An adult tale by Miss Irene Clearmont.
Copyright 2011 (Nov)
Henry is a rich layabout who is just waiting for his twenty fifth birthday so he can claim his inheritance.
A massive blowout in a Bahamas casino finds him looking for a little cash and something to allay the boredom.
The deckhand job on the small cutter, the 'Phoenix', turns out to be just the ticket; a ticket on a ride that assumes a serious turn when he starts to uncover the intentions and duplicity of his employers.
Henry had a gambling problem. Actually it could be fairly said that Henry had a great many problems in his life! Gambling, drinking and being a womanising slob were his principal problems but there were other character flaws that occasionally made themselves felt. Usually they did not affect his life at all, or at least he did not allow them to.
Tardiness, facetiousness, indolence, licentiousness and shiftlessness were all minor traits that could have been listed as his trivial negative qualities.
In fact they battled for attention!
After all, Henry was really quite well off, in fact he was rather wealthy; though to look at him you would have thought that he was a typical wastrel. The trouble was that he was twenty four and until his twenty fifth birthday, he was as rich as Croesus but only on paper.
Every nephew and niece dreams of being the recipient of a fortune from an uncle or aunt. For Henry that dream had come true. Aunt Maisy had left him millions but she knew him well, too well. So the will was read and the usual fortune went to charity and good causes. Henry was the recipient of the fifteen million that was left over, but strings were attached. Until he was twenty-five he was 'only' paid ten thousand dollars a month from the trust fund, auntie Maisy had known what she was doing.
That had been four years ago and now that red letter day was approaching fast, but not soon enough for Henry. Not that that made a difference in his attitude and the way that he viewed life. He took his allowance in cash every month and spent it, often in the first few days, to leave him destitute the rest of the month as he waited for the next lump sum of cash.
On the island of Nassau, in the Bahamas islands, is more than one Casino. Each one was like a little slice of heaven for Henry. A place where all those character traits could mix, combine and ferment to form a heady cocktail of conduct that was tolerated because of the money that he could play, and lose, on the dice tables.
How had he got there?
Well there are so many ways, but the one that Henry had used was to take a cruise. Over the years he had often taken cruises when the 'binge' feeling overwhelmed what little self control he had managed to garner. He found that paying for all the basics of life a month in advance meant that he could spend the rest and always had some security to fall back on.
That had been the plan.
Four days from Miami and then three days on the island. Gambling and whoring, drinking and maybe doing the odd line of coke. Then back on the ship and another two weeks that would take him to Aruba or Curacao before he turned around to be back in the bank of America in Miami to pick up the next dollop of aunty Maisy's fortune in cash.
That fourth day in the Paradise Island Casino had been nothing less than a twenty four hour binge. Henry had won big for the first time. With just five thousand he had been the main benefactor of a three hour roll that had seen him empty the table float and a follow on fill of a hundred grand. The heady, elevated thrill of having a pile of chips a mile high, the adoration of the female guests and the whiskey all combined to fix Henry to the table as he tried to recreate his win and go for a million.
Of course it was not to be.
It never is.
The dice were passed, the rolls petered out and all the drunken strategy in his fevered mind came to naught. The dawn was breaking as Henry left the casino with dragging feet, to find a taxi to take him back to the ship.
"Fuck aunty Maisy," he muttered as he realised that he did not even have enough money to take a taxi.
The reason for his bitter mood was the fact that he knew that credit was the one thing that the conditions of the will did not allow. A single credit card, loan, floater, mortgage, prepayment or retainer and the money would be gone.
Gone forever to some cat home or good cause that had nothing to do with Henry. Worst of all was that that lawyer, Mrs Crystal Veryon, who controlled the trust fund, knew that if she could just catch Henry panhandling once then she would be the main beneficiary because the trust fund would live on and she took her fees as the administrator.
That bitch was like a spider in the middle of his life, her tight lips and old fashioned politeness, looking down at him. To her he was the only thing that stood between the money and her own bank account. All she had to do was catch him out.
After about six months he had realised that that prissy cunt of a lawyer had even set a private detective on his tail to check his every move. Had he taken out any loans? Was Henry breaking the terms of the will? Even his E mail account and his Facebook page had been hacked but nothing had come of it.
The result of this harassment had made him cautious and careful to stick absolutely to the rules. The money remained in the trust fund and he was nearly through the tunnel. Soon he would be rid of her and all her wiles.
So Henry walked from the casino to the dock!
But the huge silhouette of the ship was gone.
Tardiness had claimed its victim.
He looked at his watch and realised that the fucking ship had gone on without him and now he was stranded in the docks in Nassau with not a red cent in his pocket and two weeks to manage without any money at all. No money and no way of getting his hands on any money.
So he sat.
Henry had one character trait that held him in good stead, he lived in hope.
So he sat on a crate and thought about what he was going to do. Well, eating for the next few days was really no problem. He had enough player points to eat burgers for a month in the casino and if he asked for a room he might just get one.
Henry walked along the docks, from the massive piers where the liners docked, opposite Potters Cay, where the smaller boats and yachts of the rich were tied up. From there he could see the casino and the blue of the bay.
At last he found himself looking at the boats tied up and thought that in just a few short months he would be able to buy his own and solve all his problems when his twenty fifth birthday arrived with a bundle of money that even he could not spend quickly.
Or at least too quickly.
He cast a professional eye over the boats, motor cruisers, yachts and others that were almost small cruise ships before deciding that what he would buy would be at least thirty metres long and fast.
In the end it was all a daydream and he could feel the first pangs of hunger that meant that he would have to return to the casino and start begging from some fucking supercilious manager to get a room.
The walk was long and left him exhausted but at last he was over the toll bridge and sitting in the player's bar that stood at the centre of ten empty craps tables.
He pulled his player's card from his pocket and proffered it. In exchange he got a burger and fries and a whisky to smooth it down.
This was going to be a long two weeks...
With a little greasy crawling and continual references to the three hundred thousand that he had lost back to the tables, Henry managed to arrange a two week stay in the hotel at the back of the casino as well as enough player points to feed himself and drink a little as well.
So it was that three days after his loss he sat in the midst of a busy gaming floor looking longingly at the women and men who played at the tables. There but for a seven rolled, that damned one and six, stood Henry, at the centre of the storm.
He found himself sitting next to a guy in jeans and T shirt who by coincidence was drinking the same brand of Bourbon by the glass full. Not having had a conversation for three days, Henry made a comment which was answered in a friendly fashion and the conversation was under way.
"Name's Larry, call me 'Las'."
"So what are you doing here? Las," said Henry's new friend as they raised another glass.
"I'm one of those people who get stranded when the cruise ship leaves on time," replied Henry.
"Huh, bad luck."
"Times two, I was well ahead on the craps and then I lost it and missed the ship."
"So? Wired for some money then?"
"Can't until next month."
"Well that's a shit result, what you gonna do for the next few weeks then for money?"
Henry laughed. The whole problem was one of tedium, nothing else now, so he felt that he could relax and not feel so depressed about the whole thing.
"Nothing, I'm living on my player points!" said Henry.
"Well I am a pilot, for Nassau harbour, I might be able to find some work for you. There is always a need for casual labour to clean and polish the boats and so on."
"I'm not sure," pondered Henry. "I mean it's not going to bring much."
"Just saying. A couple of hundred would at least see you with a better grade of Bourbon in your hand, if nothing else."
"Where do I find you? I mean if I want to take it up..."
"We're at the end of Potters Cay; come in tomorrow afternoon and maybe something will have shown up!"
When Henry was back in his room he contemplated the idea of working. Never had a hundred dollars seemed so much money as it looked like now.
That was the main problem. Being occupied always needed dollars, and in Henry's case, thousands.
The next day Henry found his steps taking him to Las' office. The thought of having another chat with the pilot was almost as attractive as the idea of earning a few dollars.
The office was not busy and Las was sitting in the sun outside smoking a cigarette and having a tea.
"Hi," said Henry. "I just thought I'd come along to see what's going on."
"Not much at the moment, but funnily enough I think that I've found a berth for you, on the 'Phoenix'."
"Oh, I really didn't want to leave Nassau. I suppose that I was looking for harbour work!"
"As you like," replied Las with a grin as he offered a cigarette to Henry.
After a few moments Henry could not help himself asking about the job.
"Well," said Las as though he had expected the question and already got his thoughts in order. "You see that small cruiser, there?"
He pointed at a fairly large motor yacht, the Phoenix, that was sitting lightly in the water on the dock.
"Well they are looking for a reliable man to take with them on a week's fishing expedition. All he has to do is to man the wheel and make sure that the boat does not drift when they go diving."
"I've never sailed a boat like that," said Henry as he looked at the thirty metre boat and pondered if he could bull-shit his way on board.
"Nothing to worry about, Henry," said Las. "I'll introduce you and then we'll take a quick trip on mine to show you the ropes. Piece of cake really."
Las stood with a grunt and led Henry down the quay to the motor cruiser. It was an old fashioned fifties wood hulled cruiser that was both low and sleek, but was covered in brass fittings and mahogany that made it look dated compared to the gleaming translucent hulls of the ships moored to either side.
He bent down and rapped on the deck before they used the gang plank to board.
"Nothing the girls like better than a bit of old fashioned courtesy," he commented as he called out, "permission to come on board."
A young woman emerged onto the deck and smiled when she saw Las. Dressed in slacks, a loose top and just bare feet she stepped over the wooden deck and shook Las' hand.
"Trudy, how's it going?" said Las.
"Hi there, Las," she said in a breezy voice. "Who's your friend?"
"This is Henry," said Las as he introduced them. "He's had a couple of years experience on the water and might be the man who you're looking for to man the boat."
Trudy led them down the deck to a sunken stair that down into the bowels of the ship. Emerging from this stairwell was a man of about fifty who smiled and introduced himself as Steve.
"Call me 'silent Steve'," he said with a grin.
Henry looked at him, impressed. It was not that he was huge or muscle-bound but he was clearly an incredibly strong man. Just the grip of his hand had made Henry gulp as the enormous fingers enveloped his hand and squeezed almost to the point of pain.
Trudy smiled and asked of Steve, "Where's Valerie? Still in Nassau?"
"Yep," was all that Steve said.
"OK then, Henry. What we need is really quite simple," said Trudy, "We are heading out to the Turks and Caicos for some fishing, a little diving and then back here. If the weather holds a week or maybe two, if it turns bad then we probably are out only a couple of days."
Henry smiled. He was normally good at begging for money but he was not sure that he knew how to ask. He was rescued by Las.
"You said that you were offering a hundred a day, for the right man?"
"That's right," said Trudy. "So between a few hundred and a thousand probably. You've got to keep the boat ready, a little polishing and staying out of the way as well as you will be sort of butler as well! You can cook?"
"I do a mean omelette," laughed Henry, "and I know every cocktail under the sun so there should not be any problem!"
"Sounds good," said Trudy, "be back here at seven tomorrow and we'll be off. Bring a passport."
Las and Henry stood looking at the Phoenix for a moment from the dockside. There was no doubt that the old-fashioned lines of the big boat combined with the wood and brass made it a stunning work of art.
"Listen," said Las. "You'd better take my card, we've gotta meet up for your lessons later and you'd better take my number."
"OK," said Henry as Las opened his wallet and pulled out a card with his phone number already scrawled on it in his untidy hand. Henry noticed that the wallet was stuffed with cash.
All in hundreds, but he affected not to notice.
'There must be plenty of opportunity for a bit of business as a pilot,' he thought as he changed the subject.
"That Trudy, she's a bit hot,' he said.
"Yep! She's a looker," said Las as they headed back to his office after a casual 'good bye'. "But you should see her friend, Valerie! She was my wet dream for a year until I realised that she's less horny than ornery, I like 'em big and a bit older than most men."
"Who's that Steve character?" asked Henry.
"Not sure, because I don't think that he's with either of them, the two women."
"Not really, Valerie is pretty rich, or at least she has loads of money from what I can gather and Trudy is her girlfriend. Steve's just their factotum and the pilot of the cutter. They are here about once a month for the diving and so on."
Henry felt a little let down, Trudy had struck him as a bit tasty and he was disappointed that she was probably not available.
Henry had arrived, on time, with his one bag and a feeling that he was embarking on an adventure. The money was just a joke to him, it was the trip and the escape from boredom that had hooked him.
The two hours on Las' boat, yesterday, had given him a good understanding of how to steer and handle the boat. Not really as difficult as he had imagined, with a wheel and the various throttles and so on he quickly understood how it all worked.
He could not understand why Las had so taken with him and showed him the ropes all at his own cost. On the other hand Henry was a man that took for granted that all his friends loved his wit, his easy going manner and his good looks.
He was shown a cabin at the very front of the vessel that just fitted a barred cot and a small cupboard. A single thick glass porthole allowed him to look out and a sink provided a trickle of fresh water.
Steve spent almost all of his time tending to the huge engines and doing various tasks that Henry took to be the normal run of the mill of operating the cutter.
Henry could understand Las' interest in her. Tall, and big in every way, she had been striking years ago, but it was made pretty clear early on that the two women formed a close couple and that even Steve did as he was told when Valerie ordered it.
Henry soon found that he was at a loose end and when Valerie noticed it she started to give him a stream of things to do.
Polish the brass work on the decks, cook a meal in the galley, make cocktails, wash up and keep lookout. Even with all this petty work to do Henry had time to observe the boat's occupants and make judgements about them.
As far as he could see, Steve was nothing more or less than the mechanic, odd job man and oft times steersman of the boat. Calm and unperturbed he did as he was told by the two women without a murmur.
On the other hand, Trudy seemed flighty and constantly happy. She spent a great deal of time on the foredeck soaking in the sun, topless and seemingly unaware of the gaze of a rather avid Henry. He watched her undress and then lie first face down and then she turned to even the tan. She was slim, narrow hips and waist and long legs.
Tattoos embellished her, from breasts to the tops of her thighs, a pattern that Henry found fascinating, sort of a paisley pattern, like a quilt of colour that faded at the edges and was strongly colorized in the middle where it vanished under her slight bikini bottom. Then there were those breasts. The sun caught the flash of gold at their tips that were the reflections on gold piercings that adorned the nipples.
Last on the list to be under the inspection glass was Valerie. She spent a great deal of the time at the wheel letting her long red hair flow in the wind as the cutter made its way north through the crowded sea lanes between the various islands of the Bahamas. She wore tight clothing, jeans and blouse, which showed her figure to considerable advantage. Large breasted and wide hipped she had compensating long legs that put the picture in balance. There was no way that Henry would have described her as beautiful, but he had to admit that she had something; something authoritarian and potent in her personality even if she was more than twice his age.
Valerie expected her orders to be followed and Henry could understand how it was that they were! She had a sort of natural formidable personality that brooked no contrary word.
At night they moored in the lee of some small cays and then they pressed on, but in a leisurely fashion. With Hugh making the drinks and Steve tending the engines.
As Henry had no idea about navigation, and in fact never even thought about it, he did not realise that they were not heading south east where the Turks and Caicos Islands beckoned but north, parallel to the coast of Florida, but with that land well below the horizon.
Henry started to enjoy himself despite the tyranny of Valerie's po-faced rule. He polished the brass work and got useful experience with steering the vessel as they went. His omelettes were celebrated and in demand and the bit of tidying and work that he had to additionally do under the watchful eye of Valerie did not stop him enjoying the sight of Trudy and her quilt-work markings.
Swimming In Deep Waters.
The weather held, so Henry figured that he could expect the full two weeks on the boat. For some reason he found that he was enjoying himself enormously, such a change from the pseudo delight of the craps tables and the solace of all that Bourbon.