|Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Any similarities to persons living, dead, space aliens, goats, forum posters, editors, beta readers, musicians, or writers are purely coincidental. There may be sexual content so if this, in any form, offends you, please cease reading this lest it send you screaming from the room. If you are not of legal age to read this, please don't.|
|Chapter 39: Lost and Found|
The British Airways jet shuddered slightly in the light turbulence, waking Joel from his fitful sleep. He stretched and yawned, taking a glance out the window, only to see nothing but water far below.
A few minutes later, Joel noticed a change in the sound of the engines, as their hum became lower and quieter. That signaled that the jet had begun its descent towards Orlando, a fact confirmed by the white strand of beach coming into view ahead.
Joel took his flight bag with him to the bathroom, where he washed up, splashed on some cologne, put on a clean shirt, and then transferred the engagement ring to his pocket.
When he reached customs, Joel stood by calmly as the officer checked Joel’s declaration form and conducted a quick search of his flight bag and suitcase. Joel breathed a silent sigh of relief as he was cleared, and he hurried towards the exit door, eager to see Lisa.
Lisa paced back and forth in the arrival lounge. She’d arrived early and had kept glancing up at the monitor, at Joel’s flight’s arrival time. After what seemed like forever, Lisa had watched the flight status change, indicating that the flight was on the ground.
She checked her watch for the third time that minute, and continued her agitated pacing, moving ever closer to the one-way doors that separated the public area from customs, wishing that she could see in. Finally, Lisa glimpsed Joel’s blond hair, and then saw him as he emerged from behind another passenger.
“JOEL!” she yelled, running into his waiting arms. He swept her up, pulling her in for an unplanned deep and passionate kiss.
“Hi Lisa, I’ve missed you a lot,” Joel mumbled, as he came up for air.
“I missed you every second,” Lisa replied, giving Joel another quick kiss, and then leading him towards the parking area. “Let’s get out of here.”
When they reached Lisa’s truck, they climbed in, and as soon as the doors were shut, Joel pulled Lisa in for another kiss.
“Joel, when are your parents expecting you,” Lisa asked, with a devilish grin.
Joel glanced at his watch, which he’d reset on the plane. “They know when my flight was due, and they know you’re picking me up. I’m supposed to call to let ‘em know I’ve arrived okay.”
“You could call them now, and tell them you’ll be home late tonight,” Lisa said.
“Your dad’s not home?” Joel asked, hoping it was true, though doubtful late on a Sunday afternoon.
Lisa shook her head. “He’s home, and he knows I’m picking you up today, but he doesn’t know your flight info. We’re not going there; I’ve got somewhere else for us. Just trust me, you’ll see,” Lisa said, as her truck’s engine rumbled to life.
Joel made the call to his parents, and was grateful that it was his father who answered. They talked for a few minutes, and Joel let him know that he’d be late.
“Not too late; it’s the first day of school tomorrow,” Charles reminded Joel.
After the call, Lisa asked, “How was the flight, and how is Trev?”
“It was a long trip; the flight from Cyprus got into London after the daily flight to Orlando leaves, so I spent the night in an airport hotel. I was at Gatwick airport, which is south of London, so I walked around the town a bit.” Joel’s smile faded, and he continued, “Trev was doing great, we had a total blast. It was damn hard saying goodbye, knowing he’s got so far to go.”
Lisa glanced at Joel for a moment, and then returned her eyes to the road. “You miss him already. So do I, I have since he left. This whole thing sucks, and we’re both going to worry about him. It’s easier for us though; we’ve got each other, and now he’s alone. I’ll miss you at Christmas, but I’m really glad you’re going out to see him again.”
Joel nodded, hiding a nervous smile as he thought of his plans, and the reservations already in Lisa’s name.
They talked all the way to Ft. Pierce, and then Joel noticed that they were heading into a very upscale residential neighborhood, with waterfront mansions. “We’re heading for Bridget’s?” Joel asked, basing his guess on the fact that, as far as he knew, she was the only person Lisa counted amongst her friends who lived in such a high-end area.
“Not exactly,” Lisa replied cryptically, as she pulled to a stop. “This is Bridget’s house, and she does want to meet you, but that’ll probably be later this week. Follow me.”
Lisa led Joel to the guesthouse, opening it with a flourish. Once inside she shut the door and handed him a key. “This is just for you and me, no one else can know. Bridget said we can use it anytime we want. It really surprised me that an old lady would be so cool about sex, but she knows about the problem with my dad, and she wanted to give us a place to be together. I guess she remembers what it was like when she was our age,” Lisa said, and then pulled Joel into a passionate kiss. Within moments, they were tugging each other’s clothes off and tossing them away with abandon as they made their way to the bed. So into the moment were they that neither of them noticed the soft metallic ting that sounded a moment after Lisa tossed Joel’s cargo shorts aside.
Bridget sat at her writing desk, in her formal study, drumming her fingers on the rich mahogany. “I don’t think there will be much conversation for a while,” she said, motioning with her head at the speaker on her desk.
George nodded, and clicked it off. “The recorder I hooked up to the circuit is voice activated, so I can scan it later and see if anything worthwhile was mentioned. They’ll probably chat between rounds.” George cracked a sassy smile and added, “Lisa did seem shocked that an old lady would remember what it was like to want to have sex.”
Bridget chuckled ruefully. “You cheeky bastard! Do bear in mind that you’re only a couple of years younger than I am, and I shall remind you that you seem to have no complaints regarding me and sex.”
“I’m only doing my sworn duty and reporting on the conversation,” George said, holding up his hand, palm out, and grinning.
“Why is it that I suspect I’ll be hearing that particular quote of Lisa’s quite often?” Bridget replied, laughing.
Two hours later, after round three, Lisa and Joel cuddled in bed, and they began talking, catching up with each other, and what had been going on in their lives.
As they talked, Joel began to feel the after effects of his jet lag and recent exertions. His eyelids grew heavy, and he fished his watch off the floor. “Lisa, I hate to end this, but I’ve got to get home and sleep. Can we come here right after school?”
“Anytime,” Lisa confirmed, and then paused. “But not tomorrow; I’m working until nine, and dad will want me to go right home. I’m not working Tuesday, though.”
“I’ll come by and see you at work,” Joel said, giving Lisa a quick kiss before hauling himself out of bed and gathering up his scattered clothes. “I’ve got some presents from me and Trev, but I’ll wait until Tuesday.”
They got dressed, and Lisa took Joel home. When she pulled up in front of his house, Joel leaned over, kissed her, and said from the heart, “I love you,” before kissing her again.
“I love you too,” Lisa said, as Joel jumped out, and bags in hand made his way to his front door, where his parents were waiting. Joel turned around to wave as Lisa drove off, holding his flight bag up high. His eyes followed her truck for a few moments, and as she disappeared around the corner, Joel found himself looking at Trevor’s car, and his smile faded for a moment, as he wondered what Trevor was doing, and how he was coping.
Inside, Joel talked with his parents and youngest brother for a while, telling them about the trip, but soon, sleep could no longer be denied, and he made his way upstairs to his room, where he lay down on his bed, still fully clothed, falling into an exhausted sleep.
Joel’s father tapped on his door early the next morning. “Joel, I’m leaving, time to get up,” Charles said, certain that his son had been too tired to remember to set an alarm.
“I’m awake,” Joel replied groggily.
“I’ll see you tonight,” Charles replied, hurrying off to work.
Joel grabbed a shower, and got ready for the day. He glanced at his clock, seeing that he had nearly an hour, so he picked up his clothes from the day before, and fished out the thick wad of cash Trevor had given him, and then hid it in his desk, intending to deposit it after school. Joel dug deeper, searching for the diamond ring, his blood running cold and his panic rising as he checked and re-checked each pocket. “Shit... shit... SHIT!” he mumbled, racing around, going nowhere, and checking the empty pockets again and again.
Joel’s mind raced. ‘I put it in my pocket on the plane... and I felt it after customs... so it’s either in Lisa’s truck, or...’ Joel thought, blinking as he suddenly remembered how they’d tossed their clothes aside at the guesthouse.
Joel tore down the stairs, racing for his car. He almost bowled over his mother at the bottom of the stairs. “Sorry Mom, I’m late, I’ll grab something to eat on my first break,” he said, as he raced out the door.
His mother watched him go, and then yelled, “Don’t speed!”
Joel turned the key on his Camaro, grimacing as the starter chugged and groaned due to a low battery, before grinding to a halt. Joel knew instantly that the battery was dead due to the car sitting for so long. He eyed his mother’s car, but dismissed the thought, knowing that she had to get to work in less than an hour and would just want to drop him off at school. He flipped open his cell phone, intending to call a taxi to meet him at the corner, when he found himself looking at Trevor’s old Honda.
“Maybe it’ll start,” Joel muttered, bounding out of his Camaro and fumbling on his key ring for Trevor’s car key. Joel was doubtful, but he felt that it was worth a few seconds to find out.
Joel leaped in and turned the key. The old Honda lurched forward and Joel jammed on the brakes in surprise. Then he glanced down at the gearshift. ‘Oh fuck, I forgot it’s a standard tranny. I hope I still remember how to do this?’ he thought, remembering the time, over a year ago, that Trevor had tried to teach him how to drive it, an attempt that had ended in noisy, shuddering failure.
Joel fumbled with the gearshift, wrenching it out of first and into neutral. With his feet pressing firmly on the brake, Joel took a deep breath and turned the key. With a grinding squeal, the starter rumbled and turned over the engine. “Come on, come on,” Joel muttered. The engine fired unevenly, clattering and coughing, before wheezing to life, its roar punctuated by a few backfires.
After checking behind him, Joel released the brake and let the old Honda roll down the slight slope of the driveway and into the street. Then, he pressed in the clutch and rattled the stick around, finding first gear.
Three stalls later, Joel managed to get the Honda moving, and he decided to take residential streets to Bridget’s house. After churning along with the engine howling for half a block, he managed to get into second gear.
With a feeling of relief that the drive was over, though still in fear over the ring, Joel pulled up in front of Bridget’s house. He clicked off the key, and the engine ran on and backfired a few times before rumbling to a halt.
Intent on his task, Joel raced for the guesthouse, fumbling for his key, and dashed inside. He dropped to all fours, looking under the furniture all around the sideboard, not noticing that a shadow had darkened the doorway.
“Ahem, are you Joel?” Bridget said, after watching his frantic searching for a moment.
Joel spun around and rose up onto his knees. “Yes, are you Mrs. Bellevue?” Joel asked.
Bridget smiled and waved her hand dismissively. “Call me Bridget, please.” She looked down at Joel, who was still on his knees and had a very anxious, almost panicked, expression on his face. “It’s good to meet you in person. Could I hazard a guess that you are looking for something? Something that sparkles?” Bridget asked, as she reached into her pocket.
Breathing a sigh of relief, Joel nodded. “Yeah, I lost a diamond ring. Did you find it?”
Bridget withdrew the ring from her pocket, holding it up in the sunlight, admiring the diamond. “Indeed I did. I came in this morning to see if the guesthouse needed tidying up, only to find the bed neatly made. You two are excellent guests, I must say. Then, I noticed a flash of gold on the floor behind you, and found this. I was fairly certain it wasn’t Lisa’s, as I’ve never seen her wear it, and it’s not a man’s ring. In fact, it looks to me like you are in a very appropriate position, given what I believe this ring to be,” Bridget said, with a knowing smile. It had actually been George who had found the ring, while checking on the microphones.
Joel smiled bashfully, and got up off his knees. “I went nuts when I couldn’t find it this morning.”
“You really ought to be more careful,” Bridget chided, handing Joel the ring. “I was going to call Lisa and ask, but I suspect it is a good thing I didn’t. It is for Lisa, isn’t it?” Bridget asked.
Joel hesitated, wondering if he could trust Bridget, but then realizing that he had to; she already knew. “Lisa doesn’t know yet... I’m going to ask her next month, and if she says yes, we’ll probably get married on her eighteenth birthday, next May.”
Bridget nodded approvingly. “A very long engagement. That might be a necessity, considering the difficulties she has with her father. Why though are you waiting until next month to ask her to marry you?”
Joel swallowed once, mindful that he was speaking to one of Lisa’s closest friends. “I want to be sure... sure she still feels the same way as I do, so I decided to wait a month after getting home.”
Bridget locked eyes with Joel, stepping closer to him. After a few moments, she smiled. “That is profoundly wise, especially for one so young. You remind me of my late husband in that sense; he was always thinking ahead. I’ll keep your secret, Joel, and I hope to get to know you as I have Lisa.”
“Thank you,” Joel said, with relief. “Nobody except Trev knows.”
Bridget glanced at the ring in Joel’s hand. “No one will learn of this from me. Keep that ring safe; I’m certain that Lisa will adore it.”
Joel beamed. “I hope so. I got it in Turkey; Trev helped me pick it out.” Joel glanced at his watch and added, “I’m sorry, but I have to go; it’s the first day of school today and I need to drop the ring off at home first. I don’t want to take any chances on losing it again.”
Bridget turned for the door. “You’d best be off then. I hope to see you again soon. Oh, it would be best, if you are with Lisa, to pretend that we have never met in person. Otherwise, she might be curious as to when we did.”
Joel stopped in his tracks for a moment, and then chuckled. “Thanks, I didn’t think of that. I’m looking forward to meeting you for the first time, Bridget,” he said, racing for Trevor’s car.
When Joel returned home, he had barely enough time to hide the ring in his desk. He made a mental note to buy some jumper cables, and then he resigned himself to driving Trevor’s car to the first day of his senior year of high school.
Atlantis cut through the blue Mediterranean waters, sailing south across the westerly breeze. She’d been averaging just six knots for the two days since leaving Cyprus. Trevor had only the mainsail up, he was in no hurry.
Trevor had slept fitfully that first night, catnapping in his beanbag. He’d had to alter course several times due to shipping traffic, but other than that, he was alone with his thoughts.
For the first time since Joel’s arrival, Trevor dug out the iPod and waterproof case that Lisa had given him. Slipping on the headphones, he set it to pick songs at random from the thousands that Lisa and Joel had loaded for him.
Listening to the music helped, as did taking care of Atlantis and conning her manually, but Trevor still found himself thinking about Joel and the fun they’d had, and how different it was aboard without him.
Trevor tried to keep busy, tending to every maintenance check and task that he could think of, preparing Atlantis for her long voyage. Trevor glanced at his navigation screen, watching the mileage log function he’d set when he’d begun his circumnavigation, seeing that it was just a few miles short of the eight thousand mark.
‘I’ve done eight thousand miles since leaving home,’ Trevor thought, as he loaded his projected course to Australia. The results were sobering; the course distance to Fremantle, Australia, including a margin for drift and course shifts, was nearly nine thousand miles, making it further than his entire voyage thus far.
Trevor reached out and patted Atlantis’s wheel housing. “We’ve got a long way to go, and it’s just the two of us, now,” Trevor said.
Joel was never far from Trevor’s mind; they’d been together, having only each other’s company almost continuously since his arrival in Gibraltar, and now Trevor was alone again. Trevor had crossed the Atlantic solo, but now his solitude had a very different feel.
Atlantis was fifty miles north of Port Said, Egypt – the northwestern end of the Suez Canal, and Trevor glanced at his cluttered radar displays, showing the heavy shipping traffic in the area.
Trevor retrieved his sea journal from the navigation desk, and sat in his beanbag, writing out his thoughts as he had done occasionally while crossing the Atlantic.
September 4th, 2006, Cyprus to Egypt
I’m close to the Suez Canal, and I’ll be going through in two days. It’ll be great to get into port and talk to Lisa and Joel again. I miss Joel, even more than I thought I would, and I think it will take me a while to get used to being solo again. I guess I’m just bummed, so I’m hoping the Suez Canal will cheer me up.
Doing my at-sea routine helps by keeping me busy. There’s always plenty to do; checking the bilges, maintenance, tending the rigging, and checking the weather plots.
I’m looking forward to transiting Suez. I should be; it’s something I’ve always dreamed of doing. After Suez there’s the Red Sea, which has some primo dive sites. I’m sure I’ll find yachters at Suez, so maybe I can make some friends. It won’t be like having Joel with me, but it’d be a lot better than being alone.
Trevor reviewed the instructions his canal agent had e-mailed him. He’d only glanced at it when he’d first received it, but now, studying it in detail, he noticed something that made him blink in surprise; his first docking would be at the Port Fouad Yacht Club, not the Suez Canal Yacht Club, which he’d assumed was at the Mediterranean end of the canal. He checked with his electronic chart, which confirmed a glaring oversight on his part. The Suez Canal Yacht Club – which was where he’d asked Charles to send the satellite phone – was at the Red Sea end of the canal. Trevor slapped himself on the forehead. ‘Damn, I have to wait to get my phone,’ he thought, idly wondering what else could go wrong.
Twenty miles from Port Said, Trevor followed the instructions and began hailing on VHF channel 12. After his third hail, he received a reply in lightly-accented English, asking for his coordinates and AIS transponder code. Trevor gave the information, and was told to proceed towards Port Said, and that a pilot boat would meet him two miles from the breakwater and lead him to an anchorage at the Port Fouad Yacht Club.
Trevor started the engines and furled his sails, motoring towards Port Said through the busy approaches, keeping a wary eye on the dozens of ships in the area.
The pilot boat rendezvoused with Atlantis as planned, taking up a position a hundred yards off Atlantis’s bows and leading her into the main channel to the anchorage. En route, Trevor glanced nervously at the massive cargo ships in the outbound channel, which were coming within fifty feet as they passed.
The jumbled buildings of Port Said came into view to starboard, looking austere and worn, and more than a little dusty.
The pilot boat turned to port, and Trevor followed it to the anchorage, slowing until he was barely making steerageway, offshore of a row of moored yachts. Trevor was expecting further instructions over the radio, but instead, the pilot boat turned about and pulled alongside, and one of the two men on it climbed aboard Atlantis, meeting Trevor in the cockpit.
“You moor at the quay, stern to the wall with your forward anchor laid,” the man said, in thickly accented but fluent English, pointing towards a gap in the line of yachts. Trevor looked at the indicated berth, seeing that the boat he’d be next to was an enormous three-masted schooner, its one-hundred-eighty foot length and soaring masts dwarfing Atlantis.
Before Trevor could reply, the man asked bluntly, “Do you have cigarettes for us?”
Trevor was more surprised than he should have been; he’d been warned about the baksheesh culture of the canal. Trevor then remembered the warning about being bumped by pilot boats, so he retrieved two packs from the salon, offering them to the pilot.
“Not enough. Four packs,” the pilot demanded.
Trevor wasn’t willing to risk damage to Atlantis over two packs of cigarettes – he assumed he had plenty aboard for the expected baksheesh – and retrieved two more.
With four packs in one hand, the pilot rubbed the thumb and forefinger of his other hand together. “Something for the taxi, too. We have to get back home.”
Exasperated and feeling like a victim, Trevor shook his head. “No, no more. The agent said nothing about this.”
The pilot, with a casual shrug, boarded his boat, and the man at the controls gunned the engine and pulled away.
Trevor did as he’d been instructed, turning away from the berth – just a gap between the moored boats, barely wide enough for a boat of Atlantis’s wide beam. Trevor dashed forward to deploy his anchor, and then backed Atlantis toward the quay, next to the schooner.
As Trevor approached, he deployed his fenders and readied his lines, preparing to scramble onto the quay and tie off to the mooring posts.
“Toss your stern lines aboard,” the massive schooner’s owner called out, startling Trevor.
Relieved, Trevor hurled the stern lines to a waiting crewman, who raced onto the quay to secure Atlantis, as Trevor winched in the slack on his anchor line. “Thanks,” Trevor said, with Atlantis safely moored. Trevor turned to see that the pilot boat was already receding into the distance, heading back out to the harbor mouth. Trevor looked up at his new neighbor, a fierce-looking but smiling middle aged man, and said, “Hi, I’m Trev.”
The man glanced down – his yacht’s main deck was higher than Atlantis’s – and said, “Looks like we’ll be neighbors for a spell. This is my third time transiting this big sandy ditch, and I saw what just happened when you pulled in. Welcome to the land of baksheesh. Come aboard and we can compare notes.”
Trevor, feeling slightly underdressed in just a pair of shorts, scrambled up onto the mega yacht.
As soon as Trevor was aboard, the owner met him and extended a hand. “Pleased to make your acquaintance, Trev. I’m Eric Rotide. Welcome aboard my schooner, the Thaddeus, out of Jacksonville.”
Trevor shook Eric’s hand, wincing slightly from the man’s iron grip. “Nice to meet somebody from Florida. That’s Atlantis, out of Ft. Pierce, and this will be my first time through the canal.”
“We’re both a long way from home,” Eric said, with a hearty laugh. “I’m bound for a literary convention in Dubai, on the Persian Gulf. Where are you headed?”
Trevor began to feel more at ease, and replied with a casual smile, “Back to Florida.”
Eric arched a bushy eyebrow. “You might need to brush up on your navigation. Florida is that-a-way,” he said, with a chuckle and a flick of his thumb to the west.
“I’m getting there eastbound; I’m circumnavigating.”
Eric arched both eyebrows, and glanced at Atlantis. “Are you solo?”
Trevor’s smile faded for an instant, but before Eric noticed, Trevor replied, “I am now. My... brother Joel joined me in the Med, but he flew home from Cyprus. We’ll meet up again in Australia for Christmas.” Trevor grinned at his own awkward phrasing; it was the first time he’d publicly referred to Joel as his brother, but he liked the feeling.
“That’s a long way. I’ve never gone all the way around the marble myself, but I did Suez transit two years ago, and then home via the Cape of Good Hope and up the Atlantic. So, is this your first time through the ditch?”
Trevor nodded, and then glanced towards the buildings ashore, fifty yards away. “Yeah, I’m waiting for my agent; they’re sending a boat out to get my passport for the clearance,” Trevor replied.
Eric nodded. “Let me give you a fast rundown. When they arrive, make sure you insist on a copy of the contract, in English, listing your transit times and their total fee, and what it includes. Also, make them give you a specific time when they’ll return your passport. Don’t just fork over the money; I did it that way last time and got reamed for an extra thousand bucks and a forty-eight hour delay.”
“I’ve heard you have to watch out here,” Trevor said, wondering how bad it would be.
Eric swept his arm astern, at the string of other yachts. “We’re all waiting. Some of these are transiting tomorrow, some later. I’m booked for two days from now. There’s just one convoy each way per day for yachts, and yachts aren’t allowed in the canal channel at night. They require a minimum speed under power of five knots, but last time we transited at speeds up to nine knots in places, leaving a few stragglers astern. The pilots can be... interesting. The canal is over a hundred miles long... did they tell you it can’t be done in one day?” Trevor shook his head, and Eric continued, “We have to stay overnight at Ismailia, which is about halfway.”
“I’m booked for the same day you are,” Trevor said.
Eric shook his head. “Don’t count on it. Delays happen. Yachts aren’t allowed in the canal when a warship is transiting. That delayed me an extra day last time. Sandstorms are another possibility. However, it’s not so bad here; seems like a nice bunch of cruisers so far, and I’m hosting a cocktail party tonight. I hope you’ll join us.”
“I will, thanks,” Trevor said, looking down the quay at the other yachts, and noticing several catamarans amongst them. One in particular caught his attention. He was too far away to be certain, and was seeing it at a shallow angle from the side, through the rigging of several interposed yachts, but Trevor thought it looked like a Lagoon 55, like Atlantis, or the more numerous Lagoon 57.
The Lagoon 57 was a very similar and slightly newer design than the Lagoon 55. Later models of the 57 were designated the 570 and had vertical instead of steeply sloped-back windows at the forward end of the salon, but the 57s were nearly identical to the Lagoon 55 in every regard, except for the slight difference in length and bow shape, which was almost impossible to notice unless the two models were moored side by side.
Trevor studied the distant catamaran, but at this angle and distance, Trevor was too far away, and his line of sight too obstructed, for him to discern the model or even be certain of the make – there were other makes with similar designs, so he wasn’t even sure the big cat was a Lagoon. He could barely make out the boat’s name, ‘Talon’.
Eric followed Trevor’s eye. “Yep, the multihull mafia is well represented here. You won’t be alone,” he said, with a mischievous chuckle, motioning towards several other catamarans and trimarans of various shapes and sizes, which were mixed in with the other more-numerous monohull yachts. “I’ll also make sure you learn about the do’s and don’ts of the canal. For a start, just about everybody you meet who is connected with the canal in any way will be out for baksheesh, and they can be pushy as hell. Crime is a problem too; that’s why you’ll see armed guards at the yacht clubs. Always lock your boat up and make sure all your valuables are well hidden. The canal is a lot different from the rest of Egypt. Take a walk inland and most of the people you meet will be nice and friendly, but most of the ones who have anything to do with the canal would skin a mosquito for a nickel. They’ll take you for everything they think they can get.”
Trevor spotted an approaching launch, and as it angled towards Atlantis, he said a quick goodbye to Eric and raced aboard, meeting the canal agent on the starboard bow. To Trevor’s pleasant surprise, the agent was very agreeable, and promised a detailed contract and bill in the morning, along with the return of his passport, as soon as Atlantis had been measured for the transit fee. The agent took Trevor’s passport, and departed without any demand for baksheesh.
“We’re starting in about an hour, just bring yourself,” Eric called down from his deck.
© 2010 C James
Please give me feedback, and please don’t be shy if you want to criticize! The feedback thread for this story is in my Forum. Please stop by and say "Hi!"
Many thanks to my editor EMoe for editing and for his support, encouragement, beta reading, and suggestions.
Special thanks to Graeme, for beta-reading and advice.
Thanks also to Talonrider and MikeL for beta reading.
A big Thank You to RedA for Beta reading and advice, and to Bondwriter for final Zeta-reading and advice.
Special thanks to Wildone for help with the Scuba scene.
Any remaining errors are mine alone.