Glory Days

Glory Days

by Art Bonus

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Overview

'Glory Days' is an action/adventure story of fiction about a battle-hardened Navy Seal, Master Chief Jay Johnson, who is contemplating retirement from his military service after a long exciting and highly decorated career. His old and dying ex-commander bequeaths his classic yacht, 'Glory Days' to Jay and soon thereafter the high-seas adventures begin. Death and destruction seem to follow in the wake of the 'Glory Days'. Come follow the crew as they are plunged into a sea of chaos and carnage as they battle smugglers and terrorists in the Sea of Cortez.

Author_Bio: Art Bonus, a fine-art painter, photographer and poet has turned his creative talents to the literary world with his newest novel, 'Glory Days'. Artist or Author he has painted a masterpiece with words for your reading enjoyment and hopes to inspire others to tell their stories with whatever creative process that works best for them.

Keywords: Action, Adventure, Navy Seal, Military, Special Operations, Terrorists, Yachting, Drug-Smugglers ,CIA, Homeland Security

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781506905860
Publisher: First Edition Design Publishing
Publication date: 04/23/2018
Pages: 322
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.72(d)

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS

"Jay, Jay, all the way, Jay, Jay, all the way," was the only sound that pierced through the cool crisp early morning ocean air as the lone jogger ran down the beach path along the ocean's edge at Bay Park. "Jay, Jay, all the way," as his breathing became more and more labored, he remembered how that old Airborne training chant from his jump school days always pumped him up to help him finish strong. Jay picked up his pace on the way to the Coronado Yacht Club to meet his old Commander, friend, and mentor, Commander Rob.

It was another beautiful summer day on an early morning San Diego sun-drenched Sunday. As Jay walked past the main gate of the yacht club, the guards waved him in. There was a sudden flurry and shrieking of seagulls cursing at him as he walked through and past them. They stubbornly relinquished their feeding area next to the Yacht Club Bistro while they trolled for French fries and small parcels of bread.

Now, with the California sun rising behind him and silhouetting his massive, well-tuned torso, Jay could see Commander Robert Helmsley hoisting a drink on the glistening aft deck of the Glory Days. A well-rounded smile adorned Jay's face as he instinctively yelled out from dock slip #15,

"Permission to come aboard, Sir?"

With a wave of his hand in a quick but lackadaisical manner, Commander Rob replied, "Permission granted, you poor excuse for a sailor."

"Well, Commander Rob, how in the hell are you doing, you old salty dog?"

"Hello Jay! Thanks for coming by to visit an old washed ashore swabby," replied the Commander in a soft and sullen tone.

"Yeah, so I got your phone message last night. What's up, having a problem with this old bucket of bolts?"

"No, no, hell no, not at all Jay. You have kept her in great shape over these past many years, but wait a minute, what old bucket are you referring to - the boat or me?" The old Commander laughed.

"Come on, Rob, you look good but would probably look even better if you could cut back on the grog a little."

"I am so sorry, Jay, I forgot my Officer and Gentlemen manners. May I offer you a bourbon and yogurt just to keep things healthy for you?"

"No, you can forget the yogurt, but I will take two fingers of your Makers Mark, which was named after my esteemed colleague Senior Chief Mark Lightfoot. You remember him from back in Faluja days?"

"Oh Yeah, hard ass son of bitch and had that weird Cochise hairdo thing going on. Hooyah, good times. He was great with the long gun as I remember." Commander Rob started pouring a tall glass of bourbon on the rocks in a chilled glass that had an imprinted anchor logo with "Anchors Aweigh" on it.

Jay watched this extended pour thinking and humming low, "It's got to be 5 o'clock somewhere, maybe Key West."

As the two old Navy warriors leaned back in their deck chairs, Jay began to ask, once again, about the urgency of this early morning pow wow.

"Awe Yes, I was getting to that, but first, could you please run down to the galley and fill up this bucket of ice for me?" Asked the now tipsy Commander.

"Why sure, Rob, is there anything else I can get you while I am down there?" Jay stepped down into the main salon.

"No Sir, just a bucket of ice and, what the hell, get me a bucket of $100 bills while you're at it," Rob quipped.

Jay, now navigating his way through the main salon, thought he was walking down memory lane for a minute with the sound system playing "Landslide" by Fleetwood Mac with old images, and mission maps, and much to his concern, a few folders labeled "Top Secret CIA/Homeland Security" strewn all over the coffee table next to the leather recliner while on his way to the Galley.

After getting the ice from the refrigerator Jay couldn't help but notice all the pain medications organized in one of the door compartments of the fridge. Rob must have some health issues to have all these pills around, he thought, as he headed back through the main salon to the outside aft deck.

Coming back with a full ice bucket, Jay stumbled as he stepped up onto the aft deck and dropped a few ice cubes on the polished teak deck. Commander Rob, somewhat startled, quickly turned his head and saw the embarrassed Jay trying to pick up the melting ice cubes as they slid across the aft deck into a small pool of water.

"Leave them, Jay. We always, unfortunately, have to consider some casualties and lose a few along the way, no matter how easy or hard the mission." Commander Rob slid down into his chair and covered his face in pain with trembling hands.

Jay sat down and pulled his chair closer to the Commander as he filled his glass with more bourbon. "Are you feeling all right Commander?"

"No, not really Jay, and that is part of the reason why I asked you to come over today, but before I go on, let us raise our glasses to all of our past comrades that are not with us anymore." The sullen Commander straightened up his back and raised his glass to meet Jay's.

"So, Jay, do you remember when you were first assigned to my command back in Kuwait City and I sent you and your team of young SEAL pups out on your first mission?" the Commander asked with a broadening smile across his face.

"Hooyah, Commander, I will never forget it. I think it took us a week to hose all that oil off us after that damn oil rig blew out in the Gulf. I really wish S.W.C.C. would have taught us how to swim in a sea of burning oil, I mean that was some nasty shit, but whatever, we all made it back alive." Jay paused to reflect on that for a quick moment. "So, Commander, I couldn't help but notice that scuba tank behind you there, what's up with that?"

"Oh this?" Rob leaned back and put the air mask on, he took a few deep breaths of life-saving oxygen to fill his tired lungs. While breathing with the mask, Commander Rob jokingly garbled, "Luke, I am your Father."

"Funny shit, Commander, but really, what's going on, what's the deal?"

"The damn deal, Jay, is that I probably smoked too many Cuban Cohiba's at the Officers Club trying to get promoted to Admiral with all those snobby bastards. Most of which never even saw any meaningful military action - ever. So, in answer to your dumb ass question Master Chief, it helps me to breathe better, OK?"

"Outstanding," said Jay not choosing to go any further with an obviously upset Commander Rob now glaring at him. "I have just one more question, Commander." The Commander rolled his eyes because of the third-degree interrogation Jay was putting him through. "I just happened to notice, while walking through the main salon, that you had 'Top Secret' files on your table. They were marked 'CIA and Homeland Security'. Shouldn't those be secured somewhere on base and not lying around on your table?" Jay asked in a pointed and inquisitive manner.

"Let me give you some advice, Master Chief, and this is some very heavy shit that you need to know from here on forward. Never, ever trust the CIA or Homeland Security. When you are on a mission and they come in the side door and get involved, I can assure you, Master Chief, they will throw you under the boat in a heartbeat if anything goes wrong - and don't you ever forget it. Those files down there are my insurance for the near future and I will secure them shortly in my own way, thank you very much. Quite frankly, I probably won't need them anymore. They were only there to protect me and my team, of which you were a part of, many times. Do you copy, Master Chief?"

"Copy that Commander." Jay quickly responded to the Commander's heartfelt advice and an important life lesson for him.

"Having said all that," the Commander took a long hit off the oxygen tank and proceeded, "I am giving you those files because you and most of your team were on those missions and you can decide to do whatever you want with them. "Jay, I am also giving you my prize possession." Commander Rob lightly tapped on the aft deck teak railing. "I want you to have the Glory Days as a gift from me to you for a small transactional fee of $1000.00, only because of my son, the corporate suck ass attorney, said to charge you something, so I hope you find that reasonable and fair."

Jay, now thoroughly stunned after hearing this offer, blurted out, "What the hell is going on, Rob, why are you leaving me your yacht?"

Commander Rob slumped in his deck chair and confessed to Jay, "You are like a son to me Jay, and you have kept this boat in Bristol shape for many years and I appreciate the help, love, and sweat you have so graciously given us." Commander Rob took another deep breath from the oxygen tank and quietly, in almost a whisper, continued to answer Jay's question. "I figure I won't be using the old girl anymore because I have just been told by my Doctors that I have lung cancer, stage 10 or something-whatever. They said I have less than a year to finish my watch. So please, Jay, do me this honor and take care of her for me when I am gone. Unfortunately, I will be heading to the Navy Hospital for an extended stay next week."

"Wow, Rob, I am so sorry to hear all this. Is there anything I can do to help you through all this?"

"Well, yes Jay, there is something and I want you to take this purchase agreement home with you, think about it, and talk it over with Lori or whatever and pay me $1000.00 in cash because I don't trust your bounced checks from Tijuana. Remember that little incident I saved your butt on back when you were a Newbie? That was back when you were still young and dumb. Well, you're not young anymore, but still a dumb ass, so cash only. Now get the hell out of here. It's time for my siesta and please think about this and let me know soon, before I go to the butcher shop, oops, I meant hospital."

Jay accepted the rolled-up document from the old Commander, slowly saluted him, and extended his hand to shake his - which still had a noticeable tremor to it. "I will do as you ask, sir. You know you have always been like a father to me. I will discuss this with Lori tonight and get back with you in a day or two. If there is anything I can do in the meanwhile, just call my cell number and stay in touch. Permission to leave the ship, sir?"

"Permission granted Master Chief. Oh, and Jay, let me know what you want to do with those files. Remember - they are for your own protection," replied Commander Rob.

"Copy that." Jay jumped briskly off the Glory Days onto the dock and spent a few minutes overlooking the old classic 56-foot Hatteras that the Commander just offered to him.

"I wouldn't change a thing, well, except for the pirate flag with the naked lady and martini glass flying off the bow pulpit." Departing down the long wooden dock, Jay turned around and walked backward a few steps, to catch one last glimpse of what could possibly be his very own yacht, the Glory Days.

Walking back past the yacht club with the noonday sun high overhead, he began to jog lightly down the dancing shadows of the narrow running path that was laid out before him. Now, he ran more briskly in somewhat of a hurry to tell Lori the good news and the bad news in regard to Commander Rob and the yacht, which he was elated about, even though the bittersweet news of Commander Rob's health saddened and upset him.

* * *

Arriving home at the Bay Shore condos, where he and Lori had been living since they moved off base years ago, he crashed on the lounge chair that sat on the front patio knowing that Lori's car was not there and she was not home yet. After a few deep breaths, he pulled out the purchase agreement and began to read it, more carefully and slowly this time. It was as he expected. The purchase agreement was really a giveaway. It even included the dockage fees and the yacht club membership until the year 2020.

Once again, his feelings of happiness were offset by the sadness of the terminal nature of the Commander's illness. The back and forth was emotionally draining him as he closed his eyes and drifted back to all the missions they did together - the good, the bad, and the ugly. He thought of all the work he had done on the boat, a complete overhaul of the diesel engines which he had shipped all the way from Detroit. The new hydraulics and steering on the lower helm and sedan bridge. All the latest electronics put in by his communications team expert, Mark the wizard, as he was nicknamed. From the best radar and GPS, to I-Tunes playing from their iPhones via Bluetooth throughout the ship over the best sound system that a rock star could buy. Mark the wizard went the extra mile with mobile satellite, K-band uplink capabilities, even hi-def monitors with WIFI and mobile hotspots that could support hi-speed internet connections anywhere in the world. So many memories. He was tired and nodded off for a short nap on the sunny patio lounge chair.

* * *

"Jay, wake up." His soul mate and lover gently pushed on his upper bare arm, knowing not to startle him when he was sleeping because he might wake up swinging. "How are you, sweetie? Are you guarding the patio again?"

"Wow, sorry. I guess I dozed off there for a while. It has been a weird Sunday." Jay now on his feet stepped over to the car to help Lori bring the groceries into their condo.

Inside the kitchen, she started to put the groceries away and asked, "How was Commander Rob this morning? What did he need fixing on the boat this time? I will bet he wanted that damn hull sanded and repainted again. What a messy project. Yuck."

"Lori, how long has Commander Rob been retired now?"

Lori thought for a minute. "I think he retired when I graduated from UCLA, you and I met at the Oceanography Advanced Study class, so about ten years or so, I guess."

"That would make him about 72-73 or so," Jay calculated.

"Why all the questions about Commander Rob? You're not trying to get out of helping me put away the groceries, are you mister?"

Jay released a deep sigh, "If only that would work, but let's get this stuff out of the way and then you can tell me how your day was." As Lori organized and put away the groceries, with very little help from Jay, he then motioned for her to have a seat at the kitchen table.

"Jay, I just want you to know up front that I spent a lot more money on groceries this time because you invited Mark and his girlfriend Andi over for dinner on Wednesday. And you're the one who wanted BBQ ribs again, surprise, surprise. Can't you guys eat something different occasionally?"

"You know, you're right, darling. Next time we BBQ you and Andalisa can choose what kind of ribs we should have."

"Ha-Ha. Okay funny guy, so what did Commander Rob want today? Was it another top-secret mission to his onboard weapons compartment? Or was it a new missile launcher installed on the bow?"

"Neither darling. Have a seat, please. This is going to be a long and heavy conversation, unfortunately."

"Really, Jay, what happened? What did he say? Is he all right?"

"Please, Lori, relax. I'm going to have a glass of Merlot. May I pour you one too?" said Jay on his way to the refrigerator.

Lori agreed and said, "This doesn't sound, good especially when you always tell me to relax."

"Now that we are sitting down and relaxed, let me answer your questions. Commander Rob has some serious health issues that he is coming to grips with, as we all are. He told me this morning that he has been diagnosed with lung cancer and doesn't have a whole lot of time left ... maybe a year is what he said."

Lori began to sob. As she stood up, she wrapped her arms around Jay's head and shoulders. As she continued to console him she replied,

"I'm so sorry, Jay. That must have been a heartbreaker for you and him. I can't even imagine."

"It was like I said, pretty heavy stuff, but as we discussed his medical problems, he also gave me this. He wanted me to talk it over with you. Maybe even have your JAG friends at HQ look at it." He slid the agreement across the table.

"Well sure, but what is it?" She sat down to take a sip of her wine.

"Nothing difficult, It's just a purchase agreement for the Glory Days. He wants to give her to me for a minimal cost of a $1,000. I think it includes everything on board Lori. Yacht club fees and all, even the boat dockage for five years."

"Oh my God Jay, you always said you wanted to buy his boat someday, and now this. What a great opportunity for you, albeit a sad situation, but nonetheless, what a wonderful and thoughtful gift. Believe me honey, you deserve this more than anyone." She looked at him with bittersweet eyes and finished her glass of wine.

Jay looked at Lori with tears in the corner of his eyes. "You're right, I did want the yacht, but not like this. I did so much work on her, it was a labor of love. I know that damn yacht better than anyone. I know her from stem to stern, but now, I don't know what to do, darling." Jay began pacing back and forth from the table to the kitchen, lightly tapping his fist on the island counter-top next to him.

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "Glory Days"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Art Bonus.
Excerpted by permission of First Edition Design Publishing, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Glory Days 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
coury1 More than 1 year ago
What a great book. The author creates an anticipation so that you can't wait to read what happens next. His expressive words form an image in your mind, almost like watching a movie. Can't wait to read his next novel.