The Sailor's Stories

1035 Chapter thirty five – The Sailor’s Awakening.

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“Concert… Concert is an interesting word all on it’s own, but when you put it in the right context, it takes on a whole new and interesting flavour. You can see it everywhere, if you just look hard enough, though of course…, the best examples have always been found in nature. When two or more things work in concert, first off…, the job is invariably divided by the number of separate working parts involved, and second…, it’s made so much  stronger from the strength of the sharing. Not to be outdone…, this is also true in the lives of mortal men, and the endeavors we chose to undertake…, when two or more men are working in concert, there is little that they cannot achieve…, two is one…, one is none.”

Command Master Chief Jefferson Delfrey. USN.

He had stood there for several minutes, with all of us at rigid attention. Half of our number at least, were officers, so we did in fact outrank him…, though I don’t think he cared that much. In fact, I doubt he cared much for anything at that first glance, we certainly weren’t impressing him that’s for sure. That speech of his was the first thing I can ever remember the man saying, and when he’d finished, he took one long last look at us, before spitting on the ground in front of him and walking away. We were still there hours later, on that first day of CRT Training, to be honest I think we were all too scared to move. The word ‘Intimidating’ doesn’t even begin to explain what, those of us who were smart enough, were feeling. We were all terrified to say the least, of that big tall mammoth of a black man from the deepest darkest swamps of the Mississippi but then I guess…, as the head of the training team, he was supposed to look that way. Don’t get me wrong, over the next several weeks he said a lot more and most of it was nasty, but that speech was the first. I will never forget those words…, which if I was to be brutally honest…, I think, was the point of whole exercise anyway.

After everything I have been through lately, it’s hard to imagine myself on that day all those years ago, and to be fair, I don’t really know what made me think of that all of a sudden, but that’s how things were that morning, four individual bodies all working towards a concerted goal. Sure that goal was just breakfast, but like my dad always said…, if a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing well. Of course it wasn’t really all that simple, and it certainly wasn’t all ‘Beer and Skittles’ either, unfortunately things are never easy. I still had to deal with the very real fact, that even for only a short time, I had deliberately abandoned the boys. I doubt that they were really that upset over it, but I was sure there would be some form of fall-out.

Dale and I had gotten back to the house just as the other two were coming downstairs. It was glaringly obvious, by their puffy eyes and clouded expressions that they were still stuck in that parallel universe  between sleep and consciousness, known also as, waking up. Nothing out of the ordinary actually, though I found the normalcy of it all, rather comforting. Dale was obviously still dressed from the night before, so that one was a bit out of the norm. Corey, however, was true to form, wearing his usual breakfast attire of boxer shorts…, satin ones this time, I noticed…, When did he start wearing those, I wonder? While the slightly more reserved Carl, was in a favourite set of dark blue flannel pj’s.

Ideas and rumblings of fall out, were still running through my over tired mind, though even then I realized that I shouldn’t have worried…, I just wasn’t ready to accept that fact yet. My mistake really, as without any preamble and as if nothing had ever been amiss, Corey came striding across the kitchen floor towards me, all the while rubbing the sleep lazily from his eyes with a balled up fist, as I leaned against the kitchen counter. He was still half asleep when he slid his arms into my open dark green hoodie, wrapping them around my white t-shirt covered middle in a heartfelt hug. As always, he just acted as though nothing had changed, and I found myself severely comforted by that fact.

Corey was just one of those people that was never fazed by the things that were of no consequence, or those that couldn’t be changed in the immediate future. Sure he was somewhat lazy in his attitude at times, which rankled a bit with me, but then I also think that the fact he didn’t get too stressed over anything was a worthwhile trait…, one that would serve him well in later life. That’s not to say that he didn’t fight for what he wanted, or believed in…, he just didn’t waste energy that had no need to be wasted. Economical…, that was Corey to a tee.

“Hmmm…, morning Uncle Cam.”

Or at least I think that’s what he said, as his voice was muffled by a strong yawn, and at the same time, smothered by my t-shirt.

“What’s for breakfast?”

Dale just stood there in a slight state of shock, he had initially been making a move toward his boyfriend, but Corey’s, somewhat untimely comment, had momentarily floored him. If Corey was economical, then Dale was like an Indy 500 car…, sleek, well tuned, and engineered to perfection…,  the two boys were poles apart in how they handled things, from the everyday mundane, to the extremely important. In all honesty, it seemed as though the poor boy was, in point of fact, dumbstruck at his brothers lack of…, well…, anything. And when I looked over, a small grin made it’s way stealthily across my face, Dale was indeed seething, but trying desperately to hold it in, not very successfully I might add…, What was that about racecars in the red?

“Jesus bro…, is your stomach all you think about?”

“WHAT? … Oh! … Sorry…, are you ok?” He said, as he looked over at Dale, then lifted his head up to look into my eyes, for the first time that morning.

Looking down I met his with mine, and smiled anew. There they were, so much the same, yet so different to his brother’s. All I saw there was a boy content that things were as they should be. After all, I was there, so to him nothing else mattered right then. You see unlike his brother’s instant reaction, I knew better. It wasn’t that Corey didn’t care…, he did…, and a great deal too I’d wager…, he just knew that if there was a problem that I would tell him. As there appeared to be no immediate danger of that fact, he slipped into simple survival mode. So although he could have easily fed himself, he saw that I was there, and was fine with standing back to let me take care of him. I chuckled softly at that fact, slipping one arm around his back, and lightly tousling his soft blond hair with the other. That in itself was kinda funny actually…, usually he would’ve growled at me for doing that, probably because he had spent a considerable amount of time styling it to look natural…, but this time I guess he let me off. To be honest I could have hugged him forever for that simple show of love, but there was another to take care of as well.

“Yeah…, I’m fine lil’dude…, just had to blow off some steam is all.”

Almost as if he hadn’t quite known where to stand, or even knew where he stood in the first place…, Carl had stayed close to the doorway that formed the entrance to the kitchen. There was an air of uncertainty about him, that had been there all too often lately. I couldn’t help but think that it had been my attitude that had caused that…, somehow. I had to make it up to him, I had to make him believe that he well and truly belonged here…, here with us. As to what would make that happen, at this point I was at a complete loss. He had his head down slightly, and was doing this cute little thing with the corner of his pj top. At any other moment I would have just smiled at the innocence of him twirling it nervously around his fingers, but there was far too much more at stake right now. He hadn’t met my gaze yet, and didn’t know I had been looking at him for as long as I had been, so when his head came up, and his eyes met mine, he almost jumped out of his skin in shock. It was pure slapstick, and I doubt that even the Marx brothers could have done better.

Instantly his face went a bright crimson, and I could see by the small view of his neck and chest that the embarrassment was spreading much lower, a sure sign that he certainly wasn’t happy or comfortable right then. The little guy was just so unsure of himself in these situations. I can’t even begin to understand how his home life had been, but I can well imagine that his father and brothers didn’t express themselves like we did. Times like these proved all too well just how lacking that boy had been in real familial affection, and how starved of proper love his childhood was. Thee kid really had no idea how to react under these circumstances, even after spending so much time with us, it was heartbreaking to tell the truth. Of course the situation wasn’t helped by the fact that the three of us burst out in simultaneous laughter. After all that poor boy had been through, unfortunately, all it did was to make him hurt, nervous and anxious all at the same time. I was truely saddened by it all, but once again could come up with little to fix it, even though I did try. When it looked like he was torn between bursting into tears, bolting for the door, or both. I had to react quickly before we all lost him…

“Carl for Christ’s sake! … Would you get your scrawny butt over here and join your family.”

It took a second for that to sink in, but when it did…, the smile broke over his face like a rainbow after a midsummer rain, and the blood slipped slowly back to where it came from, as he rushed forward into my outstretched arm. The tears had come anyway, but I doubt any of us would think less of him. Dale followed suit scant seconds later, and we ended up in a group hug of sorts…, poor Corey, stuck clearly in the middle.

“HEY!” Yelled Dale, slapping me softly on the chest, when what I had said finally got through to him. “His butt ain’t that scrawny!”

“Ewww … Dude…, that’s so wrong!” Said Corey. Turning his head to address his brother.

“HA! … I don’t even wanna know how you know that!” I said, pulling them all closer, and holding them tight.

An hour later found us all sitting lazily at the table, surveying the demolished remnants of breakfast that our concert had cooked up. With little convincing, breakfast was waffles made with fresh batter, and maple syrup, with lightly sautéed banana and crispy bacon. I had wanted to make something special for the boys that morning as a sort of sorry type thing. They had made it quite obvious that I hadn’t needed too, but then three teenage stomachs are not particularly prone to argument when good food is on offer.

With the warmth of my second cup of tea stirring the nerves and warming my cupped hands, I couldn’t help but smile as I watched Carl clean up some syrup that had dribbled down Dale’s chin. Without conscious thought, he had taken up his napkin, wetting it gently with his tongue, and wiped the mess lovingly away. It was a truly beautiful sight, and I must say, one that I won’t soon forget…, Two is one. Filing that thought away, I took another sip of tea, and looked out the kitchen window noticing that the wind had finally died down some. It was going to be a hot one though, I realized, which brought me back to thoughts of Caleb…, and the opportunity of a cook out.

“Hey boys…, how about a cook out tonight, the suns gonna make it pretty warm this afternoon…, could be our last chance for a while.”

“Kewl…, that sounds like a great idea Uncle Cam…” Dale said, as Carl smiled, and Corey looked at me hungrily…, What is it with that boy and food?!

“Well I was thinking about getting Caleb to come over…, maybe bring Sam, and the wife…, how does that sound?”

“That sounds totally AWESOME!” Said Corey, now with a slightly different and somewhat unsettling hunger in his eyes.

“I’ll give him a call then…, Corey go take a shower, and get dressed…, then go over to Reggie’s and see if she wants to join us.”

He was gone before I had even finished speaking, knowing that if he hurried he might just get a second breakfast at her house…, who am I kidding, one look at those puppy dogs of his and she would have a full on spread just for him…, cheeky shit! With those wild thoughts in mind I couldn’t help but notice that, Dale and Carl had taken it upon themselves to clear the table and do the washing up. After Corey had made himself scarce, I just sat back and watched…, What a truely wonderful morning this has turned out to be.

With a chuckle, and tea in hand, I retrieved my phone and cigarettes, before making my way outside…, I had a call to make…

“Hello?”

“Hey Cabe…, how’s my favourite lawyer this morning?”

“… Cam? … Fuck! … Well I was having a lye in…, you ok?”

I was sure that I heard a little concern in his voice, but let it go. Besides, I’m sure that he was only being his old self anyway…, he always did look out for me. To be honest, I find it kinda gratifying in some way that he still does.

“Couldn’t be better…, what’s you and the family doing this afternoon?”

“Ah…, nothing that I know of…, why?”

“Corey’s been pining, and I thought it might be fun to watch him and Sam trying to be good in front of the ’rents…, how does a cook out in my back yard sound?”

“You’re awfully happy about yourself this morning…, you’re not smoking something are you?”

“Nothing illegal I assure you counselor…, so what say you savage?”

“Sounds good, but there’s four of us…, is that a problem?”

“More the merrier…, say around 1500?”

“Damnit! and I was right in the middle of the most fantastic dream too…, guess I need to get up and do the rounds now…, yeah ok…, sounds like a plan…, want us to bring anything?”

“Just yourselves…., see you then.” I said, as I hit the kill button on my phone.

Placing the phone in my pocket, I checked my watch…, it was 1100, so that gave me just about four hours to kill. So in the spirit of being prepared, I wandered over to check the grill, we hadn’t used it since the boy’s party, but I had cleaned it up pretty thoroughly. Still…, no harm in checking…, I thought, lifting the cover plate to give a cursory inspection, then hefted the gas bottle to see how full that was. Everything appeared fine, well the gas should last for what we need today…, no use in filling it before putting it in storage for the winter. With that done I went to the freezer and pulled out several steaks and a few other bits and pieces, leaving them in the sink to thaw out, before heading up to my room. I thought about going over to Reggie’s, but decided to call her instead. She was indeed coming over, and was in the process of fixing a few sides…, I figured there was no point arguing with the women…, when it comes to food, she always wins.

By the time I had hung up, I was down to boxers…, which were all sweaty, and I could feel that some sand had made it’s way in there. That’s the thing about sand…, it’s rough, it’s coarse…, and it gets everywhere. I swear to whatever deity is in fashion with the kids these days, that you could wear a full mopp suit, and sand would still get to places you really don’t want it to be! I could it feel it now, and it really was uncomfortable…, all this and more was running through my head as I found myself standing in front of my shower. Reaching over, I adjusted the temperature, and slid my boxers down before stepping in. After last night, what can I tell you…, total bliss.

With the water cascading off my lean body, I was deep in thought, over what I could do to make Carl feel more a part of this family. The only thing I could come up with each time, was actually adopting the kid…, maybe then he would feel it. I mean the boys and I have done everything else I could think of. It’s not like I thought that even for a minute, he didn’t like it here, or even that he thought he wasn’t welcome…, it’s just that sometimes I got that feeling, that he lacked a little belonging. God knows, his self-esteem takes a nose dive occasionally…, and to be fair, I can’t figure that out either. He has a beautiful boy that loves him, another that treats him more and more like a brother everyday…, and me…, I’d like to hope he knows how I feel about him. I was still in the process of rinsing off, with all this still running through my head, when I heard a knock at the door…

“Sorry Cam, I really don’t mean to bother you, but there was a package at the door when we got home yesterday…, you were so upset I guess you missed it…”

“It’s ok kiddo.” I said, as I popped my soapy head out the shower.

Carl was standing in the doorway, indeed holding a package. The suds were trickling into my eyes so I really couldn’t make out that much, but I could see the embarrassment once again on his face, as he realized he had caught me at an inopportune moment. My own fault really, being in close proximity to so many guys over the years has kinda negated my desire for privacy…, hence why I tended to often leave all my doors open as I went about my business. Should curtail that really, but as always…, old habits die hard. Pushing some soap out of my eyes, I looked over at him again and then down at the package…

“What kind is it?”

“Fedex…, pretty heavy…, you want me to leave it on the dresser?”

“Yeah that works, I’ll look at it when I get out…, it’s all set for this afternoon, can you tell the twins.”

“Sure…, um…, I’ll leave you alone now so you can finish.”

“Thanks kiddo…, I might take a little nap for an hour or two…, but Reggie should be over soon, and will probably take over the kitchen…, call me if you need anything ok?”

He nodded his head once and was gone…, a second later, still looking at the at where he had been standing, I heard my bedroom door close. I had to chuckle at that one…, I may not be overly modest, but at least someone is.

The suds were gone and the shower was over, so I stepped out and ran a towel over my body, then wrapped it round my waist. The first thing I did when I went back into my room, was check out that package. It was indeed Fedex, a box type, sealed…, ominous. Been a while since anyone had sent me that kind of thing, but with all the controls these days, I doubt it was dangerous. I pulled the seal tab and opened up, to be fair I was a little excited…, not quite Christmas morning excited, but excited all the same. When I lifted that lid, and saw for the first time what was inside…, it was like a long lost friend had come home. Sitting in plastic and wrapped in foam, was my .45 and the berretta that the Coast Guard had seized on that day way back when. There was a note attached from the lab techs…, didn’t say much more than I already knew…, I was there after all. But the biggest surprise was a short note, from the cutter’s skipper…

“Case closed son…, you’re in the clear. So I thought you might like to have these back…, I know what it’s like to lose a good tool, kinda like having your arm chopped off or something.

Good Hunting,

Bill Matheson.”

To be fair, that was like a decent weight off my mind. I hadn’t heard anything in all this time, so I did have it in the back of my mind, but it was good to finally put that one to bed. I looked them over, and there was a little extra wear…, it wasn’t that noticeable, but when you have been around these things as long as I have you tend to pick up on the small details. I decided to forgo the nap, and stepped into my closet, wanting to get these clean and put away first. In no time at all I had them both stripped down, cleaned and oiled. It felt a little odd doing this in nothing but a towel, but it did need to be done. Taking care of weapons, even in a safe state is never anything to do quickly, but I was surprised when I looked at my watch and found that it was almost three. I had only just put the Beretta back it’s place, but the job was done, so I rushed out to get dressed, though I did make sure to get the false wall back in place first, I don’t think that any of the boys would go snooping through my closet, but with what I have in there, in never pays to be too careful.

Having put on a pair of cut off fatigue pants, and an old but still serviceable Annapolis t-shirt, I was just lacing up a pair of sneakers when the boys yelled up to me that Caleb had arrived. So without any more time, I rushed down the stairs to the open front door where the boys were waiting. Stepping out onto the front porch, I saw a pretty plush people mover had pulled into the driveway. Caleb was already out, and was busy at the rear unpacking a few things, and Sam was somewhere buried in Corey’s arms, when her mother came around from the passenger side, followed by a boy that couldn’t be that much older than Sam. He was either very shy, or just very polite it seemed, as he didn’t stray to far from his mother. I was about to say something, when Caleb came over, carrying a cooler…

“Cam…, boys…, well…, you already know Sam…, but allow me to introduce my beautiful wife Cassie…, and that…,” Caleb said, as he indicated the boy that was almost hiding behind his mother. “Is my son  JJ.”

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Written by bigct/Octavius

March 21, 2010 at 14:03

6 Responses

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  1. Cool, My name is in a book. Thanks Octavis, thats so cool. I really like this story to. I have read it all now. I like all the people in it to. Wow my names in there, thats so cool. Lots of hugs, JJ

    JJ

    March 22, 2010 at 02:18

    • No worries little dude, glad you liked it.

      Ct/Octavius.

      bigct

      March 22, 2010 at 02:22

  2. Well Octavius got through with the old eye’s still in tact. really loved it – so well written – love the characters. The only other word I can think of is SPLENDID.
    There were some terrific moments that I was going to mention in this comment but they just kept comming and it was overflowing in my mind.
    Great story great read. Thanks heaps.
    Wonder if the new JJ is as as much of a gem as his real namesake.
    Regards Stef

    Stef

    March 24, 2010 at 03:51

    • I hope so, but that remains to be seen.

      CT/Octavius.

      bigct

      March 24, 2010 at 03:59

  3. have not stopped from Ch 1 Great May I quote you ! : “a consummate Storyteller” ~!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Beach

    June 9, 2011 at 17:31

    • ahh My comment of 11 months ago STANDS up High!!!!!

      Beach

      May 7, 2012 at 11:55


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