by: Tom Rau
A nine year old boy in New Jersey named Karl Stanley read a book about submarines, not completely unlike other 9 year old boys he found them fascinating. In fact, he was hooked. If a man was a whale and a submarine could be a hunter then this boy was Moby Dick and the submarine was Ishmael. The submarine would never let go. And at the amazing age of nine he never looked back. At fifteen he began building his first submarine in his parents back yard. In 2012, a couple decades later he was on his second commercial submarine, a twenty foot longish little yellow beauty named Idabel. His first submarine lay in a pile of rust and seaweed at the bottom of the bay.
I first physically crossed paths with Karl Stanley, if crossing paths is what you want to call it, on one of my last days in Honduras. He came flying down a zip-line I didn’t know existed from a bright colored house on the far end of Half Moon Bay. The flecks of grey in his hair suggested a man in his mid 40’s, while his curious and youthful smile suggested a man much younger. He could be 35, he could be close to 50. Honestly I have no idea. He was a man who has followed, and continues to follow his dreams with a conviction, intellect, and purpose that are truly inspiring. I imagine these men are timeless. I was fortunate enough to get to spend an afternoon with Karl aboard his truly unique underwater vessel.
We viewed this world through a giant concave window; a bubble-like portal to another universe. From 1000 feet below sea level the world is dark. So fucking dark, deep space dark. In fact from 1000 feet underwater, in a submarine built for three[^1], it feels exactly like what I imagine it to be like in space. Lucky however, we had crazy amounts of lighting and lasers to boot. As we scooted around the ocean at depths deeper than any commercial submarine in the southwestern hemisphere could take us we were witness to much. Things like the ancient stalked Crinoid, one of the oldest living organisms on the planet[^2]; it reminded me of what an x-ray of Dr. Seuss’s Truffula Tree might look like. We saw so many corals, colors, and just freaky shit that it was impossible for me not to contemplate the galaxy[^3] and the infinite number of life forms possible. I’d say more about this but my words can’t do it justice, here’s a link to his (www.stanleysubmarines.com), there are amazing pictures there that show it much better. My words and images will never do it justice. It is an entirely different universe. The last thing I will say is I cannot heap enough praise on a man who had a dream at 9 and decades later still has the passion for it that Karl Stanley has. Seriously, if we all had this kind of passion and drive I can’t imagine the world not being a truly wondrous place.
Fast forward a few hours. My mom and I have baby sitting duties while my sister and husband have a much deserved romantic dinner in peace. I am to go out and get some rotisserie chicken for my mom and I to eat while we play basketball with the baby. On my way to the chicken spot I pass by a building containing not only “the street walker[^4]”, but also a couple of her much more attractive friends. One of them says, “sucky sucky”[^5] to me and waves me over. I fucking knew it. My instincts are strong; we can smell our own. I head to the chicken spot and order my chicken. I know I have a fifteen minute wait so I decide to press my luck[^6]. I go back, say hello, at which point they clearly think I am going to buy some sex. I attempt to set some ground rules, “No sex por favor, I just want to have a drink”. I’m not 100% sure if she gets me or not but the girl who propositioned me comes with. I order two beers, smile and say hello again. Awkward does not even begin to describe how I am feeling. The conversation itself leaves much to be desired. My Spanish and her English are at crossroads, guns drawn, staring each other down at high noon. I laugh, uneasily and ask what she likes to do. She likes to fuck. I ask her what else she does. She likes the ocean. I have no idea what I am doing, I have no desire[^7] to have sex with her, but I do want to get to know her; not in a judgmental way and not in an, I am interested kind of way, more like just as a human with a completely different set of experiences kind of way. She seems like a good person. I am not a savior, I have absolutely no desire to save her. I just want to hang out. In some strange way I feel a bond. We could be friends. Totally. We are of the fringe people, however different our worlds may be. She has a sense of humor. We laugh at a few mismatched couples passing by. She points at a guy on a bike and laughs and tells me he is stupid. I tell her he looks fucking stupid. Her name is Nina. We finish our beers, she asks me again if I would like to come with her. I decline. I think she gets it now. We hug, She says thank you and I leave to retrieve my chicken.
I return to my mom and my baby niece. I barely have time to eat my chicken before I am asleep on the couch. Sorry mom. A couple hours later my sister and husband return; I’m tired, cranky, and immediately just go lay down and pass out in my bed.
I wake up to no one. I look at the time, and it’s 12:45am. It’s my last night in this Honduran party town. I could easily go back to sleep, but I can’t let that happen. I would never forgive myself. Like Christ, i rise again[^8]. I stumble out the door and head down to the street. I can hear music but the street seems dead, minus a few older couples strolling back to their places of rest. To the music I head, wondering if maybe I got my times confused and it is now after 2am and everything is closed. But then i get to the Nova Bar. I’m pretty sure everyone awake within a twenty mile radius is here. Totally jammed up; a surreal mix of locals and tourists all getting wasted and dancing to Latin club music. Next to me a local guy in his 20s or early 30s is making out with a woman no younger than 60 who I would have bet anyone any amount of money was a lesbian. Much confusion ensues. I clearly need to catch up and catch up quick. My sober mind is lost here. I order two shots and a beer from my man JC. I slug the shots and head into the light show. I dance like a white guy for five minutes. And then I just dance. I finish my beer and head back to the bar. I order another shot and another beer. One more shot of Jack and off into a dark corner of the bar. This time, my head nodding, back against the wall, I begin to take it all in. Let go.
I open my eyes as a lady enters my space. We dance[^9]. She is a local. She can freak it.[^10] This goes on for a couple songs and the DJ announces last call. That was awesome but I seriously need an additional refreshment. I ask her if she wants one. She declines and with swift and mischievous smile brushes her hand across my pants dick and gives me a smack on the lips. She saunters off. I make eye contact with the local guy next to me who has observed all of this; he breaks into a huge grin and gives me a high five.[^11] Life, for an instant, is in a perfect unison. JC serves me my final beer. I slug it, give him the rest of my Limpira and melt into the people heading towards the street. Like water we all flow; only breaking off to find our final resting place.
The next day, our last, we head to another town called West Bay. West Bay is a built up tourist trap. The beaches are much much nicer, the tourists are much much hotter, and there is probably one thousand times as much money here. I want to go back to a real place. All is not lost however, as I do want to hang out on the beach today. I walk about a mile in one direction where I find some topless Europeans who would benefit from putting their tops back on.[^12] I walk back. The sun is a fucking beat down so eventually I head into the water. While standing in the water looking back at the beach and reflecting on my week in Honduras I see it walking across the beach; the red belly shirt, the blue shorts, I can almost see the grossly mismatched lipstick and enormous nipples from here. Is it a fucking ghost? No, of course not. Migrant sex workers. The cypher complete; I can come home now.
[^1]: It’s a tight three, two passengers up front by the bubble and the driver in the back, standing looking out a series of much smaller windows that go around him 360 degrees; and one on top directly above him. If we look behind us we can only see his feet. His head is at the very top of the submarine. If someone farted lives might be changed. Where would it go?
[^2]: Older than dinosaurs by over 100 million years. I’m no scientist but that’s some original shit. And on the 1,235,627,298,135,209th day God created man; because we are so important and all.
[^3]: My thoughts often returned to pondering if there was a giant alien race in space someplace that wore glasses the size of the lense like we were looking out. Stone cold sober I thought this. Shit gets weird in space.
[^4]: see part one of this incredible two part series [here](http://acrossthemargin.com.previewdns.com/post/19178092288/honduraus-part-i-by-tom-rau-migrant-sex) to learn more about this woman. It gets better still. Promise.
[^5]: Have they really seen _Full metal Jacket_ or have i been transplanted to Vietnam. I’m still pretty confused about this and why Honduran sex workers would be using racist Asian pick up lines. Could they not make their own racial stereotypes?
[^6]: no whammies
[^7]: Almost. Desire is a big word. I round down.
[^8]: Just kidding. Only David Blaine can resurrect himself. And the dude in “Mass Effect 3” in “Mass Effect 2”
[^9]: I dance like this approximately once a year. Twice in a leap year. Sometimes my number hits. It’s embarrassing.
[^10]: We grind. It was intense. see 9. __edit: previously this read Latin club music is intense. I think this is an unacceptable world view.__
[^11]: If you know me you may know I fucking love high fives, they are my shit and this might have been my single favorite moment of the entire trip. There is nothing i find more life affirming than a spontaneous and perfect high five with a stranger. It’s like watching the infinite slowmotion arc of a shot as it drops at the buzzer
[^12]: I realize this is completely wrong and we should all be able to wear whatever the fuck we want but damn. I’m a nice guy so you won’t see me force feeding my awkward body to the world unless necessary. Think about the people.