“This your sailboat?”
“Yeah,” Joseph said. “I know she’s not great…”
“Is she even legal?” Paul laughed.
“Wear these,” Joseph replied, throwing them lifejackets. “I’ve taken it out before. Erin, we’ve gone, remember?”
“You took me for my birthday. We were on your parent’s pond. Not the lake. I don’t even think the boat was finished.”
Joseph’s fiancée, Kim, snapped the buckle of her lifejacket. “You’re just a chicken. Get in the boat!”
The sail flapped viciously in the sun. More ropes hung from the top of the sail than wires hung from the back of Paul’s computer. Paul eyed it. Erin reached over and gave his hand a reassuring squeeze.
Joseph was in his element. He worked the sail with exaggerated movements. The lake around them was rough. Little sprays of water reached up and slapped the boaters the in the face.
“You have no sense of adventure,” Joseph declared. “This is great sailing weather.”
“How did you make the boat?” Paul asked.
“Junkyard parts,” Erin said. “When we were dating, he drove me around for hours, looking for stuff. He’s been working on it since high school.”
Kim rubbed sunscreen on her legs. “When Joseph and I get married, we’re going sailing every day. I’m excited. We’re saving for a real boat.”
“Hey!” Joseph said, “This is a real boat!”
They all laughed. Then, a strong gust hit the sail.
Nobody saw it coming. They heard a loud smack when the boom struck Joseph’s head. It swung around wildly. Paul felt Erin’s fingers rip from his own hand.
Silence. Erin heard nothing around her.
When she surfaced, the boat was tipped over, like a child’s toy in the bathtub. Kim screamed in the background. Paul was tangled in the sail, but was above water.
Erin didn’t see Joseph.
Kim’s scream made sense now. The ropes, Erin thought. He’s caught in them.
Paul disappeared under the water, looking for Joseph.
Suddenly, the boat flipped over, slamming down on the water. Both Paul and Joseph surfaced behind it.
“Get in the boat, Erin!” Joseph screamed.
“What?” Erin was confused.
“Into the boat!” He screamed again. Joseph pushed Erin into the vessel. He scrambled in behind her.
The water reached her calves inside the boat. Kim and Paul treaded water outside the craft.
“Start bailing!” Joseph cried. He cupped his hands and frantically tossed water over the side. Kim and Paul were forgotten in the lake.
A sputtering noise rose out of the breeze. A motorboat came over the horizon. It dwarfed Joseph’s creation.
The driver grinned at them. “You guys need help?” he asked, throwing them a hitch. “Come on, you two, get out of the water.”
Kim and Paul climbed aboard the man’s boat. Joseph and Erin stayed where they were.
Traveling to shore, Erin sat beside Joseph. “They look drier than we do,” she remarked. “Let’s wave to them.”
Joseph and Erin waved. Paul waved back.
Kim stood stoic. She stared out, somewhere beyond the broken sail boat.
I wrote this story for the May 2011 Flash Fiction Blogfest. I hope you enjoy! On another note, I've update my Current Work section at the top of my page. Check it out!
Have a great weekend, everyone!