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Winchester Harbor book cover

Winchester Harbor
Book One of the Full Sails Series
Wes Boyd
©2011, ©2013

Chapter 10

The rest of Memorial Day weekend was almost as busy, although not as desperately so as that day had been. Well, not quite, anyway. Susie was mostly out on the fuel dock with me, and at odd times we’d catch each other’s eye and just start laughing. We didn’t need to say anything, since we both knew we’d liked to have heard the conversation on that boat as it went on down the channel to the big lake. For me, I had to wonder just how much of the whole incident was going to get back home.

Maybe not much, I thought; I really doubted that the folks knew that Lisa was planning on spending the weekend on an all-kid party boat. Even if nothing had really happened, what they would have believed would have been something else.

Tuesday slacked off quite a bit; it was only busy, instead of hectic. Along toward the middle of the morning Barb came down to the fuel dock, bringing a boy about Rachel’s age along with her. “Jake, this is Darryl,” she said by way of introduction. “I want you to show him how things work around here. After this last weekend, I’m convinced that we need an extra set of hands for the busy times, and someone to call on when you’re out with Nate.”

“Good enough,” I told her. I’d been wondering how I was going to be able to get out on the boat with Nate and Rachel again if the last weekend was any indication of what the rest of the summer was going to be like.

Right from the beginning Darryl struck me as a young teenage jerk. Hell, I knew what that was like since I’d more or less been one myself, though I doubt I was ever that bad. I mean, he was one of those little shits who thought he knew it all, and he had a mouth on him. What’s more, he didn’t seem to have the responsibility to do something without being told to do it and often how to do it. For example, both the Navy and Barb had taught me to roll up a hose line when I was done with it, if for no more reason than to keep things shipshape and reduce the chance of tripping over it. I’ll bet I had to remind Darryl of it fifty times before he finally got the idea, and I’ll bet I had to show him how to cleat a line about that many times before he could do it correctly. Explaining why it had to be done correctly took longer than that. There was always something that needed to be done around the fuel dock, if no more than keeping the place picked up and swept. There may have been times when I’d been too busy to do the detail stuff, but that didn’t mean that I didn’t get to it as soon as I got the chance. Darryl would sit on his ass and have to be told to do something.

I put up with Darryl for most of the rest of the week. Several times I got close to going up to Barb and telling her that the little shit wasn’t going to work out, but I didn’t want to do that, since I thought the kid might be the son of some friend of hers. I didn’t want to make waves, so I just put up with him.

It all came to a head on Friday afternoon. Darryl and I were down on the dock when Nate and Rachel pulled in with a boatload of customers and a limit load of fish. It was a hot day, and for once Rachel had taken off her T-shirt to reveal a relatively modest one-piece swimsuit, very unlike the tiny-bikini teenyboppers I often saw. We hadn’t even gotten the lines on the cleats yet when Darryl called out, “Hey, Rachel! Nice tits!”

I went over and grabbed the little shit by the front of his shirt. “Hey, you little bastard,” I said. “You don’t talk like that around customers.”

“Hey man, it’s cool. I know her, we go to school together.”

“It doesn’t matter if you go to school together or what. When you’re on the dock, she’s a customer and you’ll treat her in a businesslike manner. The next time I hear you say something like that you’re going to be swimming with a fat lip, and you’ll be out of a job.”

“Fuck you,” he yelled. “I don’t have to put up with shit like that from you.”

About two seconds afterward there was a splash, and Darryl was swimming with a fat lip. Rachel had seen and heard the whole exchange, and was wearing a huge grin as she eased the boat up to the dock. Nate had seen and heard it, too. I got a thumbs up from him, as well.

I got the lines on the cleats and turned to Nate and Rachel, who was coming down from the flying bridge, still wearing a huge grin. “Sorry about that,” I told them, still a little pissed. “But I thought someone really needs to learn some manners.”

“I’ve thought that for years,” Rachel said. “That guy is a pain in the neck, not just to me but to all the girls. Thanks from not just me, but from a lot of girls in the school. I just wish someone had gotten a picture.”

“My pleasure, miss,” I said, my own grin pretty wide.

While I was talking with Rachel and her father, I was also aware that Darryl was climbing out of the water, just about as mad as the proverbial wet hen. “You fucker!” he yelled “I don’t have to put up with that shit from you!” As soon as he was on the dock, he rushed me.

I’m not much of a fighter. I’ve never done martial arts or anything like that, but I was bigger than he was, had a longer reach, and was nowhere as near blind mad. He swung at me but never laid a fist on me, while I caught him a good one and decked him. While he was down, I grabbed him by the back of his T-shirt and the seat of his pants, carried him down the dock a few feet, and threw him in the channel again. “Start swimming for home,” I told him as soon as he came to the surface. “You get back on this dock ever again and you’re just going to go back over the side.”

“You’re done here, Darryl,” I heard Barb say. Apparently she’d been watching. “And I damn sure am going to tell your mother what happened.”

I watched as Darryl swam down to the end of the dock, clambered up onto the shore, and disappeared toward town. “Sorry about that,” Barb said to Rachel, Nate and me as she watched. “I had my doubts he was going to work out, but his mother persuaded me to give him a try. I was pretty sure it was going to be a mistake, but thought I owed her enough to find out.”

“I sort of wondered why you’d want to do that,” Nate said. “But there’s no reason to have to put up with a mouth like that.”

“Rachel,” I said, “my apologies again. I was responsible for him out here on the dock, and you shouldn’t have to put up with it here.”

“You don’t have to apologize for him,” she said, grinning again, showing off that mouthful of braces. “I’m just glad that you wouldn’t put up with him. I owe you one for that, Jake.”

“No big deal, just glad to be of service,” I told her. “Now, you want a full load of diesel, right?”

After I got the Chinook III on the way, with the owner and helmsman still wearing big grins, Barb came back over to me. “Well, that didn’t work out,” she said. “I still think we need an extra dock hand, though. I think Nate and Rachel are going to want you with them even more to thank you for your good deed, so I guess I’ll have to look around again.”

“If you want to,” I told her. “I just hope it’s not another idiot like him. He was going to do you more harm than good.”

“It was heading that way,” she said. “I had the feeling right from the beginning it was going to be the other way around with you, and I guess I really got it right on that one. Being a good dock hand isn’t as simple as it seems, and you just proved you were worth the effort.”

“Thanks, Barb,” I told her. “I appreciate it.”

She glanced around the channel. For once there was no one waiting for the fuel dock, or heading our way. “Hey, why don’t you head up, grab something to drink, and take a few minutes in the shade. If anyone comes in, I’ll take care of them.”

“Yeah, I wouldn’t mind,” I agreed, grateful for a chance to sit down. “I’ll be back in a few.”

I went into the snack bar and found Annette in her normal down-time condition, which is to say sitting at one of the tables overlooking the channel, battering away at the keys of her little typewriter. I went over to the pop machine, pulled myself a Coke, and walked over to be friendly. “How’s it going?” I asked.

She didn’t answer, much too engrossed in what she was typing. Glancing over her shoulder, I began to read, “He dragged the tip of his finger over the exquisite sensitivity of her bare sole, sending a chill up the length of her helpless body. Held motionless by the weight of the wet sand, her only possible reaction was to scream in protest, but it was a scream that was filled with as much delight as it was terror. Her bosom heaved, at least as much as it could being trapped and immobile. A wide stream of desire filled her aching loins as he relentlessly passed his light touch over her helpless, wanton feet . . . ”

There was no question where the inspiration for that had come from. “Laying it on a little thick, aren’t you?”

“Huh?” she said with a start, obviously not having noticed my presence till then.

“I asked if you weren’t laying it on too thick. I never touched your feet.”

“Huh? Oh, this,” she blushed. “Just a little artistic license. This isn’t the steamy part yet. There’ll be a lot more heaving bosoms and aching loins when I get to that.” She paused for a moment, shook her head, and added, “If I can get to it without driving myself nuts in the process. God, this is hard! Go away, Jake, let me write while I’ve got the scene in my mind.”

“Well, OK,” I said, feeling thoroughly snubbed. “Talk to you later.” The keys were tapping behind me as I went back out onto the balcony and found a seat in the shade overlooking the river.

It was a peaceful afternoon. Out in the channel a medium-sized sailboat was powering up the channel, its sails down and bagged; presumably the people on it were heading into the harbor for the evening. In spite of the sometimes hectic days, I was content. Although it wouldn’t last forever, I really liked this place, and liked the people who came with it. It was too bad it couldn’t last. It would only be a few weeks now before Susie and Annette headed back to school, and probably not long after that things would slow down to the point where there wouldn’t be any work for me. I’d have to be moving on when that happened, though I didn’t have any idea where that would be.

Going back to the Navy still was an option, even if it was something I didn’t really want to do. The odds were that if I did, I’d find myself right back out at sea, doing things I didn’t want to do, but this time without looking forward to getting home to Brittany. That just wasn’t the direction I wanted to go at this point in my life, though I didn’t know what was. What’s more, the Navy had all too many dipshits like Darryl, and they were ones I couldn’t get away with just throwing them over the side. I hadn’t ruled the Navy out, but it didn’t seem very appealing in my mind.

And, there wouldn’t be friends like Debby, Susie, and Annette, either. Although it seemed unlikely to last very long, I figured I might as well enjoy it while I could.

The Saturday of the weekend after Memorial Day was busy, but not quite as bad as the holiday weekend had been. This time it was mostly Susie down on the dock with me, working on her tan once again but working hard at the job, too. She was certainly a lot more pleasant to be around than that obnoxious little shit, and as on the weekend before we occasionally got a chance to talk. “Hey,” she asked at one point. “You ever hear anything back from your sister?”

“Nope, not a word,” I said. “After our last little display last week, I doubt she’s going to want to talk to me for a while.”

“That might have been a little overboard, but I have to think that it got the message across, too.”

“There is that. I’ll admit to wondering just a little about how much she told our folks about last weekend. I mean, she has to know I’ve got about as much on her as she has on me. I’ll admit that I sure would like to know what she told Brittany about it, and knowing the two of them, I’m sure she must have told her. But really, it’s water under the bridge, and I’m only curious, if you know what I mean.”

“Yeah, I guess I do,” she agreed. “Hey, I’m glad you got rid of that Darryl twerp. He had it coming. I’ve heard about you throwing him off the dock from half a dozen people, so I’ll bet Rachel must really have lit up the phones, giggling all the while. In spite of the fact that she’s so damn good with that boat that it isn’t funny, she’s still a teenage girl and can gossip with the best of them. Maybe that’ll keep his head down for a while.”

“Just doing a public service,” I replied. “You know, what that little shit needs to do is join the Navy, maybe even the Marines. They’d kick some sense into his young ass.”

“We can hope, But it would be nice if Mom can come up with some alternate dock hand so you can get out with Nate some more. I know you like that.”

“Yeah, I do,” I told her. “But I figure my first responsibility is right here.”

“Maybe I ought to talk to Mom. I know this guy in Hughesville who’s home from college, and I don’t think he’s doing much of anything. I know Mom’s pretty well exhausted the possibilities of other help here in Winchester, except for useless dorks like Darryl.”

“Tell her about him,” I said. “I really like getting out with Nate, and he’s got a lot to teach me. I don’t know that I’d ever make a charter fisherman, but it makes a nice break from hanging around the dock.”

“Maybe I’ll just run up and do it while I’m thinking about it. I’m not all that damn crazy about hanging around the dock all the time, either.”

“Do it,” I said. “We may not get a break again for a while.”

Susie disappeared for a bit, and came back just as we started to get busy again, so I didn’t ask her if she’d talked with her mother. But, in an hour or so, Barb came down the hill bringing a pudgy guy wearing glasses. “Jake, this is Wayne Shamplo, the friend of Susie’s she was telling me about. We’re going to give him a try as a backup dock hand, and with the both of you here you ought to be able to get him off to a good start.”

My first impression of Wayne was that he was a fairly decent guy, not like Darryl. I didn’t pick up on it all at once, but he was polite and a good worker and didn’t need to be told anything twice. From what I could find out, he and Susie weren’t close friends, but they knew each other. What’s more, he was glad to have a job; he’d been hanging around the house for the last month with nothing in particular to do but read old science fiction magazines he’d read any number of times before.

In any case, Wayne learned the job pretty fast, so when Tuesday rolled around and Nate asked me if I’d like to go out on the boat with him, I jumped at the chance, knowing Susie would be around to back Wayne up. From then on, I went out with Nate and usually Rachel once or twice a week, mostly working in the cockpit but occasionally up on the flying bridge, where I could see how Rachel made love with the fish finder. She really was an artist at it – I think better than Nate – and I picked up a lot from her. Once or twice it was just Nate and me, since Rachel had things she had to do ashore, like a dentist appointment or something – I was never exactly clear on what it was.

The summer continued onward. We stayed fairly busy during the week, not enough to drive us crazy, but the weekends got busy enough that we were glad to have Wayne’s help. There were plenty of other things around the place that Susie had to do, and he bought her enough time to do them. Except for Wayne, we all switched jobs around a little bit, just to keep from getting bored doing the same thing, and I often found myself cleaning the motel rooms and changing the linen or helping Debby out in the kitchen.

There was almost always enough to do and we were all glad to have a little break every now and then. The rest of us would just kick back and relax, but whenever she got the chance, Annette would be pounding at the keys of her little typewriter. I never got to read much of the novel she was working on, only a few words over her shoulder every now and then, but I got the impression that it was a real steamy bodice-ripper with a lot of big, loaded words and lots of muted but active sex. It wasn’t exactly the kind of thing I’d like to read, but she seemed to have fun writing it – or was obsessed by it, same difference.

The best part of the day was always the evening. Sometimes I’d just sit out on the balcony in front of the snack bar waiting for any late fuel customers to come in, smoking a cigarette from time to time. If I happened to be in the mood for a beer, which I was every now and then, I’d do the same thing from the balcony of my room, not far away but keeping the actual drinking out of the snack bar.

This time of year we kept the sign on later, and it would only be about dark before we turned it off, and I’d head to my room. As often as not I’d have company, one of the three girls, but it wasn’t something I necessarily expected, and I never knew which one it might be until they came in. As before, Debby came to my room a little more often than the other two girls, but that was fine with me, and it apparently worked that way with them. Annette was the least likely to show up as she still spent many evenings working on her novel. Or it might have been a different one by now, and I had the impression that she used our activities as much for inspiration as anything else.

Don’t get me wrong, I liked the sex, and I especially liked the variety. The three girls were a lot of fun, but as Susie had said back on Memorial Day weekend we were just fuck buddies. There were plenty of times that I missed having a real girlfriend. There was only so much I could share with any of the girls. If anything, Susie was closest to being a girlfriend of any of them, and we could talk about things that I couldn’t discuss with the others, but there were limits there as well.

I’ll admit, there were things I wasn’t all that happy about with Susie, either. We didn’t share a lot of interests besides work and sex, and I got a definite feeling from her that since I wasn’t a college guy I wasn’t worth messing around with for long – or at least we had no future long-term. I think the thing that bugged me the most was that she was pretty manipulative, often trying to bend me and the others to do things her way, which didn’t have to make sense.

Not that it was necessarily bad – I came to realize that the whole deal with burying Annette in the sand was to give her the excruciating and humiliating but safe bondage experience she’d been hungering for, even though somehow it didn’t seem quite right to me. Still, Annette seemed quite taken with it, so I suppose it was a success. As far as that went, the act we put on for Lisa was at least partly Susie’s manipulative skills, and it worked well, but somehow I felt like it was going to lead to trouble in the future.

June passed quickly, and all of a sudden, it was the Fourth of July weekend, which everybody but Wayne and I knew from experience was going to be the busiest weekend of the year. It was. The snack bar was usually packed from dawn to dusk, and there was a continuous stream of boats fueling at least that long. There were usually two or three of us working on the fuel dock, and we evolved a system where Susie dealt with the credit cards while Wayne and I handled the fueling, the pump outs, and the lines. The motel was filled all weekend, which meant there was that much more cleaning to do. We were all glad to shut the sign off at night and head to bed for some much-needed sleep.

It was a relief to have the weekend over with, though it meant that the peak of the summer was past, and while things would stay steady for the next couple months, we were now on the downhill side of the season.

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