Penny tells us how she first met the Captain.
The same day I ran away from my prosecutor’s job mid-trial, I saw the Kathleen’s assistant chef job posting on the harbormaster’s bulletin board and knew it solved a host of issues. Starting immediately, living aboard, continual travel, unlikely to be back in Newport soon. Perfect opportunity to get out of town, fast. I was desperate and knew it was a job I could do after cooking at a diner through law school. I ripped the announcement off the board and hurried toward the yacht, but stopped short as a black cat approached me. He looked me in the eye, stopped, and sat down daintily, as if to say, no, you go ahead first. An avid believer in superstition, I took that as a good omen.
When I got there, a deckhand asked me to wait while he went to get Captain Smythe, but of course I didn’t. I kicked off my heels and followed him. Before he could say anything, I stuck my hand out and introduced myself. He had a short, graying beard that was more salt than pepper
He stared at me head to toe, took in my lawyer’s suit and said "a little overdressed for a chef." It didn't’ make sense to tell him I’d just run away from court, so I offered to make him a trial lunch. He said I’d have to wait for the head chef who was out provisioning.
“Why wait?” I said. “I will make you lunch with whatever I find and if it’s not fabulous, I’ll leave you be.” With a show of confidence I didn’t feel, I didn’t give him an option to say no. When I get an idea I can be a force of nature and it’s usually best to get out of my way. He had no idea how little there had been in my pantry growing up and how creative I’d become as a result.
Smythe nodded, fine lines from decades in the sun dancing around strong eyes. “Brandon, show her the galley. See what she can do.”
Half an hour later I brought a tray up to the wheelhouse. I’d found canned tuna in the nearly empty cupboard, whipped up a lemon dill mayonnaise, added dried cranberries, minced Fuji apples and sunflower seeds, topped it with a generous helping of alfalfa sprouts in lieu of lettuce. I prettied up the plates with carrot curls.
Smythe finished his before saying a word. Then he simply said, “You’re hired. When can you start?” I soon learned he was a man of very few words who didn’t mind making decisions that weren’t his to make. My kind of guy.