“MAGGIE'S ART” – book excerpt

The eight-foot swells of the morning had grown to over fourteen feet, still rolling in from the southwest. The More Fun continued to crash through them gallantly. Everyone, with the possible exception of Pascal who refused to look outside, knew that the swells were only harbingers of a bigger storm somewhere.

Marc, Allie, Maggie and Hadi scrambled over the wet deck, tying down everything they could, closing the hatches and making the boat as seaworthy as possible for the storm they knew was coming.

Once things were battened down, Maggie gave it one last try, “Marc, this is going to be a really bad storm. It already is, but you know, we all know that it can only get worse. If we turn around now and run, we might be able to outrun the worst of it. We could go in at some sheltered place other than Costa Mira. You could go your way. We wouldn't try to stop you. Then by the time we found civilization, you'd be gone. We'd all be safe. Won't you think about it?”

Marc, who had gained respect for this “old woman” during the hard work on deck, was quiet for a few moments. Maggie thought he really was considering heading back to Florida.

“No way, old woman. No way.” His voice was quiet, but firm, “This is my chance to get away and make a new start. I can't go back. The only thing that makes sense to me is going ahead. This boat is a nice toy, but you know what? It's also a serious boat. It is capable of making it right across the Gulf to where I want to go. If I turn back now, there'll never be another chance. And you people get to come along for the ride.” He turned his back on Maggie and busied himself with some ropes.

Maggie grabbed a line and hung on as a particularly huge wave broke over the boat. Soaked to the skin, she turned and went down into the main cabin. “He won't listen to reason. He refuses to turn back. Oh dear! I'm not sure what upsets me more, being captured by Marc or this storm.”

“It is exciting, no?”

“It is exciting, yes!” Maggie said to Hadi. “More than exciting. It's very scary.”

Allie stood in the middle of the cabin, feet well apart, hands on hips, rocking with the motion of the boat, reaching out from time to time for a handhold, “Well, what'd we propose to do about it? Now, Hadi, please don't tell me to wait on the will of Allah. I think the time for waiting is past. We need to do something to help ourselves.” Allie was vehement, “Look at Mom. She's drenched and cold. Look at us all. Exhausted, frightened, miserable!”

“Ah, Miss Allie. You are correct that each of us has had happier times. Yet, to act before Allah has shown us a way, could not benefit us. I know it is hard to wait. But I think we will not wait much longer.”
 

Maggie's Art, a Maggie McGill Mystery Series book by Sharon Burch Toner
 
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