Meeting in a Bar: Vanessa Fullright

I read an interesting post by a fellow author the other day.

I started to think of all my characters and knew I had to interview some of them. This post is the result of the first meeting, with the heroine of my adult pirate adventure, Shibari Sails.

When I explained this project, Vanessa agreed to meet me for an interview. Before we start, let me share a bit of her background.

Vanessa Fullright is a poor little rich girl from south Florida with a beautiful motor-sail yacht and a desperate need to feel the freedom of the open sea. A couple of years in prison for something that wasn’t her fault will do that to a person.

She agreed to meet at the Sailor’s Return, which is located under the new Roosevelt Bridge, in Stuart. A radiant south Florida sunset was painting the clouds in coral shades when I caught site of her sitting on the waterfront deck. I was in my usual jeans, sneakers, and SciFi convention teeshirt. She wore deck shoes, tan Laura Croft safari shorts, and a black bikini top.

“What’s in the concoction?” I inquired.
“It’s called a Sailor’s Warning, Anthony. Not sure a decrepid old fart like you should take a chance, however.”

Bacardi Pineapple Fusion, Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum, Orange Juice, Cranberry Juice, and Grenadine, Topped with Goslings Black Seal Rum

I knew a challenge when I heard it.

When the server left my drink, I took a sip, and turned on the digital recorder.

“Turn that damn thing off and let’s finish our drinks.”

I did as the Captain asked and we enjoyed the fading sunset. She took the last swallow of hers, got up, and strode off. I gulped the last of mine, and followed.

“Where we going?” I asked just as she stepped off the pier and into an inflatable. I paused for second.

“Don’t tell me the old Navy man is too broke down to go for a short boat ride.”

I think I growled under my breath as this fat old man clambored into the dinghy. She yanked the cord on the kicker and headed out of the marina.

Ten minutes later, I grabbed the railing of the boarding ladder of the Pelican Dancer. “Permission to come aboard, Captain?”

She smiled and nodded. “Granted!”

While I had tons of notes and photos of the yacht, this was the first time I had actually been aboard. Vanessa led me down to the midships lounge.

“Where’s the rest of the crew?”

She shrugged. “I gave them the night off. We have this whole ship to ourselves. If you get too tipsy to toddle, you’re welcome to a berth.”

“Thanks, but I don’t think I’ll need it.” I activated the digital recorder again and placed it on the table. “Let’s get this show on the road. Ready?”

She waved a yes.

“Just for the record, please identify yourself.”

“I’m Captain Vanessa Fullright, skipper of the Pelican Dancer, based out of Jupiter, Florida.”

“I’m sure most of our readers are familiar with your terrible experience at the hands of the Florida judicial system. You spent four years in prison after being convicted of something you didn’t do. Have you been in contact or heard anything of the drug dealer whose perjury put you there?”

“That would be rather hard. He continued dealing, got himself arrested again while still on probation and while awaiting trial on the first bust. Within a couple of months, he managed to piss off another inmate and died with a sharp tootbrush in his liver.”

“Ouch! What about the others that were in the car?”

“My sister already tried to testify in my favor at the trail, but she was a minor and the judge wouldn’t allow her testimony. The other two got off scott free and I’ve not see hide nor hair of them since. Last word I had was they had left the state, heading west.”

“Are you going to try to clear your name?”

“Listen. This is old news and to be honest, I’m already tired of rehashing it. I’ve moved on; you should too.”

I took the hint. “Most folks wouldn’t notice, but you have a small scar under your left eye. Care to share with our readers how you got it?”

She gave me a flat stare for a moment, then sighed before answering. “This is the last jail question you ask. One more and you can damn well swim back to shore.”

I nodded.

“I managed to keep a low profile and mind my own business for the first couple of weeks. Then another new girl arrived. Some redneck cowboy chick that had been busted for robbing a pizza shop. I guess she had something to prove and didn’t want to jump anyone bigger than her. She blindsided me with a lunch tray. When I saw the blood and felt the gash on my cheek, I got really pissed.”

I waited a moment as she gave me a slow half-smile. “What did you do then.”

“Legally, I didn’t do anything. Unfortunately, before the guards responded, she had an accident. Fell down, broke her arm, hit her face on the edge of a table, and almost bit her tongue in half when her chin smacked the floor. The doc slapped a bandaid on my cheek when it should have had stitches.”

I thought about asking more, but didn’t want to swim home. “It has been said that everything seems to run in cycles. We seem to be heading into a more conservative climate recently. Has this had any effect on Shibari Sails?”

“Not really. The sort of clientelle we cater to isn’t that worried about the general public opinion. As long as we provide anonymity and help them with their kinky pursuits, we will continue to offer regular charters.”

“What’s the kinkiest thing you’ve seen so far?”

She shook her head and laughed. “Trust an old pervert like you to ask such a question. I’m reminded of an old joke. Erotic is when you use a feather… Kinky is when you use the whole chicken.”

I chuckled politely and waited.

“Oh all right.” She thought a moment before continuing. “Since you wrote about it, there have been several of the suspended, shibari sex scenes while we’ve been in secluded harbors. A recent one was a menage. That was rather interesting.”

“Sounds like it. What about Bryan? The book left us a bit up in the air about your relationship.”

She grinned. “Oh he’s been back for a couple of cruises now. Although I’ve made it a point that if the Navy or any three-letter agency takes notice of us again, either he tells me or leaves the Dancer permanently. I don’t want a repeat of pirates pointing guns.”

“That’s understandable.” I glanced down and pointed at her ankle. “I see you have a tattoo. I don’t recall seeing it the last time we met.”

She leaned back in the chair and extended her leg to the coffee table. I saw a pair of cords in black ink running around her ankle and meeting to form a pair of circles with a red dot in the center of each one.

“That is the Shibari Sails logo that Bryan designed. It’s on our spinnaker and I’ve since put it on our letterhead.”

“No website yet?”

“Nope. We have a private social net group that is invite only. As I’m sure you know, our clients are rabid privacy fanatics. We don’t allow photography or videos on a cruise unless all of the clients on that trip have signed consent forms. Besides, I have no desire to maintain a website. All of our business is by referral and right now, our five day and one week cruises are booked more than a year in advance. If I didn’t insist on a week off for the entire crew, every three months, we’d all be frazzeled by now. the last thing I want is to burn out my crew.”

“That sounds great. And just what do you do for pleasure when you’re not the Captain?”

She chuckled. “What makes you think being the Captain isn’t my pleasure?” Before I could respond, she continued. “I’ve been learning photography. I’ve an idea for a coffee table book with a Shibari Sails twist. And before you ask, no. I’m not going to have you write it. This will be mine.”

It was my turn to smile. “Fair enough. What about the future? Where do you expect to be ten years from now?”

“Good question. I’ve actually given that some serious thought and consulted with my father. My share of the net from our charters has been going into a savings account. I’ve already purchased a small condo in Jupiter and plan on buying some property in the Bahamas as both an investment and a retirement home.”

“Sounds like you’ve got the perfect life, Nessa. Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?”

“Just this. Don’t let the bastards wear you down!”

“Thank you, Vanessa.”

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