While Barrack feasted on rice worms Brother Lamb slowly reached for his catch pole with the loop at its end. This would’ve been rooster Barrack’s last meal on earth, but just as the monk was about to slip the noose around his neck the ground split open with a loud bang and slammed him to the ground. Barrack hit full stride and headed towards Superstition Bay before the monk regained his feet. What the monk believed was a safe cave, was actually, a volcanic tube. A black cloud of poisonous gas suddenly vented from the tube and if it had not been for a favorable sea breeze, Barrack and the monk would’ve joined the ranks of numerous other victims already claimed by this volcano.
There was, of course, good reason why the Voodoo shaman and his parishioners showed great respect, fear and reverence for this volcano. Their little village used to a big village, before the volcano erupted during a religious appeasement ceremony near the summit of Taboo Mountain. The gods, they believed, lived deep inside the crater and severely punished them for any of their inequities, or transgressions. If the appeasement ceremony was held on the wrong day, lacked enthusiasm, or if they failed to sacrifice enough goats, the gods severely punished them. After the monk hit the ground he jumped back up and nearly caught Barrack as they descended towards Superstition Bay.
But the previous evening the captain’s son—everybody called him Shark boy—had run his dinghy into the bay for a little fishing, and had set his hook in huge shark. It had turned out to be an all night war of epoch proportion that lasted many hours. Shark Boy almost landed the monster fish, after it became exhausted; he used his outboard motor’s reverse to pull it towards shallow water. But when the ground quaked it caused a split in the seabed and enormous black bubbles spooked the shark; it snapped the line and likely headed for safety in the Puerto Rican Trough.
The captain’s son was exhausted from his battle with the monster fish, but he gained new energy after he saw rooster Barrack emerge from the jungle and race across the beech. Despite the dangerous situation the boy full throttled his dinghy’s motor and raced to rescue his rooster. Barrack recognized the boy, took full flight and landed safely on the bow of the dinghy while the shoeless monk was left standing at water’s edge. The boy is suspicious of adults especially, balding, barefoot, strangers, wearing what appeared to be a full-length brown dress with a white rope belt—so his first thought was to rescue his rooster, and let the monk fend for himself. But after the monk begged for mercy the boy motored closer to the beach and waited for him to climb into the dinghy. Brother Lamb sat at the bow and Barrack flew to the stern as far from the hungry monk as the dinghy allowed.
Shark Boy, Barrack and Brother Lamb headed for the other end of the island where his Dad’s boat was anchored. The boy remained silent while he sized up the hungry monk and the dinghy climbed and descended one wave after the other. And the boy reflected on his battle with the biggest fish he had ever hooked; the big one that got away. Shark Boy and his Dad, once-upon-a-time, watched a movie, “The Old Man and the Sea,” and its main character sparked the boy’s imagination and desire to catch big fish. The main difference between the boy and the old fisherman was that Shark Boy released his big fish. Even though they were dangerous, powerful and unpredictable maneaters, he got out of his dinghy and walked them about in shallow water until they gained enough strength and oxygen to swim away. To be continued…
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