Outside the Foul Lines - Book VI

by Rick Beck

Chapter 9

Boats & Planes

The glasses tinkled with ice cubes as the boat trip continued. I wanted to see it under full sail, but I wasn't going to ask. I sat beside Andy on a furry kind of coach. It was comfortable, except I had the urge to feed it for some reason. I never found the mouth, but I'm not convinced that there wasn't one.

George spent some time having a few laughs with Bobo and Morris before he pulled a chair over to us.

"I want to make a deal official if you're sold on the boat," George said, sounding all business. "Ball's in your court, Andy. We've all told you what we think, but it's what you think that matters."

"What's our official offer?" Andy asked after some thought.

"They asked me to bring $150,000 cash. I have a cashier's check for that amount in my briefcase," George said.

"$125,000," Bobo said. "They'll take one twenty-five reliable sources tell me. They want to close a deal today."

"I just happen to have a cashier's check for $125,000. You don't think I was just going to drop down the one fifty, do you? My mama didn't raise no fools. We'll see just how bad they want to sell this baby. I put down the $125,000 and if it looks like he might pull back, I'll go ahead and give him the one fifty."

"And there's gong to be a sailboat in addition to that price," Andy calculated. "How much will that leave me once we buy them both? Ballpark figure works for me," Andy said with a smile.

"More money than you can count, Andrew. You're making money as we sit here," George said.

"Hell, you make money sitting on the crapper, Andy," Bobo remarked.

"You'll be a real gentleman with a boat like this," Morris said. "Maybe I can be your cruise director."

"They'll no doubt see us coming, Andy," I said.

"You don't like it?" Andy asked.

"I love it and it scares me that I do. I've never thought of myself as someone who had a yacht. I'm not the yacht type, but I could learn. Yes, sir, I could learn to love this."

"Okay, we'll buy it. I don't know what I'm doing but John Paul seems competent. If we don't take to it, we'll sell it. I need something to do with my time. We wanted to go away and we could certainly go away on this thing."

"Yes, we could," I said.

"I understand that," Andy said.

"I'm going to walk on deck," I said, not wanting to be in the middle of the business.

"No way," Andy said, putting his hand on top of mine. "This will be our boat and you need to know the details. If you don't like something, we'll talk about it."

"I don't like the name," I said.

"I got that, Do. We'll have it changed before we see the boat again."

"The only other business is my companies deal with you to use the boat during baseball season and only with plenty of notice what dates we'll want it. I'll suggest that for access to the boat on terms you specify, we'll pay maintenance, docking fees, and we'll pay to keep the crew on call. We'll specify what notice they need to have the vessel ready to go. We'll pay for the fuel and food we use on these trips. Is that agreeable to you?" George asked.

"Write it up and I'll sign it. That takes all the work off me and puts it on your people," Andy said.

"It's fair for use of the boat. They aren't going to buy one and this is a sweet boat. I figure there will be some adjustment to the interior before we ask to go out, but that's up to you two. Don't know what the man was thinking to buy a boat like this and to make it look like a whore house."

I laughed at George's alarm.

"We'll be making changes," Andy said.

"Let's shake on it. Your word is fine with me, Andy. I'll take it to my people and we'll seal the deal."

"I want John Paul," Andy said. "You can lease our boat and make arrangements to use it as often as you like, but John Paul stays and he has his own crew to handle whatever group you want to take out."

"That's up to you. We wouldn't change anything you set up. John Paul seems efficient. I liked his forthright approach to our inquiries. He's no fool. He knew the new owner had arrived and he acted accordingly. I'd think he's perfect for your needs."

"Do and I think he's exactly what we want to assure the safety of our boat."

"It's your boat, Andy. That kind of decision is yours and only yours. I want to arrange to use the boat from time to time, when it would be sitting at dock anyway. The company has been talking about making such an arrangement for summer outings, and this is too good to pass up."

"It works for me, George," Andy said, shaking his hand.

"Sound okay to you, Do?" Andy asked.

"Yes," I said. "I never dreamed such a thing could happen so fast. It seems fast to me."

"I work for you, Andy. I'm your employee and I won't do anything to abuse that. You make money, I make money. You're happy, I'm happy. It's good business."

"This all went very well. I never imagined I'd buy a boat today. I made up my mind I wouldn't buy anything today. It was just the right people to advise me and just the right advice. I do appreciate it, gentlemen," Andy said, shaking hands with the three men who stood in front of us.

"They'll no doubt see us coming, Andy," I said.

"You don't like it?" Andy asked.

"I love it and it scares me that I do. I've never thought of myself as someone who had a yacht. I'm not the yacht type, but I could learn. Yes, sir, I could learn."

" need something to do with my time. We wanted to go away and we could certainly go away on this thing."

"Yes, we could," I said.

"The first thing you want to do is relax. You're still peaked from those treatments. You need to gain some weight and getting some light exercise," Bobo said, pouring himself another drink. "You'll be able to start thinking about a come back in another six or eight months."

"The season will almost be over by then," Andy said.

"Can't hurry, Andy. You want to come all the way back and then you'll know. You try a comeback too early, you could be out of ball this time next year. The big out of ball, not the injured and out of ball while healing. You'll know when you're ready, son, you try it too early, well I've never coached a better pure hitter than you are. I'd hate to think you've done all you're going to do. You take your time. Let them pay to sit on your ass, and come back on your own time. Don't let anyone rush you back."

"George, do I get to sit on my ass and not worry?"

"You have nothing to worry about. You're covered. No matter what happens, you're covered. You've got insurance, the union, and a club that needs you. They'll wait. You do what you have to do to get back to where you were."

It was a pleasant day. Andy and I sat on the fantail when the others went in to eat. We held hands and let the light breeze blow my hair and shine on Andy's head.

"I could get used to this," I said.

"It's a lot of money," Andy said, smiling when he said it.

"It's up to you, Andy. It's your money," I said.

"How does The Do sound to you?"

"The Do?" I asked.

"Name of the boat. We can't have that awful name on it any longer than necessary once I buy it. I want to call it The Do."

I leaned to put my head on his shoulder and John Paul appeared in front of us.

"She is quite a craft. Can I get you drinks? You can dry out fast sitting in the sun. I heard them say you were recovering from cancer treatments. I have a chef who works part time. He worked for Mr. Baxter his last year. He is an excellent cook and is a dietician. I can contact him if you like. Let me have some dates when you'd require him."

"We'll think about the dates, John Paul. I was thinking about a dietician. I'll need to put on some weight," Andy said.

"You're a ball player?"

"Baseball," Andy said.

"Yes, you have that tall thin build. Good hitter?"

"I do okay," Andy said.

"Led the league in homers two seasons ago," I bragged.

"You are a hitter. We'll have to get you back at it as soon as possible. Nothing like sea air and good food. Let John Paul take care of you, sir, and I'll make sure you are satisfied."

"Call me Andy. This is Do. We aren't very formal. I want the name of this vessel change to The Do. I never want to see the name that's currently on it again. Can that be arranged?"

"I'll call the painter as soon as we dock. It'll be changed first thing tomorrow. Anything else, sir?"

"Just Andy, John Paul. No, maybe a beer. I feel like a beer."

"Any root beer?" I asked.

"Oh, I don't think so. We will stock it from this point forward. I have a very nice ginger ale and fresh fruit juices if you like."

"Ginger ale sounds good. One beer and one ginger ale, John Paul," I said, and Andy brought my hand up to kiss the back of it.

"Did I mention how nuts I am about you, mister?"

"Well, you have, but never enough. You can say it again if you want," I said.

"I do love you so, Do. I've ignored what it meant to play big time ball. I just put the money out of my head. The pay for the commercials and the promotions I do for the club. It's just checks they send to George and he sends me a note saying they sent him the check. This is the first time I've taken money out except for the house. That's the only thing I bought. Now look at us. I'm working with one arm and we've opened up the pot of money we've got. I can't imagine me owning something like this boat. Never gave it much thought. The idea I can is what makes it so incredible. I'm doing what I've been doing all my life. I just play ball. I've always loved playing ball. Now I have money to spend. We have money to spend. Doesn't seem real."

"Does George know we're… you know. He's standing at the door to the salon watching us hold hands."

"You're kidding. Your name is on everything I own. It's all yours if I croak. If he doesn't know, seeing us holding hands is [isn't?] going to matter. He knows. Morris knows. Bobo knows now, but he's cool. Bobo's a regular guy. He takes care of his boys."

"He drinks a lot," I said.

"He's got five kids and a wife that spends all his money. That's why he sails. He needs to get away from the chaos at his house. He's got three kids in college."

"We've got one," I said.

"What do you think Harold will make of the boat?" Andy asked.

"Can't imagine he has ever thought about going out on a boat like this. We've never talked about it. No water where he comes from," Andy said.

"No anything," Andy said. "We'd probably be smart just bringing him down here and not tell him about it."

"Christmas. He'll have time off over Christmas. If I'm feeling okay we can drive down and spend Christmas on the boat."

"We can't ask John Paul and his crew to work Christmas. They'll want to be with their families."

"We'll tell him we want him for two weeks. They can go home for Christmas and we'll stay on the boat at the dock and we'll set out for Key West the day after Christmas. They'll have to give New Years up so we can be out on the water for the New Years."

"Key West?" I asked.

"Supposed to be one of the best gay vacation spots around. It's supposed to be a quaint city. I've always heard it was cool," Andy explained.

"I've never heard you mention any place gay before."

"I want to be with you on New Years Eve and I want to be with you somewhere we can kiss and dance and make fools out of ourselves if we want," Andy said.

"What if the gay folks don't want us carrying on like that?" I asked.

"They can move to Pittsburgh and act proper. I want to go to Key West and act gay. I want to dance with the man I love."

"He'd like that," I said.

Andy leaned and kissed my cheek. John Paul brought a tray with our drinks.

"Who's driving?" Andy asked.

"Automatic pilot. Just goes in a straight line, until I change course. It warns us if radar picks up anything."

"Radar?" I asked.

"Finest navigational instruments this side of the US Navy. We have depth gauges, sonar, radar for the surface and the sky. It'll practically steer itself. Needs a bit of help docking and to leave the dock."

"We want to go out for Christmas. Probably two weeks. We'll come back so you can be home Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but I want to be in Key West over New Year's Eve. Can that be arranged?"

"I can ask my lover to crew for you and then I'd have my family with me and we could just go to the Keys for the entire two weeks," John Paul said.

"I think this is going to be the beginning of a fine relationship," Andy said. "We'll have Christmas dinner on board and you and your lover will eat with me and my lover," Andy said.

"As you wish. I'd enjoy that. Gene loves the water, but I'm always working and he has a business he runs from home."

"Two of you can handle the boat?" I asked.

"I can do most of it by myself. Throwing a few lines and keeping an eye on the instruments and the horizon. There isn't much to it once you get underway. Yes, we can take care of everything and see to it you have all the comforts of home."

"At home we do everything for ourselves. We don't need a lot of waiting on. We should be able to work it out so we can all enjoy the trip," I said.

"Absolutely," Andy said. "We don't have a lot of friends. I like the idea of having people on board we like."

"You'll find us easy to get along with and discrete," John Paul said, backing away and leaving us with our drinks.

"A boat with built in friends. That's a classic," Andy said.

"Since the girls gave up the place next door, we haven't socialized with anyone but Mrs. Olson and she's more like our mom."

"Don't forget Harold. We do socialize with him. Although he wouldn't admit it."

"Yes, we do. This is all going to come as quite a shock to Harold."

The same man who came to the boat with us was waiting as the boat docked. He walked with George as we left the dock, after Andy and I told John Paul we'd be in touch.

The back door of the limo was open and George got in and sat facing the other man.

Business at this level was done out of briefcases. The price was $150,000 when they got into the back of the limo.

George Kelly opened his briefcase, taking out the cashier's check for $125,000. He laid it face up so the man with the paperwork could read it.

"This is what I'm prepared to offer," George said firmly.

The man didn't even look at George. He looked at the numbers on the check and then he turned his head toward Andy. He knew who was buying the boat and when Andy stood flat footed and without any change of expression, the man looked at George for another minute.

The estate manager picked up the check, looked at it, opened his briefcase and took out the paperwork, signing it in several places. He placed the papers on top of George's briefcase where he got the check from.

They shook hands and the man got out of the car.

"He'll drive you back to your plane. I need to get to the bank. My banker is waiting for me."

The estate manager signaled for a second car to pick him up.

"Looks like you own yourself a boat, Andy. I'll need you to sign on the dotted line and we'll see to it that it's all official."

We all got into the back of the limo and were on our way to the airport. It had been a long day and we'd just spent more money than I'd ever seen.

Talk about this story on our forum

Authors deserve your feedback. It's the only payment they get. If you go to the top of the page you will find the author's name. Click that and you can email the author easily.* Please take a few moments, if you liked the story, to say so.

[For those who use webmail, or whose regular email client opens when they want to use webmail instead: Please right click the author's name. A menu will open in which you can copy the email address (it goes directly to your clipboard without having the courtesy of mentioning that to you) to paste into your webmail system (Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo etc). Each browser is subtly different, each Webmail system is different, or we'd give fuller instructions here. We trust you to know how to use your own system. Note: If the email address pastes or arrives with %40 in the middle, replace that weird set of characters with an @ sign.]

* Some browsers may require a right click instead