Power struggle

Page 36 in the series Before the Pirates Came*

Miranda’s boat hit the dock with a thud, the spring line pulling hard against the wind.  The forecast was calling for snow after midnight, a nor’easter on its way down from Canada.  Charlevoix, Michigan, summer’s glistening paradise, was preparing for a direct hit, and the boats at the Boat Basin were about to be buried.  Someone on the dock was shouting her name and it sounded urgent. 

“Unless you want to freeze to death, Miranda, you better get your butt out here and do your part.”  Miranda’s dockmate, Luke, had a peaceful presence and a gentle way about him.  “Just because you made it to the top of the flagpole doesn’t mean you get the day off or any special treatment.  Nobody here cares that you’re a girl!”  To herself she said, blah, blah.  She tuned out Luke’s big mouth, freshened her lipstick, and climbed out into the cold.  “And bring you tools!!”

Her dockmate, Greg, was normally the picture of propriety.  But this morning he was lying face down on the dock by his sailboat, his arm reaching way underneath, cheeks bright red.  Miranda ran to him, asked if he had tripped or fainted.  He mumbled something under his breath, held out his free hand, and asked her to pass him the cutters. Before she could figure out what on earth they were up to, he asked her for three cable ties, two long and one short.   And, to lie down on the dock, reach under the planks, and grab hold of the yellow electrical cord in his hand. 

It was the closest she had ever gotten to Greg.  He was so cute, and such a good cook.  But this was not a date… this was a robbery!  They were stealing electricity from the empty slips and running an extra 30 amps to their own.  She was Greg’s accomplice!

Electricity is a complicated thing. On the one hand, the thick yellow cord carries 30/amps, 125 volts. On the other hand, there were things that drew a certain amount of power– like space heaters– that were taking on added importance as the temperature quickly dropped.  Ron walked over to check their progress then launched into a detailed technical explanation of how electricity works: 

“The electrical charge which flows into your boat…” 

(Greg asked for more cable ties… )

“… an effective voltage of about 120 volts…” 

(and now the pliers, oops, almost dropped them…)

“… and therefore, watts = volts x amps.  It’s simple, really.” 

This was for Miranda’s benefit and she nodded gratefully.  But all she really cared about was being warm, not starving, and having good hair.  If  she could plug in her hot rollers without blowing a fuse before breakfast, even better. 

Greg assured her, “Don’t think of it as stealing, Miranda. Think of it as survival.” It was his fifth winter at the Boat Basin. “We’re paying alot of money to dock here, so don’t give it another thought.” She handed him the cutters and passed him three more cable ties. She had never stolen anything, not even a candy bar as a kid growing up. 

“Thou shalt not steal.” Exodus 20:15 (NIV)

Maybe it wasn’t really stealing, but what if it was? She knew what Mavis would say.  She considered that for a moment as she unwound the 50′ cord that would run beneath her dock to a post 30′ away.  Everyone else was doing it, but something didn’t feel right.  She had already read the Ten Commandments.  Miranda considered whether they still applied today.

She wondered…

*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.

This entry was posted in About Him, About me, Bipolar girl. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Power struggle

  1. Ferd says:

    Maybe there was another way to get power into the boats. But it sounds like the storm was upon Miranda and her dock mates. It probably really was a matter of survival. In that case, they could always make it right to the owners of the electricity later. In any event, at least the dock mates were planning ahead and showing Miranda the way. Yet somehow it seems like it was the blind leading the blind.
    Can’t wait to read what happens!

    • Linda says:

      You wouldn’t believe how complicated this got. After the electricity situation, there were several other issues that got Miranda almost kicked out! She ended up leaving under the cover of darkness for another nearby marina. OMGosh… what a mess. I think some of those stories are blog worthy. Thanks for the reminder… : )

      P.S. The marina in Charlevoix never allowed winter boaters again. Ouch.

  2. Theresa says:

    That must have been so stressful! I am looking forward to your next post.

    • Linda says:

      Nothing is too stressful that a few shots of whiskey couldn’t solve. I don’t, however, recommended this for stress that is math related. : P

      • Debbie says:

        You got me laughing! :D

        • Linda says:

          I swear I didn’t mean to offend your snake. Does he belong to Aubrey? I’m sure the little guy is fascinating once you get to know him! P.S. And we all deserve a laugh. Hugs, girlfriend. : )

          • Debbie says:

            As long as I keep feeding him, he’s not offended! haha! He’s actually my oldest daughter’s snake, a birthday present to her when she was 8. She’s now 25! Who knew they would live this long??? He couldn’t go with her when she moved out, the no pet policy at the apartments. :)

          • Linda says:

            That is quite a long relationship. I can see why the little guy has grown on you. You’re a good mom across the board. : )

  3. Larry Who says:

    “…But all she really cared about was being warm, not starving, and having good hair. If she could plug in her hot rollers without blowing a fuse before breakfast, even better…”

    Well, at least, hair was only number three on Miranda’s list. She did know how to somewhat prioritize.

    Okay, don’t leave me hanging, I’m ready for the next page.

    • Linda says:

      And the hair issue doesn’t begin to paint a picture of how vain she really was. Really is. Although it’s better now than back in the day. Ha.

  4. ann says:

    Hi Linda

    Love the pun in the title. :-)

    I too am on the edge of my seat. Something tells me this isn’t going to end well…

    Pardon the footprints. I’m trying to play catch up . :-)


    • Linda says:

      Hello Ann… alway good to see you girlfriend, catch up or otherwise! I noticed you have some clever titles yourself. Just part of the fun of being writers. : )

  5. Debbie says:

    You had me thinking about Theresa with the hot rollers part! :)
    And I see Miranda thinking here . . .she’s thinking about what is wrong and what is right. And wondering about that Bible stuff. Hmmmm . . ..
    God bless you and your writing, that is all charged up! love and hugs and prayers!
    p.s. I took a better picture of our snake eating . . .should I post it for you? :)

    • Linda says:

      Your snake sounds gross… good pic or not. : )

      Theresa has such fabulous hair. And every photo is a good one. If I weren’t a nice Christian lady I’d be jealous. I bet alot of people are on the fence about the Bible. How do we reach them? Everyone in the world would be blessed to know what we know. Hugs as always… : )

  6. Good internet site you have got there.|

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