Ghost Marina on the Mississippi

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Chapter 41 – The Last Supper – Modern Day

After Bill’s bombshell nothing further was discussed during the trip home and when they arrived at the marina they merely bade each other good afternoon and went their separate ways. Jason returned to his boat, he managed to catch David on the phone just before he left the store. With the meeting for Friday now arranged he sat down to check his emails and send his obligatory texts to his daughters. He made himself a quick sandwich and thought about going topside to just sit and watch the sunset, but nature decided to throw him a curveball. The heavens opened, and it began to pour down with rain. He quickly rose to close the cabin door and ensure the front hatch was secure then he sat down heavily at the galley table. Bill’s news, the end of the quest and now the rain was the last straw, he reached down and dug deep into a bag before pulling out an unopened bottle of Jack Daniels. He moved to the small camping fridge to extract a can of Coke and made himself a stiff drink. The next thing he knew was that the morning light was seeping through the windows of his boat and his head was throbbing terribly. In front of him was an almost empty bottle of Jack Daniels. Several empty Coke cans also littered the table that he had obviously crashed out on. But right then, that was the least of his worries, he had an almost uncontrollable urge to throw up and the gentle bobbing of his boat on the river, a pleasant feeling when trying to sleep, was not helping his dilemma. Fortunately, he just made it to the head before the results of his previous evening’s shenanigans were brought back up. He flushed the toilet and laid on the floor of the head vowing never again to have another drink.

Jason didn’t know how long he had been lying there, he must have fallen asleep again, but a cry of ‘ahoy there’ was penetrating his fuzzy brain, someone outside was trying to get his attention.

“Ahoy there Mr. Clifford,” the voice rang out once more. As Jason’s senses were slowly coming into focus he realized it was Charlie, he is the only one at the marina who addresses him as Mr. Clifford.

“Hi, Charlie. What’s up?” Jason managed to reply from his semi-prostrate state between the head and the galley.

“Grandad and the others are going to the pub for brunch, I’ve been told to come and get you,” Charlie replied innocently, not knowing the expression that was on Jason’s face as he heard the reason for the early call. The thought of a fry-up right then made Jason turn to the head for another couple of gut-retching sessions.

“Are you alright Mr. Clifford?” Charlie asked.

“Fine, fine.” Jason managed to reply, he stole a glance at his watch, it was 10:35. He couldn’t believe he had been out cold this long. “Give me ten, I’ll be there.” Although he knew it would be at least an hour before he arrived at the bar.

“I’ll tell them,” Charlie replied.

As Charlie left, Jason extricated himself from his position and the first thing he did was have a large swig of water from one of the cold bottles in the cooler. He knew from past experience, dehydration was the cause of his throbbing headache and no pills or potions were going to fix him any better than water. Once he had drunk the water he proceeded to clean up the head, then he stripped off and took a shower. His toilet had been modified to accommodate a shower that consisted of a drain with an electric pump that had been inserted in the floor to extract the water and a shower head that extended from the heater in the galley through a gap between the toilet door and the bulkhead. He was told by the previous owner to just remember to turn on the pump and remove the toilet roll before showering. Up until this point, Jason had always managed to remember these two tasks, but this morning was an exception. He was standing immersed in a couple of inches of water before he realized the pump wasn’t turned on and the toilet roll, a full one of course, was one big soggy mess.

By the time Jason was dressed and had consumed another bottle of water, he was feeling much better and gingerly climbed off the boat and made it to the pub. He entered the pub just as Helen was serving the first of the plates of food to Chuck, Bill and Archie.

“Good timing Jason,” Archie said as Dexter was delivering two more plates, one for himself and the other for Jason. The others said ‘Hi’ but their attention immediately turned to the feast laid before them and so they were not aware that Jason really wasn’t at his best. Jason, on the other hand, was not sure that he could stomach the offering in front of him, lamenting once more that he would never drink again. He first took a gulp of the large orange juice that was set before him before he realized it was a Mimosa, heavy on the sparkling wine. As the full realization hit him the others all picked up their glasses and Chuck proposed a toast.

“To the quest,” Chuck said and they all repeated the words then took a large gulp from their glasses. Surprisingly, contrary to what Jason expected, he began to feel a little better, ’hair of the dog’ as they say. Furthermore, as he began to tuck into the cholesterol loaded fare that was in front of him his queasiness also started to dissipate and once brunch was over he was almost back to his normal self.

“Well, Jason, I for one am going to miss you when you’ve gone,” Dexter said. “Once more, I’ll be by myself stuck with these old farts.” Dexter realized what he had said and looked to the heavens before turning to Bill.

“Sorry Bill, it just slipped out.” Dexter apologized.

“No, you’re right, I feel sorry for you, being alone with these two.” Bill said unphased, “at least you could have an intelligent conversation with me.” To which, everyone laughed.

“But you will come and visit, won’t you Jason?” Archie asked.

“Sure, of course,” Jason said feeling a little uncomfortable, although his demeanor defied what he was truly feeling because up until that point he hadn’t given a thought of returning unless he decided on a boat trip down the rivers. “But I want to thank you for all your help, without you I wouldn’t have found out about my grandfather. So, I would like to pay for this fine feast.”

“Oh no you don’t, this is on the house,” Dexter said and began to pour out more Mimosas. Before Jason could protest Bill chipped in with a profound comment.

“I can’t help feeling that this is not the end, but just the beginning.”

After yet another bombshell from Bill that everyone was still trying to decipher the group parted company and Jason returned to his boat to begin securing items and packing his clothes. Although the first thing he did was to empty the remaining contents of the Jack Daniels down the sink, he wanted to remove all temptation. Once he had gone as far as he could with his preparations for departure, he sent emails to his daughters for them to expect to see him sometime Sunday evening. He also thought about taking his boat out of the water and sleeping on the boat on the trailer but decided against that, he thought he may try to squeeze in one more trip upriver before he left.

What Jason didn’t know was that Bill was right. Jason would not be back home that Sunday evening and he would be making more trips upriver.

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