Saturday, August 18, 2018

Last Chance Harvey-Part 3

Swimming downward, the view through the mask resembled an old photograph, brittle and sepia toned. Silt filtered through the yellow rays of the sun gave only a few feet of visibility. Thee were no schools of fish like in the Gulf, just the occasional bass or crappy snooping around the bones of long flooded pines, their tentacle like branches flowing with the wakes. Easy to get into trouble. Snag an air hose and you were done for the day, assuming you could make it back to the surface. Several had died and Jim wasn't interested in joining that group.
Jerry pointed off to the left to an eerie sight. Just past a tree was a large shape poking upright in the mud, the Last Chance. The shallow draft boat listed slightly port, bow resting on a rock. The bridge and superstructure was still intact. That was easy.
Maybe a little too easy.
Carefully dodging a branch, they swam towards the stern. A catfish slithered out from under a rock, startled by the strange movement. The short transom was half buried, only the tops of script letters showing. The unique back rail that identified it as their target, gentle filigree in the metal was visible in the low light. Jerry waved Jim to port as he made his way toward starboard bow. Before he cut that way, Jim went along the filigreed back rail. The patio doors to the salon were broken, the opening inviting the unwary to explore.
The frayed remnants of curtains moved with the light current. He could almost see the party goers dancing and drinking. Was this a dream? An fairly clean empty bottle lay on the floor, a sign of low water flow. It made sense, really. This was one of only two or three places on Lanier where there wasn't a small creek bringing in new mud. You laid in during storms, the combination of steep slopes and trees kept the wind to a minimum. Maybe Harvey was hoping to raise it himself? Nah, by that time he was too crazy to think past the moment.
He thought of the girl.
What was the name? Corrine...Colleen...something like that. He had talked to her at the poker game when no one else would. Blonde and nothing special to look at. The only thing that stood out was the necklace, a cloisionne dragonfly dangling between her small breasts. It was odd thing. If the light was right, it cast rainbows like stained glass, yet it was solid. It must have cost some bucks new. But like everything and everybody, nothing was bought that way. She got it from some clown who traded it for services rendered.
Services. Right. There was a reason the women didn’t like her.
The necklace fit her personality. She'd been hanging around Harvey for a while, but it wasn’t clear if it was business, pleasure or both. On the days boats would show up, she would flit from boat to customer and back. From a distance, she was decoration. But her purpose was obvious. Behind the doors, she closed the sales in her own special way.
No one noticed her gone when the boat came up missing. The boat had gotten everyone’s attention. It wasn't until after Harvey turned up dead it occurred to anyone to ask. And no one cared enough to file a missing persons report.Everyone assumed she drifted away to find her next target.
A thought went straight to his heart. What if?
Shaking it off, he swam on up the side. The windows to the main salon were still intact. Glancing in, Jim saw random piles of cushions. Several broken glasses littered the floor, probably knocked out of the cabinets as the boat sank. Ronding the corner to swim up the side, he saw something else.
A pair of bright pink bikini bottoms hanging on the door to one of the bedrooms. It looked like a pair Jim had saw at the poker game. The dread grew. The girl said were hers and she was commando. Come to think of it, the poker game had only been a couple of days before the sinking.
A glance at his watch told he he had about ten minutes left. Continuing up the side, he came up on why the thing sank. About three feet from the bow ,two holes jutted out below the waterline about 12 inches apart. The edges of the fiberglass were melted and pointing outward. C-4 or something. Probably sounded like a muffled shotgun when it went off under the water and no one would have been the wiser.
It had been enough to flood the hold quickly. From the side, it didn't appear it had rolled much. Extra ballast in the hull? Harvey once mentioned he had been a demolition diver in the Navy, but honestly no one had believed him. This looked professional. He had to have learned it somewhere.
He took a hold of the rail and gave a tug. Everthing was stable, no movement. This would be important when they went inside. He looked up to see Jerry waving him over. As he crossed above the bridge, he looked through the upper cabin glass into the stateroom. Nothing out of the ordinary. Bare benches lined the sides, cushions had long gone. The foot of a king sized bedframe was visible. A couple more empty bottles and som. It was like the party had just stopped.
Coming up beside the other diver, Jim's gaze followed the pointing hand. It was the headboard of the bed. At the base, where the mattress had been, was a lump of what looked like clothes. Above it was something very weird. Exchanging glances, they swam a closer to the window. Several pairs of rusty handcuffs were hanging from the a rail screwed into the bulkhead. One of which still looked occupied.
It was time to leave.

Pic Guesses: Dragonfly (in blog), Cloisonne (in blog), Rainbows (in blog), stained glass (in blog), Flit (in blog), colorful,

Friday, August 10, 2018

Last Chance Harvey-Part 2 (Blogophilia 23.11)

Light was breaking the tops of the trees as Jim watched for obstructions. Sipping from his cup, he winced. God, the store coffee sucked. Oh, well. Nothing was perfect. But all in all, the trip out was uneventful for this "Choose Your Adventure" lake outing. No rain, engine issues or drunk jet ski nuts to ruin things.
Flipping up his cap up, the red bandanna mopped the up the sweat. What a deal. How many fifty year olds had the balls to take on a wild goose chase? Jobs or usually wives came first. But for Jim, there was no wife and never will be. Boat bunnies kept him happy and rarely pushed for anything permanent. If one got mad, there were two more ready to take their place. And It helped he was his own boss, buying and selling marine gear on contract.
It had been a Havana Daydreaming kind of life with no regrets. Dropping out of college and never quite fitting anywhere, he still made his way. The last place he was before he came to the lake, a girl he had dated turned up pregnant. He left the night he found out, never looking back. Yeah, it was cruel. But so is life. Women and kids bog you down from drinking and diving.
He thought of Harvey Lloyd. He was Icarus incarnate. He came to lake with nothing, crashing at a trailer over in Flowery Branch to hide from the cops. But within a couple of months he had his deal going and the money began to flow. Boats showed up over night from from all over the South, never staying long. Nobody asked questions. Who wants to ruin a guys party when he’s paying?
But it hadn't taken long for his true self to show. Hitting the head one night after poker, Jim saw him open a cabinet through the mirror. Stacks of cash almost fell out on the floor. It was impressive, but not tempting. It was bad money, anyone who touched it would come to a bad end. Was any of it still below deck? Probably not. But it was still nice to dream.
As they approached approach into the cove, a red and black cabin cruiser came up. "Two Dawg Special" was a well known party boat, piloted by Kip, a burnt out frat boy with an inheritance. Short and squat, he had always been a lake rat surviving on the surface. He never earned anything on his own. Even the cruiser had been his Dad's. But he had taken good care what had been given to him, unlike a lot of rich kids.
Jerry waved and the bigger boat pulled aside to for a chat. Two large women of indeterminate age were sitting in the front, legs hanging off the bow. Wearing white "You Only Live Once" t-shirts, they had almost predatory grins on their faces. One was in a pink one piece swimsuit that glowed under her wet shirt. She stood up and began to dance unsteadily. She pulled her partner up in a sloppy embrace. It was obvious they had started the day early, voices echoing through the cove.
The women did slow dance around the bow, then turned toward the bass boat. With a smile, Pinky stripped the shirt of her partner. There was nothing underneath. She was pretty once, but that was a long time ago. Now everything pointed toward the decks, leathery skin flapped around her middle and that wasn’t her real hair color. The absolute lack of embarrassment brought a laugh from every one.
In a whisky tinged voices, the girls asked if they liked skinny dipping. Silly girns on their faces, they pointed at the diving gear and declined the invite. They were truly Naked Lady Cove's mascots. Women of a certain age who no longer cared what the world thought. In the bars they were called lake trolls, but to both Jim any port in a storm would do.
Chit-chat over, the captain gunned the motor and headed deeper into the cove. The sudden wake cut across the sides of the bass boat, making the men grab the rail to keep balance. Jim wondered if a day with the ladies could rock the same way...Eh, maybe next time. There were too many things to do and not enough time to do them.
Jim and Jerry ended up following the cruiser into the main part of the cove, but they weren't going to the swimming hole. They were heading to a spot almost dead center between the shores about 250 yards from the main channel. Five minutes later, Jerry called out.
"Hey, Jim. Check the map. I think we are pretty close."
The laminated chart was in a pocket on the dashboard. With a quick glance, Jim nodded they were there. Jerry swung the boat parallel to the shores and cut the motor. It was obvious why no one bothered trying to find it. You would need a good size salvage rig to even attempt it. The bottom dropped like a cliff about 30 feet from shore. At some points, it was 100 feet deep. The anchor went over with a splash. while they made preparations for the dive.
"You sure this is the right place? Jim asked as he tied the diver flag on the stern cleat.
"Yeah." Jerry replied as he slipped his tank over his shoulder. "Tom and I brought his Fish Finder out her a couple of weeks ago and we got the profile. "
"So, where's Tom?"
Tom Jarrett was the Marina's main mechanic. A tall, lean guy and not much of a diver, but great at minding the gear while you are down.
"He got a call from a guy stuck up near Brown's Bridge. Broken prop shaft."
Jim shrugged and took another slug from the cup.
"So, how deep?"
"Not too, maybe 45 feet and in a fairly clear area. We ran it three days in a row to make sure." Jerry replied as he finished zipping up. "I've done a few dives in this area, but frankly I've never seen the thing. But there is a lot of crap on the bottom, and I might not have seen it."
Still a little skeptical, Jim finished up his prep. The plan today was find it, do a perimeter swim around for problems, then take a quick peek inside. They had only brought single tanks, giving them about 40 minutes of dive time, with maybe 25 of those with the wreck if they found it. If it looked promising, they could always come back.
They decided they were both going down. It was something of a risk, but they were a man short. Even if the boat broke loose, it was still only a few hundred yards to shore. They checked each others’ tanks and hose one last time and decided they were ready. Jim lined up on the port side and leaned back, letting the momentum of the weight carry him over.
The shock of impact went through his wet suit. It was early May,the water here was still cold from.all the shade. A few seconds later, Jim felt the thump to his left and turned to see Jerry settling in. Exchanging thumbs up, they adjusted their masks, blew out their regulators and flipped over to start the dive.
Writer’s Choice:
Topic-Choose Your Own Adventure
Prompt One -Jimmy Buffett Song (Havana Daydreaming)
Prompt Two-mention skinny dipping.
Pic guesses- lake troll, gnome, stump, Old man, driftwood,

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Last Chance Harvey (Blogophilia 22.11)

The adventure had been born in a bar, complete with champagne dreams and caviar wishes. It wasn't Aruba or anything, just a two guys in a bass boat skimming towards destiny. Or at least they hoped so. The yellow scuba tanks were strapped below the stern rail for balance. Not a bad choice. Traffic in the main channel was heavy, the chop made everything shake as they made their way toward a cove about a mile from the marina.
The dive target was a 46 foot custom houseboat named Last Chance Harvey. The wreck had ghosts. It had been a showpiece. Two bedrooms with mirrored ceilings below deck and a huge party bar on top. Dark wood rails and fake gold trim. A bit of ostentatious consumption reflecting of money made quickly and not necessarily legally.
The original owner, Harvey Lloyd, deliberately sank it in response to a fraud investigation. Lloyd had been a con artist who hit the big time brokering a three way coke deal with some guys down South, a relationship that seemed to keep on giving. He seemed to have all the money in the world and not enough places to spend it. Why not build a floating palace? Then he could spend his time with his favorite passions, fishing and women.
It wasn't long after the boat was finished the FBI came snooping around. They had gotten wind of the original deal from a bust down on the Southside. As they went on, they uncovered his real scam; buying stolen watercraft, including this boat, with laundered drug money. The con man ignored them for a while. But as heat got closer, he panicked and scuttled the thing in Naked Lady Cove late one night, supposedly with money and drugs aboard. At first, they thought he had gone down with the boat. But about a month later, Lloyd was found in a hotel room in Miami with a bullet in his head. Someone decided to cut their losses.
There had been attempts to salvage Last Chance over the years. But no one knew the exactly where it was. At least six locations had been worked, but nothing could be seen except for dead trees. After the body turned up, the Feds lost interest. Over time, the boat faded from everyone's memory, at least until now.
Jim Herrington listened as his diving buddy, Jerry Holden, told the story at Bullfrogs. Was it an old rumor? Had there been an insurance claim? Jim remembered playing poker on The Last Chance a few times and Lloyd had struck him as a first class liar and cheat. It wouldn't be surprising if Lloyd had spread the story himself to divert attention. Sipping in silence, he smiled when Jerry got to the best part.
About a week ago, he was out at Naked Lady fishing for bass. A boat shaped echo appeared on his on his finder 45 feet down and in the dead center of the cove. He quickly saved the GPS reading and wondered if it was Last Chance. He would need at least help to find out.
With each beer, Jim's excitement grew. He'd worked the cove before. Visibility was usually crap, but the images of the trees petrified by being under water for 50 years had always fascinated him. Yeah, those rough branches could ruin your day. But if they were careful, the worst thing that would happen is they'd get a few hours logged on their certs. By the time last call came, They had a plan and a couple of days to get what they needed.
This was going to fun.
Emma Thompson movie: Last Chance Harvey
Pic Guesses: Ghosts (in blog), In the deep, Murky water, Neptune’s vision, watery grave, scuttled (in blog)

Friday, July 27, 2018

She's There (Blogophilia 21.11)

To begin, begin
She’s there.
The other person
Behind the image in the mirror...
Somewhere in all that fat
I was told she was.
A pretty girl everyone should see.
A journey?
The path you have never seen?
It scares you, but the other person is not evil
Is not petty or violent.
She is beautiful.
So begin.
Leave the mass in the mirror.
Bring your true self through.

This is what happens when I post at night. I forget stuff.
Pic guesses: Waiting, Spread, Hair,

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Fair (Blogophilia 20.11)

Images float across the page.
Carrot curls over eyes of sky
A beautifully broken soul
Draws me like a moth to flame.
Hoping a smile patches
A damaged soul

Beauty still shows through
But you can’t be fixed
No flaming Tilt O’Whirl
No lap bars to keep us in.

Sighing, I leave the cage on the midway
Your image fades slowly into the night.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Harry's Comedy Corner (Blogophilia 18.11)

Hey, Heidy and Howdy!. It's your ol' buddy, Harry live on good ol' WOFT. The marketing weasels have been crunching the latest Nielsen numbers and they saidgolden oldies aren't cutting it anymore. That's right! Fewer and fewer of you Geritol kids have it in you to keep up, or worse have joined me here in the wind. Well, as public service (and a craven attempt to keep my job), I have taken it upon myself to give you, my listeners, the strength to carry on. Hey! Isn't that a song lyric?

I read somewhere that laughter is the best medicine, so tonight's show is all COMEDY!

We'll start with Happy Hour. Now where I'm from the Killjoys in the State Revenue department no longer allow for drink specials, but I am aware of a few places you can pong for your beer...

By the time you've played a round or three, you get really happy. So happy, you don't care what silliness is on TV.

But some jerk decides cartoon Wrasslin' ain't real since there ain't any drama. Well, my go to is the fabulous Dusty Rhoads, now performing in the Heavenly Ring.

Ain't no way any of that's real...What's in those beers, anyway?

Sometime during the night, work and bosses will get brought up. And you thought you could get away from all that...

It makes you wish you were some Hollywood anti-hero that could say anything you wanted. Maybe this guy.

Finally, after all that, you are ready for something completely different

Which is what you look like after losing at Beer Pong.

Just don't blame me in the morning.


Topic-Tyler Myth

Pic- Colleen Bruening

Pic guesses: Beer Pong (in blog), Happy Hour (in blog), Party, Frat,