Trova il tuo prossimo libro preferito

Abbonati oggi e leggi gratis per 30 giorni


Leggi anteprima


360 pagine
6 ore
Nov 17, 2012


Men can possess heroic courage to face challenges, or alternately run like little girls, ashamed at their own inadequacy. This dynamic is richly described in the story of four men in "Freeboard". While each character must cope with their individual stress, from losing a wife to violence to personal moral failure, the four men serendipitously coalesce into a road trip of retreat, ending up far at sea. Though the four men are the main characters, a tapestry of 79 more fill out the true to life context because no story occurs in a vacuum.

Comprehensive research ties the story to actual names, dates and places in 1995, adding authenticity. The scope ranges from a little girl speechless on stage for the first time, to SEAL team insertion with Tomcats screaming overhead.
Our characters' responses to forces in their lives represent the choices we make in ours. The story reads like an exciting adventure, or a moral cautionary tale, giving the reader multiple layers to consider.

Dale is the wild guy we've all met. He's drinking too much, picking up wild women too much and generally is a train wreck waiting to happen. He joins the Navy to get a little structure, but promptly misses shore leave deadline, putting him in lots of trouble.

Cornell has been in prison for ten years, getting in dangerously close scrapes just before release. When he's jumped, he fights for his life, killing two. Knowing this means more hard time, he runs.

Matt is the perfect husband and dad. His Norman Rockwell life is jerked apart when his wife is fatally wounded in the Oklahoma City bombing. Psychologically disoriented with PTSD, he strikes out for anywhere but here.

Don grew up in a nice Mormon family, but never figured out girls. When he finally gets married, he's moving to normalcy when he surprises his wife in the act of adultery. All of the disappointments of his past hit him all at once, running him out of town.

When these guys coincidentally end up near the same motel, they hatch an unlikely plan to stowaway on a barge destined for scuttling. They nearly drown trying to plug the scuttle ports in the frigid ocean as their float trip begins.

They drift along aimlessly, fishing and talking as the enormity of their decision sinks in. The typhoon they ride out brings them as close to mortal resignation as they can get.
One of the men becomes sick and dies while another gets off with the only fishing boat they can flag down. The last two explore a Polynesian island their un-steerable barge smashes into, finding a timeless people who know more about contentment than do the characters.

This oddball floating barge attracts the suspicions of the U.S. Navy, who apply more and more assets to discover what this ship is up to. Tomcats fly over to photograph, a submarine lurks below until they can't stand it and drop in a SEAL team. They confirm the benign nature of the vessel at the same time pirates nearby are stealing a ship and savaging the crew. The presence of an American on-board the ship puts the Navy's elite to work to take the ship back.

Eventually the press discovers this drama at sea and begins a race to scoop the story. What began as a silent retreat is thrown open to the world, changing the feelings of each man. Each one has decided on his response to their original crises, one of which is to continue floating along...alone. That's a story for another book!

Nov 17, 2012

Informazioni sull'autore

Roy has a deep grasp of the human condition and the dynamics that pull on us all. He has mesmerized audiences large and small with his oral story telling for years before committing to writing a very complicated one in “Freeboard”. Most at home on the cliffs or forest, his near death experiences and adventures have produced a seasoned voice. Considered the philosopher in the family, he lives in the world of meaning. Roy and his wife Patty lived a long time in Salem, Oregon before moving to the Puget Sound to remain involved with their amazing offspring and equally amazing spouses. Roy is convinced Kona coffee is best drunk in Kona, Hawaii, an opinion not disputed by his faithful German Shepherd.

Correlato a Freeboard

Libri correlati
Articoli correlati

Categorie correlate

Anteprima del libro

Freeboard - Roy Ratzlaff



H. Roy Ratzlaff

Copyright 2012 by H. Roy Ratzlaff

Smashwords Edition

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever including Internet usage, without written permission of the author.

License Notes: This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

Cover photo credit: rachel_thecat via cc


Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 1


A ladies’ man? Who, me? he would say in mock surprise. Dale had discovered that the ladies found him quite attractive. His strong build, dark skin, handsome face and flashing brown eyes had provided him with lots of female attention in his twenty-four years. He was even a handsome baby, he told them, - repeatedly told them, a fact his mother had reported. Dale was born in Fresno, California to Larry Becker and Sandra Bedrosian-Becker on April 2, 1971. It didn’t seem to hurt his feelings when his high school buddies teased him by calling him almost a joke.

His parents had moved to South Laguna when Dale was four because his father, Larry had an uncle there who would help him start his own plumbing business. Larry’s Uncle Don had a plumbing supply store and had heard that the state was going to amend the plumbing code the next year. When they go to ABS there’s money to be made, were the words Larry needed to move south.

So little Dale and his sister Lana grew up around construction sites helping Daddy hold the pipes, and on the beach. It seemed like all the kids were bronze skinned from so much sun time, but Dale and Lana’s Armenian blood made their skin a beautiful brown without any of the sun’s help. The growing up days passed quickly for Dale and he especially enjoyed high school. A natural athlete and charmer, he was always popular with the guys and never lacked for girls’ company.

He became increasingly interested in Susan Powell, a blonde he met in Civics class as a junior. They eventually became an item on campus, at the dances and riding around in Dale’s step-side Chevy pickup. The June between their Junior and senior years, they went to Fresno to attend Dale’s cousin’s wedding. Susan experienced a little cross-cultural shock during the uninhibited feasting and Armenian relative chat-fest that went way into the night. They had a very romantic July, dating and walking on the beach, until Susan surprised him, teary-eyed with news one night. My dad is being transferred to Connecticut and we’re going to move in three weeks. We just found out today. She cried and cried and they talked of eloping, but in the end she just drove out of his life forever.

The next year at school Dale was a little more somber and their letter writing gradually dwindled. This was Dale’s first big disappointment in his young life and it was profound. He spent more time fishing and less at parties. He began to notice the sea that had been at his doorstep. Dale and his friend Kevin enjoyed taking Kevin’s dad’s seventeen-foot trihull out beyond the breakers to fish and paid for the boat time with the fish they caught.

After graduation, while his friends made plans to go off to college or apprenticeship school, he just couldn’t decide. Knowing that he had cheated just to pass Algebra II, he doubted college was a good idea. Although plumbing with his dad had kept him in spending money, he knew plumbing wasn’t his future. So, after plumbing all summer, he decided he had to make a move and arranged to relocate in Fresno to work at Bedrosian Canneries. Though he had no deep love for cannery work, at least by knowing the boss he could drive the fork lifts around while he enjoyed independence.

He didn’t mind the work and really enjoyed the freedom of living on his own. At first when he arrived in Fresno, he had stayed with his mom’s sister Anna, whose well-meaning but smothering attention fairly catapulted him into apartment life. He missed the good cooking, but not everything else! His apartment faced the noisy Kings Canyon Boulevard, which was tolerable, because he was just a turn of the ignition key away from the action.

As he accumulated some money, he bought a new pickup which he immediately christened ‘Darlin’ and treated as such. He could see himself starring in those Chevy commercials on TV that he watched every night. Dale had trouble making friends in Fresno even though he worked with nice enough people and seemed to know lots of folks by name. Well, come to church with us, Anna would repeat nearly every weekend when he went over to eat kebobs and rice or kufta till he was afraid to move.

No, not this weekend, Anna, I’ve got things to do, he would reply between mouthfuls. The only thing he had to do was polish ‘Darlin’ to within an inch of her life and drive out a tank of gas cruising up to Shaver Lake and back.

He thought about God when he drove into the foothills - something about the smell of bay trees and dust he thought. His dad had taught him to fear God either by the strap as a boy or by lecture when he came in too late after necking with Susan. God sees everything you do boy! he thundered. Yeah, God was too scary to think about too long. When he had bought that Algebra II final, he just about had a nervous breakdown when he pictured God Almighty shaking His head as He made a note. Dale thought it was either cheat or fail, so like in most things, the present need seemed the most compelling.

By age twenty, the most compelling activity was barhopping. After work he’d drink a beer on the two mile drive home and after cleaning up and frying some fish for dinner, it was down the road with ‘Darlin’. He discovered that after a few drinks these ladies got pretty friendly - so friendly in fact that they were willing to share his bed. This routine quickly became his favorite sport and he tried to set personal records, like the fewest drinks and the shortest time to get a young lady home. He began to think of himself as an irresistible smooth operator who could have any woman - any woman who would drink with strangers till she had no conscience, that is.

This was all before Mona. This thirty-year-old knew all about this bar scene and noticed Dale working his magic a few times. She had been married once, beat a few times, divorced and had drunk enough liquor to float a boat. She saw Dale coming from a mile away. So sweetheart, she started, how come you’re so damn good looking? In an hour he was so focused on Mona he couldn’t remember anyone else. She filled his head with every imaginable compliment, always leaning forward when she laughed so he could see a little more.

After she could be sure his liquor was soaking in, she leaned over and whispered How ‘bout coming over tonight, I’ve got a few things I’d like to show you… Dale had met his match and nearly injured himself retrieving his coat and finding Mona at the door.

Dale moved in with Mona a week later and a year slipped by like a day. She held him in complete sway, knowing that what she couldn’t control with alcohol she could manipulate with her practiced sexuality. In time, the day came when she grew tired of her boy-toy and devised an exit strategy - for him. Her friend and she had used this ploy before for each other and it needed to work now, she thought. Mona would get Dale started drinking one evening and invent a reason to leave. Mona’s friend Lacy would happen by, let herself in and before Dale’s senses completely went under from drinking, Lacy would start the seduction routine on fast forward while pouring alcohol down him as fast as possible. At some point Dale fell asleep or passed out or spaced out, but awoke to Mona shrieking in the early morning hours, standing over him holding various women’s under-clothes, accusing him of being a two-timing lush. Then came the melodramatic ejection of Dale’s clothes and belongings out the door followed by pushing him out too. He never knew what hit him, Lacy and Mona agreed over coffee later.

This was the second real low point for Dale. He was missing more and more work from drinking too much; he didn’t have a dime to show for the last year he’d spent with Mona. Why, he had even gotten a title loan on ‘Darlin’ when Mona simply had to have…well, something she had to have. Now he was on the street and bending over to pick up his clothes all over the parking lot made him think his brains would explode.

He eventually filled the pick-up’s bed with rumpled clothes mixed together and he slumped into the driver’s seat. Wow, am I a mess, he thought, do I ever need a plan. He leaned over and slept for a couple of hours; spent one angry hour digging through the pile looking for his keys, and drove to Denny’s. Coffee, black and bottomless, was his order at the counter. He gazed out the window at mid-day August in Fresno to see shimmering heat waves above the pavement. ‘Darlin’s’ air conditioning hadn’t worked for a while and he silently cursed the cars going by with their windows rolled up. Next door to Denny’s was a Navy recruiter’s office with the smart-looking ship on a poster outside. He gulped his coffee as the thought crossed his mind. Whoa. This is big. I need more coffee. Another five cups later he was ready to tuck in his shirt and head over there. He found enough change for the coffee, enough strength to stand-up and enough sense to look in the restroom mirror before leaving. It felt good to have a possibility to focus on.

When Dale walked through the recruiter’s door that hot day, the air-conditioned coolness felt like an omen. Going to sea and getting paid seemed pretty reasonable at this point and the recruiter was quick to add up benefits. After you take the ASVAB you’ll receive up to twelve thousand dollars besides your pay. Doesn’t that sound good? Two hours later he was ready to sign up. Since he wasn’t doing anything that day, he agreed to take his ASVAB test at 6:00 P.M. and the physical test the next day at 6:00 A.M.

He needed a meal and cleaning up, so he swallowed some pride and called Aunt Anna. Oh, where have you been? Of course you can. You come over right now and I’ll take care of you.

How could she be so nice after I’ve ignored her? he wondered. Aunt Anna was the first person he told about his Navy decision, but she saved him the trouble of telling any others. She was on the phone as soon as the dishes were done and he was in the shower.

His parents were the first she called: You won’t believe the news Sandy, she was almost out of breath from the excitement. Dale came by to lunch and he’s joining the Navy! Sandra had been home adding up Larry’s account’s receivable when Anna called, but this news eclipsed any accounting that lay waiting. Her feelings jerked back and forth from delight, (since she hadn’t heard from Dale in six months), to shock at the thought of his enlistment.

Larry didn’t answer his cell phone when he was under a house, so she had to wait until he appeared for dinner. She was talking when he opened the door, Anna called and Dale was there today and honey, he enlisted in the Navy and maybe we won’t see him for such a long time, we’re not at war with anybody right now and we… He embraced her without a word and the familiarity of his coarse coveralls comforted her. They talked all evening about this development and even called Lana at Saddleback College to tell her. It’s about time he decided on something, was her sisterly reaction.

The Navy tests were no problem and Dale signed on for four years. He interviewed for various jobs and decided on some navigational tasks aboard ship that sounded pretty good. Actually it hadn’t occurred to him till now that he could get shot at, so he congratulated himself at choosing a protected location. ‘A’ school, he was told, would start November 5 in Dam Neck, Virginia so his eight week basic would begin September 2 at the Great Lakes Naval Training Facility just north of Chicago.

Wow, that only leaves eleven more days in August before I leave, Dale counted. Yikes, that’s fast. I’ve got to get home, sell ‘Darlin,’ say goodbye. The realities of his decision were beginning to emerge and the reality of his empty wallet wasn’t far behind. He drove to the cannery for his last check. There was a little tension as he walked up to Uncle Bedrosian to tell him. He’d been a little unreliable lately with the influences of the bottle and Mona.

Uncle ‘B’ was glad to see him interested in the Navy though. You’re going to make a fine sailor, son. The Navy’s gonna treat you well, you’ll get to see more places than old Fresno. He laughed at the thought of his comparison. It was a relief that he wasn’t mad at Dale and this made it easier to say goodbye to Luis, Conrad and Bad Rap Rafael, the guys he’d worked with for awhile.

At the office, Carol handed him his last check for $420 and wearily wished him well. You know, she always seemed tired, he thought to himself.

After a stop at the bank he bought a tarp to cover the mess of his clothes and headed out to Highway 99. About two miles down the freeway, as he was enjoying the feelings of freedom and potential and not working today, he developed a powerful need for beer. Seven-eleven had never failed to have Coors before and now was no exception. The six-pack kept him company all the way to the Grapevine.

That week he spent in South Laguna visiting his parents and Lana, sorting his possessions into two categories: attic or trash. He finally sold his beloved Chevy to Jerry’s South Coast Used Cars for $9,400. The lender was owed $5,500, leaving him with $4,000 to consider. Maybe I’ll just save it for once, he decided. Dale had made arrangements to report to Los Alamitos Naval Air Station and so he did, waving goodbye as he walked through the gate. It was exciting being around the big Navy equipment and activity; it was hard to believe he was now a part of all this.

He was processed into basic training along with the other fellows who were mostly younger. Though he had softened physically a little from low activity, he was very soon tougher than most. The younger guys did look up to him when the training got hard. It made him feel important and he resolved to never show when he thought it was hard or painful. He learned three things in basic: 1) leap to it when the DI speaks, 2) sleep or eat whenever allowed and 3) never volunteer for anything.

These lessons served him well and eight weeks went by more quickly for him than those pining for a girl friend or those who had not been away from home. He only wrote one letter home because his little free time was consumed by rule number two. The letters from home were welcome, except for the note he got separately from Lana explaining how she heard that Susan Powell had gotten married in Connecticut and had been killed in a small plane crash after. That dark cloud hovered over him for a week or so until the exercise limited the amount of energy available to nurse emotions.

He moved on to ‘A’ school at Dam Neck, Virginia where his time was spent differently than the physical rigors of basic training. Now he sat with the others in rapt attention in smart uniforms while instructors demonstrated equipment he’d never heard of before. It wasn’t as hard as Algebra II and more meaningful, so Dale progressed as he should. He’d forgotten about the cash bonus the recruiter had promised him until in his mail he received a check for $7500 from the US Navy. Yeah, baby, that’s what I’m talkin’ about. He felt really good - the best he’d felt in a long time.

Much of his class was assigned to shore duty at Ocean Naval Air Station where the men were shuffled here and there - learning about everything naval. The classroom tedium was considerably relieved when they got to go to town once in a while. He enjoyed drinking with his Navy buddies, wearing his uniform around town, having plenty of spending money.

Deployments came out one Thursday and it caused a big buzz among the seamen. Everyone was talking about where they were going but most had assignments on shore somewhere. To Dale’s delight he was assigned to the Pacific Fleet on the frigate USS Gary. He would be taken aboard in Virginia for his first sea duty and exercises through the Caribbean and Panama Canal. This seemed like too much fun for the Navy to actually pay him to do, but he decided not to argue.

When Dale saw the Gary for the first time, tied up at the dock, he just couldn’t believe how muscular and cool she looked. Smaller than a cruiser, she was loaded with all kinds of equipment and gadgets and weapons to win war at sea. This is one bitchin’ ship, he kept murmuring.

Once on board, he stowed his gear, found his bunk and went to orientation. He would participate in drug interdiction exercises in the Caribbean by working in CIC (Combat Information Center). His job designation as an operational specialist was further refined to navigational and identifying duties so far only practiced in simulation rooms, never the real thing. Dale was nervous. He was nervous enough to review his study materials as they steamed south in the Atlantic. The drills really helped him develop confidence and get used to the fast pace in CIC.

The morning of the exercise, briefing was held at 0700 and then he went to his post. He was supposed to be identifying all ships in the vicinity and classifying them. Each time the radar highlighted anything on the water he went down the steps he had learned to identify and communicate the information. Other sailors and officers were calling out their various duties and the radio crackled constantly in the intense environment. Then a ship appeared that he couldn’t identify - there it was on the radar but Dale could only supply sweat - no ID. Finally he blurted out to the commanding officer that he couldn’t identify this enormous vessel and the officer burst out laughing, That’s a damn oil platform. Though Dale’s red face was nicely disguised by the red light in CIC, his humiliation was plain as day. He couldn’t say a thing. He felt broken inside and couldn’t wait until exercises ended, which they did without any more mystery ships. He endured lots of jokes about enemy oil derricks but nothing hurt as bad as that moment at CIC.

Everyone off duty crowded the rails as they slipped through the Panama Canal. Both the scenery and the amount of ship traffic were amazing. As they steamed north it was announced they would make a port call at Long Beach, California. They would have alternating shore leave around Thanksgiving before reprovisioning for a five-month sea duty.

Dale’s call home was greeted with enthusiasm and he was treated to constant attention all the way home to South Laguna. Since the last time I was home I’ve sailed halfway around the country and become a Navy guy! Can you believe it! he bragged whenever possible. Lana was even happy for him, something that hadn’t happened for awhile. His first night back he borrowed Lana’s old Nissan and drove down to the beach. Being happy to be home didn’t relieve his unsatisfied restlessness. This feeling had always gone away when beer was present, so 7-11 provided the US Navy man with his very own six-pack. This time it wasn’t quite enough, so Dale found a bottle of high test Kentucky whiskey at the liquor store that he figured would do it and drove back to a place he’d parked many times before, overlooking the waves. The first realization of Kentucky’s power came at daybreak when the sun’s rays peaked around the edge of the world and proceeded at the speed of light to Dale’s closed eyelids. Even through closed eyes it was bright enough to startle him awake, though he soon regretted being conscious.

His mouth must have hung open half the night because it felt like it was now coated with plaster. His head felt like it might explode and Dale’s bladder wasn’t far behind. He cleaned the empties out of Lana’s car…What a dog, he thought as he saw it in the light. Better get back home; yeah, home, coffee, was his driving mantra back up the hill to the old driveway.

He had barely gotten out of the car when Lana stormed out. Where have you been? I needed my car this morning and now I’m late! Did the Navy teach you how to be a total jerk or did you get this way on your own?

Must not hit sister. Must have quiet. He focused on the front door thinking he might distract her with her keys tossed on the hood. He stumbled inside as the car’s tire found a little gravel and spit it at him as Lana sped off.

Fortunately coffee was on and he helped himself before he saw his parents on the patio outside. They heard him stirring and came in with a look he hadn’t seen before. They regarded him about the way one regards a sick animal, wary but concerned. This set the tone for the rest of the visit that he cut short right after Thanksgiving. He realized the ship had begun to be home as much as home was. Lana didn’t come back for turkey, which made their mom act sad and subdued. He could tell when it was time to leave.

Back out to sea felt like a new beginning as weeks turned to months and they slowly crossed the mighty Pacific Ocean. They practiced all their anti-submarine warfare by chasing US submarines sent out for this purpose. The most exciting exercise was firing one of their missiles at a target drone, which was flown overhead. The ensuing explosion was shown many times on the crew’s VCR. Stopping off at Hawaii, they refueled but got no shore leave.

Further on they anchored off Wake Island for two days then on to Guam. On shore leave he drank himself silly and only found out the next day his buddies had carried him back aboard ship, except they couldn’t explain where his two hundred dollars had gone. Weeks and weeks of cruising around listening to stories from the other sailors filled his head with lots of ocean lore that he loved to hear. They saw porpoises, flying fish and swordfish, most of which made him want to get a rod and reel, net or gaff hook to snag some of this seafood.

Word finally came that they were invited to be a part of the Rose fleet sliding up the Columbia to Portland, Oregon in June. This news seemed to slow down the calendar, as did the open ocean. The most interesting day came on a Tuesday morning when the skipper ordered all hands to make noise. Everyone was afraid to say that was as silly as it sounded, so every sailor dutifully banged metal on metal and hollered until they were hoarse. That was the strangest order I’ve ever heard of, nearly everyone rasped. The next day the rumor system had it that the noise making was a test for the underwater array of microphones on the Pacific floor but Dale favored the other rumor that involved aliens.

As June rolled around they stood off Cape Disappointment, Washington. The local Coast Guard unit out of Ilwaco ferried a military harbor pilot out to them for the bar crossing. Word got around that the Columbia could produce twenty-foot waves at an ebb tide, so excitement was high on the ship. They were in contact with several other Navy ships coming into Portland at the same time and there was sort of an invasion feel about the whole endeavor.

Even though the crossing was at 0300 hours, lots of men were up on decks watching. The Gary turned inland and steered toward the turbulence only vaguely visible in the moonlight. The first warning came when an angled breaker hit the port side, smacking the ship with a whack which sent water all over the deck. This was instantly less entertaining. Decks quickly cleared as everybody scurried to more protected viewing spots. The ship that had handled so well at sea seemed to complain as waves grew and hit from various directions. Then abruptly the water quieted and they slid past Astoria like a stealthy ship of war.

Later that day they were maneuvered into docking placement by two tugs. The only way Dale knew was from the radio talk in CIC - he hated being on duty when there was something to see. After the pep talk about behavior befitting the Navy, they were released to shore leave. The city was hopping with the decorations of a few thousand sailors - there was blue and black and white everywhere he looked.

Dale walked into downtown with everyone else - the sky was blue, there was excitement in the air and he was enjoying walking on earth again. Some of his friends were being sponsored for the day by a local family, but that seemed a little boring. He figured he could get around just fine. There were lots of bars and delis along the streets, so he turned into a classy-looking one about noon.

A couple of Navy officers just left as he went in and found the bar as his eyes adjusted. While he was considering the Triple Decker Deli Special, he spotted the loveliest woman sitting at a small table near the end of the bar. Best of all she seemed to be studying him. After years of pursuing women, he was suddenly unnerved by her unturning gaze. OK Dale, you’ve got to check this out, his on-board-babe-finder-1000 dictated. She definitely had a presence. Just walking closer to her he could feel her sensuality, her longing. The babe-finder-1000 redlined POW! My name’s Dale, how are you? he said, glad that the first words were out.

I’m Elisabeth, would you like to join me? she said quietly.

Hmm, like I need to think about this, he mused, yes, thank you, and he sat down.

Elisabeth, it turned out, was one rich and lonely woman, much too hungry to be alone, much too luscious and available to be left alone. His Triple-Decker Deli Special was awkward to eat in her presence, but he managed to get it down through conversation and innuendo. As they talked of shallow subjects on the surface, the real dance was going on at another level entirely. After an hour they were both pretty sure what was about to happen. Elizabeth said it this way, Hey, I’m going up to Skamania for a few days, would you like to come along? Dale had no idea what a Skamania was, but if he was invited, he definitely wanted to go.

Well, sure. I’ve got a few days leave but only the uniform I’m wearing. Will that be alright?

That’s no problem, she said. Skamania has a few stores if you need something. Are you done? We can go now; my car is parked up the street.

Dale went into gentleman mode. Get her chair, stupid, move slowly, open the door for her, his brain urged. On the street, she turned and smiled at him and took his arm as they walked up the street to her gray Mercedes. The Mercedes interior was a world away for Dale and he kept glancing from his navy blue knees to this beautiful Elisabeth.

They got out of town and drove up the Columbia River past Multnomah Falls. He knew he’d seen that on calendars, So this is where it is, he thought. Finally they turned north over the Columbia, over a girder bridge labeled the Bridge of the Gods. Better name would be ‘Bridge of the Suicidal’, he thought of the high skeletal structure. Soon they pulled up at a sprawling building and grounds past the sign Skamania Lodge. Hmm, so this is what she meant.

As she checked in, he suddenly felt very self-conscious, as if everyone could tell she was using him for a fling. He stood nearby in his uniform, helpless, useless. At their room she said, Why don’t we go for a swim? I’ll go get you some swimming trunks. He was abruptly alone to tip the bellhop who had carried her two bags upstairs. Three dollars got rid of him. Well here’s an odd little moment Dale, he thought, What are you doing here? He pulled his Navy very-black shoes off and lay down on the bed. When

Hai raggiunto la fine di questa anteprima. Registrati per continuare a leggere!
Pagina 1 di 1


Cosa pensano gli utenti di Freeboard

0 valutazioni / 0 Recensioni
Cosa ne pensi?
Valutazione: 0 su 5 stelle

Recensioni dei lettori