The days were passing one millennium at a time. Yes, I know, so fast. I haven't quite been the same since the break up. I was on the path to self destruction. A road I have been traveling since birth. In my wake, a trail of broken hearts. Mine included. So much for the wonderful world of Oz.
It was Sunday. I started the car and drove back to the ship. I met up with Hrisko in the laundry. "Another wild night?" He would ask me. I shrugged. "Another night anyway."
"There you are." A voice from behind yelled out. It was Kap. With him was Sanoki. They approached me quickly. "Hey Carroll, we been looking for you."
"Looks like you found me." I said. "What's up?"
"Hey man, you want to go in with us on a beach house?"
I looked at him confused. "A what?"
"A beach house." He repeated. "Well, it's not really a house, more like a big apartment. My two sisters and my ex from Georgia are coming up for a couple of weeks and I'm trying to get some people who want to chip in for it so they will have a place to stay."
"So, you just want to get a place for two weeks? That sounds lame."
"No, no, no." He explained. "We'll keep on staying there after they leave, but here's the thing, you know that motel next to the Silver Saddle? Well, we've been renting rooms there over the weekends and yesterday I talked to the owner of it and he has a beach house for rent. The problem is, it costs a lot of money to rent."
"How much?" I wanted to know.
"A thousand dollars a month, utilities included."
"Ouch." I uttered. "Where is this place?"
"That's the good part. It's next to the motel. There's a storage building the owner uses and the apartment sits on top of that. The motel sits in between the apartment and the Silver Saddle. The Silver Saddle is within walking distance. It's furnished and everything. What do you say? Want to get in on it with us?"
I scratched my head. "Who exactly is us?"
"Me, Sanoki, Glen, and Neil. And you if you want in. That'll be 200 dollars a month for each of us."
"I don't know." I squirmed. "Neil?"
"I know, but no one else wants to get in with us. Please? You're our last hope. I don't want to put the girls up in a motel room. What do you say? At least come with us to take a look at it."
I turned to look at Hrisko. He shrugged his shoulders. I turned to look back at Kap and Sanoki. "When? When do you want me to take a look at it?"
"The sooner the better." He stated. "The girls are arriving on Friday. We need to get it before then. Here," he added for good measure, "let me show you a picture of them." He pulled out his wallet and removed a picture. "This is them last summer. I took it right before I joined the Navy. The girl in the middle is my older sister, Teresa. The one to her right is my younger sister, Karen. The red head on the left is my ex girl friend, Andi."
After a few moments of mulling it over. "Okay. I'll go look at it tomorrow after work."
That answer appeared to make them happy. No sooner did they leave when Hrisko walked up to me. "He must have cute sisters." I turned and smiled at him. "Figures." He concluded.
As promised, we all went in my car to go take a look at the apartment, minus Neil, he had to stay on the ship for fire watch duty. The owner, Greg, led us across the motel parking lot to his storage building. It was a pretty big building. He led us around the back to some stairs and a wooden deck. I started to get high hopes for the place. "At least we're facing the ocean." I reasoned.
The door opened right into the kitchen. Greg started in on his sales pitch. "Nice kitchen table, counter, cupboards, fridge and stove."
"Not bad." I ushered. The guys right behind me, and me right behind Greg.
"It leads into the living room, to the left, the entertainment center, TV, stereo. The couch and a couple of tables." I looked to the right where I saw three doors. Greg led us to them. "The first door goes to the bathroom. It's shower only. The second door is a bedroom, bed and dresser. The third door is a walk-in closet, you can see the two cots folded up inside. Keplinger tells me that his sisters are coming up? If you need a couple more cots just let me know."
"Nice." I wavered. Then he led us to the door that ran off the living room, opposite the kitchen.
"And this is the master bedroom. Queen size bed, two tables on either side. Here is the dresser."
I was more curious about the two doors on the far side of the wall. "What do they go to?" I asked him. He walked to the back one first. "This is the closet." Then he walked to the other door. "And this is another bathroom. Again, like the other one, shower only."
Now that was really nice.
"This will be my room." Kaps declared. I gave him a half look. If there's one thing I learned about negotiations, when there is money involved, there's no such thing as calling dibs. I turned to Greg. "Would you excuse us for a moment so we can sit down at the kitchen table and discuss this?"
"No problem." He told me, heading out the bedroom and out the door. "I'll be in my office at the motel, let me know what you want to do."
No sooner did he leave, we all took a seat at the kitchen table. Let the negotiations begin.
"Well?" Kaps addressed towards me.
"It's not bad." I had to admit. "But I'll be honest here, I'm not so pumped up about five guys living in this place."
"We have no choice." Kaps said. "We can't afford more than 200 each."
"Yeah," I argued, "but if we're all chipping in equal amounts, then how do we decide who gets what room and who sleeps on the cots? I understand that for while your sisters are here, they should get the smaller bedroom, we can put one of the cots in there with the bed and give them their privacy, but after they leave, what then?"
Sanoki and Glen agreed with me on that one.
Kaps threw up his arms. "I'm open for suggestions."
I smiled. "Here's my idea. Who ever gets the master bedroom has to pay four hundred dollars. Who ever gets the other bedroom has to pay 300 dollars. The other two who sleeps on the cots, they pay 150 dollars."
Kaps looked at me queerly. "That's a four way split. There's five of us. Neil, remember?"
"Yeah, about Neil," I wiggled in my seat, "he's out. And on a side note," I recommended, "you might not want him around your sisters when he gets drunk, you know?"
"Well, I can't handle four hundred dollars." Kaps replied. "I might be able to go three hundred, but that's my limit."
I looked at Glen. He looked back. "I'll take a cot." He said. Then I looked at Sanoki. He looked at me. "I'll take a cot too."
"Then it's settled." I announced. "I'll take the master bedroom."
I'm good at negotiations. Not that it really mattered because I knew without me, they wouldn't be able to get the place, and I could have easily sweet talked Torok into splitting the rent with me. Between him and I, we could have afforded the place for ourselves. It was a win win situation for me.
We walked into Greg's office. "We'll take it."
The guys pulled out their money and we handed it over to Greg. "That is for February." I told him. Then I brought out another five hundred dollars. "This is for the rest of this month." I turned to the fellows. "The first two weeks are on me."
That put a little umph in their step, and put smiles on their faces.
Kaps looked at me on our way out of the office. "Who's going to break the news to Neil?"
Without hesitation, I gave him the answer. "I will." And that, as they say, was that.
The next few days was spent getting the place together. Buying sheets, blankets, pillows, and the whole nine yards. Unfortunately for me, I had fire watch duty on Friday, the day the girls were scheduled to arrive. I wouldn't have the pleasure of meeting them until Saturday morning, and what a pleasure I was hoping it would be too. Oh, if only I had a crystal ball for to look into the future with. Not that it would have probably change what was destined to be. But, had I known what lurked on the horizon, I would have been more excited about it all.
A lot more excited.