Jenny was extremely apprehensive about the trip, but she tried not to show it. She and her husband, Joe, had flown from their home in the Kansas City to Guaymas. From there, they were going to rent a sailboat and sail to Angel Island in the Sea of Cortez. The Sea of Cortez is the long passage of water between the mainland of Mexico and the long Baja peninsula to the west, surrounded by ocean on each side. Jenny was fearful of the ocean.
Her husband was a computer geek she had met in college. He was not real athletic, but was a computer genius. She had learned to be affectionate and care for him, but her biggest attraction for him had been his obvious potential earnings. She had had it with the "Bad Boy" type. She had always dated handsome, athletic types that rode Harleys and built hot rods. In the end, they never seemed to be able to hold a job for any length of time, and were always getting in bar fights. She was tired of it when she accidentally met Joe on a blind date. She had grown to care for him over time, but had not initially been overwhelmed with him at first.
Joe had been curious about sailing. They had bought a cabin in the Ozarks, and his affluent lifestyle had afforded him the opportunity to go there on the weekends and learn to sail. Jenny enjoyed floating down the big lakes in the Ozarks on pontoon boats and fishing for bass, crappie, and the occasional catfish. It was a nice easy life.
Joe had become more obsessive about sailing and now seemed pretty good at operating a pretty good size sailboat on a lake. The Sea of Cortez could be a different story.
On the one hand, it was almost like a lake; with land on three sides. What they did not realize was that when the tide came in and out, such a narrow body of water was subject to violent changes in levels during high and low tide.
Joe was excited when they left the airport and got to the ocean, where he rented the sailboat and got checked out on it. Yea ... yea ... he knew all about it. The owner wasn't telling him he didn't already know.
One thing Jenny had not counted on, was the size of the sailboat. She was skeptical that the two of them could handle a boat of that size. If they had a couple more hired hands ... maybe ... it would be less frightening.
Joe and Jenny went to bed, planning to leave as early as possible the next morning at first light, and sail to Angel Island to the north. From there, they would do some fishing, turn around and sail back. The whole trip was expected to take over a week.
Before it was even light, Joe was bouncing Jenny out of bed and bugging her to get packed. Things went well the first day or so. Jenny was still a little uncomfortable. Sailing along the coast of Mexico, the landscape was barren and hot. They had plenty of food and water. Joe cooked some of the fish they caught.
Jenny was ecstatic when they approached Angel Island. Soon they would be on their way back. They broke out the Champaign that evening to celebrate. Jenny felt better. The trip was half over, and nothing had remotely gone wrong.
Suddenly, as she was putting away the food and wine, a storm seemed to come up out of nowhere. It didn't last long, but the lightning took out the main mast. No problem; they had back-up generators and gasoline engines with enough fuel to get back to civilization. The problem that came up was that the lightning had also fried the computer chip on the engines. It would not start. The sails would not work. They were stranded. They let their anchor down. In the morning, maybe somebody would see them and help them.
The next day, Joe tried to navigate the sailboat back towards the mainland, and hopefully, along the beach, looking for other boats or some kind of a village.
What neither of them realized was that there were a number of drug smugglers who navigated along this coast, planting shipments of drugs for others to quickly fly in and take over the border. There were all kinds of ways they could fly stuff out, or drop it to other boats.
While they were floating towards the mainland, Joe spotted a sand beach. He thought he might be able to get close and drop anchor.
Upon trying to get closer, he did not see the other boat. As he went around a large outcropping and into a cove he hadn't noticed, he noticed a couple of boats transferring cargo.
This was good news he thought. He could ask them for help. Maybe they could help him with his fried computer chip on the engine. Once he got close enough, Joe realized this was the wrong thing to do. He realized these men could be smugglers. What else could they be doing, transferring large packages in the middle of nowhere?
It was too late. Joe did not have any kind of power to turn his boat as it helplessly drifted towards the small group of grimy looking men. He tried to mask his terror so as not to alarm his wife, but it was no use. She had recognized the situation they were in also.
The men saw them. They powered up one of the boats, a forty foot scarab and pulled up along side of them. They did not know that Joe and Jenny had no power, and could not report their positions or call for help. They were afraid of being turned in to the Coast Guard.
"Welcome to Mexico! What are you people doing alone out here like this?" a very large black man thundered out to them.
Joe was silent. He didn't know what to say. He knew they were smugglers.
"We lost our mast and power because of the lightning last night. We just want to be able to get back to Guaymas." Joe replied in the calmest voice he could muster. The big man sized him up and felt Joe was harmless. Never the less, he couldn't just let them go. Another boat could come by to help them, and his group could be reported.
"It's getting late. There isn't enough light for us to fix your boat or take you anywhere today. Why don't you just throw out an anchor. We can get something to eat, and you can be on your way in the morning." The huge black man said with a sly grin. Joe didn't trust him, but had no options. Maybe he was over paranoid and things would be o.k.
Joe looked at Jenny. They both knew they had no options. They had been seen. They would have to cooperate.
The leader, Marcel, jumped aboard their boat and tied a rope between the two crafts. The large Scarab turned and started rumbling towards shore. Both boats were anchored a safe distance away from shore.
Somebody had started a large fire on the beach. Folding chairs had been arranged in a large circle around the fire. Somebody was cooking. There were cases of bottled beer and chests of ice away from the fire.
Jenny knew that she had made a mistake with her outfit. She was wearing a bikini and a light summer dress that was very short. She had cork sandals and wrap-around sun glasses. Marcel extended his hand to help her into the aluminum rowboat that would take them from their sailboat onto the beach.
He was a good six feet six inches tall, with no shirt. His pant legs of his denim jeans covered his long, high leather work boots. Jenny stood there on her boat awkwardly, not wanting to take his hand that was extended to help her. the wind blew softly and the short dress fluttered provocatively, revealing the thong bikini bottoms. The thin summer dress and tissue thin bikini did almost nothing to hide her nakedness. She could have been wearing jeans and a raincoat. Nothing would have covered her beauty.
Reluctantly, Jenny accepted his hand and stepped into the skiff. Nobody looked at Joe. He could get his own ass in the boat. They didn't care if he lived or died. Joe got in, hoping somehow that his mere presence would assure his wife's safety.
Once they were on the beach, Marcel introduced himself. Joe reciprocated, hoping that if they knew he an Jenny were married, not harm would come to them. They accepted the food and a bottle of bear as everybody sat down to eat.
"What are we going to do?" Jenny asked, trying to hide her terror.
"We are just going to have to try to get along, and not piss them off. Hopefully help will come." Joe tried to answer in an almost whisper.
Marcel made small talk with his partners and tried to include Jenny and Joe. Jenny was too mortified to speak.
"Jenny, my men have been out here along the baja desert for quite some time. We have no television or any other kind of diversion. They are getting restless and quarrelsome. If I am not careful, they will soon start fighting with each other. They all have guns and knives. I cannot afford to lose anybody." Marcel said quietly.
"I'm sorry you have been away so long. I hope all of you are home soon." Jenny tried to reply as politely as possible.
"Jenny, I think you could help a great deal in keeping peace around here." Jenny did not respond. She looked down at the ground. She glanced quickly over at her husband.
"Joe, what do you want me to do?" she asked with sheer panic in her eyes, afraid of where the conversation might be going. "I don't know. We can't take the chance of pissing anybody off." He replied, almost in a daze.
Jenny looked up in Marcel's direction, but said nothing.
"Jenny, I couldn't help but notice you have probably sunning yourself today. Did you get sunburned?"
Jenny looked down at the ground but didn't reply.
"Go get some suntan lotion. It is hot here and you cannot afford to get burned." Jenny looked up at her husband, pleading with horror in her eyes for help. Joe stared blankly back at her, giving her no hint of his thoughts. Jenny looked down, petrified and unable to respond.
Marcel stood and swung at Joe with his open hand. Even though it was only a slap, His open hand was strong enough to send the computer geek sprawling over backward. The sound of the open hand on the side of his face sounded like a clap of thunder. Jenny brought her hands up to her mouth.
Joe turned so he was on his hands and knees, unable to get his bearings enough to stand. Marcel walked over towards him. Jenny lunged at him and grabbed him around the arms, trying to pin them to his sides.
"No ... please ... please don't hurt him. I'll get the lotion." Jenny walked over to where her large straw purse/beach bag was laying next to her chair.
Marcel went over to his chair and sat. Jenny walked over to him and handed him the suntan lotion.
"I can't do it with that dress on." He said.
Tears started to form in the corners of her eyes as she looked back and forth at her husband and again at Marcel. With hands that seemed to weigh a thousand pounds, she reached down to the hem of her dress. One by one, her fingers went from one button to the next, working her way up to the top.
The dress fluttered in the breeze as it was unbuttoned. The firelight danced across her Coppertone abs and legs as they slowly peeked through the dress as she unbuttoned it. Jenny leaned her head to one side as she slipped the top off of that shoulder. She brought the dress around in front of her as she fought to shield her body from the men.
Marcel reached behind him and pulled a white pearl handled stick out of 12" long. He turned it sideways so she could get the full effect as he pulled down on the silver button. It was only a split second, but she was able to see the entire blade in slow motion as it clicked free and formed a large blur as it opened and locked. It looked more like a sword than a switchblade when it locked open.
Marcel extended his arm stuck the point into the middle of her dress. She released it as he drew it away from her and let it drop on the sand in front of him. Jenny stood there practically naked with nothing but the thong bikini hiding her.
"I can't put this lotion on you if you have that swimsuit on." Marcel said with a growing smile.
Joe had regained his composure. He sat on his hands and knees, transfixed with the scene in front of him. Jenny looked back at him again, hoping for some sign to indicate resistance or approval. She saw none. She was all alone.
Jenny looked around; at the blade in front of her; at the smiling men, dumbfounded at the scene unfolding in front of them; and up at Marcel; hoping for any sign of mercy.