Tempest, the first four pages.

Dear God, what has Emik done now?” Kathi Hogswallow sits outside of Principal Thornton’s office awaiting the horrible news of her son’s current trouble. Chewing her nails, her hazel eyes flit around the office. “Kathi, the principal will see you now.” Standing, she smooths her flowery blouse, and enters the office. It is small, his desk and two chairs almost fill up the room. Multiple degrees hang from the wall, and a picture of a man in a sailboat hangs behind his desk. “Come in Kathi. Please have a seat.” Sitting in the high back chair, Kathi clasps her hands together. “Kathi, I hated to call you. Emik, well there is no easy way to say this, Emik is going to be expelled for the rest of the year.” Kathi gasps. “Why? I know he has been in trouble a lot this year, but why expulsion?” Furrowing his brow, the principal stands and walks to the window. “He assaulted a student today Kathi. After he called him a stupid spic.” Sobbing, Kathi struggles to make sense of this information. “Emik called a student a racist name?” Turning from the window, Principal Thornton nods. “Yes.” Standing to her feet, tears cloud her vision. “I understand.” Reaching for the paperwork on his desk, he hands it to Kathi. “He is expelled for the rest of the school year. This means that he will fail. It is recommended that Emik undergoes some type of counseling. Come with me, we will go get him.”
Walking down the hall, they reach the School Resource Officers room. Looking up when Kathi enters the room, Emik grins. “Hi mom.” His hazel eyes glint with mischievous intent. “Guess what happened today?” Glaring at her son, she grabs him by the arm and pulls him to his feet. “I heard what you did. Your father will hear about it as well. What is wrong with you?” Grinning, he looks at Principal Thornton. “See you around old man!”
Storming across the parking lot, Kathi shakes her head. “What in the name of God do you think you are doing? Stupid spic? Your dad and I raised you better than that.” Laughing, Emik gets in the car. “Its whatever. What do you think dad is going to do to me? Ground me? Please.” Silently, Kathi drives back to the house. Emik gets out of the car, slamming the door he heads toward the beach. “Be back in a while mom!” Slowly, Kathi makes her way up the steps of her house. Sitting out on the deck, the sun waning into the distance, she twirls her black hair through her fingers. “Where did we go wrong?” Picking up the phone, she dials her husband’s number.
“Hey babycakes, what is going on?” Hearing her husband’s voice restored some of the balance that was destroyed earlier. “Emik got expelled from school.” She heard his breath catch in his throat. “Emik did what?” The sudden burst of anger made his voice raise. “How did he get expelled?” Biting on her lower lip, she braced for what was coming next. “He called a student a racist name, and then punched him in the face.” Jaws clenched tight, Dierim flexed his fists. Slamming his hand against the wall, he simply said, “I am on my way home.”
Speeding, Dierim raced along the highway. “What is wrong with Emik? He has been in trouble all year. Why can’t we reach him?” Aggressively maneuvering around the slower vehicles, Dierim finally made it home. Pulling into the driveway, he slammed on the brakes. “Kathi, where is he?” Standing on the deck, Kathi points toward the shoreline. Nodding, Dierim makes his way toward the house. “Go get him and bring him inside.”
Walking along the shoreline, Kathi sees Emik. “Come on Emik. Your dad is home. He wants to talk to you about today.” Smirking, he walks past Kathi. “Yeah, I heard him. Let’s get this over with.” Kathi silently follows him into the house. “Well old man, I am here. What do you want?” Turning in his chair Dierim lunges to his feet. “Who do you think you are talking to? Where do you get off calling someone a racist name?” Smirking, Emik leans on the counter. “It’s not that big of a deal.” Glaring at his son, veins taut in his neck, Dierim moves toward him. “You are an embarrassment to this family. Your mother and I have never used that kind of language. Where did you learn how to be a racist?” Glancing at his father, Emik walks into his room. “None of your business old man!” with that, he slams his door.
“Dierim, what are we going to do? How do we make him understand that he is hurting only himself?” Glancing at his wife, Dierim notices that his wife’s eyes are red from crying. “Come here” Pulling her in close, he hugs her tightly. “We have to do something. I mean something drastic to get his attention.” Nodding, she quietly whispers, “like what Dierim? Military school?” Dierim takes her hand and leads her to the couch. “We could try military school, but he is already angry.” Shaking her head, she leaned on her husband’s shoulder. “We need to send him to counseling,” she glances at Dierim, “Thornton said we had to try something before he came back.” Sighing in frustration, Dierim stood and paced the floor. “We have to turn his world upside down. Get him completely out of his comfort zone. No Xbox, PlayStation or phone. We can take him sailing.” Kathi looked at her husband. “Sailing? He is suspended for the rest of the year.” Eagerly nodding his head, Dierim smiled. “Then we sail to Augusta, Maine and back. This will teach him many skills that he will need in life.” Kathi is speechless. Shaking her black hair out of her face, she glances at Dierim. “We haven’t been sailing in years Dierim. Is our boat up to that long of a journey?” Smiling at his wife, he nods. “Yes sweetie, the boat is fine. I have some vacation time saved up. I will let the company know, and we can set off at first light.”
Dierim made his way out to his shop where his boat was stored. Reaching up to grasp the tarp, he gave a mighty tug. “Let’s have a look at you old girl.” Climbing into the boat, Dierim examined the walls and floor of the boat. Climbing out, he walked around to the back of the boat. In gold letters, Tempest was stenciled on the black background. Chuckling, he finished his inspection of his boat. “Looks good. This should be a grand adventure. Maybe my idiot kid will dig his head out of whatever he has it stuck in.”
While Dierim conducted an inspection of the boat, Kathi was trying to communicate with Emik. “You need to pack your clothes. When you get it packed, take it out to the boat and store it.” Emik laughs. “That is the best punishment you and dad could think up? Take me sailing? Best punishment ever.” Kathi turns and walks away. Entering her bedroom, she pulls out two duffle bags. “Might as well get started packing our bags, daylight will be here before we know it.”
Kathi was not wrong. “Rise and shine sweetie! I have already loaded the boat.” Kathi blinked. Looking out toward the ocean she could see that the surface was like glass. “It’s going to be a beautiful day for sailing.” Smiling she left the bed and walked into the bathroom. “No need to beautify myself this morning. Ponytail and cap will be fine.” She could hear Dierim knocking on Emik’s door. “Get up Emik. Grab your gear and get on the boat.” Emik snatches the door open. Scowling at his father, eyes red from a lack of sleep, he shoulders him aside and slams the door. “Well, good morning to you too my little racist.” Kathi chuckles. “Its going to be interesting cutie.” They laugh and lock up the house.
“It’s a great day to be on the water!” Arms stretched overhead, Kathi takes in the sunrise. “God is an artist this morning, look at that orange.” Dierim smiles. “It definitely is breathtaking. Much like you are this morning.” Scrunching up her nose, she playfully winks at Dierim. “Watch it, I’m taken.” Emik rolled his eyes. “Maybe you two want to get a room?” Dierim and Kathi chuckle. “Why? You were conceived in the back of a taxi.” Kathi laughs and Emik heads for the cabin. “I don’t want to hear that crap. Where are we headed?” Dierim smiled. “Augusta, Maine.” Eyes widened, Emik looks at Kathi. “Is he serious mom?” Kathi nods. “Yep, 1197 nautical miles there and 1197 back. Hope you brought your big boy britches.”
Dierim makes his way across the hull of the boat and takes the tiller in hand. “The wind is coming from the east. Hoist the mainsail, turn the boom east.” A strong gust of wind fills the canvas and the family is on their way. Gliding across the surface, Kathi looks at Emik. “You should take some time to enjoy this. It has been years since your dad and I have gone sailing. Look, you can see Ship Island.” Glancing in the direction of his mom’s hand, he smirks. “Yeah, real happening joint. Give me a break.” Kathi glances at Emik. “No one is responsible for you getting in trouble but you Emik. For some reason, you have a major malfunction.” Emik clenches his fist, moving inches from his mother’s face. “My major malfunction is this family. I hate you and him. Neither of you mean anything to me. I wish you all were dead.” Instinctively, Kathi’s hand flashed into view, seconds before it crashed into Emik’s jaw. The crack of her hand meeting Emik’s jaw sounded like a gunshot over the open bay. Her eyes narrowed, breathing shallowly, she hissed, “Get away from me. Don’t you dare speak to us.” Crab-walking backwards to escape this fountain of fury, Emik looked up at his mother. “Mom, I…” Kathi didn’t let him finish. “Shut your mouth Emik. You are ungrateful of all the chances that you have been given. You are rude, disrespectful and one day you will reap what you have sown. You better hope you marry someone infertile. Your kids will make you pay for everything you have done. Get out of my sight.”
Dierim, tiller in hand, watched as his wife put their son on his back. “Jesus, what a woman.” Kathi looks over at him, tears in her eyes. Gesturing for Kathi to join him, she moves close to where he is. “I shouldn’t have hit him Dierim.” Gazing into her hazel eyes, he smiles. “Ah, he had it coming honey. If not by you, definitely by me.” Lips trembling, she bites down to force herself to stay calm. “He hates us. Emik said that he wished we both were dead.” Wordlessly, Dierim nods. “I know honey. It is a long way to Augusta, Maine. At some point he will get it.” Silent tears burn down her cheeks as Dierim checks the wind. “The wind has shifted. It is coming from the South. Shift the boom.” Emik peers out of the cabin and notices his mom trying to turn the boom to the South. “Let me help.” Glancing at her son, they pull the boom and the canvas fills with wind. “Mom, I’m sorry.” She gazes into Emik’s eyes. “You should be. Your dad works one hundred hours a week to provide for us. He works double and triple shifts that allows you to go to school, and insult people you don’t know.” Wincing from the swelling of his jaw, Emik nods. “I know mom. You don’t understand.” Hand on her hip, she tilts her head and asks, “What don’t we understand? That you hate everyone or that you think that you know everything?” Glancing down, he kicks at a snail making its way across the hull. “People don’t like me mom. They pick on me, push my buttons and then I get angry and react.” Shaking her head furiously, she looks at Emik. “So, you use derogatory language to describe someone prior to punching them in the face. I don’t care how angry your dad gets, he has never used language like that.” Nodding, Emik looks out at the sea. Tears trickle down his cheeks. “I just get so mad mom. I don’t know why.” Taking his hand into hers, she squeezed. “Emik, you have to learn to let go of all that. What people say and do impact them. If you can’t control it, why are you getting upset about it? If its not true, it shouldn’t bother you.” Wiping the tears out of his eyes, Emik looks at his mom. “Heck of a right hand you got mom.” Chuckling she nods. “I got that from your dad.”’
Nightfall comes. “Kathi, lower the mainsail. The jib will keep us moving. The waves are getting a little choppy.” Nodding, Emik and Kathi lower the main sail.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.