Key West Race Week '05

3. The number of the beast is 3.

I can hear my portly tactician, ‘Doc’ Farto, now. Three days into the race, and he’s sitting at the bar at Sloppy Joe’s screaming into his cell, but staring with his big fat eyes straight at the hot brunette bartender, “Bring on the heavies! The heavies goddamn it!” Confused and probably fearing a sweaty incident, she assumes he means another round of car bombs and delivers the goods, dropping the irish whiskey into the pints keenly aware of keeping her hands away from his mouth.

This is, of course, not what he means at all. He’s been busy baffling the 9-1-1 operator; demanding her to give him the contact number for the RC in order to insist on a lowering of standards for the PHRF classes. He points at the phone, “This one’s crafty. Says she doesn’t even know what the heck a RC is, let alone a PHRF.” He speaks back into the phone, “I know who you are. Now again, we can make this easy, or we can make this difficult. So, what about the heavies.”

He looks at me distractedly, when I tell him to ask her for the Chamber of Commerce. “That’s your best bet.”

Wiping the Guinness moustache from beneath his nose, he manages a “What’s that cap’n?”

“Absolutely Doc. Ask for the mayor of Largo or Tavernier. No. Not Tavernier, they’ve got no bars. Just pick some podunk key and ask for the Mayor. Hell, call the county. Somebody’s got to listen to you. We’ve spent a lot of dollars in this town.”

He screams again, “175! What a crock! What metrosexual bastard up in a Miami yacht club set that number!” He slams his cell down onto the bar.

I can tell the nice old couple from the Midwest or Nebraska that’s been quietly sitting next to us sipping merlot is becoming nervous. They came down hear seeking pirates and adventure, but in reality only wanted to change the channel for a moment. They really didn’t want to have to interact with the likes of Doc, but I know, I know the corngrower’s actually really just nervous that his wife, Maude, might have a third wine at $5 a pop. He’s wearing a WWII hat memorializing his service on some tender, which strikes a chord with me and reminds me of the evening before.

A few of my buddies at Remy, you know, the Mt. Gay fellows, snuck me a couple of official KWRW Access Cards for Doc and myself along with a pair of Mt. Gay KWRW caps. We had big plans for attending the free rum bars placed near the seminars in the hospitality tent, but never made it past a house party thrown by a bunch of Canadians up on Caroline St., whereby Doc demanded my card be released to a pair of young Quebecois who infiltrated down from some gentleman’s club called the French Connection in Toronto.

With some knot tying event over at the Wharf Bar fresh in our minds, Doc and I tried to convince the two Canadian revolutionaries to sneak aboard the schooner, America, docked over at the marina, but they just asked for my Cash Bar crew shirt instead. Doc then dissertated to them that he was the son of a great Honduran Generalisimo and had played a integral role in the overthrow of the Sandanista’s reign of terror by running guns on a Morgan 34’.

You may have seen them at the reception tent, but I never saw them again.

So now we sit here in the cockpit of my Gulfstar transiting her from our home base, heading toward the Rigolets. It’s quiet and cold. There’s a steady breeze coming in from the NNW and Doc and I are both still nonplussed regarding KWRW. He asks me to clarify this IRC stuff, but I can’t after he explains to me that he’s not talking about the International Red Cross. “Well maybe it’ll help us to get Cash in Key West next year.”

“Maybe… We may have to get rid of the blender, though.”

“ That’s impractical. Want me to look into it?” He sips his beer.

“Sure.” I smile and look up at the full moon. A Dire Straits song, Wild West End, comes on slow and quiet. “Did you have any idea that Mardi Gras was this early, this year?”

“Pretty sure it has something to do with a rating system. You can only play if it happens sometime before Easter.” Doc joins me in staring at a barge, black and low in the moonlight. “You wanna’ tack before or after her?”

“I’m bored, and anyway, what the hell… we’re heading to the Mardi Gras Regatta.”

Doc groans and reaches for the lines. “Ready.”

“Helms a lee. Here we come New Orleans.”

© 2005 – All Rights Reserved



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