FEATURED COLUMNIST: TALES FROM THE CARIBBEAN

Dave (everybody called him Shark Boy) returned to the party, his face burning from the conversation he had had with Big Jessie. As he looked out over Cruise Bay he saw his Dad’s dinghy slowly motoring towards the Flying Circus. He knew something was heavy on his Dad’s mind because it wasn’t like him to go that slow—ever.

Then all these churning thoughts were interrupted when the Sheriff and his deputies arrived and finished off the chowder while they passed around free campaign buttons, butane lighters and leaflets with the Sheriff’s friendly face on them. Reporters from the St. Thomas Herald and the Virgin Island Times were there, and one reporter was already asking the Sheriff embarrassing questions. One questioned the Sheriff about the unsolved murder of one of his deputies while others took notes, but before the Sheriff could respond, Big Jesse accused the reporter of being a “nabob of negativism,” grabbed him by the scruff of his neck and the seat of the pants, and pitched him down the hill—head over heels towards the public dock. After the reporter regrouped he shook his fist and shouted, “I’ll be back,” but Jesse said, “If you do, it’ll be the biggest and last mistake that you ever make.”

After that, the other reporters confined their questions to those of a less sensitive nature. The Island Boys Marimba Band charged the crowd’s enthusiasm and while they danced in the street the Sheriff delivered one of his finest speeches on family values and personal integrity.

After the rally, Jesse asked Dave to escort Lady Darlene back to his condominium because there was something he wished to discuss with his father.
The moon was full and as Dave walked Darlene home she asked him, “What’s your middle name? I don’t feel comfortable calling you Shark Boy or David.”
“Well Madame,” Dave answered, “My middle name is Enzo. My Dad is a Grand Prix racing enthusiast and he so admired Italy’s Enzo Ferrari and his racing team that he named me Enzo.”

“Oh, Enzo … may I call you Enzo?” asked Darlene.

“Madame, you may call me whatever you like,” Dave said, blushing and looking down at the path as they walked towards the condo.

“Enzo, you’re such a handsome young man!”

“What should I call you?” asked Enzo.

“You can call me Lillie, that’s my middle name,” said Darlene.

“Miss Lillie, I’m shy around women,” said Enzo.

“Please just call me Lillie, without the Miss, I want to be your special friend,” said Lillie. And before they arrived at the condo, she had asked him how old he was, and if he had ever had a girl friend.

“I’m fifteen and no, I’ve never had a girl friend because my Mom said I should wait until I’m finished with college, and right now I’m only a freshman in high school.”

“Enzo, I wish your mother would take little ol’ me sailing!”

“My Mom’s name is Jini,” he said as he handed her his mother’s business card.

“She does sunrise cruises, afternoon snorkel trips, and sunset cruises, whichever you prefer. It depends on how much money you want to spend.”

“Enzo, I want to sail the whole day with you and your mother. Will you sail the boat for us, while we chat each other up? And don’t worry about the money,” she added, “your mother can just send Jesse the bill.”

When the two friends reached their destination, before Enzo knew what was happening, Lillie hugged him, kissed him on the lips, and said with an inviting smile, “Good night, Enzo.”

Dave was shocked, but after he regained his composure he headed straight for Boss Penny’s bar to see if his Mom was there. He could hardly wait to tell her about Lillie and ask what she had meant by “special friend.”

When he arrived at the bar, a drunk was sprawled on his back outside the front door. Dave jokingly asked the man if Penny had given him the bum’s rush, and the drunk mumbled, “Yeah, but she had another woman with her!”

Dave’s mom wasn’t at the bar so he called her on his cell phone and asked if he could stay aboard Dream Weaver tonight. His mom had just finished talking with Lillie, and she asked him to go back to Jesse’s place and bring Lillie with him to the public dock, so she could pick them up in her dinghy. Lillie had already hired Dave’s mom for an all-day sail the next day. The two of them might as well stay aboard Dream Weaver tonight, she said, and save a dingy trip in the morning.

Dave was surprised at how quickly things had happened, but he didn’t mind bringing Lillie to the dock because he liked her. It was only a short hike from Jesse’s place to the public dock and by the time Lillie and he arrived there, Jini was already waiting for them. Dave introduced Lillie to his mom, and they were headed for Dream Weaver’s mooring when he noticed, a good way off, the Flying Circus with Jesse’s boat tethered off its stern.

On board that distant vessel, Jesse was at that very moment asking the Captain point-blank, “Who’s Wendy?”

After a long silence, the Captain said, “I taught her how to sail a long time ago, but I don’t want to talk about it now. I do want to talk to you about another problem. Dave thinks he’s found Black Beard’s missing gold in a cave over on Lovango. The problem is if anybody attempts to enter that cave they run the risk of being buried alive in a cave-in. We need your mining expertise to safely excavate that cave without getting anybody killed.”

Jesse answered bluntly, “What’s in it for me?” To be continued …

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John Stark

The author of the "Tales from the Caribbean" fictional column. He attended school at Waynedale Elementary, Maplewood, Elmhurst HS in the Waynedale area. John had 25 years of professional writing experience when he passed away in 2012. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer