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It had been a strange job

The Vacation

By: Tee

 

Rating: PG

For the Trick or Treat Challenge

Sunny weather – light hearted – Hannibal in costume. I think this fits the bill, but you'll have to tell me. I'm over the word limit, but only by a couple hundred. Please forgive me.

 

I'm not sure I wrote this in Response to the Good Sports Challenge, but I think it fits.

 

Thanks to Pam for a good eye and a great memory.

 

 

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It had been a strange job. Starting in San Antonio, we had followed the trail of an international slaver into Mexico, from Chihuahua to Acapulco.  From there, we made a brief foray into Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras.  There were two plane trips, three helicopters, four trucks, five trains, more cars than I could count, and a tank. Did I mention the mules? No, probably not, but then, they really aren't worth mentioning.

 

But Heads of State were making noises that they were pleased with our success. Our fees were paid, indiscretions overlooked, and outstanding warrants cancelled. The Ambassador of Nicaragua promised us a lovely vacation, anywhere we wanted, all expenses paid for two weeks  – as long as it wasn't in his country.

 

We discussed it amongst ourselves for all of three minutes.  BA insisted he'd been drugged enough in the last few days, and if we drugged him again, there would be no lack of retribution. We all believed him. So, we'd need a vacation spot that was close enough to get to fairly quickly and easily.

 

With a pocket full of cash, the receipt for a deposit to Face's Swiss bank account, and a wallet full of American Express Travelers Checks, we headed for the dock and a boat to Belize. 

 

After all our years together, we've gotten used to being in places we've never been before. We've been to an awful lot of places. From Greenland to the Falklands, from the Ivory Coast to the coast of Japan.  Every place had its own charm and appeal. Of course, there were more than a few places I'd truly rather never see again, but that's a story for another day. Belize was a place we hadn't been before. The people were friendly enough, and the price of a five-star hotel wasn't much more expensive than a good Howard Johnson in San Francisco.

 

And what a hotel Face picked. We had a suite; four rooms surrounded a center living room. Each bedroom had its own bathroom with sunken tub and walk-in closet and king size bed. A little bit of heaven on earth. After all, we weren't picking up the tab, so no reason to skimp.

 

We played tourist to the hilt.  Murdock took up windsurfing and managed to convince BA to get on a board, too. Between the two of them, I think they managed to revolutionize the sport. Murdock was doing acrobatic moves and BA re-engineered his board so the sail would pivot better. Meanwhile, Face and I took to scuba diving. We billed some great tours to the Nicaraguan government. We dove on colorful reefs, sunken ships and a black coral forest. Our evenings were spent eating great food, drinking great wine, dancing, and gambling.

 

The warm Mexican-Caribbean climate was a balm for our travel-weary souls. It wasn't often we had two weeks together, let alone not looking over our shoulder, so we had a ball under the brilliant blue skies.

 

Midway through our vacation, we saw fliers for a two-day run and bike race sponsored to help save the rain forests.  We all entered, just to see how we'd do. I made it about four hours into the run before dropping out. BA grumbled and complained, but he made a pretty good showing in the first day's run before deciding he'd had enough, too. The two of us decided we'd act as support team for Face and Murdock during the second day of racing.

 

Although there was no way the two men were going to win this race, Face and Murdock wanted to finish, as a personal challenge. Following them along the race route, I saw some spectacular landscape, breathtaking views, and exotic flora and fauna. BA was busy with a Nikon 35mm camera taking photos of the sights that Murdock and Face would never remember racing by. I like to think that a few of those training exercises had something to do with their finishing the race, but I think internal will probably played a bigger part.

 

After all that exertion, Face and Murdock were useless for two days following the race. The only exercise they got was walking to the pool and back. Their idea of heavy lifting was pulling the umbrellas out of their daiquiris.

 

BA and I took to the town, leaving our bathing beauties to dip their toes in the white sandy beaches. At the end of the week, there would be a Halloween Party at the hotel and I felt costumes were in order, so we went on a scavenger hunt at antiques shops, second-hand stores, and yard sales. I don't think I've ever seen BA have so much fun gathering the things necessary for our mission. We kept the costumes secret from Face and Murdock as they "recovered" from their ordeal. 

 

On the night of the party, the hotel was decorated festively. It was by no means an American event. There were no witches or ghosts, but there were pumpkins and scarecrows. The party theme was "Famous People in History."  BA and I had laid out the costumes on the couch, where they looked like flat people.  Mine was pretty obvious - the white toga covered with a bright red wrap, pinned with a broach shaped like an elephant.   BA was going as Othello. And a stunning king he made, too.

 

Murdock caught on to his costume pretty darn quick. Of course, the leather helmet and goggles had been good clues. If he wore the Iron Cross he'd be Baron Von Richthofen – without it - Lucky Lindy. He could choose, depending on his mood. Seems the Baron would be with us this evening, although I'm pretty sure he planned to get 'lucky.'

 

Face was a little tougher.  Although I thought his costume was perfect for him, I knew it might be a harder sell.  The tights were black, the shirt, well tunic, was white. Face fingered the silk, his eyes narrowed. "And this is – who?" His words were slow and calculated. Sometimes I wonder if it's good to know your friends as well as we know each other. That tone of voice usually means that innocents should duck and take cover.

 

Before I had a chance to answer, Murdock picked up the velvet cap.  It had a long feather that matched the costume's dark cloak pretty closely.  "I don't know, but I can't wait to see you in this."

 

Face reached down and grabbed the scabbard with the sword in it, releasing it with a flourish. "Back off, fly boy – or you'll be Shiska Bob." He said the words like they were a name, grinning and making a mock thrust with the sword, then turned to me, holding the sword up in a fencer's salute. "Well?"  I heard the challenge in his voice.

 

"BA – that is a fake sword, right?"

 

"Uhm, well." BA gave me a non-committal shrug of his shoulders. We both knew it was.

 

"Face, now, come on. Would I embarrass you?"

 

His eyes narrowed and I recognized the need to regroup.

 

"Don't answer that. I –we-" I was quick to make sure BA got credit where credit was due. "We went to a lot of trouble to pick that out. You just try to find fourteenth century Italian clothes here. I dare you."

 

He scowled at me again.

 

"Okay, if we can do it, you can do it, but I tell you, it wasn't easy."

 

I guess that was the right thing to say, because Face put down the weapon and turned back to the costume.

 

"Fourteenth century. Italian."

 

I could see the wheels turning, as he stood there sorting out the clues in his mind. If I didn't know him so well, I probably would have missed the smirk of satisfaction that crossed his face so quickly.

 

"Fine, I'll wear it, just because you guys went to so much trouble."

 

It was all too clear who he was supposed to be once he had the costume on, but of course, we know Face is Don Juan every day.

 

 

The End

 

By Tee

Originally written some time ago, but I forgot to date it

 


The Vacation by Tee

 

 


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