Celia brought in a 46′ sailboat single handed to Barbados. Her marine architect husband died of a heart attack at sea.
Louis, had been vacationing in St. Croix. With a hurricane approaching, and no vacant airline seats available, he exchanged his ticket to Florida, for a night in Barbados, and a redirected flight back to the U. S. Surprise! The flights out of Barbados were also canceled the next day.
Celia needed her yacht sailed back to Hilton head, and Louis needed to get back to West Palm Beach. They decided to join resources and spend the next few months sailing home. When two people spend time on the ocean, you have to rely on each other for your life. You tell your secrets on night-watch, with a glass of wine. Eventually… after a knock-down squall, you turn on the auto-pilot, go below deck to pull off the cold, wet, clothes, and two warm bodies find comfort in the master cabin.
WARNING! All 3 books of the Longue Durée series contain some, adult content. Louis was a young FX trader from a wealthy family, a sailor, traveler, and had desires like any… real man. If this is offensive to you, please choose literature from the YA, young adult category. For the rest of us… fasten your seat belts!
They stopped and spent weeks in St. Croix. One night after a late supper, Louis pulled Celia into an old limestone alley with arched doorways and started seducing her. A man ran down the alley with a small package, stopped and looked at Louis and Celia, and threw them the package. He ran back to the street where three men emptied their guns into him. They decided this was a good time to continue their voyage.
The closer they got to the United States, the more their old personalities and Celia’s widow guilt, surfaced. Louis hoped that Celia would stay with him in West Palm Beach, but she now, with declining emotions, wanted him to take her home to Hilton Head.
He secured the yacht to her gated owner-dock, and spent the night at her home in Golden Crane Estates. She had him sleep in the guest bedroom, and had a airline ticket for him waiting in the morning.
“What about the package?” You ask.
It’s not that uncommon to live a long life now. Science has even made progress that can slow down the loss of your memory and mental functions, but with all of that, you still exist in a body that is fragile, susceptible, and limited. What if there was a product that could reverse your age to say 25 or 30? It is expensive to produce. What would you pay?
Now, she lays on the examination table with an IV in her leg. We petted her and talked to her as she closed her eyes and relaxed for the last time.
When a writer loses his dog.
What has brought on this flood of emotions, is the condition of my Pomeranian companion of 15 years. We bought her as a puppy when my construction company went under. I had to file bankruptcy, and moved what I could salvage to Florida. The emotional and financial damage from the Chapter 13 was extremely damaging to my confidence and self-esteem, but Koko helped. She hated sailing, and always wanted to get back to the air-conditioned home, and her fenced in back yard. She slept on my bed, shared my food, and was on my heels at all times. If I worked on a car, or in the garage, I don’t have to worry about her running off. She would always be in the shade of a magnolia tree, or in the grass by the big fern.
A few days ago, we took her to the vet for her shots. Koko has always been overweight, mostly my fault, and recently has lost a lot of weight, and feels like skin and bones. The vet did tests and they came back as terminal kidney disease. She has a year on the long end, now has special dog food, and gets an electrolyte IV. It makes her feel great, and she gets them once a month, at $12.00 a visit. I try not to think about this too much. I have never had kids, and my two Poms, are my kids.
Zenzi, (wolf-sable Pomeranian) is 1-1/2 years old and 8 lbs. She has always had Koko and is sad when they are apart, so I am considering a third Pom.
The Alexander family is up north. I live in East Coast Florida. I am flying up next week to see them. My parents are 84 years old, and it’s been a long time since we have conversed further than Facebook. My wife’s mother died a few years ago and her father is in assisted living, in a private home. It’s cold up there. The news said 17 deg and snow. I keep thinking about Jamaica, but I need to go up north.
(I typed this much, before I went up-north for Thanksgiving. I am now back in Florida.)
In many ways I wish I had opted for the Jamaican vacation.I bought a coat and some long sleeve shirts before I left, and a few more after arriving. Most, but not all, of the Alexander family, is surviving in the same repetitive life-style they were living fifteen years ago, with one of my sisters floundering, with help and failure so many times, that everyone has now severed their connections. Others have excelled, grown up, and created a great life. My emotions were up and down every few hours, but in general, I tried to keep my opinions to myself. The one common trait that I witnessed after being in other parts of the world so long, is that they seem to acquire gratification from criticizing and speculating on other people, unable to see themselves from outside of their colloquial mold. If I could buy each one a gift, it would be an unlimited airline ticket, with six-month layovers in the countries of their choice. It changes you.
Upon returning, Koko was looking worse. She was not eating, not drinking, her legs shook when she stood, and diarrhea and vomiting took whatever moisture remained in her fragile body. It was cold for Florida, 55-60 deg at night. Koko would go out, try to poop, get liquid, and then her legs would give out. She would lie in the back yard, in her feces, until I went out looking for her, and brought her back in the house. I blocked her doggy door and spread out a towel on the floor where she likes to sleep. Zenzi brought her favorite toys to Koko, and laid them down beside her, and backed up to give Koko an advantage to play. After moving all of her favorite toys and getting no response from Koko, she laid on top of her toys and slept beside her.
Saturday morning, I called the Veterinarian. It’s time. Koko seemed to know what we were doing, and welcomed it. Before, she looked at me, to make it better. I could only lie in the floor with her and gently pet her. My voice seemed to soothe her and she would sleep. Now, she lays on the examination table with an IV in her leg. We petted her and talked to her as she closed her eyes and relaxed for the last time. “I’m the human! You’re the dog!”This is often heard in my house when I think the fur-babies are taking control. Right now, I would gladly give up my authority. Zenzi is confused. She keeps looking for Koko. She comes in my office, sits by my feet, and looks up at me with tears in her eyes. “How can I explain this to her?”
She lays, all of the time, in the living room where Koko slept. Her toys are still accumulated there, and she sleeps on top of her biggest one. They used to chase each other around the coffee table, but now she barks at me until I follow her into the living room and run around the coffee table with her. (Yes, I do it.) Poms need partners. I am looking for a female puppy for her. This is a bad time of year for puppy buying with Christmas coming. She may be doing a solo-show until 2020. Affordable POM puppy? Email me! DBAlexander@cfl.rr.com
In book II of Longue Duree, Extending Life, Louis had a Pomeranian named Koko. He too, went through the above scenario, but his Koko died of bladder cancer. I’ve noticed that many things I write often come true before the book is live. Louis also became a very wealthy man… “I’m waiting!”
Good morning! Hurricane Dorian just passed us here in Florida, with nothing more then a light rain. We had days to prepare, and even put the boat on the hard. It has seven stands under it and four straps securing it to the ground.
The shutters on my land-home were installed with teak grills, (Extra boat parts), installed to view through them, and allow air-ventilation. Fortunately, none of this was necessary.
The Bahamas took the hit, as we have all witnessed on the TV. Being a sailor, I monitor the comments and pictures from other sailors, and island residents, with considerably more validity then the media. Already, sailors are organizing material and labor from all over the world to help restore the Bahamas. Word from the island is to wait, for the rebuild. It’s too early.
The best thing I heard in their conversations was between people still on the islands and people that evacuated and still own property in the Bahamas. They were telling the surviving residents that if their business or property was still there, use anything they need. If it has a roof, use it for shelter. Consider anything that I own, community property.
Humans are such complicated creatures. David Alexander
Are you sure he was dead?” “Oh, yes. I checked him. I have never seen that much blood.” “What is in the package, Doc?” We all leaned over the desk. There were several minutes of complete silence. “It is life everlasting… or the end of the world… I’m really not sure.”
The island of St. Croix is in the path of a large hurricane.
Louis Bautista can’t get a flight off-island, so he takes a suggested alternative to wait it out in Barbados.
Redhead Celia Judel brings in a 46’ Najad sailboat by herself, after her husband dies at sea of a heart attack. She needs a captain to help deliver the yacht back to South Carolina and Louis needs to get back to Florida.
On the voyage home, they go ashore in St. Croix and after a romantic dinner, Louis leads Celia into a dark alley and begins seducing her.
A native man runs into the alley. They hear men chasing him, and he throws a small package to the lovers. The men follow him into the alley and shoot him several times. The package, they discover later, holds the secret to life everlasting. Longue Durée.
The author, David Alexander, is truly a sailor, now living in Florida, building yacht interiors. He has lived in St. Croix and sailed throughout the Caribbean islands. His experiences lend a lot of real-life situations to this manuscript.
NOTE: From David Alexander
Longue Duree, (Extending life), Is ,so far, a three book set. Each book has a beginning, and an end. I hate cliff-hangers. Book one is back from the editor, I have approved all of her changes, and at present I am preparing it to go into Amazon’s inventory. This is the actual cover. I created it at the last minute after years of being satisfied with another.
I will notify all of my followers when it is live, with an Amazon link.
(All photos taken by me with a Motorola Droid Turbo cell phone)
This is the view this morning from my patio. I sleep well with the sound of the waves just a hundred feet away. It has been a long time since I stayed ashore on St. Croix. Over the years, we have anchored in Christiansted, and only ventured in as far as we could walk. Today I am at sea-level, but used to live on the top of a mountain on the east end, with a view of the north and south shores.
Just like returning to the home you grew up in, everything here, also feels smaller. Yesterday I went into town to see what had changed, and buy a new snorkel. I was amazed at how many shops were not only closed, but stripped to the walls. I talked to several people that had been here most of their lives, and they knew the answers I asked about shops and people that had moved on.
Up and down this boardwalk, and sometimes as far as Gallows Bay, is my normal hang-out space when I am here. This visit, I have an apartment on the NE shore and a rental car. Driving on the left, kicked back in, almost instantly. I went into town early and found that many of the shops didn’t open until noon.
On the internet, I have read about gangs, shootings, and escalated crime. I confirmed that there are such problems, but in my time back on-island, I have only met friendly people, still waving out their window to let me into traffic, and have not yet encountered the resentment that has often been displayed against tourists. I have drove through school bumbler-bumper traffic, tracked down and bought computer supplies, shopped for groceries, and walked all the streets of C’sted and F’sted. I have an advantage over most non-residents, I used to live here and know the areas to avoid. In the past, your best protection was common sense.
This morning, I thought that I would like to see what is left of that house on the mountain. Since the castle was built on the properties above it, it was confusing finding it.
After the reality-trip of seeing the house, I went down the south side of the mountain toward Grape Tree Bay. I used to snorkel that reef almost every day. Going west, I passed grassy point, that now has a house on it, and saw this beautiful view that I had forgotten.
Many years ago, I pulled my car off the side of the road, at the bottom of this hill, gathered my snorkel gear, and proceeded to march through the ground-cover height brush that covered the hillside down to the water. After about twenty-feet, I felt terrible pain in my flat feet. I looked down to see my blood pouring from my flip-flops. All of the ground cover was a very stiff creeping cactus. I pulled the flip-flop away from my foot and the blood ran harder. I had no choice but to walk back out, with each step perforating my feet. (Memories… got side tracked.)
There is still something special here. A magic pheromone in the air that slightly alters your DNA… permanently. I escaped here when I was in college. Four-hundred dollars was a round trip ticket. Any time life became more then I could handle, I came here. Even when I am sailing, I often end up here. Most of my friends from those years have moved on, but the pheromones still find me and call me back.
The money here is Colones. When we arrived in CR, I changed a couple hundred dollars worth of American dollars for Colones. It looked like we robbed a bank.
It was a few years ago, but I wanted to see Costa Rica. During this period I was writing under a different pen-name, and the book had a lot of content and characters from this country. When we landed, we followed the lines into customs and stood in the humidity and heat of the biggest ceiling fan I had ever seen. Birds flew over our head since the high metal ceiling had no walls. I hailed a taxi to take use to the resort and detoured to the Avis rental car business on the way.
I was pleased when I arrived. It had flowing fabric blowing with the breeze, wicker chairs in the open reception area, walkways of natural earth materials, and gardening that looked immaculately original.
We had rented a Subaru station wagon with all wheel drive, and that proved to be one of the best decisions we made. The roads, once you got off of the main road, were rough. I could add a dozen adjectives for rough, but you will see in some of the following photos.
There were full size busses that transported many of the local people. During the time we stayed in Costa Rica, we learned to pick up hitchhikers. In the U.S. we have been taught to keep driving past them. Here, many people walk or get rides for an hour or two to go to work and then at the end of the day catch a ride… or walk back. Their pay scale is still years behind the U.S. so the rides, tourist trade, and tips are very appreciated.
In my second book, Amaretto with Coffee, the main character fell in love with a girl who worked at Avis. By the end of the book, he had moved her family from Limon, CR, to Florida. It was surprising when the book came out. Costa Rica Star called and interviewed me for their paper. A coffee shop in CR emailed me for permission to market the book.
Shopping in Costa Rica was limited. Clothes and hand-made items are in abundance. If you buy gold and gems when you travel, your selection here is on the edge of zero. We found food in the area we were in, and the prices were comparable to the U.S. Below I am returning to the apartment, buried in the seclusion of the garden areas.
If I walked a hundred yards out of the above photos, I would be staring at the ocean. Teak chairs and tables were scattered into various shady areas with beautiful views. I took the top photo, and the others, with a Canon camera. The wi-fi to my apt. was weak, but adequate for checking my email. Several times I would go sit by the receptionist desk to send a larger file.
As we explored, the above scene was not uncommon.We just stopped in the road, sat quietly, and passed when the cattle were clear. This empty road, will be bumper to bumper traffic at quitting time. Horns will be tooting and music played loudly as outstretched hands wave at a friend in the other lane. We visited several towns and usually found a parking place and walked.
During the entire vacation, we never felt pressured, or in danger, in fact… we found ourselves walking to various bars after dark for dinner. Some were so frequented by us, that the waiter would have a cold Pilsner Beer in his hand when he seated us. We always got the table with the ocean view. From the pictures you can see that it rained a lot in November. We just stayed under a covered area with the locals until it stopped.
While in town, we saw a Burger King. The urge for American junk-food peaked and we walked inside. The money here is Colones. When we arrived in CR, I changed a couple hundred dollars worth of American dollars for Colones. It looked like we robbed a bank. Notice the price of a fast lunch. At first it shocked me, but not as bad as when I filled up the gas tank on the car. There were not enough zeros on the gas pumps and every fill up was totaled with a calculator.
Before I started writing, and building interiors for large yachts, I was a home builder. While talking to a hitch-hiker one day, we got on the subject. He told me that an American builder came to CR with the intent to build homes in the mountains, and went bankrupt. The mountain was still for sale, and I had to go look. This road led up the mountain, abruptly turned, and you were staring at a traditional guard shack and fancy stucco entrance to what appeared as a gated community. We continued, to find twenty or thirty graded lots with the roads also ready to pave. The water supply was in place and every lot had an ocean view. I was excited. After days of crunching numbers, checking local building talent, and speculating on American buyers moving to my mountain, I decided that Costa Rica was not quite ready for my development.
I may go back to Costa Rica some day. For now, I think I will sell my sailboat, and build on to my little east Florida land home.
In May and June we will be back in St. Croix. We are going to fly this time, and see if I still have a job in Florida when I get back. My next three books spend a lot of time in St. Croix, and I have a hangup with being accurate and current even though it is fiction. I’ve been to a lot of islands and countries but St. Croix is like a bad drug. It has been constantly on my mind since I lived there. Hind site… I should have never left. Getting older now, I’ll keep the house in Florida and rent it out if I find myself with the island addiction again.
Please… follow the blog… for the release date of Longue Duree 1, 2, and 3.
They can each be read individually, but are better as a set. They start in St. Croix. Living forever has its drawbacks.
I left the cabinet shop at the yacht factory after a hot day of doing things over. The partially visible hinges between the doors and the jams were not perfectly spaced. They wanted them to show 50/50 in case someone took a flashlight and checked the dark space between. There were three SOS hinges on each of nine doors.
The Alpi veneer on one side of a finished door had been damaged and had to be sanded off and re-veneered. This required me sanding with 80 grit sandpaper for two hours, then leaving the door and veneer overnight in the vacuum table.
A cedar wardrobe that went into the starboard stateroom was complete, except for the missing door and trim for the front. I pushed it aside until the walnut arrives and started on another wardrobe that was also missing the walnut parts.
After the standard ten-hour day, I laid my thumbprint on the timeclock and ducked out of the side door to my 2006 pickup. I waved at the guard at the guard-shack and sped through the traffic of 528. I exited onto Courtenay and zoomed north toward Kennedy Space Center. The radar detector was working fine. I had a 5:00 appointment with the cable company at my land home to check the cables to my high-speed modem.
As I came to the light at 405, I smelled antifreeze. My truck was running hot and as I passed the intersection, the steam came through the hood and across my windshield. I sat puzzled for a second as the steam came through the dash vents of my A/C. I opened the windows, turned off the outside air, and popped the hood.
The hose that went into the heater core had broken.
My adrenalin was peaking and I pulled the tools from behind the seat and removed the clamps. Between the hose on the heater core, and the hose to the engine, was a cheap plastic part that had a small fitting for service. The front of the plastic part was still in the hose and I ungracefully dug it out in pieces with needle nose pliers. With my hands bleeding, I tried to push it over a flange that was just a little too big. I laid my cell phone on the fender and pressed my mechanic’s number.
“Yeah David, if you pull the rest of the hose fitting off, you should be able to push the long hose onto the heater core tubing! If it doesn’t work, call me back and I’ll send a wrecker.”
“Okay! Thanks Tony.”
I managed to get the other clamp off that was recessed back against the firewall, with other hoses inconveniently around it.
Space-X, had just released their employees and cars were zooming by in a hurricane evacuation type frenzy. I laid the broken plastic part in the floor of the truck and resumed pushing the hose onto the BRASS fitting of the core. I had to use a screwdriver to push the clamp back far enough, but finally had it secure.
“My appointment! I have a 5:00 appointment!” I hit the button for my service provider.
“If you are calling to pay your bill press…” “If you would like to change the services on your account press or say…” “If you are calling for technical assistance press three.” THREE… I pressed three! “Please press one, for English… Press two for Spanish…” ONE… damb it! English! “Thank you… your estimated wait time is…” AAaaahhhh! I pressed zero… and zero… and zero… “Spectrum-Brighthouse, how can I assist you?”
“Look! I am on the side of a busy road with a broken-down truck. My hands are covered in grease, antifreeze and blood, and I have a rather large alligator that wonders if my legs may taste like chicken. I have a 5:00 appointment at my home with your service rep. and it appears that I will not be there.”
“Is this the account associated with the number showing on my caller ID?”
He was laughing and snickering. “Don’t worry sir. I wall take care of it.”
Fortunately, I had been working on my sailboat last week and had all of the fairing compound, primer, sandpaper, and related tools in the back. (My truck has a fiberglass shell.) I cleaned the blood, and antifreeze off of my hands, and took out a five gallon bucket to dip replacement water from the nature reserve.
“Crap!” I stared at a big gator. He stared at me. I walked further away from him, and got some water, as we watched each other closely. He leisurely swam toward me. I added the water to the trucks plastic reservoir and drove home watching the temperature gauge all of the way. I relaxed when I pulled in the driveway.
I took a quick shower and popped the cap on a cold Heineken. I pulled the handle on the recliner and pushed the Netflix option on the remote. It downloaded a movie, started, and kicked back to antenna TV. After doing this over and over, I went to my home-office and turned on the computer. No Netflix, no Twitter, no WordPress, no Pinterest, and only old email, from eight mailboxes.
Long drink… deep breath… and started running through the tests on the modem. In the end, the Tampa server was down, and I was exhausted. I remembered that it was a full moon… and went to bed.