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Overnight Stay…

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Overnight Stay

 

 

 

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A Day in the Life…

Welcome Home Scottie

I couldn’t even believe the sight as I walked into the main conference room at my dad’s headquarters. I wasn’t even there to work. I wanted to say hello to a few people, my assistant, gather some stuff and go. My father had other ideas.

When I stepped through the doors, balloons fell from a net, flooding the room with color and confetti. Everyone yelled, “Surprise!”

I grabbed my chest. “I…Oh, my. Guys? I’m overwhelmed. Gee…”

Gustave from marketing handed me a drink. “Glad you’re alive, Scottie!”

“Thanks, uh…yeah. Thanks.” I took the glass. I’d never particularly been friends with any of these people, least of all Gustave. He’d always seemed to have the opposite opinion, and I tended to defer to him. He was more experienced, and he cared about his job, which was way more than I ever did. I’d always been under the impression that he hated me for that, too.

Petra started cutting the humongous cake in the center of the table. People cheered. My dad stepped forward. “Scott. I know you’re leaving the company, but you’re my son, so…” A few people laughed, but not many. I thought it made for an awkward moment, rare for my father. He always knew exactly what to say. I guess I’d thrown him off with all of this—the shipwreck, finding Cal, moving on with our lives. “Well, I just think that you will be missed here, but we’re all glad…I’m glad…Damn, Scott. I could have lost you. Really lost you.”

My father being chocked up was more than I could stand. I hated being thrust in the middle of this chaos when I wanted nothing more than to get back to Cal. I never wanted any of this. I hated the job, hated working for my father, hated never knowing what the hell I was doing.

The people were okay. I’m sure they were lovely when not tinged with shades of my anger. Yet, I couldn’t care. I didn’t care if they were relieved at my return or sad at my departure. I only wanted to be away…

I looked around, searching for my escape. That’s when Cal walked through the doors. “Sorry I’m late,” he said, loud and clear in his American accent that I loved and envied. He wrapped an arm around me, immediately calming me. “Missed you,” he whispered and kissed my nose.

“Thank you.” He smiled and nothing else mattered. I figured my dad had roped him in to coming. He seemed to get along better with my dad than I did, after all.

“Not a problem.” He nodded to my father. His head and face had been newly shaved, and he smelled of Old Spice—cliché but I loved it.

Relieved that Cal was there, I finally let myself look around. Everyone seemed genuinely happy for me, and my father… Well, he smiled broadly, raising his cup. “Good luck, Scottie and Cal. Good luck on your next venture in life.”

The whole room raised their cups and shouted, “Here! Here!”

I turned to Cal and kissed him lightly on his full lips. Warmth swelled in my heart. With Cal at my side I was ready to take on the world.

Deleted Scene

In The Atlantic

Luffing – When a sailing vessel is steered far enough to windward that the sail is no longer completely filled with wind.

Chapter 1

Cal opened his eyes and instinctively knew he’d slept later than he normally did. He could hear the other crew members on deck, shuffling around, and the clanking of equipment. He grinned to himself just a little. They knew what the day meant to old Cal Bigsby and let him sleep just a little longer, which was probably the best birthday gift he could have received out on this ship. It wasn’t every day a man like him turned fifty.

Reluctantly, he drug his old ass up out of his berth and made his way to the head. Did his knees creek just a little more?

The Outrigger May didn’t have much of a shower, but it’d be enough to clean his scraggly ass up. He washed up and trimmed the goatee styled beard around his chin and his mustache. His salt and pepper look had started leaning more toward salt. He finished up by quickly running the razor over his head. He’d long ago started shaving the receding gray hairline away. He glanced in the beat up old mirror—that was about as good as he was gonna look.

A pounding on the little door grabbed his attention. “Come on ol’ man…get outta there…all hands!”

His free time over, Cal headed up to the galley to grab a quick bite before the day got underway. The May’s skipper was a younger guy who’d inherited the ship, and he didn’t really know what he was doing. Cal had long ago realized that knowledge, experience, and skill were not the requirements for being a skipper. No. The only requirement was owning a god damned boat. It meant that where a lot of things were concerned, he had the crew, had a lot of leeway, but on stupid shit, the skipper would yell and dress them down, and it was almost always hard to predict what it’d be. Grabbing food, thankfully, wouldn’t be one. They’d convinced Willy, though they’d never call him by his nickname to his face, that they couldn’t work properly without a full stomach.

He grabbed a couple of biscuits the crew’d left for him and poured the last of the a’ la king from the stove over them. He ate it quick and cold. Canned food was shit hot or cold, better hot, but he didn’t spare time for that. It might be his birthday, but getting up late meant dealing with what you got. And dish duty. After he washed up the dishes left and stowed them, he headed above.

The other guys had already started dropping the lines. “Nice of you to join us, mate.” Jimmy Rooke gave him a quick nod. “Happy Birthday, you old mother fucker.”

“Yeah, thanks.” Cal pulled on his work gloves and jumped in to help.

Matty and Frank grunted their own greetings, and that was about all Cal expected. Henry Matson, or Matty, and Frank Cammish were both from old fishing families like him. They were four or five generations deep and lived and breathed the fisheries. Rooke was a greenhorn and did most of the grunt work, but had proved not only to be a good hand, but one of his best buddies, despite his age.

Good old Skipper Willy interrupted what little chat they offered with a quick pat on Cal’s back. “Yeah. Happy Birthday. Your family planning something for when you get home?”

“Nah. This is home.” Cal shrugged and gestured out to the open water. “Out here.”

“Alright. Well, get on with it then.” He turned aft and left the deck without another word. Prickly bastard.

Cal just grunted. He meant what he’d said. He was never more at home than on a fishing vessel out in the ocean. Home on land had never been home. His dad had always been gone, at sea, just like Cal, and when he did come home, he drank, cussed, knocked his mama around, and told Cal to stop whining like a girl or worse, like a faggot, and be a man. Being a man meant fishing. It meant drinking and whoring around with women. Cal sighed. Two out of three would have to be enough. He was as much of a man as he could be.

He hadn’t seen his dad in nearly three years now.

He hadn’t been on land for more than a week or two at a time in five.

Just how had he managed to turn fifty and have his life so quickly gone? What did he have to show for it? Calloused hands, a sore back, creaky knees, and no real desire to do anything else about it.

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