Chapter 1, "Let's Go!"
From where you are now travel with me to Los Angeles California. Down to the Long Beach Harbor to the boat docks, pier number 13. It is just another sunny day and just another six hour fishing trip on a local guy's schooner that is called "Irish Rose." The captain and owner of the ship is called Red, just plain Red. Red is an old, old Irishman with bushy red hair and a well-aged full beard and yes Red refers to his boat as the "Irish Rose." Roses are an important element in the Irish country landscape and they remind many an Irishman in America of their home land.
You can normally take three-hour fishing trips for around twenty five bucks per person. Even if fishing is not your thing the trip is still something fun to do. While you are out you might see dolphins playing, sea lions or whales and who knows what else. Red's trip is a six-hour trip for thirty bucks per person. Never the less, a fishing cruise is a nice time out on the open sea and if you go in the evening you are sure to see a great sunset. Everything for a fishing trip on Red's boat is provided except food, drink and clothing. As for those things, Red does not care what you bring or wear. Do mostly to the tourist it's hard to get a spot on red's boat especially on weekends and mostly because he is well known as a famous deep-sea fisherman, a "Legend" don't you know? We go out on Red's boat because he lets us do just about whatever we want, for the most part that is. After all he is old and set in his ways. You never really see Red face to face much, because he stays to himself in his cabin and his two shipmates take care of everything else except for driving the boat.
Well it was Thursday afternoon after school and we had Friday off for some kind of holiday. It was late spring and everyone was ready for summer vacation and getting a bit antsy. Eight of us got together and decided to do something. Four couples, four girls and four guys and we all pooled our money together for a Thursday evening out on Red's boat. For a three hundred dollar special you can take the trip on a private bases, you know, just your group goes out.
There we were, Jill, myself and our six friends on Red's boat that Thursday night waiting for the usual sunset. We had some munchies and a few wine coolers; "hey, we are all eighteen and over." All and all a pretty innocent evening out for teenagers, "right?" That's what we thought.
It was just before sunset and everyone was having a great time. A couple of the guys tried their hand at fishing and if I do say so myself they did pretty good as they did catch some kind of fish, which the mates were glad to clean and put on ice for us. Little did we know at the time, but those fish flays would become life saviors.
When you are out on the open sea like that, just before sunset, it seems as though the horizon is the edge of the world and you can just reach out and touch it with your hands. In the dusk the sun looks as though it is melting into the water and setting it to a simmering boil. This is a time when you can see that nature's clock rules the world. In the night nature seems to settle in for the nights rest which will replace the rough and choppy swells of day with a calming scene painted over with uncountable dapples of shimmering colors making a path toward the horizon. Like clockwork just before it too dark to see, the silhouettes of dolphins suddenly appear breaking through the surface of the water for their evening play and hunt.
That Thursday evening as we sat on Red's boat we were staring quietly out into much the same. Breathing in the fresh, crisp evening sea air, we felt as though we were a welcome and intimate part of it all. Sitting there soaking it all in we had lost track of the fact that the evening would soon be over and the fact that Red would soon be taking us back to reality.
Just then in but a moment' total darkness replaced the scene. It was so dark that night that it was hard for us to tell what direction we were going, but we had no reason not to trust Red with that. After all it is how he makes his living. Nevertheless I had a deep uneasy feeling that I just couldn't shake. Everyone else was worn out and ready to sleep. After a very long hour passed by I asked one of the shipmates how much longer it would be before we got in. We should have only been an hour or so out from Long Beach by this time. The mate replied, "don't worry boy, we're close, real close." After another very long hour passed my uneasiness was trying to turn to fear and I didn't like that one bit. I went back to the mate to see if something was wrong and I was met with a gun poking at my belly as he said, "No more questions boy, just go and sit down and keep your friends calm and no one will get hurt!" I started to speak and he shoved the gun even harder into my gut and said with much anger, "Boy I told you to shut up and sit down!"