The next morning, I wake up and look at the sky. It is still blue, but unlike Andrew’s prediction that it will dissipate, the storm is still heading our way. The worst of It is scheduled to arrive in the middle of the night around 3:00 a.m. (All storms are like that.) I look across the anchorage, and I see Steven skulking around Steel Sapphire’s stern (rear end) ducking his head and coiffing his hair in the reflection of Steel Sapphire’s blue paint. I admit it makes a great mirror in the right light. I’ve admired my own visage a time or two while waiting for Pete and Jen to disembark for adventures.
Andrew and Leslie plan to go over to play “Risk” and eat lunch aboard Steel Sapphire. Whoopeeee… As we pull along side, Pete takes my tether and ties me to Steel Sapphire’s arch post. Andrew and Leslie descend into the hull. I can hear battle challenges being made, Leslie and Jen have already formed an “alliance”.
Steven scoots over to give me space and tips a pack of Marloboros my way. “No, thanks.” Steve shrugs and lights up. Looking at me from under his grease wave, Steve has the nerve to ask “have you found any of my Heart of Fire Rubies?”
I snort. “You’ve got to be kidding me. No. No, I have found no rubies and even if I did, I wouldn’t give them to you. Have you found any of my Pieces of Eight?”
Steve smirks, which really sets my blood to boiling. “What do you want with a Piece of Eight anyway?” He asks.
“Duh, I want to be a Pirate King!”
At this, Steven just starts laughing at me. Laughing and laughing. “Watching too much Pirates of the Caribbean, are you, Grin?”
“Noooo….what? No! Its true! If you hold a Piece of Eight, you are marked as one of the Pirate Kings!”
Steven won’t stop guffawing. “Dude. A Piece of Eight is just an old Spanish Currency. They are Spanish coins from the 1400s made out of silver. You’d do better to hunt for Doubloons. At least they are made of gold. Pieces of Eight became a world-wide currency because the Spanish made so many, so consistently. There has to be millions of them. And they don’t mark you as a Pirate King. They didn’t even mark you as a Pirate King in the movie. They freed Calypso with ‘whatever they had in their pockets at the time.’”
Dixie, a furry beast who holds the exulted status of Boat-Kitty looks down upon both of us, beaming lasers of judgmental cattitude.
We bob in wavelets sloshing around the anchorage from wind building against current, bouncing into each other and batting Steel Sapphire’s hull as we fight: “they do too, do not, do too, do not…” until Leslie emerges to lengthen my leash to keep me away from Steel Sapphire. Now, dragging a bit behind Steven, I pout. “This treasure hunt is supposed to be a team effort! I’m not just going out to find rubies for you.”
“I’m looking when I can.” Steve defends.
“No, you are not! Every time we go anywhere all you want to do is MATH!”
Steven looks as if he suddenly understands something. “Oh, no. Sorry, Grin. That’s my alter ego, Steven.”
“Your alter-what?” I ask. “You’re Steven.”
“No, no. I’m Tango. The math guy, that’s Steven. He thinks he’s a spy, charged by the Queen with protecting Jen and Pete. Well…mostly Jen – we like her best.”
“What? You’re a spy?” I ask. Now, I’m confused, but I like spies so who am I to judge? “That’s awesome! I love spies. How did you get that job?”
“No, no. I’m not a spy. I’m Tango. I don’t even think Steven’s a spy. I think he just thinks he’s a spy.” I slunk down in the water; my hope of having a friend who is a spy dashed. “Tango” continues. “It’s like Bruce Wayne and Batman. I am Batman.”
I raise an eyebrow. This guy is bats, man. But, I don’t think that’s what he’s trying to say.
“You can’t tell Steven about me, though. I don’t think he knows I exist. Pete and Jen have been keeping my secret for a while now.” My left eyebrow raises an inch higher, I squint at him through the right eye.
Just at that moment, I am rescued by a swath of dark clouds rolling in. The wind picks up, and my crew emerge from below to head back to Sonrisa. Pete unties me and waves a vigorous goodbye, still glowing from his Risk Victory. “Okay, well, catch you later, Stee….errr, Tango? Hold fast in the storm tonight.” Kitty buzzes in my ear as we swerve away from Steel Sapphire and her strange crew. Andrew and Leslie hoist me and fold me up on deck to make sure I don’t get into any mischief while the weather is bad. Leslie looks down on me now pinned to Sonrisa’s deck and says, “Not to worry, Grin, tied up nice and tidy with the rest of the team.” But I know she is speaking more to herself than she speaks to me. The sky grows more and more dark.
We check the weather news and learn stores on shore are running out of supplies like fresh water with everyone preparing for something big. This typhoon is out of season. It’s the first of its kind to hit at this time of year for a long, long time. We check the barometer and see it has fallen.
“Here we go,” I think. We hunker down and wait for the worst to hit.
Andrew and Leslie stay up very late, poking their heads out of the hatches every now and then to see how things are progressing. A bit of rain comes through and tries to wash off the seafood that has attached itself to my hull, making a real “stink” now that we are up in the air. Wind picks up, then calms again. We have warning, as we can hear the whirring howl of a gust grow from across the anchorage. The moon is full behind the thick layer of clouds, creating gun metal gray blankets over-head. There are no waves in the protection of our anchorage, we chose a great spot. I look across the way and see Steel Steven El Tango Batman riding out the worst of it while dangling from his davits. “Told’ja” I mutter.
Around five in the morning, an eerie calm takes over. A humid, but warm fog slides down the cliffs and hangs on the boughs and vines of jungle trees. The anchorage is quiet, we hold our collective breath. Leslie checks the weather, and as expected, it shows the center circle of the Typhoon sliding right over the top of us – from East to West. We are in the eye of the storm.
A little less than an hour passes, then the wind picks up again, puffing from a different direction until the whole thing blows itself over and the sky returns to a clear bright blue. Less adventure than we feared it could be, and that is always a good thing.
The Queen must be relieved to hear of Pete and Jen – mostly Jen’s - safety.