“Hang On. We are going in.”
The air filled with smoke and the wind blew up a sandstorm as the helicopter set down with a loud thump, then skidded until the front dove down and the blades stopped suddenly whirling and shuttered to a stop.
“You OK?” Ike said as he unfastened his harness and fell against the glass shell half buried in the sand.
“Yeah, I guess,” Ginger replied shaking her flowing hair in great waves, “ but that wasn’t a very smooth landing.”
“Sorry,” Ike replied grabbing his knapsack and crawling out of the cabin, “but we were out of gas.”
“Didn’t you check that before we left?”
Ginger crawled out of the cockpit and dusted off the sand. Remembering her sack with its red surprise, she reached back in the smoky wreckage.
“Well we made it to the coast.”
“OK, now what?”
“North.” Ike surveyed the landscape.
White sandy beach ran a ribbon roadway between the dense jungle and the crashing waves.
“Take off your shoes. It will be easier to walk barefoot.”
Ike stuffed the shoes in his pack, rolled up his pants legs, and loosened his collar.
The couple was off.
After an hour of soft sand and no signs of life they stopped to have a snack.
“How far to anywhere do you think?” Ginger asked opening a can of peaches.
Ike pondered the question but blankly starred into the constant roar of the ocean lapping the shore.
“I don’t get it.” He thought. “This use to be a resort beach. There should be cabanas and hotels. Some sort of building, but there is only jungle. How long have we been away?”
“You know this is really a nice spot. If we cleared a little area over there we could…”
“What is that?” Ike peered into the horizon.
“There.” Ike pointed. “12-degrees from center.”
“What is it? An animal?” Ginger squinted remembering she had not heard any sounds of birds on their hike.
“Its…. its PINK!”
“Yes, I see it. What the he….?”
“It’s a SAILBOAT.”
“With a big pink sail”
“It seems to be drifting north at 2 knots.” Ike said using his watch as a compass.
“How far away do you think?”
“Two…. maybe three miles. It’s following the currents.”
“Give me your bag.”
Ike took off his jacket and wrapped Ginger’s bag in it, and then stuffing all into his knapsack. Strapping the sack on and tightening up the straps in a frantic pace he turned to Ginger and said, “Lets go!”
Without abandon they raced to the water and dove in. Ike had already calculated the drift and the current and the distance so they set a course above the bow of the vessel.
As they closed in on the drifting sailboat, Ike remembered he had incourted some creatures going to the island.
“We are in shark infested waters, so be alert.” He said scanning the waters on both sides. “I ran into a couple of them going to the Enigma Club.”
“Wonder how they can survive and no thing or no one else seems to have?” Ginger questioned her long hair blending with the waves.
“Well,” Ike spurted, “they did out last the dinosaurs.”
As calculated, the pair reached the sailboat just as it drifted to them. As if shot out of a cannon, Ike kicked his feet and tightened his legs and flew out of the water grabing the rail. Pulling himself onto the deck, he immediately turn and reached for Ginger.
“I’m not losing you this time.”
Their arms intertwined and with a firm grip he lifted Ginger onto the deck.
They sat for a few minutes, taking deep relaxing breaths before checking out the drifting platform. Ike removed the knapsack and stood up, then quickly ducked as the boom swung over them.
“Oh yeah, SAILboat.” He smiled remembering days as a youth learning how to manage these wind powered vessels. Many a time he had met the boom and it had not been so pleasant.
“She seems to be OK. I don’t see any damage up here.” Ike walked across the deck pulling at lines and checking the sides. “The rudder looks firm and she responds to the wheel.”
“Let’s look below. Maybe I can find a towel.”
Ginger stood and her spring dress clung to her body like a second skin.
“I see you didn’t find any underwear at that shop.” They both grinned and walked to the entrance to the cabin below.
Ike pushed the door opened and sunlight streamed down the steps.
“Hello! Is anybody here?”
Ike leaned down and view the room. He listened for a moment expecting a voice, but only heard the water splashing on the sides and the fluttering of the sail.
“Careful.” Ike reminded Ginger they were still dripping wet and could slip on the steep decent.
Once below they separated in different directions searching for whatever (and whoever) was there to find.
Ike found a table of maps, compasses, a sexton, some handwritten notes and a half full cup of very cold coffee. Shuffling the papers he studied the direction charted for this lost vessel. “All signs look like this boat was headed south.” As he turned the maps together he glanced back and forth. “It was headed to a little island off Florida.”
“Maybe that was the island we were on?” Ginger questioned digging through drawers of silverware and cooking utensils. Opening the overhead cabinets she quipped “Looks like we are stocked for a while. Now if I can find a towel.”
Ike glanced back at Ginger as she stretched on tippy toes to reach into the top shelf, her quickly drying dress riding up her legs. A quick smile then back to business.
“Do those maps tell you where we are now?”
“I’ll have to take a reading of the stars tonight, but they help.”
“Eureka!” Ginger squealed.
Ike quickly turned to see Miss Ginger resting her head on piles of thick towels. She fondled and rubbed each layer in ecstasy with eyes closed. He could almost hear her purr.
“I’m going forward.” Ike said with a change of direction and attention.
Slowly opening doors on either side of a narrow hallway, he found the head, a small dressing room, then under the bow, the bedroom. The curved bed fit into the bows hull wrapped in a cage of netting. The covers were neatly tucked as if never used. Opening a teak door he discovered a trove of shirts, slacks, windbreakers, and rain gear. Pulling one of the shirts of the rack, he viewed the size and designer. He smiled realizing this was quality goods and his size. Below the hanging clothes were cubby holes with rows of shoes, everything from deck sneakers to winter boots.
Turning to the other side of the room, he opened a drawer to find more papers and a pistol. He upholstered the pistol and made sure it was unloaded. Softly putting it back he covered it up as to hide a secret. Another drawer and more papers, all hand written. “What was this person doing out here?” his mind raced.
Then Ike noticed a space above the top drawer. A sliver of paper hid in the shadows. He slowly reached for the paper and found it was a bookmark. Pulling an old journal out of the crevice, he blew off the dust. Brushing off the cover Ike viewed the title “Just Another Life” in gold letters on the red leather hand sewn binding. Fingering the bookmark, the pages crackled as they opened. Drawings, sketches, notes, scribbles, covered the pages.
“Find anything in there?” came the voice down the hall.
Ike put the journal back in it’s hiding spot and thought it will take more time to read or understand these messages than he had now. Walking back to the original room he saw a vision.
Ginger leaned up against the stairway, wrapped in a towel and crowned by a towel turban. “I took a shower.” She smiled. “You should try it.”
Ike enjoying the site and smell of the refreshed Ginger turned back to the maps. “We’ve got to get a heading.”
“I also found some sailing clothes that I think will fit.” She said tilting her head and rubbing her rusty locks.
“I’m going topside and try to get some readings. I’ll set a course and come back down in a bit.” Ike said gathering some of the instruments from the map table and climbed the steps still bare footed. “It’s getting dark.”
“I’ll see if I can whip up some dinner.”
Ike checked all the lines and cleats. He tightened one line then checked the sails. He tied off another line and watched the bow turn. Feeling the water glide pass, the lofting craft became taunt and responded well to a new captain.
Night had fallen and the cloudless sky presented a lighted road map for Ike. Dedicated to every detail, he looked up at the sky, then his watch, then the horizon, then the sail, then the bow, and the sky again. Turning the wheel to starboard the water parted allowing the couple’s transport fly. Ike grinned. Feeling comfortable in conquering the waves and harnessing this ocean stallion, he put on the autopilot and watched as the rising full moon stayed in the same position. He was on coarse. The vessel gently rocked accepting it’s new captains orders.
“Your grog is ready captain.” Came the voice from below deck.
Ike broke his hypnotic trance and stepped down into a warmly lit room.
Ginger had outdone herself again. She had found candles that flooded the room and the waves outside the portholes with a welcoming glow. On the mess table sat a steaming pot of soup bubbling with potatoes, carrots, and celery swimming in a rich tomato pond. A wooden board rested thick slices of bread fresh from the oven. Two wooden bowls and neatly folded cloth napkins offered themselves to the weary travelers.
“Let’s eat, I’m starving.” Ginger scrambled to a stool and picked up a large spoon. She had slipped from the towel into a dark polio shirt and blue sweat pants.
“Wow!” said Ike as he gathered to the table. “You did all this and look very relaxed.”
“I still have a few skills you don’t know about.” She said buttering her slice of bread and looking slyly at him.
“She’s the ‘Dusty Rose’, that’s her name.” Ike responded ladling the thick soup into his bowl. “We are riding with the ‘Dusty Rose’”.
“Nice name. I like that.” Ginger beamed.
“She looks seaworthy and in good shape.” Ike said as he mopped the soup spilled on his still damp shirt. “She handles well and I think we have a new ride.”
“Good.” Ginger slurped. “Did you find anything else?”