“Look at that sunrise. It’s magnificent.” Ginger stood staring out at the ocean. The horizon was glowing in a warm orange glow. Every wave brought a new color glistening on the water bringing in a new day. “Ike, wake up, youve got to see this.”
Ike stirred and mumbled something about bees and robots.
“Ike, come look at this.” Ginger insisted.
Slowly opening his eye, he viewed a soft light silhouetting a figure against the starry sky. The transparent t-shirt flowing in the morning breeze did little to hide the willowing shape below.
“Um, OK, I’m coming” Ike gruffer as he rolled out of bed and onto the sandy floor. Umph!
“What are you doing?” Ginger turned to see him pull himself back up and sit on the edge of the rumpled covers. “How much of that scotch did you two have?”
Ike stood and paused for a moment changing his thoughts and direction and staggered to the window.
The orange glow faded the stars into clouds and the blackness turned to light blue before their eyes. Even the sea seemed to come alive. The two stood silently watching the beach reveal itself from the shadow of night.
“Look! Look there.” Ike pointed into the distance like a child finding Christmas.
“It’s a pelican.” Ginger quietly assured him her meditations thoughts wrapped up in the sunrise.
“I know,” Ike disgust at her quip announced, “ it’s the first creature we have seen except for fish. It’s a bird. The first bird we’ve seen.”
Ginger winked and turned toward the passing feathered creature slowing gliding over the crashing waves. Then something else caught her eye.
Their focus zoomed onto a man walking down the beach. Carrying a book, the tanned body with hair and open Hawaiian shirt blowing in the morning air, seemed like a tourist taking a morning stroll.
Ike shook his head as if to remove the cotton inside. “Let’s find out.” He looked down at the exposed legs of his companion. “Get dressed and grab your pack.”
The two scurried out into the hallway and retraced their path down the stairway. Stumbling over each other as if they were chasing the Beatles in “Hard Days Night”, they rushed out to the sand.
Sitting in yoga poise the unknown had seated himself on the soft surface and was facing the sunrise. He did not move as the couple approached.
“Excuse me.” Ginger softly interrupted the moment.
A long thin face turned to the pair. The eyelids slowly opened to reveal steely blue eyes. His face was weathered by sun and sea and the deep lines revealed wisdom, not age. Pushing back his hair that whipped his face he smiled.
Ike and Ginger startled at the welcoming tone of the man’s voice, glanced at each other for an expression.
“Hel.. Hello.” Ginger stammered. “I’m Ginger Bonneau,” then pointing to the man dropping his bulky pack in the sand, “and he is Ike Patterson.”
“Come join me. Sit” the smiling man pleasantly, volunteered a spot next to him on the warm sand.
The two joined hands and braced each other settling down in a crossed leg Indian style wiggling side to side to create a depression.
“Ike and Ginger. Welcome to my beach.”
“Who are you?” Ike getting to the point quickly replied.
“Dexter. They call me Dexter.”
“They? They who?” Ginger interjected looking up and down the beach. “We’ve only met two people in the past week.”
“Dexter, you are the third person we’ve seen in days. Where is everyone?”
“Ike and Ginger. Nice names,” the stranger paused and faced the sunrise. “There will be time for that,” his quiet voice whispered as he went back to his yoga position, closing his eyes. “Do you have any books?”
“Books? No we didn’t go to the library.” Ike quipped noticing Ginger was duplicating the yoga pose.
The trio sat for several more minutes, quietly listening to the roar of the rising tide.
Suddenly the stranger arose to his feet and picked up his book.
“Where are you going?” Ginger asked shading her eyes with her hand.
“Home; to see the others. Follow and I’ll lead you there.”
Ginger jumped to her feet and tugged onto her overloaded bag. Ike stood up and looked at the Dusty Rose bobbing in the water. His thoughts turned to concern over following a stranger and leaving the only means of transportation around. When he turned back the other two were already halfway down the beach. He bullied on the cumbersome sack and started trotting to catch up. He thought about the sweater and the red diamond. As he arrived two the fast moving pair he again looked back taking points of reference. “If anything happens to that boat…” he thought.
“Pardon good sir?” the gentleman asked hearing Ike’s mutters.
“Nothing,” Ike responded turning back to their unknown route. “How far, Dexter?”
“It’s just over that next hill.” He pointed a thin finger to a distant rise.
“What are you reading?” asked Ginger noticing the book Dexter held so tightly.
He turned the cover to show her. “The Kings of England”
“Oh!” Ginger’s voice faded. “What about the Queens.”
Ike chucked knowing that Ginger often portrayed herself as “Queen”.
Dexter smiled at her; as a father would do a child.
“Did you know in 1257 the first gold coins were produced in England?”
“No,” Ginger replied slyly looking up to her new founded teacher.
“Did you know the Wales’ David Prince was drawn and quartered by the long shanks of Edward I? How about the conquering of Ireland in 1171 by Henry I, son of Maud, who married Plantagenet, Earl of Argon? Those were good times. Did you know that Charles II had to deal with the plague of 1665 and the Great fire the next year? Much like what is happening now.”
“What do you know about ‘what is happening now’?” Ike joined the conversation.
The three rested under a pier to shade from the sun.
“Would you like some water?” Ginger asked Dexter. “I’d offer you scotch, but Ike gave it away.” Ginger gave Ike “the stare” while he struggled with his backpack.
“What did you get yesterday?” Ike moaned.
“Just the essentials. Things I must have.” Ginger defensively continued.
Ike opened the pack and pulled out black velvet Elvis beach towel with an inscription “What plays in Vegas, stays in Vegas”.
Dexter laughed and turned back to the sun. “Come on you two. It’s not much further.”