Okay, so the setting of my short story inspired by the Beach Boy’s song “Kokomo” isn’t in the Florida Keys or in the Caribbean. Instead it is set in south Florida’s seaport Fort Lauderdale. It is a common overnight stop for boaters traveling on the Intercoastal Waterway. I hope you enjoy it.
by Fay Moore © 2012
The sailboat glides through a small channel from the Intercoastal Waterway into Lake Sylvia. The gunkhole is a perfect overnight anchorage for the weary sailors aboard the small sailboat. It is quiet and protected from the winds.
The moon rises as the anchor drops off the bow into the water. The anchor light twinkles at the top of the mast, looking no brighter than a distant star. A small galley lamp lights the inside of the tiny cabin, but ebony blackness inhabits the deck.
On the shoreline are a few waterfront homes of some of Fort Lauderdale’s prosperous residents. Nightfall cloaks the mansions in darkness; the houses are merely silhouettes dappled by intermittent patches of moonlight filtering through palm fronds.
An occasional house window is illuminated. If the fatigued sailors wished it, they could peer into the lighted rectangles from afar and pry into the doings that transpire inside the glass. Instead they focus on chores.
The woman comments that she wants to clean herself from the salt spray accumulated during the day’s sail. She grabs a bucket and fills it with tepid water from the faucet. With a sloshing bucket, soap and wash cloth in hand, she calls to her partner that she is going up to bathe on deck under the starlight.
Once at the bow, where her movement is unencumbered by the boat’s contraptions, she sets down the bucket and begins to remove her clothing. It is a sultry night, so she works slowly at her task, peeling off one piece of clothing at a time. She makes a neat little pile that she sets atop a hatch cover several paces away from the bucket.
Her clothing secure from a soaking, she turns and dances toward the bowsprit. Standing in the pulpit, she slowly raises her arms toward the full moon and throws her head back, her long hair tickling its way down her spine. A messenger line is tied to the rail. She takes hold of it for balance as she leans back, lifting one toe above the rail and pointing it skyward, in a nymph ballet with her partner the moon. The heat makes her glisten, her moist skin reflecting moonlight. If light were hands, then the moon holds her everywhere at once, highlighting her curves.
She starts bathing, making sponging a part of her dance routine. She is alone on her stage, watched by an adoring universe of stars. And by one dirty old man with a pair of binoculars.