A/N: This is the sequel to Little Willie. If a reference is made to something you don't remember, it may be from that story. Globetrotters is Part 2 of the (7 part) Willie Loomis World Series. Subsequent titles are The Maine Event, Changes, This Old House, Interlude and Haplessly Ever After.
The time period has shifted from the original TV show. The first story begins in 1956. This installment covers the years 1975 to 1981. Willie goes from 19 to 24 years old.
Soliciitation: As always, your comments and reviews are welcome and appreciated.
Disclaimer: I do not own Dark Shadows or any other copyrighted material contained herein.
The first job Jason and Willie procured was on a tramp steam vessel called the Bremerhaven, sailing to North Carolina. They stuck with that ship for a while, traveling to Port-au-Prince, Barbados and on to South America—transporting wheat, barley, construction equipment and oil supplies.
Willie wasn't sure how his partner got him on board that first time; he never had a real job before. His only legitimate documentation was an illegitimate birth certificate, and his own mother didn't know where that was. But the ship was owned by a foreign company and perhaps they hadn't looked too closely at Willie's brand new "passport."
Jason's previous seafaring experience earned him assignments such as inward freight clerk, insurance clerk, voucher clerk—anything that would plant him behind a desk. On the other side of 40 now, he wasn't about to be swabbing decks. Willie was given an entry-level job as wiper, a position responsible for cleaning and maintaining equipment in the engine room, which was hotter than the second floor of hell. The crew worked shifts of 4 hours on/8 off/4 on/8 off, seven days a week. It wasn't very exciting work, but it was a real job and the meals were regular, so the new sailor didn't mind. It beat the crap out of his last employment.
Willie's favorite assignment was watch duty, during which he would stare at the horizon in amazement, whether the view was coastline or endless sea. In the past, the boy's only travels had traced a chain of seedy motels and concrete highways. Now he was sailing up the Orinoco River in Venezuela, where he could observe native rainforest tribes along the riverbanks.
Jason did not share his friend's fascination for these scenic vistas. His goal was a touristy destination, such as Trinidad or Aruba, where they could lay over for a while, put together a few deals, and refill the till. For lack of entertainment, Willie would listen to the Irishman reiterate his ambitious plans for big payoffs. His only other companionship was limited to the number of crew members who spoke English, and subtract from that Brits because of Jason's disdain for Limeys.
What remained was a small pack of Southern trailer trash with whom Willie, when left to his own devices, would drink and brawl. They played craps and poker, but the hoodlum couldn't swindle any real cash because no one was paid until the end of the voyage. Still, he could use them for practice. They would drawl on about their sprawling families, brushes with the law and sexual conquests. Willie didn't have any personal anecdotes he wished to share but would recycle stories Charlie the barroom drunk told him when he was a kid or retell movie plots as personal experience.
For slightly more than a year, the duo traveled the East Coast, from North to South America, frequently laying over in the Caribbean. Willie learned a little Spanish and French, sometimes mixing them together, enough to get whores and drinks and play cards. "Bonita señorita, combien ça coûte?" (1)
They shared a smoke on the poop deck of the Alma Molina, which was headed north again to Boston, as Jason reprimanded the lad for his misuse of free time. "What is this habit you have of drawin' low life to ya like a magnet?"
Willie snorted with laughter. "Who exactly are ya talkin' about, Jason?"
"Now, don't get smart with me. Stick with losers, and you'll become one of them. You're startin' to talk like you're from the bowels of Alabama."
The young sailor shrugged. "But I like 'em; they call me Brooklyn."
"As if they knew where that is. We're finally headed for a good port where we can drop anchor for a while and do some business, then head over to—"
Willie pointed over the port stern. "Holy shit, look, a whale!"
Jason smacked him on the side of the head. "Pay attention. If you're not at the top of your game, you will end up in jail. And I promise you, boy-o, I'll not be there to keep ya company."
Willie leaned over the railing, gazing out to sea. "But it's a whale; that's so cool." Sighing, he turned back to his senior partner who was apparently unimpressed by such phenomena. "I know the short cons, and I'm good; I could palm a twenty on you."
"Don't count on it. Besides, it's time to think about puttin' together a long con. It's a lot more reward for a lot less work."
"Well, don't hold out on me, man," he punched Jason's arm. "Let's get crackin.'"
Thus began Willie's further tutorials on the art of the shill.
(1) Pretty lady, how much?