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Sail on, my Captain

Sixteen years ago I wrote the following lighthearted poem in honor of my husband Roger and two friends, Roger and Mike, who raced our sailboat in the 1998 National Catalina Race held in Westbrook, Connecticut.  They took first for the tall rig division in all three races.  Yes, readers, the sailboat’s name was Sloopy, the inspiration for the fictional 36 foot sloop that Liz and Garret live aboard in Murder in Mystic, Murder in Newport and Two Headed Snake of Key West.  Our Sloopy was fast and my husband could make a mighty Margarita.

I am sharing this with you in memory of my husband, who passed away on July 1, 2014.  Sail on, my captain.


The pressure was on

To win a glass cup

Each silently prayed

He wouldn’t screw up


The guy thing, you know

Machismo, at best

The challenge would come

They’d be put to the test


The good Lord was laughing

As they hoisted the main.

These three would need blessings,

And more, it was plain


Wine made from water

Was easy for sure,

But Roger, Mike, Roger

Three races endure?


The task was immense

But these were nice guys

He raised His arms up

And Sloopy did rise.


She raced to the finish

Three bullets to boot

Miracles do happen.

There’s proof in the loot.


The lesson each learned,

To celebrate life

Believe in oneself

Be good to your wife.

FREE Kindle Download Murder in Mystic

Free today at  Murder in Mystic Kindle download

My husband, Roger, and I enjoyed sailing out of Mystic, CT for over a decade with our two boys, Scott and Ron, who grew from their teen years to men during that time.    We played along the Mystic River, at Block Island, in Newport and at nearby Watch Hill, Rhode Island.  Let me share some of the beauty of the area.  Download Murder in Mystic FREE today at Amazon Kindle.

Murder in Mystic- Prologue

The boat rocked and swayed, chugging on with purpose between North and South Dumplings.  The four-foot chop made the ride uncomfortable, but Tony’s only passenger never complained.  He would never complain again.  The tide was slack but the wind persisted at twenty knots, whipping the seas in the Race to eight feet.  Tony took the boat out of gear and busied himself with the task at hand.  Without forward motion, the small boat rolled violently from side to side.  Assuming a wide stance, Tony grasped the gunwale and worked his way aft.

Out on the deck, propped in a chair, was his prize- a recent Annapolis graduate, dressed in his spotless, white uniform.  The brass buttons radiated moonlight.   Tony walked toward the motionless figure, stopping three feet in front of him. Tony scanned the physically fit specimen methodically from head to toe, careful to commit every detail to memory.

Tony moved closer and crouched in front of his lover. Passion throbbed throughout his body as he stroked the sailor’s cheeks and progressed downward along the powerfully built shoulders to the firm chest.  He caressed each brass button, enjoying the feel of the insignia with his fingertips. Horizontal grooves provided a background for the profiled eagle, perched upon its anchor above three cannonballs.  A row of stars, outlined by ships’ line edged the piece.  The intoxicating scent of after-shave heightened his pleasure as he fondled his toy.  When play-time was over, Tony stood.  Lovingly, he held the officer’s face in his hands as he kissed his right eyelid, then the left, finishing with a lingering kiss on the lips.

“That is good-bye, my sweet,” whispered Tony as he pulled a black trash bag from the port locker.    Removing the hat first, he placed it into the bag, careful not to soil it. Next, he snipped each button from the jacket, beginning at the collar, working to the waist, ending with the sleeves and slipped them into his left pants pocket.  Tony removed the remainder of the uniform, shoes, socks and underwear with the same precision while his guest sat immobile and helpless, drugged into unconsciousness.  He donned his foul weather gear, grabbed the filet knife and joined his stripped visitor on deck.

The moonlight was dazzling as it danced on the waves.  Tony scoured the horizon, searching for another boat.  To his relief, no one was in sight.  Lifting his face toward the starlit sky, Tony closed his eyes to negotiate with God.  Raw, salty spray stung his face as his chest rose and fell with the rhythm of the sea.

Tony untied the lines that held the young officer upright.  He pulled him onto the deck by his ankles.  Dropping to his knees, Tony raised the knife overhead with both hands and looked towards heaven.  The horn at Latimer’s Light blasted a warning of danger.  Glistening in the moonbeams, the razor sharp blade was poised for evil. Taking a deep breath for strength, Tony plunged the knife into his victim with everything he had. As he remained slumped over his prey, the euphoria began to overtake him.  Feelings of pride and power coursed through his veins.  Transformed, Tony dropped the weapon beside the lifeless body and slowly rose to his feet.  He wanted to shout, to tell the world what he had done.  He felt invincible.  Tony leapt onto the gunwale, a superhero in his own mind.  As his foot landed, the boat lurched abruptly.  Tony gripped the slick teak trim of the cabin roof, barely saving himself from the churning water.  Fear pounded in his ears as he realized how close he had come to joining his sacrifice.

Cautiously, Tony eased himself into the safety of the cockpit. It was time to bid his friend farewell.  He rolled the corpse into a homemade rubber sling.  With the help of a winch, he hoisted the dead weight overboard.  The angry sea hungrily swallowed the remains.

“Yes, Mother.  I’ll clean up my mess.  No one will ever know,”  Tony said as he stared into the companionway.

Tony went to work, scrubbing the deck until there was no visible trace of his ritual.  The work was physical, but satisfying, no more difficult than cleaning up after a fishing trip.

When everything was shipshape, he went forward to the wheel and started the engine. The night was crystal clear, but the wind had escalated to thirty-five knots.  Docking the boat would be tricky tonight, especially single-handedly.  The seaworthy craft through the waves in Fishers Island Sound to Noank and the mouth of the Mystic River.  Tony pulled back the throttle, reducing his speed to five knots, the limit in the channel.  Without the aid of a spotlight, he cautiously picked his way up the winding river between the green cans and the red nuns that marked safe water.  No one heard the boat approach the dock.  The powerful Northeast blow roared relentlessly, slapping the halyards against the forest of aluminum trees and straining each boat on its lines. Tony expertly guided her bow into the slip, tied up and collapsed into the quarter berth.