The Sailing Stone XIII
Where is Beckett Stone?
Lake Havasu City, Arizona: London Bridge Resort: 1477 Queens Bay
Beckett was topless in the bedroom suite bathroom. He stared hard at the contours of his face. The stubble. Were there any grays poking out of his face? Any wrinkles? Who knew what could happen to his body from here on out – remaining as a human. Each day would be an adventure. What would fail him? What would perk up or grow painful? Technically, in human years, he was a young man, so why all this paranoia about age? Why? Because he was alien, and he had never decided to stay on Earth before. That is until now. Until this moment in earth time where he met the lovely Adrian of the record store.
“Are we in London right now?” Adrian asked, as she sat behind the wooden desk next to the massive TV in the living room of their sweet suite. “No! We can’t be in London, right?” She was writing away feverishly in a notebook – head down – scribbling fast, as the news anchor spoke of 6 Muslim-Americans students hung off a trespass in Virginia.
“No, we are not in London, Adrian. We are in in a hotel named after the London Bridge, in the state of…” Was that a long gray hair with a curly end, flapping in the breeze off the edge of his ear? Beckett looked at the shower curtain, searching for an answer as to what state they were in.
“Arizona. Arizona is where we are,” said Adrian as she turned the page of her notebook and had begun writing again – not missing a beat.
“Am I getting old, Adrian?”
“We’re all getting old, Beckett. But you look every bit your youthful age. As hot as the day we met…”
“At James Madison High – the playground. I escorted you to the lockers.”
I remember that, thought Beckett as a voice – not unlike the emotionless tone of a robot, but a tad more human in his phrasing, responded to Beckett’s thoughts:
“And you will remember a lot more, just as Adrian is,” said the voice to Beckett – who now crept up behind Adrian, barely noticing that he was standing there – staring after her. “It’s completely natural, what Adrian is doing, writing as she is. She is becoming completely transformed into a full fledged human, quite easily in fact,” the voice said.
Why the burst of writing, Beckett thought; the voice continued: “So flooded with memories, with life details rich in emotional content and imagery – she almost has no other choice but to jot all the information down. Her feverish concentration is reducing her alien memories to ashes. Your beautiful, natural love as aliens – meeting in the bookstore – will be dead.” Beckett stared at her neck bent over the book, her foot scratching the back of her leg. He thought he heard her stomach making hunger growls. “The first lesson of this Earth,” the voice continued, “is that nothing lasts. Everything suffers and dies. This will be the first of many losses.”
Will I lose Adrian? Beckett thought. Will she die before me?
“Can’t say, said the voice, “that’s the risk of love on this earth. That can’t be predicted. Anyone on this earth who claims they can predict are lying.”
“The attachment is worse than death,” the voice said.
“Oh, high, love!” said Adrian, finally having noticed Beckett standing behind her. “You’re as quiet as a ghost. I can’t stop writing. It’s like I am writing a memoir!” Adrian leaned her head backwards across the top of the chair. “Kiss.” Beckett bent down and kissed her on the lips. “We’ll have to discuss the route we’ll take to get to San Diego for your job interview.”
A job interview? Beckett questioned to himself.
The voice responded: “Very good. yes, Beckett. a job interview for your new domesticated life. It’s hardly an interview. You got the job. A safe job – barking out directives from your square office.”
“We’ll have to start looking for homes,” said Adrian. “I am excited. I hear San Diego is so beautiful! I am excited for this opportunity for you and that you are taking the leap. very proud. Especially after what went down last week at the office.”
“Thank you, Adrian, for your love and support.” Beckett walked over to the fridge and busted open a Vintage Cherry Seltzer.
I have no idea what went down at the office, thought Beckett to the voice.
“Because of your talent and abilities as an alien in human form, your transition will be much slower and more difficult – rest assured.”
“Adrian…I think you should go ahead to the spa without me,” said Beckett. “I’m not feeling that great. I need to rest.”
“I’ll stay behind and stay with you.”
“No, no, no – not necessary.”
“I don’t mind…we can curl up together and I can get some reading in while you rest.”
“No. Absolutely not.” Beckett kissed Adrian on the forehead and swept the bangs away from her eyes. “Go ahead and enjoy. I insist.” Beckett looked around the room and then back at Adrian with unease. “Do you smell gasoline?”
Adrian went ahead to the spa. Beckett was feeling quite ill. He vomited twice then suffered a bad bout of diarrhea. Twice while suffering chills he’d go to the fridge and become frustrated that all they had was cherry seltzer. Looking through his clothes closet, he was left puzzled: are these my clothes?
With the suite becoming claustrophobic, Beckett headed down to the hotel lobby. The young girls in string bikinis, bubbly with spring break hysteria, did nothing for Beckett. He was feeling lost. Not quite sure where his mind or his loyalty stood. He ordered a gin and tonic at the bar and started a conversation with the voice:
“Why are you here? Why are you in this head?”
“To help you with transition. If you are indeed transitioning.”
“I am feeling more and more exhausted. As if I am straining more than I actually am,” Beckett said as he rested his head on top of his hands – which were flat on the bar.
“The Faction is pulling at straws. They have nothing.”
“I know that.”
“They are incapable of love and want you to be their prism into this perfect Earth – which has still yet to be found – though they feel they have found it.
“I know, I know, I know….I am so tired and sick and feeling crappy.”
What are you planning on doing? Is this transition real? As opposed to the others?
“Don’t string Adrian along. She is having a time of it as it is with her transition.”
Adrian was smiling. She sat in the blistering sauna and felt the toxins leaving her body on rafts of sweat. This was living, this was feeling, she thought.
“Just so you understand, Beckett,” continued the voice, as Beckett stood against a railing, overlooking the pools: spring breakers reveling, grabbing ass and drink, all having a fabulous time. “You are an honorable person and will make a fine human; but with love comes sadness; with having children – you both would have to adopt – comes the most rewarding and challenging job a human can have; that is – raising children. And you could do everything in your human powers to keep your family safe yet they will still suffer and die. They could die of sickness, or a car accident in which you are driving. Many, many ways.”
Beckett didn’t know what voice to trust. Was the voice coming from home or was it a faction impersonating one of his own. It was all terribly confusing. He just wanted something to be decided. If the new memories took over – so be it. If he somehow ends up at the sailing stone – so be it! But he wasn’t even sure of that either. He loved Adrian – but was it the Adrian he fell in love with back in Philadelphia?
Beckett and Adrian were floating. Face to face. Hands outstretched – clasped. They were smiling. Breathing through their snorkels, they floated for several minutes – staring at one another, touching each other’s bodies. Soon they were snorkeling side by side, hand holding, marveling at the sea life below them. Beckett felt as safe as he had ever felt. He trusted Adrian, if nothing else. Adrian loved him and he believed he loved her as well. Nothing, he felt, could have harmed him at that moment – with his love, floating over the fish.
When they separated, a certain fluorescent marine life caught Adrian’s attention. She waved frantically to try and get his attention, but Beckett attention was on a sea turtle. Several arms – darkened by wet suits, yanked Beckett down violently. With his snorkeling mask ripped off and his legs kicking and his body fighting for air, he could not recognize his assailants. The pupils of their eyes were emerald green and they were ferocious in their hatred of Beckett as they shook him out like laundry by his legs and arms. Passed out – they let go of him. Adrian – alarmed by Beckett’s floating and seemingly lifeless body – burrowed down, cutting through the water pressure. She reached for his arm and started pulling Beckett to the surface, screaming for help as she flailed.
A middle aged man, squeezed into an Italian suit, whisks of gray hair at his side, but otherwise – bald, jumped into the water, arms and legs tightly together. He reached across, as Adrian held an unconscious Beckett, and placed a rope chain around his neck – taking him from Adrian and leading them both to the clearing.
No resuscitation was initiated as life guards hurried over.
“Come on!” the man said, “We have to be quick. Let’s take my car.”
“What? Huh? Where? Who are you?”
“Get in, help me get the door open.”
“We need to get him to a hospital, he’s not breathing. He’s not breathing!”
“What hotel are you staying at?” asked the mysterious man, as he backed out of his parking space and sped off. Adrian held Beckett’s head close to hers. Caressing his face.
“We’re at London Bridge? Who are you and please hurry. Everything is going to be alright Beckett – I promise, everything will be just fine. We’re almost there, almost there.” Adrian grabbed the rope chain from Beckett’s neck and had begun to remove it.
“Abort! Abort! Leave the chain on. Do not remove!”
“Okay! Okay! Okay…” Beckett’s face was blue as Adrian had noticed that the man was pulling into the parking lot of the London Bridge Resort. “What are you doing? What are you doing? We need a hospital. Who the fuck are you?”
“My name is Stimme and everything will be just fine. We are taking care of it. And he doesn’t need a hospital, he’ll be fine.” Stimme pulled up to the front of the hotel – to the valet – jumped out and got the attention of a bellhop. “I need some help over here. A little too much partying.”
“Yes, sir,” said the bellhop as he and Stimme flung Beckett’s arms around their shoulders and held tight to his hands.
“He has no pulse,” said Adrian, as she hurried along side the both of them.
“Quiet,” said Stimme,” he’s fine.”
“Are you sure he doesn’t need a hospital,” said the bellhop, who tried to feel for a pulse at Beckett’s wrist, as they dragged him to the elevators – a second bellhop rolled a wheel chair over. “Actually…I feel a pulse…”
Beckett started to come to – lying on the hotel bed. Adrian was seated at the hotel desk jotting down her memories. Beckett caught her shaking her hand out from the pain of the intensive pressure she applied to the pen.
Beckett sat up. “I need some cherry seltzer.”
Adrian – alarmed – ran over to Beckett, kissing him all about the face. He was nonplussed. “I thought you were dead, Beckett. I thought you were dead. I thought you were dead…” Adrian kept repeating. “I am nauseous…I have a head ache and stomach ache from this. I thought you were dead.” Adrian hugged and held Beckett close to her, lying beside him. “Are you okay? How do you feel? You had no pulse.”
“I am fine. I am thirsty.”
“A man named Stimme saved your life. He said he would be back but has not yet returned. I thought you were dead. One second I was watching you, I turned away and looked back and you were floating lifeless. It was so scary.”
“This is what you wanted, Adrian.”
“What? No. What?”
“I am thirsty and need a drink.”
“Stimme said to not remove that chain from your neck. Must be some kind of amulet…”
“You have no memory of this chain, do you?” Beckett asked as he opened up the fridge and squeezed open the top of a Vintage Cherry Red Seltzer. Adrian was confused.
“But let’s see…what do we have on Saturday? We are seeing your mother, right?” Said Beckett as he steered the Odyssey along I95. Beckett wore a green Lacoste golf shirt, and khaki pants; his hair was short and parted to the side, while his thin beard was neatly set.
“Well, let’s backup. We have to take the kids to swim in the morning,” said Adrian. Her hips had become wider. Both she and Beckett had gained at least fifteen pounds.
“Okay, yes. Then we’ll hit the diner for brunch.”
“I have to make a quick stop at Target to pick up a birthday present for Even’s birthday party. Then we have my mom…”
“Then the cocktail party at Ariel and Josh’s house at 7. Do we have enough cash for the sitter?”
Two kids, one boy and one girl, nine and four respectively, were absorbed in the latest pocket sized game player.
“Do you smell smoke?” asked Beckett.
“Beckett! You have to get off this exit! Exit 8…”
Beckett cut in front of two cars by cutting across two lanes. He didn’t quite make the exit, having barreled into the island, bouncing and slowing their Odyssey down. Beckett tried to get the car straight from a spin; But just as Beckett tried to straighten out, a box truck came on them, smashing them head-on into the passenger side.
“Adrian!” Beckett was heard shouting as their mini van smashed through an embankment and down a hill, turning and bouncing down rocks and coming to a crashing stop against a boulder in the ravine.
Fire, smoke and more fire.
Beckett’s eyes opened with alarm as he lay on the hotel bed, right across from a peaceful Adrian, who snored with a rhythmic rumble. He was grateful she was alive. That he was alive. Something he never had to think about.
Still smelling smoke, Beckett sat up in bed and to his utter fright, eight ghoulish looking individuals were relaxing calmly in his suite – all with emerald eyes. There were five men and three women – all wearing suits and dresses of black. A mysterious lady wearing a wide brimmed black hat, was bent back across the dining room table as a man administered head to her, face buried under her dress. One round fellow – a dwarf perhaps – was impossibly squeezed inside the refrigerator, smiling with yellowed teeth as he buffed his fingernails. A tall man with a laptop for a head was typing away rapidly – perhaps buying attachments on cyber Monday. Another – with grotesque cauliflower ears, dug a butter knife into his heart with one hand and inspected the incision with the other using a mining light.
A fire alarm sounded throughout the resort as Beckett shot out of bed and shook awake Adrian. The ghouls were gone.
“Adrian! Hurry! Hurry there is an alarm – we have to run for the emergency stairs!
Adrian was quickly alert as she threw some clothes on and grabbed Beckett’s hand as they headed out.
Where is Beckett Stone?
51 West Broadway, San Diego, California
Beckett, blonde colored briefcase in hand, stared up at the archway front entrance to the twenty-one floored, white office building. His suit was blue striped and more Macy’s than Burberry.
Standing at the mouth of the trading floor – which was the size of two football fields, Jacques Bardieux, Beckett’s new line manager, escorted him down the main aisle separating two enormous sections of traders: one the Equities group, the other, Fixed Income. Walls of six and eight pack monitor screens, cut off the sightline to the rest of the floor.
As they made their way three-quarters of the way down, Jacques stopped and gestured toward a team of eight weary looking, and indifferent traders. Indifferent to the presence of Jacques and their new team leader. Beaming, Jacques announced: “This is your magnificent team of Equity Risk Traders.”
After Beckett greeted everyone, he then turned to Jacques – embarrassed. “I am terribly sorry, but it was a long journey and I have to use the men’s room.” Jacques escorted Beckett to the men’s room and waited; and waited…and waited…and waited.
No Beckett. No Beckett ever.
Where is Beckett Stone?
675 L. Street, San Diego, California: Omni Hotel
Beckett had just stepped out of the shower. Another room…another hotel down the line. The mirror was dripping with steam. Beckett lifted his finger and wrote across the mirror: “I don’t want to die spiritually or physically.”
After a beat, a response: “I know. I know.”,