It was late. We were near Savannah, Georgia. I was with my friend Roger. It was midsummer and we’d driven all the way from West Florida to look at a boat for sale. We were young men, trapped in an un-air-conditioned truck cab. We smelled like the varsity basketball team laundry bag.
A guy will do strange things when a boat is involved. To some people, a boat is just a boat. But to many American males, a boat is an enchanted thing that sits in the backyard for decades, untouched, forming an enchanted natural habitat for spiders and raccoons. Until one day, the enchanted boat-trailer rusts apart from neglect and becomes a historical landmark.
It was dark. There was heavy fog. Roger drove his truck with the hazards on. It was 3 a.m.
We stopped at a cheap hotel to get some rest. It was a seedy place. The night clerk smirked at Roger when we asked for a room, probably because Roger looked like a junior librarian.
“We’d like a room,
please.” Roger’s voice squeaked.
“How many hours?” said the guy. “We rent rooms by the hour.”
That’s when we noticed a woman sitting in the corner, wearing fishnet stockings. We could tell right away that this was not the kind of establishment that offered a continental breakfast.
So we drove outside of town and parked near a large salt marsh in the middle of nowhere. We slept in the front seat.
When the sun came up, I was sitting on the hood, admiring miles of golden cordgrass and sea lavender. If you’ve ever seen the lower coastal plains of Georgia, you can’t help but think that this incredible earth was no accident.
Anyway, the boat for sale was a Boston Whaler. The kind of boat that would have made a great home for some lucky family of field mice in Roger’s backyard. Roger inspected the trailer and…