Authors: Jason Deyo
Without the people mentioned below my book would have never became a reality.
Mrs. Doris Deyo
Mrs. Linda Taylor
Mr. Charlie Phelan
all of your constructive criticism and editing.
Mr. C.J. Love of
www.clove2design.com for designing the cover and putting my vision on paper.
a special thank you to my father Robert Deyo (Author of Moon Dancer) for supporting me no matter how twisted and disturbed my imagination got.
This book is dedicat
ed to my loving wife and very creative son.
Best of Friends
“You’re not Puerto Rican.”
Eric said as he picked up a buoy scraper.
“I’m probably the only Puerto Rican you know.” Rod responded slightly offended. He pulled one of the scrappers from a large blue plastic trash can and shook the end of the pole to determine if this was the scraper he was going to use. On the end of the pole was a piece that resembled a thick putty knife and this one was loose, so he grabbed another from the bin.
The smell of dead fish, crabs and rotting sea urchins filled the thick hot humid air, as they fried on the buoy deck of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Maria Bray. June was miserable in Jacksonville Florida and the worst place anyone could be is on the metal frying pan called the buoy deck of a buoy tender. The crew on the buoy deck, most under the age of twenty, wearing blue coveralls and an orange reflective life preserver were covered in sweat mixed with the crud that covered the buoy, chained to the deck.
, my step fathers, sister’s, boyfriend, Negro is Puerto Rican. He’s Puerto Rican you’re not Puerto Rican.”
“You lie.” Rod paused for a second, “What makes him more Puerto Rican than me?”
“He’s Puerto Rican and you’re not. I didn’t say he’s more Puerto Rican.”
“Why is he Puerto Rican and I’m not?” Rodriguez began to scrape the side of the green rusting buoy while some of the more senior Deckies climbed to the top of the cage to change out the lights and solar panels. The buoy was larger than anyone on deck and Eric walked around and began scraping the other side. With every scrape of the buoy, sea urchins, crustaceans and barnacles fell to the sizzling metal deck.
“Because he is bad ass,” Another scrape, “And he has an awesome accent.”
“I assume he’s
Eric nodded behind the buoy, “Your point.”
“Yeah, negro means black in Spanish.”
“I was very confused growing up.” Eric said.
Rodriguez couldn’t help, but laugh. “You know this is not what I signed up for.” Rod grunted as he scraped the buoy critters over the green buoy and into Eric’s face.
Smiling, Eric clenched his lips tight, but some of the foul black sea mixture managed to fall into his mouth. Finding the last half way decent spot on his sleeve he wiped his face clean. He finished scraping the side of the buoy to his standards, which wasn’t to the standard of many of the other Deckies, but he was a machinist and cared little for working on buoys. A strange black and white crab made a desperate run across the hot deck as Eric reached down and grabbed hold of it very gently from behind with his thick leather gloves.
Rod had more pride in his workmanship, and was not quite done his side. He was very much aware that he was not going to get away with throwing crud into Eric’s face, and watched as his shipmate licked his lips. To him that was code for I’m going to get you back.
“Yeah the guard I signed up for showed Coasties kicking in doors and drowning Cubans.” Eric said trying to get a rise out of him.
They had arrived at the cutter around the same time and became the best of friends almost immediately. Eric stood five foot nine and had a stocky build. Before he joined the Coast Guard he was an amateur body builder and an Olympic wrestlin
hopeful. He joined for the excitement of the military life, but didn’t like the thought of being shot at for a living, so he joined the Coast Guard. Weighing close to two hundred pounds he was always the first to answer any physical confrontation.
“Help me grab this chain.” Rod said as he stood his scraper up in the trash can.
Eric followed not saying a word and followed his lead, tossing his scraper into the bin. Rod kicked over one of the chain links that was about the size of a football and pulled it with a chain hook. “I’ll pull it out if you can drag it to the other side.”
“Yup,” Eric said with a grin. As Rod bent over, Eric dropped the mysterious crab into the pocket oh his baggy blue coveralls where he kept his cigarettes.
“I can’t wait to get home and make love to Julie.” Rodriquez licked his lips at Eric, just to drive in the insult of having buoy crud thrown in his face.
“Me too,” the response was quick. “I mean goin home and makin love to Julie.”
Rod drove a hard punch to Eric’s shoulder, but the punch was greeted with a laugh. Rodriquez was almost five foot five, has a permanent dark tan and weighed all of one hundred and forty pounds. He wears his short black hair greased back and has a strong Puerto Rican heritage and upbringing. Family was number one to Rodriquez and he reminded Eric often about how important family is to the Puerto Rican people. His wife’s name is Julie, a beautiful heavy set, blond haired woman that weights twice as much as Rod and is the type of woman who would do anything for anyone at the drop of the hat. Eric could not think of any other woman that would be better suited for Rod.
Julie has a son named Drew from a previous relationship, but Rod treated Drew as if he were his own. As of now Drew was their only child, but they were working on another. If there were ever two people that should have multiple children, they were it.
After the buoy was placed in the water, the deck crew stopped to take a break. “So who are you hooking up with this weekend?” Rod said snidely.
Knowing Rodriquez was about to jump on one of his long winded family tirades again; Eric quickly derailed the conversation. “Depends on who Julies bringin home,” thinking that would steer the conversation somewhere other than his family or Puerto Rican family life.
“Being a father and husband are the two greatest things that has ever happened to me.” He saw the men rolling their eyes as they rested on a scuttle. “You all just don’t know.” With that he reached deep into his pocket for a cigarette, screamed and pulled out a crab that was latched on to his right hand with both claws.
The men laughed, Eric rolled hysterically and then was called to the bridge.
Later that night Eric and Rodriquez sat on Rod’s uncomfortable blue couch. It was the type of couch that sits in hotel rooms that is really there for decoration and not intended for actual use. The stuffing that filled the cushions consisted of a piece of carpet padding and a blue, almost denim, cloth material. They sat watching the latest available movie from Red Box and Eric migrated to the floor, figuring the carpet was better suited for sitting.
Half way through the movie the front door’s knob shifted and then was thrown open. It was Julie coming home from work and obviously in a foul mood. “Hey babe I didn’t expect you home, so early.” Rod said as he paused the movie and greeted her. “Good day?” He walked up to her six foot tall massive body that shadowed over Rodriquez.
“Anything but,” Julie looked irritated and beads of sweat rolled down her forehead. She had to bend over to wrap her large arms around Rod’s small upper body and gave him a quick uncomfortable hug. In obvious discomfort she pulled the scrunchie from her long blond hair, releasing her pony tail and briefly relieving some stress as the hair stopped pulling at her scalp. She wore the classic nurses outfit, blue scrubs with white tennis shoes. On her scrubs, just above her right breast looked as if she had spilled some wine or something red on it. “Babe, I really need to take a shower and just lay down for a bit.”
“Ok you hungry? I could go for some Pizza Pizza right now?” He said as he skipped backwards in front of her. Pizza Pizza is their favorite Italian restaurant they order from (some would say entirely too often).
From down the hallway Rod’s step son Drew hollered through his closed bed room door. “I could go for some Pizza Pizza!”
Eric watched and pictured Rod as a little puppy begging for attention from it’s master. It didn’t matter what type of attention it was just as long as he was attended to. Eric laughed at that thought and was about to say hello, when Julie bellowed out, “God Rod, get out of my face already.”
Rod shrunk back with that warning, and stood to the side as she stomped past him. When she closed the door to the bathroom Rod’s eyes got big and he whispered to Eric, “I’m still getting Pizza Pizza.” Both of them laughed under their breath. The bath room door opened up again and Julie came out wearing a black short sleeve shirt and some very short blue shorts. It looked as if she just stepped out of the shower, but the water never ran. She came back and hugged Rodriquez. “Sorry, I just need to lay down.”
“What happened to your arm?” He took her right hand and twisted it slightly revealing a deep gash and a few light scratches on the back of her forearm.
“This guy scratched me today. He was acting all kinds of bat shit crazy and puking everywhere. We actually had to restrain him and tie him to his bed.”
“Did he puke on you?” Rod said, then made a grimace on his face referring to the stain on her scrubs.
Julie seeing the grimace was not at all amused. “No, some other guy did. I cleaned the scratches; it should be ok.” She started to switch stances and Rod knew she was getting angry. Sweat was dripping from her face and body. Her clothes clung to her body from the amount of perspiration she was producing. “There were a couple people that came in the emergency room the same way.”
“Why don’t you take a shower?” He rubbed her large right shoulder, “and I’ll order some food.”
“I told you I wasn’t hungry!” She barked and Rod prepared to duck an incoming blow. The punch never came, but Julie scowled as if she was going to hurt him. After the burst she turned and went into their room.
“Looks like you’re sleeping on the floor.” Eric showed half a smiled, but he did not receive the same message from Rod.
“Man, I’ve never seen her like this.” Rodriquez said as he walked to the balcony that overlooked a pond in the back of the third floor apartment. Eric followed and pulled out a pack of cigarettes. “Something’s wrong with her.” Rod pondered his statement.
He offered the pack to Rod and he took one from the pack. Lighting Rods smoke, Eric answered his question, “Must have been a real bad day,”
“Real bad.” The two of them sat on the balcony and listened to the commotion on the street that was blocked by trees on the other side of the pond. The sound of brakes and speeding cars filled the streets on the other side of the pond. This was not uncommon for a Friday, but it is eleven at night on a Thursday.
The sound of knocking on the front door broke the silence. Rod inhaled deeply then flicked the cigarette into the still water of the pond. Leaving Eric on the balcony to finish his smoke
, Rod opened the front door. His next door neighbor, Dave stood on the other side.
Dave was a funny guy that didn’t take life too seriously. He was nineteen and relatively new to the Navy, but was very comfortable in his current position. He grew up in a small town in New Mexico and swore he would never go back. He stood about six foot tall with a very slim build and long hair that was naturally bunched on the top of his head. It was considered to be too long for a person in the military, but he managed to grease it down when he decided to play sailor.
He must have been sleeping because normally he would be over Rod’s place drinking or they would be over his place partying. “You have to see this.” He mentioned to the front of the complex.
They lived on the third floor of the apartment complex and were happy with where they were, but everyone was jealous of Dave’s spot. His apartment over looked the complex’s pool.
Looking over the railing of the balcony that connected the two apartment’s front doors, they could see the entire parking lot. Under the beam of light from one of the street lights was a group of people kneeling over something. They looked as if they were picking at or digging through whatever it was.