At the marina, Gregson looked for the description of Captain Jack—beer drinking, beard, gambler, womanizer, toughest cuss, and soulful adventurer, approximately 50 years old. There were some young guys, horsing around on their dad’s boat with some women, a couple ancient mariners, and a yacht in the distance with a snobby fellow smoking a long cigarette. No captain who had ever circumnavigated the globe in a fishing trawler was in sight. Only one boat fit the description. Barnacles were growing up the sides; it looked like it could barely float, a ghost ship, until life emerged from the water.
She was wearing a one-piece black bathing suit, with snorkel mask, and knife glinting in the sunlight. Her hair ran down her back like an underwater plant. She dried herself, while Gregson watched.
“Get a good look old man, she comes from my loins.” A sea salt pushed a Budweiser into Gregson’s belly. “I don’t understand why she still hangs out with me. You must be Gregson? Pero contacted me from the South American Shop. He’s usually the butt of my jokes but a very reliable fellow—has a knack for knowing whom to trust. My daughter, Domino, is studying archeology and marine biology; she can’t decide if she likes dead things or alive things, but she loves being underwater.
When Domino turned around, Gregson noticed her eyes. They were almond brown, bitter, like cyanide. Her breasts were perfect, glistening in the sunlight, and when she walked, she moved like a man.
“I’m Gregson.” He raised his hand, like he was in third grade. It was strange to give her so much power.”
“I’ll be in the hold, studying,” Domino said.
“Not terribly social. After two semesters at university, she started using words like Patriarchy, in reference to me, but I don’t own any land; I’m just a cork bobbing on the open ocean. Who knows what they teach these women in school? I tried to get out as soon as I could. It’s an easy world, you know. Women hold these thoughts in their heads and men go along with them. War or disease will correct things. Are you married?”
“No; I guess I could never solved the mystery of women, nor did I want to. Some mysteries are better left unsolved.”
“But what about companionship?”
“I prefer being around men. What about you?”
“The sea is my mistress. My wife left me for an ambitious man, ambitious, in the eyes of the world. What good is treasure, if you can never find it?”
“Did Pero tell you where I want to go?”
“Yes; and it’ll be damn dangerous. I’ve heard strange things about that clinic, like the governor wants to take over the world. He’s tried to pick a fight with America and Russia. His boots are too big for him.”
“Well… it has always been little men who have done big things.”
“Maybe you’re right. I’ll take you to the island horizon, but no farther. You’ll need to go underwater; I’ll give you a spear gun and perhaps Domino wants to go; she’s deadly on the land and under the sea.”