The Last Time I Saw Janis


By Kevin Moriarity

The last time I saw Janis was on Lake Michigan. It was a hot, muggy day in August. I had taken my Grand Banks trawler out for a day trip from Chicago to New Buffalo. The engines purred as we moved through calm water at a leisurely 12 knots. The slight breeze created from the movement of the 45 foot yacht was refreshing. Janis was on the foredeck working on her already deep tan.

“I don’t know how much more of him I can take,” she shouted back at me.

“Why don’t you just leave him? Why do you keep going back and take his crap?”

We had hung around together as far back as our teenage years. All the guys wanted to go out with Janis, but she picked Jerry. He was in trouble a lot. Most of us thought Jerry was destined for hard times, but Jan stuck with him. For a while, it looked like things might work out for them. Jerry found he had a talent for trading commodities and he did quite well until his cocaine use got out of control. That’s when we noticed signs of abuse, bruises with odd explanations. Now, Jerry is on the verge of bankruptcy.

She walked back to the helm and sat next to me.

“This boat can go a long way. Let’s just keep going. We could live aboard and take it down to Florida and live on the beach, sell little trinkets to the tourists.”

“That’s really tempting Jan, but I have work to do here. My clients depend on me to fix things for them. I have very demanding clients.”

“I wish you could fix Jerry. You know people that could fix Jerry, don’t you?”

“What are you talking about?”

“You remember the wedding we attended years ago. All those big guys in black suits. You know people. You could make a phone call and fix my problem with Jerry, right?”

I did remember the wedding and she was right. I did know people.

Chicago was just a blur on the western horizon, the tall buildings visible, but not distinct. We were halfway across the big lake.

“I wish I could Jan. I feel like having a sandwich and a beer. You hungry? Want something to drink?”

I throttled back the engines and slipped the boat into neutral. Without the breeze, the heat and humidity was immediately oppressive.

“Sure, I could stand something to eat. Do you have any wine chilled?”

“Head on to the back and sit it in the sun. I’ll make you a sandwich and bring out a glass of chardonnay.”

I went to the galley and opened the cabinet above the sink. My face felt flush and pained as I fought back tears. I took the Glock 9 mm out of the cabinet and walked to the back of the boat.

“I’m so sorry Jan; Jerry made his phone call yesterday.”

Kevin Moriarity spent a couple of decades working in the software business. A bunch of that time was spent writing software manuals and procedures. That got a bit dull, so he decided to give fiction a try. He also cofounded Waterline Writers – a community of writers and writing enthusiasts in Batavia, IL.

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