Wednesday, February 01, 2006

On Devil's Beach

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Millbrae has decided that we must quit this place, and so we are off. We loaded into the skiff and rowed back to the ship. Millbrae took note of my injuries, but I offered nothing and he did not ask. Carlos refused to board and took off into the jungle. He relented once we were a good quarter mile off shore, running from the tree line, down the beach, and plunging into the waves, swimming out to us with strong strokes. Rather than submit to the indignity of being hauled aboard, he swam on ahead of us and was scooped up by Nately.

I took my customary seat at the bow and looked back at the island as the men worked the oars. I regarded the Finger of God as the morning light struck its flanks, and absentmindedly rubbed at the tender wound in my chest.

"Restless night, eh, Samuel?" Millbrae said, inclining his head toward the island. "Carlos made some kind of racket. I shouldn't wonder he got into something even he couldn't handle."

"I suppose."

"Taking off in the middle of the night like that. Could have been killed."

"Yes, could have been." I concentrated on a fleck of food on Millbrae's moustache. It rested on the thick, greasy hairs like a liferaft in a high sea.

"He weren't though, were he?" Millbrea laughed. "He might be tougher than I thought."

I said nothing and continued to watch the Finger of God receed in the distance as the sounds of the ship drifted towards us.
Millbrae's laughter rang out all around us, sounding for all the world like the barking of the sea lions we'd left behind on Devil's Beach.



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