In Dreams Ch. 01byDenham_Forrest©
By Denham Forrest (The Wanderer)
My thanks go to the folks who have assisted me in preparing this story for posting.
A few clarifications that might assist the uninitiated and/or those from foreign parts.
Emmet: A Cornish (and West country) term for holidaymakers or seasonal visitors. Punter: A person who is (unwittingly) gambling on the services he/she has paid for being successfully provided. In this particular example, paying to be taken out on a boat to see some basking sharks and/or dolphins, doesn't necessarily guarantee that the "punter" will see anything but the bottom of a sick bucket. Stroppy: bad tempered and/or argumentative. Bill/Ol'-Bill; Police
In Dreams, Chapter 01
The human brain is a strange and wonderful thing; buried inside it somewhere is our consciousness... our mind, or even our soul, if you like to call it that. Every second of each day our brain monitors the most complex machine known to man and keeps it all running tickety-boo; heart rate, breathing, temperature and many other bodily functions are all monitored and maintained at the optimum.
Along with the former, the brain stores our memories... if sometimes not as fully or accurately as we'd like. Now memories are even stranger because although we believe that we remember everything about our lives; in fact we can recall very little in detail. Some parts of our life, which I suppose our brains have decided are poignant we find we can remember in great detail, but regretfully these recollections are often but very short episodes... recordings, if you like; usually only of the highlights of the more significant occasions. Still more of our memories are but mere snapshots that our brain (in it's wisdom) somehow reassembles into what we believe are proper memories.
I'm only explaining this to you now, so that you might understand, that the following are my memories; my recollections of the significant events of those few months, what actually happened between the described... poignant events, I really can't recall now.
My story starts on a sunny afternoon in mid July, 2010. It had been a good day for me really. I'd taken a group of ten people out on the boat and we'd found three Basking Sharks, one of them a real big bugger. That's what the punters were paying for to see; the sharks up close and personal. I'd earned my money that day and back at the landing stage the party had climbed off "Quiet Times" (my boat), a group of happy Emmets (Summer visitors, holidaymakers and the like from up-country and/or foreign parts. Emmits all, to us local country bumpkins).
As usual after I'd disembarked the party at the charter boys' landing stage, and having topped up the fuel tank, I moved Quiet Times over by the quay wall. There I could refill her water tank, generally tidy everything away and swab the decks down a bit, before I took her back up river to my mooring.
I was almost finished making her all ship shape and Bristol fashion, and had stopped for a moment to stare at the water; checking the state of the tide, when.
"Excuse me, but are you Mr Carson?" A rather young sounding female voice, somewhat tentatively, asked from somewhere high above me on the quay.
"That I be Miss!" I replied in my best Cornish nautical, and I'll add without lifting my gaze from the waters surface.
By the way, I'm not Cornish by a long chalk; but I've been living down here for a good few year and had been pretty well accepted as one by the locals. And of course the punters sort-of expect that I should be; consequently one has to play the part as best one can.
"Are you Mr Taylor Carson?" The voice asked.
Now that caught my attention! No one addressed me as Taylor anymore. I'd been plain old Carson to everyone around those parts (including the Emmets) ever since I'd settled in that neck of the woods! Except that some of the punters would call me Captain Carson or even skipper... on occasion.
I looked up to see whom I was addressing and the sight before me took my breath away. Gazing back down at me was an extremely familiar looking -- rather shapely and very attractive -- young woman.
But no, she wasn't a young woman, she couldn't be; your the mind can play some devious tricks on you sometimes.
Oh, she was familiar all right; too bloody familiar looking by a long chalk. And she even had the look about her or of a young woman. But from the sound of her voice – and maybe more so my unconscious mind speedily fumbling through a few complicated calculations which had their roots in long discarded memories -- I figured that it was far more likely that she was a mere child. My high speed mental gymnastics led me to the conclusion that she could be no more than thirteen years old... roughly; mental maths ain't ever been a strong point of mine. Unless I'm calculating dart scores that is; which is a subtraction exercise anyway.
Whatever, I had to admit to myself that the younger was certainly well developed for her age, and could easily have passed for being somewhat older.
It should be obvious to you though, that my estimate of her age, was influenced by the fact that -- on that first glance -- I'd very much suspected... Well I was positive when it comes down to it, that I knew exactly whose offspring my unexpected visitor was.
But I had no clue as to what her name was or as to what possible reason she could have had for being on the quay that day.
I also had no intention of letting-on to the youngster that I did recognise her. That's called... well self-preservation, I think?
"You have me at a disadvantage Miss?" I said prompting her to introduce herself. But she'd obviously decided to play her cards close to her chest. Suspiciously close to her chest from my point of view.
Hey, I'll add, that by the look of it, that was going to be one impressive chest one day, once it had developed to it's full potential. Yeah well, the youngster was definitely taking after her mother; that was something I was definitely sure about. The one thing I suspected was going to lead naturally to the other, as nature dictates.
"Tara," she replied, "May I come aboard your boat please Mr Carson, there's something I need to discus with you."
The name Tara immediately brought final confirmation to my suspicion of whose offspring this particular young lady had to be; not that I'd needed any. The young woman I'd immediately pictured in my memory was a little more than... fixated on the film "Gone With The Wind". I'd been obliged to sit through all 238 minutes on it's on... too many occasions for my personal taste.
But for the life of me, I still could not figure-out the why or wherefore, of what Tara was doing in my neck of the woods. Or of rather more concern was, why she would feel the need to search me out.
But, being the gentleman that I am, (A description of myself not wholeheartedly shared by the rest of the world, I'll admit!) I could do no less than acquiesce to her request.
"Be my guest young lady! But be careful on that old metal ladder; it tends to get a little slippery at low tide. Although I do still have some chores to finish here, so if you don't mind I'll be working while we talk. And then I've got to get Quiet Times to her moorings, before the tide turns. So if you stay aboard for too long, then you'll probably find yourself shanghaied into a trip up river."
"That's fine with me, I can help you clean-up if you wish. I'm in no hurry to do anything but talk to you this evening." Tara replied, then holding her arm out, she called out "Catch!" as she dropped the jacket she'd been holding down to me, swung herself onto the ladder and shimmied down onto the deck beside me.
Then she turned to face me again, and smiled, picked up the deck brush -- that I'd been forced to drop, to facilitate the catching her jacket -- and the bucket, before asking. "Where do I start?" .
Probably with a bewildered expression on my face, I gestured towards the foredeck out in front of the wheelhouse.
Tara smiled back at me yet again, then I watched as she carefully negotiated her way around the side of the deckhouse and out onto said foredeck.
"Water?" she asked, then added. "Oh, that's a silly question isn't it?" When after I'd looked back at her and then glanced over the side at the harbour waters all around us.
I've got to admit, whilst she lowered the bucket into the harbour to fill it, I did take a long look at the way her... well, her pert derriere filled those tight fitting jeans she was wearing.
"God," I thought "The girl has wonderful figure even at her age; she is definitely going to grow into the image of her mother."
I had to remind myself that whatever age Tara looked, my in-built radar was telling me that she was not yet fifteen years old. She had to be a lot less than half my years and that the wicked thoughts that were trying to wangle their way inside my perverted brain, were quite definitely illegal!
But in my defence, I must say that they might not have been thought's; they quite possibly could have been memories. If you do not understand where I'm coming from here, I'm afraid there's nothing I can add that might make it any clearer at this time.
I finished up topping-off the water tank from the hose that hung from the quayside, then ran the engine up and let it tick-over for a while to warm-up a little.
"Are we going up the river now?" Tara asked as she re-entered the well deck, where I had been waiting for her.
"Yeah, to my mooring, only about a mile or so. The tide is just about to turn shortly and it's easier to pick up the mooring during the slack... that's if I can time it exactly right. I'll bring you back in the Rib after; if you'd like to come along for the ride." I replied.
"Please," she said, "it'll give us time to talk."
Casting off the single line that attached Quiet Times to the quay, I reversed her away from it in preparation for the turn to run up river.
The Boys on the regular charter boats (who were still undertaking their crafts evening ablutions) waved, but were uncharacteristically quiet as we passed them.
Usually, if I still had a... female passenger aboard when I went up river after a charter... Well, we'd be greeted with a volley of wolf whistles and the like, and very often with a few – luckily completely unintelligible to the uninitiated -- suggestive or ribald remarks thrown in for good measure.
But to my surprise, that day the guys just waved or respectfully touched their caps.
The ebb tide was still slowly running, so I was sure that with luck on my side, we would arrive at the mooring on the slack. Thereby making picking it up far easier and safer to do single-handed. Once the tide started to flow, it moved very fast on that river and Quiet Times would have been a real bugger to hold steady while mooring her.
Tara had made a fair job of scrubbing the foredeck, but that didn't make her a sailor. From her body language I somehow doubted that she had ever been on a boat before, let alone handled one. I doubted she'd be of much assistance in picking up the mooring.
Because Tara was looking at me expectantly -- which I found a little... well, disconcerting -- I told her where to find the coffee making gear and she quickly disappeared below into the galley; returning shortly with two steaming mugs.
It was obvious that someone had taught Tara how to make a decent mug of coffee, if nothing else. But I had to wonder how she had managed to know exactly how much sugar I was in the habit of using. I somehow doubted that she could have guessed that right first time.
After I'd complemented Tara on her coffee making skills and she'd seated herself near me on the bench that runs all around Quiet Times well deck, I asked. "So what's all these important things that you need to discus with me?"
"This is a very nice boat?" She replied, obviously chickening-out of explaining the reason for her visit as long as she could.
"Hmm, need time to compose yourself, do you young lady?" I wonder what you are up too? I thought to myself. "Right lets scotch that one as quickly as we can and get down to brass tacks." Tara then got the standard holiday charter speech. Well part of the usual banter anyway.
"Yes, she's a retired Royal Navy pinnace. Quiet Times was built for the admiralty in 1956; out of Larch, on oak frames. She's forty-one feet long, eleven-and-a-half feet wide, and she draws roughly around four-and-a-half feet of water, near enough anyway. That helps to make her pretty stable when things get choppy out there. The noise and the vibration you are aware of, is her Kelvin diesel engine down under our feet here; she'll plug on like this for just about forever, providing you treat her respectfully.
"Oh, and there's two berths and a head, plus the little galley down in the for'ard there. But you've already acquainted yourself with the galley, and there are another four berths jammed into those two cabins back there.
"I mostly use Quiet Times for personal recreational purposes; but she is licensed to carry fare-paying passengers should the need arise. Consequently when the charter boys get a little over-busy with the holiday makers in the summer, I can help them out; it brings in a bob or two as well."
"Right Tara , that's the boat sorted. Now lets get down to the why and wherefore you looked me out, and what it is that you really wanted to talk to me about?"
I looked over at her and I could see a sort-of confused expression in the child's eyes. She promptly averted those eyes from mine for a few moments -- to compose herself I assumed -- then after taking a deep breath she turned to stare right back at me.
"I think that you are possibly my father!" Tara announced.
For a moment I couldn't think what to say to her. I'm going to admit I wasn't expecting her to say anything like that. But I didn't need to have to think on the subject, for very long.
"So you are Ottilie Thorn's daughter, I am correct, aren't I?
She replied with an almost imperceptible nod of her head.
"I had the feeling that you were; you have your mother's beautiful eyes. But I'm sorry to have to tell you young lady, that there is no possible way that I could be your father! I'm afraid that the time line just couldn't be mangled enough to fit into the timeframe." I replied, hoping that I hadn't confused her any more than she already was. But then I went straight on to add. "I will say though, that I'm sorry, because I would really love be the proud father of a daughter as beautiful as you are, Tara."
Tara blushed a little
"But... I... You... How can you be so sure?" Tara finally managed to ask.
"Tara, one look at you, tells me that you do not carry my genes."
Okay, I was being a little more than economical with the truth there. Tara looked so much like her mother when she had been the same age that no other features were apparent; except for Ottilie's.
"Ottilie yes! You have your mother's eyes and you are definitely developing her fine figure, if you don't mind me saying? Christ, Tara, you are the spitting image of your mother when she was your age. But unfortunately there's nothing of me, or my family about you."
Which should be no surprise to anyone, because Tara could really have been mistaken for her mother's twin. Wasn't that how I'd known who she was.... Sorry whose daughter Tara had to be, in the first place.
"I would suggest, Tara; that Bill Morris is your father. I'm right there aren't I; your full name is Ottilie Morris?" I asked her.
"How did you know that, mother told me that you left the country some time before she married Bill Morris?"
Lets just say that I knew that Bill Morris was your grandfather's chosen candidate as prospective son-in-law, shall we; well before Ottilie and I stopped keeping company. And your grandfather always has had the habit of getting his own way. But isn't that a rather informal... disrespectful even, way to talk about your father?"
"Some father!" She commented casually.
I'm afraid that I failed to read any significance into Tara's comment, and let it slip right past me. Bill Morris was no concern of mine and I was more curious as to what reason the child could have to think that I might be her father in the first place.
"Tell me Tara what in heavens name, gave you the idea that I could possibly be your father? And why did you bother coming all this way down here to confront me about the ludicrous notion... you know nothing about me after all. Come to that, how did you know where to find me anyway?"
"Google of course, and your boat here!" She replied,
I think I saw a hint of a smile, on what had become a very sad looking face.
"I Googled you on the Internet last week and up you popped, just like that. Some of your passengers have some very nice things to say about you on their websites."
"I'm on the internet?"
"Sure you are! And some people have written all about how much they enjoyed themselves when you took them out on your boat."
"Well that doesn't say much; we put on an act for the punters."
"Okay!" she grinned, "Taylor Carson... Almost universally known around these parts as Carson. You arrived in the harbour here about seven years ago on this boat. After living on your boat for most of that first summer, you bought a derelict building beside the river; an old Victorian brickworks or something. Anyway you lived on Quiet Times... moored to the brickworks quay, while you had the building repaired and converted into a cottage. But it looks a little large to me, to be called a cottage. You did some of the work on the cottage yourself, but a local builder did most of it.
"There's some conjecture about where you get your money from; it's generally agreed locally that the few charters you undertake would not bring in enough to run Quiet Times, let alone live on. Consequently some people think that you're an eccentric millionaire; others think you won the lottery. But maybe the one equals the other.
"You're generally well liked locally, and you are known for paying your bills promptly; but not for being extravagant. You drink quite frequently, usually in one of three different pubs... two fishermen's pubs in town and one public house and restaurant that is over there, on the hillside; quite close to your cottage. But you are not known to overindulge on alcohol.
You are single, but not celibate. Rumour has it that you prefer one-night stands. Most often your partners are visiting holidaymakers, or they come from amongst the seasonal staff who work in the local hotels during the summer months. You appear to steer clear of any of the eligible females who live locally."
"Jesus Christ, you got all that from the Internet?"
"No, of course I didn't! I arrived down here a couple days ago. I wanted to get to know something about who my father is today, before I set about meeting him; so I asked around town. Once I'd explained to them that I was your daughter and that you probably were unaware that I even existed... and I'd showed them some photos of you and mother together... My resemblance to mother proved very convincing there, and you haven't changed very much; except for that beard."
As she was speaking Tara had reached for her jacket and retrieved an envelope from a pocket. From which she extracted a few snapshots of her mother and I together when we were about Tara's own age.
"Anyway, having heard my story and seen those pictures, most people couldn't have been more obliging. Oh, they all sing your praises by the way."
"Holy Christ, you've told everyone that I am your father? But I'm not! what gave you the ridiculous idea that I could be your father in the first place?" I insisted.