A new voyage

by Lewis

The car if that’s what you’d call it, was certainly something. The gentle curve of the bodywork matching the beautiful white paintwork, the delicately carved prow, the 16 inch wheels, the 16 foot mast. It was Julian’s pride and joy; HMS New Voyage.

It had of course not been an easy transition from seaside to roadside. But you can’t let a lifetime ban from the Maine Sunshine Boat Club slow you down. It had all just been a misunderstanding. One that had left him with the rather unappealing nickname Captain Underpants and had caused him to move 50 miles inland. Most people would have cut their losses and hung up their deck shoes for life. But Julian had always enjoyed blowing the wind into his own sail. He took to the concrete ocean like a fish in a watertank on wheels.

Of course there had been other changes, not just the vehicle. Socially he had had to swim in new waters; dating had been, interesting. It had never been easy, a man of his age, and disposition. The club had, if not approved at least tolerated it, until the incident. But recently he had been dipping a toe again. The last one, George Smith had been nice though, nervous and a bit of a food bore, moaning about the Sea Bream ceviche. He as seemed almost as new to dating as Julian. But it was tough, not everyone was into the landlocked sailor lifestyle.

But when he drove, with the wind in his hair and the spray on his face (he’d taken the windscreen out and added salty water to the washers) for a while he was free again without a care in the world. If he was honest he had grown to love it. For starters there were no drive-thrus on the ocean. It just would be nice to have a shipmate to share it all with.

He saw the flash of blue behind him and sighed. He docked at the nearest layby and waited.

“Excuse me sir,” The Officer asked. He was used to this by now and knew his paperwork was all shipshape.

“I assure you New Voyage is perfectly legal, we go through this every...” He began.

“You had a rear light out, Sir”. She interrupted rudely. The evening light shone dirtily on her badge, Officer Smith.

“I most certainly do not, I checked her over myself before we left port.” He retorted.

“You didn’t leave port, sir. You left your drive. And you have a light out.”

“I am aware of…”

“This thing.” She sneered at him. “And you, are a danger to road users.”

“I, I am a very safe navigato…” he began, but was instantly cut off.

“Safe. People like you are not safe.” She stared at him with disgust on her face. “You’re not safe, no one is safe around your type.” She walked over to the vehicle. “Look, this light is smashed.” Her truncheon cracked into the light.

“What are you doing, you can’t do this.” He exclaimed.

“As is this one.” Another sickening crack.

She disappeared into her car to write him a ticket.

He was quiet now, shaking slightly. She strode back, everything about her seemed to shout a warning at him.

“If I was you I would stay off the road from now on, Captain.” She leered at him. “Fag” she said quietly before walking back to the car and disappearing.

He sat at the side of the busy road, the salt from his tears stung his lips. Then he felt the water lapping at his feet. It was warm, inviting. He could hear the roar of the concrete waves now too. They seemed to call to him as they rushed past. He stood slowly. He smiled. It was time. Time to go back to the ocean. The wind tugged at him in sudden loud gusts. Funny how the screech of the gulls reminded him now of screeching tyres. With a confident stride, he waded out into the churning sea.