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Wing On Wing 2
By Charles E. Roy
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2010 Charles E. Roy
All right reserved.
Chapter OneMy wife Liz and I continued to live aboard Wing On, a forty-nine foot, teak, motor sailor, designed by Eldridge and McGuiness, and built in Hong Kong, at Peninsular Marina with our twins Randall and Corinna. Liz went back to work as a Planner for Harry Bloomingdale, who left his position as Planning Chief for City of Key West, to start his own planning consulting firm. I continued my work as an Architect, working out of my Office on Flagler Street. Liz and I decide together that two are enough children. We have reproduced ourselves, so to prevent, God Forbid, another pregnancy she begins taking The Pill.
The two of us spent the year following the birth of the twins, exhausted, what with my working full time, and caring for the two babies. At the beginning of her return to work, Liz took the infants with her to breast feed. When they were a bit older and graduated to a bottle she weaned them from her and left them on the boat with Samantha Edwards, a black woman recommended to us by Harry. My work prospered as the word got around, and I was very busy. Enough so, I was thinking of finishing off the back area as a drafting room and hiring someone full time to relieve me of the hours I was putting in.
By the time the two babies were four years old, they were toilet trained and real people who sat on pillows at the Oval table in the Main Cabin and slept in the upper and lower births opposite the table with lee cloths rigged. The two, alternate, being on the top bunk. Why? I never learned. I think it had something to do with sharing dominance. Very early on Ninna, that was what we called her, could not hear of anything Randall did, without wanting to try it also. Because Randall slept on top first, she wanted to try the top berth also. She particularly enjoyed the climb up the ladder I rigged.
At the age of two Liz introduced them to the pool at The Florida Keys Community College. The two took to the water like baby otters and learned to swim immediately. It was late in the day of Tuesday, this March, that I will never forget watching the two of them swimming the length of the pool for the first time and coming out dripping and ecstatic with smiles on their triumphant faces. "I did it Daddy, I swam the whole length of the pool!" says Randall.
"I did it too, Daddy. I swam it too!"
"You both did a terrific job. I am really proud of you both!" And I am. I do not have to worry about them falling in the water from Wing On where I have rigged a line that drops to the water. They have proved themselves capable in the water. I hug their dripping bodies. "Now go get dressed. Mom and I want to take you both to dinner as a treat. Where would you both like to go?"
"Matthesson's!" They both shout simultaneously.
"I want ice cream!" Says Ninna.
"Me too!" cries Randall.
"Okay. Go get your clothes and meet me and your Mother at the car." The car is a recent purchase. We traded in Liz's faithful Honda on a used, white, BMW X 5 with 30,520 miles when we bought it. Liz and I agonized about the purchase but in the end we decided a four door vehicle was necessary. The two door Honda was a pain to get the two babies once they were in diapers, in and out of the back seat. We cashed some of the Trust Fund for the twins and purchased the car, outright. Liz moved up to my Mini Cooper S and loves it.
I go to the other end of the pool where Liz is sitting, reading. "I told the twins we would treat them to a dinner out as a reward for their swimming prowess. They picked Matthesson's. The ice cream there is what they want."
"I don't blame them, the ice cream there is delicious," says Liz as she rises and gathers her book and puts it into her canvas bag.
"Here, let me carry the bag." I take the two straps in my left hand and begin walking to the parking area. Liz follows.
"Hey Big Guy," she says from behind me. "Don't I get a treat also?"
"Do you deserve one?"
"Well it has been quite a while since we spent the night in a wide double bed together."
"True, indeed. What do you suggest?"
"That, very soon, we ask Samantha to stay with the twins and we go somewhere and spend the night luxuriating in a large double bed."
"Here come the twins. Let's discuss this tonight. Okay?"
"Fine, with me. Hello my beautiful swimmers," says Liz through the open window, as Randall and Ninna approach the car. The two go to each side of the car and open the rear doors. Liz and I exit, and strap both in their separate car seats. We return and strap our own seatbelts.
"Here we go off to Matthesson's!" I say as I start the car and back out and drive out of the Campus.
* * *
I arrive at seven forty five that evening, at Bill Roger's house that he restored and renovated on Pecan Lane. Bill works for my former boss, Bill Baker. The house was floated over from the Bahamas in the eighteen eighties, and it was a wreck when it came on the market. Bill is handy with tools and he and his wife, Sheila, scrapped, and bought it. The renovations took more than two years to complete, as Bill did all the carpentry work him self. He added at the rear of the rather small house, a large open, wall less, living room and kitchen, with stairs to the new master bedroom above. They vacated their rental and moved in with their four boys. I am here to play poker. Bill is reading the New York Times when I enter the kitchen. Bill looks up over the paper.
"Hello, Robert. You are the first to arrive. Everyone is late tonight."
"Are you by your self tonight? Where are the boys and Sheila?"
"She is downtown at the Court House for the regular session of the Commissioner's. The boys are out and about."
I sit at the table under a slowly turning ceiling fan and open the aluminum box, containing the rows of neatly stacked, white, red and blue chips, and count out twenty dollars worth and place the money in the Kitty Box sitting there. I hear some scuffling and, I look to my left and see a dark form lumbering towards me. It is the Bird Man, Mark Halprin. He is what I would call a Renaissance Man. He writes a column every Sunday, in the Citizen about Birds, reads extensively, renovates the second property he owns, and works part time assisting the owner of a Bird Watching enterprise that arranges Tours for bird fanciers around the world. We greet each other.
Bill puts down the paper and joins us at the bottom end of the rectangular table. I push the Kitty and Chip Caddy towards him. They both take ten dollars worth in chips.
"Where are the others? Shall we deal a few hands of Texas Hold 'Em, while we wait?" I say.
* * *
The next morning I am working in my Office sketching a new design for a repeat client when the phone rings. I pick up the receiver and answer, "Cahill and Associates, Architects." I really need someone to answer the phone, I hate the interruptions of answering now that my practice is going so well.
"Robert, how are you?"
Good Christ! It is my first wife Susan Jameson, now Susan Sussman. I had not heard a word from her in years, but I recognize her voice.
"Susan!" I am flabbergasted! She is the last person in the world I would expect to call. "How are you," I stammer.
"I am fine and here in Key West on vacation with my husband, Ben, and child Sara, who is seven."
"Where are you staying?"
"We are staying as the Marquesa Hotel."
"Wonderful! That is a very nice hotel and the food there is one of the best."
"Ben and I would like you to come there and eat with us tomorrow."
"Can I bring my wife?"
"What is it?"
"My wife is called Liz. She bore me twins four years ago."
"You mean she had babies by your sperm?"
Susan hesitates as the news of my fatherhood sinks in. When we were married we tried desperately to have a child. I went to a Fertility Clinic and we tried everything with no pregnancy, resulting. Because I did not get her pregnant our relationship deteriorated and we divorced.
"Well, I want to meet her. You must bring her! How does seven sound to you?"
"We will be there."
When I hang up I immediately call Liz at work.
"To what do I deserve the pleasure of your call?"
"I just hung up on my ex-wife, Susan who is here in Key West vacationing with her husband and seven year old daughter."
"I am not kidding. She invited the two of us to dinner at the Marquesa tomorrow at seven o'clock."
"Why did she do that, I wonder?"
"She didn't say. She was surprised when I told her about our marriage and our babies, Randall and Ninna. My guess is that she had not heard about my marriage to you and was just calling me. She was really surprised."
"I will call Samantha and see if she can come and stay the night with the children. You find us a double bed somewhere."
* * *
I have some difficulty finding a parking space and steal a spot at Fausto's Food Emporium parking lot down the street from the corner restaurant. We stroll the short distance and enter the door facing the intersection of Southard and Fleming Streets. There is Susan sitting with a man, presumably it is Ben her husband. He rises as we approach the table. There are introductions all around and we sit. Ben has on a jacket with no tie. Susan is in a gray sheath and wears no jewelry. Liz is wearing her black dress and a single chocker of pearls. I mimic Ben in a jacket and no tie. When, we are settled, I ask the two, "Where is your daughter, won't she be dining with us?"
Susan answers, "She is in our room watching television. She does not need to hear what we have to say to you, Robert. We will order for her and have it sent to our room."
I wonder what is going on. I look quizzically at Liz. She looks puzzled also. The male waiter arrives.
"Can I get anyone a drink?"
"Does the Bar Tender use fresh squeezed orange juice in his drinks," I ask him.
"Then, my wife and I will have Mount Gay Rum and orange juice, heavy on the rum," I tell the waiter.
Ben says, "That sounds very refreshing. Please bring the same for my wife and me."
We sit in awkward silence. I notice Liz is looking at Susan when Susan is looking down or out the window at the passing scene. She is sizing her up. I can tell by her intent expression.
"So, Ben and Susan, why did you call me and why are Liz and I here this evening?"
"The trip here was my idea," says Susan.
"Susan felt you might be able to help us out of a difficulty we are in," says Ben.
"How is that? What difficulty?" I ask.
"I didn't know you had remarried. I knew you were here in Key West, so we traveled here to consult with you," says Susan.
"So what difficulty are you both in, Ben?"
Our waiter arrives with our drinks and interrupts my question. He places the drinks around the table and leaves.
"Are you in trouble?"
"Nothing like that. Are you familiar with the construction boom going on in the Eastern part of Long Island?"
"I've heard roomers to that effect."
"Well, in my law practice there, I have been fortunate to amass a certain amount of money. I invested it with a Developer, a former client of mine, to purchase fifty acres of farm land near Orient Point. I gave the man the front money to buy the property and that was the end of our relationship."
"Did he disappear with the front money?"
"No. He is around the area but I can't talk with him. I am dead to him. I've tried every subterfuge I can imagine. He ignores any possible contact."
"You gave him money without signing a contract?"
"He signed a contract alright."
Liz and Susan are quiet and listen.
"So, this Developer took your money and is ignoring you," I say.
"That's about the size of it," says Ben.
"How much money are we talking about," I ask.
"I, I mean we, invested our life savings, $352,000.00."
"You are a lawyer. Can't you take him to court or get a lien on his holdings?"
"I can't do that."
"The investment is money I kept from showing it as income with the IRS. I can't go public with the issue."
"You are in a fix then."
"That is why we came here to see you," says Susan.
"You know the construction business and perhaps can approach him and see what the possibilities are about getting some, or if not all the money, back for us," says Ben.
Chapter TwoThe reason Susan called me after all these years is now perfectly clear. She and Ben trusted a person who took their savings and ran, not away, but out of reach and insulated from the courts and police by the nature of the investment money. They are in a serious jamb. I really need to talk with Liz in private, to learn what she is thinking. I am pleased I made a reservation at the Sheraton Suites for the evening. I look at her across the table. Our eyes meet. I smile. She smiles back.
Our waiter approaches, "Can I bring another round, or are you ready to order Dinner?"
"We would like to order, please," says Susan. The waiter leaves and returns with large menus and hands them around to the women and then to Ben and I.
"Our special this evening is Prime Sirloin Rib Steak served with a pepper sauce. In the fish department, we offer Yellow Tail with a lemon glaze. I will return for your orders momentarily."
The four of us read the menu. Under Desserts, there is the ubiquitous Key Lime Pie, Flan and Tera Misue. I wonder about the Misue. I think I will finish off with that.
Out waiter arrives and fills our water glasses. "Now, what my I get you?"
"I see you have Prime Ground Round in the menu," says Susan. "I would like a small portion on a bun and French Fries or small potatoes sent to room Three as soon as possible. Our daughter is there watching Television. And, I will have the Yellow Tail."
"I will have the meat Special," says Liz.
"I will have the meat Special also," I chime in.
"I would like the meat also," says Ben.
"May I bring the wine list, Sir?"
"Please do so," says Ben.
He returns with the List, and hands it to Ben. "There is a Cabernet Sauvignon, that seems reasonable, and, a white wine for you Dear?"
"A glass of white wine for my lady and bring a bottle of the Cabernet with the meal."
"Certainly Sir. As you wish."
* * *
"So, tell us about your twins," says Susan as she spoon the last of her flan.
Liz and I start immediately to answer. I defer to her and she continues, "They are four years old and four months. They are not identical. But the two are very close and competitive. Every thing Randall does Corinna demands to try."
"Where do you live?" asks Ben.
"On a boat I own at a Peninsular Marina."
"Toddlers on a boat? Aren't you afraid they might fall into the water?" queries Susan.
"They are more than toddlers. Liz introduced them to the pool at the College here in town as soon as they could walk," I say. "And, just the other day they swam the length of the pool, some fifty meters. I do not worry anymore about them falling in the ocean."
"Would anyone care for a brandy?" asks Ben.
"I will have one," I say.
"Ladies?" They both shake their heads no. "Waiter! Please bring two snifters of brandy for my guest and me. The ladies are content."
"Robert, now that you know what has been going on in our lives up North, do you have anything that comes to your mind?"
"Very frankly, I want to sleep on it. I have an Office at 3255 Flagler Street Suite 305. Can you and Susan meet me and Liz there at 1230 tomorrow?"
Ben takes a pen from an inside pocket of his jacket and writes the address. "We will be there. I think we will have to bring our daughter. Is that alright with you? We can't leave her alone, and leave this Hotel."
"Is she computer literate? I have plenty of programs to occupy her."
"I could learn a thing or two from her. She spends most of her free time on our computer at home."
* * *
That evening, Liz and I check into our room at the Sheraton Suites. We are slightly full from our three hour meal and drinks with Ben and Susan.
"I am going to get naked and I am going to screw you to death on that huge wide bed!" She reaches behind her and un zips her black velvet dress and pulls it over her head. She kicks off her black pumps and peels out of her black string briefs. Now that she is not breast feeding, she seldom wears a brassier. She stands there naked dressed only with the pearls that glimmer in the dim of the room. She cocks her hip and says, "What the hell are you waiting for Big Guy? A Second Coming? That comes later! Get your ass naked!" and runs to the bathroom, and starts the shower.
Excerpted from Wing On Wing 2 by Charles E. Roy Copyright © 2010 by Charles E. Roy. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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