The Return

  It was a sunny day in November in the Wedgeport when a young man's life was changed forever.  Randy Moore, a senior at Saint Ann's high school, was a skinny boy with bright red hair and wide green eyes.  He had just received a phone call from his girlfriend, Camille Boudreau, and nearly dropped the white phone in shock when she finished speaking.  He couldn't have heard what he had just heard.  "S-'scuse me, C-Cam," he stammered.  "B-But c-can you repeat t-that, puh-please?"

  Fine Camille said a little too sweetly.  It was the type of sweetness you'd expect before a blow-up.  Since your small brain cannot comprehend a simple sentence, I will repeat myself just this once.   He heard her take a breath. I.  Want.  To.  Have.  Sex.  Tonight. She pronounced each word with deliberate slowness.

  Honestly, why do I even bother with you sometimes?   She continued sounding very annoyed.  You're dense, you have no talent in anything and I even have to help you with your homework!

  "I dig very good holes," he said defensively.

  And where do you think that will bring you in life?   She snickered.  A job as a miner?

  "You never know." he mumbled, taking a bit of the telephone wire into one strong hand and flexing his hand so the spiraled plastic turned in small circles.

  What did you say? she demanded.  When he didn't answer, she tried again.  Randy… She growled.

  "I'll buy the condom," he offered instead of answering.

  "'Kay, I'll call back later after I make some arrangements."

  "Gotcha."  He cut the connection and placed the receiver back in its cradle on his desk.  That taken care of, he walked over to his standard sized bed and plopped down face-first on his feather-filled pillow, the rest of his body stretched along the mattress' length.  The fresh smell of Tide laundry detergent was still strong in the freshly washed sheet and the comforter gradually made him feel like mush.  Boneless.

  Rolling onto his back, he stared at the ceiling.  He had to smile when he remembered the fit of boredom that made him cover the ceiling with permanent tic-tac-toe games, when he used stickers to make dots and his mother's 'X' stamp covered in navy blue ink to make the X's.  The lines were slightly harder though he remembered; he almost didn't have enough green water-based paint to paint all of his Popsicle sticks. Of course, his mother got home from work; she gave him an earful before laughing her hair off for ten minutes.  Frankly, he was amazed she had enough air in her body to rant loudly for an hour and a half without pause.  Must be a lawyer thing.

  'So Camille thinks she's ready but she didn't even bother asking about me.'  He thought wryly.  'That is so like Cam.  Me-Me-Me!'  He snickered as an unbidden image of Camille dressed in his little sister's favorite outfit (right down to the real swan feather in her breast pocket) flickered through his mind's eye.

  As if summoned by his thoughts, the little hell-spawn, also know as twelve year old Alicia Moore, threw open his varnished wooden door.  She was wearing her favorite outfit (black jeans and a bright red silky shirt), her trademark feather standing proudly.  A couple of silver clips restrained her short black hair and her green eyes looked at him triumphantly.  She had a smug look on her freckleless face as she looked at him like a bug she had just squished.

  "You're grounded for the next two weeks," she announced in her snobbiest voice, chin held high.

  He sat up quickly and glared at her.  "What did you tell mom this time, squirt?"

  Alicia glared back, not the least intimidated.  "She saw your report card, you goof."  She had wanted him to be grounded for a month.  "And that's totally your fault."

  He cursed under his breath and got to his feet.  He stalked out of his room towards his mother's office downstairs.

  Catherine Moore was a stocky middle-aged single mother that, for some unknown reason, liked split-entries.  So, as Randy approached, sounding very much like an elephant as he descended the stairs, she locked the filing cabinet that she had been cleaning, sat down on her new fluffy leather chair and braced herself.   Her only son rarely got angry and when he did, he could become as fiery as his hair he had inherited from her.

  "Mom!" the door crashed into the wall beside it.  Her three steel filing cabinets rattled around her desk (one behind her and one on both sides of her large oak desk. 

  Cathy winced inwardly at the noise.  Thankfully though, her job as a lawyer gave her an excellent poker face.  "Yes son?"

  "I am not grounded." He stated matter-of factually.  "I have a date tonight, tomorrow is the Gamers meeting at Ted's and I need to complete my initialization."

  "Oh yes you are, young man." she said firmly, her dark green eyes staring into his.  Her red hair framed her sharp face and the midday sunlight coming from the half-window behind her gave her a commanding air.  "That girl isn't as important as your education and video games is even lower on the list. They're right next to driving off a cliff."

  "To you maybe."  He snarled.  "And you definitely aren't me!"

  "Well too bad." She said shortly.  "You are to stay in this house at all times except if given permission to go out by me.  If you argue with me anymore, I'll add a week to your punishment."

  "I suppose I should tell Cam then."  He grumbled, head drooping in defeat.

  "I'm glad you see it my way."  She said amiably. "Dinner will be at six, we're having pizza."

  "Yum."  He said flatly before walking out, the old gray carpet crunching under his feet like usual.  Instead of going into his room where his bratty sister was probably waiting for him, he went to his right at the top of the stairs and wandered into the living room.  He walked past the thirteen inch TV set and accessories to go to the sink-in couch.  Climbing on its armrest (he couldn't reach it with his five feet and three inches of height normally), he could reach the opening device of the attic's trapdoor.  Grabbing a hold of the string in question, he pulled.  The finished wooden door swung down accompanied by the string ladder.  He climbed up into the finished attic, replaced the panel and the rope and sat on the soft mattress his mother had installed there.  He needed peace to plot his escape.

* * *

  'Well, that went well.' Randy thought as he trotted towards Bobby D's wharf (Wedgeport's oldest wharf) using only the light of the full moon to light his way.  Cam had called after supper and had told him to meet her there around midnight before they went into her father's boat a couple of blocks away (Dan Tremens had built a new one a month ago to replace the old one).  He was puzzled as to why she had chosen a place by a large body of water when she knew he was afraid of it and couldn't swim but then again, Camille always had a weird fascination with water.  Oh well, he'd live. 

  He almost didn't come at all. He wasn't in a hurry to lose his virginity after all and sex sounded scary.  Wet dreams he could handle but sex?  He wasn't so sure.  'Doesn't matter now' he thought, amused at his own thoughts.  He wasn't about to back out now; what would happen to his reputation?  Word was bound to get out like always and he had the small box of condoms inside the largest pocket of his spring jacket.

  He slowed down to a walk when he reached the beginning of the wharf, being extremely cautious of the weak structure.  The wide rotting planks weren't nearly as thick as he would like and the beams they were nailed to weren't much better.  'Whoever had built this thing wasn't a very good builder.' He thought uneasily as they groaned under his weight.  He could hear the salt water below slapping the supports with a lazy strength.  It could swallow him up easily if he ever misplaced his weight.

  Swallowing uneasily, he kept on walking, being extra careful of where he placed his feet.  He finally spotted Camille's lean silhouette coming towards him.  She was wearing hip-hugging blue jeans and an orange t-shirt and her shoulder-length dirty blond hair was blowing freely in the wind.  Her blue eyes twinkled mischievously.  She was an angel that came to counter his unease by replacing it with another for a bit.

  "What took you so long, my turtle?"  She inquired, closing the distance between them.

  "Mom grounded me, I had to sneak out."  He wrapped his arms around her, taking comfort in her presence.  She gave him a peck on his lips before she started nibbling on his right earlobe.  Camille didn't give hickeys but she always managed to nibble at his earlobe when they were together.  He had long ago concluded it was a strange fetish of hers.

  "You know what?" she purred in his ear after a moment.

  "No, what?" he shivered; the water was really freaking him out.

  "You're an idiot."  Her voice took on a slightly innocent note.  "And boys are fish."

  "'Scuse you?" he blinked at the odd statement.

  "You know the old saying 'there are plenty of fish in the sea' right?"

  "Yeah, my mom says it all the time to Sally, my boy-crazed cousin.  Why?"

  "I was just thinking that there are plenty of fish on land that should be in the sea."

  "Yeah, so?"

  "My dad cuts fish nets and buys fish from stores so he can return them to the sea.  I intend to do the same."

  "That's nice."  He patted her on the head.

  She grinned joyously.  "So you agree?"

  "Yeah, fish should be in their natural habitat," he agreed wondering what this had to do with anything.

  "I'm so glad you agree."  She whispered.  "The last person I told said I was crazy."

  "Who was it?  I'll help you beat them up," he growled seeing her beginning to shake.  'I'll kill the person if they make you cry.' He vowed to himself but it was only then that he realized she was laughing.

  "That would be kinda hard."  She snickered, innocence gone.  "He's been dead for a year."  She grinned wickedly at his startled face.  "And you will be in a moment."

   She took advantage of his surprise to kiss him on the lips and pulled him forward before jumping to the side.  Using his forward momentum to her full advantage, she shoved the shocked seventeen year-old onto a couple of weak planks.  He only had the time to utter a startled yelp before the boards gave way, his slight frame passed easily through the hole and he landed in the freezing water.  It pulled him under with one greedy gulp and stole his breath away.  Opening his mouth under water in a late effort to scream, water filled his mouth and traveled down his windpipe into his empty lungs.  The shock beat him into paralysis and he slowly began to feel numb.  'This gwot twobwe a nitware' was his last sluggish thought before losing consciousness.

  Camille, who watched the boy's fall with interest, waited till the boy's thrashing ended before whispering, "You're free now, my little fishy.  I'll send you some pals to keep you company in a bit.  Or, as my da says, 'One more down, plenty more to go.'"