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Two married passengers hook up on the high seas.
After all, we're in the Caribbean." He held his glass up to Rick in a toast, and they clinked bottles.
"Never heard of mine, either, but I like the name. Hard to beat 'Scuba Tank.' " Rick gazed at the label. "They have a couple things wrong in the picture, but I never drink when I'm diving anyway."
Mr. Janks reflected a moment. "So. How did you get into scuba? If I'm not being too nosy."
"No, not at all. I enlisted in the navy when I was a kid, and learned everything I know there. I think we spent more time underwater than on the surface. New Zealand isn't exactly a war power; mainly we did research and countered drug traffic. Tried to counter it." Rick shook his head.
"Tell me about your tattoos, if that's not too nosy."
Rick chuckled. "Most people are afraid to ask, but I appreciate the chance to talk about them. See this here on my cheek? That's my father's family, and the other cheek is my mother's. Most of the rest is teenage rebelliousness and exaggerated conquests.
In spite of his nervousness, Mr. Janks studied the marks.
"I did get one for my navy and scuba prowess. By then, I didn't have a lot of real estate left, so I can't show you that one." He gave a self-deprecating grin.
That made them both laugh, and they ordered another round.
"I was kind of young and rebellious when I started, and my parents did not approve. They were pretty Anglicized. But my grandfather did. He's thoroughly native. Was." Rick looked down. "Died not long after I enlisted."
"Sorry to hear that."
"It's okay. Eventually happens to everyone. So far." He changed the subject. "So what about you? How did you end up with a daughter in the Caribbean?"
Mr. Janks sat back and sighed. Went to college, met my wife, and got a job as an accountant for a big investment firm. Bean counter."
Rick nodded. He had heard the term.
"Nine to five, same office, every day for years. Pretty routine. Had it all planned out, figured Karen'd go to Alabama State or something, but she wanted no part of it. I suppose this is our biggest adventure-having our daughter go to college on an island out in the middle of the ocean, and then not come home but start a business on another island!"
"I am honored to be a part of that adventure," Rick bowed. "I'll do my best to protect your daughter for you. -Unless you want to stay," he grinned.
Mr. Janks started in on his third bottle. Rick was only halfway through his second. "I suppose coming down here would be an adventure, wouldn't it?" He reflected a few moments. "Nah, I'm too settled in my ways. Maybe come down once a year or so, but I'm still needed at work, and we have our social lives."
"Which reminds me," Rick grew serious. "You might be staying longer than you plan. When are you scheduled to leave? There's a storm headed this way, and your flight might get cancelled."
Mr. Janks looked up, startled. "We saw some clouds in the east this afternoon, but didn't think anything about it, and the driver didn't say anything. Will it be dangerous?"
"It'll probably be more inconvenient than dangerous, unless you're foolish enough to go out in it. The town is on the lee side, so that'll lessen the winds, but it'll still be strong enough to break things, and you get lots of flying objects." Rick tried to lessen the danger, thinking of a dad's concern for his daughter. "Stay inside and it'll be noisy but you'll be safe."
"Do you-we have to do anything to get ready?" Concern was written all over his face.
"I have some plywood at work. If the storm stays on track, I'll put it over the store window tomorrow." He made an evil grin. "I might have to tie Karen to a chair to keep her inside."
"Hm. We're scheduled to fly out tomorrow afternoon. When will we know? About the storm, I mean. And our flight."
"We'll know about the storm tomorrow probably, and they'll probably make announcements on the radio and TV, too.