An excerpt from ‘Swayed’ – Copyright © 2014 by Michael A. Kuch
PORT LUCAYA, THE BAHAMAS
“Stanley,” said Vivian.
“Yeah, Vee,” answered Stan, feigning rigor mortis, a flattened plank of long, rickety bones sprawled on the king-size bed. Half dressed in a v-neck undershirt tucked into plain boxers and black dress socks pulled to the bottom of his knees.
“Honey?” Vivian was seated in her electric wheelchair on the balcony of the hotel suite overlooking the marina.
“I’m trying to shut my eyes for a couple minutes before I die.”
“You’ll have time to croak on me later, Stanley,” said Vivian. “Stop kvetching for a minute and come out to enjoy the view. It could be your last, you big lout.”
“I plan on being around for breakfast tomorrow, case you’re worried.”
“Oh, geez, Vivian,” said Stan. “I’m getting up already.”
Stan rolled to his side to face the terrace. He saw the profile of Vivian, his wife of forty-eight years, sitting in the wheelchair. He thought about the twelve million dollars in blood diamonds hidden under her seat. Tiny Vivian, cool as a cucumber as if she never knew a thing about being a mule for the Kinshasha cartel.
Vivian circled around to face Stan. “Come on, Stanley, don’t miss this.”
Stan adjusted his boxers in front, cleared his throated and coughed his way to sit upright at the edge of the mattress. He then stood, shuffled into the hotel slippers to the terrace. He sat on the patio chair next to Vivian and held her hand.
“Yes, just like my handsome boy.”
“How so, darling?”
“I don’t know how you do it.”
“Everything.” Stan looked at the wheelchair.
“It’s all in one’s perspective, honey,” said Vivian, squeezing Stan’s hand. “You’re remarkable, too, special in your own way.”
“You think this is our last run?”
“It doesn’t have to be.”
“I’m getting old. I’m tired.”
“You’re only seventy-three, Mr. Ripple. Seventy’s the new sixty. You’re not dying on me, not yet anyhow.”
“It feels the same as the old sixty with thirteen years added.”
“Don’t worry, Stanley,” said Vivian. “We’re fine.”
“We have enough money now?”
“Oh, Stanley.” Vivian kissed Stanley’s hand. “Whoever said this was about the money?”
“Don’t you worry about, you know, getting caught?”
“Get dressed my love. They’re serving daiquiris. The driver will be out front at five.”