Edging ever closer to going under, the 28 foot sloop, the Texas Flood rode dangerously low in the water under a darkening sky. Sharks fed in the churning black water of the Pacific just yards away now.
Fuck, fuck, FUCK, Duff Kelton thought as he fumbled with plastic buckles that would keep the bright orange flotation device attached to the miserable excuse he could call himself—a life vest—the Coast Guard required device would come in handy once he took to the water, bobbing along on the surface as he would. Those sharks would have fun with the dangling meat for a while.
Cresting ten feet above deck, a wave threatened to capsize the Texas Flood. The boat hailed from nearby Monterrey. The Pacific was angry at having been made an accomplice to the tragic event that had taken place just under an hour ago during calmer weather.
The fishing charters had bailed earlier in the day as the cold Pacific storm threatened from the west. Dark clouds had towered on the horizon before lunch. Now the lone vessel—a tiny boat in a very large ocean-- was gripped in swirling waters and black skies down to the horizon. Static crackled from the radio on the bridge. The device no longer worked. The receiver still operated, but the transmitter? Fuck.
Could he have handled things differently out here today? Kelton wondered as his boat, the Flood, continued to take on water in an ocean hell-bent on violence.
Over the years, Marissa, his wife of fifteen of those, had grown more beautiful with the passing of each. He on the other had become soft and fat in a decade and a half of easy living. Their marriage was over and he knew it, they both did.
After the purchase of the Flood, he enjoyed spending his time out at sea, her not so much. In fact, Kelton had to beg the woman to come out with him today.
“Have you looked at the weather reports honey,” she asked having watched as the local television weatherman described the approaching storm with the fake smile the news folks were known for.
“Just a few hours dear,” he had said, his mind already made as to the outcome of the trip. Two souls would depart Monterey, only one would return. “We’ll stay in close honey. If the weather turns bad, we’ll turn tail for the marina and dry land, a nice dinner OK?”
Reluctantly, Marissa Kelton had agreed. “OK Dear,” she said, “I know how much that boat means to you.”
The boat..? The Texas Flood was more than a boat to Duff Kelton. She was one part mistress, one part lover, what had he done to deserve such a fine gal? She had never let him down in all of his years of sailing her. Now below deck, she stood knee deep in cold Pacific water, swamped.
After the divorce, surely Marissa would have had him put the Flood up for sale. Ex-wives always wanted their half didn’t they? The attorneys who had represented Tom Beal’s wife had forced a sale of the Comfortably Numb late last year. Tom had never been the same. No woman would come between him and the Flood, Kelton had seen to that. No one would find her now. Washed overboard during the storm, he would say as to the disappearance of his wife.
That bitch, he thought now of the woman who he had shared his life with. The woman who had agreed to ride along on a short sail just out past the bay. Just until we see the clouds coming over the horizon, then we’ll turn back for dry land, right? The woman he struck with a bottle. The woman he threw overboard. The woman the sharks nearby fed upon. The woman the sharks had torn into fifty-one pieces.
“Duff,” she had yelled up from below deck, “it smells funky in here dear. Mind if I open the windows?”
That was earlier, good weather prevailed. Calm before the storm. Had it been calm when he struck Marissa? He wondered now casting his gaze to the lightning streaking in a southerly direction toward land. Land he knew that he would not walk upon again.
Waves from the angry ocean lapped at the remaining blood on the foredeck. The only remnant of the woman he once loved. A woman who’s attorneys would surely force the sale of his beloved boat.
Duff Kelton had made up his mind, no one will make me sell it! The deed was done, no matter the cost.
Another wave, The Texas Flood rode lower in the dark water now. There would be no help for the lone skipper or the stricken vessel just a few miles short of landfall. The bow started downward.
If the bitch would have just left those damned portals alone?