Old Mack’s Tales

February 18, 2009

Setting the Anchor

Filed under: Short Stories — Ron McKinney aka "OldMack" @ 8:04 pm
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Setting the Anchor

One of his more embarrassing moments: He drops the hook and watches the chain and line pay out, while his mind is on the naked nymph poised on the lazaretto preparing to dive into the crystalline water of the lagoon and noting those firm buttocks and a deep dimple above each, and then turning back to his business just in time to see that the bitter end of the anchor rope isn’t tied to the cleat. Down goes the line and anchor into the deep lagoon and the boat is beginning to drift astern due to the rapidly ebbing tide towards the girl frolicking in the water.

If the 40-foot ketch, drifting at only one knot, should strike her head, it could brain her. If it doesn’t kill her instantly she’ll probably drown before the idiot who forgot to tie the anchor line to the cleat can run that far, dodging the stays, the booms and the clutter in the cockpit to throw her a life preserver or even shout a warning. Now a gust of offshore wind riffles the surface as it moves toward the boat. At the top of his lungs he screams: HELP!

The girl turns, expecting to see her companion is some sort of trouble, sees the hull bearing down on her. She surface dives and swims deep. She sees the barnacle-encrusted keel pass over her with a meter of clearance. She swims up to grasp the chain stays of the bowsprit and climbs back aboard. She watches her lover as he leans over the lifeline at the stern, but says nothing.

She opens the hatch to the chain locker, removes the spare anchor, checks its shackle is secured, ties the bitter end of the line to the deck cleat and heaves the anchor overboard.

The flukes of the spare anchor hook a coral head and when the line has paid out, the boat comes to an instant halt. The idiot leaning over the stern is thrown into the water. She ambles aft like an apparition to laugh at the fool.


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