windblown palm trees on a grey and stormy beach

Adventures of a Modern Pirate: July 2020

I’ll never forget it. 

The first crack of lightning ended the snoring, resurrecting my uncle from his slumber and into instant alertness. He glanced out at the approaching storm and froze as if something from the deepest part of his skull had come back to haunt him. In a trice, rain appeared, pelting us with stinging droplets. I glanced out to see what he was looking at and saw large black swells far out on the horizon and waves crashing along the shoreline. It was intimidating! I half expected to see the captain of the Columbia and his crew come walking out of the surf through a deluge from the heavens. 

My uncle fell back into his sleeping bag as if he had made peace with whatever haunted him. He huffed and puffed and fell fast asleep. I shook my head in disbelief and wondered if I would survive the night. 

The collision of waves against the beach rose to a crescendo unlike nothing I had ever heard before. It was almost deafening and the ground shuddered with the concussion of the crashing waves. I was officially scared!

Not wanting to get sand inside my sleeping bag, I crawled like a caterpillar to the nearest palm tree and nestled myself against it, hoping I could find enough comfort to sleep. I could not. 

Moistness started to crawl its way inside my sleeping bag, bringing with it the first chill of the night. So much for waterproof! I reminded myself how brutal Mother Nature was, and trying to get some shuteye surrounded by capricious ocean was not in the cards.

I was not feeling yo-ho-ho-ish. 

So there I was, stuck in a lush tropical paradise with no modern amenities to help take away the sting of the rain. I thought of the warm comforts of home. I thought of the hospitality of those who entertained us along the way. I thought of a hot breakfast and coffee. 

I thought of Julie’s warm smile and those affectionate eyes. I thought more and more of her, the woman who made me feel queasy on the seaplane. I felt like Humphrey Bogart in “To Have and Have Not.” So close, yet so far. It was all I could do to keep myself from thinking about the deluge I was simmering in. I thought about her until the rainy misery faded and sleep embraced me. I let go and I slipped away. 

Gotta get back to my coconut concoctions . . .

This column is part of an ongoing story of tales from the past that continues each month. Read Josh’s previous columns here:

To read more about Josh’s new novel, click here!

Joshua MacLeod is a NSB local and a Florida native. He is the author of Savage Tango and Chasing Latitudes. He lives with his dogs, Durango, Higgins and Oscar.

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