"Josh, I need you to pull that line tight. Don't let the sail drop like that." Sam instructed him with quiet precision.
Sam secured his own line, then looked around the small deck. CJ and Donna lounged comfortably in chairs. Leo and Toby stood at the rail and argued over something as they gazed out over the water. Two Secret Service Agents patrolled the deck at a leisurely pace.
Sam puzzled over the fact that he'd actually managed to get Toby out on the water. He suspected it was largely because none of the delegates from the trade conference could track them down out here.
Sam knew that Leo appreciated the beauty of the water. He had, after all, arranged for all of them to attend the conference in Bermuda. Bermuda in March could only be considered a reward. DC was still rainy and cold, and pre-spring gloom permeated the air. But Toby was a land person, he thought.
Sam gave up trying to understand the enigma that was his boss and joined Leo and Toby at the rail. He waved at the young man at the helm on the upper deck and the second one on the port side. He was glad that his friends at the harbor were able to suggest an experienced crew to come with them. The crew allowed him to spend time with his friends and not concentrate on sailing. It wasn't a big ship, but it required more than one person to man the sails. Josh had sailed with him before, and could manage the basics. But he could be a klutz, amended Sam. They could always cheat and turn on the engines, he mused. He hoped that wouldn't happen. He enjoyed the quiet flow when the sails were up.
Josh called for CJ and Donna to look at a passing school
of fish. Josh, being Josh, thought he was coordinated enough to do this while walking
backwards on the deck.
Sam turned in response to CJ's call for Josh to look out. He saw Josh hit the deck hard. Seconds later, they picked him up and banished him from crew duty. He'd been dazed for a moment, but never seemed to lose consciousness. Sam suspected he'd have a bump on his head in a short time, but there was no open wound.
"Josh, you're a dufus and a klutz." CJ scolded him as soon as he was on his feet.
"Thanks CJ, I can always count on your support."
Toby shook his head. "It's a good thing we've got people who can actually sail on board. I think it would be a bit hard to explain to the press how the Senior Staff was lost at sea, especially a few miles out of the harbor."
CJ added, "If we're all gone, there's really not a
lot of people left to do the damage control."
Sam smiled at the fact that Josh would now be included in the "I remember when you fell club" that CJ and Sam chartered.
A few minutes later, they lounged comfortably with their chairs in a semi-circle. Sam idly concentrated on a paperback murder mystery. It occurred to him that he'd forgotten how to read fiction. He was analyzing the writing style and not paying attention to the plot. He sighed, and thought of it as yet another occupational hazard.
Toby stared at Josh's shoes. "Josh, where the hell did you get those shoes?"
"They're water shoes. The soles don't slip." He paused a moment. "I couldn't find my deck shoes, OK?"
"They're purple, green and yellow. They hurt my eyes."
"I didn't have time to shop for better shoes, Toby"
"So you ran down to K-mart before we left DC?"
"Hey, I got these at Target."
"Josh, you are pathetic."
"You'd be surprised how many finer men's clothing stores are NOT open at 6AM in DC."
"There's nothing wrong with the store, just the colors you picked."
Leo looked up and grumbled, "Gentlemen, can we please not talk about shoes. I no longer make any comments about them."
This comment drew loud laughter from the group.
Josh smirked and added, "Hey Leo, I hear Karen Cahill has a pair just like these."
Leo growled, "Shut the hell up, Josh."
Sam drifted back to his novel and let the conversation out of his active awareness for a few minutes. His attention snapped back when he heard the beginnings of a heated discussion between Leo and Josh. That was always very entertaining. He put his book down and settled back to watch the show.
Leo's voice grew louder and Sam looked up. "Josh, you are insane."
"Seems to me that I've heard that before." Josh countered firmly.
"Yeah, but why would you think the CIA could ever maintain that position?"
"It's not actually my thought, Leo, 'cause, you know, the Director of the CIA had it first." Josh fixed Leo with a smirk. Donna and CJ broke from their own conversation to watch. Leo and Josh arguing on this level was always a good spectator sport.
"The CIA has never had a director that stupid, Josh." Leo swirled the lemon wedge in his iced tea glass and leaned forward.
Josh smiled. "He's been directly quoted as saying 'The idea has merit.'"
"He who, Josh?" Leo growled.
Sam looked on over his sunglasses. CJ looked at him and
they smiled together. They knew Josh was a closet spy buff. He'd spent countless geeky
hours in college preparing his thesis, a large segment of which involved the history the
OSS and CIA.
Josh leaned even farther forward, preparing to deliver his killer point. But he was silent. A look of confusion passed briefly on his face.
"I mean the Director from '73." His voice was a bit unsure.
Leo frowned. "Helms wouldn't say that."
"Not Helms, it was....hell, I can't remember." Josh passed a hand over his eyes.
CJ walked up next to Josh. She studied him carefully. Josh had told her this story at least ten times. It was odd that he didn't remember.
Donna was oblivious to this nuance and piped in, "Josh, you've told me ten times about that. It was William Colby. He took over from Helms in 1973. "
Josh looked at Donna blankly for a moment. "You were actually listening to what I said, Donna? That's really one for the books." He smiled and swatted in her general direction with his drink napkin.
Donna took another sip of her tea. "Yeah, at least once I did."
Leo shook his head. "I don't like to think it, but
Colby could say some stupid stuff."
Sam looked at Josh closely. He looked fine, but it wasn't like him to forget anything about one of his pet rants. Time to be sure he gets some rest on this trip, Sam vowed to himself.
CJ appeared at his side. "What's that serious look for, Sam?"
"Sam?" She persisted and walked casually over to the rail, knowing he would follow.
Sam followed and leaned next to her on the rail. "I'm thinking that Josh must be tired."
"I think you're right, Sam. We all are. This trip was a good idea, and the sailing this afternoon was a better one. Thank you for organizing it."
"No problem. It's hard to be stressed out here, isn't it?" He smiled and gestured out to the deep turquoise water.
"Where are we, Sam?"
"We're about thirty miles out of Hamilton Harbor. We'll go out for another hour or so then drop anchor for a while. It depends if the weather holds. There was a chance for a storm to hit today."