Desert Dream
Chapter 1

Caution: This Time Travel Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, Fiction, Time Travel, Historical,

Desc: Time Travel Sex Story: Chapter 1 - A man lost at sea, then everything changes. He must adapt to new circumstances

John Ritter sat alone in the middle of the crowded saloon; oblivious to the commotion of the wet tee-shirt contest taking place on the tiny raised stage in the corner. John was a familiar presence in many bars, taverns and saloons up and down the coast and inland waterways, from the Elbow Room in Dutch Harbor, just about the only bar on that dismal rock, to the Salty Dawg in Homer, with its trophies of hats and tee-shirts covering the ceiling and walls, interspersed with postcards sent from various foreign and exotic parts and on down to the Red Dog in Juneau with its loud live bands and wild hard drinking patrons. He was even known in Moe's in Skagway, but he had only been in the famous Red Onion once, and it had been too trendy for him. He preferred to nurse his one drink all night without peppy wait persons constantly pushing refills.

The places he was known, that he visited just to get off of the boat for awhile, knew that he was better mannered than most of their customers, and he also tipped better. John was good company if you sat down and talked with him, conversing mostly about his experiences as a long-line commercial fisherman, but if you didn't invite yourself to sit at his table, he was perfectly content with his own thoughts. Soft spoken and unassuming, usually quiet, and a good tipper- it was no wonder that he became known to the servers all throughout the towns and villages where a boat could tie up.

They didn't know him well enough, however, to sense that tonight his quiet mood was due more to depression and fatalism than to his normal subdued reticent personality. He had a feeling that some dark stormy night, very soon, he would be lost at sea. John was one quarter native, and gave credence to such feelings.

On more than one occasion such feelings had saved his life- but this time, he knew his number was up. One time, he had the feeling that his knife should go on the front of his thigh instead of on his right hip, and two days later, one of the large hooks dangling off of the long line became embedded in the flesh of his right fore-arm as the corded line whipped overboard pulled by the heavy anchor and the resistance of the float. It caught between the bones, the herring bait pushed back up over the filament line and the haft of the hook, giving him nothing to grasp even if he chose to rip the hook from his flesh, which he had done often enough.

It was only the fact that he could quickly grab the knife from it's new position on the front of his left thigh and cut the filament line which prevented him from being pulled over the back of the speeding boat. As it was, he nearly got fouled in the rest of the hooks as they flashed overboard. It was a short Opening, and to make enough money to pay wages the men had to quickly get the pre-baited and coiled long-lines overboard, and hope that enough fish had attached to the hooks before the time they had to haul the lines before the Fish and Game boat sounded the closing signal. John continued to work with the hook in his arm until the Opening was over, pausing only long enough to remove the bait.

John had many such close calls over the years, since he first started long-lining for cod the summer he turned 15. In the off season, he cut and delivered firewood, also a dangerous profession, alone in the woods, and he had done well for himself but now his inner sense of invulnerability was gone. He picked up his warm beer, finished it down, and startled the hell out of his server by ordering another one.

"Are you ok, John?" The petite yet tough woman asked. At 5'2", she was only six inches shorter than John, although with her heels on the difference was negligible. Bets looked at John, taking in the tanned and weathered face, prematurely aged from exposure to sun, cold, and toil. At 37, John would have been considered young in most other places and professions, but his aches and injuries made him feel old and tired. They didn't stop him from doing more than his share of work though, either on board the various boats he worked, or out in the timber felling firewood.

"Yeah, just got some things on my mind, thanks Bet" John answered, grateful for the genuine human concern he heard in her voice. On the boat, it was just hard work, some rough humor, and crashing into a cramped smelly bunk when even coffee and inhuman endurance couldn't keep the crew on their feet anymore. In the woods, it was solitude broken only by the snarling of the chain saw and the thump of the hydraulic splitter, the unnatural sounds of civilization driving away any curious wildlife. About the only human contact he had in his workaholic life was to be found in noisy or gloomy bars and taverns.

He thought better of the second beer, as he was truly a lightweight, and the one beer consumed over several hours hit him hard when he stood up. Having just slammed the last third of it hadn't helped, either. John waved a vague farewell to the patrons who weren't too attentive to the festivities on stage to notice his departure, he pressed his usual tip into Bet's hand, and faded into the early morning blackness. She looked worriedly after him, then put him from her mind, and concentrated on taking care of her customers. Last call was coming soon, and she wanted to get a start on gathering up the empty glasses and bottles ahead of time.

John was the black sheep of the Ritters, they didn't claim him, and he didn't claim them. He was a by-blow, and the only reason his name was Ritter was because that is the name his mother had had put on his birth certificate. The rest of the Ritter clan were wheelers, dealers, movers and shakers. Altogether a sleazy, slimy, underhanded bunch of advantage takers. John was the exception, a hard working, blue collar, genuine nice guy.

John didn't know any other life, quitting fishing and finding some other work didn't even enter his calculations. He knew he would be a fisherman until he died, and he felt that time was coming soon. There was an Opening out off of the Copper River shoals in two days, and the boat he was currently working, the Esmerelda, was going to be fishing it, in spite of the predictions of nasty weather.

The Captain was just as hard a worker as John, and all the crew were experienced. The Observer however, was a raw newbie, as usual. It was rare for one of the young college biology or marine fisheries majors foisted off on them (and on foreign boats fishing within 300 miles of U.S. soil) by the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife to return for a second season, and those who did were welcomed with rude camaraderie. More usually, though, it was some young lad or lass, homesick, seasick, and very much 'at sea'. This time it was a 19 year old Marine Biology Major, a college girl just having finished her freshman year in some much warmer climate. Ah well, what would fishing be without the Observers.

The Captain wasn't going to miss an Opening, no matter what the forecasters said. With the way the fishing season was being restricted, it took every fish a boat was able to catch in order to keep the boat in the black. A boat which didn't fish, didn't belong to the owner who didn't fish her for long. John went home to his tiny apartment which he lived in perhaps half of the year, the other six months being spent out on the fishing boats or out in the forest, and went to bed- and a troubled sleep.

The Esmerelda put out on a sunny calm day, which belied the forecast unless you ignored the falling barometric pressure, which Captain Jack did- at least in the sense that he didn't pay it any heed, not in the sense that he didn't observe it. It was going to be a rough one, but after all, he could lose the boat to foreclosure, or he could lose the boat to the elements. At least the elements were chancy, and if he did lose the boat to storm, the insurance would repay the boat's value. It was betting on a chance, against a certain thing. Better to take the chance.

It was the second trip out for Morgan, their Observer, and she had learned enough to keep out of the busy crew's way. The men baited the hooks and coiled the lines in the tubs, the hooks hanging out and hopefully not going to get tangled. It was a fairly long Opening, and they would have time to bring two or maybe three pulls- that is, if the weather let them bring in any at all. They lined up with the other boats forced to ignore the forecasts, and awaited the starting signal.

On the horizon the dark clouds massed and humped and piled up, turning the sky dark. Although only three in the afternoon, the boats all turned on their blazing floodlights, as their crews took care of last minute details, getting ready for the furious effort about to begin. A last sandwich or coffee, emptying of bladders, a final smoke. There were no smoke breaks during an Opening, no breaks of any kind, except perhaps a gulped cup of warm coffee.

"Captain Jack, It wouldn't be considered bad luck if I put on my survival suit, would it?" John wondered aloud.

"No, in fact, that seems like it would be a lucky thing indeed, if we all were in our survival suits. Everyone- Suit up!" Said Captain Jack with a wry grimace. The crew all climbed into their neoprene survival suits, and John noticed, as he slowly prepared to put his on, that Morgan's suit was characteristically in poor shape as most USDFW were, but even more so. The seams had let go under the arms, leaving fist sized holes. It was more death trap than survival suit. John gave her his good suit, and told her to put it on over her own.

"I have two, so you wear that, and I will wear my backup. Don't argue with me, it will go on right over your own suit." John told her, and as the sky grew more and more ominous, Morgan stopped arguing, and put the suit on. John barely had time to put his own survival suit on, it wasn't the most modern, and didn't have all the bells and whistles like GPS locator and strobe lights, but it would be good enough, that is if anything would do any good. John's sense of doom was growing stronger by the minute.

But there was the signal for the Opening to begin, and the next four hours were too hectic to think, dropping line after line, each buoy flashing its coded strobe so the boats could locate and collect the proper 'strings'. When the final line was over the rear transom, there was traditionally a moment's reprieve as they circled back to start pulling the long-lines back in again- but the seas were now so rough that they couldn't even see the buoys. Only rarely could they see the lights of the other boats when both were on top of the fifteen foot waves, or 'seas' as they were called when they 'just' went up and down, with the foam of whitecaps being blown off of the tops. Not the waves breaking on the shore, shoaling and curling, but even so they endangered the Esmerelda. Helpless to stay in the location of the long-lines, she was being relentlessly blown towards the rocky shore.

Captain Jack stopped fighting against the wind, and instead turned to put it off the port stern. He hoped he had enough power to make an inlet or breakwater before he was pushed onto the rocks. The radio was busy with calls for assistance, but the Coast Guard were too busy to get to everyone. They should have postponed the Opening thought Captain Jack to himself bitterly. In all likelihood, it was the end of the Esmerelda.

Suddenly a large sea overtook her from behind- the shore must be shoaling already. Then another, and she started to go down. John shouted to Morgan through the howling wind, "The water is safer than the boat now, get over the side!" When she balked, he grabbed her and threw her over the windward side, and jumped after, sensing rather than seeing or hearing the rest of the crew plunging in around them. The force of the wind was lessened so close to the surface, and Jack watched as the rest of the crew linked up, their strobes flashing in the darkness.

There wasn't any point for John to join them, in fact, it would probably only doom them as well. He allowed the wind and tide to carry him away from the flashing lights, and in short time several swells were between them and him, and he was alone in the night.

He wished them luck, and let himself float, as if he had any choice. The icy water bit his exposed face, and he missed the extra protection his better suit afforded, but he was glad it would be of use to Morgan, at least.

Tired after the long long day, John found himself falling asleep, and couldn't think of a single reason why he should not.

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Story tagged with:
Ma/Fa / Fiction / Time Travel / Historical /