The Harbor View, 1980
[Continues from Part 2, here.]
Nate recognized some of the girls, townies distinguishable by their shag hairstyles, hardened complexions and dull stares. One of them worked in the office at the boat yard. Another was a cashier at the Town Market. One of them he even recognized from the hospital, though he wasn’t sure what she did there. The others he wasn’t sure about. They looked Portuguese, perhaps daughters of some of the fishermen who ran boats out of the inlet. In the scrum of the arrival, Nate didn’t even notice Sloan Braxton at first, or that they’d left Dupere behind at Layla’s.
They started in a big suite overlooking the ocean that had once been Whiz’ grandfather’s apartment. A fire burned in the big stone fireplace. There was a bar and food. On the floor a boom box played some kind of a rap song Nate couldn’t understand. At first it was like a regular party. Everyone stood around with drinks in their hands. The other guys seemed to know the girls by name. The moved together as if their bodies were already familiar. Drunk as the guys were becoming, Nate could see that the girls had the upper hand. They knew their way around Spiff Bivens’ roll of hundred dollar bills. The girls fixed drinks and got the other guys to pull off their wet jackets and sweaters. Two of the girls pull the furniture back to make room to dance.
Spiff kept calling for Sloan to come over to where he was sprawled on a couch. But the girl from the boat yard pushed Sloan away. She pulled off one of Spiff’s boots and started massaging his foot, slowly working her hands up his leg.
Nate surveyed the scene. The other guys were too occupied to pay attention to what Nate was doing. Whiz was the first to slip off to another room with one of the Portuguese girls. Sinclair Walker and the girl from the hospital—Radiology! That’s where he’d seen her—were next to leave. Gordo sat across the room with a girl on either side of him watching a movie on the television that showed two women having sex together. He called over to Nate to come join them. “Come join us, boy! Don’t be such a stick in the mud.”
Sloan Braxton sat uncomfortably near the door, drink in hand but not drinking. Nate waved at her to come over to where he was sitting. As she got closer, Nate drew her close to his face and told her to get the hell out. She looked over at Spiff, who by now was passed out half on the couch and half off. Nate commanded, “GO!”
Nate moved over and sat with Gordo and the girls watching the television. Gordo was too drunk to be of any value sexually to the girls. Behind them, the girl from the boat yard was dancing around the room dressed in nothing but Spiff’s boots.
An hour later, the embers of the fire were all that was left. The girls were huddled by the remains of the food table. Teensy appeared at the door of the suite and announced that it was time to go. The guys roused from their stupor and straggled out to the car.
Little was said in the car on the way home. Sinclair asked what had happened to Dupere, but nobody answered. Gordo mumbled something about it having been one for the books all right.
It was after eleven when the limo stopped on the road in front of Nate’s house to let him out. It was foggy. The rain had stopped. He could barely see the porch light from the road. As Nate walked across the lawn he listened to the salt spray hiss when it crossed the power lines. When he slipped into bed beside Marion and she asked how it had gone, he answered only that he hoped she would like the present he got her.