Five O'Clock Somewhere

Welcome to Five O'Clock Somewhere, where it doesn't matter what time zone you're in; it's five o'clock somewhere. We'll look at rural life, especially as it happens in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, cats, sailing (particularly Etchells racing yachts), and bits of grammar and Victorian poetry.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Wizards of Winds and Waves, chapter 1

An adventure in fiction.
Consider this a warmup for NaNoWriMo. I had a dream, in which the senior members of the Rio Grande Sailing Club turned out to be, not merely highly accomplished sailors, but also individuals possessed of supernatural talents. In the wake of the dream, to prevent myself from forgetting it, I had to write it down, thus rendering it ineligible for NaNo, which permits outlining, character sketches, and research, but no actual writing until Nov. 1. This piece also has a problem that, in its current state, some of the sailing club members are too recognizable (and in one case given negative personality characteristics that the original character doesn’t have). Before this goes to widespread publication, I’m going to have to do some major revision.
But meanwhile, I’ll offer this adventure up in serial format, much as my esteemed brother has done with some eels.
Wizards of Winds and Waves
Chapter 1
“I want to go to France,” I heard myself saying, “to turn the Communists.”

It had all started with an extraordinary experience about three months ago, while I was on Spring Break; it was my senior year in college, and it had been a tough term so far. At the beginning of the day, I had no idea it would end so weirdly. I had been getting a much needed break from the grind of studying and was out sailing in my skiff; it was a lovely, sunny day with a breeze that was lively, but not too lively. I scooted along, all over the bay, sending up plumes of spray from the bow, with great swishing sounds of rushing water as I brought the boat about on a new tack. The tingle of the salty water on my face was invigorating, and it dampened my short-cut hair as the wind lifted it.
After a good day’s sail, a girl needs a good drink, and a bite to eat. After securing the skiff in its slip, alongside many others used by fun-seekers, I headed up to the tavern at the head of the pier. As I entered, I saw many familiar faces: Runyon, an old salt who’d been sailing boats of all sizes for decades and who was regarded as something of an elder statesman in the sailing community; Pierre, a volatile, auburn-haired fellow with the fastest mouth in the world; Randolph, a quiet, middle-aged man who always looked like he knew more than he was letting on; Sylvia, a younger woman whose cherubic face belied a cunning and competitive spirit that came out whenever she was at the helm of a racing boat; and many others, regulars at the tavern and on the water, together in the name of sailing and fellowship.
Slipping out of my damp jacket and quickly running my fingers through my salt-stiffened hair to give it a semblance of tidiness, I joined the group. “The usual?” Janice, the waitress, asked, while drawing a foamy, deep-amber liquid from a tap into a frosted pint glass. I nodded, and she brought the glass of ale out to the table. “Your grilled cheese will be out in a few minutes,” she said. I sipped my beer; the cool liquid soothed my dry tongue, washing away the salt with a malted-grain taste, bitter without being harsh, emphasized by the strong influence of hops.
The conversation at the table was about freaky weather, and other incidents. “Were you here at that one time when the squall line came right through the racing fleet right at the finish?” Pierre asked. “Man, that was scary. I was afraid I was going to get blown right off of my boat! One minute, everything was great, and I was going to get right by the committee boat, then bam! I didn’t even know what hit me. All of a sudden, I was heeled way over, my spreaders were in the water, I was going sideways, not forward, and I had to drop my main just to keep from going over and just coasted over the line.”
Runyon had a story to add. “I was out there one day, and there was a fellow in a dinghy, and he was in trouble. Bad trouble. He’d capsized, and the water was so cold, he was freezing. I had my big boat, and I had to climb over the transom to get down to him, and, I mean, he was soaking wet, and beginning to turn blue, and I had to hold onto the boat with one hand and grab him with the other, and all that water made him so heavy, I mean, he was hard to pull up. He was hypothermic, and if he’d been in the water just a few minutes longer, he’d of died.”
As the conversation continued, the sun had set over the bay, and the tavern began to take on a cave-like feel. The light grew dim through most of the room, but with a golden glow in the back end of the room where we were. The room almost seemed to grow longer, with our group gradually sinking backwards from the front of the room. The other patrons faded out, becoming silent shadows. No, it wasn’t my imagination; the room really was growing, the front entrance receding into darkness. Our group continued to talk convivially about sailing and disasters and near-disasters while the rest of the tavern just faded away.
Runyon noticed my look of confusion, and he stopped his story to explain what was going on. “We have a secret, and we’ve decided it’s time to let you in,” he said. “You’ve been around long enough now that we know you are the sort of material we need.”


Anonymous lew said...

This is my first visit to your blog and I have to say that yours is the most visually pleasing out of the mass of blogs by members of your extended family. Very nice.

Thu Oct 13, 12:25:00 PM MDT  
Blogger Carol Anne said...

Thanks, lew.

Actually, credit for this design goes to Todd Dominey, who created the template for As a service to people who aren't all that skilled in HTML design, Blogger provides a couple dozen templates that users can choose if they don't feel up to designing their own. I chose this one because it fits my style and projects an image that I want to project -- elegant, understated, with a bit of class.

Fri Oct 14, 01:09:00 AM MDT  

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