by Jerry Guarino
(Seal Cove, CA 1969)
The air was moist and salty. The sky was blue
with cumulus clouds floating slowly from West to
East. A lighthouse peered out towards the Pacific
Ocean waiting for her nightly shift. Tim lived
within walking distance in a small, pale grey
Cape Cod home with red shutters. He was the light
keeper and resident artist in the sleepy town of
The lighthouse had a wide bottom with enough room
for hostel travelers going to San Francisco.
There was a stained, oak plaque, engraved with
the name Wentworth in the center of
the door. A cowbell with a rope cord was affixed
to the left, Tims doorbell.
A boy and a girl, dressed in baggy clothes,
walked up to the cottage and pulled the heavy
rope back and forth to ring the bell. Hello.
Is anyone home?
Tim answered. Yes, hello. Are you looking
for the hostel? The girl spoke first.
How much is it for the night?
Eight dollars a person each night and that
includes breakfast. Tim could tell that
even eight dollars might be a lot. But
tonight its eight dollars for a couple.
The two smiled and reached into their jeans to
find the money. The boy pulled out three ones and
some change and the girl found a five dollar bill.
Here you go sir as she handed the
wrinkled bills to Tim. Is there a place to
Theres a shower in the house,
Tim said pointing behind him. And there are
two bathrooms in the lighthouse. My name is Tim.
Im Hannah and this is my boyfriend
Eric. Were coming down from Oregon.
Welcome. Let me show you the lighthouse.
The couple followed Tim, holding hands. Tim
pulled open the heavy metal door with a creaking
sound you would expect, gesturing for them to
enter first. The floor was rectangular with a
black iron, spiral staircase in the middle. Along
the sides were green army cots, at least 10 and
more space for people with blankets and sleeping
bags. The floor was clean and there were no signs
of bugs. Well, here is where you sleep. On
the next landing up, there are two bathrooms and
a sink. Theres also a small fridge with
Eric pointed to the huge windows surrounding them.
There arent any shades? Sorry
said Tim. It is a lighthouse and he
gave a little chuckle at his joke.
Dont worry, folks get pretty tired by
dark and sleep soundly. Its the salt air
and ocean breeze. Hear that whistling. Thats
the wind blowing through.
Theres no heat? said Hannah.
Tim pointed up. Not regular heat, but when
the lamp starts spinning, it radiates heat down
here, sort of like sleeping near a campfire. Youll
be fine in your bags.
Hannah and Eric put their backpacks and sleeping
bags on two of the cots, facing the ocean. How
many people are here tonight?
Only two now, but two more have called in
to reserve a spot. The two over there are your
age, another couple. From Arizona I think. Susan
and Jim. Nice kids. They went into town to get
something to eat at the diner. You just walk down
that street about a half mile and you cant
Thanks Tim. If its OK with you, well
use the shower and then go into town. Eric
nodded his agreement.
Sure enough. Just walk in the back door.
There are towels, soap and shampoo. Breakfast is
from 7 to 9, bacon, eggs, pancakes and juice. Oh,
and coffee and tea of course. You could walk to
the diner if you want something more, but you
have to pay.
Im sure your breakfast will be fine
Tim. Besides we want to get an early start; were
trying to make the music festival in Berkeley by
Saturday. Eric pointed to his mandolin case
and Hannahs flute.
Well, isnt that wonderful. Maybe youll
play something for me later.
We will Tim. Tim walked back to the
house. Eric and Hannah realized how tired they
were and collapsed on the cots. They woke up at
four, in time for that shower and walk to town
As they were walking into town, they saw another
couple. That must be Susan and Jim.
When they met, Hannah introduced herself. Hi.
Are you staying at the lighthouse too?
Susan spoke first. Hi, yes, Im Susan
and this is Jim. Weve been there for a week.
Jim shook hands with Eric. Hi, Eric and
Eric was wondering why they had been here so long.
Been here a week, huh?
Yeah, we just love it here. The fresh air,
the beach and that lighthouse. Susan gave
Jim an affectionate hug. We have the
wildest dreams in there.
Eric and Hannah looked a little surprised. Dreams?
What do you mean wild?
Jim and Susan just giggled. Youll see,
and they continued walking back to the lighthouse.
Eric and Hannah found a booth at the diner,
ordered dinner, then asked the waitress. You
know anything about the lighthouse?
The waitress smiled. This is your first
night, kids. Well, I wouldnt want to spoil
the surprise and she walked back to the
Eric stopped her. Wait. Could you bring us
some water too? The waitress giggled and
nodded. Sure thing hon.
Hannah rubbed her forehead. Sounds like an
adventure. Wonder why Tim didnt say
Beats me. Maybe the place is haunted.
Eric. You dont believe in ghosts, do
I dont know what I believe until I
see it. But nobodys said it was scary, just
smiled and laughed about it.
Maybe even sensual as Hannah slid her
foot under Erics jeans.
When Eric and Hannah
arrived back at the lighthouse, they saw Jim and
Susan sitting outside behind the railing,
watching the sun set over the ocean. Hey
guys. You seem to have found the perfect place.
This is like heaven. If you watch carefully,
you can see seals out in the cove chasing dinner.
Theres one now said Susan as she
pointed it out.
Oh yeah. Cool. Mind if we join you?
Not at all. Would you like some wine?
Susan poured some sangria into plastic cups and
handed them to Eric.
Thanks Susan. Hey, let me get my music.
Bring my flute honey.
OK, be right back.
A concert on the ocean?
No, just a little music to go with the view.
Eric and I are renaissance musicians. Were
supposed to play at the Berkeley festival on
Right on. Hope you get there in time.
We have four days. We should be able to
hitch there by then.
Oh, getting a ride isnt the problem.
We thought we would leave after one night.
Hannah gave Susan a quizzical look. The
The wildest girl, the wildest.
Eric returned with the mandolin and handed the
flute to Hannah. OK, any requests from the
sixteen hundreds? and he laughed.
Fraid not. Just do your thing.
Hannah began with the flute and Eric joined in.
It was a lyrical song, just as you would imagine
from 17th century England. I can almost
smell the roasting pig now Jim said.
Dont forget the jousting and bow and
arrow competitions said Eric.
And ladies in corsets tied up to their
breasts said Susan, smiling at them.
Mlady, I think they are flirting with
us, said Eric.
I think youre right, kind sir,
The four of them talked and played and danced,
finishing two bottles of wine. The sun was almost
set now and it was getting dark. They could see
Tim approaching with a flashlight.
Time to light the lamp, he said.
Jim and Susan stood and applauded. Eric and
Hannah just looked on, perplexed. Tim walked up
the spiral staircase and turned on the lamp. Then
he set the motor for rotation. A loud whirring
sound turned into a low hum as a bright beacon
lit up around them.
OK, time for bed, said Jim.
But its only 8:30? said Hannah.
Youll see. Jim took Susans
hand and they ran inside giggling.
Tim saw the other couple. Better get inside.
The wind will kick up and blow you right onto
those rocks down there. Remember, theres
water in the cooler on the second level.
When they got in, they saw Jim and Susan already
making out in their sleeping bags, with their
clothing tossed out on the wooden floor. Susan
started to make sounds of excitement, unabashedly
in front of them.
Hannah put her hand to the floor. Oh, I see
why they havent left. The floor vibrates
from the lamp turning.
Sounds good to me and he took his
clothes off and jumped into the sleeping bag.
Susan saw Eric. Wait, you dont have
your water as she pointed up the staircase.
Water. Im not thirsty.
You will be hon. Trust me.
Ill get it Eric. Hannah
scurried up the staircase and returned with two
bottles of water. By this time, Susan was in her
second round of ecstasy.
Hannah gave a bottle to Eric, they clicked the
plastic as if they were glass bottles, and then
they took a long gulp. Cheers. She
got into the sleeping bag and took off her
Hannah. Is the room spinning?
No, Eric. Thats the lamp spinning
above us. Its making a shadow spin around
the room. Wait. I feel it now too.
Susan and Jim continued their lovemaking, the
empty bottles of water lying beside them. Eric
noticed this and said to Hannah. Have more
water. They both finished their bottle, and
then realized what was happening.
Its the water, said Hannah.
I can feel the spinning now and some..ooh..oh
Come here Hannah, said Eric and they
too lost their inhibitions, now oblivious to
Susan and Jim. After a couple hours, all four of
them fell asleep. Thats when the dreams
Susan dreamed of flying on the light beam from
the lighthouse toward the moon. She laughed and
danced among the clouds.
Jim saw animals in a multi-colored jungle. He
stalked around like a leopard, chasing his prey.
Then he became the leopard and ate a rabbit.
Eric was back in the 1600s, jousting against an
evil giant. Riding at full gallop, he thrust his
lance into the giant, who fell to the ground with
a large thud.
Hannah, well Hannah had the most exquisite dream
of all. She was a princess at a ball, dancing
with a handsome man, not a prince, but a commoner.
No one else seemed surprised by this and Hannah
fell back as her companion dipped her to kiss.
Then he picked Hannah up and carried her off.
But all the dreams were interrupted by a loud
noise, the heavy door banging. Then they saw a
light coming in at their eyes, blinding them.
Whos there? said Eric.
Sorry to wake everyone. Its just Tim
with some latecomers. Everyone, this is Rachel
Everyone exchanged obligatory pleasantries in
spite of being woken up out of their dreams of
As Tim turned to leave, Hannah called out. More