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The Burning Bays of Vieques – Chapter 9 – by Sean E. O’Connor


“Ya have to leave, huh?”

“It’s not easy, trust me. If it wasn’t for my mom, and all that went on yesterday, I would stay in your warm bed for sure.”

Martin and Angela were standing by his apartment door facing each other. His hands were on her hips and her arms were resting on his arms, stroking his biceps with her open hands.

“Besides, I do feel over-dressed for my government job.”

She stood on her toes a moment to give him a peck kiss.

“See you again?”

“Ah, Beautiful, you know you will,” Martin said as he leaned down slightly to return her kiss with a longer one.


Angela did not get much sleep at home before waking to have a cup of coffee with her mother. Angela talked about working with Congress Ramos’ staff in a joint effort to get a wider environmental study done on Vieques, as well as about dating Martin.   Her mother eventually stated that she was thinking of calling Loretta Gavin at the newspaper, and telling the “Narly News” editor about her run-in with the law. Angela tried to resist rolling her eyes, but she couldn’t.

“Just promise me you’ll take it easy today, Mom, okay?”

Despite putting up a good front the day before, Pamela did seem a bit humbled by the whole experience, and nodded yes.


Over the next few days Angela and her co-worker, Chuck, worked diligently with Congressman Ramos’ office to assemble all the data that could be found on the now-retired U.S. Navy base on Vieques; an EPA Super Fund site that had been left untouched since it was closed nearly 20 years before. Before the week was over, the final product was run by their boss and then sent to the congressman himself, who was scheduled to present it to the Congressional Committee on Environmental Affairs Monday morning.

With that done, and her work week behind her, Angela was able to turn her attention back to her personal life. Angela and Martin spent a lot of time together during the weekend.   Saturday night they rented a DVD from the Red Box in the neighborhood supermarket, and stocked up on popcorn, ice cream, lubricant and condoms. Angela was surprised how it seemed the more they made love together, the more she wanted to.

She felt something special was going on. So she wanted to tell Martin the truth about what had come over her, her new talent, or maybe more actuately, deformity. But she was afraid of rejection and didn’t want him to change his mind about her. Instead she filled his mind with all the facts she could gather on the Navy activities on and around Vieques, and how risky it would be, particularly for her career.

“I could really use a big smart guy like you with me when I go back there“

“You mean, to carry your luggage.”

“Yes, that’s it. No, I really mean it. Would you come with me? It should only be for a few days.”

“Well, I’m not going to let you go on your own, after all you’ve told me. Let me ask you a question: why do you feel like you have to do this; almost single-handedly. Wouldn’t this all come out eventually?”

“Martin, it hasn’t yet. It’s been 20 years since they labeled the base a ‘Wildlife Refuge,’ thereby putting it out of the reach of EPA scrutiny. And, well, I can’t tell you more right now, or I’d have to kill you.”

“Oh gee. Yes sir, Captain. On a need-to-know basis, I don’t need to know.”

As they shared a laugh, it was all Angela could do to keep from glowing.   Luckily she had spent some time practicing controlling that, so she did not go luminescent on him, just a little gooey.




Burning Bays of Vieques (Chapter 8)          by Sean E. O’Connor

Angela and Martin greeted each other warmly when they met in front of the movie theater.  In the theater they sat as close as they could to each other. 

Martin found Angela’s hand and held it, resting both hands on her leg.  As the movie progressed his hand slid under hers and spread around the inside of her thigh.  As Martin stroked, and squeezed her leg, Angela rubbed his hand and arm.  The warmth of Martin’s hand ran up her thigh as she imagined him touching her between her legs.  Eventually he did move his hand up to the top of her inner thigh, but only brushed her there for a moment as he slowly pulled his hand out and placed it around her neck gently, pulling her closer for a kiss.  She placed a hand softly on his face as they continued to kiss, gently and slowly. 

Angela loved every minute of it. They did manage to see some of the movie, stopping whenever they reached a peak they could not traverse without ripping off each other’s clothes.  Angela loved kissing and she sensed he enjoyed it too.

As the credits rolled Angela said, “I guess we’ll have to rent the DVD when it comes out.”  In response Martin just kissed her again.  So when they left the theater they were two hungry lovers looking for release.

“Can I interest you in a glass of faux wine at my place, Gorgeous?”

“I don’t know about the wine part.  Oh, faux wine; I get it. Sure.  You’ve made me a little dizzy, you brute.  Take me home already, and give me whatever you got.”

So he did. 

As Martin walked her up the two flights of stairs he softly ran his open hand up and down her back, giving her goose bumps every time his fingers moved over her bra strap, and his thumb strummed it occasionally.

“Should I brace myself for a view of a singles guy’s dump; I mean, pad?”

 “No, you’re with a gentleman.  Heck, I even have a couple of GQs lying around.”

Once in the apartment the wine was poured, they toasted to love and life, but very little was drunk after that.  Martin talked a little bit about his apartment, and Angela talked some about moving out of her mother’s place, but before long the two lovers started to make out with long passionate kisses and rambling hands.  Angela’s blouse was open and her bra unsnapped and floating about her, when she began unbuttoning his shirt, slid her small hand over his broad chest and said, “Take me to your bed, big guy.”  Then she pinched one of his nipples.

With his arm around her shoulders, Martin walked Angela the short distance to his bedroom, where he picked her up and laid her sideways across the bed.  They locked eyes.  Martin mouthed a kiss as he unzipped her jeans.  Angela returned the air kiss as he removed her jeans and panties.  They kept eye contact as he stroked her legs and knelt down between them.  With his fingers he gently encouraged the corolla of her venus flower open, lovingly revealing her petals. He made love to her there with his lips.  Angela’s eyes gradually closed.  Her tongue wet her lips as his tongue teased her bud.  Small surges of pleasure tingled up her body.

She was lost in those sensations till he stopped, stood up, and keeping his eyes on her, pulled down his black pants, past his cock which was straining the seams of his underwear.  Angela watched, sighed and bit her lip slightly as he released his growing penis from its holster.  Before she had a chance to bring up protection, Marty had opened a drawer by his bed and pulled out and then slipped on a condom. Then, while stroking her leg, he placed a pillow under her hips, lifted her feet up to his chest, and as they looked at each other, he slowly began entering her.  With her legs up like that against him, Angela had control over how quickly he entered her and how deep.  They kept eye contact until he fully entered her, at which point Angela closed her eyes, tilted her head back and lost herself in their rhythm, and began to sigh and moan with the billowing pleasure.  Warm surges rose up from her core in waves and continued till eventually Martin pulled out slowly, at which she sighed a low protest.  He removed the pillow from underneath her, as he bent over and kissed her mouth, her neck, her shoulders and her breasts.

“Oh Angela, you are such a sexy, beautiful woman.”

He then turned her over onto her knees, got on the bed and mounted her from behind, entering slowly as he held up her hips with both hands.  Once inside, he squeezed her cheeks together, sighing and moaning as he quickened the pace.

“Yes, Marty. Yes!  Oh Marteeee, yes!”

He grunted and pumped her harder in response.

“Oh my God!”

After that no more words were exchanged, just sounds of pleasure and panting until they peaked.  Gradually they fell on their sides, linked together in the spoon position till Angela turned over.  They then hugged, kissed and fondled each other till they both fell into a light sleep.  Angela hadn’t felt this wonderful and spent in long time.

Angela woke with a start and saw the concern and wonder on Martin’s face. Then her heart skipped a beat when she looked down at her naked body as it illuminated slightly, then suddenly stopped.  She felt she willed it away, but there was no willing away the look of shock on her new boyfriend’s face, though she did close her eyes for a second and tried.

“You all right, Angel?”

Angela secretly loved being called Angel by a romantic interest.  It helped her put on a broad sweet grin on her face, as she reached over to stroke his cheek and said, “Sure, He-man. Why do you ask?”

“Well, you, just like, glowed in the dark!  Didn’t you see it?”

“Of course – I’m glowing. You’ve just made wonderful, stimulating love to me.  You’ve got a magic touch, Marty.” 

The flattery seemed to distract Marty some. He narrowed his eyes, looked her body over, then pulled her closer for a kiss.  She kissed him back hard, and kept them locked together for a while. 

“You make me glow, Big Guy.”

He looked willing to brush the event aside, but Angela knew that if they were to continue as lovers she would have to tell him her secret. But how could she explain what she didn’t understand herself?

BURNING BAYS OF VIEQUES – Part 7 – by Sean O’Connor


Angela wrote down the address of the precinct her mother was taken to.  On the way out, she let her boss know she had an emergency at home, and was on the elevator before anyone had time to ask any questions.  In the elevator she called Marty’s cell, and he agreed to meet her at the police station in an hour or so.  Angela figured she would need some time to deal with the paperwork, or whatever needed to be done down at the precinct.   Angela herself never had a run-in with the law in her youth, a rare thing in her neighborhood, and now here she was going to bail out her vigilante mother.

As it happens, Pamela wasn’t actually in jail, but appeared to be holding court herself in a visitor’s area, chatting up a small group of citizens.

Mom! What happened?”

Those words came out of Angela louder than she had planned.  She had planned on having a one-on-one, intimate conversation with her mother, but instead here she was shouting across a large room filled with people.

A short, stern-faced black female officer, in full uniform, made eye contact with Angela, then moved toward her slowly.  The policewoman actually swaggered when she moved, due mainly to the items on her utility belt.  After stunted introductions, Officer Jones explained to Angela that she and the precinct chief thought Mrs. Perez should be given a quick–and she emphasized free–psych evaluation, by a social worker on site.  Just to make sure she wouldn’t be a danger to herself or others.

It took a lot of charm, wit, and assertiveness, but Angela was finally able to get her mother out of the station in her custody, with a promise to get her a psychological evaluation as soon as possible.  No charm, though, was going to undo the citations Pamela had received, especially since the bicyclist insisted on pressing charges. 

As the two women walked out the precinct door, they were having a very animated conversation until Angela noticed Marty standing across the street, waving at her. The exterior of the car he was driving looked like a junker, with the doors and fenders painted different colors. When they crossed to the other sidewalk, Marty opened the back door for them.

There’s no passenger seat in the front of this loaner car from my boss,” he said, touching Angela’s arm, giving her a peck on the cheek, and pointed to the empty void near the driver’s seat.  Then he turned to introduce himself to her mother, “Nice to meet you, Mrs. Lopez.”  Clearly a little overwhelmed by Marty’s look and size, she just smiled, nodded, and stepped into the back seat of the car, followed by her daughter.  An immediate, uncomfortable silence hung inside the vehicle.

Marty pulled the car out into traffic, and although the sedan was not pretty, its inner workings were well maintained and ran smoothly.  Angela wanted to vent and tell Marty about her mom turning into a vigilante, but it dawned on her that he and she had barely begun to date, and she had already involved him too much already.  So she cleared her throat, gave her mom a “we’ll talk later” look, and said, “Thank you, kind sir, for coming to our rescue today.”

Oh, sure thing.  Just another day for this mulatto knight.  Where to, damsels?”

Can you just drop us off at our apartment, please?”

You got it lady,” Marty said in his best cab driver impersonation.

The rest of the drive was quiet, until right before they turned down the Lopezes’ street, when Marty asked Angela if their movie date was still on for tonight.  She had really forgotten about it, with all the excitement during this long day.  Though tired, Angela suddenly was looking forward to escaping to a movie house for a couple of hours.  So she said, “Yes,” then turned to her mother, “Can I go out for a few hours tonight, Mom, and not expect another phone call about you?”

Am I under house arrest?” Pamela asked.

In a  manner of speaking, yes.”

Oh, don’t worry about me.  I’ll stay at home and keep a low profile.  You two go out and have fun.”

Here you are, ladies.”

Thank you, Marty.  Nice to meet you.”

No problem, Mrs. Lopez.”

As Pamela headed for the front door of their apartment building, Angela walked over to the driver’s window, and put her hand on Marty’s shoulder.

Thanks for coming to my aid so quickly.  I didn’t know exactly what I was facing when I called you.”

No sweat; your mother sounds like fun.”

Should I bring her with me tonight?”

Marty’s jaw opened, but nothing came out.

Only kidding.  What time is the movie?”

Well, its 6:15 or 8:15 tonight.  Should I wait for you?”

No, I’ll just meet you there at 6. OK?”

Marty Just nodded, smiled, and put the car into gear.

As the car pulled away, Angela tried not to dwell on what Marty was thinking, as she looked up at her mother’s apartment, sighed, and walked to the front door and up the stairs.  Her mother was already in the apartment and apparently hiding in her bedroom.  Thinking it would be best to talk the events of the day over another time, Angela went about getting ready for her date.  Hopefully we will be able to think and talk about something else besides my mother tonight.  It would be nice to get lost in Marty’s arms and kisses instead.  It had been quite a while since Angela felt this romantic. 

After a quick shower she pulled out, from the back of a dresser drawer, a new pink pushup bra she bought on a whim a few weeks ago.


Copyright 2014 by Sean  O’Connor


THE MAN by Jay Wenk

you call ‘em as you see them,
standing alone in a world of wintry cheer,
speaking your truth.
They pity and mock your frugal ways
in the season of giving, and
cast you away from their sense of Rectitude.
I can see your eye’s hard glint as you’re being
bullied into acid conformity, submission to
the nagging mob’s manipulation.
I know your heart is pure,
your belief remains strong
despite the goose you grasp while
grimacing a ‘god bless us all’.
You yearn for the New Year, the season
when resolutions fail and living returns to normal.
As the months repeat, conviction sustains you;
never doubting; never wavering;
you’ve seen the light, you know the truth.
Your “Humbug” may seem severe,
your world disturbed with
unwelcome sounds and visions;
Xmas bruises your soul, but
Ebenezer, you the man.

The Burning Bays of Vieques – Part 6 by Sean E. O’Connor

“Oh, Congressman Ramos.  Hi, I’m Angela Lopez and this is Chuck Edwards.  We were part of the eco-team that went to Vieques.” 


“Nice to meet you both.  How did it go?”


Chuck answered, “I think Mr. Jenkins would like to report those results to you.”


“Well, yes, he would, but, Congressman, I’ve been studying up on the U.S. Navy base’s history there, and I . . . well, I think we’ve barely scratched the surface of the situation there.”


Despite Chuck giving her the “cut it off” signal, Angela went on, “I won’t hold you, Congressman, but I did submit a proposal to Richard, Mr. Jenkins, proposing a broader environmental study of the entire island, particularly focusing on the base itself.”


“Interesting.  I will ask Jenkins about that ,” Congressman Ramos said as he reached out to shake hands with each of them, and then turned toward the door.


“Second door on the right, you said?”


They both nodded yes.  Once Ramos was out of their office, Chuck said reproachfully, “Has Richard even had the time to read your proposal?”    


“Probably no, but I had to put a plug in for it, when I had the chance, or it would just collect dust on his desk.”


It was not long before Angela received a call from Richard’s secretary paging her to his office.  As she entered his office, she could see Richard was not particularly happy.  Ramos stood to offer her the guest chair near Richard’s desk, but she politely refused with a gesture and a smile, and sat in a chair along the office wall.


“The Congressman said you’ve discussed our test results from the Bio-Bays , and your proposal to return for further studies?” Richard said in as stern a voice he could get away with in front of company.  He held Angela’s proposal in his hand.


“I – we did not discuss those test results.  Chuck and I deferred to you, boss, but I did bring up the idea of broader studies when we happened to meet by accident earlier.”


Richard was somewhat appeased by her answered, but still appeared uncomfortable as he continued, “Well, Congressman Ramos would like to work with this office on such a grant proposal.  I’ve had my secretary make him a copy and have tentatively decided to have you be the point person from this office to work with his office on it.”


“What do you say, Angela?  My staff is experienced with grant writing.  Put that together with my personal knowledge of Puerto Rico and Vieques, and your scientific knowledge, we can put together a plan that should get approved.  A study that is long overdue.”


Before Angela could respond Richard said to her, “You must keep me up to date, constantly, Angela.”


“Of course, boss.”


“You both should be aware that the reason such a study has not been done long ago, is that the Navy turned the retired base over to the Interior Department, so it can be labeled a National Wildlife Refuge.”  Ramos continued, “Technically such lands are protected from any kind of disturbance, federal or otherwise.  It’s time they are challenged on this.  People’s health and lives are at stake here.”


After saying that, Hector suddenly stood up, reached across Richard’s desk, gave him a quick handshake, and said, “Thank you Richard.  I’ll be in touch and hopefully we’ll bust open this can of worms.”


Turning to Angela, Hector said, “Will you walk me to the elevator, Ms. Lopez?”


“Sure, I’d be glad to, but you can call me Angela.”


He smiled, held the door for her, and said, “Hector will do, Angela.”


As an afterthought Hector thanked Richard for his time as the door closed behind them.


Angela was practically beaming over the fast turn of events, which she expected would bring her back to Puerto Rico and Vieques, and hopefully the cause of her strange new talent. 


Suddenly she realized her standing there in silence, beaming, might be giving this handsome man the wrong impression, so she went motor mouth, elaborating on what she hoped to accomplish, and how quickly she hoped to get to work.  Without missing a beat, the congressman promised that he or his office would be in touch very soon.


Angela’s cellphone started to vibrate as the elevator doors closed on the congressman’s final goodbyes.  Angela waved, smiled, then reached into her pocket to see if the call warranted her attention at work.  Her screen showed “Rachel,” her mother’s closest friend and their neighbor.  What could this be about?  Angela was at her desk when she finally answered the call almost as if it was her office phone, “Angela Lopez here.”


In a loud, excited voice, which made Angela suddenly hold the phone away from her head, she heard, “Angela, your mother has been arrested and she’s headed for the police station.”


Angela’s eyes crossed as her mind tried to digest this information.


“How can that be?”


“She up and smacked a bicyclist with her pocketbook as he was peddling along and playing with his smart phone.  She insisted she was doing him – and get this – society a favor, but the policewoman didn’t see it that way.”


“Jesus, Rachel, they can’t be arresting her!”


“Yes they are, doll.  The cyclist is pissed, and she gave the officer nothing but lip.”


Oh, Mom.




Determined to pamper herself, Angela ran water for a bath, lit a candle, and eased into her hot bubble bath, letting it burn her skin slightly till all her muscles relaxed.  She kept her eyes closed in case she went luminescent, because she did not want to think about anything for at least a few minutes, especially that.  It was Wednesday night, the night her mother ate over at her old friend Rachel’s apartment.  Angela was glad to have some quiet time alone.


After her bath she ate a small meal, then logged onto her computer where she read an acknowledgement from the Life editor of the Narly News, Loretta Gavin.  The email stated that Angela’s letter would be one of the letters Loretta was highlighting in her new column, “Manners Data,” starting the following day.  Angela had to admit that was a catchy title, and applauded the idea, but was immediately gripped with regret about writing the letter describing her ugly experience on the A train.  Oh well, she thought, I did want to be part of the solution.  I’ll deal with that tomorrow.


She moved on to Google Earth and focused on the old Navy base on Vieques.  The place was loaded with abandoned bunkers, storage tanks, buildings, and damaged equipment.   At another site she saw photographs of piles of old bombshells and saw a fresh headline describing a child getting second degree burns from a chemical vessel she found on the beach there.  Angela was determined now, more than ever, to visit the island herself and soon.


Luckily Angela fell asleep early, because she was awakened before her alarm went off by her mother bursting through the bedroom door waving the Narly News at her.  She was glad to see her mom happy, but Angela woke up focused on a mission of her own, so she did not linger, grabbed a travel cup of coffee and some cookies and headed out the door for work.


On the way to her subway stop, Angela picked up in her peripheral vision a child with his mother.  They were holding hands until they reached the curb at a crosswalk.  It seemed the mother assumed the child would stop as she did, so she let go of the child’s hand to type something into her Blackberry.  Instead, the child kept walking into the busy intersection against the light.  Instinct took over Angela immediately.  She whirled around in a faint green blur, pushing the child back onto the sidewalk, bumping him into his mother.  That in turn caused the women’s Blackberry to fly into the air and bounce once before falling down the curbside sewer opening. 


Angela landed next to the passenger door of a Yellow Cab that had slammed on its brakes to avoid the child.  Without hesitating, Angela opened the cab’s door and stepped in.  An ensemble of car horns started to honk as she made eye contact with Josof, the shocked cabdriver.


“How’d you do that?”


“Do what?  Never mind, shouldn’t you be driving?”


“Where to, Voodoo Lady?”


“Oh, just to the next A train station, please.”


“You going to work, lady?”




“Then I’ll take you there,” Josof insisted as he drove through the intersection.


“I can’t afford that.”


“It’s on me.  I would have hit that child if it weren’t for you.”


Josof was a recent immigrant from Haiti, who appeared to be still shaken by the near miss.


“I would have wound up hating myself, and losing my job, both on the same day.”


Angela spent a couple of minutes trying to convince Josof that he did not see her save the child, but it was fruitless, so she gave him the address she worked at.  Once there she did try to give him some money, but he pushed it aside and instead gave her his card, saying, “Call me any time you need a ride.  Glad to help a good voodoo woman.  What do they call you?”


What do they call me?  Crazy would fit, but instead she answered, “Angela.”


“Good day, Angel Lady, and thank you again.”


Angela just returned a soft, weary smile, gave him a quick wave, and turned toward her place of employment. She sighed and walked in.


Upstairs the whole office seemed abuzz about something.  It did not take long to realize it was owing to her letter to the Narly News.  She never realized how many people read the daily newspaper; the reaction was a little overwhelming.  The whole idea of the column itself was just as much a topic around the water cooler.  Even her co-workers, whom she had seen texting while walking down the narrow aisles and hallways of the EPA office, shared how they were annoyed when other people did the same.  Clearly Loretta, the paper’s Life editor, had touched a nerve regarding the lack of manners when portable technology and people mix in public, and Angela was glad that her mother and she were helping create awareness on this issue.  Still, today Angela had weightier issues on her mind.


When Angela got to her computer, she found that the EPA agent on Vieques, Thelma Hernando, had forwarded a broad history of the U.S. Navy’s activity on and around the island, some detailed studies done in the past, and several location pictures, as well as a picture of herself in uniform. That last picture came with a note offering full cooperation, said she was looking forward to meeting Angela some day, and suggested Angela send a picture of herself or “friend” Thelma on Facebook. 


Angela got a funny feeling from the tone of the correspondence.  She did remember Thelma saying that Angela had a sexy voice over the phone, but had not realized that Thelma had become curious about the rest of her.  Well, no matter, if it’s happening at all, it would not be the first time a women was attracted to me, Angela thought.  I’ll have to tread lightly; Thelma is too important to risk alienating her.  She certainly is an exotic-looking woman.  She’ll make some other woman happy some day.


Just then Chuck walked by and caught a glimpse of the photo.


“Well, not bad looking; is she your sister or cousin?”


“No, Chuck it’s the lone and lonely EPA staff member stationed on Vieques.”


Chuck studied the picture a little closer.


“Forget it, Chuck, she’s not your type.  Do you think you could look through this well test data for me, and see if any anomalies pop up at you?”


“Sure, anything for that pretty lady’s new BF.”


Angela could only return a twisted smirk back, taking a moment to wonder what actually made him tick.


“I’ll forward it to you right now.”


Chuck sat at his desk, which was not far from Angela’s.


“Angela, this study is from 10 years ago.”


Looking more closely at Thelma’s notes, Angela was surprised to read that the study was the latest one.


“Apparently, Chuck, it is the last study taken, which is crazy since the whole island is on EPA’s Super Fund list.”


“Odd indeed.  I’ll look this over closely.  And, Angela, I’ll help you sift through whatever data you get on this island.  You’ve piqued my curiosity now.”


Chuck might have said more, but he was distracted by the visitor who had just walked in, so instead he gestured for Angela to turn around and look.  Congressman Hector Ramos was walking through the door behind her.


“Richard Jenkins’ office?”



Copyright 2013 by Sean O’Connor

ENMITY by Dennis McCann

Was there blatant enmity between them
In that lush green Garden?
Did a cool raw animus
Waft through its luxuriant splendor?

He and She at odds
By primordial necessity
With naught at stake
Save what to find delight in

Did the Serpent find fertile ground
On which to sow sour discontent
With the unctuous promise
That one might have dominion?

Yet both partook of the proscribed fruit
And were therefore cast down
To where they would need each other
And rancor have no value at all

Copyright 2013 by Dennis McCann