The Good Ship Lollipopbymagmaman©
She was a 32 foot long beauty. My wife Sally was as excited as I was when we signed the papers.
The price was ridiculously low.
Buying her was the first mistake.
We kept her moored at the docks, even though she did come with a trailor. Barely legal on the highway was the problem with hauling the boat home, it was just easier to keep her in the water.
Sally and I liked the trips down to the coast, it was only 40 miles. The cool breeze coming in off the ocean felt good, inland where we lived the Summer days often were into the 90's and more.
We knew when we bought the boat that we were in for one heck of a lot of work, and that proved true. First it was haul her out at the marina, check and coat the hull. We had made sure the keel moved up and down freely, that helped with making time if running on the engine.
That was a neat feature, when under sails the keel was down, drop the sails and pull the keel up and she was almost a speed boat, the 4 cylinder engine would push her right along at nearly 10 knots.
Even under sail she was easy to handle, there were electric controls for the sails right on the helm, one person could handle everything.
It took us a year to redo the Mahogany decks and trim, we worked every weekend, sleeping and cooking on board.
I remember the first time we made love in the main bunk which was surprisingly large, we were both so excited. We were like kids again, that might seem strange since we had been married nearly 35 years.
But it was true, I somehow became quite a bit more virile than usual, and Sally was feeling hot and nasty too.
I suspect we had some of the other boats moored along side rocking pretty good before we were exhausted and curled up tight and happy.
We made a few short trips out to sea at first, not going more than a dozen miles. I had run sailboats before but all of them were way smaller, so it took me awhile. Then I had Sally take over and practice, she took to it like a Duck to water.
After a half dozen trips I had total confidence in Sally, especially after she brought us in to the dock under sail one day and slid her into our berth as easily as if she was parking her Honda.
I normally ran us in with the engine so as to not nick the new finish we had so laboriously put on her.
"Easy as licking a Lollipop!" Sally grinned.
So that was the name we used, "Lollipop."
Then we ran into a grizzled old guy that seemed to always be on the docks. His name was Herman, and he knew everything and everyone. I would guess he was in his seventies, long white beard and bald head, his face red all the time from the Sun.
He had lines on his face so deep they almost looked like scars, and the bluest deepest eyes I ever saw on a human being.
Herman more or less took us "kids" under his wing, it was like he wanted to make sure we had the advantage of his wealth of knowledge.
The other part which was obvious was that he liked looking at Sally, even at 56 years old, Sally had quite a body on her. Plus she always had on a halter top and those ever present snug white shorts. Many times I have seen people's eyes open in surprise when they discover her age, most would guess 35 at the most.
Sally works to stay in shape, and she also dresses and acts far younger than her years.
Sally is my treasure, no doubt about that.
One afternoon we were all sitting on the deck on the bow, sipping some Russian vodkas which we discovered Herman really liked.
I mentioned our plans for an upcoming trip, we were going to make a couple of thousand miles run down the coast to the tip of Baja, then run back.
"Be some weather down there, squalls come up fast but don't last long."
I nodded, I had read the reports and was pretty sure we could handle that.
"Rather have to run a storm that run into pirates." He said, eyeing me as he took a sip.
"Pirates? Off Mexico?" I said. That was news to me.
"You betcha, mean bastards too." Then he launched off into one of his tales, they could be true or just talk, somehow he made them sound true, though.
"....dumped the last bastard over the side, poor Billy though. He was gut shot, we ran as fast as we could for port but he didn't make it, died right there on the deck with me by his side." Herman took another sip of his glass, held it out to me for a refill.
Pirates? I hadn't thought about that, hell, we weren't going to Somalia. But I went down to the Coast Guard station and asked some questions.
It turned out that Herman was telling the truth, they mentioned that his boat had run into some pirates years back, one deckhand named Billy Johansen was killed in the fight.
Now I was worried. We could run far off the coast and make it unlikely to run into any, but my route was planned to keep the coast in sight so we didn't end up in Idaho. I had some navigation skills, but I was way short of doing any real open ocean stuff yet.
All we wanted to do was some fair weather pleasure runs, see some sights. We had several ports planned out along the way, so far out to sea was out of the question anyway.
A few days later Herman was back for more Vodka and more stories. I happened to ask him what he thought the risk was.
"Got me a solution for you, need to keep your mouth shut though."
"Deck gun, got a guy that can build them. Set it below the bow out of the way, have her swing up and surprise the bastards if they show up."
Deck gun? I was thinking maybe a rifle, a pistol, and I told him that.
"Get ya kilt, don't want the bastards to get that close. They carry automatics. I say put her in, have Norm load you up with some two stage ammo, about fifties would be about right."
I went to see Norm, he ran a machine shop and could make just about anything. I told him what Herman had said, he grinned.
"Got what you need in the back, best keep it quiet though. Coast guard kinda frowns on this stuff."
So we ended up with a gun below the deck, when closed the lines of the boards matched so closely it could not be seen. Push a button under the wheel and out she came, it had a swivel mount and would cover 180 degrees off the bow. The shells for the thing were as long as my hand, once fired they went out close to 100-150 yards and then exploded.
Herman insisted on going along for us to test it out, we sailed out for several hours. I thought we were far enough but he told me to keep the heading. Finally he just raised his hand.
We dropped a large buoy, then ran on the engine a couple of hundred yards. I hit the button, the deck gun rose up. It looked forbidding enough that I figured all I would need to do is show it and any pirates would take off.
"Well, go ahead. Hit that buoy." Herman grinned at me.
I grabbed the handles and aimed, touched off a round. It was sure loud.
I missed the buoy by at least 50 yards, there was a huge splash of water as the shell exploded. The second round was worse. The bow was moving up and down, the damn buoy was in sight then out of sight.
After a dozen rounds with no luck, I was getting closer. Then the bow dropped over a wave and started up, I fired just as she crested and paused before reversing directions.
The buoy was gone.
"See, it's easy!" Herman cackled. I had three rounds left, and at just under $100 per round I didn't want to practice much more. Norm had to make them, I had no idea how they worked but they sure did.
We were back in the harbor half a day later, the last hour or so of the run was in the dark. Herman came up and stood right beside me, knowing it was my first run in over the bar after dark.
The old man seemed to somehow know exactly where he was, when we came past the seawall there were the harbor lights.
It was pitch black except for lights on shore and the red and green lights showing the channel.
"Swing to 180 when the harbor lights show, 'bout 5 seconds." He had said. Then there they were, perfect.
Two weeks later, Sally and I had provisions stocked, everything checked out. We ran across the bar on the engine, then shut that down and hoisted sail, headed South.
It was so beautiful, one of those days where there is just a light breeze from the West, so few actual waves we had almost no motion. I drew sail hard into the wind, soon we were running at a good clip, actually creating a small wake.
The Lollipop was actually a bit faster under sail than on the engine. In short order several Dolphins joined us, racing up and over the waves off the bow. By nightfall we were alomst 100 miles down the coast.
We dropped a sea anchor and had dinner, then went to bed. It was our very first time making love at sea, the gentle motion and soft sounds of the ocean slapping the hull made it magic.
Checking the GPS, I saw that we lost a dozen miles overnight, the current was against us.
The next day was the same, then the seas came up a bit and the wind swung more to the North. Sally was taking her turns at the wheel.
That night just as we started to doze something bumped the hull, getting a squeal out of Sally. I went to invesigate, then I spotted some Pilot Whales breaking water in the moonlight. There was another bump, they were just touching us.
Why, I didn't know, maybe scratching themselves?
That kept me awake for awhile, but they didn't return.
One day bled into another, we went through one mild little squall, nothing serious but I dropped sail anyway and just set the sea anchor to ride her out.
The ocean laid down the next day so we headed on.
We pulled in and docked in San Franciso, and had a great time checking out all of the shops. We ate, did some restock, refueled even though we weren't very low.
Then it was back on our southbound journey. We kept the shoreline within sight but barely, it was a hazey pale blue color several miles away. Once we had to change course when a huge transport ship went by, a bit closer than we liked.
I had been watching the weather closely, it had been extremely calm even for this time of year.
Finally we were off Mexico, we were running about 20 miles out by then since the charts showed some reefs further in. We passed one island that was a couple of miles off our port bow, I couldn't find that one on the charts but it was there.
That evening the wind woke us up. We were taking a pretty good sea, too, I got up and went on deck to check. Everything seemed to be holding so I went back to bed.
The next day there was a series of little squalls, we spent most of the day on the engine. I knew I could have probably sailed though those but a few of the gusts were close to 40 MPH and they were coming in unpredictably.
Then we got hit by the bad one, it only lasted a few hours but we were riding up and over some monstrous waves. Some of them broke over the bow, I was soaked to the skin, fighting to keep our heading. Warm Summer ocean be damned, it was bitter cold. The engine labored up and over the big ones, then picked up speed down the other side.
I had to keep working the throttle to stop it from over revving. Sally was sealed in down below, I knew she was dry and warm but she would be hanging onto the railings that were there obviously just for this purpose.
I was lashed to the helm, it split most of the water away from me. By the time that died down, I was ready for sleep. The sun came up and it was calming down, Sally came up on deck and took over so I could go below and dry out, eat, and get a nap.
Then it turned off simply beautiful again. The wind was so light we were only making a couple of knots. Sally was stretched out on the rear deck getting some Sun, I kept glancing her way, she had the straps of her top undone, the outfit didn't really cover much anyway.
The slight wind through the rigging oddly made a singing sound, when the wind was stronger it didn't do that. It was almost like a song, I was thinking of the stories of the sirens of old, wondering if that sound was what that was.
That was another mistake. Lulled into a sense of isloation, security, I missed the open boat coming up from off our starboard stern. By the time I realized, it was within 300 yards.
I reached down to start the engine but stopped when I heard gunfire. There was a spray of bullets just in front of the bow. Sally jumped bolt upright, grabbing frantically for her top. She dashed up to me, still struggling with it.
"Get below!" I told her, starting to bring us about, hoping to get the deck gun into play.
There was another burst of gunfire, some of it hit the stern. I held my hands up, they were much closer now.
"Hola, Senor!" A man stood there, holding an automatic rifle.
"What do you want?" I demanded, still holding up my hands.
"Oh, just some provisions, some money maybe. We are so very poor, you can help us, no?" He grinned broadly.
"We have no money." I lied.
"Oh, you have some money, I am sure senor. You then do not mind if we look, no?"
One of the other men threw some lines over our railing, pulled us up tighter. My sails were still set, the lines drew taut and began to tow them along with us.
The man who was talking hopped on board, then two others climed on right behind him.
"So where do you keep the money, senor?" He demanded, swinging the barrel to point at me.
"I have a small amount is all." I told him.
"Give me that." The grin never left his face.
I reached for my pocket, three barrels pointed at me now. I handed them the money I had in my pocket, it was about $300.
"Oh! See? Your gift will help us very much, thank you senor. Now, where is the rest?" He poked me with the gun barrel.
"And where is the woman? She has no weapon? That would be very bad."
"No! No weapon, leave her alone." I yelled.
"We must go check, you were not truthful." He held up the money to demonstrate his point.
He turned and headed for the cabin, the other two just stood there holding me at gunpoint.
I heard Sally cry out, turned to head that way. My head exploded, I found myself down on the deck. Then one of them hit me again.
I came to, it must have just been a few minutes. I saw a fourth man carrying provisions that had obviously been raided from down below. The other two men still stood there. I started to get up, then I realized my hands were tied behind my back.
I saw the man come up from below, he had ahold of Sally's arm. She was stark naked, a trickle of blood ran from her mouth. I kicked and struggled, trying to get my hands free. One of them hit me again, I am not sure what with. I didn't go unconscious that time.
I tasted blood in my own mouth. Sally looked over at me, then she looked down. I knew right then what had happened. One of the other men turned and walked over there, the man who had been speaking came back over to me, pointed his gun again.
"Such a fine woman, thank you." He leered at me. I saw the other man press Sally back on the deck, she knew enough to not struggle. He reached down and tugged at his waist, then he was thrusting at her. She made no move to resist, she just lay there.
There was a horrible blur of the others, it seemed like it went on for hours. I kept my eyes closed, not wanting to see the horror. I knew they were going to kill us, I willed it to be over quickly.
"We take the woman, senor. She is very fine."
"No!" I yelled. He just looked at me, they forced Sally to her feet, put her in their open boat. They left my lying there, hands tied behind me. I realized my feet were bound, too.
They knew I would die there on the deck without water. Or they planned to shoot me and scuttle the boat with their guns. I was sure I would not be left to possibly be found, and talk.
I heard them start their engine, it began to idle away. I could hear them laughing.
I turned my body, tried to cut the ropes on the edge of the helm that supported the wheel.
It was going to take a long time, too long, but I had to try. The knot seemed like it slipped slightly. Turning my hand, I felt the end of the rope, then feeling further I realized they had made several wraps before tying the knot.
I wriggled frantically, it slipped some more, then suddenly one hand was free. I used my free hand to strip off the rest of the ropes. My head was swimming, but I managed to reach up under the console, the deck gun switch was hidden there. I flipped it, hearing the whirring sound of the electric motor.
The deck slid open, the big gun rose up and locked.
I stood up, they were now barely 100 yards off, they had stopped for some reason, doing something in the bottom of their boat. Probably getting ready to open fire on me, or checking out their haul, I will never know.
I knew from the angle of the bow I could not bring the gun to bear. I saw Sally standing there, one man was holding her arm, he was also looking at the others. She turned her head to look my way.
She saw me, her mouth started to open.
Glancing up, I saw we were still under gentle sail. I reached down and touched the starter, the engine fired instantly. I opened the throttle, began to bring the bow around. I felt her fight that for a few seconds, then the sail spilled, began to flap.
One of the men looked back, saw me and laughed. He said something to the others, they knew that no way in hell could I ever catch them.
One of them started to bring his barrel up. The world went into slow motion, the bow was coming around, so slow. So very slow.
Sally was looking at me, just standing there still naked.
Did she know? Did she understand, realize what I was going to do?
I wasn't sure, but if she died there today, so be it. I would then go with her. Better this way than what was coming for her.
The bow swung around, the man fired at me, his burst raking along the hull. Then he stopped, looked down.
I saw his arm reach back, he grabbed another clip. The others were now looking, guns were coming up. The bow swung into position, I ran up to the gun.
Now they realized, several of them began to shout. One opened fire, his bullets falling short and ricocheting past me.
I felt a complete stone calm.
"Do it, Sally!" I shouted at her in my mind.
She suddenly took a step, her foot hit the railing and she leaped upwards and outwards, her body forming a perfect arc as she slid into the water. One of the men saw that, began to turn his weapon her way.
The bow rose and peaked, doing that momentary pause before dropping back.
For a second, I thought I had missed. I jerked the breach back, reaching for another round. I knew I probably would never make it, several of them were now firing at me.
Then the charge exploded, men flew through the air. A few seconds later there was a second blast as their fuel tanks went.
I jerked the lever out of gear, went over the side, swimming frantically towards Sally. She grabbed me as soon as I got to her, we swam together back to the Lollipop.
It was just a lucky accident the sails were still flapping, had they caught we would still be out there somewhere.
Sally and I sat there holding each other for several minutes. Then I heard someone cry out.
I stood up, looking out over the water. There was some debris, some of it still on fire. Then I spotted the man in the water.
He was the only one, he was waving, struggling.
"Go on below, Honey." I told Sally.
"I need to wash, get that filth off of me." She said bitterly.
"OK. Go below."
"What are you going to do, Danny?" She asked me.
"You know what I am going to do."
Sally nodded, turned and went below.
I shifted the engine into gear, headed for the man, still struggling in the water. I slid the Lollipop up alongside him, standing off a couple of dozen feet.
It was the man who had done all of the talking, he was badly burned up one side of his face, and appeared to only be able to use one arm.
"Please! Let me on board!" He begged.