A small island somewhere in the Caribbean.
I suppose it must have been about eleven o’clock, when I eventually dragged myself out of bed that day. To be honest it was just too damned hot to lie there anylonger, because my beach house had no air-conditioning. Shit, hardly any private homes on the Island did. Unless anyone had their own generator, I doubt there’d enough juice in the local grid to run air-con for about a quarter of the homes on the island anyway.
After looking around and finding no evidence of the woman who’d climbed into my bed with me a few hours previously, I took a quick swim in the sea to wash the cobwebs away and cool down a little; then washed the salt from my body under my outside shower. I donned a clean pair of suitably ragged cut-offs and a tee shirt that Phyllis, my cleaner cum housemaid, had left out for me. Like most mornings, Phyllis had come and gone whilst I’d been dead to the world, sleeping off the previous evening’s indulgencies. I then began my daily stroll along the beach to Jimmy’s bar for breakfast.
Jimmy’s bar was far enough away from the only two modern hotels on the other side of the island, that few tourists found their way to it during the daylight hours. They -- the tourists -- much preferring to lie under the sunshades of the hotels’ private beach areas, or by the swimming pools, during the hotter part of the day.
“You late man, your steak almost burnt!” Jimmy said with a grin, as he settling into the seat across from me placing an ice-cold beer on the table before me.
“Heavy night, Jimmy!”
“Yeah man, I saw ‘er. That was one ‘andsome sort you sneaked off with last night!”
“That was this morning, anyway she damn near killed me, man!” I replied with a grin.
“So will her man, if he finds out who she disappeared with, Tom.” Jimmy grinned back at me.
“She’s here with a guy? No wonder she sneaked away a bit sharpish. Er ... husband?” I enquired. I wasn’t really concerned, but its handy to know if some bugger might be gunning for you.
“Don’t fink so man, no wedding rings or nuffin’! She’s probably a bit of spare he picked up from somewhere and brought out here to screw. Most likely, he couldn’t keep up with ‘er.”
“Whatever, the sort done a runner on me during the night. I got a little worried,” I said feigning concern.” I thought I might-a disappointed the lady or something.” I grinned back at the equally grinning Jimmy.
“No chance of that man, you must have something special ... for a Honky!” Jimmy winked. “Most of them come back looking for second ‘elping the following day!” he added with that dirty grin of his.
“They’re here on holiday mate, looking for a bit of fun on the side!” I replied. “You know that man. You score with enough of the buggers yourself.”
“Yeah man, but most of the ones I get are just looking for a bit of naughty away from home. I dunno what you got mate, but most of yours always seem to want to try to tame you.” he said with a chuckle. “One of them is gunna get you one day man, you mark my words; you white blokes always get hooked in the end.”
“Been there once Jimmy my boy, and it cost me the best part of everything I had. I’ve no intention of getting roped in again.” I commented with a more serious expression on my face.
Jimmy suddenly went quiet, I believe he realised we were unintentionally straying into an area that I’m not keen on discussing. But the silence was soon broken.
“I’ll rope the bugger one day.” Sis -- Jimmy’s reputed sister, who had been slaving away in the kitchen preparing my charcoal grilled steak -- suddenly commented as she pushed the plate in front of me.
“Sis my darling, you’re the best cook on the whole damned island. I’d marry you tomorrow, but wouldn’t your old-man have something to say about it?” I replied smiling.
“Maybe that’s a good idea; he wouldn’t notice anyway. And well ... maybe I could kick your lazy arse out of bed in the mornings and then I wouldn’t be cooking during the hottest part of the day.” The big-busted woman replied with a wide grin. “Anyway ‘andsome,” she went on, “there was a man in earlier; you got yourself a charter tomorrow morning.”
I looked back over at Jimmy.
“Yeah man. Small party of six, American. They wants a trip out round the outer islands. Maybe some swimming; full day, you know, the usual crap.”
“Dollars, Tommy, up front!”
We were talking money. Jimmy’s -- not quite convincing -- Caribbean accent had suddenly vanished completely, demonstrating to all within earshot, that, black skinned and looking like a local or not, he had been bred, born and brought up in the London area somewhere.
“I took ‘alf, to knock off your tab, Okay man?” He added, pulling a bundle of notes from his pocket and placing them on the table.
“Jimmy, I told you before, if my tab gets too big, give me a bill and I’ll write you a cheque.”
“Hey brovva, that ain’t the way we do things around ‘ere, remember? We’re all supposed to be down on our luck. Shit, what would the taxman say if I started paying big cheques into the bank?” Jimmy’s face broke into that wide grin again.
I have no idea where Jimmy got the money buy his bar and/or his other island interests, but it had always been obvious to me that he -- like myself -- wasn’t exactly short of the readies. Although we both played the part of poor local businessmen, struggling to make ends meet in the backend of nowhere, it was an act that helped keep us low profile.
To be honest, I’ve never been too sure his name is really Jimmy. I do know -- just from hearing him talk -- that Jimmy had spent more than a few years languishing at Her Majesties Pleasure back in the UK. And, I’d worked-out that when he got out of nick, he headed for the Caribbean as fast as his long legs could carry him. Where he bought Jimmy’s bar from the old guy who’d owned it. Who the man had been, before he became “Jimmy, of Jimmy’s Bar” to everyone, I have no idea and I didn’t really care. Jimmy was always straight with me and that was all that I worried about. Whatever, I was pretty sure that Jimmy’s bar was really a way of him hiding some ill-gotten gains, and possibly himself, from the world as well.
As for his sister Sis - or it could actually be Cis (I’ve never seen it written down and pronunciation of names locally appeared to be optional). Sis had arrived with Jimmy and shared the little house out back of the bar with him. She wore a wedding ring and talked of a husband who no one that I ever met, had ever seen. Was she really Jimmy’s wife? I have no idea! But if she were, then why would she allow him to lay any passing holidaymaker that took his fancy? That’s if I didn’t get in there first.
Sometimes life is easier if you do not to ask too many questions. And, if you don’t ask too many questions, then you don’t tend to get asked too many yourself, and that was the way I preferred things to go. Well, if I’m being honest that’s how most of the few ex-pats’ on the island preferred it. Including our local holy man, I might add.
Having consumed my breakfast -- and a few more beers than is good for me -- it was time for me to stroll down to our little harbour to check-out Cassandra. Cassandra is almost seventy feet of sleek fibreglass hull, nowadays sporting a simple ketch rig. She was at one-time my home and I’d had her greatly modified for “all-but” single-handed sailing before I left the UK, on my trip to the south seas. That was until I’d stumbled across this idyllic little island and chose to settle down there instead. Nowadays I use Cassandra for the odd charter cruise, my only apparent income.
A sign at Jimmy’s bar advertises day sailing trips around the outer islands. It doesn’t display any prices though, Jimmy (or me) make them up as we go depending on the apparent affluence of prospective customer.
Come on, I might as well be honest with you, probably the main reason my travels came to a halt at this particular island was that the two guys -- who were sharing my trip with me -- were all-but high-jacked by some Yank who’d been taken ill and wanted his own boat taken back the States for him. His misses had waved some green backs under their noses and the next thing I know I’m high and dry without a crew. Cassandra could just about be sailed single-handed, but it was kind-a hard work. The two guys must have picked up other work in the States because they never did return. But then again, they might have got a little pissed-off with all the agro we got when we docked Cassandra in any new jurisdiction.
There was no sign of Donny, the local lad who regularly crews for me on these little cruises, or his sister Jaz who serves drinks and food to the paying guests, usually dressed in one of the smallest white bikinis ever made. It sure stands out against her dark skin and shows off that fine figure of hers to perfection, and she’s convinced it will catch her a millionaire one day.
I had it figured that Jaz and Don had probably gone home again after cleaning the yacht as they did most mornings; they’d be back later to put her to bed. By the time I arrived that day, it was way after one, and you know that old saying, only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noonday sun. Jaz and Donny were probably enjoying a nice siesta somewhere.
After checking over Cassandra myself, I left a note telling them that we had a trip the following morning and details of the party that Jimmy had relayed to me. Then I set out on my way back to Jimmy’s where I’d spend the rest of the day, and most of the evening. Although I’d probably have a swim or two during the afternoon to show off my fine physique to the tourist birds when they showed up as the day cooled down a little. If I weren’t so choosey I could probably lay a different bird every night, but it had actually got to the point where I couldn’t really be bothered anymore.
During the evening I partied with some of the locals and as usual drank far more than was good for my health. But then, besides Jimmy, Sis, Jaz and Donny ... and well, maybe Phyllis as well, who gave a monkey? I know I didn’t!
At some time the bird who’d shared my bed for a while the previous evening arrived, escorted by her man. That night though he kept her on a short leash and laid-off Jimmy’s Rum Cocktails -- and I suppose all the other questionable products available around Jimmy’s bar -- himself. One would suppose that it was those more questionable supplies had effectively put him into “never-never” land the evening before.
I never have been too sure what Jimmy put in those cocktails of his either; but they can have startling (and often unexpected) effects on those who aren’t used to consuming them.
Some tourists tended to behave like kids let loose in the sweet shop, when they discovered how freely available that sort of thing is in our little corner of the world; sometimes with -- as I’ve already said -- some pretty catastrophic results. Many’s the tourist who has found herself waking up in one of the local fishermen’s beds in the morning. And many’s the guy tourist who’s discovered that all his ready cash has gone after he’s gone for a walk on the beach with one of the local hotties.
That night the woman’s partner -- or whatever he was -- watched her like a hawk. He also had a foul look for every guy in the place who ever dared to glance her way, holidaymaker or local. It was obvious he had a good idea what had happened the night before, but not of with whom. And to say that there was a blatantly chilly atmosphere between him and his woman, would be putting it mildly.
I retired earlier than usual that evening, because of the full day charter the following morning and I was soon dead to the world - that is until Phyllis woke me at the unearthly hour of seven o’clock.
I never have discovered by what mechanism Jimmy -- or maybe it was Sis -- let Phyllis know on which days that I have charters. But on those days she always makes sure that I’m awake at the required hour. As I said, sometimes it’s better not to ask questions.
Phyllis had laid out my smart blue shorts and one of my white tee-shirts with a picture of “Cassandra” printed across the back. It also had a little logo on the left breast, with the words Captain Tom under it.
I have no idea who was responsible for getting the tee-shirts printed. They were most likely made by one of the many tourist type small workshops that turn out stuff for the visitors. But Donny and Jaz had a nice little sideline in flogging them -- for what I believe are exorbitant prices -- to the charter passengers. I didn’t object -- or demand a cut – as that was how folks earned enough to live cash on the island: taking the tourists for every penny they can.
My breakfast steak -- and beer again -- were already on the table when I arrived at Jimmy’s. Just the one beer that morning, then I walked down to the little cove come harbour which served as a base for the local fishermen and Cassandra.
Donny had the engine cover open and was checking the oil etcetera, when I arrived onboard. He ran the engine up, then left it ticking over to warm up -- it’s safer passing between the sand bar and coral reef that protect our little harbour with a warm engine -- and then he went below to change into his clean blue shorts and white tee-shirt. He’d just disappeared into the cabin as Jaz escorted and assisted by two young boys of about twelve years old came along the jetty carrying the makings of that day’s lunch.
Jaz was wearing her Cassandra tee-shirt over that little bikini of hers; her shapely legs modestly covered by a dark blue sarong to match Donny and my shorts. Nimbly she stepped aboard and then deftly placed a kiss on my cheek. The two boys, still holding their loads, stood on the jetty waiting, with expectant expressions on their faces.
“Yeah, come on then, it’s only a small party today.” I said, bringing wide grins to the two boys faces as they jumped onto the deck and then dashed bellow with their cargos.
I’ll admit I did have an agreement with the boys’ parents and one of the teachers at the local school. He frequented Jimmy’s bar on occasions and would tip me off if the boys skived off from their studies. The deal was simple, if the boys ducked their schooling, then they didn’t get to help crew Cassandra.
Within seconds they reappeared dressed in Cassandra tee-shirts and smart shorts. I looked across at Jaz who was sorting through the purchases she’d brought aboard.
“Well, they are with us so often when schools out, Donny and I figured they might as well look like proper crew.”
You might well guess that my two West Indian crew members took these cruises somewhat more seriously than I did, and they kind of forced a much more business like approach from me. I’d done my years sucking up to others and it really hadn’t got me that far in the long term, so by choice, I played everything but safety, as if it was unimportant.
Of course the other point is, that I really didn’t need the money these cruises brought in. I was living as an incognito rich man on a poor island. Yeah, I arranged for certain finances to be made available to the local clinic and the school, but no bugger knew where that cash actually came from, basically for reasons of my own security. Flashing lots of cash around in a poor community isn’t conducive to ones long-term health. Sorry, but that is just a fact of life!
I didn’t answer Jaz; I just smiled at her. To be honest, it was good having the two youngsters aboard when charter parties included children. Whilst under sail I prefer that all children – well all of the passengers really - wear life jackets. What with Cassandra pitching and rolling, and boom swinging about when we tacked, there was always a slight danger of the unexpected happening and some bugger going over the side. Even if the passengers can swim well, the Caribbean is a big expanse of water. Anyway the boys had been trained – after a lot of argument – to don their life jackets the moment we hoisted sail. Passengers’ children were less likely to argue about wearing life preservers, when they saw the boys put theirs on.
Donny, having changed into his clean gear, came out of he cabin and passing me the captain’s peeked cap that he and Jaz insisted that I wore, then set off down the wooden jetty to meet our passengers.
I sat myself down in the cockpit, pulled a beer from the cold box and the peak of the cap down over my eyes. Then watched under it as the two young lads made their way around Cassandra attempting to tidy away things that were already tidy enough.
“Those lads sure look proud of their new uniforms.” I commented to Jaz, who just smiled in reply.
I’m not sure how long I sat there daydreaming, remembering what it was like crossing the Atlantic on Cassandra all those years before. I suppose I was wondering whether I’d ever sail her back to the UK again, and if I did, would I be sailing her alone?
“No there was nothing left for you back in the old country anymore!” A voice said in the back of my head somewhere.
You know, I often heard that voice, I found myself wondered whether I was beginning to lose the plot.
“Nah, it’s the bleeding drink!” That voice answered the unasked question.
“Sorry Tom?” Jaz suddenly asked, and I realised I’d unintentionally made the last statement out-loud.
“Don’t mind me girl, I’m getting that old that I’m losing it!” I replied.
“Never!” she grinned back and then her attention was taken by something along the jetty, “Here they come!”
I was taking a swig from my beer as Jaz spoke and was still doing so as I turned to look in the same direction she was, and promptly received a - hypothetical - kick in the teeth.
Although it had been some years since I’d last seen them, and even then only once, I had instantly recognised two of the people walking along the rickety wooden structure towards Cassandra with Donny. I can tell you, it was such a shock that I choked on my beer and coughed, spraying the stuff all over Cassandra’s immaculate cockpit.
“You all right Tom?” Jaz asked.
“No ... Yeah!” I spluttered; then added. “Bloody beer went down the wrong way!” in way of explanation.
“Now don’t panic yourself mate, it might not even be them.” That voice was saying in my head. But in my heart I knew that it was!
“Besides,” the voice went on, “it’s been at least ten years and they aren’t liable to recognise you now, what with your beard and all!”
But I feared, that was not going to be the case. Yeah, the last time ... well it was the first and only time I’d seen either of them face to face actually, I had looked nothing like beach bum I liked to portray to the public now. I’d been dressed in my smart Armani business suit sitting in my solicitor Jenny Rose’s conference room when that bastard’s solicitor had all but spelt-out exactly why he’d brought my world crumbling about mu ears. And then he’d promptly had to eat his own words! But by that time, the damage had already been done and it was far too late for apologies.
I’m not sure what was going through my mind as they approached Cassandra. Maybe I had ideas of getting my own back on the arsehole by sailing away and ditching them all whilst they were snorkelling over the reef or something, later. “But hadn’t I already had my revenge?” I asked myself, “Wasn’t it Cartwright’s money that had paid for Cassandra and my new life?” -- “Yeah, but that bastard stole or at least brought about the end of my old life. And I noted that he was still with the slut he called his wife!”
Not really knowing how I was going to play things -- I supposed I figured that it depended on whether they recognised me or not -- with some reluctance I stood to welcome the party on board.
Mister and Mrs Cartwright, may I introduce Cap’n Tom.” Donny said, very formally as they climbed aboard.
“Captain this is Mr and Mrs Cartwright and Mrs Cartwright’s sister Ann. The three young ladies are Mr and Mrs Cartwright’s daughters Amanda and Katie, and their friend Kaye.”
“Call me Dee please Captain.” Cartwright’s wife said extending her hand. I shook it politely trying to read in the woman’s expression whether she recognised me or not. Then I shook the other woman’s hand.
Cartwright himself was looking around Cassandra with a quizzical expression on his face.
“Nice sailboat you have here Captain. I see you fly the red ensign, registered in the UK is she?” Cartwright finally said shaking my proffered hand. Something he hadn’t done the last time we’d met.
“Yacht.” I corrected him. “Yes, officially her home birth is Portsmouth. But I doubt she’ll ever return there in my lifetime.”
Cartwright was studying me as he spoke. He had the look about his eyes that I could remember more than one passport control official giving me in the distant past.
“You know there’s something familiar about your voice, Captain. Have we ever met before?”
“I very much doubt it Mr Cartwright. The USA isn’t one of my favourite places, I’ve only been there once, for a few days and I doubt I’ll ever return there!” I replied and promptly turned my attention elsewhere.
After looking around carefully to ensure that no other craft were on the move in what served as our little harbour; I called out to the young lads to cast-off rather sooner than I usually did. Generally I’d give the passengers time to get settled in a bit, but I needed interrupt my conversation with Cartwright and then hopefully he’d forget what we had been talking about.
Slipping Cassandra into reverse, I motored her clear of the jetty. Then swinging the helm hard over I gave her Perkins a quick burst at full throttle to swing her bow around to face the narrow safe channel out to the open sea.
It seemed to work Cartwright seeing the concentration on my face, went off to join the rest of his party being shown around Cassandra by Jaz and Donny. Er well, the intricate workings of Cassandra’s particular make of sea toilet have to explained very carefully to folks for the whole operation “not” to become a rather embarrassing experience, and sometimes messy for everyone involved. ‘Tis the craft’s one failing in my opinion.
As we entered the channel the young lads now dressed only in swimming trunks, having somehow divested themselves of their shorts and Tee-shirts, donned their life belts without argument. The belts we carried were the latest thing, secured with a belt around the wearers waist. They are folded into little more than a thick band that runs up from the belt, around the back of the neck and back again down and are very unobtrusive when not inflated.
Donny or Jaz must have told the party about my rules concerning children and life preservers whilst I was turning Cassandra. I noticed that the little girls, now in swim costumes, having divested themselves of their little sun dresses and been liberally covered with sun screen by their mother and the other woman, were being shown how to put the life preservers on by the two boys.
When out into deeper water -- clear of rocks, reef and sand bars etcetera -- Donny lowered Cassandra’s keel and then with the boys’ help, set about getting the sail up. We wouldn’t put up very much in the way of sail; these folk were out for a nice day trip, not an exciting one.
For a while the little ones settled into sitting on the leeward gunwale dangling their feet into the water. The three adults settled themselves on the front of Saloon roof just before the main mast and lay there sun bathing. Both women now resplendent in bikinis they surely had had on under their tops and sarong type skirts. Suddenly an odd thought crossed my mind. Mark Smith had definitely known how to pick ‘em!
I heard - or rather saw - Jaz go down and warn them about windburn. Cartwright kept his rather loud shirt and baggy shorts on.
It was a fairly straight north westerly run out to the outer islands where with luck we’d find some sharks and the like, for the party to take photographs of. On the way we passed close to a couple of local fishermen who confirmed that the sharks were where we expected to find them.
Then the hard work would start as we tacked back east to the particular island where we’d stop for lunch – Jaz would prepare one of her wonderful Bar-B-Q’s on the beach - and the party could snorkel over a shallow inner reef and see all the fish and coral. Then we’d continue tacking east, around a couple more little islands until it was time to turn and run straight back home again.
We’d been cruising for about half an hour – me on the helm – when Jaz brought me another beer.
“That Dee woman keeps looking at you Tom, do you know her from somewhere?” She asked.
“Unfortunately yes Jaz; but I’m hopping that they don’t recognise me.”
“She can’t figure-out where she knows you from, I heard her discussing you with the other woman and her husband. What is she - an old conquest?”
“No Jaz, quite definitely not! But those two and the elder of those two little girls are the root cause of me living out here in the first place.”
“There’s no family resemblance.” Jaz commented, sort-of absentmindedly, I think.
“What?” I replied sharply.
“Between you and either of the daughters, I was just thinking that she hasn’t got any of your features.” Jaz said, with a confused expression on her face.
“Jaz I’ve never bedded the bitch in my life and I’m definitely not the father of either of those girls. Jesus, I’ve only seen the Cartwright’s once before in my entire life!”
“Oh sorry Tom, but with your reputation, I just assumed.”
“Well you assumed wrong Jaz! Now do me a favour and please drop the subject. Or you might be looking for another craft to work on.”
“Oh God, Tom; that bad?”
“That bad, Jazmin!”
“I’m sorry, Tom, I didn’t realise.”
“Well you know now girl, and I’m hoping that they aren’t going to work-out who I am.”
“I can’t understand why you let them on-board, if it’s that bad?” Jaz asked.
“Because they definitely would have worked-out who I was, if I had told them to sod-off! As it is I look nothing like I did ten years ago and with luck they wont figure it out.”
“Okay boss, I’ll warn Don not to answer too many questions.” She said then went back to the front of Cassandra to see if the passengers wanted anything.
Donny came down from his perch - halfway up the main mast from where he was looking for any sign that sharks were about - and he and Jaz had a short whispered conversation.
If he spotted sharks Donny would signal me and I’d close in on them, so the passengers could get a good look. Folks seem to get a thrill out of being close to creatures that could -- under the right circumstances-- kill them. Well, to be honest, whatever we found we kind-a exaggerated the danger a little so they had nice juicy stories to relate to their friends when they got back from their holidays; it was all part of the service.
During the rest of the run out, I noted Dee Cartwright repeatedly glancing in my direction. A few times Dee would be talking to the other woman Ann and shortly after, she’d sneak a quick glance in my direction as well. It was with more than a little apprehension that I realised that Dee Cartwright, eventually, would probably work out where she’d seen me before; if she hadn’t already
Under normal circumstances I’d have put it down the two women’s discussion down to how well I might perform in bed. Come-on guys, women discuss blokes, just as much as you discuss good-looking women with your mates. But I knew full-well, that on this particular day Dee Cartwright was trying to work-out where and when she’d seen me before. Knowing of her lack of fidelity like I did, I had thought – or hoped at least - that she was wondering whether we’d ever bedded each other, sometime in the past.
You know, I suppose that must be a problem for some married women – or married men come to that - who sleep around a lot; they never know when they are going to run into and old bed partner. I should imagine that could make you a little paranoiac in the long term.
The children soon moved away from the gunwale when Donny spotted the first shark of the day; dangling toes in the water suddenly didn’t sound like such a good idea to them anymore.
But the little girls especially, got very excited to see the bigger sharks coming up close, especially after Donny dropped a bait sack over the side. You know, some of our passengers even want to get in and swim with the buggers, but they usually change their minds when they see the sharks having go at that bait sack.
Leaving the sharks well behind, we headed east for our island lunch stop. I have a specific island I use, partly because it is protected by two reefs an inner and an outer. For some unknown reason, sharks very rarely venture inside that particular outer reef, so it’s pretty safe area for folks to snorkel over the inner one.
Of course Donny would stand guard in the Rib with the rifle and spear guns at the ready anyway, just in case. I had never lost a passenger and I had no intention of loosing any it the future; even the Cartwrights.
“Those signs say no landing.” I heard Cartwright say to Donny as we motored up to the small wooden jetty.
“That’s for other folks, this is Cap’n Tom’s island. He owns it!” I heard Donny reply proudly.
Cartwright turned, and gave me a long stare I had to wonder whether he had suddenly realised that it was his own money that had paid for that bloody island, and Cassandra. Then -- at the insistence of his daughters -- he jumped into the sea with them and began to show them how to snorkel with the help of the two women.
The two young boys helped Jaz carry the Bar-B-Q stuff ashore and get the fire going, then they joined the others swimming and snorkelling over the reef. Donny as I said motoring backwards and forwards between the two reefs keeping his eyes open for anything unpleasant that might be around. And I might add, looking for anything tasty he fancied that he might add to the menu with a spear gun at the same time.
I sat in Cassandra’s cockpit and dozed for a while until I became aware -- by Cassandra’s sudden and very slight but unexpected movement -- that someone had come onboard. I looked up expecting to see Jaz standing there with my lunch. But instead I saw the long shapely legs of Dee Cartwright, her lean body covered in a bikini only slightly larger than the one Jaz usually wears.
“I know who you are; I’ve worked it out!” she said.
“Oh you have, have you? I thought I was Captain Tom; who am I then?” I asked, not really wanting to hear her answer.
“Are we safe out here with you; you’re not going to kill us or anything are you?” She asked in an indeterminate tone of voice. I couldn’t work-out if she was joking, or she was really frightened that I might cause some harm to her or her family.
“Sorry; why would you think that I’d want to harm you?” I asked in surprise.
“Hate Captain Tom. I could see the hate in your eyes when we came aboard. I just couldn’t recall where I’d seen hate as strong as that in someone’s eye’s before.