Dead Mann Installment #3
First things first find shelter. Where would he be coming ashore? How far had they been from The Cape? Coming back south from the job in Maine with the port call to get in a bit of sight seeing. They passed it earlier going out to beyond the 10-mile limit, dad wanted to stay clear of the NASA set limits. Richard tried to envision the charts and coastline in his head as he slowed his pace. Have to keep moving but need to make sure you can finish the race, steady pace he told himself don’t let the fear get the better of thinking. You can mourn when you get to shore when you find the nearest city when you find shelter. Florida the play land of the rich, of the big attractions and NASA he did not know that much about it. Just the travel folders and the smiling families with kids and parents and the family pet all in an RV heading for the vacation of the year. East and south of The Cape, was the Disney Complex, shores full of beach resorts and time share condos full of people you only saw once a year. The day was drifting toward mid afternoon, he paused to get another sight of shore. Grey line had gotten closer and had shapes he took a second longer look and decided they must be condos on the shoreline. When he got closer he wanted to stray away from them and come ashore without people high up being able to spy him swimming in form out here. In his case a bit of paranoia was going to help keep him alive just that much longer.
He scrolled through ways of blending in, besides being a wet bruised beach bum what other things could he be, single man looking for fun and frolic on the beach in a beautiful land filled with milk and honey, and tanned girls. Never having a problem with girls or women turning away as he walked by he had his father’s charming features and his mother’s cat like grace. Tinges of pain shot through his mind almost stopping his steady pace. Alone. He had to think of being alone. They taught him it could happen. They tried to teach him how to handle it to prepare for just this sort of thing. You can’t ever really prepare till it happens. He calmed his heart rate let the warm saltwater wash itself from his face. Find the warm glow of them in his mind and know they were safe where they were, finally safe. Go on gain back the pace you had lost he told himself push just a little harder to draw the pain into action. He wondered who would need a porch swept, a hedge trimmed, a smile offered and hand lent to help carry one extra bag of cement to a job site. Money was easy to make. You never had to be a beggar. Though if begging was called for tin cups were easy to get and easy to use and methods abounded on stirring people to give to the blind beggar who could quote Shakespeare ala Arthur Conan Doyle. Getting in touch with the secure contact lines of Uncle Carlos’s network, were another story. If he had been a target as well they might not be in place and Richard would have to puzzle out the dozen optional plans that might fall into place if such was the case. It would be better to come ashore in the later hours of evening but Richard should not stay out to long, though he knew he could. It was the middle of October the night would get cold fast and coming out of the water at night would be an additional hardship he should avoid if possible. He paused and pulled the life-ring in close and pulled up to look at the shore. Closer now he could see the gaps in the condos and the sun’s rays turning the western skies the banded red of night time clouds heading east. He would steer just a few second’s south and avoid the bulk of the buildings and hopefully come ashore on a public beach out of sight of any of them. Palm Bay was near here his mind clicked at charts he had looked at just minutes before leaving the bridge.
He was going to ask if they wanted to stop somewhere below Melbourne Beach for that night cap his mother had been joking about since the last stop. The condos should be the edges of that small town on the outer banks of the Intracoastal Waterway. Dozens of small towns dotted this coast both on the Waterway and on the Atlantic sand bars. He would be able to find a job, a place to live and blend into the world that he was thrown into like one more grain of sand on the beach. Of all this he was sure, it was the other things that would nag at him until he could get answers.
Another look at the beach told him the area he was headed for was pretty much empty. School was in session and the condos had older folks in them night was getting cooler and the sands would be his for the taking. His pace quickened as he thought of cool night air pulling the fatigue out of him and setting him on getting food and a nice drink of sweet water.
He felt the tug of the surf and the swells were lifting him up in a gentle crest as he got closer to the white sandy beach. The lights of some of the buildings were blinking now and he could hear the surf noise.
A trough pulled him down and he felt sand particles rush past him and knew it was soon just a few more laps and land fall. Then the bottom was a rush past him as he dunked his head to look. He paused to let his feet dangle and the bottom sand slide over his feet and soon he treaded out of the surf more tired than he thought he would feel but glad for it too.
He walked up out of the wet edges of the higher waves till he was on dry sand and thanked the forgetful beach-goers for leaving their towel right there on the sand. He sat down and with a deep sigh laid his head back on the life-ring still strapped to him and fell asleep.