Thursday, January 22, 2009

Friday Fiction for January 23, 2009

Friday Fiction this week is being hosted by Patty on her blog, Patterings, where you’ll find Mr. Linky to direct you to other fine submissions.

I decided it had been too long since I’d posted anything original written specifically for this blog, and so wrote this short story. This event is mentioned briefly in Cardan’s Pod, and I thought today it might be fun to write the scene. This story takes place while Joshua Cardan and Diego Hyland are still in college, and over Spring Break, not only have they both flown home, Diego’s fiancée Sally has come along to meet her future in-laws. On this particular day, Josh has invited them to join him for a cruise on his sailboat, a few years before the opening scene of Cardan’s Pod.

The song Sally sings in this story is a real one, written and recorded by Christian artist Kemper Crabb, on his currently out-of-print album, “The Vigil”, and also on the album "Live from Rivendell". The Rivendell arrangement is available to listen to on Rhapsody. It’s a wonderful song, and has been one of my favorites for many years.

Wonders in the Deep
By Rick Higginson

“So, this is the sailboat I’ve heard so much about. I must confess, I was starting to wonder if it was real, or whether you two were just pulling my leg,” Sally said, walking alongside the vessel.

“Pulling your leg?” Josh said, laughing. “Diego, what have you been telling this girl about me?”

“Just the truth, Josh; I told her your family’s made millions in drug money.”

“Oh, thanks. Remind me not to hire you as a publicist when I take over the company someday.”

“Aye aye, Skipper.”

“So, how long are we going to be out today?” Sally asked.

“A three hour tour, a three hour tour,” Josh sang.

“That’s not funny. Seriously, where are we heading?”

“Oh, I figured we’d head out a little ways from shore, and just enjoy an easy cruise. We’ll be back well before dark, unless you two want to make this an overnighter.”

“Um, how many beds does this boat have?”

“Two doubles in the cabin; plenty of room for three people.”

She shook her head. “Unless you and Diego are planning on sharing one, there’s no way we’re staying overnight. Maybe it’s okay with you to sleep with someone before you’re married, but I was raised differently.”

“No problem; once we’re out to sea, I’m technically the captain and I can perform a wedding for you two.”

“No, thank you. Let’s just plan on being back before dark.”

“Yes, ma’am.” He looked at Diego. “Is she always this bossy?”

“When it comes to my reputation, yes,” she said.

Advancing the throttle to cruise dead-slow through the marina, he steered away from the berth and towards the channel leading to the ocean. Once clear of the breakwater, he gave her a bit more speed until he was out of the traffic lane, and then cut the engine. Trimming the sails, he let the breeze push them on a leisurely course south.

Diego and Sally took a seat on one of the benches near the wheel. “Now this,” Diego said, “is the way to spend Spring Break.”

“If you ask me, this is the way to spend a lot more time than just Spring Break. I keep considering taking a year off after we graduate, and just sailing down the coast and off to maybe Bermuda or Puerto Rico. I’d love to do some traveling on the Bitter Pill,” Josh said.

Sally pulled some sunscreen from her tote bag, and began applying it to her arms. “I’ve been meaning to ask you about that name; why do you call your boat the Bitter Pill?”

“My Dad taught me to sail when I was a kid, and during High School, I kept bugging my parents for my own sailboat. They told me if I graduated with decent grades, they’d give me one for a graduation present. The day they gave it to me at the marina, Dad told me that it was mine, that taking care of it was my responsibility, and that I was liable to find owning a boat was a bitter pill to swallow. While I was still thinking about what to name her, I kept telling them I was going to go visit my bitter pill, and one day it just kind of stuck. Mom thought it was an especially appropriate name, considering the family business.”

She laughed. “Having a beautiful boat like this is a bitter pill? I find that hard to believe.”

“Want to see the monthly bill for her berth?”

“Well, it doesn’t seem to be hurting you too much.”

A noise off to one side of the boat drew their attention, and Sally jumped to her feet. “Oh my gosh; did you see that? What was that?”

“I didn’t see it, but it sounded like a whale spouting,” Josh replied.

It took several minutes of watching before the whale not only surfaced again, it leapt out of the water to splash sideways back into the waves.

“That was so awesome!” Sally said, barely above a whisper.

“I see them do that from time to time,” Josh explained. “They’re migrating from the Caribbean up to the waters off Massachusetts this time of year.”

“They’re so beautiful,” she said, and started singing quietly.

“What’s that song?”

“Oh; it’s one I heard many years ago, taken from Psalm 107.” She sang it again, loud enough for him to hear. “They that go down to the sea in ships, and do business in great waters; these see the works of the Lord, these see the works of the Lord, and His wonders in the deep.”

“That’s a nice song.”

“You should get a plaque that says that for your boat,” she said. “You must have seen some incredible wonders in all the times you’ve been out sailing.”

He shrugged. “After a while, you just kind of get used to seeing such things.”

“You should never get used to seeing wonders. I think we should always be amazed by the things God has done.”

She expressed similar sentiments many times through the remainder of the day, and by the time they cruised back into the marina, Josh wondered if her response to an overnight trip would be different if he offered again. You’re a lucky man, Diego, he thought. Her kind of joy is rare to find.

“I should call my folks to come pick us up,” Diego said.

“What do you two have planned for tonight?” Josh asked.

“Not much; we’ll probably just sit around and visit with my parents.”

“Why don’t you go out tonight?”

“That’d be nice, but my sister already has dibs on the car this evening.”

He eased into the berth and killed the engine, as Diego scrambled to get the forward mooring line. Josh secured the aft, and then resumed the conversation. “Why don’t you take mine? I’m not planning on going anywhere tonight. Dad wants me to read over some of the financial reports for the company, so he can quiz me about them tomorrow. He says if he’s going to pay for my education, he wants to know that I’m learning the right stuff.”

“Are you sure?”

“Go have fun,” he said, passing the keys and a couple of folded bills to Diego.

“Josh,” Diego said, trying to hand the money back to him.

“The skipper pays his crew; go have fun.” He accepted an embrace from his friend, and a more casual one from Sally, and watched the two walk towards the parking lot. When they were out of sight, he went into the cabin, poured himself a drink, and pulled a stack of papers from a case, absently singing, “…and His wonders in the deep.”


Patty Wysong said...

Very enjoyable, Hoomi! it would be so awesome to see a whale! Sally made me want to cheer--good for her!

Sara Harricharan said...

OOooh! and original! LOL. So glad to read this new piece. I liked it, I especially liked Sally and how the song she sang came back in the end and Josh was singing it softly. Wonderful ways of wrapping this all together!

Lynn Squire said...

Very good! I love her song.