It Was a Dark and Stormy Night
It was a dark and stormy night and he stared against the blackness. It was so hard to understand it all. Lee Crane had promised. He'd promised never to forget…but apparently, he had. Perhaps it was for the best. The days when the two had been inseparable were long past and now…. Well, what would be would be….
"Hurry it up will you, Chief?" O'Brian politely badgered Sharkey, " we're supposed to have that Zodiac topside as soon as…. "
"That's alright men," Lee Crane interrupted, and pulled on some heavy rubber boots. "It was kind of sudden wasn't it," he grinned.
"I …uh…hope it's not an emergency
sir," the Third Officer questioned discreetly. It was all over the boat
that the Captain had turned pale when he saw the TV broadcast about the storm
damage ashore on some beachfront properties in
"No, no emergency, just a matter I have to attend to,quickly. Sure wish the phone lines worked."
"Yeah, that storm's done a lot of damage…gonna' be one long clean up…."
Within about two minutes, the Captain had gone ashore. Itwas only a half mile away but the occupants of the small powered inflatable were soaked from the rain and waves. It was not a night for swimming.
Dismissing the two crewmen accompanying him on the craft, Crane dismissed them with orders to return in two hours, or at Dawn, whichever came first.
"Well, " Ski said, " it ain't none of our business anyhow, isit?"
"Oh c'mon Ski," Patterson whispered," it's not like the skipper to take off like that is it, unless…."
"Aw no…the Admiral forbade him to even so much as think about taking on another ONI assignment…for a while anyway…and you saw how he looked at the news broadcast…its gotta be something to do with that.
"Yeah, I guess so…still, wonder what it is…."
It was cold and he was wet, and it was dark. He was scared. He'd never been afraid of the dark before. But he was now. Lee, where are you? he cried unheard.
Crane stumbled up the rough wood steps, his strong flashlight guiding him along the familiar path. Ah, there it was. If word of this ever got out to his crew…well…he shuddered to think about it.
"Lee! What brings you here!?" Mrs. Crane embraced her son.
"We heard about the storm damage and ….am I too late?"
"No," she grinned in exasperation, "he's in there, with all the other…" her words were lost as Crane retreated to the small carport. Soggy boxes and carpets and other damaged goods were stored there for the garbage pick up as soon as the roads cleared. Her home had been one of those featured on the news as she'd pointed out the damaged goods to the viewing world.
"Skipper, that was quick!" Morton grinned at Crane as he descended into the sub.
"Yeah, oh, here; Mom said you could use this," he shoved a hot muffin in the XO's hands.
"Uh, Lee…" Chip took him aside, "just when are you going to tell us what this was all about, I hardly think you'd have us change course and go ashore just to say hi to your mother. She looked fine on TV."
"Undercover assignment Chip…that's all I can say."
"Oh, quick one though."
"Very quick," Lee practically winked. And I was almost too late, he thought .
He was warm now, encased in a thick down comforter. Lee had remembered after all . His friend had come home, just in time. The sound of the garbage truck faded into an near miss, and he could sleep now, and dream of the past and of the future. He'd heard Lee talking with his mother…he'd have a job to do, other children to play with, but he'd still be Lee's.
Mrs. Crane checked on Lee's bedroom. The soggy carpet had been stripped and one of the chairs had been removed, but there, drying out and wrapped in towels and an old comforter was Ted.
Ted was missing some fur and one of his blue button eyes had been replaced with a newer yellow one, but the old worn Teddy Bear had won a reprieve after all.
She'd wanted to toss the old toy out with the rest of the water damaged goods, but fate, or Lee in this case, had intervened.
"You know,"she said gently, "for a worthless creature, you sure caused a fuss," she patted the bear, "and you'll be going to the hospital for the children to play with, but…you'll always belong to us."
Yes, he'd always belong to Lee, he knew, as he drifted off to sleep, content, secure that he was not forgotten.