Penny’s confession shocked everyone into silence. Bob had driven the RV to the edge of the Pacific Ocean. He told them that this place was a secret, very private spot. The summer afternoon was beautiful with crystal clear blue skies and very warm air something that was treasured in the Northwest.
There was a mild breeze and protected enough that all the Oberon tribe changed into shorts slathered on sunscreen and lay out on the colorful Indian bedspreads Bob spread out for them. He was now in the kitchen preparing that day’s feast.
Tonight’s dinner would veer away from the past days vegan strictness to south of the border cuisine. [i]Mission style burritos filled with sautéed and spiced onions, zucchini and peppers oozing with cheese, swimming in a home made tomato sauce. His sides were Spanish rice, freshly cooked pinto beans, guacamole and home made tortilla chips.
Bob learned how to make home-style Mexican cooking when he was stationed in Ensenada from Senora Chavez. There would be drinks tonight, Margaritas with or without Patron Tequila. For dessert he thought a classic custard Flan and a rich dark chocolate cake would be a nice touch.
While Bob was busy the tribe attempted to come to grips with Penny’s near murder. “I know I shocked everyone but I promised myself I would tell the truth about this. I am not proud I’ve never confessed this except to my priest. I tried to make up for my horrible plan, although it will never fix what I have done. I have spent a fortune donating to AIDS research and actually through my donations I think we will find an almost cure for the disease. I hope in time to save that man’s life.”
“That’s good.” Elinor said, “I mean we are not your judge and jury. And sometimes we all do things or we will do things in this life we are deeply ashamed of.”
“Right, and that’s why we are on this voyage so as we can become better people.” Steve said. “I hope my story won’t seem so trivial. It’s not about life and death.”
“Or make us hate each other.” Aiden said. “I know I don’t hate you Penny. In fact I am amazed that the intensity of your powers of love drove you to act in such an extreme manner.”
“Thank you, thank you my new friends I am truly grateful.” Penny smiled under the bright blue umbrella as she sat, trying to keep the hot reflective sun off her delicate skin.
“Well, I think we should all touch the waters, don’t you?” Steve rose and ran towards the crashing waves. “And that means you too Penny, it’s time you felt more of the real world. The water will be cold but feel exotically wonderful.”
The gang made their way thru the dunes admiring and commenting on all the different grasses and stunted shrubs that grew in the sand. They turned as one when they heard and then spotted a deer close to them in a thicket. Finally they reached the long expanse of beach and trodded ponderously in the soft sand until the sand hardened near the surf.
They walked and played for a few hours until exhausted and headed back to the RV in the late twilight after watching the sun sink below the never-ending horizon. “Great you guys found your way back just in time for dinner. Go ahead shower quickly and change. We are ready to eat.” Bob smiled at his little tribe now sun kissed and sea sprayed, more at ease with themselves and each other.
Bob had built the bonfire in a designated place clear of vegetation. There was now a picnic table and benches. “Ooh,” and “Aah,” and “How lovely,” escaped from their mouths at the sight of this simple bench festooned with colorful sari scarves and tall Hurricane lamps.
Everyone agreed that the food was “delicioso, muy delicioso,” and after dessert Bob directed the action,” Now ladies and gentlemen, it is time for part deux of our voyage of tales. I will clear this up quickly and then we’ll return to the ship and listen to Steve’s story.”
About a half an hour later everyone was settled comfortably in the cozy RV. “I hope no one minds but I would like to smoke some herb tonight. Steve filled his glass bong and passed it from left to right. “I can’t believe it that you are all going to smoke with me. This is great.”
As the smoke settled Steve began, “Just like each of us, I have a reason for this journey. As you can see I am or look like a hipster with all my tattoos. It’s just that I like to fit in. Right now I work as a doorman at a rock and roll club in the city.”
“See I told you guys he looked a little Rock to me.”
“Well, yes you are right Elinor. I actually was in a big rock band when I was younger. I’ll see if anyone can guess which one later, but right now, you see, I feel that I am at a crossroad in my life. I have a wife and three kids who put up with me but another part of me wants to get away from it all. Like being in the old rock and roll life but not like that really. I mean I only got married because she was pressuring me to settle down but I was always on the road. Plus I was sorta embarrassed about being in the business.”
“What do you mean, embarrassed? Sounds like a great life to me.” Bob sat back and chuckled. “Go ahead and tell us more.”
Steve took another bong hit. “The music business gets all tired and shit. You just end up acting like a trained monkey.”
“But you get hella paid. I don’t mean to sound like an idiot but you should have gotten out of the business if you felt like that.”
“Oh I did that, Aiden. I married Jan, We have beautiful talented kids and I thought I was a happy man until I started smoking more and more pot every day, from morning to night.”
The Oberon’s all laughed except for Steve who stood up gesticulating those tattoos into the air. “Guys, guys, when I smoke pot I get such deep thoughts. I just go off into my own world. I like to study and think. I have been writing a novel. I want to escape from my life. That’s why I’m in such a quandary. It’s like I smoke and I become someone else entirely and that has changed my relationships. Do I leave what I know and love, give up the herb or just go ape shit?”
“Do you mean follow your bliss?”
“Or tune in, turn on, drop out.”
“Well don’t go overboard like I did. Maybe you need a psychic?
“I have to do something. I am tired of being a depressed asshole one moment and the stoned hermit the next. My wife left me six months ago. I am miserable.”
Elinor stood up and faced the group, “Children, friends please listen. I am a psychic. I’ll read his cards, maybe for the last time.”
[i] Recipe #5