The Tugboat Man and the Lost Continent

The Tugboat Man and the Lost Continent The Tugboat Man and the Lost Continent

Status: Finished

Genre: Romance

Details

Status: Finished

Genre: Romance

Summary

i consider myself the poet-laureate of the nerd world. and i like my stories with a little sex and a whole lot of twists and turns. that's what you are getting here. i hope that you enjoy this as much as i did writing it. and because it was so much fun, you can expect more along this line. d.t.

Summary

i consider myself the poet-laureate of the nerd world. and i like my stories with a little sex and a whole lot of twists and turns. that's what you are getting here. i hope that you enjoy this as much as i did writing it. and because it was so much fun, you can expect more along this line. d.t.

Content

Submitted: June 06, 2016

A A A | A A A

Content

Submitted: June 06, 2016

A A A

A A A


The Tugboat Man and the Lost Continent

 

It might have been my socialization, or diet, or early toilet training. Or maybe I am just a complete asshole. Whatever!!! But I have been a loner my entire life – and that's just fine with me. Since I live in my head. And things are always a lot more interesting up there.

Needless to say, I hated school. Every second that I spent chained to the golden mean was agonizing. And since I was a nerd I didn’t have any actual friends.

Instead, I spent most of my time playing video games with a couple of guys who were as weird as I was. My folks thought that I was an unmotivated loser. And they weren’t exactly wrong.

But, nerds like me DO have a big helping of larceny in our soul. And we LOVE picking through the things that the lesser brains don’t understand. Especially if we are trespassing while we are doing it. That’s how I discovered reverse-engineering, zero-day vulnerabilities.

Zero-day vulnerabilities are those little flaws that hide in every consumer product. And finding them is like strolling through an orchard picking off low hanging fruit.

The real beauty of the thing is that you can sell what you find to the highest bidder. Blackmail is such an ugly word. I prefer to think of myself as an information broker. If you give me enough money I will tell you about the backdoor lurking in your company’s financial system.

The nerd code of ethics obliges me to offer my little insights to the folks who originally made the mistake. But if THEY aren’t interested, there are always the boutique sites on the Darkweb. Those places are chock full of desperados who are ALWAYS interested in ways to get access to other people’s money. And they will pay almost any price.

I had a sliding scale. It ranged from vanilla bugs at forty-thousand, to the “Holy Shit!!!” kind that sometimes topped out at a half-million dollars. I didn’t find many of the latter. But even so - by the time I reached legal drinking age I had a lot of ill gotten plunder stashed away in  off-shore accounts.

And thanks to the anonymity of the internet nobody ever knew that I was a pimply-faced teenager. I hear you asking, “How could a teenager open an account in the Caymans?”

Well … Along the way I MIGHT have helped myself to a few extra identities that I found lying around. So, there are a bunch of plumbers, machinists and housewives out there in blue-collar-land who are filthy rich. They just don’t know it.

Naturally, I had no outside social life except gamer girls. Those girls were just like me - nerdy and maladjusted. They were either painfully shy, or so covered in grotesque tats and piercings that they scared me.

Most of them would fuck me for a Call-of-Duty cheat code. You would have to be one of us to understand why THAT was coin of the realm. But they were not exactly what you’d call “attractive.”

That didn’t get in the way of my fucking them. Since I had only one criterion. She had to have a working hoo-ha and be willing to use it. I wasn’t looking for love. In fact, anything longer than a forty-minute relationship was more than I could commit to. 

Hence, my twenties passed in a ganja and sex fueled haze. I still lived in my parent’s basement. Don’t judge me!!!! I’m a nerd. I had no desire to be a grownup. But by my thirty-first year I was getting bored with shaking down the software industry. And since I had squirreled away about nine million dollars at that point. I thought I might attempt my first foray into the adult world.

It was the sort of naïve exploit that I am legendary for. I just loaded up a backpack and bought a one-way ticket to Bimini Island, in the Bahamas.

I actually had a couple of not very well thought out - but nonetheless valid – motives for doing that. My most important reason was weather. It had sucked my whole life. The temperature was either setting new lows, or highs. And the clouds, rain and snow in Ann Arbor were perpetual. So I wanted to live in year-around summer.

However, moving to a hip-happening place like Miami was totally out of the question. Especially given my social skills. And I am allergic to geezers. So the Southwest was out. The main reason why I chose Bimini was the population, which was all of 2,000 year-round residents. I still didn’t have any desire to interact with the human race. And Bimini was isolated from the U.S. by 50 miles of ocean.

I had no idea what I was getting into when I got there; at least in terms of the practical aspects, like where and how I was going to live. I had some hazy idea that Bimini was the cannabis capitol of the Caribbean. But I might have gotten that mixed up with Jamaica, which it turns out WASN’T nearby.

Bimini WAS the fishing capitol of the Caribbean. But since fishing is the only pastime that I can think of that is more excruciating than having my fingernails yanked out, that wasn’t a selling point. Flying over the place, I could see that it was mostly mangrove swamps. Of course you never get a sense of where you are until you step out on the tarmac.

My first impression was that it was “tropical” – hot and humid. But there was a decent breeze. There were a couple of beaten up old taxis at what passed for an airport.  I had not thought to make reservations. You don’t get worldly, or sophisticated lurking in your parent’s basement.

So I asked the driver to take me to an available hotel. He took me someplace that was so expensive that it must have been paying the drivers kickbacks. It was pretty clear that the islanders considered people like me legitimate prey.

The following morning was exactly like the day before, hot and cloudless. That was precisely what I was looking for. I am. excruciatingly introverted. But I knew I would have to talk to somebody. That is, if I ever wanted to find a place to live. So I screwed up my courage and approached the dude behind the concierge desk. 

He looked like a caricature of an island creole, right down to his shaven head. He was a good looking guy, tall and whip slender. And he certainly didn’t seem like a concierge. He had his feet up on the desk. He was dressed in a tropical print shirt that was opened to his navel. And he had on a ratty pair of boat shorts with flip-flops. He looked happy. Maybe it was something in the air. Or maybe he saw me as a newcomer ripe for the plucking.

He said, “May I help you?” It was in that musical, lilting British accented voice that I had come to associate with the locals. I told him that I was looking to move down to Bimini but I needed advice. He literally appeared to swap hats. And he said, “I can advise you sir.” The “for a small sum” part was a foregone conclusion. 

He was a jolly fellow named Reg, which was short for Reginald. Reg was one very interesting dude. He appeared to be working every scam imaginable – from weed, to girls, to island tours. And he knew everybody and everything. Looking back on it I considered myself to be a very fortunate nerd to have fallen into his clutches.

If moving to a totally unfamiliar place strictly on a whim sounds a little immature, I can assure you that it was indeed. I knew nothing about Bimini except that it was warm and sunny. The fact that Bimini was a legendary hangout for the likes of Jimmy Buffet, Lucille Ball and Earnest Hemingway was completely unknown to me. I just thought that the name of the island sounded cool.

That kind of ignorance can sometimes get you killed. But luckily, my new buddy only wanted a surprisingly small amount of my money to help me get acclimated. He and I toured the island – or perhaps the better term is islands since Bimini is actually two separate islands with a short passage of water in between. 

The place with all of the bars and restaurants is Alice Town. That is on the North Island, just the other side of the passage. I was on the South Island, which is definitely NOT where the action is.

Reg and I walked to the water taxi. That took us from the South side to the North side.  It was only 11:00 in the morning but Reg suggested lunch.

I was not thinking “alcohol” as we walked over to Sherry’s Place. But that was what we were there for. The building looked like it had been put together out of driftwood and the clientele at that time of day was decidedly un-touristy. But it turned out that the food was great. And the people were so friendly that I didn’t feel TOO ill-at ease around them.

As I might have mentioned, I am not exactly a fan of the human race. But the camaraderie there was infectious. Of course Reg knew everybody. So five beers later I was part of a happy clan of about a dozen locals.

All of those people had opinions. The general consensus was that I needed to live in Alice Town. Since that was where most of the fun stuff was. I wasn’t exactly looking for fun but most of the stores were there too. So I want along with that.

I had spent the past 15 years living in a basement. And the houses were WAY too communal for my nerd-like tastes. Finally, one of Reg’s friends said, “Why don’t you live on a boat mon? A lot of us do.” Now THAT was intriguing.

Keep in mind that I had never been on a boat in my life. But the concept of a house that was separated from land and that I could move if I didn’t like the neighborhood was offbeat enough that it was very appealing.

I said, “Do you know if there are any that I could look at?” The guy who had brought it up said, “Certainly mon, there’s one over at Browns Marina that you probably can’t afford. But it’s a good example of what I’m talking about.”

So Reg and I and our new friend, whose name was Basil, made our way the 400 yards between Sherry’s and Browns.  The distance was also appealing. I already liked Sherry’s and I wanted to keep hanging out there. The fact that I was willing to do anything social was an eye-opener. But the people were so friendly that they melted some of my deep-seated antisocial tendencies.

I was sold the minute I laid eyes on the thing. It was an ungainly 109 feet long, which meant that it had to be located at the end of the docks with the big multimillion dollar yachts out of Miami.

But, instead of being sexy, sleek, and gleaming-white ostentatious, my boat had a bad, red and grey paint job with rusty splotches like zits. And it had clearly been a tugboat in an earlier life.

It sat among the other boats looking like a warthog in a herd of gazelles. It was so muscle bound and ugly that the snooty yachts of the rich and famous seemed to actually be shunning it. I didn’t need to see anything more. I loved it.

Surprisingly, the inside was marvelous. It was compact. But it was still roomier than my folk’s basement. And the living quarters were gorgeous. It was all teakwood and polished brass. And it actually had a nice galley with modern appliances. The lounge area was bright and sunny. And it had two little bedrooms along with a head that actually featured a real shower.

The sales guy took me back to the engine room, which was beneath the entire after-deck of the boat. It was roomy enough to walk around in. Two hulking GM Electro-Motive marine diesels provided the propulsion.

They didn’t look like any boat engine that I had ever heard of.  So I asked the guy about them. He said, “Oh, those are the same engines they use to power locomotives.” The thing had started out life as a tugboat after all. And it was clear I wouldn’t lack for horsepower.

Then we went up to the top part. That was where you steered it. The sales guy went through a long spiel about the electronic gear. All I got out of it was that it had a bunch of digital navigation equipment and that it could easily make the trip back and forth to Miami.

That conversation went right past me since I had no intention of ever leaving the dock.

It was obvious that my two new friends and the sales guy thought that I was a wasting their time. Since, I look like an aging nerd. Well - I most-decidedly AM an aging nerd. But I also had a lot of illicitly obtained loot.

They all knew that the asking price was somewhere north of six figures. So they were surprised when I said, “How much?” The sales guy looked at me calculatedly and ventured, “How about a hundred and thirty thousand?”

That was ridiculously cheap – cheaper than most of the houses. It was obvious that he wanted to move the thing. And he hadn’t gotten any interest. I mean who sets out to impress the chicks by buying a big ugly boat like this? Fortunately, they were talking to the one guy who didn’t give a shit about impressing anybody.

The boat must have been sixty years old. But it was speaking to me, like one odd-ball to another. And it perfectly matched my needs. So I said, “I can transfer the money to you in an hour. Can I move in now?”

All three of my companions looked flabbergasted. The agent said, “Don’t you want to talk about the financing terms?” I said, “No – I’ll pay cash. But I want to sleep here tonight.” They continued to look at me like they expected me to say, “Just kidding - #hashtag/smileyface.”

I tapped one of my Cayman accounts for the money. One hundred and thirty large didn’t even make a dent in the principal. Then I signed the papers. Reg and I made the trip back to the hotel on the South Island to grab my backpack. And just like that I was a resident of the Bahamas.

In the interim Reg had changed his attitude. I was no longer a tourist whose pocket he wanted to pick. Instead, he was treating me like I might be worth an investment in the long-term. So he was sitting with me on the afterdeck as the sun went down on my first full day on Bimini.

The sky was an odd combination of purple, red and yellow. I later learned that pretty-much describes every sunset in the tropics. The air was beautifully warm, almost sensual. There was a nice breeze coming in off the Atlantic. And there were no bugs. That was astonishing. Since the mosquitos in Ann Arbor would drain the blood out of you if you sat outside at this time of night.

We were drinking a couple of cold Pirate Republics and just enjoying the tropical evening.  The fact that I was sitting anywhere with a non-nerd amazed me. But I felt like the place was already changing me. Reg said speculatively, “What are you going to do now that you’ve found a place to live?” I said, “Probably nothing.”

He said, “Don’t you need money?” I wasn’t going to tell him about my occupation. Even though he clearly had the same attitude about thievery. Instead I said, “I’m sure I’ll think of something.”

I wasn’t planning to retire from the game entirely. In fact, I needed to talk to HughesNet about their satellite downlink. Twenty gigabits per second would fit my particular ends.

He said cagily, “You’ll have a lot more options if you learn how to operate this thing.” I said with a laugh, “And I bet there is somebody sitting nearby who can teach me how.” He showed me a lot of very white teeth and said, “Perhaps mon – Perhaps.”

Thus started my tugboat lessons. At first I was absolutely awful– frightened, tentative and clumsy. And the damn thing felt like I was driving the Battleship Missouri. But I suppose that you’ll eventually learn anything if you work at it hard enough. And I AM smart.

Reg was an extremely patient and knowledgeable teacher.  Eventually I got to a point where I wasn’t too embarrassing. Nobody would ever mistake me for Tugboat Willie. But at least I could park the thing without ramming the dock – too hard.

I had never had a friend in my life. But Reg was working his way in that direction. Like I said, the island was changing me. Then I got another friend. That was out of pure necessity.

One morning I was leaving the head on my way back to my quarters. Suddenly - a mangy brown flash shot past my feet. I screamed like a little girl, yelled, “RAT!!!” and jumped up on the couch. 

I told Reg about my stowaways during the tugboat lesson. So the next day he showed up with something that looked like a refugee from a Pharo’s tomb. It was imperiousness and condescension wrapped in a single attitude. And the creature sat on Reg’s arm, like Cleopatra reclining on her barge.

Whatever it was, it was most definitely in the cat family. But it wasn’t exactly a cat. It had a cat head on a cat body. But it was oddly muscular and exotic looking, with a shorthaired silver-grey coat covered with black ocelot-like spots that looked almost primordial. It featured a very intelligent pair of amber feline eyes. I said with some alarm, “What’s that?”

Reg laughed his infectious laugh and said, “It’s your new crewmate mon.” I said, “Where did you get it – the zoo?”

He laughed again. He said, “I have a friend who specializes in delivering exotic animals to the States,” meaning he was a smuggler. “And he let me have this for a mere two thousand dollars,” meaning he probably gave it to Reg for free.

I said, “What is it, a baby cheetah? And what do you expect me to do with it?”  Reg laughed uproariously and said, “You have a rodent problem and every ship at sea keeps a cat for that.” I muttered uneasily, “That isn’t a cat!!” Reg laughed again and said, “You’re right. Its ancestry is much older than a cat’s. It’s called a Mau and it dates back to ancient Egypt.”

I said, “Are you sure it wants to be here?” He said, “Let’s find out.” And he put the thing down. It wandered around the living quarters disdainfully inspecting things.

Then, as it passed the couch it did something that was too fast to comprehend. Suddenly there was a mouse in its jaws. It let out a low possessive growl and disappeared down the hatch into the engine room. I didn’t have the thing more than two minutes and it was already working on my mouse problem.

Cleopatra seemed like a clichéd name. So after a little internet research I named it Bastet.  Bastet is the cat-headed Egyptian goddess of warfare. And that certainly matched the thing’s personality.

They say that Mau’s have a special ability to bond with one person. And Bastet certainly did with me. No matter where I went, Bastet was always around. She was never in the way. But she was a good companion. And needless to say I never saw another rodent on the boat. The fact that I actually began to like the creature was another astonishing example of how much the island had affected me.

I had the internet downlink by then. So I spent some of each day cruising the Darkweb. It is roughly similar to a merchant hanging around the bazaars of Marrakesh - just to see what he can see. I might be a totally unimpressive nerd in physical space. But I am somebody quite different in the virtual world. And I am well known among the super-hackers. So nobody in their right mind would mess with me. My aim was to keep it that way.

  ~

At that point I had been on the island for eight months. And I was beginning to wonder why I hadn’t moved there earlier. Each day was exactly like the last – hot and sunny. I spent most nights down at Sherry’s hanging around with Reg. But there were some nights when he was off doing whatever he did. I still didn’t go anywhere without him to buffer me. Because I was STILL an anti-social piece of shit. But I was getting much better.

Every boat requires a lot of maintenance. Especially the wooden areas. One morning I was hosing down the afterdeck wearing nothing but boat shorts. Since I live on the water I have a year-round deep water tan. And at six-four, I am taller than average. Plus, the time that I had spent on my boat had leaned me down to a point where I was more-or-less rawhide.

That was when I heard a perky voice from the dock saying, “What kind of boat is this Mister?” I turned around irritated and almost sprayed her. That was because she was absolutely spectacular.

I’m a guy and this woman was like an average teenager’s wet-dream. She had obviously come in on the big motor sailor that was moored next to me. And might be the daughter, or granddaughter of the dirty old man who was driving it.

She was almost elfin; very tiny with a muscular little body and a pair of very full breasts. I could evaluate her boobs because she was wearing one of those bathing suit tops where the only thing left to the imagination was the color of her nipples. She had on a pair of khaki boat shorts, a lot like mine.

Her face was perfection. This woman was the classic blonde beach bunny from every Gidget movie ever made.  I was still pathologically shy. But I was on my own boat. More important, she wanted to know about it. And no nerd can resist the opportunity to show off his technology.

So instead of ducking into the cabin, like I would have normally done. I mopped the sweat off my forehead with my shirt, gave her a faintly pedantic smile and said, “It’s a former Navy YTB Seagoing Tug. It’s been converted to a live-aboard. And it’s my home.”

She gave me a look of pure fascination and said, “Can I come on board? Can you show me around?”

That was miles above my normal capacity to interact with a human being. But It was hard to say “no” to a sexy little thing with big delectable tits and a smile like that. So I said, “sure” and reached out to steady her on my boarding plank.

She didn’t need it. She scampered across like a squirrel on a tree limb and jumped nimbly aboard. She was wearing one of those very light wraparound tropical print skirts that women wear over bathing suits. So I couldn’t evaluate her legs. But her hips and butt were as superb as her tits.

She had big blue eyes that complemented her dirty blonde hair; which she wore in a braid down her back. She was probably from the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area. Because she had one of those golden tans that women in south Florida can develop without putting in much sun time.

She was radiating joy and something else as she walked up to me, stuck her hand out like a guy and said, “I’m Ava.” I took it and said, “Everybody down here calls me the Tugboat Man - for obvious reasons – most people just shorten it to Tug.” 

I showed her the lounge area and she was blown away by the teak and brass fittings. I have to admit that I had spent a lot of money on décor. I showed her the two little sleeping cabins and the head. And then I took her down the after hatch to the engine room.

In the eight months that I had owned my tug I had gotten absolutely OCD about making the engines so pristinely perfect that you could eat off them. And I was proud of my handiwork. Hey!!! What can I say?? I’m a natural born geek.

She was astonished at the size of the two diesels. I said, “Remember - this used to be a tugboat. That’s why it is wider and more powerful than your average ship. The one you came over on is built for beauty, grace and speed. My ugly old girl is a platform to tow big ships.”

I took her up in the pilot house and showed her the navigation gear. She was so cheerful and full of life that I said without thought, “I was about to eat. If you give me a minute, I can make you lunch too.” She looked delighted and said, “That would be perfect!!”

I parked her in the lounge while I went to take a shower.  I had just finished washing the grime and sweat off, when the door to the head opened. That startled me. I yelled, “I’m in here!!!” When a giggling little apparition appeared in the shower with me. She said, “I know.”

She was stark naked and sleek as a seal. She had a perfect little tight dancer’s body with a flat stomach, muscular legs and very hard flanks. Her aureoles were almost virgin pink and her nipples were like bright red cherries from all of the blood flowing through them.

I would have had to be made out of stone to refuse something like that. And at that point one part of me most definitely WAS. She was gazing at me with a challenging fuck-me stare as she buffed Old Lucifer to a sheen. I turned her around with a snarl, and she eagerly backed up on my jutting bowsprit.

She was almost better from the rear. Words like “cute little round butt” don’t come close to describing her. She was exceptionally tight. But I got to the top with a little thrusting. When I did, she let out a groan that might have been heard at Sherry’s. Then she began pushing herself backward emitting loud moans of lust.

I was just getting into my stride when her head shot back and she let out a shriek. I could tell from the contractions and the way she was whipping her long blond hair around that orgasm-one had hit. But there were more to come.

She started to quiver like she was being electrocuted and orgasm-two was a bit louder. She was now braced with her hands widely spaced on the shower wall groaning and gasping and pushing back in a way that I thought she might hurt herself. It was such an intense episode that I arrived a little quicker than usual.

The feeling of my shooting inside of her took her legs out from underneath her. And I wasn’t certain that she hadn’t passed out since she went kind of limp, I was holding her around the waist as I finished and she was flopping around like a rag doll making no sound at all.

But her autonomic contractions were still milking me like a crazed Iowa farmhand - and that odd sensation kept me hard as a rock.

If she had actually passed out she came-to in a matter of seconds. Because she put her hands back to where she had them earlier. Then her whole body seemed to gyrate around me. She was all muscle, like a gymnast and she was working her butt in such a way that she was rotating me inside her in wide 360 degree arcs.

That produced a heated array of shrieks. And then her body went totally rigid. She held that posture for an impossibly long time. Then she collapsed. And we both ended up on the floor in a sodden heap. All-in-all it was the most amazing sexual encounter I had ever experienced,

I got shakily to my feet. She was still just lying there looking like she had been fucked to death. I got us both towels and began to dry her off. She came back from wherever she was visiting and said wearily, “I have never been fucked like that. I thought we would just have a little fun.”

The fact is that I didn’t know where that performance had come from either. I have a lot of experience with friends with benefits. But I am definitely not a porn star. And I have never had a woman pass out on me during sex. Of course having a woman as responsive as Ava helped. But it was almost like I had tapped into some heretofore unknown mystical energy.

Fortunately, I didn’t need to wonder what kind of girl would fuck me a mere hour after meeting me. I knew a lot of women like That. Ava might be a talented amateur, or even a pro. Nonetheless, it was clear that she absolutely loved sex. And that she was in the generation that doesn't have any hang-ups about what sex means in the grand scheme of things.

We were attracted to each other – nothing more. It was as simple as that. And as a result, we had a good time getting further acquainted. Nobody was hurt. Nobody else was involved, And I wasn’t planning on giving her my class ring afterward.  It was just sex. And it was fun.

She dressed and did a little clean-up while I fixed both of us a conch salad. She had never experienced that yummy Key’s delicacy before and she was delighted. I didn’t tell her that a conch is just an edible marine snail. She probably wouldn’t have enjoyed her lunch quite as much.

Then she proceeded to hang out with me on the boat. Being with her was like adopting an eager Welsh Corgi. She was merry and full of energy. And she was really an attractive package of femininity

I finally asked her whether the guy she was with would be pissed at her spending the day with me. She said indifferently, “Oh, he doesn’t mind. He knows that I’ll take care of him tonight. I’m thirty-five years younger than he is and he’s just happy I’m with him.” So he WASN’T her father,

At that, she looked at her watch and said, “Now that you mention it, I gotta run.” She grabbed her wrap, fastened it, kissed me chastely on the cheek. And said, “Thanks for a wonderful day.”

Then, without a word she scurried back down my boarding plank across the dock and up into the boat she had arrived on.

Later that night I was sitting in the warm night air drinking a last beer. There were the usual marina noises, boats coming and going in the bay, water lapping against the dock and the lurid sounds of Ava getting the ever-loving shit fucked out of her next door.

I fell asleep to the keening noises of her latest orgasm. Amazing!!! Her boat left early the next morning. I think the guy she was with was jealous.

 ~

One afternoon a couple of days later we were sitting on the deck at Sherry’s. The thing about being on the ocean is that you see weather without having it effect you. And we could all see the edge of something big and nasty moving along the horizon from southwest to the northeast perhaps 20 miles to our west.

The sky in that direction was blood red and the lightning was continuous. You couldn’t hear the thunder but the almost nonstop lightning strikes were throwing up huge flashes.

There were a bunch of us watching from the higher elevation of the sand-hill where Sherry’s is situated. Basil, was one of the group. He said with his classic island lilt, “I’d hate to be out in that.”

He had no idea what an understatement that was for me. Even though I was expert at boat-handling by that point I was decidedly not brave.

Of course, that was when the god who likes to fuck with me decided that it was time to turn me into his personal speed bag. A kid who worked the docks at Browns came running up looking panicked. He spotted me and hustled over to where Reg and I and Basil were sitting. He said, “Tug Boat Man, there’s a boat out there that needs help!!”

A big yacht had gotten caught in the worst of that monster. They were foundering and they had radioed an SOS. My first instinct was to say, “So how does that affect me?” But before I could get the words out Reg said, “Come on mon. We’re the only ones who can help them.”

I knew it. I hated it. But I knew it. And for the first time in my life I actually did the right thing. I was astonished. Getting involved in anything that concerned other people was so totally NOT me. 

But, thirty minutes later we were headed west at full-throttle. Tugs are definitely not the greyhounds of the sea. They are more like big fat waddling bulldogs.

But my boat was not encumbered by all of the towing gear that most tugs have. So we were making a respectable twelve knots. Still, it was over an hour before we got into the edge of the worst of it.

It was the oddest weather that I have ever encountered at sea. Normally there is a spattering of rain and that increases proportionally as you progress further into the storm. The same is true with the wind. But in the case of this storm it was almost like we crossed an invisible boundary.

One minute we were in the clear and registering almost no wind.  Then the next minute it was like somebody turned off the lights and we were in a violent storm. It was as if we had passed through a curtain into a blacked out room. And it almost seemed like the storm itself was a living entity.

There was underlying energy in the air. It was like the constant lightning had charged the atmosphere with electricity. It even started messing with the digital navigation gear. We were on a course that was laid out on the GPS location that they had broadcast. But we were also scanning with the tug’s Navico BR24 Broadband Radar.

I had never thought I would use the radar for any practical purpose. I just like to buy leading edge gadgets. Nevertheless, the signal was coming and going irregularly. It made the radar contact seem more like an energy pulse than the usual constant steady blip.

It was fortunate that we were using the radar though. Because we got an intermittent contact about two miles northeast of our GPS destination. The storm was packing gale force winds and the waves were in the twenty, to thirty-foot range. But my old girl is built for weather like this. And she was shouldering the waves aside on her two 2,500 horsepower locomotive engines like they were nothing.

We finally sighted the ship. It was sideways in the trough of the waves and getting beaten up pretty badly. It was a hundred-and-fifty-foot cabin cruiser. And its size was the only thing keeping it afloat. Reg had been on the radio as I conned us close in order to get a line across. He had them preparing to receive it.

We had a tow cable that was left over from the last owner of the tug. But no gun to shoot it to the distressed yacht. Nevertheless, Basil and Reg managed to secure our end to one of the old girl’s original towing cleats.

Those were very brave men. Because everything that they were doing was happening in high wind and driving rain, which was sweeping back and forth across the afterdeck with enough force to knock you over at times.

It was also happening in total darkness – with almost no visibility except where the deck lighting was. The only other light came from where I was illuminating the yacht with our searchlight. We could see the crew waving for the guideline.

I timed the rising wave so that we were actually looking down at the deck of the cruiser as we were passing its forward port quarter – perhaps forty feet distant. Reg twirled and then threw the big grappling hook with the light guideline attached. It was an amazing display of seamanship.

The hook grabbed the cruiser’s front rail. And the other crew pulled the accompanying towline across and secured it to their own cleat.

I firewalled the throttles. And the big yacht snapped around on the towline like a puppy on a leash. Then, without further ado we pulled our burden through the teeth of the storm and back to Browns.

It took another two hours but five thousand horsepower makes an authoritative statement when it comes to getting anything through rough seas.

They had no engine power so I nudged them into a berth. The boat looked to be in the ten-to-twenty million-dollar class. They must have had a generator going on-board because all the time that we were maneuvering the thing was lit up like Times Square. Then we docked ourselves.

Reg and Basil had done all of the heavy lifting on deck. And they were both battered and soaked to the skin. But they wanted to get back to Sherry’s as fast as they could. No island creole worth his salt would pass up the chance to describe the adventure that we had just had.

Sherry’s was packed. And we were greeted like conquering heroes. Since I absolutely hate being in the limelight I retreated to the back corner of the bar and hid out in the dark while Reg and Basil provided the entertainment. They were a great act.

The story was imaginative to say the least – the waves were only thirty feet, not fifty. But the locals just expected their tale to be “inventive” and they were having fun asking the two heroes to embellish it. That was a perfect example of the kind of joie-de-vivre that permeated the entire island.

And that spirit was making me into a different, slightly less feral human being. The problem was that there were a few mainland types at Sherry’s that night.

Mainlanders come in two varieties. The tourists never stop telling you how quaint everything is. They are just embarrassing.

The really insufferable ones are the Hemingway wanna-be’s. The waters around Bimini feature very big fish. And THAT has always attracted guys like Hemingway. Meaning, men who need to allay the doubts that they are having about their own masculinity. Those guys are universally aggressive. Worse, they consider anybody else’s success a threat to their status as “manly men.”

There were three of the manly-men types sitting around a table listening to Reg and Basil. They had obviously been there for some time.

Basil was just getting to the part where we were securing the line from the yacht in the dark when one of the guys at the manly-man table started laughing belligerently.

Basil stopped and said in a very even voice, “Something funny, mon?”

The mainlander was a big guy, a mid-forties fellow with the kind of beefy frame that indicated he might have once played football. He and all of his friends had that upper-middle-class attitude, where people like Basil were put on this earth to do their bidding.

Hemingway junior said, “You islanders are like little children. None of that story is true.”

Now – besides being incredibly condescending that statement was also downright insulting to the creoles who had risked our necks to save a boatload of people; who were just like this asshole. It was Reg and Basil who had been exposed on the open deck in the driving rain.

Reg said with menace in his voice, “What do you mean mon?”

There was suddenly a lot of dark electricity in the air. The fool was about to answer when three new arrivals distracted everybody’s attention. And their entrance probably saved Hemingway Junior’s life.

The leader of the group was late 50s, incredibly handsome and charismatic. If he was not the boss of one of the Miami Cartels he should have played one on TV.  His wife was a stunner, perhaps fifteen years younger with a Latina body that would have made Sophia Vergara jealous.

But the third member of the party was the person who grabbed everybody’s attention. She was tall and tan and young and lovely. The Girl from Ipanema must have looked exactly like her. She had abundant light brown hair with expensive blonde streaks. It was parted in the middle and it fell straight down her back. She was in a t-shirt and shorts. And she was remarkable.

Women with jugs that big generally do not have such a long narrow supple waist and lithe hips. That alone would make her exceptional. But her real glory was an extra-long pair of perfect legs. My first thought was “Barbi” but this woman was definitely NOT plastic. The assembled multitude just stared. You could have heard a pin drop.

The Cartel kingpin smiled and said politely, “Where is the Tugboat Man?”

OMG!!! They say that you have a “fight-or-flight” reflex buried deep in your lizard brain. Well my reflex is strictly “flight.” Except I was trapped in the corner where I was hiding, hoisted on my own petard!!!

Reg smiled his thousand-watt smile gestured toward me and said, “Over there mon.” I was cowering behind the table looking for all the world like Bambi in the headlights of an oncoming Peterbuilt.

The man strode over with what was obviously his wife and daughter following. He extended his hand and said, “Carlos Montero, I wanted to personally thank you for saving us.”

I took his hand and began studiously examining the tops of my shoes. I croaked out, “It was nothing” while wishing that I could disappear through the floor.

Reg came to my rescue. He extended his hand to the man and said, “I’m Reg. Tug is a little special. So I do his talking for him.” That was true – if not massively understated.

Reg said, “We just did what anybody else would do. Fortunately, we had the ability to do that thanks to Tug.” I raised my eyes and unfortunately I was looking right into the daughter’s face. She had an oddly interested look in her eyes. The eyes were Bastet’s – huge, amber and intelligent.

I whipped my eyes back to studying my shoes. The dad relieved the tension by laughing and saying, “Perhaps I can buy all of you drinks back at my ship? We want to thank every one of you.”

I knew that none of the denizens of Sherry’s would take him up on his offer. Luxury yachts were definitely NOT their style. But the table full of manly-men seemed more than eager to accept Montero’s invitation. Especially since it gave them continuing access to the daughter.

As you would expect, wild horses couldn’t drag me over to THAT gathering. But my buddy Reg said, “We’d love to see your ship” and he started pulling on my arm. I was pulling back when he whispered to me, “You owe me mon.” Reg just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to sink his claws into a new revenue stream.

So I let him drag me over there. And he and I and Basil and a couple of the locals, plus the manly-men all trooped down to the Montero’s yacht. It was berthed on the other side of the dock, twenty feet from my boat. But if the criterion was wealth and class the separation was infinite. Montero’s yacht reeked of money. Mine reeked of diesel oil.

We walked up an actual gangplank and onto another world. The interior was a tasteful mix of wood, indirect lighting plush carpets and expensive furniture. It even had real art on the walls. The boat had been beaten up pretty badly in the storm. But the family quarters must have been battened down. Since there was no storm damage there.

There was a steward to greet us and take our drink order. I asked for a Pirate Republic. Reg ordered Johnny Walker Blue. I said, “what’s that?” Reg just laughed and said, “It’s a liquid hundred-dollar bill.” I was thinking, “Who would spend that kind of money on alcohol?” That’s when Montero’s daughter glided over to join us.

I immediately began staring past her right shoulder. She actually turned to see who I was looking at. Then she got it. She said highly amused, “Does he use adult words, or is he just that special?”

Reg laughed and said, “I don’t know what’s gotten into him. If he weren’t such a great skipper, YOU wouldn’t be standing here. But beautiful women intimidate him to a point where he’s speechless.”

She took my face in both of her slim lovely hands and said emphatically, “Tugboat Man!!!” I looked directly at her and she planted the hottest kiss imaginable on my flabbergasted lips.

At that point she looked astonished. It was like something had happened that she didn’t expect. Then she went back to beautiful and self-possessed. She said, “Now that we’ve broken the ice, I’m Maria.”

I was slightly glassy eyed. I mumbled something like, “I’m Tug. I’m sorry I’m such a putz but I’m a little overwhelmed by this. I don’t socialize much.”

She looked interested and said, “So what DO you do besides rescue fair maidens?” She was way beyond “fair.” And from her body language I was certain that she wasn’t a maiden.

I said, “I do things on the internet.” Stupid – I know – but how else do you explain your life as a cyber-bandito?

Reg laughed again and said, “He does a lot more than that. I don’t know what it is exactly. But he makes a pretty-penny doing it.”

She looked interested and said, “Are you a black-hat, or a white-hat?”  Now THAT was an astonishing question. How could she go there so quickly? This woman was smarter than she seemed.

I really didn’t know where the practice of ransoming exploitable flaws fell on the scale of bad-guy, versus good-guy. I said, “More of a grey-hat actually.”

It was Reg’s turn to look puzzled. He said, “What are you two talking about?”

Maria laughed and put a flirty hand on Reg’s shoulder. She said, “I was asking him how he made his living. Apparently he works in the nooks and crannies between legal and illegal.”

Now THAT was a brilliant explanation. Reg totally got what she was talking about. Since he had spent his entire life doing the exact same thing – just not virtually. 

I was beginning to look at her with considerable interest. I said, “How do you know about this stuff?” She gave me an enigmatic smile with an incredible amount of promise and said, “A girl has to have a few of her own secrets Tugboat Man?”

I was about to ask her if she had studied computing in college when Hemingway junior joined our group.  I was pretty sure that it wasn’t to talk to ME.

I am much taller than average. Which is sometimes a physical advantage when the alpha-males come calling. But I am slim, not muscular. So this guy simply moved me out of the way in order to get face-to-face with Maria. I am totally non-aggressive so I let him do it,

He said, “Hi, I’m Jason but everybody calls me Jace. You might have heard of me. I used to play football. The boys and I are down here to catch a few trophy marlins. We’re at the Bimini Big Game Club if you ever want to stop by for a little fun.” The “fun” was not defined. And the guy had obviously chosen his residence based on its macho sounding name. Since there were much newer and more impressive places on the island. 

Maria extended her hand and said in a silky voice, “Pleased to meet you Jace. Tug and I were just talking about what he does for a living. What do you do?”

Jace puffed up like a ruffed grouse and said, “Well I’m mainly living off of venture capital. I made a lot of money from my last contract with the Dolphins. And I invest it where it can do the most good” …. wait for it …. “For ME.” Followed by uproarious laughter.

All I could think was, “What a total asshole!!!” I decided that I would have to visit his investments somewhere along the line. And they might experience a little devaluation when I did. At that point Ol’ Jace - don’t call me Jason - grabbed Maria’s bare arm and said, “Hey!!! I want you to meet my friends.”

There was a second when it looked like some kind of force passed between them and he let go of Maria’s arm like he had gotten an electric shock. She said with irony in her voice, “I’d love to and glided away with him.”

Reg and I were left standing there watching that delectable body sway in one direction as her long thick sun-tipped hair swayed in the other.  I was not so-much interested in her unworldly sex-appeal as I was the fact that she knew things that a beautiful stranger like her shouldn’t have known... And what was the story with the electric-eel trick?

Reg left me at that point. He went over to join the group around Montero. It was obvious that he was prospecting. I was now just standing there by myself, which I prefer to do I might add.

Montero was one very smooth customer. He was a man of middle height, perhaps five-ten. He had a darkly handsome Latino face, very cool and controlled. There was just a hint of grey at the temples of his perfectly groomed, thick black hair.  Everything about him reeked of perfection from his sculptured hands to his slim muscular body. His immaculateness was almost not natural.

His wife, whose name I didn’t know, was standing with him. You could see where Maria got her beauty. Except where Maria was athletic and flawlessly supple. Her mother was outrageously voluptuous.

It’s a matter of proportion. The mother might have weighed twenty pounds more than her daughter, who was about 115 pounds of lithe beauty. But the way her weight was distributed it looked like the mother was all boobs, hips and very muscular ass. She was like the personification of an earth goddess.

I was by myself. So I did what I always do. I wandered out on deck simply to get away from everybody.

The deck was teak and the passage between cabin and rail was wider than most yachts.  I looked around me and marveled. Seriously!!?? The thing had been wallowing in thirty foot breaking waves no more than four hours earlier. Yet there was no damage and there was absolutely nothing out of place. It was like the storm had ever occurred.

There was one other strange thing. Normally a ship like this is crewed by a captain and two or three deck hands. But this one had at least a half dozen that I could see, and that didn’t count the stewards and cooks. Carlos Montero had to be a very rich man indeed.

I walked down the passageway and leaned on the rail outside of the cabins. The peace and quiet of the marina was soothing my jangled nerves. I am not social. And of course there was also the issue of that bizarre storm. It had me all riled up. So I was drinking in the quiet sounds of the harbor to restore my equilibrium.

I was about to go back inside to tell Reg that I was leaving. That was when I heard an obnoxious voice right behind me. GREAT!!! I turned cautiously – not wanting to deal with the asshole. But he wasn’t there.

Then I heard him again. His voice was actually coming from the stateroom behind me. The porthole was wide open so I was - in effect - only ten feet away from him. And it sounded like he was not alone.

I heard him say in a wheedling voice, “Come on baby, you know you want Ol’ Jace. No girl has EVER turned down THIS big cock.” He sounded like he might actually be holding it out to be admired.

Then there was some muffled spluttering and a moan. It sounded like he had grabbed a woman and was passionately kissing her. That ended abruptly with a loud slap. Ol’ Jace shouted, “WHAT THE FUCK BITCH!!!???” A silky voice said with latent menace, “If you EVER touch me like that again I will kill you.”

Ol’ Jace was stupid enough to push things. He said angrily, “You don’t say ‘no’ to ME bitch!!!” Her smooth voice said, “You are a fool, now let me pass.”

There was the sound of a struggle. That was followed by a ripping noise and she made a low “Uhhhh” of effort.  Then the air got that electric tingling that I had last experienced in the storm.  And something big hit the floor.

I tried to act unruffled as I sauntered back into the lounge. But I instinctively knew that I wasn’t in Kansas anymore. Had she actually killed him!!!???

The situation was exactly as it had been when I stepped outside.  The same people were gathered together in little knots. Except both Jace and Maria were missing. I grabbed a beer.

Maria appeared a couple of minutes later wearing a different shirt. She looked utterly serene. From her appearance I would have assumed that I had overheard somebody else. If I wasn’t certain that her change of clothing had occurred because Jace had ripped the shirt she was originally wearing.

She was headed for her father. And she had pissed-off determination written all over her. So I stopped and backed off. But I DID linger, because I wanted to find out what was going on. She pulled her father aside and they had a little whispered conversation. Then he called one of the stewards over.

Both father and daughter stood and watched the entrance to the passageway into the staterooms. Finally, Ol’ Jace emerged. Two stewards were supporting him. He had the blank look of somebody who had just had his bell emphatically rung.

The steward led Ol’ Jace over to Maria and her father. I was standing behind the two of them as I heard Carlos say, “I would like you and your friends to leave immediately. You are no longer welcome.”

Then he motioned to the two friends and said, “Please take this man back to wherever you came from.”

They looked puzzled. Carlos looked threatening. They both shrugged, gathered up Ol’ Jace and left. I never saw them again.

At that point I approached daddy and daughter. They were standing silently facing each other like they were engaged in some kind of telepathy. I said politely, “Thank you for inviting me on your yacht. It is very impressive and I hope that we see each other some other time. I am tied up right next to you and you are welcome to come over any time you wish.”

Carlos flashed me a conspiratorial grin and said, “Once we get things settled over here I can guarantee that we will see a lot of you.”

Maria said, “You’re not leaving yet Tugboat Man.” It was a command, not a question. She added, “We have to talk.” Those four fateful words didn’t bother me. Since she was so far out of my league that I could only WISH that here would EVER be a situation when we would talk about anything like THAT. 

I said, “Can that wait until tomorrow? This is all very new for me and I am more than a little stressed.”

I think that my underlying anxiety must have come through. Because she said, “Alright Tugboat Man. But I will expect you to have breakfast ready for me at 8:00 tomorrow. I am going to be dropping by. And we are going to discuss what’s puzzling you.”

Does she read minds as a sidelight???!!!

  ~

The next morning dawned hot and sunny. I was whipping up a couple of vegetarian omelets when she appeared in the open cabin door. 

She was wearing a pair of skin tight jeans, which did great things for her legs and butt. And her t-shirt was a little tighter than last night. She has superb breasts. And for a change she was showcasing them. Her glorious sun tipped hair was secured in a sleek pony tail.

She was so perfect that she almost set off one of my fits of catatonic bashfulness. She sat down and folded her legs under her. Only women can do something like that without falling off the couch. 

I was studiously ignoring her, plating the omelets and pouring the orange-juice.  Not a word had been said since she arrived.

I know I am a disagreeable asshole. But I never claimed to be anything else. I am super ill-at-ease and uncomfortable around other people. I never know what to say. And when I open my mouth I generally stick my foot in it. Worse I have difficulty even feigning interest in the banal things that people say. That’s why I don’t inflict myself on others.

Now I was alone with a woman who was so beautiful that she was actually causing me to have a panic attack. My emotions were all over the place. On the one hand I could appreciate her beauty and her immense sex appeal. I’m a guy after all. But I was also aware that she belonged on the cover of Sports Illustrated cavorting with the other super-models. She most definitely did NOT belong in a sixty-year-old tugboat with a nerd like me. I knew that heartbreak was somewhere in my future and I was trying to avoid that.

All of the time I was ruminating Maria was playing with Bastet. That in itself was astonishing, since Bastet ALWAYS hides when anybody else is on board. But Bastet was acting like a sweet little kitty-cat with Maria, rubbing herself all over her legs and purring loudly. I had never heard my little killing machine make any sound other than a hiss.

Maria was holding Bastet up, with the cat draped down between her two hands. She was staring directly at her. It was almost like they were conversing with each other. The uncanny thing was that their eyes were the same fiery amber color.  Which was actually very appropriate. Maria was at least as mysterious and inscrutable and perhaps as dangerous as my cat.

I said in my most cheerful tones, “Breakfast’s ready.” And I sat down at my little table in the galley. I was really trying to act as sociable as I could. That was partly because I wanted to appear less dork-like. But it was also because I wanted to hear her story.

Maria dropped Bastet who proceeded to follow her over to the table like a dog. She sat down in front of me and regarded me with a look that was along the lines of, “What am I going to DO with you?” Growing up my mom frequently gave me the exact same look.

No guy is as complicated as the shallowest woman. So I have never been comfortable around the estrogen bearing set. The only time I ever was sympatico with one of them was during sex. I am not bad looking. And the women in my nerd-herd were as awkward and introverted as I was. So, I had a lot of sex during my twenties. But we always shared one common goal – which was to get each other off and get back to what we were doing.

Whereas the goddess sitting at my breakfast table was practically an alien. Obviously, I had seen women like her in the media. But I had never been face-to-face with one who actually wanted to communicate with me.

I was desperately trying to think of something witty to say when she said nonchalantly, “I sensed your presence while I was dealing with that fool last night. Where were you?”

That raised about a million new questions. But I answered as simply as I could, “Outside the stateroom leaning on the rail.” She was obviously going somewhere with this. She said, “So you heard everything that happened?” I said, “I did.” She said, “What did you think about it?”

I said, “What’s there to think about? You handled it.” I knew that she wanted me to ask how a 115-pound woman could absolutely level somebody a half foot taller and over a hundred pounds heavier. But I am way too unsophisticated to get into speculations about events like that. Particularly, with a woman as exceptional as Maria. She was obviously very intelligent and absolutely gorgeous. And I was pretty sure that she had developed vigorous methods for dealing with creeps.

My lack of interest seemed to satisfy her because she brightened and said, “We’re going to be in port a couple more days while the engines are repaired. I was wondering if you would show me the island?”

I would normally have said “no” since beautiful women make me nervous.

But I was starting to believe that I might be able to talk to this one. And I was thinking that it might be a learning experience if I could sustain a conversation. So I said, “Sure - When do you want to leave?” She looked at me with those fierce amber eyes and said, “Now would be a good time.”

Eight months ago I would have questioned your sanity – right after I asked you what you were smoking - if you had told me that I would be motoring along the eastern shore of North Bimini in a hundred-foot tugboat, talking comfortably with an absolutely stunning super-model.

However, Maria had completely won me over. I trusted her and I wasn’t afraid of her. I believed that she was a decent human being; one who would NOT judge me, or go out of her way to hurt me. Of course she was also the person she was and I knew that I was playing with fire.

I was pointing out the sights as we coasted along, including the Bimini Big Game Club. She smiled. I knew she was thinking the same thing, “I wonder how Ol’ Jace is feeling today?” We ran up past Bailey Town to the general vicinity of the Hilton and then turned east and passed between Alec Cay and the eastern tip of the Bay.

I was planning on doing a complete circuit of North Bimini because there were a couple of points of interest that I wanted to show her.

North Bimini looks like an exaggerated letter “C” and mangrove swamps pretty much dominate the top.  There is an inlet entrance to the swamp about two thirds of the way up. I throttled back and gestured toward it.

I said, “The legendary Fountain of Youth is supposed to be back in there somewhere. At least Ponce de Leone thought so. He visited here first, before he went on to St. Augustine over on the mainland.

The natives tell me that there is a freshwater spring that is full of all sorts of healing stuff. I’ve never been there. So maybe we can make the journey some other day.” She looked wistful, like she was revisiting old times and said softly, “Yes –it IS back there.”

Where did THAT come from?

I circled the northern tip of the island and we coasted back toward civilization. I stopped the tug just before we got to the Tree House Resort and pointed off to the west. I said, “About five miles in that direction is part of the Lost City of Atlantis. It’s called the Atlantis Wall. It’s under 15 feet of water if you want to go out and snorkel over it.” She literally gasped and said with little-girl eagerness, “Could we?”

As we were making our way out to the dive location. I said, “The legend is that Bimini is one of the mountain tops of the sunken continent that Atlantis was once located on.”

I looked at her and she seemed to be nodding in agreement – that was odd?

I added, “Andros Island to our southwest is another one of those. They supposedly found the ruins of a classical temple underwater near there. It’s ludicrous of course. But it’s fascinating to imagine isn’t it.”

She said sadly, “Yes – just imagine.”

We got to the buoy and dropped anchor. I was careful to NOT drop it on the stones below. I said breezily, “This isn’t too far from where that storm was yesterday. It’s funny how you can have violent weather one day and it will be cloudless the next.”

She looked at me like she thought I was trying to imply something. I shrugged and said with a smile, “Let’s visit that wall, or road, or whatever.”

There is some debate about what those stones are. I had been there before. And I believed that they were part of a massive wall. The stones had breaks in them. Exactly like a wall if it had fallen in places. And it really did not extend far enough to serve as a paved road.

Maria had changed into a swim outfit. And was eagerly fitting her mask and snorkel.

I was concentrating on any place where she WASN’T standing. Since, instead of the ubiquitous bikini she had opted for some kind of one-piece microfiber thing that was as modest as it could be if you ignored how high on her tight muscular flanks it was cut. That cut made her legs look amazingly long and beautiful.

But the problem was that the suit itself was maybe one micron thick - like a coat of paint. Meaning it left nothing to the imagination. It obscured all of her strategic bits. But every nuance of her body was on full display, including her jutting nipples. And that body was absolutely stunning.

I swim in my boat shorts so I shucked my shirt grabbed my gear and dove in the water. I was just trying to avoid embarrassment.

She climbed down the boarding ladder which gave me a picture of her wide shoulders, smooth back and those big muscular buns. The suit covered the details of her butt crack but the dimples on both sides of it were crystal clear.

I was adjusting my snorkeling stuff - and one other thing as well - while I held onto the side of the tug. Maria did a perfect surface dive and disappeared toward the stones, which were clearly visible below me.  I followed watching her amazing legs and butt working to propel her along.

She got to the stones and she did an odd thing. Most people would zoom along over the stones as they disappeared in the distance. Maria stopped and touched one of them very tentatively. Her body language was like she was reminiscing.

That was very odd because if those things had been part of Atlantis, which I thoroughly doubted, they had been underwater for 13,000 years. And she had told me that she had never visited Bimini before.

Since we were snorkeling we had to keep shuttling back to the surface. But all the while she was under water my beautiful companion was acting like she was visiting a familiar place. It was as if she had once stood on that wall and gazed out over verdant fields that were now underneath the ocean bottom. 

From the direction she was facing I could tell that the fields themselves were to the east in the direction of Bimini.

We both climbed on board via the boarding ladder. I made sure that I went first because I didn’t want to have her notice that Old Lucifer was seriously locked and loaded. And the sight of her delectable nether regions disappearing up a ladder would have done-me-in for sure.

As she clambered over the rail - looking for all the world like a sea-nymph - I was asking myself why I was being so stupid. I was beginning to really feel something for this woman.

That clear violation of my lifelong policy of detachment set off every warning bell and klaxon in my poor brain. And I was truly frightened. Because I knew that nothing but pain and desolation lay in the direction that I was heading. But I couldn’t help myself. She was so perfect.

Maria was way too attractive to be seriously interested in a nerd like me. So I knew that today might be the only time I ever saw her.

Accordingly, I ALSO knew that I had to start thinking about something else. Anything to stop thinking about her.

Maria was dried off, wearing her original clothes and sitting beside me in the pilot house as we motored into the marina. I was far too aware of her presence. And I was feeling things – things that were totally inappropriate given our huge social disparity.

It was a new experience for me to want to actually be close to another person – let alone a woman. And I did not want to have my inexperienced heart crushed when she went back to her world. That is - the world that was tied up twenty feet away from mine. 

So I was telling her about the Atlantis myth as an antidote to all of my disturbing thoughts. I was desperate to keep my mind off of what she was projecting to me – which was sexual attraction. 

I had fucked my way through my twenties. So I am experienced in that arena. Just not with a woman like her. Maybe I was reading the signals wrong? So, to cool things down I figured that I would go into great loving detail about the mythological world we had just visited. I thought that would be sufficiently pompous and boring to turn her off. 

I said Atlantis was first mentioned by Plato. But it had been around as a story a lot longer than that. From Plato’s description, the mystical types have decided that Atlantis was a continent that extended from the Azores west to the area around Bimini, basically the middle Atlantic sea bed.

The Atlanteans were supposed to be a very advanced race. They had modern technology thirteen thousand years ago. They even supposedly had aircraft. Their advanced status vis-à-vis the rest of us, has always been cited as evidence that they were visitors from another planet. Of course that brings up issues that have all of the ET wackos drooling over the same myth,

Then, according to Plato the whole place sank in one catastrophic episode. Whether that was a natural disaster, or the result of a war between the Atlanteans and some hostile extraterrestrials was never specified.

Maria looked like she was going to say something. Then her face went back to the fascinated, almost fuck-me stare that she was giving me. Was I mistaken about that look? I had seen it a lot in lesser women – most recently my little friend Ava. But I couldn’t imagine getting it from a goddess like Maria.

So I babbled on about how I could go along with the idea that the melt-off from the last ice age might have raised the level of the Atlantic. That epoch coincided with the time that Atlantis supposedly disappeared. So the huge increase in planetary water might even cover some small islands.

But given the depths of the mid-Atlantic the Atlantis story really sounded more like a moral tale than ancient history.

She listened spellbound. It was like she had never heard that account before. Her beautiful face reflected euphoric interest. It was like the tale I was telling her was something that was so spiritual that it was almost religious in nature. But then again, I got the distinct impression that it was a lot more than that for her.

We moved down from the pilot house to the deck and she was gathering up her things. I was standing in the lounge watching her shove her suit and the accompanying towel in a big leather satchel.

It was dusk now. And her boat was lit up like it always was. There was music wafting out over the dock between our two vessels. It was 1940s Glenn Miller’s “Moonlight Serenade” and it perfectly matched the ambience.

She said, “Would you like to have a drink with us? My parents would love to hear your story.” By that I assumed that she was talking about the Atlantis myth, not my unspectacular life.

I said, “Are you sure that they would even allow me on board? I don’t want you to get you in trouble by showing up with one of the local peasantry.”

I had not seen her inner fire all afternoon. But I saw plenty of it now. She said with anger in her voice, “I am getting tired of this. You have NO idea who I am. And you need to accept our situation. We are together now.”

It must have been all of the weed that I smoked in my misspent youth. Because I was sure that I was hallucinating. What situation? And why was she linking us together?

I said, “I’m not sure what you are talking about. I have known you for less than a day. Of COURSE I don’t know anything about you, or your background. And why are you using the term – ‘together’??!!”

She took a step back and put both of her hands on my shoulder. Her bottomless amber eyes were studying me like she was trying to read my mind. Then I had an odd sensation. It was almost like the picture jiggled and I actually felt like she was moving around up there in my attic.

She got a look of satisfaction and said, “I KNEW IT!!!”

Then she abruptly threw her arms around my neck for a kiss that was so smoldering hot that I reacted rather than thought. Make no mistake about it, Maria Montero was one passionate woman.

We were standing in the middle of the lounge at the time. My sleeping quarters were fifteen feet behind us. She made a low sensual moan and began pulling me toward the bed. It was as if she could see where she was going even though she never took her lips off of mine.

When we got to the bed she dragged me down between her widely spread legs making nonstop little noises of passion. My brain was just catching up. This was a beautiful and mysterious woman. And she clearly wanted to fuck ME?

Really???!! I know that I have a certain nerd appeal and I am not bad looking – tall and rather solidly built. But I was nowhere in Maria Montero’s league on any measure you wanted to use. She was rich, sophisticated, highly intelligent. She had a body that belonged on the cover of a man’s magazine and she apparently read minds as a sidelight.

SHE had a sensuality that was almost unearthly in its depth and power. And it was SHE who was ripping the clothes off of ME? I was truly wondering if she was going to suddenly stop fiddling with my belt and say – “Just messing with you buddy - #hashtag/PUNKED.”

But she disposed of her clothes faster than she did mine. After seeing her body in that suit I was aware that she had a special kind of womanliness. But the details had all been blurred. I knew that she had big pneumatic breasts but I had no idea that they were topped with a pair of flawlessly round delectable light brown aureoles, much larger than a silver dollar.

I could see that long supple waist and muscular stomach in her suit. But I had no idea that it all came together in such a perfectly shaped joining at her smoothly naked thighs. The overall effect of that long lithe body, from brightly painted toenails to her beautiful long neck and perfectly proportioned face was stunning. So as usual I was just sitting there gawking at her.

That was when I heard HER voice in MY head. She was panting with sheer lust. And she was giving me the most intense fuck-me stare I had seen outside of classic porn. But her lips never moved as she said, “Stop gaping and fuck me. I’ll explain later. I need you inside me NOW.”

I might be a dithering fool. But I wasn’t so stupid that I would turn down an invitation like that.  I moved between her legs. She grabbed the backs of her knees and spread-eagled herself. Her pheromones blew any concept of rationality totally out of my head. And I became a raving jungle beast.

I inserted old Lucifer into the hottest, wettest and I might add most perfectly accommodating pussy imaginable. She emitted a loud groan of sheer lust, shot her legs into an exaggerated “V” and she violently humped me the rest of the way into her.

She shrieked when I hit bottom. Normally that would have gotten me thinking about daddy coming from next door with a 12 gauge. But for a change I wasn’t hesitant. It was like this woman had always been mine. And I had to totally possess her.

She raised her butt off the bed, with those long legs using the backs of my thighs for leverage. That contorted her body into an arc. The effect was to force me further inside her wildly churning passage. And she gave another shriek of unadulterated passion.

Then the age-old rhythm began. We were beating on each other so vigorously that it was like we were trying to fuse our hips together. She was writhing and moaning and growling with abandoned lust. And our mutual sweat was causing the most delicious friction between my chest and her big round bountiful breasts. 

But at the same time I could clearly feel her inside my head declaring her joy at finally finding me. It was a combination of raw animal passion and Zen mysticism.

At the time I was acting more like Tarzan of the Apes than Gautama Buddha. But I could sense that we were coming together on multiple levels.

Then she whisked back out of my head as she came. It was like a ghost disappearing from a room. Now she craved her OWN satisfaction. Her hunger was so great that it was like she hadn’t had sex in an eternity.

Her insides fizzed and overflowed like a shaken up champagne bottle. And she went completely rigid. She stopped moaning and every muscle in her body seemed to contract. Her mouth was wide open with sheer effort. Instead of shrieking or crying out she was totally silent, like the force that she was experiencing completely nullified her ability to make noise.

Then the orgasm hit her and she went off on a five-minute rampage of bucking, moaning and grinding. It didn’t appear that the contractions would ever stop for her. She was quivering in a disjointed way, like she was having a seizure. And that sent me over the delightful edge and into a sunny nirvana.

What was odd about it was not the happy sensation of cumming. It was the fact that at that particular instant a blast of sheer loving emotion exploded in my brain. It was like the two of us bonded into a single living entity. And the uncanny part was that I felt like I was as responsible for that phenomenon as much as she was. It was an experience that simply didn’t have a point of reference.

So we felt the three “Cs” of love together – contentment, companionship, and commitment -  while wildly cumming at the same time.

After what seemed like an eternity I collapsed back on the bed. She was lying beside me seemingly exhausted. She was staring pensively into space. I had evidently crossed some kind of boundary that could never be re-crossed. But I had no idea what had just happened.

She finally looked at me and said with a tender smile on her face, “I imagine you’re confused.” That was perhaps the biggest understatement since Jim Lovell said, “Houston we have a problem.” She said, “Can we go someplace quiet for the night, away from everybody? We need to talk.”

  ~

We were watching one of those amazing tropical sunsets as I motored back out through the passage and southwest along the shore of South Bimini toward Gun Cay.

I was going to drop anchor in the shallow water off the Gun Cay light. That way we could lay-up all night and not worry about big ship traffic. We had not said a word since she had asked to talk. But I had a constant sense of her loving and reassuring presence in my head.

The sudden transition from goddess to lover was disturbing. I know I am not a movie star. Whereas Maria could very well BE one. I am also aware that I am a nobody. I might actually be a rich man. And I might be especially adept intellectually. But a lot of people have those qualities. So I was asking the usual question, “Why me?”

I dropped anchor in the little protected space between the two small parts of the Cay. It was peaceful and quiet there. The night sky was black velvet. All of the stars were arrayed in the rich panoply that you only see if you are at sea. Looking at those vast and awesome heavens you are aware of your own mortality.

Maria was sitting quietly in one of the two deck chairs on the afterdeck. I never need more than two. Reg is my only visitor. Bastet was lying next to her like the family pet. Maria DID look particularly cat-like, in her perfect, self-contained inscrutable glory. She had those long legs drawn up to her round butt. She was hugging them while she looked at me over her knees. She was absolutely gorgeous. All I could hear were the waves lapping and the occasional sound of birds.

I asked her if she wanted something. She smiled and said, “A beer would be nice but I’ll settle for you.” I said, “You can have both” and produced a couple of cold Pirate Republics from the ice chest sitting next to my chair.

We clinked the necks together. Then she hesitated. She said, “You are probably not going to believe the story that I am about to tell you. But please don’t interrupt me. I have never felt this way about a human before.” That set off a wave of bewilderment mixed with fear.

She looked dead serious as she said, “There are some extreme complications involved. But I am serious when I tell you that I love you and I want to be with you forever. In fact, I cannot live without you any longer .” What did that mean? We had only known each other for 24 hours???!!!

She said, “You are not like other men.”

Duh???!!! I have known that since puberty. In fact, my obvious difference was the root-cause of my estrangement from the human race. I mean, nobody starts out life saying, “I’d love to be an awkward, dysfunctional nerd with absolutely no friends.”

Of course she was still in my head. And so she knew what I was thinking. She hastily added, “No!! I mean you are different from other men at the genetic level.”

I thought great!! She is telling me that I’m - “special?”

She laughed at what I was thinking. I couldn’t suppress a flash of irritation. She said placating, “Okay, I’ll leave.” And I had the distinct sense that she was no longer up there.

She fastened her amazing eyes on me and said, “You were telling me about the Atlantis myth. If that myth was actually true, what do you think happened to the people who lived there – the ones with the flying machines and all of the other trappings of modern society?”

I thought for a minute. I had never actually considered that. I said, “Well I suppose they all sank.”

She said, “But there were hundreds of thousands of people on that continent. Do you think that they all just went down with the sinking island?” Ooookay - she had a point there. She added, “That is not to mention Atlantis’s colonies. They had the technology to colonize all over the world.”

I thought some more I could see that there must have been thousands of Atlanteans left after the cataclysm. That is, if they existed in the first place.

I said, “Okay, so assuming that any of this actually happened, there would be a bunch of exiles with very advanced technology roaming the earth 13,000 years ago.”

I thought some more and said, “The first great Western Civilization was Egypt and that didn’t begin to appear until 5,000 years ago. So, the Atlanteans must have done what every fallen civilization has done. During the 8,000 years in-between the destruction of their home and the rise of the Egyptians they must have merged with the natives. In fact, they might have even BEEN the Egyptians.”

I knew that I sounded like a flaming nerd at that point.. But I was on a roll. I mused, “It wasn’t like Rome immediately disappeared after the barbarians invaded. There were distinct vestiges of Roman society around hundreds of years after Rome technically fell.” I added with a laugh, “And the people living there probably didn’t know that they had already become extinct.”

Then I thought with exasperation, “This is all nonsense anyhow.” So I finished with, “Of course if any of this is true it means that the Atlanteans are not like me. Since they must have come here from someplace else."

I added smugly, "Because all of my ancestors were hunkered down in caves, enjoying the last remnants of the Ice Age. And the most advanced technology we had was fire.”

She looked at me like this was the moment of truth. She said, “What makes you think that they were your ancestors?”

I said, “Duh??!! I’m HERE aren’t I??”

She said, “But remember, all of those Atlantean colonies and the refugees. What were they doing while all of that was going on?” I said ipso-facto, “They must have gotten on their flying saucers and gone home – right?”

She said, “But what if the entire continent of Atlantis was destroyed by war? There wouldn’t be any spacecraft then – only a whole lot of frightened exiles fleeing their homes. What would they do after that?”

This was all beginning to make sense. If you were willing to buy into the idea that an advanced civilization had decided to set up housekeeping on a primitive planet earth. Of course you would have to be certifiably nuts to believe that. But I might as well get the entire story.

So I said, “I would guess they would try to rebuild their civilization somewhere else. Like I said, they would probably eventually be absorbed into the cultures of the places where they settled. If you think about it that might account for the early rise of places like Egypt and China and even Mesoamerica.”

Then I got it!!! I said, “You’re telling me that Atlantean genes are still in the human gene pool.”

She looked at me with true love and said, “Some people have more of them than others.”

I said with dawning understanding, “And you are saying that you think that I am one of those???!!!”

She said with deep emotion, “You are more like me than any other person on this planet. I discovered it when I kissed you that first time.” Then her face crumbled. She wailed, “It has been such a long time and I have been so lonely.” Then she inexplicably collapsed on me weeping like her heart was going to break.

I held her and tried to soothe her. But at the same time I was thinking that she was batshit crazy. Me, with some super-race’s genes!!??? Seriously???!!! My old man owns a hardware store and my mom is a homemaker. I’ll admit that I have always been different. But “naturally weird” seemed like a much better explanation then “alien genes.”

In the case of the mentally ill, my normal policy is to get as far away from them as possible. But the problem was that I didn’t just love this woman. She was an indispensable part of my soul. n fact, I was so in love – so closely bonded to her - that I had no idea what I would do when she got back on her daddy’s yacht and sailed off into the sunset.

I suppose the problem with living your life as a totally disconnected nerd is that you have nowhere to run if somebody manages to break through your defenses. And the woman who had finally managed to accomplish that feat thought that she was from the Lost Continent of Atlantis.  I would ask God WHY? But I know that he would just tell me that nerds piss him off.

She stopped sobbing and looked at me pleadingly. She said, “Join me. You will experience things that you never thought were possible. And I will make you the happiest man in the space-time continuum.”

I looked at her with all of the devotion I felt and said, “You’re nuts!!! There are no words to describe the way I feel about you. But if you are suggesting that we run away together to mythical Atlantis I’m telling you that my heavenly chariot is in the shop getting its oil changed.”

She actually laughed. She said, “Who do you think the other two people on the yacht are?” My heart sank. I had just assumed that Carlos was her dad, not some dirty old man who was keeping her aboard as a fuck-toy.  I said appalled, “They aren’t your mother and father?” She looked at me like I had just fallen off the turnip truck. She said, “I’m a Priestess of the Sun. So is Carlos. We are allowed to travel. And we travel as a family unit.”

By that statement I got the sense that she really believed that she and her family cruised relativity on a luxury yacht. It was heartbreaking. I had spent thirty-one years barricaded in personal isolation. And then the one person I let in - the person who I knew was my indispensable other half - thinks that she is a “Priestess of the Sun.”

I wondered if her parents kept her in a padded cell while they were navigating quantum-gravity.

But the idea of separation from this woman was too profoundly painful. I couldn’t understand the cause. Maybe it was all of the stored up isolation from all of my years of solitude. Or maybe it was her smoking hot body and refined sexual appetites. Or maybe what she said was true – we had a fundamental predisposition to each other because we were genetically attached. Whatever it was I was compelled to play the hand out to its heartrending conclusion.

I said, “I don’t believe a word of what you’re saying.” Her face fell. Subtlety was never my strong suit. But I AM honest.

Nevertheless, I continued with, “Do you want to be with me in the way that you describe – totally connected as man and woman for eternity?” Those amber cat eyes focused on me again and she was back in my head. A voice up there said with touching sincerity, “Forever my love.”

I said, “I spent most of my life in my parent’s basement, not conducting sun rituals on the pyramids of Atlantis. So you are going to have to help me out a little bit here. What exactly would I have to do in order to spend eternity WITH you?”

What the heck. She was nuts but I loved her. So I might as well throw the ball back in her court. A Cherry Bomb of pure joy went off in my mind. She said, “Well first you are going to have to fuck me some more. THEN we are going to have to sleep cuddled together all night. And tomorrow we are going to have to make a little visit.”

She purred, “Then, I am going to have to leave you for a very short time. I need to return to tell the elders that I have made my choice. We are allowed to bond with humans in real-time if we choose. Then, we will spend the next couple of thousand years making love.”

Well, that seemed simple enough…

The first part was stress-free. We just stayed on deck under the stars. The air was sensually warm, the night was silent and enfolding. The water around us was peaceful and the motion of the boat soothing. While the vastness of the ocean swallowed her wild cries and moans.

Afterward, we lay together on a spread out sleeping bag and held each other. I have been by myself my whole life. And I always thought that I preferred it that way. But this woman was so precious to me that holding her spooned together was better than all of the sexual experiences, with all of the gamer girls in the world.

She was soft and tender as we lay together. And the languorous language of her beautiful body told me that she was utterly mine. Holding her would be reward enough. But there was a constant presence in my head telling me how lonely she had been. And how overjoyed she was that she had found me. 

It was her ability to do that very odd mental trick that convinced me that there might be something more substantial behind her totally fantastic story - other than simple insanity.

  ~

Sunrise in the tropics is not like it is up north. One moment it is dark and then the morning sun literally seems to pop up over the horizon. We awoke slowly. I was against her back and she was enfolded in my arms. I was holding one of her big firm tits in my hand and the nipple was rock hard.

She was faintly moaning as my morning wood began to make its way between her ass-crack headed for a delightfully wet spot a little further along.

Suddenly, she shoved herself forcefully backward and gave a loud groan of satisfaction. And I was buried in hot velvet. She got up on her hands and knees with me still attached. I grabbed her tiny waist and began pounding that big muscular butt for all I was worth. I still wasn’t thinking very clearly. I don’t do that before my morning coffee.

She dropped down onto her elbows and elevated her ass. Her abandoned cries of ecstasy, and the sight of the ripples that accompanied the impacts that I was making with her superb round butt, pushed me over the edge.

The minute I shot into her she arched her back like a cat and then went off into a series of bucking gyrating maneuvers. THAT, along with her shrieks, indicated she had gotten there too.

She collapsed forward with me lying on her smooth back. We were both breathing in gasps. Finally, she popped one eye open and said merrily, “Now THAT’s the way I want to wake for the next millennium.”

She used the shower while I prepared the coffee. Then we switched and she put together something with fruit and eggs. I had never eaten anything like it before. I said, “Is this South American.” She said nonchalantly, “No, it is a regular breakfast dish in New Atlantis.”

So there it was. I wasn’t dreaming last night. She really thought that she was from the Lost Continent of Atlantis. My heart sank. She was in my head as I thought that and she chuckled. She said, “You’ll see.”

We cleaned everything up from the night before and I started back toward Browns. She said, “We might as well get our visit out of the way. Can you take me to the area where the mangrove swamps are?"

I set the course north-by-north-east and coasted around the tip of South Bimini, close by the airport. It was more direct than going through the passage between the two islands.

It took a couple of hours but by late morning we were offshore. Back in the mangroves there is a very odd place called “The Healing Hole.” That was our destination. I had told Maria about it the day before. And she had feigned interest. But today she was in charge. And she was acting like whatever we were visiting was a familiar place.

I keep a skiff on a davit on the foredeck. It’s there for the very reason that we were going to use it - transportation to shore.  I was certainly NOT going to try to maneuver a 100-foot tug with a twelve-foot draft into that nest of bushes, trees and reptiles.

There is an inlet to a very shallow river about three-quarters of the way up the eastern shore of the island. The river itself is technically a bay in that it is just simply low-lying land that is covered by seawater.

But since it winds around in a sort of reverse curve to the curve of the island itself it feels like you are traversing a river. 

It got very hot and humidly unpleasant when we got back in the mangroves. The vegetation around us nearly blocked out the sun. I was using the electric motor to propel us along. Maria was sitting in front of me. She turned and looked at me wistfully. She said, “It wasn’t like this.” Another puzzling statement.

I said, just to humor her, “What was it like?” She said, “This was a mountain plateau, very pleasant and breezy.” Okaaaaaay…

We settled down - making our way along in silence. About an hour later we reached the end of the river. The saltwater widened there and a much larger freshwater lake was to our east. She took off her Topsiders and said now we walk.

It was actually a case of wading in a foot of unspeakable muck. We made our way through the mangroves to the weirdest little place. There was a pool of water right in the middle of a collection of mangrove roots. It was oddly clear, almost glowing blue. I dipped my finger into it and it was cold, perhaps thirty-five degrees different from the sea water that we were standing in. And it didn’t stink.

I said, “What’s this?” She said, “It’s the Healing Hole you told me about. People have called it the Fountain of Youth since the time of Ponce de Leon.” I thought, “Yeah sure, first Atlantis, now the Fountain of Youth. There’s a plaque that commemorates that very thing mounted right next to the airport. The tourists love it.”

But instead I said, “Why haven’t people been flocking here to take a drink of immortality?”  She said, “This only works for Atlanteans. For normal humans it is just a cold drink of mineral water. Ponce de Leon must have heard about it from one of our people.”

At that she pulled a collapsible cup out of her satchel and said, “Drink now.” I took the cup filled it with the water from the spring and took a gulp. It was refreshing. I finished it. But I didn’t feel any different. I told Maria that it didn’t work with me.

She said, “Yes it did. I can sense it. Every flaw in your body is being repaired as we speak. And soon you will be utterly cleansed and perfectly healthy.”

I shrugged and said, “I don’t feel any different.”

She looked at me lovingly and said, “You will feel exactly as you feel now. But it will be for the next thousand years.” Well she was the world’s wildest fuck so I was happy to humor her.

We got back to the tug several hours later. It was almost dinner-time by that point. There must have been SOMETHING in the water because I would normally be feeling a little weary from our adventure in the mangroves. But I actually felt full of energy. So I said, “Where-to next, my Priestess.” She gave me a look that said she didn’t appreciate the sarcasm and said, “Now we talk to my parents.”

Meeting the parents was not something I wanted to do. But I couldn’t avoid it because frankly I would have done anything that Maria asked at that point. We had gotten incredibly close over the period of two days. So much so that it felt like we were functioning on some shared plane of existence. It was a feeling that transcended the normal man-woman relationship. I knew that she felt it too, because she kept cutting me adoring looks.

It was almost dark as we tied up the tug. In the past 24 hours I had been told a tale about my beloved’s background that made me wonder how many bats she was actually harboring in her belfry. My heart wanted to believe her story. But my brain kept laughing at that OTHER silly, impulsive organ.

I actually put on a pair of khaki pants and a shirt for the big event. And I followed her gently swaying hips up the teak gangway of her parents’ yacht. I board my boat on a two-by-twelve-foot scaffolding plank.

Her parents weren’t in the lounge when we came aboard. So Maria called a steward over and said, “Get Tug a drink while I change.” She disappeared and a Pirate Republic long-neck appeared almost magically.

I walked around the lounge as I was waiting. The décor was similar to a very rich man’s living room. The paintings seemed to be genuine works of art. They were done by people who I had actually heard of, like Picasso. There were also the usual interesting knick-knacks that you might expect in a public room; like little carvings.

I picked one of the carvings up to examine it. It was made out of jewelry quality jade and it looked like the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan in Central America.

A man’s voice behind me said, “That is not what you think it is.” I fumbled the thing and then almost dropped it on my foot. I cautiously put it back down and turned. Carlos was standing behind me looking amused.

I said, “I’m sorry. I was just looking at it. It’s Aztec, right?” He laughed and said, “It is the Temple of the Sun in the mountains of Quin Ling Shan, near Xian in China. That is the tallest of our pyramids, almost 1,000 feet.”

I said as politely as I could, trying NOT to sound like I thought that insanity ran in the family, “Does that mean that the pyramids in Egypt and Mesoamerica are related to the ones in China?” 

He laughed and said, “Maria has just told me about you. I understand your skepticism. Yes, those are all located on lay-line points that are part of the Atlantean religion.” Okay – now I knew that nuttiness was inherited.

I said, “She has told me that she is a Priestess of the Sun and that you and your wife are also Priests.” I might as well go along with the delusion. I had nothing else to chit-chat about.

Carlos smiled modestly and said, “Yes – I am the High Priest of the Sun and Maria’s mother is the High Priestess of Cleito. Cleito is the mother of all Atlanteans; basically a fertility goddess.”

I couldn’t believe that I was actually engaging in this conversation with a straight face. But I said, “And I assume that Maria is some kind of Under-Priestess – that she serves with you.”

Carlos was amused at the irony in my voice. He said, “Maria is my daughter. She would have inherited the mantle of High Priest someday. Atlanteans make no distinctions between the sexes when it comes to positions of authority.”

He continued with, “But she has chosen to live with you in your society. It is her right.  Nonetheless, we will need to replace her now.” He added gently, like he was trying to reassure me, “That is why we have to journey back. The Elders must release her from her vows.”

I thought, what the heck – there are people who like to dress up like the characters on the Starship Enterprise at their weddings. So if the father of my beloved wants to act like the Atlantean version of the Pope I’m happy to play along.

I said, “So this is an Atlantean form of meeting the parents? What do I have to do to prove my worthiness? I know you can’t tell it by how I dress and act; but I am very rich too.”

Carlos found me funny. He laughed uproariously and said, “Money means nothing to Maria. My only concern was whether you were one of us. And I could sense immediately that you are. Almost pure Atlantean. I don’t know how that happened without us discovering it.”

I said, “I am having difficulty keeping up. But I DO know one thing for sure. I love your daughter. I don’t have any idea how that could happen so inexplicably fast. But I would do everything that I could to make her happy...” And at that point Maria walked back in the room. She was with her mother. Both of them were glowing.

As I said, the mother looks like an earth goddess. Maria is lithe and pantherish. Her mother has the enormous tits and hips that you would expect with a Fertility Priestess - now I am sounding as crazy as they do... But her body is every guy’s fantasy. That is, if you like voluptuous women.

The mother walked over to me and I heard her voice for the first time. Maria’s is as smooth and refined as luxurious silk.  Her mother’s was low and sultry and sex personified. She actually came over and kissed me on the cheek. She said, “My name is Carla and I am SO happy that my Maria has chosen a mate.”

Okay – that sounded a little too zoological for my tastes. But I got the message. She was approving of me. I said, “Thank you. You will never have a reason to doubt my love for your daughter.”  I felt a blast of pure tenderness in my head. Apparently the daughter had inherited THAT ability from her mother.

I really didn’t know what to think at this point. Two days ago I was standing in this same approximate spot trying to be as unobtrusive as possible. Now I seemed to be holding an engagement party with the entire crazy family.

Carla was still in my head. So she heard what I was thinking. A sultry laugh like the tinkling of bells said with conviction, “You will understand and believe.”

We had a pleasant evening. I told them the most highly sanitized and abridged version of my life possible. That is, I left out the parts that made me sound like I was a juvenile delinquent. I told Maria’s parents that I had made a lot of money in an unspecified internet business.

Maria promptly piped up with, “He’s a very accomplished hacker – one of the best in the world.” Her father actually chuckled approvingly and said, “We don’t go out of our way to prey on humans but they make it so easy.”

I told them about my relentless feelings of alienation growing up. And Carla said, “Of course you would my dear. You don’t really have much in common with the average person around you.”

I said, “How in the world could that be? Where would I get those genes? It isn’t like my parents fit the profile of your typical Atlantean superhuman.”

Carla’s full lips twitched with a smile and she said, “Our genes have been dispersed by all of the intermarrying. It takes a certain critical mass to make you Atlantean. Your parents obviously had some but not enough.”

Thank God! the mental image of my dreary, boring old mom as a fertility priestess was weirding me out. Carla finished with, “On the other hand, the happy combination of the genes of those two people made you as close to pure Atlantean as any person who was not born there."

She added, "It simply took the presence of another Atlantean to activate those genes. Our arrival must have triggered yours. It’s like turning on a beacon.” 

Just to shift the conversation away from me I said, “How DID you get here? Are you all 13,000 years old?” I might as well go along with the program. At least THEY believed that they were from Atlantis.

Carlos was amused by that question. He said, “No, we were all born there. And we live in New Atlantis now, which no human will ever find. That is where we rebuilt after we lost the war.”

So it WAS a war that sank the place.

He said conversationally, “We appear to be immortal because we live so long. And we have the capacity to move through time.”

He added idly, “Humans will discover that ability in the next Century.”

Carlos looked at me and said, “That was what we were doing when we fell into the timestorm that you rescued us from.” Timestorm – interesting word?  I knew that whatever we had encountered was not natural.

He went on with, “But we have normal Atlantean life spans. The difference is that, Atlanteans live very long lives, hundreds of times longer than humans.”

He looked at me like he wanted to make a point. He said, “You’ve read the bible – right?” I responded with, “Well… I’ve read the 50 page condensed version on the internet.”

Carlos said, “Didn’t you ever wonder how those people in the Old Testament could live for hundreds of years – Methuselah was over a thousand years old when he died. He was one of us. But he died young.”

Okay, that made a certain amount of sense. Even though I was having a hard time wrapping my mind around the concept of a guy dying young at age 1,000. But I wanted to follow the rabbit-hole to its logical conclusion.

Carlos continued with, “We have known many of the great people in history because we had reasons to spend time in their era. We don’t meddle. But sometimes we have to get involved for everybody’s sake. Mainly to protect ourselves from discoveries that would change human history.”

He added, “For instance Maria was the concubine of Alexander the Great. His exploring in the Tien-Shan area was getting too close to the location of our hidden City. And she was sent to convince him to go back to Sogdiana. Can you imagine how human history would have changed if Alexander had discovered New-Atlantis way back then?”

Maria muttered under her breath, “He wasn’t so great. And, he was mostly gay.”

Really???!!! I had been in the same hole as Alexander the Great???!! I felt a pang of jealousy. I don’t know why.  There was absolutely no way any of this could possibly be true, But I loved the woman and I didn’t want to share her with anybody. Even a fantasy, Legendary Conqueror.

I said, “Atlantean has to be a different language but you all sound like Americans.” THAT was one of the main reasons why I knew that the entire family was nuts.

Carlos found me very amusing. He said, “Of course we do. But we communicate at the intuitive level. You are hearing sounds. But they are registering in your brain in your language. So there is never any linguistic barrier with us. You will develop that capacity very quickly yourself now.”

THAT! I understood. Maria had already spent so much time in my head that it was like she lived there. And she must have been up there at the time because she said brightly, “We have to go now. I am going to spend the rest of my time with Tug. Just tell me when you are leaving.”

And that was exactly what she did. It was another two days. But in that time we just kept getting closer and closer. We made love, we talked, we cuddled and we wandered hand-in-hand through the streets of Alice Town. We even spent one night with the jolly folks at Sandy’s.

But for all of that time it was just her and me in a bubble. It was hard to describe the feeling. It was raw, abandoned passion and unadulterated tender harmony in a single package. I was infatuated.

Everybody feels alone at some point in their daily life. But that all-to-familiar phenomenon just didn’t occur while Maria was around.

And I am certain that the same was true with her. Because there was a constant presence in my head that was just radiating joy and contentment.

It was also radiating increasing sadness. I know how she felt. She was going to leave me. She assured me that it would be a very short time. But even that was far too long. I was wondering how a person as feral as I was eight months ago could be turned into such a needy son-of-a bitch in a mere four days. But the fact was that Maria was as important to my wellbeing as oxygen.

The moment finally came. We had spent the night together just cuddling like a couple of newborn puppies. We had fucked the life out of each other shortly before that. But the last act was a skin-to-skin bonding exercise. A voice in my head was begging me not to forget her. And I was telling her that she was my life – I would never forget her.

I was going to follow their gleaming white boat out to sea. But I only got as far as the passage between the islands when a tearful voice in my head said, “Don’t follow us. It’s too difficult already.” So I blasted them a salute from the tug’s siren and turned back toward Browns.

  ~

Nonetheless, for the next four days there was a constant loving presence in the back of my mind. Then that presence was gone in an instant. I assumed that they had made the jump – or whatever it was – along the time-space continuum. So I didn’t think anything more about it.

I dug in to endure. I went back to my old habit of cruising the internet. And on the fifth day it was all over cyberspace. A big luxury yacht had blown up and sunk 200 miles southeast of Bermuda.

The flash and explosion had been reported by both the Liberian flagged oil tanker MV Hardeman and a flight of GR9A Harriers, off the Royal Navy’s Invincible. The Invincible immediately dispatched a Westland Sea King to the area. But there was no evidence of survivors. The call sign of the doomed ship belonged to the MV Triton, Montero’s ship. Terrorism was suspected.

I am sure that everybody has a moment when they come to grips with their own impermanence. It might be a close call in traffic, or a dire diagnosis, or even simple introspection. But at some point in your life you will come to realize just how utterly insignificant and perfectly pointless your life is, within the cosmos.

The loss of Maria and her family did that for me. It outright vaporized all of my certainties. And the only thing I knew for sure was that my existence was meaningless.

I had spent my whole life alone. And I thought I was happy. Then an illusion had appeared and taught me what it meant to love. It was an exhilarating feeling. But now, I had to accept that life was transitory. The problem was that I was going to have to live as many miserable days as I had left without Maria.

I simply lay down in my cabin and cried. I didn’t want anybody to see me. Because the Tugboat Man is a nerd. And nerds don’t show emotion. But I was rapidly retreating to the citadel that had anchored my life’s defenses – withdrawal from the human race. And my heart was becoming a dark impenetrable rock of absolute alienation. Nobody could touch me. I was alone and bereft.

I had been out of circulation long enough that Reg finally came by to see what had happened. Everybody on the island knew that Reg was the only person I would allow on my boat without permission.

He found me passed out drunk on the floor of the lounge. He could have done the humane thing and put my sodden ass in the shower. But instead he dragged me to the gunwale and tossed me into the ocean. THAT woke me up and sobered me up. I climbed back on board spluttering.

Reg said, “What’s with you, mon? Where you been?” I said, “She’s gone Reg.” He laughed and said, “I can see that.” I said, “No – she is gone as in dead.”

His entire demeanor changed. The real Reg was a highly intelligent and focused individual. He said, “How do you know that? What happened?” I said, “It’s all over the internet. Their boat blew up so spectacularly that they are investigating it as a terrorist incident.”

He looked at me sadly. I asked myself, “What did I do to deserve a friend like this.”

Then he brightened. He said, “You can’t sulk for the rest of your life. It’s a matter of self-respect mon. You have to pull yourself together and get back to living life. Would Maria want you to be like this. No!!! You have to LIVE for her mon!!!”

I laughed ruefully and said, “It wasn’t much of a life until SHE came along. So that should be easy to get back to.” Reg said, “It all started out at Sherry’s Mon. What you need is a little fried lobster and some cold beer.”

I was so violently hung over that I almost retched in the back of my mouth at the thought of food and alcohol. But Reg’s good humor was infectious. Even if I DID think he was putting it on for my benefit.

So I started my life all over again. I did it by trudging up to Sherry’s with Reg. I had just discovered a phenomenon that I thought would never affect me. An irrevocable sense of loss. When you let another person into your life, you are taking the risk that they won’t always be there. I had gambled with my first attempt and crapped-out - big-time!!!

Maria gave me the strength to face things. The fact that she loved me made me a better person. But she was gone now. And there was a part of me that was just missing. It was like fate had hacked off a leg and I knew that it would never grow back. So the challenge was learning to walk one legged. 

The gang at Sherry’s was going about its business – eating, drinking and talking. It was one o’clock in the afternoon and the ambience was cheerful - to say the least. For the first time since Maria’s death I had a sense of the sun beating down on me and the heat of the day. There was a beautiful onshore breeze and the sand under my bare feet was hot and reassuring.

We found a table on the deck and Basil and a bunch of his friends immediately came over to join us. They all knew the story by this point. The creole population doesn’t have Atlantean ESP. But whatever it DOES have is effective; everybody knew. And they were all trying to jolly me back to some approximation of my former self.

It didn’t work. I tried to acknowledge them. These were really good and decent people. But I was just so mired in my loss that the only thing I could think about was how completely empty the endless parade of days in front of me looked.

Finally, Reg shooed them all away and sat down facing me. His eyes were like black marbles. And I got a sense of how personally strong he was. He said in a tone of voice that was totally different from the happy island creole character that he affected, “Listen to me Mon. You honor somebody’s memory by how you carry on your life without them. Not by moping around like a little girl.”

Then he paused and said thoughtfully, “Maria would hate the way you are acting. You WERE a valuable member of our community – liked and respected. Now you are a pathetic victim. Do you think that you are suitably honoring your lost love’s memory? Because frankly I don’t?”

I thought about it. He had a point. Grief is a self-indulgent exercise. You do it to get over the loss of a loved one. But it only works for your benefit, not theirs. They are dead. They don’t need it. You go through the grieving process in order to help YOU get over the loss. And it was about time I grew a new set of stones.

I swore that I was going to get back to my happy life before Maria. Maybe I had dreamed my interlude with her anyhow. But whatever it was I found that I was much more capable of controlling how I lived my life. Now, my mission was to honor hers.

Knowing Maria had made me into a much stronger and more self-reliant person. It was like the situation with my boat. I was terrible when I started out; tentative and frightened. But in order to become proficient at anything you have to exercise self-discipline and practice a lot. So after a sufficient repetition and with a dollop of determination I grew into a master ship-handler.

I had spent the first thirty-one years hiding in a basement. Thanks to Maria and the island, I found myself turning into a proto-adult. I was dreadfully lonely. But at least I had my self-respect back.

  ~

I think that I was asleep when it happened. It was like a transmitter suddenly blinked on. And I was dreaming of Maria. But it was like she was alive and reaching out to me. I heard, “I have returned my love. And I am waiting for you. But you must come to me. The Elders insisted.”

I sent a probe in her direction, “Where are you?” She sent back, “If you are truly Atlantean you can find me.”

I was only half awake but it was like a location instantly appeared in my head. And I knew exactly where I had to go.

And even though it was night-time I wasn’t going to wait another second. I had all  the ocean navigation capability I needed - including radar and a full tank of diesel fuel. I jumped out of the bunk, threw on a pair of boat shorts, cast off the mooring lines and fired the starters for the diesels. They awoke with their usual cough and roar and I backed out of Browns headed for Cayo Guillermo and the People’s Republic of Cuba. 

I didn’t know why Maria was there. And frankly I didn’t care. All I could think of was, “She’s alive!!!”

At full throttle, I reached Marathon Key by sunrise. I topped off the tanks and took an additional 55-gallon drum of fuel on board just in case. The run down to Cayo Guillermo is just over 12 hours. But I didn’t want to arrive in broad daylight. Especially off the coast of a Country that had a habit of shooting at uninvited guests.  So I grabbed a couple of hours of sleep before I shoved off again.

I reached Cuba’s twelve-mile limit at 3 AM. I had been communicating off-and-on with Maria since she had first established contact.  We didn’t need radios to do that. She sent me a burst picture of a beautiful and sophisticated woman on a Portuguese passport flying into Havana from the Azores. Then renting a car and driving to the Hotel del Sol, which is right at the tip of the cape there. The car would be there in the morning. But Maria would NOT be.

It made a lot of sense. The place where I was picking Maria up was separated from the Cuban mainland. And it was about as deserted as you could get. That was a good thing. Because I was pretty sure that once I turned inside the twelve mile limit I was going to draw a lot of attention from the Cuban military.

Even at full speed it was going to be at least two hours before I could pick Maria up and got back into international waters. Worse, if they thought I was doing something illicit the Cubans might follow past the twelve-mile limit. And although my tug was a former Navy vessel it was not going to outpace a warship.

I had been running east by south-east since I made landfall at the Cayo Romano light. Maria was in my head constantly now, marking her location. I began a course that angled in toward where she was waiting.

It was as dark as the inside of my hat, with just the ambient illumination of a half moon and stars. It was very hot and humid and the air reeked of the tropics. Cuba itself was a dark presence in the distance.

I was at maximum RPMs as I crossed into Cuban territorial waters and pounded toward shore. My radio lit up with a warning. For some reason I knew they were telling me that I was trespassing. That was odd in-and-of-itself. Since most of the time I have a hard time understanding English, let alone Spanish.

They obviously had me on radar. I was running without lights hoping that they couldn’t get anything in the area to intercept me. Because being blown up by a missile, or spending the rest of my life locked up in Canaleta Prison wasn’t really on my “bucket” list.

There was a constant chatter from the radio now. It sounded like they were trying to vector one of their Pauk Class Frigates onto me but it had to come a long way from Havana. 

Fifteen minutes passed and I was near enough to the beach to launch the skiff. It has a ninety horsepower Mercury and it can fly when It is at full throttle. The Cuban shore was dark and forbidding. I was desperately searching the beach for a visual. But when she reestablished the connection. I relaxed and followed her thoughts. I would have never found her otherwise.

She had waded out past the initial surf so she was standing almost chest deep in water as I got next to her. I held my hand down and she grabbed it and literally vaulted herself into the back of the skiff without my stopping. It was a maneuver I had only seen the SEALs do.

It would have been a touching emotional reunion except the Cuban Navy was out there somewhere. And they were frantically looking for us. When we got back to the tug I didn’t even bother to recover the skiff. I simply tied it to a cleat, scooted up the ladder to the pilot house and firewalled the throttles.

We were about thirty minutes from safety when I heard it off in the distance. It was an MI-24 Hind. With the exception of the American Apache, those are the most fearsome gunships in the world. And its GAU-19 Gatling would make mincemeat out of us if they found us.

It was searching to the southeast, which was the direction I had originally been headed. So I immediately changed course to run further northwest. It would take a little longer to get out of Cuban waters. But I was running away from flying death.

We only had ten minutes to go when there was a burst of chatter from the radio and the Hind swerved in our direction. We had run out of time.

It was coming directly at us at 200 miles an hour. They had us on radar and were vectoring it in for the kill. 

The Hind’s attack attitude was so close to the dark sea that we lost him. And It was moving far too fast to reacquire him visually.

I was bracing for the storm of 12.7 millimeter shells to start ripping into the pilot house. When he abruptly appeared overhead and swooped past like a bird of prey. But, there was no gunfire.

Then I sensed Maria next to me. She was in the crew’s heads. And she was sending them a picture of an empty ocean. The Hind circled back far to the southwest and then flew inland. I could hear the pilot telling his control that we were a false positive because there was nothing out here.

She turned to me, her fiery amber cat eyes luminous with love and said, “I’m sorry about how close he had to get. But our cloaking powers have a limited range.” Cloaking powers???!! She was truly a super-human.

I would like to say that we immediately rekindled our love on the pilot house floor. But we had just cleared Cuban territory and one of their frigates was still chasing us. Worse, the gauge was telling me that we were going to run out of gas before we got too much further along.

We had been running at full throttle all the time we were in harm’s way and my thirsty diesels used up a lot of fuel. So I set a course for South Andros Island. It was the nearest location to where we were.

I could cadge a little diesel fuel on the east coast there. The irony did not escape me that Andros is one of the other places associated with Atlantis- like Bimini. I wondered if that was why Maria had been dropped where she was.

In the meantime, I had to interrupt the joy of our reunion while I pumped 55 gallons of smelly diesel fuel out of the spare drum and into the tug’s tanks.  That’s the problem with life. Reality keeps intruding on all of the romantic bits.

She was standing with me while I worked the hand pump. And I said with all of the anguish I had felt, “I thought I had lost you forever.” Her mind absorbed every nuance of that dreadful experience.

She said with real guilt, “What the witnesses saw was us disappearing into the time-space continuum. That kind of sighting happens a lot in present time because technology puts eyes and ears everywhere.”

She added, “In the old days our disappearance would be interpreted as a religious event.”

She giggled and said, “You should have seen the look on Alexander’s face when I vanished in a flash of light. He must have thought that he had been fucking one of the gods. Because he built a shrine to me. I think the Greeks call me Theia.”

The last thing I wanted to contemplate was the thought of Maria sweating up the sheets with the Conqueror of the World. But I gave her a pained laugh anyway. Of course, she was in my head and she said, “Oh that’s sweet, you’re jealous. Just like I ought to be about that hot little number you fucked just before WE met.”

Okay… I got the point… And apparently she could access ALL of my memories which was a cautionary tale indeed.

She said, “The Elders were not happy about my choosing to live out my lifespan with you. But my father insisted. He said that he foresaw a new age for Atlantis once we started producing pure Atlantean children. And eventually they granted me their permission to bond with you."

She added, "But they insisted on a test to prove your mettle, which you passed with flying colors I might add. Only another Atlantean would be able to communicate with me the way you did."

It took us all day to travel the 80-mile distance between where we cleared Cuban territorial waters and Mars Bay.  But clock-time had no meaning anymore. That was because Maria was with me.  We held each other in a mental bond, just recharging our psychic link.

We also just pressed our bodies against each other for hours. I could feel her need for me – both spiritual and physical. It matched mine. I would have spent all day making love to her. But I had to steer the ship. Like I said, reality always trumps romance.

Once we had refueled I asked her what we were supposed to do next. That was not as silly a question as you might suppose. Since everybody on the island of Bimini thought that she was dead.

She looked at me lovingly and said, “Well - we have a wedding planned on San Miguel in the Azores. That island is very close to where the old pyramid of the sun is located. Of course THAT is now under two miles of water. But we can access its aura from Our Lady of Peace Chapel on the south coast. The High Priest of Atlantis himself is going to preside. It will be a true Atlantean wedding.” 

I had a vision of guys in elaborate golden headdresses and loincloths. With a couple of human sacrifices on the side; just to honor the happy couple. It definitely wasn’t anything ecclesiastical.

She socked me on the arm and said, “Don’t make fun of my religion. Remember that I was a Priestess myself. We have beautiful ceremonies full of the most exquisite dress and music. And we only conduct human sacrifices when the groom acts like a sarcastic asshole.” 

She smiled and added, “Then we need to go back to Bimini where we will live until the children start to come along. After that we might move to New Atlantis to bring them up.”

Did she say children??? She said that in a tone of voice that brooked no insubordination. So I was getting my first taste of married life.

In the meantime, we dropped anchor for the night in the protected shallows around High Point Cay. I had just stocked up the refrigerator after my little meltdown over Maria’s supposed death. So we had a feast of oysters, lobsters and beer that night. When it came time for us to go to bed we just lay out under the stars on an air mattress.

It had been an emotional month. First there was the black despair of thinking she was dead. Then there was the undistilled joy of discovering that she was still alive. And finally there was our little mutual brush with  imminent death. But she was with me now. And in my reckoning that was all that counted.

We were both nude lying there after a particularly passionate reunion. My deliverance from loss and her need to reassure herself about our bond made the sex memorable.

I was looking up at the heavens. She was half on me with one leg thrown over mine and her magnificent boobs pressed against me. Her head was resting on my shoulder. She was idly tracing her finger on my chest. I was lightly stroking down her smooth back and the underlying muscles were rippling like Bastet when I pet her.

I wanted to talk. I said, “Are you going to miss it?” She was in my head so she knew what I was talking about. She said, “I have lived almost three hundred years without a sense of connection with anybody. It was unspeakably lonely and unfulfilling."

That made my years of isolation living in my parent’s basement look paltry by comparison. But the mention of her lifespan caused some angst. The difference in scale between her life and mine was mind-boggling. Not to mention the earthshaking events that she had participated in – some of which were still causing me extreme pangs of jealousy.

Admittedly - in cyberspace I am as powerful as she is. But she had been a Priestess of the Sun long before I was born and all the time I was growing up. And she was a member of a super-race. While I was still just a nerd. And nerds are anything but super

Of course she heard everything. She said, “Stop thinking that. You are my other half. We belong together.” I chuckled to myself and said, “I am probably never going to have any privacy again.”

She said gently, “You have to forget all that has transpired prior to our meeting. I was born 13,000 years ago and until recently you were a common human. Who would believe that we would find each other over that immense distance of space and time."

She looked lovingly at me and said, "But we did. And we totally fulfill each other. You can call it whatever you want but I like to think that our coming together was inevitable. And so that must be a part of the cosmic plan somewhere.”

I said, “My life is a harsh duality. It is joyous with you. It is the darkest despair without you.” Over the past month I experienced both of those. Look in my head and see how extreme those peaks and valleys were.”

I glanced lovingly at her and said, “I would sacrifice anything to be with you. But I really don’t have much to sacrifice. You are giving up a life of extreme privilege to be with me. Won’t you miss that?”

She looked at me like I had lost my mind. She said, “A man and a woman who love each other build their life together going forward. That is what we are going to do. And that is all you should focus on. Our life will have no limits. We can go anywhere and be anybody we wish to be. And we will experience perfect love for a thousand years together.”

She added gently, “You and I will always be as we appear, never aging. And we will love and raise generations of children. That is what we have to look forward to."

Then she said with determination, "And whatever life we lived as separate entities in the past will pale by comparison to the happiness we will create moving into our shining future together.”

Wow!!! her words put everything into perspective. And I was content. Life isn’t a continuum. It’s a series of distinctly different rooms that you pass through. And reality is what you experience in the room that you happen to be in at the time.  So when you close the door on one room and move into the next, your reality will shift to fit the new conditions. That was the way it was for me. I would mark my life’s beginning as the moment that I met her. And my reality would be the life that I lived with her.

She fastened those gorgeous lips on mine. And as soon as she did, the answer burst into my head. It was laughably obvious. It was a picture of my devoted wife and our many children – all of us living together in an idyllic place.

We would spend our long lives nurturing the generations to come. But, the critical element would be the love that we would always share. And my life would have meaning because I had Maria by my side.

Author’s Note: I’m an organic writer. Meaning I start in a general direction. And I simply follow along to the logical conclusion. Once in a while that creates characters and storylines that beg to be explored further. I have a lot more questions that I would like to see answered with these two. And there are a lot of directions this can lead. So when my day job permits, I plan to pick up the further adventures of the Tugboat Man and his Atlantean wife.


© Copyright 2017 DT Iverson. All rights reserved.

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