face went pale. Then a big ear-to-ear smile.
“Come join my party.”
Ike stared in disbelief. There on a stuffed tiger about to pounce sat Ginger, a bottle of champagne in one hand and a wine glass engraved with the letters EC in the other.
“How did you…? When did you…”? Ike stammered, his smile broadening at seeing this vision draped in sunlight.
Ginger sat astride the tiger in her brief bikini panties and bra, legs kicking as if on a bucking bronco, sipping from the glass and chugging from the bottle. As she swayed back and forth, she looked at Ike and said, “Where the hell have you been?”
“I…uh…I…” Ike stuttered to speak.
“I’ve found a life boat, no thanks to you.”
“I couldn’t find you!”
“Oh sure, I’m sure you looked for me”
“Settle down big boy, everything is alright.”
Ike breathed a sigh of relief of seeing his dream lost and found again. He quickly walked over to her and swept her off the stuff monster.
“Watch it with the hands.”
Ike smiled and held her close. His eyes filled with tears.
“Oh come on, I’ve been here for a while and it’s not that bad.”
Ike looked up and smile, rubbing Ginger’s back as she did a little drunken dance across the floor.
“They stored some nice hooch here. Take a swig. It’s the good stuff.”
Ginger passed the bottle of 1915 champagne to Ike. He could not resist and turned the bottle up to three giant swallows.
Wiping his mouth with his torn sleeve, Ike looked up and quietly said,” I am so happy to see you.”
They embraced and the rest will have to remain to your imagination until we can insure the age of all the readers.
THE NEXT MORNING.
“Who is that?” Ginger said in a frothy voice looking up at a wall branching herself on her elbows under a bearskin rug.
“Peregrine Hampton” Ike said tighten his belt.
“Captain Enigma. The head of this club.”
“I did a little looking around this morning and it seems this was a waylay for writers and creative types to gather and share thoughts.”
“But why in the middle of nowhere? Besides, where are we” Ginger said as she looked around for something to wear.
“Here try these.” Ike said as he threw a flannel shirt and baggy jeans to her. “I found them in a closet down the hall and I don’t think they were ever worn.”
“So where are we?”
“ I think we are off the coast of Florida. I saw a boat before getting here. Maybe we can get it to run.”
“A boat? Where?” she said pulling up suspenders over the baggy flannel shirt.
“Don’t know where it came from, but we might be able to start the engine…. what a minute.
What about the boat you found. Where is that?”
“I’m not sure I can find it again.” She said shyly.
“We’ll find a way as a team.”
“OK, let’s get going.”
So the couple, together again, rested and ready for the future, gathered some cans and bottles in a curtain made into a makeshift knapsack.
Down the marble hall, still amazed at the sites they had shared and the history here. Ike and Ginger stopped at the door and viewed the guest book. The last entry was “H. Wornum, esq”.
"Ah, the great fictioneer. He must have been some character."
Ike smiled and had a thought.
He ran back up the staircase and back into their last residence.
There on the marble floor in the dust was a heart shaped image. Ike stood and smiled. Ginger had made that pattern on the floor during the evening.
Ike leaned down and wrote IP & GB in the dust. Pausing, he smiled at this accomplishment, and then looking around the room, hoped it would be there for years.
Turning, he sighed. This had been quiet an adventure, but it was time to return to the old world and whatever it held for the couple.
Ginger smiled as Ike slowly step down the dusty stairway, glancing back as his artwork, then turning to hold Ginger’s hand and head for the doorway.