Letters 1 & 2

Letters From J.R. McFey’s Sea Chest

From J.R. to Missy

This correspondence is from an inmate incarcerated in the Palm Beach County Florida County jail.

December 24th , 1990

First, my Bonnie girl, let me admit that you were right. Obviously. The deal was too good to be true, but I had to try. I hope you understand that I’m determined to have our own boat and our own company. What do you think of McFey Salvage? I’ve drawn a logo on the back of this paper, but I know your version will be better. You’re so talented.

I can see your sweet face. I know you’ve been crying. I know you are worried. Don’t shake your head at me. After all these years, I know you better than the map we created together. I hope you got a Christmas tree, baby. I bet you’ve used all the shells we picked up off the beach at Sanibel to decorate it. I didn’t get any time to scope out Palm Beach before the police interrupted our negotiations to buy the ship. The perfect ship. We were going to trade both of our cars and the cash Christopher had in his account, but I left the title to my jalopy in Rhode Island or Charleston, I’m not sure which. Anyway, the cop said Christopher lied on his application and I was trying to obtain a boat with a stolen car. It wasn’t stolen. I traded for it with my older brother’s sailboat. The sailboat was worth a hell of lot more than that car ever was. So, see, baby, it’s all just a misunderstanding. Don’t worry. Everything is going to be perfectly fine. I’ll work all this out and make the deal. We’re going to have that boat!

She’s 30 feet across and 113 feet long. There’s room for all the babies you want. By the time our children get their own captain licenses, we’ll be ready to buy each of them their own boats. Some men want a basketball team, I want an armada. She’s black with white lettering, but I’m going to paint her blue, like your eyes, my love. The kitchen needs work, but I can fix what needs fixing, so you’ll have a working kitchen. I thought turquoise for the kitchen. It’s your favorite color! Yes, there is a private head in the largest stateroom and there are bunks still bolted to the floors from when the oil company used it to transport workers out to the drilling platforms. It just needs your touch, my love.

I swear I’ll be home soon and I’ll make all our dreams come true, right after I make you my wife.

Promise you’ll wait for me.

Merry Christmas.

Your Clyde

From Missy to J.R.

December 31st, 1990

Oh Clyde!

Christopher’s father left last night to get you two out of trouble. I found the title to your old jalopy under the floorboard in the beach shack and I added an envelope of the extra money I’ve made renting surf boards. It’s not a lot, but Christopher’s dad said he’d make it work. He also said, this is it and he’s going to haul Christopher home and enroll him in school. He said you better do the same. You in school. I thanked him but told him not to try that with you as there is no chance.

I so hope he’s already found you and you’re drinking a beer and smoking a good cigar. I’m not mad and I’m not crying with worry, but I do want to know what really happened. I think you’re protecting me and trying to only tell me half of the story.

I thought you were half way across the Atlantic, which would have made our time apart shorter rather than longer. Once you figure out what’s next, I’m packed and can be out the door in a minute. Whoever arrives first has to wait for the other. We’ll go from there together.

Clyde, I’ve followed up on the boat you were trying to buy. Everything the last captain said checks out. He provided me with receipts for the work he had done and I’ve verified the work was done. I know the kitchen is empty and there are no cabins, but that means we can build the inside to suit us. I don’t normally say things like this for fear of what you might do, but Clyde, this boat feels like the one. Finally, we could be together. We could set off on our first treasure hunt and make our first fortune. Then you can spend it on making whatever we end up with our new home. How about the Darling after Wendy’s family.

Just because you’ve known me since I was a kid doesn’t mean you know ME. You can’t imagine how much I want to be with you, how eager I am to start our family. Short of robbing banks, I’m game. And stop calling me Bonnie. Just because your name is Clyde doesn’t mean I have to be Bonnie. Besides, they didn’t end well. We might be ready to strike out and make our name count, but we’re going to go the legal route and stay out of trouble.

I’m sorry, Clyde, but I don’t like logo you designed. No one wants to hire pirates. They can’t be trusted. We’ll try again without the skull and crossbones or the cutlass. What do you think of something from Peter Pan. I know you love that story. I bet you’ll find a reference you can use to draw a logo that says WE ARE THE BEST. ADVENTURE. LOVE. LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST. See what I mean?

I did get a tree. It was lovely. Only a tiny thing, but I covered it with seashells and the bell you bought me on our first date. I bought a new swimsuit. I don’t like it much, but I’m going to like your reaction when you see it.

My sister is dating a new guy. I don’t really care for him, but she says he’s nice. I don’t know. She thinks anyone with pretty eyes is a good guy. Maybe you can meet him, get rid of him, when you come home. Come get me. Tell me where to meet you. You can make me your wife in Tahiti.

I will wait for you forever and always, my love.

I wonder what 1991 will bring?

I love you as deep as the ocean.

Missy McFey


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