Mr. Banks gets Lucky
“What the hell, kid?”
“I couldn’t help noticing the shot gun in your mouth, Mr. Banks. What the hell yourself?”
Banks moved the shotgun away from his mouth and looked astonished at the kid now standing in the cockpit in front of him. “I told you you couldn’t come!”
“Yeah, you did. Why I stowed away.” The kid smiled a friendly smile. “I sure hope you ain’t mad.”
“You little bastard!” Banks whispered. He took a serious swig from the Jack Daniels bottle next to him and set it back on the portside bench and continued looking at the kid. Short pants. Bony knees. Thin arms and his hands in his pockets.
“Hey, don’t mind me. Go ahead with what you’re doing. But what are you doing?” The kid smiled again at the old man. “You look kind of silly.”
“You little bastard!” Banks said again.
“I mean, I’m under that tarp over there and I look out and I see you with the shotgun in your mouth and somehow attempting to pull the trigger with your big toe.”
“Well, kid, let’s just say I lost that inner fire so to speak, to keep going.
“So, what? You just letting go? Good bye cruel world. . .
“Well, in a nutshell, yeah. You come out to help?”
“You surely do need some help with that, Mr. Banks. If you don’t mind me saying, you did look a bit foolish. . .”
“Okay, look, I'm seventy-six-years-old. I got the diabetes, I got the cancer of the stomach and I’m broke. I could use your help here, but if you don’t want to help, do me a favor and go inside the cabin. Get the hell away from me.”
“Well, I thought I was hitching a ride up to Mexico, but apparently the captain has decided to abandon ship.”
Banks grunted as he lifted the double barreled shotgun and awkwardly stretched it out before him. Both hammers were cocked and ready. The gun looked heavy and unwieldly in his arms and swayed from side to side when he tried to lift his bare foot toward the trigger guard.
The boy watched, a smile growing wide and wider on his face. “Now, I got to pay attention to this, case I ever just, you know, reach the peak and all.”
“Uk uuw, kid!” Mr. Banks said. The barrel of the shotgun was now in his mouth though the trigger guard still seemed miles away from his big toe.
“You know, I think I got a better idea here. Now, now, hang on, just hear me out?”
Banks let his foot drop back to the deck and took the shotgun barrel out of his mouth. He looked exhausted from his efforts and was breathing heavily.
“Okay, here’s my plan," the kid went on. "You know today is the shortest day of the year this side of the equator, right? And you know we about forty miles south of the longest day of the year."
“Yeah?’ said Banks. “So what?”
“So what? So what? My point is you and me can go from winter to summer in what seven hours?"
Mr. Banks un-cocked his shotgun and put it away in the locker under his seat.
“Best idea I’ve heard in a long time, kid. Take the helm.”
The boy scooted behind the big wooden wheel. He looked nervous and excited.
“Keep her on this line,” Mr. Banks said. He took another swig from the bottle and put it away with the shotgun under the port bench.
The breeze was good and steady on their quarter, and the boat was moving nicely along to the north at about seven knots. Mr. Banks settled back and studied the kid driving the boat. “What’s your name, son?”
“They call me, ‘Lucky,’” he said. His eyes were concentrating on the ocean ahead.
Mr. Banks laughed out loud. “Well, Lucky, you know what? We got us a new moon rising tonight.”