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Strait Flush Ch 13 Sunday 0812
Strait Flush Ch 13 Sunday 0812
Tom woke to find himself alone in bed, still in his shorts, his clothes neatly folded on the wicker dresser. The light was still dim, but it didn't take long to realize where he was. He looked around and saw Gloria, curled up on the floor and sound asleep. His movement woke her and she looked up and smiled as he leaned on his elbows near the mattress edge. She was wearing an oversized "Guess" T-shirt as a nightgown.
"Good Morning. I must've slept pretty sound." She sat up and came face to face with him. She is as pretty now as she was last night, Rossi thought.
"I don't know, Tom, I tried to sleep next to you, but you kept kicking me."
"Me? I'm sorry. I guess I'm not used to sleeping with anyone else. I don't have much time for girlfriends or wives."
"Well, it's a good thing, my legs hurt still." Tom was embarrassed.
"I'm sorry. Can we get breakfast around here?"
"Sure. But there are fewer stores open since today is Sunday. I know a bakery around the corner that is always open." She stood and pecked him lightly on the forehead before he slid over onto his back. She stood and went to the dresser and faced away from him, retrieved some clothes for the day from a drawer and stood again. Aware that he was watching her, she shyly took off the T-shirt and fumbled for her brassiere, quickly snapping it into place. Tom couldn't help but notice the softness of her skin, the gentle curves of her waist and shoulders, the tease of her breasts visible only as she raised her arms. Her body was beautiful, even in the dim light he saw no flaws. She quickly hopped into another pair of shorts and slipped on a light blue cotton shirt before turning around and buttoning it up.
Tom stood and reached for his own clothes and quickly dressed as she watched his body move. She smiled nervously when their eyes met. The question in her eyes was for forgiveness; she was a prostitute in the Philippines and was ashamed of it. Now she didn't perform and was subject to the wrath of Mama-san, who ultimately held the power over the girls' heads. If Mama-san received too many complaints from customers, the girl could get ejected from the bar, losing her room until she built up enough seniority to earn another. Tom winked, realizing her feelings. "I need to go on base today, will you come with me?"
Gloria looked relieved that he wasn't angry for her lack of enthusiasm in her line of work. "I'd love to, but we still need to pay the day's barfine."
"Small price to pay. Shall we go?" The couple finished dressing and went back down the hallway after Gloria locked the door. Tom checked the .45 when Gloria wasn't looking and was relieved to find it undisturbed. His sixth sense instructed him to leave it there. Mama-san wasn't at the bar, one of the senior girls accepted Tom's payment.
In the street the sun was already bright. There was a different crowd ambling about, more children and married Filipino couples, dressed well and visiting each other. Not a single American or bargirl in sight. Gloria led Rossi to the bakery, where she ordered buttered breads, fresh fruit and coffee.
"Gloria, I haven't seen any servicemen yet. Is that normal?"
"Actually, it is a bit strange. Usually there is some milling about. There is no curfew in effect, which does happen frequently, and it is Sunday. It is unusual. Let me check..." She called to the woman behind the counter in Tagalog and listened to the lengthy reply. "There was a midnight curfew last night, now the gates are closed. Apparently there was a terrorist attack in Manila yesterday and an airplane blew up. Several policemen were killed. This is standard for the event. The gates will be closed for a week or two. I doubt I could get on base now."
Tom felt the hairs on the back of his neck raise. Did she suspect him? Surely not. There wasn't enough time to wait the week. Tom knew he needed to call Li and get out of the country, but the telephone system in Olongapo was poor and the only way out was through the Naval Air Station. "Could we try to get on base?" Gloria was a perfect alibi for yesterday for any gate guard's questions.
"I suppose so. They will not deny access in if you are military, only outgoing traffic is stopped. The dockworkers are screened more carefully. We can try."
After breakfast, the walk down Magsaysay toward the front gate felt strange to Rossi. Many of the old smells and sights began to return. He continued to coach Gloria on his alibi and name, realizing his luck in choosing not to take the pistol today. The length of the street was lined with two- and three-story bars and hotels. Money exchanges and T-shirt shops in between the neon entrances, each bar welcoming the fleet by listing the ships currently in port. Tom recognized several names of ships that he's associated with. Cayuga. Okinawa. Durham. Ft McHenry. Ogden. 2/9. Essex. Yellow ribbons were tied to signs and doors everywhere. Welcome Home Troops. Tom wondered if he ever saw a yellow ribbon after two tours in Vietnam.
At the end of the street the road forked, the main thoroughfare went straight across a bridge and onto the island encompassing the Naval Base. Shit River. Tom smiled to himself as he remembered an incident when he and several other Marines hurled four drunk sailors over the rail and into the foulest-smelling waters he'd ever known, before or since. The gate was on the other side of the bridge; the pedestrian traffic was regulated by Filipino military police and a detachment from the U.S. Marine barracks. Gloria held Tom's hand through the chain link gauntlet, Tom showing his ID card to several policemen that seemed to care more about Gloria's breasts than positive identification. The Marines were different, however, and a young corporal stopped Tom.
"Sir, are you aware that there was a curfew last night and the gates are now secured?"
"I found out the first thing this morning, Corporal, and came straight over. I'm here on leave and staying at Grande Island. What's going on?"
"Looks like the NPA hit the airport in Manila again, shot up some civilians and cops, blew up an airplane and got away." He glanced at Rossi's ID card.
"Damn. How long are the gates going to be secured?
"I can't say for sure, First Sergeant, probably a week at the most."
"Can I bring my ladyfriend back to the hooch?" The corporal gave Gloria an appraising eye and grinned.
"I don't see why not. You'll still need to register her. Have a good day, Sir."
"Thanks, hard-charger, you too." Rossi and Gloria stepped into a chain link branch and up to the counter for the national registration. Gloria produced a card that signified her as a hostess at Pal's, Tom signed for her. His ID card wasn't questioned.
The difference was like night and day. Manicured lawns, sprinklers, tall palm trees and flower gardens. There were regular taxis here and a dozen American cars scattered up and down the cross street. Across the street was a pedestrian walkway that passed by the front of the base gym on the right. Around the corner was the USO Club and bowling alley. Several telephone booths were against the wall. Gloria curled up to Tom's arm. On the left was a football field, a racquetball court and several basketball courts. Still a single man's paradise, Tom thought. An Enlisted Club was on the right-hand corner at the end of the pedestrian walkway. The shade of huge trees kept the air cool. Gloria led him around several barracks, describing locations and routes to several places with which she was familiar.
The Far East Trader complex was ahead, a series of stores, snack stands and specialty shops, always with an open-air bazaar for local trade. They walked into the cool shade and sat at one of the many tables. Groups of Navy and Marines were sitting around a large-screen color television, watching CNN coverage of the Gulf War pullout. No mention of the plane blast, thought Tom although it would be doubtful that the explosion would make headlines in America.
Gloria led Tom through the base until they came to a park bench nestled between palm trees, facing the bay in front of the headquarters building. A boat landing with a small crowd was on their right, behind the low whitewashed stone wall that separated the lawns from the waters. On the bench, Gloria sat close to Tom, surveying the tan mountains of the Zambales rising from the green jungles along the beach a mile away. In the center of the bay, Grande Island loomed like a jungled oasis, its eastern shore sloping gently into the bay with a white sand beach. In the center and west side, towering palms and rock faces jutted from the core of triple-canopy jungle. Far to the left were several grey Naval ships. Huge cranes dwarfed the main masts of the vessels berthed there. The island ferry was chugging in for its scheduled run to the landing.
"I'm going to need a place to stay, and I may not be able to go in and out easily again. Are there still cottages available on Grande Island?"
"I think so, some of the girls have talked about them."
"It may be a good place for a few days, until I leave. Would you like to go and check one out?" Gloria lifted her head and nodded.
"OK. I may need to go back tomorrow morning, though."
"I'm going to check one out, then come back for some supplies." Gloria hopped up and took Tom's hand.
"Let's go, before we miss the ferry." The two trotted over to the landing as the boat pulled in and tied up. A dozen or so passengers disembarked from the canvas-covered launch, the wooden seats arranged like a church pew. The outgoing passengers found seats; Tom and Gloria chose seats near the rear. Within minutes, the boat left the pier and fought the headwind back to the island.
On the island, a cottage rental office faced the croquet field, restaurant and hotel. The setting was backdropped by a lush green jungle and steep elevation. Behind the rental office were a dozen or more brown cottages, scattered haphazardly through the trees, each with an air conditioner unit and screened windows. Another row of rental offices near the beach hawked scuba diving gear and souvenirs. There were few visitors walking about, oddly enough. A thin Filipino woman with uneven teeth happily announced several vacancies.
Rossi rented a cottage facing the Zambales shore, furthest distance from the rental offices. The exterior was rough wood that had been painted dark green so many times that the windowsills resembled miniature latex waterfalls along the edges. The interior was all sturdy hardwood, somewhat primitive, but cozy. It reminded Tom more of a cabin in the Alaskan wilderness than a Pacific Island hut. The kitchenette was sparsely equipped, the furniture was polished hardwood with vinyl cushions, and the bedroom contained a double bed and dresser. The air conditioner was in the main room, a ceiling fan was hung over the bed. The bathroom was a sink, toilet and shower stall. Still better than most Olongapo hotels. The television had rabbit-eared antenna and a broken volume knob.
Gloria explored her temporary lodge and bounced on the bed like a five-year-old trying out a trampoline for the first time. "This is wonderful."
"If you say so. " Tom glanced at his watch. "It's only ten, would you like to go back to the NEX with me to get some things, or stay here?"
"I'd like to go to the NEX. What are you getting?"
"Some snacking food, a uniform, make a phone call, things like that."
"OK. Do you want to leave now?"
"It'll be forty minutes before the boat comes back. What would you like to do? Explore the island?" Gloria hopped off of the bed and hugged Tom around the waist.
"Whatever you'd like to do is OK for me."
The island was a series of paths through the jungles, along steep hill slopes crowded with vegetation. There were a number of gun emplacements and old ammo bunkers, as the island was used for harbor defense since 1925 by the Americans, Japanese, and then ultimately the Americans once again. Now the jungle had reclaimed the concrete hardpoints, lookout towers were rusty rails fit only for bird landings. The half-mile walk was tiring, and the two returned to the pier just as the ferry was approaching.
Back on the Naval Base, Tom and Gloria headed towards the Far East Trader and browsed through the bazaar. Tom bought a black canvas backpack and some cotton trousers for himself and a flowered skirt for Gloria. Inside the Naval Exchange he bought some shaving gear and other toiletries. The uniform shop offered Tom what he needed the most; a summer service uniform, complete with polished shoes, tan belt, green cap and an assortment of ribbons. He also bought a book of uniform regulations, a small sewing kit and some First Sergeant stripes. He bagged the uniform and directed Gloria to the television patio while he scouted for a pay phone. There was a bank of four near the post office.
Tom didn't expect Li to be in the office, but knew he probably should under the circumstances, and he didn't know the Chinaman's home number. Surprisingly, Li answered groggily.
"Tom! Where are you? I been here all night waiting for you to call!"
"Easy, Li. I was in a place where no phones exist. There are lots of places in the Philippines like that."
"You're not in Manila, are you?"
"No. I'm at Subic Bay. I am hoping I can catch a space-available flight out tomorrow to anywhere else, maybe even the U.S."
"What is space-available flight?"
"Oh, it's when military transports fly about for military missions and allow passengers along, space permitting. They're basically cost-free and loose on customs formalities."
"I see. Then what?"
"Hell, I don't know. I'm making this up as I go."
"Well, you cannot go to Manila. There was explosion at airport..."
"What do you think cut us off in our last conversation? I was less than a hundred meters away, luckily around a corner. What have you heard?"
"The police are looking for several terrorists and Australian-looking man who they think masterminded the blast."
"I've been called many things, but Australian isn't one of them." Tom began thinking about the cabbie that brought him to Olongapo. Hopefully he was too lazy to listen to the news. "Tell me what you think..""
"Tom, first you must tell me what is happening."
"OK, Li. Here's the score; the plane landed late and took off again within fifteen minutes, dumping a bogus shipment. The buyer took off, obviously ticked. I caught up with it in Manila, the pilot was long dead, the two Thai pilots that flew it to Manila were innocent, they picked up the plane in Sembawang, at another airport in Singapore. While I was dialing you, some kid tried to cap me but I got the gun away from him. The Thais were gunned down while I was talking to you, I checked them out and ran back to the phone when the bomb went off. The airport workers that lived were singling me out, so I took off. Where do we go from here?"
"Tom, there is something that I need to say to you. It is about the Money. You know we took it from some of my accounts here..."
"You took it, yes."
"It was a plan we both agree to. The owner of the account are powerful Americans."
"It would be nothing for them to have us killed over this infraction, Tom." Tom felt the blood in his temples pounding and was getting numb.
"Li." Tom lowered his voice to a whisper. "Is this laundered Money that belongs to the Mafia or something?"
"Tom, please do not get upset wi' me. The plan was a good plan..."
"With mob Money? Are you nuts?! Jesus Christ, I could see a huge conglomerate with attorneys on staff, but not one with pro hitters. One I could borrow from, the other I wouldn't touch with a barge pole. What the shit possessed you to think it was safe Money?!"
"I can keep it under wraps for, ohh, maybe another week or so, but then..."
"Then you take from your personal accounts and assets. Screw this, I'm not going on the run for the rest of my life over this deal. I want out. I'm no fucking James Bond, and I'm way over my head already."
"Tom, is there a way you go back to Singapore and locate the weapons? We may still be able to get them back. Try, Tom, you must. The buyer is worried, but he call yesterday and still want the stuff. Can you try at least?" Tom thought for a moment, trying to visualize what might have happened.
"Li, I'm on my own here. I know some people in Singapore, but they're all in the computer business, I can't get them to locate thugs for me."
"Well, I may be able to help a little in that department, Tom. Can you at least locate the shipment?"
"Li, that stuff could be in the hands of an L.A. street gang by now, who knows? Hell, the chances of it being on the island by tomorrow night are slim. There's way too much stuff going in and out every day."
"Just try to locate the shipment. Don't get over you head."
"I'll give it a shot, that's if I can get back to Singapore. By the way, my cut just went up twenty-five percent."
"It will be worth it if you locate the shipment and still make this deal. Good luck, Tom."
"Yeah. I'll let you know what's going on. Don't leave the phone."
"I am here to help."
Tom hung up and walked back to Gloria's table, numb from the shock of discovery. Mob Money. As if things weren't bad enough already. He stopped at the base telephone hanging on the wall near the NEX door and called the Cubi Point passenger terminal after first getting the number from the base operator. Tomorrow afternoon was a flight to Naha, Okinawa, on a C141. Seats available. Tom had to think of his assumed name and numbers when the flight coordinator asked for reservation information. He walked back to Gloria and sat down at the table.
"Everything OK, Tom?" Gloria read the concern on his face.
"Small problems, honey. Nothing I can't get over. My plane is leaving tomorrow afternoon, I need to be in this uniform."
"Shall we get it ready?"
"Let's get some food for the cabin, first."
"I'll go with you, if you don't mind. I'll be cooking, you know."
"I know." He patted her on the leg and stood.
Back at the cottage Rossi went through the handbook and assembled his uniform. The rental office had an electric iron available and loaned it to him. Gloria was busy making crepes in the frying pan, garnished with berries and sugar. Kiwi fruit, wheat crackers, Edam cheese and Mosel wine rounded out the picnic, which she spread on a sheet outside the door of the cabin. Rossi came outside when she called and was overwhelmed with the display. The two sat like lovers in the grass, the puttering of the bonka boats adding to the background of sounds. She peeled the kiwi fruit and finger fed him.
Tom was feeling his problems disappear for the moment, given the actions of the past two days any relief was welcome. Gloria was the perfect hostess, light with the conversation and quick with the smile. She curled up on the sheet and spoke of her family, asking questions about his upbringing, former military adventures and current business.
It soon was late afternoon, the beachgoers were thinning out. Tom and Gloria made several short walks around the area, leaving the picnic ensemble where it was. Near dusk, the two had eaten their fill once again and brought the foodstuff back into the cottage, then went on another walk around the island, retracing their earlier steps. They stopped at the west end and watched the sun set from a large boulder at the edge of a rocky beach. The temperatures dropped as the two looked out into the South China Sea, the sky a palette of red and purple hues, a blood red sun disappearing into the shimmering water. Gloria nuzzled beneath Tom's chin and felt his arm around her shoulders tighten. She looked up to meet his eyes and found herself kissing him passionately.
At the cabin, the two could hardly contain themselves. It had been ages since a beautiful woman romanced Tom and he missed the sensation. Gloria was unaccustomed to a man who cared for her the way Tom did. She kissed him once again.
"I'm going to clean up. Don't go away."
"Not for the world, honey." She walked into the bathroom and left the door slightly open. Within a minute, Tom heard the shower running and wandered into the bedroom and sat on the bed, kicking off his shoes. After a minute he walked slowly into the hall and pushed open the bathroom door. Her clothes were on the sink, and through the sheer vinyl curtain Tom could see the outline of her body, brown and sleek as she basked in the water. She turned toward him and pulled back the curtain and smiled, all the shyness from the morning had disappeared. He quietly took off his clothes as she watched him, then opened the curtain and stepped into the warm cascade.
Her skin was the color of nutmeg, as he stepped in she embraced him, allowing the complete contact of their bodies. Tom felt the soft breasts press against his stomach, her leg curl around his knee. She kissed his nipple and scratched the skin of his back, then arched her head for a deep kiss that lasted a minute, her tongue exploring his mouth, still sweet from the Mosel wine and berries.
He soaped her body, allowing the smoothness of her hips and back to guide his hands. She turned slowly around in his arms allowing his hands to follow the curves of her uplifted breasts and hips. His touch caused her to shiver as he kissed behind her right ear, his chest on her back, fingers tracing circles around her nipples, down her flat stomach, scratching her small thatch of pubic hair, around her hips. She turned to face him and rinsed off. Tom reached down and turned off the water, then took a towel from the rack over the toilet. He toweled her hair, kissing as he dried, her face, neck and shoulders, then lowered himself to one knee as he kissed each nipple, elbow and wrist. She turned as he dried and kissed her lower back, then each mound of soft, tanned flesh. He dried her legs, kissing the knees and inside her thighs, then stood as she dried him.
He pulled her up to face him and embraced, their bodies hungry for contact. She was panting. Tom pulled her close.
"I don't want you to do anything you do not want to do." He whispered into her ear. She pulled her head back and smiled.
"Either do I. Let's go to bed." The two stepped out and moved to the bedroom, where she pushed him back onto the bed and kissed his neck. Gloria lay still for a moment, breathing heavily, then turned her head again and kissed his chest. She moved up to his neck, kissing passionately, then moaned softly as his lips met her. Their arms and hands explored each others' bodies, massaging the curves, light scratches on the back, fingers through the hair. Gloria broke off the kiss and leaned back slightly with a gentle smile, then pulled her hair back with both hands, head tilted slightly backward, eyes closed, displaying her breasts for Tom to admire. She leaned forward again and gazed into his eyes, then with a moment of disconcertion on her face, slid her wetness the length of his erection, pausing at the tip, then groaned as she plunged him deep into her body. Tom threw his head back and heaved his hips upward to meet her. Their eyes met again, she had a hazy look of pleasure, her eyelids half open, sitting up and allowing him to see all of her. Her hips were hard on his, then he began to thrust in and out slowly, her pelvis slowly rotating on his. Her eyes rolled back, then closed, and her mouth opened in a silent cry. Tom began to increase tempo until he was slamming into her, her breasts swaying with each thrust. Rossi cupped each breast with his hands, squeezing the nipples, until she began to moan in rhythm again. Her timing soon became erratic as Tom felt his climax rising as well.
“Gloria…Gloria…I’m about to…”
“Stay inside me, Tom…stay inside…” She threw her head back, her wet hair slapping her back, and bucked like a woman possessed as Tom came violently inside her, his hands on her hips, pulling himself deeper into her. She collapsed onto his chest, panting hard and rotating her hips slowly. Gloria moaned softly, slowing her gyrations until she was motionless, her body wet with perspiration and musk, her breath coming in raspy bursts of satisfaction, still straddling his hips.
Tom kissed her forehead and held her ear to his chest. Soon her breathing changed as she fell asleep, listening to his heartbeat.
11/19/2005 8:29 pm
11/20/2005 12:39 pm
Thanxx Kink...I had a hard time posting it..|
11/21/2005 9:39 am
Hi Polly...I like it that you're a 'regular'...|
11/21/2005 2:07 pm
11/21/2005 7:43 pm
thank you '66...welcome to my 'lil blog. I'll come visit you and say 'hello'...|
11/22/2005 12:48 am
Very rich.. loved the detail.. nice visuals|
it is 2:45am.. apparently I am not able to make complete sentences after 2:23am... hopefully you get the idea
11/22/2005 4:11 pm
Hi Sexy...thanxx for dropping in. drop in again sometimes before 2:23am and say hello.|
11/23/2005 4:15 am
11/24/2005 2:30 am
Wow..simply wow...and I must admit...Im burning...hahhaha...hey burning to read more and to go to the next chapter!!! Keep on writing...you are very versatile...Jim a great fan is here waiting for a real book to be published someday.|
Love..Faith ..and Hope..
11/24/2005 10:07 am
Hi Pinay...you are the one reader that I was afraid to post this chapter for...I didn't want your innocence to be 'corrupted'...|
...you know I'm a good guy..
11/25/2005 1:22 am
Hey Jim...you make it sound im like a kid...hahhaha...I must admit thats my fave part...hahahaha... dont worry its a great part. Next time write an historical romance. lol|
Love..Faith ..and Hope..