Chasing Latitudes – Novel Preview

NOW AVAILABLE: Chasing Latitudes Excerpt from CHAPTER 9 – Black Sandal Affair

The flight along the shore line was brief but sweet. Every so often they waved at happy sunbathers on secluded shores. Tex was happy with his new and real adventure zooming past his window. The hum of the radial engines, the shoreline, and the sail boats gleaming on the water made the whole experience surreal.

Captain dropped to seventy five feet as they approached Crazy Joe’s and pointed at a dock extending out from the shoreline.

“Straight ahead, Tex. See that dock.”

“Looks like a resort.”

“Far from a resort, but otherwise, one hell of a party place.”

One large sun-bleached thatched roof lay surrounded by green foliage, partnered with mini thatched roofs leading to a main covered walkway that ushered to and from the dock and the main building. A couple of small boats were tied to the dock, as they flew past.

“Prepare for landing!” Captain banked the plane out toward the open ocean, and then rolled out when the tiki bar was at their six o’clock. He glanced out, studying the direction of the wind. Once he had the wind direction figured out he made minor course corrections for the approach. The flaps caught the wind as the Jumper floated down. Keeping an eye on the altimeter, Tex managed a sidelong grin. When he saw twenty feet, he glanced out the window, and saw water rushing past them. When they were barely ten feet above the water he felt Captain reduce power and recite the checklist aloud as usual. A second later he heard the soft whsshhhh sound of the Jumper’s V-shaped hull settled on the step.

They made a pillow-soft landing and taxied slowly toward the dock. “Don’t panic, Tex. It’s going to seem like we’re going to ram the dock, but we’re not,” Captain said as he shut down the engines. He disappeared down the companion way into the anchor locker, opened the bow hatch, and tossed the dock line onto the dock. Next he stood balancing himself on the nose and with a calculated jump he leaped onto the dock, and caught the Jumper as the nose came to a soft glide inches from the dock.

“We made it, Tex. Open the aft hatch, and throw out the line!”

Tex scrambled to the back, opened the hatch, threw out the line, and in just one step he stood on the dock caressing the fuselage from bumping into the dock. Captain placed bumpers along the side of the dock, and safely secured the old plane. They locked the plane tight, and headed toward the walkway to Crazy Joe’s Tiki Bar.

Darkness descended around them and lights started flickering on around the property, illuminating the covered walkway and the surrounding area.

“Time to meet Crazy Joe.”

They made it to the end of the dock where Tex saw an archway made of iron and wood that read- ‘Welcome to Crazy Joe’s Tiki Bar. Bahamas best kept secret.’

“A secret,” Tex said.

“An ironic joke, Tex. Everyone in the Caribbean knows about this place. You’ll see.”

“I don’t.”

“Everyone but you. Let’s go.”

Captain led the way. In the distance they could hear music booming from the bar. Glancing around, Tex noticed the small huts he had seen from the air. There were seven scattered around the property. Each had a thatched path leading to and from the main walk way.

“Looks like Tarzan and Jane live here.”

“Modern day huts. Designed to look antiquated, but are actually new. A/C, refrigerators, hot water and so forth. Crazy Joe rents them out to vacationers, spring breakers, honeymooners, and those that want to tie the knot.”

“People actually get married here?”

“An anomalous and bizarre fact,” Captain said. “Crazy Joe is an ordained priest. He performs a most unorthodox ceremony. He’ll spray the couple down with holy coconut water and pronounces them man and wife…”

“You’re kidding!” Tex interrupted. “Holy coconut water.”

“No, joke. He’ll throw a wild and crazy wedding for those willing to take the eternal-marital plunge. The festivities start inside, then move outside on the dock. Everyone attending carries tiki torches while throwing beads. All that while wearing a white bathrobe, carrying a guitar, and toting a Bible. Then he does his lawful duty.”


“That’s why they call him Crazy Joe.”

“What’s the other part?” “Oh- the usual suspects. Music, alcohol, and girls, girls, girls. It all adds up to some crazy parties.”