1st Excerpt from Chasing the Horizon by Scotty Cade

June 14, 2014

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Hey Guys, It’s me Scotty Cade here again. Here’s your first excerpt and question. I hope you enjoy!

Scotty

Garner Holt stood behind the helm of his Beneteau Oceanis 55, a moderate wind blowing through his shoulder-length sun-streaked brown hair. AquaTherapy, as he’d so aptly named her, was heading south toward Key West cutting through the clear azure waters of the Hawk Channel, just off the south Florida coastline. AquaTherapy’s sails were tuned perfectly to the southwest winds and she was cruising along at a brisk six and a half knots, heeling a comfortable eighteen degrees.

The closer Garner got to his destination, the lighter his heart felt and the better his mood became. He turned his head upward as the warm mid-December sun blanketed him with her glorious rays. He inhaled deeply and his lungs filled with crisp salty sea air. God, I love the feeling of freedom when I’m on the water.

 

Garner was the only child of a pediatrician, who was now retired and living on Long Island, and a mortgage broker who, when he died, had enjoyed a lifelong love for sailing, which he had passed on to his only son. But when Garner had gone off to college, he’d become very driven, almost obsessed with his education and put sailing and his family on the back burner for the most part. His dedication to his education didn’t go unrecognized, and when he graduated at the top of his class, he was immediately hired by Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. After only four years, his Ivy League education, strong work ethic, and unmatched dedication earned him the title as Head of Psychiatry, the youngest doctor to hold the coveted position. But as with all positions of power, it wasn’t without its drawbacks. The grueling schedule was a tough one that left him absolutely no time for a personal life, and combining that with his extremely independent personality meant the thought of any type of a relationship was a disaster waiting to happen. He’d tried a few times, but after his last boyfriend told him where to shove his job, he’d given up and decided it wasn’t worth the headache or the heartache.

By the end of his eighth year, his career was definitely on track, but the pressure and stress were finally starting to take their toll. He’d just barely survived that year and went into his ninth battling severe burnout and exhaustion. One February morning he didn’t get out of bed. For… two weeks. That’s when he decided he’d had enough and started the process of early retirement. He’d sold everything, bought a sailboat, and set out to find new winds to fill his sails.

When he’d pulled out of New York harbor and rounded the point at Sandy Hook, New Jersey, he’d been a different man. He’d spent a couple months on the water, taking his time meandering the eastern seaboard, exploring the Delaware and Chesapeake Bays and picking up the Intracoastal Waterway in Norfolk, VA.

His well-laid plan was temporarily derailed when his engine failed in Savannah, Georgia and had to be rescued by a very handsome BoatUS Captain named Hank Charming. He was towed to the Thundercloud Marina where the marina mechanic uncovered a manufacturer’s error that couldn’t be repaired. His boat required a new engine and that came with a six-week lag time.

After the initial shock of being stranded for six weeks wore off, Garner tried to figure out what he was going to do to keep himself entertained. Luckily, he didn’t have to wonder too long. The day before he’d been towed in, the owner of the marina, Thompson Gray, had lost his dockhand and was in dire need of a replacement. After a brief meeting, Thompson offered him the job and he gladly accepted.

But he quickly learned his help was needed not just as a dockhand, but in another capacity, one he was all too familiar with.

After working with Thompson during the day and dating Hank Charming at night, Garner realized these guys had a very strong emotional connection to one another. He soon learned they shared a very complicated past, an even shakier present, and little or no chance for a future. They interacted on a daily basis when needed, but their past was clouded with misconceptions and untruths that were slowly eating away at both of them. In the end, with Garner’s help, Hank and Thompson were able to find their way back to one another and were now happier and stronger than ever. And Garner was still alone with no complications, just the way he liked it.

The part that surprised him the most was that while he was acting as Hank and Thompson’s unofficial therapist during those six weeks, he became very close to them both. And because of that, Garner had left Savannah with mixed emotions and a heavy heart. He’d never planned to stay, he had a horizon to chase, but that didn’t make leaving his new friends any easier.

On the morning he’d pulled out of the marina, they’d all promised to stay in touch, but Garner knew all too well that life sometimes gets in the way of the best intentions.

~

 

With AquaTherapy now cruising along on autopilot, Garner stretched out in the cockpit and basked in the Florida sunshine. He listened to the latest NOAA weather report on his VHF radio, and the weather was going to be clear and picture perfect for his last few days of his journey. Eager to get to Key West, he decided to sail straight through the night and make it to his destination by tomorrow morning.

“Just one more day,” he said to the ever-present dolphins dancing alongside his boat. “We’re almost home free, guys.”

Garner sipped a glass of Sancerre as he watched the spectacular sun hover above the western horizon, the yellows, oranges, and magentas all blending into one magnificent blur and dancing on the water, then slowly sinking into the abyss.

After dusk, with his GPS and radar set to alert him to any imminent danger, Garner sailed through the night, the bright moonlight shimmering like diamonds as it reflected off the deep sapphire colored water. He dozed every now and then, tweaked his sails as needed, but mostly gazed at the billowy blue velvet sky against the distant lights of the Florida coastline.

When the morning sun peeked above the horizon, Garner smiled and thought of his friends Hank and Thompson back in Georgia, probably watching the same sun rising over Savannah. He kissed his index finger, held it up in the air and wished them a heartfelt good morning.

By seven thirty, Garner was almost giddy. He was only five miles away from Key West, so he radioed ahead and received his docking instructions from the Harbor Master. With his sails furled and AquaTherapy motoring along at five knots, he pulled into the Conch Harbor Marina sporting a smile as broad as the dawn.

Following instructions, he pulled along a T-head pier and, with the help of a dockhand, secured his boat and connected the water and electricity.

By eight thirty Garner had traded the fleece, blue jeans, and boat shoes he’d worn overnight for shorts, a T-shirt, and no shoes. He was on the dock barefoot rinsing the dried salt off his boat when he saw someone walking down the dock in his direction. As the stranger got closer, Garner could see that the man’s head was shaved and he was wearing low-hanging black jeans, but no shirt or shoes. His skull, as well as every other part of his exposed body, including his feet, was covered in brightly colored tattoos.

Still proceeding toward him, Garner could see that the man appeared to be pierced in every visible orifice, sporting a stainless steel nose ring, a loop in his left eyebrow, studs up and down both of his ears, and a bar with balls on either end in his bottom lip. Garner did his best not to stare, but he couldn’t help it, the man reminded him of a pierced and tattooed Mr. Clean.

Looking farther down, the stranger’s nipples were pierced, as was his bellybutton. A chill ran down Garner’s spine and he shuttered when he thought about what else might be pierced that he couldn’t see. And just to push the entire look over the edge, the man wore silver-dollar-sized solid black discs in his stretched earlobes.

Garner started to feel uneasy, and his heart rate began to increase. He quickly looked around for any other boaters milling around the dock that might offer a little support if he needed it, but it was no one to be seen.

His next thought was some sort of weapon. Garner decided he couldn’t hose the guy to death if the need presented itself, but everything he could possibly use for a weapon was aboard AquaTherapy.

When the guy was about ten feet from him, Garner’s felt the adrenaline pumping through his veins at breakneck speed. He didn’t make eye contact, but tightened his grip on the hose and held his breath. Shit! He’s coming right at me. Calm down, you sissy. You lived in New York City for how long?

Garner spread his feet apart and moved the hose to his left hand, fisting his right. I might go down, but not without a fight. Just four feet away. Three Feet. Two feet. One foot.

When Garner could finally see the figure in his peripheral vision, the scary dude lowered his head and walked right past him.

Garner exhaled with relief and willed himself to calm down. He nonchalantly turned his head and followed the stranger, but the guy kept on walking until he reached a fishing boat three slips down named ReelCrazy and hopped aboard. Appropriate name!

 

QUESTION:  What size were the discs in Mr. Clean’s hears?

8 Responses to “1st Excerpt from Chasing the Horizon by Scotty Cade”

  1. Hannah B. says:

    Hi Scotty, I am looking forward to reading your newest book. The answer to your first question is “silver-dollar-sized solid black discs” Loved your detailed description of Mr Clean.

  2. Hannah B. says:

    Ok, now that I read the directions, posting at 2pm. The answer to your first question is “silver-dollar-sized solid black discs” Loved your detailed description of Mr Clean.

  3. Trix says:

    They’re the size of silver dollars (ouch)!

  4. Antonia says:

    The size of silver dollars

  5. Debra E says:

    Silver dollar sized.

  6. H.B. says:

    They’re silver dollar sized…omg..it sounds a bit uncomfortable..

  7. ScottyCade says:

    Yayyy! Everyone of you are right! Now question 2.

  8. JJ says:

    Sorry to be late to the party. Silver dollar sized discs black colored on tattooed bald stranger.

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