08 Escaped Bethesda MD - Saturday

Escaped: Fighting my way home

© Copyright 2009

Written by Banzai Ben and Amazing Anastasia




Chapter 08 – Saturday 28 September 2007


Bethesda Maryland – Saturday Day Twenty-nine


I slept in the basement room again last night. Both Jens and Liz were a drunken mess when we got home.


I carried Jens into the house and Phil carried Liz. Mom took one look at them and had us put them in Jens's bedroom and she took over.


So here I am at o'dark-thirty again wide awake and wondering if I dare wake them up this morning and how I should wake them up.


The devil in me told me I should get out the air horn again – the angel told me that I should let my sleeping she-devil-dog lie. For once, the angel won. Hmmm – perhaps Jens has changed me.


I hopped out of bed and got dressed in today's workout clothes. My t-shirt today was provocative, it had a hot girl with an M4 on it and said. "MARINES -Tap Rack Bang1."

1 (TRB: How you clear an automatic weapon – Tap the magazine back in, Rack the action, Bang when you pull the trigger.)


I ran up the stairs two at time and into the kitchen. Shit! No one is up yet – well I'll continue to be good today. I started the coffee making it twice as strong as normal today. While I waited for the pot to make the all done noise I made some toast.


I poured two cups of coffee, threw in an ungodly amount of sugar and cream and grabbed four ibuprofens out of the cabinet. I buttered the toast and placed everything on a nice tray, and added a couple of roses from the vase.


I walked down the hallway and pushed Jens's door open. She and Liz were cuddled up to each other snoring up a storm. If I were into that sort of thing, it'd be sexy as hell. It sounded like a fight between two chainsaws.


I flipped on the bathroom light, went to the foot of the bed and jiggled it with my knee, the snoring turned into sputtering. I kicked it again harder and the snoring and sputtering stopped and I started to hear some moaning.


"O-h-h-h! My head." Jens complained.


"S-h-h-h! Don't talk so loud." Liz added.


They opened their eyes and realized they were hugging each other and quickly scooted apart.


I laughed much too loudly.


"Hey! Can you keep it down? My head hurts." Jens griped.


"I have a peace offering." and replied with a smile.


They both looked at me with the tray. I moved over and put it between them on the bed.


Jens went to give me a kiss and I pulled back, "Sorry my love. Your breath isn't minty fresh this morning. In smells like something that was left on the floor of the bar last night."


She wasn't happy, but put her hand in front of her mouth and sniffed her breath. She whispered, "Whew, that's nasty smelling."


Liz looked at the tray, "Thank you Ben. You did all this for us?"


"It's not much, but finish everything and you'll feel good enough for PT in a half hour." I answered.


They both took a sip of the coffee and frowned, "Damn! What did you put in this?" Jens complained.


"After last night's debauchery you two need some caffeine and sugar in your system. Drink it and stop complaining otherwise I'll take it all away. Don't take the ibuprofen until after you eat at least one slice of toast.


"You two are grumpy. I'm leaving to wake up Mom and Dad. Don't you dare fall back to sleep otherwise I'll go get the airhorn." I said.


Liz looked at Jens, "An airhorn. He wouldn't dare."


"Oh yes he would. We used it on Mom and Dad the other day."


I left the room and headed towards Mom and Dad's bedroom. I opened the door and it was empty. I heard a "psst" from down the hall and saw Mom motioning me towards the kitchen. I closed their door and headed towards the kitchen. Mom and Dad were at the table.


"Damn! That's a great shirt." Dad remarked.


Mom looked at it and gave me the evil eye, "Jens isn't going to like that."


"You both look good in your new workout gear."


"How are the girls doing this morning?" Mom questioned.


I laughed, "They're a mess and smell even worse. I'm not sleeping in that bed until Jens changes the sheets."


"How did they get so filthy and bruise their hands so much?" Mom wondered.


I told them all about the good time we had at the bar and how Jugs came up and kissed me - and the fight that ensued with Liz helping out Jens.


Dad looked worried, "I hope Jens didn't throw the first punch."


"Well, she did throw the first punch." Dad looked even worse, "….but only after Jugs slapped her."


"Shit! You bastard, you had me really worried!"


I laughed, "But I bet it did wake you up."


Mom laughed, "Damn! You keep things interesting around here."


Jens and Liz shuffled into the kitchen yawning the whole time.


'Well, well, well, look what the cat dragged in." Dad laughed. They both responded by flipping him the bird.


'Young ladies. Is that any way to treat your elders?" Mom complained. So they both flipped her the bird too.


"I should spank both of you!" She scolded.


"Both of us should spank you!" Jens shot back.


Mom's mouth dropped open and I could see a war brewing.


So I added my two cents, "Damn! I wish I wouldn't have woke up Miss Crabby. I wish I would have let her sleep in."


Dad started laughing but Jens was a bit slow this morning. It took her about thirty seconds to figure out I meant her.


She gave me her sad little girl look, "I'm sorry honey. You're right and should call me Miss Crabby all day. Sorry Mom and Dad."


"I'd rather call you Miss Delicious." I quipped.


Jens wrinkled her forehead and looked at me, "I can't understand your jokes today. Please have mercy."


I did have mercy, "Well, you're the apple of my eye." She still looked puzzled, "Crab Apple – Red Delicious Apple."


She smiled and came over for a kiss.


I hesitated. "Did you brush your teeth first?"


"No, I brushed my teeth twice. Now give me my good morning kiss before I kick your butt." Jens threatened.


I hugged her and gave her a kiss; but I sniffed loudly when she pulled away.


"What! Don't tell me that I stink too?" She frowned.


I smiled, "Gotcha."


Jens looked at my t-shirt, "Stand up! I want to see that shirt."


I stood up and she eyed the t-shirt. Then came and gave me a big hug, "You can TRB me any time you want."


Liz broke out laughing, "I wish that I could tape you two twenty-four hours a day. We'd make a fortune."


I looked at her, "Where'd you get the workout clothes?"


"Jens loaned them to me. We're almost the same size."


She'd always been such a bitch that I'd never bothered to look at her like she was a woman. They were close to the same size, her breasts –"


Jens interrupted me, "- don't even continue with that thought Mister. I'm in no mood for that this morning."


Liz looked at her funny. Jens explained how we can sense each other's feelings.


"Well that's about the strangest thing I've ever heard." Liz remarked, "I wonder if we can get a federal grant to have a study done on you two."


I gave her the evil eye, "I'm not going to be a fricken monkey in a fucking study so you can forget that."


"Don't worry Liz, I'll work on him and he'll agree to it." Jens told her.


I looked at both of them and finally figured out they were teasing me. They both started laughing.


"I hope that was a lot of fun for the two of you. You should know better than to aggravate your DI. When you do that you just get him pissed and he makes the workout harder." I looked around the room and no one was laughing.


"Good, enough of wasting time. For the next hour and a half your asses are mine. NOW! Move it downstairs."


They all started stepping and fetching – like their heads were on fire and their asses were catching it. Sometimes it was nice being the boss especially when I could be the boss spelled backwards – double SOB. I took my time and sauntered down the stairs. Dad already had the Bowflex setup and they started in on the exercises. This was a big change from the first day.


I looked around, "Where's the water and the towels?"


There was a mad scramble and everyone but Liz took off to get them. Liz looked confused.


"What are you standing around for? Time to do some squats," I ordered. So we started doing squats together. Yes it was good being the double SOB.


Liz was dying by the time that the rest got back.


She looked at Jens, "Thanks for leaving me with this-this-this workout maniac."


Jens shushed her but it was too late.


I gave her and evil look, "Jens please tell her what happens when you call the DI names."


She gulped and said, "The wonderful DI makes us work harder."


Liz looked around, "You guys let him do this to you?"


They all nodded their heads.


She looked at me, "So what the hell are you going to do to me if I say no?"


 I smiled at her, "Great Chief Run-amok will magically appear and make you pay."


Jens walked over and whispered something in her ear.


Liz looked at me and said, "Well, I don't know about Great Chief fulla-hooey. But Jens asked me if I'd just do this so I will."


We finished the rest of the workout without incident.


When we finished Liz fell to the floor, "Damn! That was a workout. I'm ready for a rest."


"We're not done yet,” I said. “Now it's time to run."


"A run! Are you crazy?" She asked.


"I never said, I was sane." I replied. "You'll feel much better after you sweat out the rest of the toxins from your binge last night."


"I'll go call the Secret Service." Mom volunteered and took off upstairs.


"I need to get my shoes." Dad said and left.


I motioned for Jens and we sat on the floor by Liz, "So, did you have fun today?"


"Yeah I did. It was a good workout." She replied.


"So why are you being such a pain in the ass about it?" I questioned.


"I don't know. It just seemed strange that everyone decided that you were the boss."


Jens answered, "He's the boss because he's the best one for the job today. Just like you're the boss when you're shooting videos or interviewing us. Would you like it if Ben acted that way when you were trying to do your job?"


"Well, I can remember when he was a real pain in the ass and I hated it." Liz answered and then it looked like a light bulb went on over her head. "I understand. We're a team now and we need to work together."


"You're pretty smart for a girl news reporter." I teased.


Liz smacked me on one arm and Jens on the other.


"I think you meant to say, she's a pretty girl and a smart news reporter. Didn't you dear?"


I laughed and said in a sarcastic tone, "Yes dear."


Next thing I know they both tackled me. "Hey! No fair two against one." I complained.


It was damn hard, having two squirming women to fight. But I discovered that Liz was just as ticklish as Jens and soon I had both of them on the floor wriggling and giggling.


"Stay still or I'll keep tickling." I ordered and stopped.


Jens didn't move but Liz did so I tickled her some more.


"No, I'll stop." She said and didn’t move.


"So what's going on with you two?" I asked.


They turned their heads and looked at each other.


Jens replied, "I don't know. Liz is sort of like the sister I never had."


"And Jens is like the sister I never had." Liz added.


I looked at both of them, "Well isn't this great. Now I've got double –" as I started tickling Jens. "And trouble." Then started tickling Liz.


Jens grabbed both my hands and Liz attacked.


"We'll teach you to attack us." Liz said.


"Yeah, you big bully. I'm tired of you tickling me." Jens added.


They were ganging up on me and doing a pretty good job of it. One of them was keeping my hands busy and the other was poking me. It didn't tickle but it was annoying.


"Quit it you two." I complained.


"Oh, you don't like to be poked." Jens said and poked me some more while Liz kept my hands busy.


"I mean it." I griped.


"What's wrong, can't you take it." Liz teased.


I pulled my arms free. Jens said, "Red Alert! Let's get out of here." And they both took off running.


I sat up and laughed to myself. I never thought two days ago that I'd be wrestling with Ms. Elizabeth Morgan like she was my sister. Damn! Her and Jens have had some sort of bonding and have become some sort of team.


I walked upstairs and Mom, Jens and Liz were gabbing away. Dad looked miserable.


"Shit! Finally some testosterone to offset all this estrogen; I thought I was going to go crazy."


"It's good to see you too Dad."


I sat at the table and the women didn't even notice. I looked over at Dad.


"They've been like this ever since the basement. I can't even get any food." Dad complained.


I was just getting up to make some breakfast shakes when the doorbell rang. I walked to the front door and the Secret Service was here.


Buddy said, "Hey you guys ready to go?"


"Sure, let me get everyone else." I replied.


I walked in the kitchen the women were still oblivious to us. I motioned to Dad and he got up and followed me. "It's just the two of us today Buddy. And we need to stop by somewhere and pickup a couple breakfast sandwiches." I said.


"Damn! I'm going to get some real food for breakfast. I want three of those sandwiches, they're small." Dad added.


I glanced at him, "I wouldn't recommend that. You'll end up puking them up while we're running."


As we walked to the van I asked, "Buddy, can we get the other agents to watch the women at the house? I don't want to leave them without protection."


"No problem, I'll make the call."


We hopped in the van, Buddy called for extra troops and we headed over to a burger joint.


I did relent and bought Dad a couple of sandwiches.


"A-h-h-h, now that's what I call a real breakfast." Dad sighed.


"Well. If you worked out hard every day, you could eat like that every day. Did you ever hear of the Amish Diet?" I asked.


"No. What the hell is that?"


"You get to eat whatever you want each day –"


Dad interrupted, "That sounds like my sort of diet."


"- as long as you walk at least eighteen-thousand steps a day."


Dad frowned, "I knew there was a catch."


We arrived at the track and both jumped out of the van. "I was so busy yesterday killing all the paleface I forgot to show you how to run right. We're going to correct that today. "


We stood by the side of the track as I explained how he needed to run on the balls of his feet. How he should never let his heels hit the ground first and how his knees should stay slightly bent.


"This sounds really strange to me." Dad remarked.


"It did at first for me. But if you try it you'll see that it really works. You're not going to run as far today because your calves are quads are going to get a real workout."


We began slowly and he didn't have the hang of it.


"Stop, you're doing it all wrong. Let's try this, take off your shoes and run barefoot." I ordered.


"I'll ruin my socks." He complained.


"Then I'll buy you a new pair."


He grumbled a little but did as I asked.


After a couple steps of letting his heels hit, he figured it out and was running much smoother.


"I'm still not sure about this, but it is easier on my back and knees." Dad mentioned.


We'd done a couple laps when another black car pulled up to the track. The women piled out and started heading to the track.


We ran by and Dad said, "It's about time you showed up. We're almost done."


They fell in behind us running very slow and still jabbering to each other. Dad was doing so well that we soon came up behind them.


I looked over at Dad, winked and started singing to the tune of “Cops”:


Fat Butts, Fat Butts

What ya gonna do.

What ya gonna do

When they're in front of you!


Dad started laughing and stopped running.


The women turned and I ran past them, "FAT BOTTOM GIRLS you make the rockin' world go round." I yelled.


"We'll show you fat." Jens yelled and they started chasing me. "You just wait until we catch you."


I hollered back over my shoulder, "What are you going to do? Sit on me and squash me."


"I'm going spank you young man." Mom yelled.


"And we're going to hold you down so she can." Liz added.


"I was going to say big talk for little girls, but I don't see any little here." I shot back.


Mom fell behind Jens and Liz, and then Jens fell behind Liz. I suddenly figured out that Liz could run – that Liz could really run.


"You go girl. Catch his ass and make him pay." Jens encouraged.


I ran my hardest and she still gained on me.


She came up right behind me. "I guess you're not as fast as you thought you were."


"Shit! How'd you get so fast?" I asked.


"I was on the track team at Berkley." She replied.


"You went to Bezerkley? That explains everything."


She lunged and tackled me onto the grassy infield.  "Hey, the school was good even if the politics sucked."


"Wooo Hooo!" Jens yelled, "You caught him. Keep him down, I'm coming to help."


I'd just gotten free when Jens flew in and tried to grab me. "Not so fast Mister." I ducked, she missed me, ran into Liz and they fell in a heap. I was getting ready to take off when ….


"Son-of-a-bitch! That hurt." Jens complained.


I stopped and went over to her, "Are you okay?"


"I don't know. I caught Liz's elbow in my low belly and it hurts." Jens complained.


"Lie down and let me take a look." I checked her out and her low belly was a little tender.


Mom and Dad ran up. "Are you happy now? All your horseplay has caused my little girl to get hurt." Mom yelled angrily. She went over to her and looked at her.


"I'm fine Mom. It's hardly sore now." Jens said.


Mom helped Jens up; I went over by her and got a dirty look.


"M-o-o-o-m, quit being mean to Ben. It was an honest accident." Jens admonished.


She came over and hugged me, "Thanks my love for taking care of me."


I put my arm around her right side, Liz got on her left side and we helped her to the van.


"Evelyn, let's ride in the car." Dad said.


Mom wanted to argue, but could tell that Dad had his reasons and she came over and kissed Jens on the cheek.


"You take good care of my daughter." Mom ordered.


"Yes ma'am." Liz and I both said.


Dad grabbed her arm and led her away.


"Whew, I wasn't sure I was going to survive that. I felt like I was between a mama bear and her cub." I said.


Jens and Liz laughed. "Mom gets sort of protective of me."


"Sort of!" I remarked, "I still remember when she threatened to castrate me."


"Wh-a-a-at?" Liz said. "She said what to you."


Jens described the first time I danced with mom.


"And you weren't afraid of her?" Liz asked me.


I smiled, "I offered to give her my Ka-Bar if she ever needed it."


"That took balls." She answered and we all had a great laugh, even Buddy and Phil joined in.


"How are you feeling Jens?" I asked.


"Much better. It's just a little sore. I think that I bruised it." She answered and smiled.


The van pulled up to the house and a large group of people were milling around.


"Look Ben it's the girls from yesterday." Jens noticed. "I guess they could all make the sailing date for today."


Shit, I'd forgotten about sailing. "Are you sure you're well enough to go?" I ask Jens.


"Don't be silly of course I am. And I'm not letting you out of this so don't even try."


I remembered my shirt and figured it wouldn't be appropriate for the young ladies. So I started peeling it off.


Liz looked at me, "Damn you have a bunch of scars on your body. Are those bullet holes?"


I flipped my shirt wrong side out and put it back on, "I don't know what you're talking about."


Jens reached over and squeezed Liz's hand, "He doesn't like to talk about his badges of glory.


"Thanks Honey for taking care of the t-shirt. I'm sure the girl's parents wouldn't have understood."


The van stopped and we hopped out. Miranda and the girls saw us and ran over to talk to Jens. I took advantage of everyone being distracted and slipped into the house. I headed down to the basement and jumped right in the shower. Ten minutes later I was done, changed and headed back upstairs.


Mom and Dad had shown up and they were all talking on the front yard.


I walked up to Jens, "Hey! You're all showered and changed. When did you do that?"


"I did it while you all were talking. I figured that no one would miss me."


Miranda, the other girls and all the parents walked up, "Well you are very wrong. We all missed you." She came over and gave me a hug; the other girls did the same. I looked over at Jens worried that she might be upset but she was beaming. The girl's parents came up and started shaking my hand and congratulating me as if I was some sort of hero.


"We're so glad to meet you." Miranda's mom said, "I don't know what you said to her yesterday but she's not the same girl that she was when she went to the mall. All she's done is talk about you and Jens ever since she got home. She even threw away a bunch of the clothes that we didn't like. She said she didn't want to look like a slut."


Miranda's dad came up, "Let me shake your hand! You are a remarkable young man. I saw the video of the way Miranda flirted with you and I was shocked. Most men would have looked, but you turned your head."


I was getting embarrassed and could feel the redness starting to creep up my face. I looked over at Jens and she came over and rescued me, "Sorry folks. Ben doesn't do well with compliments he gets embarrassed. But know that everything you've said has touched his heart."


It didn't end until each parent had thanked us. By the time they were done, I was finished. I looked at Jens, "I'm tired and wore out. I'm going to take a nap while the rest of you get ready to go."


The girls all said goodbye to their parents and we all went in the house. I took off for the basement and a nap while everyone else got ready to go sailing.


I don't know how long I slept, but when I woke up Jens was on the bed beside me and looking at me. "I love watching you sleep. When you sleep you let your guard down and I can see the real Ben."


"So what am I when I'm awake, the fake Ben?"


"No, you're the Ben that you expect people want to see." She leaned over and kissed me. "You're a good man; it's a shame that the world won't let you be who you really are."


I grinned at her, scrunched one eye closed and said, "I yam what I yam."


"Was that supposed to be – Popeye? If so that was terrible." Jens teased.


"Hey it couldn't have been too bad if you understood who it was."


"Come on my lazy boy, let's go sailing." Jens said.


She stood up and said, "Damn, I'm still a little sore."


I jumped up, "Are you sure you're okay? Maybe we need to go to the doctor."


She looked at me and smiled, "You must really love me if you'd go to the doctor with me. I know how much you hate doctors and hospitals." Then she gave me a kiss that astounded me.


"Let's go sailorman." She teased.


"Shit! I'm not a sailor." I replied.


"Well you pretended to be Popeye so I thought you'd jumped ship." She chided.


I laughed, "You're right."


"Just remember that and we'll get along just fine." She grinned at me.


I wanted to swat her butt, but I was concerned about hurting her so I wrapped my arm around her and we walked upstairs.


The kitchen was a flurry of activity and Mom was giving orders as if she was the General. Everyone was all hauling bags out to the waiting vans. It looked more as if we were going on a campaign, not sailing for part of a day.


"It's about fricken time you woke up and earned your keep. Hump these coolers of drinks out to the van." Mom ordered.


"Yes Sir!" I answered.


"Watch your mouth or I'll wash it out with soap." She grumped.


Jens gave me a look, came over and whispered in my ear, "You'd better cool it with Mom, she's pretty pissed off."


I walked over to her and Jens followed, "Mom, it bothers me even more than it bothers you that Jens was hurt. I'm sorry it happened and I hope that she never gets hurt again. Being angry at me all day won't help her feel better."


Jens was hugging me, Mom was watching us and said, "Shit! I hate that you're right so often. Sorry for getting upset at you, but when Jens gets hurt, I get upset."


I humped the coolers out to the van and came back in, "What's next Mom?"


"Please help with the rest of the food. Ben." She smiled at me.


We were finally packed and ready to go. All the women and girls piled in the van.


I looked at Dad, "I think we’ll take the car."


"Damn straight! That's too much estrogen for me." He laughed.


The drive to the Washington Sailing Marina was uneventful other than having to drive into Washington DC. I looked out the window the whole way and shook my head.


"How in the hell can people live like this?" I asked Dad.


"You get numb after awhile and don't even notice it." He replied.


The closer we came to the marina, the more I missed Colorado. I was really looking forward to being home tomorrow. I couldn't wait to see the rebuilt cabin. Especially, to give Jens her HUGE surprise. I'd had to sneak some phone calls in to one of my friends in Leadville to make sure that things were going to be ready.


We pulled up to the Marina and I knew it was time for the brawn of the unit to earn his keep. I bounded out of the car and headed up to the van and opened the side door. The women and girls piled out like a gaggle of geese.


Jens stopped and looked at me, "I get my surprise tomorrow." She said sensing my feelings.


Shit, I almost let the cat out of the bag. "What surprise?" I teased.


She must have been feeling better because she punched me in the arm, "You little shit! The fricken huge surprise you've been teasing me about. You just wait. Someday I'm going to have a huge surprise and I'm going to tease the hell out of you about it."


I started to open my mouth, "I know what you're going to say before you even say it. And yes someday sure as hell is going to come."


I started grabbing all the crap that we needed for our partial day of sailing and humping it down the dock to the sailboat. I looked at it, "Hey Dad! I don't know much about sailboats. What sort of sailboat is this?"


Dad smiled, I could tell it was his pride and joy, "It a Morgan 46.2 Ketch that was built in the early eighties."


I looked dumbfounded not knowing what anything meant, Jens walked up, "Don't worry Ben. When Daddy starts talking about his sailboat I wonder if he trades his general stars for admiral bars."


"Hey I can still make you swab the deck or walk the plank." Dad threatened.


"Not on my boat." Mom came up and said.


"Evelyn, I keep telling you, it's a ship not a boat." Dad complained.


"Keep talking Glen and I'll start calling it a garbage scow."


Dad looked a little hurt, "Oh come on Glen. You know I'm just teasing you. I love our little boat."


He looked even more dejected. Mom winked at us and said, "Why is it that men get all upset when you tease them about the size of their toys."


I started laughing and the girls walked up with a load of crap. "What's so funny?" Miranda asked.


"Ask Mom. I need to go and get more gear." And I took off. I was able to get the last of the crap and came up to the sailboat. "PTB2 Sir." I said to Dad.

2 (PTB: Permission To Board.)


He grinned, "Aye permission granted."


I walked across the gangplank and set down the bags. I reached in my day pack and pulled out an eye patch, bandana, fake parrot and plastic sword and transformed myself into the dread pirate No-beard .


 I went below to stow the rest of the gear, Mom gave me a dirty look.


"Ben, put that gear over there under the bunks." Mom ordered.


"Aye, aye Captain." I shot back.


The girls came out of the forward bunks, saw me and started laughing at my pirate imitation.


I looked at Jens and Liz, "At least someone appreciates my humor."


Liz said, "What humor?"


I pulled out my sword and started waving it around, "Avast ye surly wench. Thou hast offended mighty No-beard. Prepare to die."


Mom came over and took the sword away, "No more of that crap today. Jens has already been hurt."


The girls were completely entertained and were laughing so hard that they couldn't talk.


"Arrgh, I thinks I prefer the company of the young winsome lasses to the old sea hags. Ladies, accompany me up to the aft poop deck." I held out my hands for them. They kept laughing some of them so hard they were crying.


"Hey! Who you calling old!" Jens barked.


"And who are you calling a sea hag." Liz added.


Mom said, "Get out of my galley you-you-you reject from Annapolis. Before I skin you alive."


I knew when I'd counted enough coup and it was time to leave.  I booked it upstairs and onto the deck.


Dad took one look at me and started laughing, "Don't tell me you're at it again. What's this outfit? Great pirate Run-amok."


"Arrgh - Avast ye scurvy bilge rat. I be dread pirate No-beard." I answered.


"Well, if the dead pirate No-beard can stop fooling around. We need to cast off."


"That's dread pirate, scurvy limey."


"You get Evelyn pissed off again and it's going to be dead pirate."


He was right so for now I simmered down and helped him cast off the lines. Once we were underway, I stood on the bow of the boat and continued my pirate impersonation by yelling pirate quotes at the other sailboats. Some people found it amusing and laughed, others just shook their heads.


The women and girls had worked their way on the deck. Jens sashayed up beside me wearing a female pirate outfit. I was shocked.


"Avast ye scurvy son of a sea dog; come to and give your best mate a kiss." Jens ordered. I hugged her and complied.


"Arrgh, my eyes deceive me it must be Captn' Morgan Adams from Cutthroat Island ."


"Avast your eyes must be full of seaweed, if ye thinks I look like that fat Geena Davis wench." Jens replied.


I broke character, "My love. This is a total surprise. How did you know." Wondering if she had looked in my travel pack.


She smiled, "No. I didn't peek in your pack. I just figured after all the Great Chief Run-amok shenanigans that this would be your next thing to do. Remember you're still too predictable."


She reached behind her back and pulled out my plastic sword and handed it to me. "Arrgh, ye can't be a pirate without your cutlass." Then she pulled out hers.


We stood on the bow of the boat waving our plastic cutlasses at the other boats and cursing them in pirate talk. The girls were finally over most of their laughing and came up to help.


"Arrgh, the young winsome lasses prefer the company of pirates to the crusty old sea urchins." I said.


Mom yelled, "Who are you calling crusty and old?"


We handed them our cutlasses and they joined in on the fun. We were almost out of the harbor so Jens and I left them on the bow and headed aft.


Liz and the news crew had been taping the whole thing, "Hey, I didn't see the rest of the crew. Where did they come from?" I asked.


"They snuck on the boat while you were getting into you pirate gear." Liz said.


"This is great footage. We're going to make a fortune off of this."


Dad said, "It's time to stop goofing off and get serious. We're out of the bay and can run up some sails."


I went over to Mom and pulled off my pirate gear, "Thanks for watching this for me."


Jens stayed in her pirate gear and looked sexy as hell.


"Avast land lubber, keep your eyes on the task at hand." She scolded me.


"Okay dad what do I do?" I asked.


Jens took the helm, he came over and showed me how to run the selftailing winch, and we ran up the main sail.


He went back and made some course corrections until the sail caught the wind then he killed the diesel engine and the boat started heeling over.


The girls were being splashed so they came running to the aft of the boat and huddled around Mom and Jens.


I said, "You know, I only know one of your names. It'd be nice to meet all of you."


Miranda and the other four came over, "We were sort of afraid to meet you. You're such a big star."


Mom and Jens and even Liz started laughing. Jens said, "Ben is about as far from being a star as you will ever find. In fact even calling him one is insulting to him."


"Oh gee, Ben we're sorry we didn't mean to insult you." Miranda shyly said.


I laughed and teased, "Don't worry, I'm used to it. Jens insults me all the time."


"Hey, I do not!" Jens said.


"So tell me all your names." I asked.


They all sat down close.


"I'm Michelle." Said a gangly looking redhead.


"Pleased to meet you Michelle," and I shook her hand.


"I'm Rachel." Answered a willowy blonde.


"It's so nice to learn your name." I answered and shook her hand.


"And I'm Sara." Said a mousy looking brunet.


"Sara, it's great to shake your hand."


I looked at the last girl and she blushed, "I'm Frankie and I'm shy."


"The pleasure is all mine." I said.


We sat around and talked. The girls had many questions about Jens and I, what our life was like – and it seemed everything else. I noticed that Mom, Jens, Liz and the news crew were all concentrating on the interactions. It was still somewhat annoying so I tried my best to ignore it.


Dad was doing an excellent job – and I don't mean in the Rainman sense – of piloting the boat. It was sunny and windy with about five-foot swells, a perfect day to be out on the water. We were headed into the wind so Dad was tacking and every time he'd make a turn the boom would swing and the boat would heel over the other way.


Frankie got up to get some soda just as Dad started a tack and she lost her balance and started to fall. I tried to jump up and grab her, but it was too late and she screamed as she went over the side of the boat.


It was pandemonium and all the other girls were screaming.


"I don't think she can swim," cried Sara.


"Man overboard." I yelled and jumped into the water after her.


When I came to the surface, I couldn't see her. I did see the boat wake and started swimming back along its path. I hit the top of a swell and I saw her struggling. Shit! She was either afraid or couldn't swim. I swam in her direction as fast I could.


I dropped down in another swell and lost sight of her. So I kept swimming hoping I was going in the right direction. The next swell raised me and I was damn close to her.


"Frankie! I'm close don't worry." I yelled.


I reached her at the trough of the next swell as I got close she grabbed me and pulled me under. I didn't struggle and just let her do that. As she climbed on top of me, I slipped around behind her and grabbed her around the neck.


"Help, I can't swim well." She frantically yelled.


"Don't worry, I'm here and you're not going to drown. Just relax and I'll help hold you up." She stopped fighting and relaxed some.


"Frankie, if you wanted to go swimming with me you should have just asked." I teased her and she relaxed a little more.


"Will the boat come back for us?" She asked.


"They most certainly will. I bet they're doing that right now." I told her. I hoped that someone had the sense to throw a locator buoy overboard when I jumped in, but I couldn't count on it. We could be in the water for a while.


I knew that with today's swells it would be hard as hell to find two people floating in the ocean. And I'm sure that we moved quite a distance from where we fell in. But I also knew that Jens would never abandon me, we just needed to be patient until we were found and not die from hypothermia.


The water temperature was about 65 degrees so we had about four and a half hours before we'd become exhausted or unconscious. Probably a little less than that because neither one of us were very fat. The survival time would be over twenty hours but without PFDs we'd be dead before then.


I needed to keep Frankie occupied. "Frankie, why is a pretty girl like you so shy?"


"Uh-uh-uh up until last year I had braces and all the kids used to tease me about them. And I am sort of klutzy."


I thought, well that explains why you fell off the boat. "Kids can be so mean sometimes. I tell you what, in another year you're going to be quite beautiful and then all the kids that teased you will wish that they wouldn't have."


"But I'll still be clumsy."


I forced a laugh, "That's the easiest thing to fix. Why don't you take some martial arts or dance classes when we get back."


"I took a little dance class but the teacher said I was too clumsy."


I was pissed off about that statement, "Well, that just means your teacher wasn't a very good teacher. Did you have fun?"


"Yeah, it was a lot of fun."


"I'll talk to your parents when we get back and we'll make sure we get you in the right class. I bet Jens and her mom can help."


"You'd do that for me?" She asked.


"Sure, why not?" I replied.


"I'm going to switch arms. Don't fight me and don't worry." I held her now with my right arm, I brought my left arm up and looked at my watch. It'd been about an hour and no sign of the boat.


We kept talking with each other and I discovered that under the shy exterior was a very incredible young woman.


Another hour went by and still no sign of rescue. I heard a plane fly over and tried waving, but they didn't see us.


"Frankie. I have a job for you. Do you think you can help me?" I asked.


She shivered a little, "Sure Ben."


"I don't think that the boats and airplanes can see us because we're too small. But I have a bright yellow shirt on. I'm going to take it off and then you're going to hold it out in the water so it's like a flag. They might be able to see that."


"I can do that." She shivered.


"Okay, I'm going to need to let go of you to take off my shirt. Don't panic I'm right here." I let go of her and slipped my shirt off as quick as I could. She started sputtering and thrashing around.


I swam back up to her, "I'm here you can relax."


She grabbed me again and pushed me under the water. I popped back up behind her and grabbed her in a headlock. She was struggling, "Hey. I've got you. Relax."


"I thought I was going to drown." She said.


"You're not going to drown as long as I'm here. I promise! And I never break a promise." I was hoping that this was a promise that I could keep.


"Take the shirt and let the water fan it out." I ordered and she complied. At least she wasn't shivering anymore.


We waited for rescue, but still nothing.


I was damn cold and we were starting to get tired. Plus the sky was growing darker. Evening was coming soon and if they didn't find us before it got dark…"


I checked my watch; it'd now been about three hours. Frankie had been shivering for awhile and was starting to get listless.


My muscles ached from the cold, especially all the scars from my wounds. My shorts had rubbed my legs raw a long time ago and they felt like they were on fire.


I reached my free arm down and pinched Frankie.


"Ouch, whatdya do that for?"


"Stay awake. Don't fall asleep."  It didn't work, a short while later she became unresponsive. I grabbed my shirt before it drifted away and checked my watch, another half hour in the water.


It was getting pretty dark and I didn't see much hope of rescue. At least Frankie was going to be spared the inhumanity of drowning, she'd been asleep now for – I guess I don't even know how long. I looked at my watch but couldn't figure out how long we'd been in the water.


Shit! My mind! The cold was zapping my reasoning. I kicked my legs even harder to try to warm up. I tried to think of anything and everything to keep myself awake.


Wait – what's that I hear. SHIT! It's a plane. I waved my shirt and yelled with all my might. It passed over us – and then I watched it turn and come back.


Thank God! I think they saw us. I waved again and they started circling around us. Next thing I knew something hit close to us in the water and flashed. I try to swim to it and tow Frankie but I'm so tired and sleepy.


I yelled at myself, "Come on you lazy asshole swim to that light – swim to that light."


I barely made it and I don't know what the hell it is but now I have something that floats to hold onto. I wrapped my left arm around it and held on for dear life.


Damn I'm cold and shivering so much I think I'm going to break my teeth.


Son-of-abitch! Some sort of sea monster's trying to take Frankie away from me. I hated letting go of my light but I've got to fight this damn beast. I freed my left arm and punched that bastard in the face! Leave me alone you fucking monster.


Shit another one's attacked me from behind. How did you like that elbow in your ugly face – bastard.


I felt something hit my head, light flashed in my eyes and darkness slowly descended upon me.


Somewhere Northeast of Khudabah, Pakistan - Close to China – Day Eight


I feel someone gently touching my forehead. Mmm, it's nice. Perhaps it's my Jens! I open my eyes, blink them a few times and they focus on the smiling face of Zarika. I look around and I'm not at Aamir's. Wherever I am is nice. I'm lying on nice cushions on the floor. My camo BDU's are gone and I'm wearing some nice Tajik clothes.  Zarika starts moving her lips, trying to talk to me but I can't hear her. All I hear is the damn roaring in my ears.


She looks away and her lips move, I barely hear something that time. Yasmeen, Aamir and Ivan come over they all look down at me. Their lips move and I barely hear some noises.  Ivan leans over close to me and I can finally hear him, "Ben! Can you hear me? Are you okay?"


"I'm fine. But I have a terrible headache and roaring in my ears." I answer and Zarika and Yasmeen jump.


Yasmeen takes off and Zarika leans over and puts her mouth close to my ear, "Ben, you're yelling."


"I'm sorry, I can't hear well." I answer and she jumps.


Aamir and Ivan sit on the cushions across from me, smile and start moving their lips.


Yasmeen and a bunch of other women come in the room. I recognize some of them; they're the ones I rescued. Yasmeen comes over and gives me some pills and water. I barely hear, "Take this."


I look at the pills and even sniff them. After the damn tea I don't trust anything they give me. I can't tell what they are but they look safe. I take the pills and drink all the water. Everyone is watching me and I feel like an animal in the circus.


This time I talk softer, "I'm hungry. Could I get some food?"


Yasmeen mouths some words and the whole room ignites in a flurry of activity. The women all take off and Yasmeen smiles, comes over and sits on the other side of me.


She leans over and kisses me on the cheek and puts her mouth against my ear, "My hero."


A gnarled old man, bent by the many years of his life hobbles into the room being helped by a young woman. It seems like it takes him minutes to work his way across the room. He stops in front of me and his lips start moving.


Zarika leans over and puts her mouth next to my ear, "This is Ahkmed he is a rich man and is thanking you for saving his daughters."


I answer, "Tell him it's nothing."


Zarika pulls away and I barely hear her.


His lips move in a laugh, then they move some more.


Yasmeen jumps up and heads out of the room from the same door Ahkmed came in. He hobbles over and slowly sits on the cushions beside me and smiles at me. He motions with his hands to his ears and moves his lips. Zarika translates, "He says his doctor is coming to look at your ears."


The women that were here earlier rush in with huge bowls of food and bring it over to me and bow. There is pilaf with meats and fruits, kabob, dolma, yogurt garlic sauce, lavash, dates, figs, pomegranates and many other items that I don't recognize. It all smells wonderful and my stomach starts to growl.


Zarika picks up a bowl and starts to feed me.


"I'm not and invalid, I can feed myself." I say and she jumps and hangs her head.


I motion for her to come close to me and I put my mouth against her ear and whisper, "What's wrong my little dove?"


"Ben it's an honor for me to feed you; if you do not let me feed you all the women here will think I am a bad wife."


I can see the tears in the corner of her eyes and I smile and nod my head. She grins and starts feeding me. I notice the other women start to smile and talk to each other.


Ahkmed claps his hands and I can hear that but it's very muffled. Then he moves his mouth and all the other women leave the room. I can notice them peeking around the corner.


Zarika brings a cup up to my mouth, I pull back.


"Ben. What's wrong?" She says in my ear.


"I want to make sure it's not that damn tea again." I tell her.


She looks at everyone and her lips move, I can see that everyone looks like they're laughing.


She gives the cup to me; I look at it and sniff it. I notice the old man looks like he's laughing again. It smells like wine so I take a sip. It is wine a very young and fruity wine with very little alcohol; I drink the whole cup. Zarika moves her lips and I can hear her just a bit. One of the women that has been peeking around the corner brings more wine. She looks at me and smiles as she pours it in the cup. Zarika continues feeding me.


I stop her and ask, "What day is it?"


She smiles, "You were asleep all yesterday. You kept yelling the whole time for Jens."


I look at her and remember the dreams and a few tears form in the corner of my eyes. She sees them and wipes my face with a napkin, making sure to get the tears.


"Ben. Do not cry here. They will think that you are upset with how you are treated and it will be a big dishonor."


I nod my head and she continues feeding me.


Ahkmed claps his hands and moves his mouth and another woman comes in and starts feeding him. Dhuha and Basma come in and start feeding their husbands. The men appear to be carrying on quite the conversation but I can't hear them. They seem to be gesturing towards me so it must be about me.


"Zarika, what are they talking about." I ask too loudly and she jumps.


She says something and another woman comes in and starts to feed me. She is looking at me with obvious admiration in her eyes. Zarika moves over by my ear and starts to translate.


"They are talking about how brave you were to go into the building by yourself."


"Tell them that Aamir was the bravest one. He drove the truck through the gate."


Zarika says a few words and Aamir smiles.


I continue, "And tell them that I couldn't have done this without Ivan's help and equipment."


She moves her lips and Ivan nods his head at me.


"Shit! I don't even know if the plan worked. Did we kill all the chewchemeks?" I asked.


Ivan starts talking and Zarika puts her mouth to my ear, "Yes the plan was a total success other than you being too close to the bomb. The whole camp was totally destroyed and is nothing but a big hole in the ground."


Yasmeen comes in with a man. She sees the other woman feeding me, looks angry and comes over, her mouth moves and the other woman slinks out of the room like a scolded dog. She takes her place, smiles at me and starts shoving food in my mouth.


The man walks over to me and moves his lips, "This man is Ahkmed's doctor and he needs to examine you again. But he will wait until you finish eating."


"I think I'd like some more wine. Then I'm finished." I say. Yasmeen helps me drink from the cup; I drink it all.


Ahkmed claps his hands and says some words. The women come back in the room and take away all the food.


"Tell Ahkmed that the food was excellent and worthy of a prince." I say.


After Zarika translates, Ahkmed smiles, nods his head and moves his mouth.


"He says that you are more worthy than all the princes."


The doctor motions for me to stand up. Akhmed claps his hands and all the women leave the room other than my girls.


"The doctor wants you to take off your clothes." Zarika tells me.


I look at her, "Not while you two are here."


"Ben. We are your wives and it is not a disgrace for us to stay. Besides you need someone to tell you what the doctor says." Zarika pleads.


I look at her and Yasmeen, "Tell him that it is not customary in my country to have an audience when a doctor examines a patient."


Zarika looks at me with pleading eyes. "Zarika tell him! And tell him that Ivan can translate for me."


She gives me a dirty look and tells him. Then she stomps her foot and turns and leaves the room. I swat her on the butt for being such a little snit and her and Yasmeen scamper out of the room. It looks like everyone else is laughing.


Ivan come over and talks in my ear, "You handled that well my old friend. So your ears aren't working well."


"Ivan. I can't hear shit. They have a huge roaring in them all the time."


The doctor comes over, "He wants you to take off your shirt."


I take off my shirt and notice that I look a little better. I've put on some weight since my escape.


The doctor checks me all over starting with my head and working his way down.


The women keep peeking around the corner and looking at me. I figure I'll raise some hell so I blow them a kiss. They blush and pull behind the corner.


The doctor has me close my eyes and stand on one leg; I keep falling over. He points to each of my old scars moves his lips and shakes his head, especially at the several scars from bullet wounds. He turns me around and pokes the one on my lower back and I jump.


"Shit! Tell him not to do that again or I'll beat the hell out of him." I yell at Ivan.


Ivan says in my ear, "Ben! You have more scars than when I saw you in Russia. And it looks like that old bullet wound from Russia still hurts."


"It only bothers me when I'm awake or when someone pokes it. I'm tired of this shit! I'm done." And I start putting my shirt back on.


The doctor talks to Ivan for a while and leaves the room. Ivan comes over to me and gets close to my ear, "The doctor says that you have a severe concussion. When it gets better your hearing and balance will get better too."


"Well this sucks! I want to get the hell out of here and get back to Jens." I loudly complain.


Ivan jumps, "It looks like you need to spend at least the rest of today here. Perhaps if you're better tomorrow you can leave."


I'm damn pissed and need to do something to get my mind off the bull shit of not being able to leave. I want to go for a run but I know that the doctor won't let me.


"Ivan, I'm going to work out and I don't want to be bothered." I yell.


I move over to the side of the room and start doing pushups. Ahkmed watches me and starts laughing his ass off. His lips move and everyone is laughing.


I finish my pushups and ask, "What the hell does he find so funny?"


Ivan yells, "He thinks it's funny that a man with two young wives would do that without one of them under him."


I shake my head.


I go over to the door way and grab the ledge above it and start doing pull-ups. Ahkmed is watching me with interest and starts moving his lips and nodding his head.


It's damn frustrating not being able to hear what everyone is talking about!


I finish the pull-ups and try to do a handstand pushup and fall on my face. I look over and yes, they're all laughing at me.


I move over to the wall, flip up into a handstand with my feet on the wall and now I can do my pushups. Being upside down does cause my head to throb.


I keep up the routine and finally they get bored watching me. It feels good to be working my muscles again.


Zarika and Yasmeen come in, sit down, and watch me go through one whole rotation. I start doing the pushups again and they come over beside me and start trying to do pushups. I stop and show them how to do the pushups.


Ahkmed laughs so hard watching the three of us doing pushups he falls over. A bunch of women rush in beside him and he just keeps laughing and pointing at us.


I help my girls do the pull-ups and the handstand pushups. Ahkmed keeps watching us and laughing.


I should be offended at Ahkmed, but he's too old and full of life to get upset at.


We finish and I walk back over and sit down by Ahkmed. He slaps me on the back, it scares the hell out of me and I jump. That sets him off laughing again.


I look over at Ivan he comes and sits on the other side of me, "Ben my friend I wish that when you are his age you will enjoy life half as much. See all these women, they're his wives."


I look at Ivan, "I'm only interested in one woman for my wife. And that's Jens."


Zarika and Yasmeen hear me and they both quickly run out of the room.


"Uh-oh Ben. You have just made a big mistake. You need to go and talk with those two." Ivan suggests.


I take off after them and find them in one of the back rooms crying


I walk up to them, "My sisters what are you crying for."


They turned away from me and kept crying.


I can see this isn't working so I need a new plan. "Okay, I know when I'm not wanted anymore; when I've been replaced. Goodbye."


I turn and start leaving the room, "No." They yell and come over and hug me tight.


"Don't ever leave us Ben. We're worried that once you have your Jens back you won't want us around." Zarika says.


"I won't ever leave you two, you're my sisters. And I know that Jens will love both of you." I answer.


They hug me even tighter. "Come on let's get back to the main room and see if we can make Ahkmed laugh some more."


We walk back in the main room arm-in-arm. Ahkmed sees us and smiles then moved his lips. "He says that it's good to see that you've made your beautiful young wives happy and hopes that you will make the wife he gives you happy."


"WHAT THE HELL!" I yell. "No way am I taking another wife."


Ivan is laughing his ass off. I motion to him to come over and we move to the side.


"SHIT! Ivan! I can't have another wife. I already have two too many. You owe me and I'm calling in all my markers. You have to get me out of this."


He is still laughing.


"Ivan, I mean this. Don't make me find and talk to the Major." I threaten.


He immediately stops laughing, "You wouldn't?"


"If I acquire another wife, I most certainly will. You'd better lie through your teeth to Ahkmed and get me out of this."


He goes over to Ahkmed and they start talking. It seems like it takes forever but he comes back.


"Well. The only way I could talk him out of it was by taking the wife myself." He looks dejected.


I smile and clap him on the back, "Congratulations Ivan! I hope you and the new misses and the old misses get along well and have a bunch of children."


I go over to the cushions and sit down a happy man. I finally dodge a wife bullet.


Zarika and Yasmeen bring me some tea and sweet cakes. I sniff the tea again just to make sure they aren't trying to poison me again.


"Ben you do not need to sniff your tea each time. We taste all your food first just to make sure it's safe." Yasmeen tells me.


"I just don't want any more of that damn wormwood tea. That stuff tasted like ass." I reply.


Zarika scolds me, "Ben watch your language you are not a chewchemek."


I am feeling feisty so I look at her and say, "Eto mnye do huya3."

3 (I don't give a fuck.)


Both their mouths drop open in disbelief, Ivan hears what I say and starts laughing.


They start scolding me; I smile at them, cover my ears and start singing:


La-la-la Laaa

La-la-la Laaa


Ahkmed watches all this and starts laughing again.


Zarika and Yasmeen get frustrated and storm out of the room.


I look around and smile, finally peace! It was then I realize: No women – Know Peace.


But somehow Jens doesn't fit in this equation. She is a woman, but she is also much more than a woman. Perhaps it is because it seems like she never demands things from me, but somehow makes me a better person. I remember how she changed Miranda and the girls and I hope that if I get back to her that she can take these little ones that I've inherited and mold them into something more like her.


I kick back on the cushions, look up at the ceiling and start daydreaming about Jens and home.