The companionway is open. The doors are swung open to rest against the cabin trunk like butterfly wings. We hold our camera angle close on the companionway itself, a dark gap like the entrance to a cave, while listening to Ray and the dishes and, now, two guys talking down below. The frame is suddenly filled: a blur, then a woman–buxom, blonde, late-forties–has walked into our shot. She stops on the dock and turns, calling back to one of the boats, speaking in German. That accent is the sexiest thing you’ve ever heard. Someone off camera replies, also in German but instead of soft and seductive it is male–guttural and growling–reminding you of Nazis in movies you’ve seen. You recall rumors of Hitler escaping to Argentina. Sightings of Der Fuhrer and his henchmen–or their offspring and ever loyal followers–still come out of South America from time to time. The woman exits the frame and continues down the dock, away from the other voice, heading to the laundry shack beside the small cabana.
Our shot, now free of the fraulein, is still frozen on the ketch as black smoke begins billowing out the companionway, becoming thicker and blacker as it does. Now a big ruckus: loud cursing, things clanking and thudding down below while the smoke still thickens.
One of the guys–yours truly, twenty some years ago–clamors out. He holds an iron skillet, using a tee shirt to protect his hand. The skillet, spitting flames, renders a Hiroshima mushroom cloud that reminds you of a skull and death. He tosses the whole deal overboard. This fine lad is the younger, handsomer, fitter, less cynical version of me. He is the Me that once wore a ponytail and Army fatigue pants cut off at the knees. He swears and flicks his hand in the air, trying to cool the burn. He sucks the wounded fingers then, right on cue, the second guy emerges with two cans of beer. Alaska is laughing his head off.
Younger me takes the can, pours beer on the burn, then drinks. Alaska taps his can against mine, still cracking up, then drinks.
“Wish you’d give up on that cooking-with-rum. You’ll burn us to the waterline.”
“Just trying to jazz things up. There’s only so many ways to eat beans and sardines.”
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Author of Blue Rubber Pool
Surf Director at Pineapple Hill