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Some Sailors Never Die by EA Comiskey - Book Tour + Giveaway

By 4:00 AM , , , , ,

Richard never made it to the sports bar. Halfway there, he bumped into Ed and Annie Santos.
“You should come play shuffleboard with us!” Annie exclaimed.
He stuffed his hands in his pockets. “Nah. Thanks, though. I don’t want to intrude.”
“Heh, heh, heh,” a chuckle rumbled up and out of Ed’s barrel chest. “Ain’t no game going on there. Buncha old farts sitting around the edges of the painted lines killing what’s left of their livers and healthy skin cells.”
When you put it that way, it sounded better than sitting alone in a dark bar. He agreed with a shrug. Annie clapped her hands in delight and led them along, chattering like a tour guide.
Ed studied him while they walked.
“What?” Richard asked. Being stared at was downright irritating.
“Why you always so grumpy?” Ed asked.
“You look like you swallowed a sour pickle you forgot to chew. Why you so grumpy?”
Richard harrumphed. Who did the big galoot think he was, getting into his personal business? “I ain’t grumpy. Just don’t go around all day grinning like an idiot.”
Ed walked in long, loping steps with his hands in his pockets. “You oughta smoke a joint. It’d calm you down.”
Richard’s blood pressure shot up. “I don’t need drugs to calm down!”
A group of fat old women in flower print bathing suits with matching skirts shot alarmed glances in their direction and made a wide berth around them.
“Think maybe you do,” Ed replied in his slow drawl. “You’re wound so tight your mainspring’s gonna pop. A hit on a doobie’d do you good. Might save you from an ulcer.”
The exceptionally large breakfast churned uncomfortably in Richard’s stomach. “You don’t know nothing about my guts. Ain’t right to go assuming things about a man. All kinds of things about me you don’t know. I’m fit as a fiddle and finer than frog’s hair, thank you very much.”
Ed bellowed with laughter. “I like you, man. Gotta get you a golden ticket.”
Richard stomped along and wondered how big the freaking ship could be. How much farther were they going to walk? Where was this stupid shuffleboard court and why was he headed there with these weirdos anyway?
The big man kept talking, even though no one had asked him to. “You see, I met a guy once. Told me about an alien planet with purple clouds. Said that’s the real Heaven. Ain’t some mystical dimension, just another planet on the other side of another galaxy.” This observation provoked another round of rumbling chuckles. “Turns out, according to this guy, we weren’t created by an old white dude with a long beard, but a little green man from outer space.” He shrugged his wide, sloped shoulders as if to say, who am I to question? “Little green man promised he’d come back some day after we crawled up out of the muck and learned how to bang two rocks together to make a fire. He’s gonna fly us away to his purple-cloud planet, but not all of us. Just the ones smart enough to know what’s up. Gotta have a ticket.”
Richard pressed his lips together and refrained from comment. The man was obviously nutty as a squirrel turd.
“So, the guy asked me if I wanted a golden ticket. I told him I surely did.” With a bit of grunting and huffing Ed dug a battered brown wallet from the pocket of his ill-fitting short pants and produced from it a yellow piece of paper with the words: This Golden Ticket Implies Belief In The Great Supreme Ones And Their Ultimate Master Plan And Entitles The Carrier To One Free Ride Aboard A Starship To The Planet Of Purple Clouds And Pleasure. (No refunds, exchanges, or round-trip accommodations provided.)
Richard read it and passed it back. All by themselves, his eyes rolled. He couldn’t have stopped them if his life had depended on it.
Of course, Ed chuckled at his reaction. “It’s a load of crap, obviously. The guy who gave it to me was crazier than an outhouse rat.” He tucked the ticket back into his wallet and stuffed the whole thing into his pocket again. “Still, I don’t wanna take any chances. I figure I’ll carry it with me. Just in case.”
“I just remembered. I’m supposed to find Burke,” Richard lied.
Annie pointed ahead. “She’s right there, dear.”
Burke caught his eye and gave a little wave. She stood near the railing with her phone clutched in her hand.
“We’re going to get drunk next to the shuffleboard court,” Annie told her once they’d gotten close enough to speak without shouting.
Richard expected a comment about healthy living, but Burke only nodded. “That’s the best idea I’ve heard all day.”
“That ain’t saying much,” Ed said. “It ain’t even noon yet.”
“It’s five o’clock somewhere,” Burke replied.
Ed gestured toward Burke and told Richard, “I like her, too.”
Richard wondered how he’d ended up on a boat surrounded by crazy people.
Two shuffleboard courts were painted onto the wooden deck near the bow of the ship. No one played on either, but a dozen or so old folks reclined in the cushioned chairs. Several of them sipped drinks that held umbrellas, swords, or long colorful sticks. One fat man with a thick mat of wiry white hair bristling from his chest snored peacefully. Annie suggested they sit at one of the glass-topped tables. The moment their backsides touched the thick-cushioned, high-backed chairs, Luca and Ike popped up out of thin air, side-by-side, grinning at them like two sharks that had jumped out of the water and landed on the ship by happy accident.
“Good morning! It is a beautiful day, no? We have wonderful treats for you!” Luca clapped his bony hands in front of his thin chest.
“Are we having a fabulous time?” Ike asked.
“Oh, we are, yes,” Annie said, pressing one hand across her heart.
“Where’s Mr. Kapcheck this morning?”
Ed chuckled.
“He’s resting in his room,” Burke said. “I’m sure he’ll be out later.”
“May I bring you something to drink?” Luca bounced on his toes as if on the verge of bursting from hopeful expectation. No one had ever wanted to fetch drinks as badly as this young man wanted to fetch drinks. He was the golden retriever of the high seas.
“I’ll have a mimosa, dear,” Annie said.
“Excellent choice,” Luca replied.
Burke ordered a Bloody Mary. Ed asked for scotch and soda.
Breakfast gurgled with all the clatter of a backed-up sump pump in Richard’s gut. The last thing he needed was hard liquor. “Can I get a glass of soda water with ice?”
Luca spread his long, lanky arms wide. “Of course!”
“Really living the high life, eh, Dick?” Ed jabbed him in the ribs with an elbow as pointy as a porcupine pecker.
Richard would have made a very snappy retort, but Ike interrupted.

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