He wanted everyone to enjoy the peace of the sun, the stars and the water, as well as the excitement of Caribbean life and of course, themselves.
On a beautiful August morning, it all came together.
Just two hours away from shore, though, the plan suddenly became improvised. It started with a hijacking...
And it happened to go towards...
With all of this...
When all of a sudden...
The realization hit...
And the plan moved to...
The execution ended when...
The breathtaking adventure of a vacation in the Caribbean that Jim Stowe had authored turned upside down will keep the tension and the pressure up!
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.40(d)|
Read an Excerpt
Vacation PiracyA Novel
By Mike Haszto
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2011 Mike Haszto
All right reserved.
Chapter OneBeads of sweat were percolating from everyone's overheated body as they stood in the sun desperately trying to make heads or tails of what was unfolding before their overwhelmed eyes. Never in any amount of time would anyone ever think this possible. Yet, not only was it possible, it was actually happening.
Twenty two people consisting of couples and friends were witnesses on this steamy tropical day. Twenty two people who, when they awoke at the beautiful orange dawning several hours earlier, would have never suspected these turn of events.
Hunter James looked at his watch. From his touristy perspective, it might have been the last time that he could do just that. "Hmm ... just after ten in the morning" he thought to himself, "and what year is this? Two thousand eleven?"
He looked over at his wife Elaine, feigning a smile.
Her eyes held absolutely nothing back.
They were as wide and fixated as they could possibly be. One word came screaming from them: terror. The rest of her face was in complete rhythm as her eyes. Her soft cheekbones were somewhat taut. Her usually pouty mouth features were stern and deliberate. Her carefully manicured eye brows were disheveled. Although the rest of her face was in complete agreement, her eyes said it all ... in high definition Technicolor.
Hunter again looked over at his mature pretty wife standing three people away from him and mouthed the words "what the fuck ... is this Captain Hook?"
Suddenly one of the eight strangers who held control over the twenty two tourists grabbed Hunter and threw him across an open area and into a hard wooden wall. He crashed with his left shoulder and head hitting that wall simultaneously. He crumpled to the ground, also a very old hard wood surface, and lay there in an uncoordinated mess.
Elaine shrieked. The others were totally shocked by the sheer brutality as Hunter lay motionless.
The aggressor turned toward a few of the men who stood there stunned and egged them on ...
"You want a piece of this? You want a piece of this?" he screamed as he waved his muscular forearms and biceps around.
There were no challengers.
Other than Elaine's cries and whimpers as she knelt over her husband, there was absolute silence.
Although, some would still swear that they could hear the percolating sounds of perspiration frying into a dry balmy salt on the skins of each individual. The temperature was well above ninety already at ten o'clock and the potential of zipping past one hundred was definitely a probable.
"Round these folks up!" were the orders barked by the leader who resembled a two century old pirate. His gray and brown hair was long and stringy as it flowed from under his hat to almost his ass. His skin was four shades and just as many textures past leather. There might have been three good teeth residing in his mouth ... maybe. And his deep gravely voice was very convincing to the fact that he was the leader of this bunch of hooligans.
He carefully paced over to where a young beautiful woman was standing with her man and took his left hardened hand with the long curled fingernails and attempted to fondle the young lady's breasts through a yellow pastel tank top that overshadowed a petite pop-up style bra.
"HEY!" she scolded as she swatted the grotesque hand away from her chest.
He grabbed her by her long straight hair and strongly yanked.
Her dashing young husband took one step to intercede only to meet the point of a very long blade that was quickly released from its holster. There were ooo's and ahhh's from the captives in total surprise. The point broke the husband's skin in the sternum area and carved out a curvy bloody red line down to his waist, slicing through his white Florida Keys souvenir t-shirt.
Needless to say, he stood there frozen as a statue as the rich red blood formed along the line neatly carved.
"Another move and the wounds will go much deeper ..."
The moment of terror continued for the group. It became obvious that this was indeed not a theatrical show of any kind. Yes, the massive yacht- sized boat of twenty two tourists had left Paradise Key just after sunrise. It was a rental paid for by Jim Stowe, a research and development expert who worked for a food industry giant, who was an accomplished sailing captain of more than twenty years.
His vacation trip of dreams was just a few hours old when this group of eight very hostile modern day pirates boarded and took immediate control of the boat full of tourists.
It wasn't as if no one could see them coming. After all, the pirate ship resembled just that, a pirate ship. There was no mistaking that. With its nineteenth century appearing sails and its even older looking hard wood structure, it was as authentic as it could be ... right down to the black metal cannons.
All twenty two people had watched the ship approach from out of the west about two hours into their vacation journey of the Caribbean. And each one of them had thought the same thing: the ship was all just part of the touristy experience, with authentic looking pirates on an authentic looking ship that was meant to scare the bejabbers out of them.
It didn't take but a Florida second for them to realize that everything that appeared authentic actually was.
Let the terror begin ...
Not one of the twenty two tourists moved much with Hunter James still lying on the floor of the boat and that carved husband of the beautiful young nymph still releasing droplets of blood. There were no challenges in the making.
The pirate captain turned back to the young woman and cleared his throat. He backed off of his original plan of fondling the woman for the moment, instead deciding that the present was the time for introductions and announcing plans.
"My name is Bones ... Blackeye Bones. And make no mistake, we are pirates. We will do what we want ... and we will get our way. We have no problems with pain, torture and killing. If any of you have any doubts, it's okay with us that you volunteer to be the first killed."
The terror that Elaine James had all over her face had now spread to each woman ... and quite honestly, to each man as well. Captain Bones was quite persuasive in his introductions.
Following his five sentence announcement, he turned toward the young woman again and reached out for her breast. She trembled as he had his way with squeezing and feeling them, her looking freaked and scared toward her wounded husband.
"Very nice" he remarked, "though I admit I like a much larger and heavier breast. But yours are quite nice."
He turned away from his terrorized victim and paced toward the cabin of the yacht.
"Briggs! Carry on!" he ordered.
"Aye Captain" shouted a portly second in command identified as Briggs.
Three pirates went with the Captain. Four, including Briggs, stayed with the vacationers.
Time passed with tensions as thick as the salt air. Silence was the order for the moment. Elaine continued to tend to her husband Hunter, who was still lying on the floor slowly regaining consciousness. And the young lady who had been Captain Bones' momentary plaything, Karen, tended to the flesh wounds of her husband, Joe. Though the wounds were finely superficial, the terror felt was anything but.
Each of the couples held fast to their partners as the pirates guarded them in the hot, turning very unpleasant sun. And each person looked toward Jim Stowe as their leader and spokesperson to deal with this. The bottom line was he was the guy who organized this whole vacation trip.
As outspoken and casual as Stowe was as a person, he was a bit put off about approaching the pirates ... especially after seeing what they did to his buddies Hunter James and Joe Mont. He certainly didn't want to say or do anything that would bring a violent wrath to his six foot five two hundred and twenty pound frame. He was willing to wait them out and ultimately see what they were going to do.
Time continued to whittle away with the sun slowly sliding from the east to overhead, and then toward the west. The course of the vessel appeared to be southerly, and the pirate ship followed the yacht close behind. The men stood still, each in deep thought about what the next move, if any, could or would be.
Another hour salted away with the group still in the same area of the boat, though the ladies were now sitting on the deck floor. A small heavily wooded island appeared off the front of the boat. It caught the curiosity of each person.
The silence was finally broken.
"Briggs, can you please tell me what the fuck is going on here?" asked Stowe.
"Shut the fuck up" he demanded.
"Briggs, at least tell us what to expect. The women are scared to death, and I imagine the rest of us are pretty close to that level. We've been standing here for hours. What's up?"
"Shut the fuck up" he repeated.
"Dude, I need an answer. My people are looking to me to figure out what is going on."
Briggs was unrelenting.
"Shut the fuck up."
"Briggs-what the ..." began Stowe. Briggs walked over to Stowe, who towered over the squatty Briggs.
"Hey mate, you better shut the fuck up. You wanna be the first one dead?"
"Well then, shut the fuck up."
Briggs brandished his long sword to Stowe.
"Don't make me use this ..."
"Answers Briggs ... I need answers. I am responsible for these people ..." Stowe demanded.
"When the Captain wants to give you answers, then he will. Otherwise, shut the fuck up."
The agitation on Stowe's face was oblivious to Briggs. The others realized that their leader was about to blow like a volcano. Stowe's close friend from Bay City, Michigan, Alan Mayes, walked over to him and put his arm around his waist, turning him away from Briggs.
"Jim, let's not do something stupid here ..." he said as he leaded him away from Briggs. "I mean, shit man, he has a gun and a sword here. You wanna be the first dead man?"
"This is bullshit, Al, and you know it. What the hell is this? Pirates on a pleasure sail? Two hours out of Paradise Key? Something very strange going on I these waters, man."
"Dude, I agree. But pushing these guys now may not be the way to go. I don't wanna end up like Hunter or Joe. Those guys are hurting ... and frankly, lucky to be alive."
The frustration wouldn't pass. It gripped Jim all that more.
"Al, I've got twenty two people here who are crapping in their pants. I'm the one who brought everyone down here for this. I have got to do something ..." he said firmly.
"What? Do something like what? They have guns and swords. And they look like they know how to use them. What does ending up dead do for all of us? Jesus, Jim, calm the fuck down dude ... for all of us. Wait this out ..."
Stowe turned back at Briggs, who was watching him closely. The two locked eyes for about fifteen seconds ... serious 'I'm gonna kill you' eyes before Jim turned away. He surveyed his group of friends, who pretty much all looked the same ... confused, puzzled and scared shitless.
Al said, refocusing Jim "I think the one thing you should do is make sure everyone is all right. We all look scared to death."
"You're right, Al" answered Jim.
He quietly walked away from Alan and moved slowly around the group starting with Hunter and Elaine, then moving toward Joe and Karen. All the while, he kept an eye on Briggs and any of the surrounding pirates ...
Chapter TwoUnder the watchful laser-like eyes of the heavily bearded Briggs, Jim Stowe went to each of his good friends one by one for assurance that they were at least physically alright with the shocking turn of events of their vacation. It proved as therapeutic for Jim as it did for everyone else, as the normally stoic dry humor expert was a complete mess with vibrating insides that his outer shell hid considerably well.
He first went to Hunter James and his wife Elaine, a middle aged couple from the tiny hamlet of Lynbrook, New York. It was no stretch to understand that Hunter was still coping with the effects of his sudden crash into what felt like the immovable wall from the opening moments of welcome from Captain Bones and his merry band of troublemakers. While Hunter could still figure out where he was and who Elaine was, there were some missing pieces to his puzzle package. Elaine, normally a strong independent woman, was so spiritually distraught that she clung to Hunter like a child to a parent.
Any words Jim spoke to her were not received well, so he kept them brief. What did help was him sitting down next to the both of them and trying to reassure them by placing his arm around each person's shoulders, which then evolved into a touching hug. It seemed to work with Elaine more as he was very careful of putting any physical strength into a hug with Hunter knowing his hurting condition.
They both realized how deeply upset Jim was. After all, their journey to the sailing adventure was their first trip south to Paradise Key from the western shores of Long Island, also their first venture onto the water that was scheduled for slightly more than a week. Their friendship had grown to a robust forty some odd years, with Hunter and Jim first meeting during their childhood on Long Island. After sharing the joys of elementary school together, the Stowe family then whisked Jim away to the landlocked area of Blaine, Minnesota, where Jim had finished his childhood dreaming of sailing on the ocean.
This was Jim's second shot at captaining such a vessel on a vacation, his first with his group of friends. He and his wife Dyane are made from the same cloth, both loving the idea of sailing on the open seas, and had made their maiden voyage two years earlier as part of a small group of six, also leaving Paradise Key and taking a week to sail casually over the Caribbean at their leisure with nothing more than a map and a chart of the sea. Both were so hooked that they decided to do it again, this time with a larger group on a larger yacht. Fact is though, that this was Dyane's idea, and while sitting with Hunter and Elaine, it hit Jim like a tsunami of epic proportions ... where was Dyane in all of this?
He couldn't believe that he tunnelvisioned himself into the turn of events so much that he lost track of where Dyane was. Was she even with the group when everyone was initially rounded up by Bones and his Mates? He couldn't remember seeing her at all.
He looked all around from his vantage point of the yacht's deck with an urgency that perked up Elaine.
"What's wrong Jim?"
"Dyane ... where's Dyane?"
"Wow ... I don't know Jim, I don't remember seeing her ..."
"Shit! Oh my God ... where is she?"
He tried to scramble to his feet but was quickly stopped by Alan.
"Not so fast, big man. Remember where we are?" Alan warned.
"Al, where's Dyane? Have you seen her?"
Although Jim was back in a seated position on the deck, the urgency increased exponentially.
"No, I have no idea where she is. She wasn't with us when they boarded. She must have been down below in the cabin."
"Shit! Alan! Shit!"
"Bones is down there now" Jim concluded as he again tried to get up.
Alan stopped him again.
"I've got to find her, Al ... why do you keep pushing me back down?" questioned a confused leader.
"Jim ... how many times do I need to tell you? Look around. These people have swords and guns and obviously aren't afraid to use them. Think man!"
"But Dyane ..."
"Yes, Dyane. I understand your need to find her. But do you wanna be killed before you lay eyes on her again? Let's hope that she's safe wherever she is."
"Al, that's not good enough. I need to know."
The six foot tall, one hundred and forty pound rail and his voice of reason was not anywhere close to winning this battle versus a six foot five and physically ripped individual.
Jim mustered a good part of his strength and fought through Alan's better judgment to get to his feet. His goodwill tour of his friends didn't get past the first stop as he veered quietly but well paced toward Briggs.
As he approached solo, Briggs grabbed for his sword and brought it about four inches closer to its freedom. His position was obvious to everyone standing there, except for Jim.
Excerpted from Vacation Piracy by Mike Haszto Copyright © 2011 by Mike Haszto. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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