As they drove toward the Marina, Linda was pleased, as Richard was beginning to look reasonably normal again after his confrontation with the spider. When they arrived he checked with the office for the slip number of the boat.
"That would be slip number nine," said the Marina manager pointing down the wooden walk toward the right. Linda followed Richard as he moved quickly. However when they arrived, the slip was empty, in fact most of the slips were empty.
Richard looked at the number. There was a number 9 on the sign painted in bright red. The only boat in the Marina was a large inboard-outboard thirty-eight footer cruising toward them slowly. James had told Richard that Mr. Yackamura had one of the largest personal boats on the ocean. He wondered how James could screw up like that.
As the two of them stood there thinking about what their next move might be, the thirty-eight footer pulled into slip #9. Two crewmembers wearing white dungarees, jumped to the wooden walk as the boat pulled up and docked. One of the crewmen walked up to Richard and asked,
"Yes," said Richard.
'Mr. Yackamura is waiting for you on the ship."
"Ship?" questioned Richard, nodding his head toward the thirty-eight foot speedboat.
"Oh no sir, this is just a transportation boat to the ship. The Great Mesmer is moored off shore about two miles out. It is a little too large to come into this port. Mr. Yackamura usually sends the helicopter however the mechanics are giving it a tune up. By law it must have one after a certain amount of hours in the air."
"I see," said Richard raising his eyebrows.
"If you and your companion will board the craft, we can depart for the ship."
Richard looked at Linda and nodded his head. Linda stepped on board right behind Richard and seated herself in a deck chair. A waiter came up to them an asked if they would like anything. Richard said,
"I'll have a Tequila Sunrise and the young lady will have a ... Strawberry Margarita, a "virgin" Strawberry Margarita.
"Thank you sir. I will be right back."
Linda looked at Richard, who frowned and tilted his head to one side. It was meant to be body language for no alcohol. She thought about how it had affected her and smiled back at him. Richard nodded once and smiled at her in return.
The boat could move only the posted five miles per hour in the Marina, but when it cleared the breakwater, the Captain opened it up. The boat was gliding over the calm water and was doing at least fifty. Someone could easily have water-skied behind it.
Linda felt the sea spray in her face, and the warmth of the sun on her skin, as she sipped her drink. She thought this would not be a hard thing to get used too. Linda had always loved the ocean, as long as she didn't have to be in it.
As the boat moved toward the open sea, Richard saw The Great Mesmer. Originally he had thought it was a NAVY destroyer, but now he saw it had no NAVY markings, and it was a medium blue-gray in color and not NAVY gray. As the boat pulled along side, Richard realized the ship was at least seven or eight stories tall. It could have been a NAVY destroyer after all. A door opened, allowing Richard and Linda to step of the small craft and into the ship.
A guide motioned them to follow him through a gangway to an elevator. The gangway revived old memories for Richard of his time as a NAVY Seal. The guide pushed an elevator button marked bridge, and they began to rise. As the elevator came to a stop, they exited and saw a short man of Japanese ancestry wearing a Captain's hat and a tuxedo, with Nike running shoes. He was seated in a large chair much like Admiral's chair on the bridge of an Aircraft Carrier. The chair was marked on the back with the faded words, LITTLE BOSS.
"Mr. Thompson, I bid you and your lovely companion welcome to my home. Did you like my elevator? I'm old and not used to climbing ladders, so I had it installed to my specifications."
The man easily in his sixties spoke with a strong Oxford educated, English accent.
"Mr. Yakmura," said Richard, "I am pleased to introduce you to my ... companion Miss. Linda Peterson."
"Pleased to make your acquaintance, Miss. Peterson, please be seated," he said, "we will be underway soon."
"Underway?" questioned Richard.
"Yes! I had a craving for a lobster dinner and they have some nice ones in a little town just south of Rosearita Beach, called Puerto Nuevo. Some of them are seven pounds. In the interim the chefs have laid out a nice buffet for brunch in the small dinning room. There are fruits, salads, sandwiches, a few different entries, several desserts and anything you may wish to drink.
We have a very nice wine cellar with many vintage wines. The brunch waiter will give you a wine list. I recommend the 1957 California Cabernet Sauvignon. That was an award-winning year, and we have a very nice store of it. I believe there are only several hundred bottles left. I hope you will try it. It is almost impossible to find anywhere else. I will join you shortly."
The man snapped his fingers and spoke to the guide in Japanese. Quickly the guide opened the door and led the couple down another gangway to a steel door. It opened into a very large room about the size of a restaurant, which looked to be at least four stars, thought Linda.
"Do you wish to fend for yourself or would you prefer that the waiter can fix you a plate. We have menus which were printed just for this occasion."
"That's fine we can just graze." said Linda with a giggle which was reminiscent of an eight year old. She was having a hard time taking everything in. Never would she have believed in her life that anything like this would ever happened to her.
Linda looked around the room and saw what appeared to be original paintings by such masters as Degas, Henri Matisse, Paul Gauguin, and a Toulouse-Lautrec lithograph not including several beautiful sculptures. They were in excellent condition, and they all looked as though they had been painted or carved recently, or at least restored by a team of professionals.
When she saw a painting by the famous English Artist, Sir Joshua Reynolds, who had been one of the founders and the first President of the Royal Academy of England, and had been knighted by King George III, himself, she decided that they all must be copies, as she knew that the original Reynolds was in the National Gallery in Washington DC, on extended loan from the British Crown.
Linda was pleased that her minor in Art History had finely been useful. As they were at the buffet picking items for brunch, she pointed to the walls and told Richard of the artwork. He just nodded his head and continued his search for sustenance. Apparently he was hungry, after their night of almost continual lovemaking. She pointed to the oysters and said,
"Eat lots of raw oysters. They are good for the libido and will help the hulk."
"Uuugh, I don't like oysters. They look like buggers," said Richard shaking his head.
However Linda loved raw oysters as she believed they had more the flavor and consistency of sperm, especially Richards sperm. Mmmmm. When she piled several of them on her plate, Richard narrowed his eyes and looked her.
"What?" she asked, "I love them. It's a girl thing."
Richard arched his eyebrows, and then placed a slice of rump roast on his plate. Linda giggled to herself, with the knowledge that he wouldn't eat oysters, however he didn't mind chomping on a piece of a cow's butt. To each his own she thought. Yesterday it was Hot Dogs and Sodas; today it's a buffet and vintage wine fit for Kings. Being with Richard was anything but dull.
In the center of the room, there was a large black lacquered table, constructed entirely out of Teak wood. It was at least thirty feet long and probably seated at about twenty people comfortably. Two large candelabra were placed toward each end of the table however their candles were not lit.
Linda walked along the table looking for a place to sit, and was having a difficult time deciding, when one of the waiters stated,
"Please sit here miss,” as he pulled a chair out for her. “You may begin; Mr. Yackamura will be along soon. May I pour you some wine? Mr. Yackamura had me bring up a very good 1957 vintage; that he believes may please your palates."
"Thank you," said Richard and Linda simultaneously.
The waiter poured a small amount into Linda's glass and stepped back watching her. She held it up looking at Richard, questioning the tiny amount. Richard nodded his head and said,
"Sniff it first, and then taste it baby ... swish it around in your mouth."
Linda did as instructed placing the fine crystal glass to her lips, and then taking a small amount of the wine into her mouth. The flavor of the wine was nothing like she had ever tasted before. It was like the combination of delicious fruits, yet it almost exploded moving to ever part of her mouth.
After the waiter filled her, glass he began to pour a small amount into Richard's glass. Richard was holding it up to the light when Mr. Yackamura walked into the room. Swirling it around in the glass, he checked the color, and said,
"It has good legs." and then he sniffed it and waited for a few seconds, "and a raisiny aroma."
Richard took a tiny sip and swished it around in his mouth.
"Full bodied; an excenlent bouquet; it has good depth also; it is balanced and has a very nice finish."
"You are a true connoisseur, Mr. Thompson."
"Not really, I have a book called 'Wine Tasting for Dummys'."
Yackamura laughed, then looked at the waiter with the wine and nodded. One waiter was at his side when he seated himself at the head of the table, while two others were at the buffet, placing food on two plates. Yackamura followed the same ritual as Richard had done and said,
"I agree. A very fine vintage."
Yackamura, motioned to a man standing by the door. He walked over to him and Yakamyra whispered something into his ear. The man left the room and as he was leaving, four young girls came in all laughing and giggling.
If any of them was eighteen, thought Linda she would be very surprised. Two of the girls were wearing traditional navy blue, very short schoolgirl high school uniforms, and long white stockings, which were bunched at the ankles. When they bent over just a little, their panties really brightened up the room. One was wearing a bikini, which was in Linda's opinion, almost superfluous. The other one had on some short shorts and a tank top.
These are my interns Mr. Thompson. I won't bother with their names as none of them speak English anyway. Except for Kiko they have all been schooled in the five international languages."
The girls all smiled at Richard, but didn't even glance in Linda's direction. Then went over and hovered around the buffet table scooping up large quintiles food.
"Your interns appear to be quite young," said Richard, with a small knowing smile.
"Yes," however they are all over eighteen, even Kiko, the girl in the shorts an tank top. Her birthday is today and she is just eighteen. She had been on my staff since she was fifteen. I was planning to give her a special birthday party this afternoon, then a very special gift this evening unless ... you would like to give it to her? Have you ever had a genuine virgin before Mr. Thompson?”
"Yes, however I was very young and didn't appreciate it at the time. They is nothing like age to teach one about the finer things in life."
"I agree wholeheartedly, Mr. Thompson. Are you interested?"
"I thank you for your generous offer, however Miss. Peterson and I have an understanding, and I believe taking you up on your offer might place that understanding in jeopardy. But thank you just the same."
"Strange thing, Mr. Thompson but you seem to be quite different than the way your are portrayed in your dossier. I would have bet my ship that you would have taken me up on the offer. Mr. Thompson would you mind if we call each other by our first names?"
"No not at all. Please feel free."
"You may call me Miles ... and I will call you ... Richard. Now Richard; I would like to get something very clear."
Richard froze and was for the first time in his life really stunned and had no idea of what to say. He asked,
"Richard?" not looking at the man, knowing he had been busted.
Yackamura, held his hand up and snapped his fingers. The man he had whispered to earlier, walked over and placed a file in his hand, then left the room.
Yackamura placed a pair of reading glasses on his nose and opened the file.
"Let me see now, October 14, 1964. Twin male babies were born alive to Richard and Sheila Thompson at Cincinnati General Hospital. The boys grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, attended Woodrow Wilson Elementary School, and then went on to West Cincinnati High School where they both excelled Scholastic. Richard jr. was Captain and Quarterback of the Varsity football team, and led them to a city championship. They attended college where both excelled academically. Richard played on the football team there also.
James won a science award as a freshman, which was a record in its own right. After college James married Dora Middlebrook, however they were divorced three years later. Richard joined the NAVY as an Ensign and two years later became a NAVY Seal, equal in stature to the Army's Green Berets and Rangers.
James later started his own business in California, "Westcom Inc." and Richard fought in the first Gulf war, which was known as "Desert Storm". He was awarded the Purple Heart and the Silver Star for bravery above and beyond the call of duty, when after receiving a serious wound to the chest during a firefight, he carried two of his teammates who had also been seriously wounded back to an aid station.
After Desert Storm Richard obtained his teaching credential, and is now a Professor of World History at California State University Long Beach in California. He resides in a Condo in Belmont Shores, and is dating a student. One Miss Linda Peterson."
Yackamura set the folder on the table and asked, "Have I left anything out Richard?"
"Shoe size?" Richard stated in jest.
"Size Thirteen." said Yackamura, with a straight face.
Linda sat there dumfounded wondering how they knew who she was, and how they knew that she and Richard were dating. Then it dawned on her; of course they just ran her record when they found out her name. Nobody else would know, she and Richard just barley knew.
Tell me Richard, why did your brother develop this subterfuge, if he couldn't come we could have met at another time. I can't see where sending you in his place could profit him.
"Mr. Yackamura ........."
"Miles ... You can call me Miles."
"Miles, I sincerely hope you can forgive my brother for what he did. Actually he told me he had two reasons. One was he felt I might make a better impression, as he has gained quite a bit of weight recently. Two he has a new girlfriend who has been pressuring him to go to Cabo San Lucas for a week. On occasion he tends to think with his little ... well I'm sure you know, being the man of the world that you are."
"I understand completely," said Miles looking in the direction of the four giggling girls. I have interests other than business also. What was it your "Jesus Christ" said, "Man doth not live by bread alone." "Yes that was from Deuteronomy chapter eight, I believe," said Richard.
"That's correct ... Verse 3," said Miles. "Although your brother underestimated me much like the French underestimated the English at Agi.........."
"Yes ... Agincourt ... for a moment I had forgotten you are a World History teacher. As I was saying, although James underestimated me, I think you and I have much more in common anyway, so I will give his company another chance, provided ..."
"Provided?" asked Richard.
"I have no involvement with him or any of his other representatives."
"I don't understand Miles how will ..."
"With you Richard ... I will only deal with you. Now if James can live with that, we have a deal."
"I guess I can talk to him, but ..."
"Don't talk to him Richard, tell him the deal hangs on you being his representative for my business. I have a multi Billion-dollar Corporation and several million a year will go into his bank account. I'm sure he will go along with it. In the mean time I want you to spend a few days on the ship with me. Do you play chess?"
"Not for some time ... I'm afraid I'm a little rusty. The thing is Miles my car is at the Marina, all of our clothes are at the hotel, and I have classes tomorrow."
"That won't be a problem; Dean Richards won't mind I'm sure. I know that he appreciated Miles hall and Miles Auditorium. He sends me a Christmas card every year. I'll give him a call at home, and have Miss. Peterson excused also."
"Miles snapped his fingers again. The man who handed him the dossier, stood by his side.
"I want Mr. Thompson's car loaded on a flatbed truck and taken to his home in Belmont Shores. I want you to go along with it have it washed, waxed and detailed, and I don't want so much as a scratch on it. I also want his clothes and the clothes, and any personal effects belonging to Miss. Peterson to be picked up and transported to the ship. Is all of that clear?"
"Yes sir!" the man answered as an Army private would answer a top sergeant.
"Richard, please go with Mr. Morgan here, give him the keys to your vehicle and garage and any details he may require. Do you like my ship Miss. Peterson?"
"Yes ... Miles. It looks ... military somehow."
"Yes it is. I bought it from your government, when it was about to be scrapped and sunk. It was in the Korean War, then in dry dock for many years. Of course they took all the armament off so I would not be able to begin my own little war. I had it completely redesigned to fit my personality.
There are twelve large staterooms, an indoor fresh water swimming pool, a movie theater; and not including the galley staff, a crew of twenty that includes a medical staff. If you wish anything just call the kitchen and they will bring it to your stateroom twenty-four hours a day. It is really a fun little boat." He said with a little giggle.
"It seems very big," said Linda.
The length is 340' ; almost a 36' beam. It runs 12' into the water and will cruise upwards of almost 36 knots, about forty–eight miles per hour. We can cruise over six thousand miles without stopping, at fifteen miles per hour. Not bad for a ship that is sixty years old.
"No not bad at all," said Linda. "I especially like your copies of the paintings and busts. They are very well done."
"That is probably because they are all originals. I won’t have copies."
"But the painting by Sir Joshua Reynolds, must be a copy, as the original is hanging in the National Gallery in Washington DC."
"I'm afraid that the one in the National Gallery is a copy. This is the original. My family has had it for years. Shhhhhhh but don't tell anyone. It is a secret," said Miles smiling.
She and the older man walked along the deck as Richard and Mr. Morgan walked behind them, making arrangements for their stay onboard, and the procurement of his Porsche and their clothes. The ship was now moving fast and Linda looked to the left at the shoreline as they entered Mexican waters. She thought it again, that being with Richard was never dull.