"This is Lady Ace on Channel 16. Stocking Cap come back on 10." "Lady Ace on Channel 16. Stocking Cap come back on 10."
"No one's home on Stocking Isand. Glory on 16."
"Glory, Lady Ace here. I need a medic. Is the doctor on island? "
"No docs around."
"Glory, I'm in excruciating migraine pain below decks; no meds. It's crazy. I need help."
"Lady Ace, hold on; this is Triple Dare here on my way with meds."
My head was ripping open with pain as I dropped the mike, unable to stand at the console any longer. I saw stars and fantasied cutting out the offending eye that throbbed unbearably though burried in my last few ice cubes for miniscule relief. Nauseau had long ago sent me into dehydration, and I halucinated, imagining myself climbing up top deck and over the side into the cold sea.
I knew if the pain grew any worse, I would do just that. It was intolerable. Death was preferable. Then, I heard the dink hit the side of the boat. I was too weak to answer the "ahoy." I was in complete darkness. My dog went crazy, but finally her barking was muffled. The intruder had lured her into the cabin head and shut the door. Strong arms that I could not see lifted my head and said, "swallow." I obeyed. I had no will of my own. I would do anything new to alleviate the pain. I was swallowing a rather large tablet. I passed out shortly after, from the pain or the pill.
I awoke to a pain free morning, groggy, the birds singing outside the port, the yacht rocking gently with a song in the rigging. Pain free. My migraine headaches are the closest I'll ever come to understanding addiction and the behaviors exhibited by otherwise fine human beings driven to their drug at any cost. The night before, I would have done anything to stop the pain.
I started remembering. I sat up suddenly and looked around the cabin. Nothing had changed. Next to me on the night stand was a tissue with one percodan tablet. My memory started to return. I remembered the sound of the dingy and the deep voice telling me to "swallow." Nothing more. I hear a muted whine from the head, my dog shut inside. It was several days before I remembered that when I called out for help an unknown boat named "Triple Dare" had answered.
My rescue ship in the night was nowhere to be found in the harbor. I called in vain on 16, hoping to catch him up or down island to no avail. My rescuer on that terrifying and painful night remains a mystery, my own mysterious angel. Live aboard sailing was like that. Other than the feared pirate, those who sailed the islands with all their belongings on their vessel were special members of a community as kind and helpful as it was solitary and independent. I hoped when I began publishing novels and stories that some of the wonderful sailing friends I've lost because we are all so transient might find me. Triple Dare: are you out there?
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