The GOBLET. Copyright © 1997 and 2011 by William Thistlethwaite.
All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America.
No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission of the author.
This book is fictional. Names, characters, places, and events used are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons or events is coincidental.
Designed and edited by Shaun Thistlethwaite & Melissa Thal
Published by William Thistlethwaite
Also by William Thistlethwaite
The 51st State: A Creed Emerson Novel
A Place Unknown
The Isherus Goblet
This book is dedicated to my wonderful wife of thirty-seven years Susanne, the love of my life.
The Florida sun off the Atlantic Ocean was hot. However, the sand beneath the beach towels was comfortably cool. Bruce and Erin Foster were enjoying a second honeymoon in Jupiter, Florida. They had rented a beachfront condominium for two weeks of sun, golf, and relaxation. Yesterday, they had played eighteen holes at a nearby golf course.
Today, the Fosters were on a charter with three other couples that took them to an uninhabited island in the Florida Keys. They were spending the afternoon on a secluded section of beach. A picnic lunch had been provided.
In early April the weather in Florida was nearly perfect. The temperature was in the low eighties, with hardly a cloud in the sky. A gentle breeze blew off of the ocean through Bruce’s dark brown hair. As Bruce gazed out at the ocean with his intense brown eyes, he felt as if he didn’t have a care in the world, a feeling far removed from his normal life as an attorney. The waves were breaking gently on the beach, as the tide was going out. The sound of the ocean itself was almost enough to put him to sleep.
Bruce was taking rare time off from his busy trial practice in South Bend, Indiana. His two partners were handling the client caseload in his absence. Their practice was primarily business related, representing small and medium size corporations in northern Indiana and southern Michigan. Bruce was a licensed attorney in both states.
Erin was on Spring break from Notre Dame, where she taught psychology. She was an assistant professor with five years of teaching behind her. While her job was not as stressful as Bruce’s, nonetheless, they both put in fifty to sixty hours per week.
Time together seemed rare for them. Even when they were both at home, usually one of them was doing something work related. For example, last week Bruce was in trial. Each night he brought his briefcase home to review testimony and prepare for the next day. If Bruce had free time, Erin was busy grading tests or researching for her next journal article.
The Fosters had made their Florida reservations months in advance. They wanted this vacation to be a time to relax, but also to renew their relationship. So far, they had managed to do both. Last night had marked the end of their first week in Florida. After dinner at a nearby cozy restaurant, they had returned to their room. They shared a whirlpool together while sipping wine. Then they discovered all over again why they had married each other.
When the Fosters arrived on the island in the Keys around noon, they had wandered off on their own. They were instructed to return to the boat by four o’clock. The island had trees in the middle and was about half a mile from one end to the other, just big enough to give the couples some privacy. This excursion had been Bruce’s idea. Erin had been reluctant to go at first, but now she was glad they had come.
Erin’s mind wandered to her husband. The past week with Bruce had been blissful. She found Bruce to be witty and
sexy. Last night had been some of the most passionate sex of their three-year marriage. And Bruce made her laugh. About an hour ago Erin noticed that Bruce's sunscreen was wearing off. When she commented that he was getting red, Bruce had playfully suggested that Erin bury him in the sand. She had complied and he remained next to her buried up to his chest.
Bruce interrupted her musings.
“Erin, are you ready to call it a day and head back to the boat? It’s getting close to four.”
“Are you sure you’ve had enough sun?” she replied with a grin.
“Only your Irish relatives answer a question with a question.”
Bruce often kidded Erin about the fact that she was Irish on her father’s side of the family. But, in truth, he loved the reddish tint to her long brown hair, her green eyes, and her few freckles. Further she had inherited her father’s sense of humor and his feisty personality. It was the latter that had really caught his attention when they first started dating.
While Erin packed up their belongings, Bruce started to extract himself from the sand around him. As he stood up, he stepped on something hard.
“Ouch! What did I step on under the sand? That hurt,” said Bruce as he looked at his sore foot.
Erin just looked at Bruce and smiled, but with concern in her eyes.
“Are you alright?”
“I guess so.”
Bruce was now on his hands and knees digging in the sand where his foot had been.
“There’s something down there.”
He kept digging and eventually he pulled something from the sand. It was about a foot in length and was covered in encrusted barnacles. It was as big around as Bruce’s thigh.
“What is it,” asked Erin.
“I’m not sure, maybe a tool of some sort. It’s so covered in crap that it’s hard to tell.”
“Did you cut your foot on that thing?”
“Oh, just a little. I was more surprised to step on something, than hurt.”
As Bruce gathered his towel and wrapped it around the object, Erin asked, “You’re not going to keep that thing, are you?”
“Sure. Who knows, maybe it’s worth something.”
As the Fosters walked down the beach, clouds obscured the setting sun. A storm was approaching.
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