Dave (everybody called him Shark Boy) had just found himself pulled into a full body clutch by the stark-naked, suntan-lotion-covered arms of Miss Lillie, when he was suddenly shocked back into the real world by the sound of the hatch cover sliding open, and looked over to see his mother’s head pop up out of the hatch. But even then he was only half as shocked as Jini his mother. It was the first time that she had ever caught her son in a compromising position, and her eyes narrowed like an angry wildcat’s as she screamed at the top of her lungs, “What the hell are you doing!”
Lillie yanked herself off Dave and scrambled to cover herself as Jini scrambled up on deck and headed toward her in an overpowering rage. Dave, locked in a frozen, stunned silence, could only gape as his mother called Lillie a skank, a skeezer, a slut, a street-walker, and a two-bit trollop.
Dave couldn’t help himself, and thought silently inside his head, “Trollop? I’ve never heard anybody actually use that word before, outside of a book.”
Jini told Lillie, “I normally turn a blind eye to my client’s peccadillos when we are out away from land, but I draw the line when it comes to my 15-year-old son. He’s off limits!”
“I’m so sorry,” said Lillie in her best Southern drawl, “But you’re the one who gave little ol’ me all of that evil alcohol, and it so lowered my inhibitions that I completely forgot myself. When I awoke and saw the glistening water dripping from Enzo’s hard, wet, body, I was overcome by desire—I swear, I just couldn’t help myself.”
“Don’t feed me that baloney,” said Jini, “you’re a sexual predator. And his name’s Dave, not Enzo. And your name’s Darlene, not ‘Miss Lillie,’ and you’re Big Jesse’s girlfriend, and he’s the one who brought you here to the islands!”
“Why of all the nerve,” said Lillie, “since you feel that way you need not expect a tip from me.”
Jini ordered Dave to pull anchor and snapped at him, “Take us home and then take this bimbo ashore before I feed her to the fishes.”
Dave experienced a host of odd feelings, including guilt and shame over his first—well almost—sexual encounter. Jini went back below and mixed herself a stiff drink, Lillie confined herself to the foredeck, and Dave sailed straight back to Cruz Bay. The silence was deafening. No more words were spoken until Lillie was gathering up her belongings, when Jini delivered her final warning: “Keep your claws out of my son, or you’ll end up in a chum bucket!”
Lillie clambered down into the dinghy, and Dave climbed in and steered it toward the public dock, keeping his mouth firmly shut. But just before she got out, Lillie smiled and purred in her southern drawl, “The longer we wait the sweeter the fruit—you’re such a sweet, handsome boy.”
After dropping Lillie off, Dave spun around and headed towards the Flying Circus to tell his dad, the Captain, what had just happened. As Dave fastened the little dinghy to his father’s boat, he shouted out, “Ahoy Pop, you won’t believe what happened!”
“Don’t tell me, let me guess,” his father said, seeing the boy’s face still flushed red. “That young island girl who’s been sailing nude around the Circus every day found you. She has her eye on you now?”
“No, no, Pop,” Dave said, “It wasn’t the island girl I was with, it was Lillie at Blunder Rock!”
“Who’s Lillie?” the Captain asked curiously.
“Lillie is Darlene, Jesse’s girlfriend from Lexington, Kentucky,” explained Dave, “but Mom caught us before anything happened and she blew a gasket—Mom threatened to kill Lillie.”
“Son,” said the Captain, more worried about Jesse’s reaction than Dave’s mother’s threats, “there’s surefire ways to get shot, and one of them is fooling around with another man’s wife or girlfriend. Jesse’s not a man to be trifled with that way.”
“I know that, Pop,” Dave blurted out, “but it was all Lillie’s idea. She asked me to rub suntan lotion on her, and before I knew it one thing led to another, and if Mom hadn’t caught us, it would’ve happened before I knew what was going on.”
“It takes two to tango,” his Dad growled. “And where does this name ‘Lillie’ come from? Her name’s Darlene.” But before Dave could finish his story, they heard the thunder of four powerful engines pull up alongside the Flying Circus, and the voice of the dangerous and not-to-be-trifled-with Jesse himself rang out:
“Ahoy Shark Boy, come on, let’s go to Lovango so you can show me where to excavate.”
Dave noticed two cases of dynamite, detonator caps, a ground penetrating radar system, a large roll of yellow tape, metal stakes and an assortment of picks and shovels secured in the bottom of Jesse’s powerboat. Dave climbed aboard, the four engines blasted away with an eardrum-shattering roar, and off they went to Lovango.
Dave quickly explained, in a worried voice, what he had heard at the West End Yacht Club—people already gossiping about Big Jesse having obtained a warrant from the sheriff on St. John to search for human remains on Lovango. Jesse didn’t seem at all concerned about the gossip however. Instead, he mentioned to Dave how he was concerned about the sorrowful look on his new girlfriend Darlene’s face after she returned from her sailing trip.
“What happened out there on the water today?” asked Jesse.
“Well,” said Dave, “I think Mom over-served Darlene and she drank too much alcohol. When I dropped her off at the dock this afternoon she looked pretty green around the gills.”
“That figures,” scoffed Jesse. “She’s not much of a drinker, and she gets seasick if the ocean isn’t totally flat!”
The two of them docked at Lovango, and with yellow tape and metal stakes in hand they began their ascent up the path towards Santana’s old shack. Dave took the lead because if Santana’s old terrier sounded the alarm, then the bigger dogs, the Australian sheep dogs, would come running up and tear them to pieces.
The monk’s dogs and the girls had been the undoing of the three-fingered Japanese cook. He was only halfway up the hill before Arf (the old terrier) attacked him and nearly gnawed through his Achilles tendon, while the sheep dogs shredded his kimono. And to make matters worse, the monk had taught the girls how to use the shepherd’s traditional slingshot, so while the dogs mauled the cook with their teeth, the girls pelted him with fist-sized rocks hurled by stout leather straps. If the monk hadn’t arrived in time to call them all off—the dogs and the girls too—it would’ve been the Japanese cook’s last trip up that path.
“I feel sorry for the cook,” said Jesse. “He was between a rock and a hard place. If he didn’t get the girls back, or a cash settlement to replace them, the Yakuza were demanding another one of his fingers. And of course, that’s exactly what ended up happening—now the poor devil only has two fingers left on his left hand.” To be continued.