In January of 2009, I will be debuting a new dive adventure short story on Dive Buddy. Read where it all started!
Going Down with the Ship
By Eric Douglas
The jukebox in the corner thumped out a country tune that Jackson Pauley barely heard and cared about even less. He was hungry. He wanted his food and he wanted to go home. Even though he had successfully avoided the local TV reporter who had questions about his actions on board the dive boat, he had still spent the day talking to police, the US Coast Guard and other authorities. He also had to write up an incident report for his dive training agency’s insurance company. The dive center he worked for was covered by liability insurance and they had to make sure everything was in writing in case someone decided to sue. It wasn’t unheard of that a business had been sued right out of existence for doing nothing more than trying to help someone in trouble. Jackson didn’t think they had done anything wrong, and he heard the woman was doing just fine, but he still had to make sure all bases – and his butt – were covered.
In the excitement at the dock, he had also missed out on getting tipped by the divers and he had had to skip the second trip the fill out his paperwork. While he was paid by the dive center, it wasn’t much. The tips helped out quite a bit. Not that Jackson really needed it. He had a pension from New York City for his time as a firefighter, but he tried to stay away from that money and lived on his earnings as a dive instructor. Understandably, he wasn’t getting rich, but neither his lifestyle nor his outlook indicated that was a problem.
Jackson stood at one end of the bar waiting on the waitress to bring his burger and fries out of the kitchen. His eyes scanned the neon beer signs and the mirrors that adorned the walls. It could have been any small town bar anywhere in the country. At least the view outside was nice, Jackson thought.
And the view outside the bar was nice. It faced out onto the main harbor on Withrow Key. It wrapped around a sleepy marina with dozens of boats owned by locals and travelers alike. Some saw daily duty on the water, others didn’t appear as if they had been moved in years. The sun was setting across the water and it bathed everything in a beautiful orange glow.
Walking outside with his food in hand, Jackson placed a hat on his head to cover up his distinctive sand-colored hair – just in case someone was still looking for him – and began walking across the gravel parking lot under the half-bright illumination of the pole-mounted lights. He almost made it to his worn out Jeep Cherokee when he saw something he didn’t like.
To download the rest of Going Down With the Ship section one, follow this link.