Short Story: The Wreck

Many boats lined the marina. If Harry squinted, he could pretend that the watercrafts stretched to forever. But he had no time to squint or even to look anywhere except straight ahead as he loaded his own boat. Donnie made sure of that. After the incident in Ft. Lauderdale, Donnie made damn sure that Harry kept focused on the task on hand.
The current task was to bring aboard the last of the scuba gear and get the hell out of the marina. Donnie was convinced the Feds or maybe Joey Francis or maybe the Florida fuckin’ Marlins, all 25 of them, were on their tails. Salvaging wrecks was not an illegal adventure in of itself. However getting information from Joey about certain drug cartel gunner boats “mysteriously” sunk or where the higher class of yachtsmen had foolishly run aground on some reefs and laughingly called for help from the Coast Guard, and boy, those coordinate records were supposed to be private, that was a no-no. And when Donnie had decided to cut out the middleman that was Joey Francis, suddenly being on land was fraught with more sharks than out there on the ocean.
As Harry plodded along carrying some extra air tanks on the docks, Donnie was scurrying back and forth, between the nearby storage shed and The Seaborn, their boat. Donnie was in his usual mood of excitement. Or maybe it was nervousness. It didn’t help that when Donnie decided to ignore Joey Francis he started to sample some of the waterlogged product that the cartels, and others, were so set on reacquiring.
“Hey, Harry, can you move it along any faster? My dead grandmother can move faster and she lost her legs when the airline misplaced her bags.” With that insane and inane statement, Donnie burst into giggles.
Harry sighed and did not increase his pace. In fact, he momentarily put down the tanks.
“What’s the rush? You did tell me you registered The Seaborn on the other side of the state, That’s at least a 100 miles away. Right?”
“Huh? Yeah! Maybe…I don’t remember. I don’t care about that, man. This is a huge wreck we are going out to!”
Harry sighed again. “More drugs?”
Donnie started hopping from foot to foot. “No, man. A fuckin’ luxury yacht Titanic’ed out there. All these rich folk celebrating another million dollars, right into the sea. Big news. Wreck site not yet released, but ole Donnie-boy knows where it is. Nothing but the finest pickings for us!”
Harry went pale as Donnie spoke. “We grave robbing?”
Donnie laughed. “Ain’t no different than what we usually do.”
“What we usually do is steal from boats where the occupants are either long gone or otherwise removed. I don’t like dead bodies,” Harry gulped out.
Donnie laughed again. “Poor baby. Think of the bigger picture. Mainly the diamonds and the cash sure to have been on board. It will be enough, enough to pay off…and even buy some…”
Donnie got a faraway look in his eyes. Harry picked up the tanks and started walking towards The Seaborn again. Harry was lost deep in his own thoughts. He nearly jumped off the dock when Donnie snapped back to reality and started back on his excited state.
“Are those tanks full? I didn’t check them. Did you check?…Oh god, I think I see Joey heading this way. We have to go. Now! Vamoose!”
Donnie ran past Harry, grabbing Harry by the collar and flinging him and the tanks onto the deck of the boat. The extra tanks rolled on the deck, much to the dismay of the main tanks, strapped down as per local regulations. Donnie and Harry may not follow many laws, but they were smart enough to follow the ones that were out there in public.
Harry struggled to his feet as Donnie rushed behind the boat’s wheel and started the engine. Fighting back the vomit threatening to let loose from his stomach from fear of Joey and his brass knuckles, Harry looked for the tough on the dock. He saw no one. No Joey, no Feds, not another human being. To harry, it was only him and Donnie left in the whole world.

A few hours later, Donnie had calmed down, Harry had seen his lunch again, muttering to himself about how he hated getting seasick, and the extra tanks continued to roll around. The boat slowly came to a stop and the engines were cut off. Donnie clapped his hands happily and declared that they were there. He walked over to Harry.
“Think of it, Harry, a few hundred feet below us lies the modern equivalent of Blackbeard’s treasure. I would say it is a goldmine but I don’t think there are any underwater goldmines.”
Harry could just smile glumly. He wasn’t thinking about calling it a goldmine but rather another identifier, one that described the more organic contents they are liable to find down there. To divert his line of thinking, Harry chose to look at the horizon where some dark clouds were starting to collect. Oh, much better, Harry sarcastically thought. As if in response to his thoughts, a lick of lightning flashed.
“Well, let’s check our equipment and get ready. The pawn shop closes at five, don’t you know?” Donnie remarked as he walked over to the scuba equipment. He stubbed is toe on one of the rolling tanks and cursed loudly. He kicked the tank again and rolled it to the front of the boat, near the flag pole. On the flag pole hung a pirate flag Donnie jokingly unfurls and hangs on missions like these. Harry once remarked that they were phantom pirates, raiding ships that once were but are no more. But never with any trace of humans except for their possessions…until now, Harry thought.

The storm was upon them as they finished putting on their scuba tanks. The ocean was now swelling to fifteen foot waves. The boat was being tossed back and forth like a stress ball between the hands of an impatient man. The second extra tank had joined his brother at the flagpole and both had taken refuge from the storm by jamming themselves under the seating area there.
Harry already felt like he was swimming 50 feet below the surface. He turned to Donnie. “Don’t you think this is a bad omen? Not to mention pretty damn unsafe.”
“Nonsense. We get a couple of dozen feet below the surface, none of this matters. It’ll just be us and the sunken treasure.”
With that, Donnie flung himself into the black ocean. Harry soon followed. When Harry hit the water, it seemed to be 30 degrees colder than it should have been. Harry shuddered in spite of himself.
A handheld flashlight provided Harry some light, but Donnie was so far ahead of him that Harry could only follow Donnie’s light to their destination. Occasionally, there would be a bright flash of light from a huge discharge of electricity from the sky. Then Harry could temporarily see everything: Donnie swimming, a gray yacht ahead with a nasty gash and fish darting away from the human intruders in fear. Each time it happened it seemed like an old fashioned movie was being shown in front of Harry’s eyes with some frames missing.
When Harry finally reached the wreck, Donnie was struggling to get a plank out his way so he could enter the boat through the gash. Only upon closer inspection did Harry realize it wasn’t a plank but rather a human arm. And Donnie wasn’t trying to move it, but rather he was trying to pry a ring from the finger. As Donnie fought to get the ring off more and more and into his collection sack more and more of the corpse emerged from the hole. Harry’s partner was flailing about trying to get his prize and the corpse slowly started to wrap itself around Donnie. In a previous life, the corpse may have weighed 250 pounds. Donnie could barely benchpress a sandwich. Donnie, the man who was so frantic to get moving, was pinned against the hull of the yacht.
Harry was frozen in shock and some small delight and watched his best friend in crime’s grotesque facial contortions as Donnie tried to push and pull his way out of his predicament. Harry knew his partner was in desperate times when he observed an increase in bubbles around Donnie’s breather. He was surely screaming for help, Harry thought. For salvation that will never come. Harry was happy the duo was too cheap to buy a communicator with their scuba gear. Harry knew he would have been driven mad by Donnie’s pleas.
Suddenly, a light as bright as the sun illuminated the area. Harry saw more than he wanted to with this new perspective. He saw more bodies in the gash, as if they were lining up to wrestle with Donnie. He saw Donnie’s eyes grow wide looking up past Harry’s shoulder towards the surface. Harry tuned to follow that gaze when he heard a low booming noise.
Looking back at the surface Harry could almost sweat the sun was not only out but very close to where The Seaborn, the boat which served them loyally through all their capers and never judged, once was. Only the boat and the sun were one and the same. Lightning had struck the flagpole, catching the pirate flag, the boat, and most importantly, the extra tanks, on fire. The combination of highly pressured oxygen and heat had set off a massive explosion that delivered the fire to the fuel tanks.
Well, I guess those tanks were full after all, thought Harry. As a piece of debris fell through the ocean towards Harry, Donnie, and the watery grave of people too rich for their own good, Harry squinted. It truly seemed like the wreckage went on forever.



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