Page 59… in a fiction series
Miranda was proud of herself for staying sober all this time. She counted up the months and days: January to May, four months, 16 days, all without Alcoholics Anonymous, a shrink, or any other support group. While she missed going to the bars and hanging out with her friends, Tiller worked her so hard she wouldn’t have the time anyway.
May was the month her dockage fee at the boat basin ran out. It was time to run the old Marinette north on Lake Michigan and east into perfect, pristine, Little Traverse Bay. Harbor Springs was off to port, then Wequetonsing, Labre Croache, and off to starboard, Petoskey. The city docks would be affordable and closer to work. Miranda wouldn’t miss walking down the long pier through wind, ice, and snow to get to her job each day. What on earth was she thinking…
All of the dockmates volunteered to make the trip with her. To his surprise, she asked Luke to go along that day. And to Miranda’s surprise, he accepted. Ron had reconciled with his wife and couldn’t wait to leave his beloved sailboat to go home and resume being a dad to his kids.
Handsome Greg on his stately Beneteau was making the long trip through the Straits of Mackinac, south through Lake Huron and the Detroit River, and out the Welland Canal to the Atlantic. From there he would travel north to Rhode Island where he would meet up with his estranged boyfriend. Miranda always had a theory that any man who didn’t hit on her had to be gay. Right again.
Miranda enjoyed the ride to Petoskey and she could tell that Luke did, too. Turns out he wasn’t a jerk after all. As the youngest of five brothers, he learned that having a big mouth was a matter of survival, and after that, it just stuck. Toward the end of their time as dockmates, Miranda caught on and pegged him as one of the good guys. She was glad he was there with her on Lake Michigan that morning. As they motored north, the seas grew rough and Miranda spotted a dead head just off to port. No problem for Luke, confident at the helm. She would miss him.
Before leaving Charlevoix, Miranda made one last trip to Traverse City, specifically to the popular bar, ”Tommy’s Gotcha.” The nostalgic gathering place was lined with the same characters who toasted her when she left town last fall. Joe Ramano was one of the good guys, looking out for the ones who had too much to drink, and charging a life’s savings to get them off the hook. It was just plain stupid to drink.
Vince, the make-believe cowboy, shouted, “Howdy there, little lady,” tipping his ten gallon hat like a true make-believe gentleman. His side-kick, Lester, pounded his fists, yelling at the waitress for one more. Charming.
Drew Becker, wearing a worn leather jacket, grinned and winked, probably still thinking about those Oreo cookies. Two seats over, the man in the navy blue blazer followed her with his eyes from the moment she walked in. He nodded and said, ”Hello, Miranda,” and invited her to sit down, a date no where in sight.
Ever since she bumped into him that day at the Detroit airport, she wondered about the allusive, well dressed stranger. He was mid-sixties, probably a rich, successful guy, looking for a girl who would compliment his lavish lifestyle– a shiny new ornament on his Christmas tree. Miranda was glad her days as “arm candy” were over.
At the end of the bar sat none other than Charlie Fine (AKA Judas), a man Miranda hoped never to see again. There was a young blond on his lap, sipping a pink girlie cocktail. She was drunk, playing with a lock of his wirey red hair. Charlie’s eyes were at half mast, kissing his way down her throat. Miranda wanted to throw up at the sight of him.
After an aggressive interrogation, she learned absolutely nothing about Neil Lipman. The crowd at the bar looked at each other, scratched their heads and played dumb. The girl with the pink cocktail giggled. Why was Miranda not surprised. As if history was about to repeat itself, in the morning she would leave Traverse City for good.
To be continued…
*This story is based on some true events, however, has been fictionalized and all persons appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real people, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
© 2012, Shoes for an Imaginary Life. All rights reserved.