Walking off, I scouted the docks for Luke. He was talking to a few guys near the fish cleaning station. Nick was at the opposite end checking out a large European yacht I recognized as an Azimut, from three distinct windows on the side and its aerodynamic design. One of the few boats I could spot and identify, it was also my dream boat. This one was curiously named Davy Jones. My mind raced to where I’d heard that name. One of the band members names in The Monkees, I knew from my youth growing up watching and listening to the pop group, but also from somewhere else. I shook off the mystery name and strolled over to Luke gabbing at the fish station. Nurse sharks swarmed below in a feeding frenzy for fish scraps, attacking like Komodo Dragons on raw meat. They didn’t look so peaceful or harmless now.
Luke noticed me standing by his side. “Hey, sweetie.” He turned to one of the guys filleting fish, “This is my girlfriend Kelly.”
The tall, thin, shirtless stranger greeted me with a nod, “Nice to meet you.” He glanced at me then the fish he was cutting. “I’d shake your hand, but they’re a bit bloody right now.” Two large fish were splayed on the filet table and a bucket full of fresh meat lay between his feet. He was wearing plastic blue fishing waders. “I’m Paul, and this is my buddy Randy.” I smiled at the younger, less messy fisherman. His fish scraps seamlessly fell from the table into the shark infested water. He was barefoot wearing only a bathing suit and a knife attached to his calf.
“Dolphin?” I asked, with my newfound yet limited fishing lingo.
“Yes Ma’am,” Paul answered. “Got a few at sunrise, just out yonder.”
Luke chimed in, “They’re from Fort Lauderdale.”
“Neighbors,” I offered, peering into the sea for another glimpse of the bloodbath. Although the accent was a bit country-strong for southern Florida. My eyes drifted toward Luke, “I’m going poolside until we leave on the golf cart.”
“We’re leaving in forty-three minutes.” Where does he get these numbers? Not forty or forty-five. So random.
Jamie, the blonde and the adorable dog, Yoda, were all sunbathing at the small pool. “What are you drinking?” I called out.
“Pina Colada,” Jamie responded.
I returned with two Pina Coladas and a small bowl of ice water for the dog. “I brought some water for Yoda, if you don’t mind?” I asked, placing the bowl on the ground.
“Ahh, thanks. I’ve been giving her ice cubs from my drink and she swims in the pool.”
“She’s such a cutie.” I sat in the lounge chair between Jamie engulfed in a magazine and the blonde. “And a good traveler?” I added with a quick sip from my sweet cocktail.
She beamed a new motherly glow. “Yes, I’ve only had her for about nine months. But she goes everywhere with me.”
“Where do you call home?”
“North Carolina is home, but we’ve been traveling for the past few years on our boat.” She paused. “I’m Jenny. I’m here with my husband, it’s our fifth anniversary.”
“Congrats on five years. I’m Kelly.” I raised my drink to her unknown cocktail. She lit a cigarette and I borrowed one.
“You smoke? I thought I saw you running.”
“Yes. I do both.” I mumbled.
She giggled with a knowing uninhibited grin. “No worries.”
I glanced at Jamie still absorbed in her magazine. Yoda was under her lounge chair, resting in the shade. “So you’re sailing around the Bahamas?” I probed for conversation.
“Yeah.” She pointed to the marina. “Our boat is docked over there for the next week. It’s called Davy Jones.”
My eyes widened through my sunglasses. I’d assumed she was on one of the many sailboats. “An Azimut. My favorite boat.” I took a sip, “And is your husband Davy?”
She giggled. “No, it’s Jeff Johnson. Davy Jones is a reference to shipwrecks at the bottom of the sea.” She extinguished her cigarette into a close-by empty glass. “Most people don’t get it, but he’s a treasure hunter looking for Spanish shipwrecks, mostly in the Bahamas.” She clarified. “He does web design and hosting for a living, but his passion is treasure hunting.”
It clicked. That’s how I know the name Davy Jones. It’s an idiom for the bottom of the sea. Davy Jones’ Locker, or death to sailors. I started to fluster, my mind spinning through everything that had happened during our trip; boat disasters, pirates, my idol, portals, and nightmares. Sensing my fear, Yoda jumped on my lap. Jamie lowered her sunglasses and whispered through her teeth, “I caught part of the conversation, and I can see beads of sweat forming all over you, and you’re as pale as a ghost. Breathe. Just breathe. This has nothing to do with your dreams.”
“The symbol of death was just dropped on my feet,” I teeth-whispered back. “And the sweat’s from the hot sun.”
She smiled thinly toward me then to Jenny who was unaware of any conflict. Jamie quietly nudged me and then turned towards our newfound friend, “We are going to change for our island exploration. See you later this afternoon, I hope.”
“I think Yoda likes you Kelly,” she uttered.
“And such a cute name, how did you pick it?” I asked, hoping it wasn’t some omen.
“Oh, we’re Star Wars fans.”
I calmed at the response. Great, the Star Wars Jedi master meets the sea devil. Following Jamie to the cottage, I imagined the dog and horned demon dueling it out with lightsabors to save the galaxy. Somehow in my mind’s eye, the adorable pup won the battle before I even reached the doorstep.
Nick and Luke were waiting, ready to sightsee, “Has it been forty-three minutes?” I called out to Luke.
“Forty-four,” he taunted
We perambulated to the golf cart with no plans but to be at the airport around 3:00, or whenever we saw the Caravan fly overhead. I wanted to stop by a local grocery store because I liked checking out foreign food, and Jamie sought boutiques, if we happened to pass one. We were all in our bathing suits with cover-ups. Jamie and I on the back of the four-seater with the boys navigating in the front. Crossing the rickety bridge over Bonefish Creek, Luke in the driver’s seat, decided to stop and admire the fleeting fish. A Piper Aztec buzzed us. “Not a Caravan,” Luke announced.
A small grocery store sat across from the creek. “Can we check that store out,” I pointed to coral shack.
Luke pulled in front and Jamie and I jumped off the cart. I perused the can goods and cereal boxes. Plenty of beans, rice, oatmeal and a few boxes of Captain Crunch and Cheerios. The elderly Bahamian lady watched me like a bird stocking its prey. “My God. You can’t come in here without a shirt,” she chided.
“Oh, I didn’t know. Sorry,” I murmured.
Exiting the shack I glanced at Jamie wearing a cover-up. She wasn’t far behind carrying four opened Kalik lights. “I don’t think she liked your cleavage,” she kidded. “What are you like a 36D?”
“C,” I corrected. “It’s the islands. Who knew?”
“Hey Kelly, did you tell Luke about the Davy Jones boat?”
“I met the owner, Jeff.” Nick said. “Nice guy.”
“Well we met his wife and dog at the pool. Jeff’s a treasure hunter. That along with the Davy Jones Locker euphemism leads me to believe my idol is still at work. Maybe it wants to return to the bottom of the sea.”
The threesome snickered with Luke going into a lingering belly laugh. “I think maybe the owner watches too much Sponge Bob,” Luke managed to cackle.
I blinked at the three, raising my lips slightly. “Do you know what Davy Jones means, sweetie?”
His laugh teetered to a perpetual grin. “Yes. Sponge Bob had a locker at the bottom of the ocean that he kept some socks in.” He went to a full belly laugh again and stopped the cart.
Nick spoke through his smile. “I don’t know a thing about Sponge Bob, but in pirate lore it’s the devil of the sea and it’s meant to cause fear among seamen. It’s mentioned in Moby Dick and Pirates of the Caribbean.” He glanced back at me. “But in reality, it’s just a name some guy picked for his boat. Besides he looks harmless. You should show him your idol.”
I shrugged. “He’s still a treasure hunter.”
“And you’re an archaeologist. You two should have a lot in common. I’ll introduce you two tonight,” he concluded.