Once he was safely aboard the Flying Circus, the hungry monk Lambini devoured his sandwich, gulped down some water, and fell fast asleep. The captain hard-charged through a passage between Rada and Lovongo Key, pointed the Flying Circus, towards Great Cruz Bay, and they were homeward bound. Every time they tacked, Dave had to grab the monk to prevent him from tumbling headfirst into the cockpit.
Dave said, “Pop, what are we going to do with Lambini, he hates the water, he can’t swim, he’s forever seasick, and he’s homeless.”
The captain asked his son, “What did he do before he landed here?”
“He lived in a monastery,” Dave answered. “He spent most of his time practicing prayer and meditation, and looking after goats. And he made cheese. According to him, he was meditating near a waterfall when the governor’s granddaughter disrobed to bathe. The granddaughter claimed Lambini was spying on her, while Lambini claimed it was an innocent mistake. Either way, it got Lambini into serious trouble. His monastery was closely allied with powerful politicians and when the governor’s granddaughter squawked, he sent a sadistic bishop and the feared church inquisitors after him. A nun who served the bishop overheard the phone conversation between the bishop and the governor, and she tipped off Lambini. He took a quick sabbatical and sailed here.”
“Wait a minute, son,” said the captain, “did you say Lambini used to make cheese?”
“He sure did,” Dave said, nodding his head. “It was a monastery specialty.”
“Is this coincidence, or what?” the captain answered, with a look of joy on his face. “Old Santana and his goat herd were the only permanent residents Lovongo ever had, and since he died, all the local restaurants have been forced to buy their cheese from a supermarket. I wonder if we could move Lambini to Lovongo? Santana’s old shack and goat herd are still there, and of course so are the caves where he aged his cheese. Maybe if Lambini is willing, he could round up the goats, make cheese, and sell it to Santana’s old clients?”
“Hey, that’s a great idea Pop,” Dave agreed, “and maybe the Amsterdam girls at the chicken ranch could help milk the goats.”
“It wouldn’t be the first time the girls at the chicken ranch milked an old goat,” the captain snorted.
“What do you mean by that Pop?”
“Never mind son,” said the captain.
Dave thought for a minute. Finally he said, “Pop, that solution solves Lambini’s problem. But what about Barrack?” he asked, looking over at the rooster. “What are we going to do with him? When he saw you coming he crowed and flew on board before you got within 20 foot of our dinghy.”
“Son, I washed my hands of Barrack when I sold him to Jessie. I had high hopes for him and I even donated to the sheriff’s “widow and orphan” fund and got him deputized, but he flew the coop on me.”
“Pop, I talked to the sheriff,” Dave said. “He told me that although his deputies occasionally made a mistake, once a deputy, always a deputy.”
“Son,” the captain answered, shaking his head. “Barrack is a deputy gone bad. He eats the drugs he’s supposed to scatter to the wind. He damaged a downtown bar, nearly killed several other roosters, and then deposited chicken droppings on the voodoo high priest. He’s a liability I can’t afford; ‘Special Deputy Barrack’ is nothing but trouble.”
As the Flying Circus neared her mooring ball, Dave grabbed the boat hook; the captain turned the Flying Circus into the wind and dropped his sails with just enough momentum remaining to reach it. Dave snagged the mooring ball with the boat hook on his first try, and quickly secured the mooring line to a bow cleat.
“Good job, son,” the captain said, “wake up Lambini, let’s get him ashore before he pukes on us.”
The drowsy monk nearly fell in the water again when he tried to get from the deck down to the dinghy, but Dave grabbed him just in time. The captain secured the sails and sheet lines, removed the dinghy’s bow line from its aft cleat, and jumped down into the dinghy where Dave had already started the outboard motor.
Not wanting to be left behind, Barrack the rooster took flight and landed on top of the outboard motor. The captain, Dave and his big lobster, the hungry monk, and Barrack headed toward the public dock and from there it was but a short hike up a steep hill to the boat shack. It would take some doing before Jessie’s welcome home feast was finished, but there was lots of help on hand.
The sailors who hang around the boat shack were an interesting cast of characters. Nobody knew or cared what anybody else’s last name was, or where they came from.
Dan, for instance, was the shack’s chief mechanic. He specialized in repairing outboard motors, and also the antique Triumph, Norton and BSA motorcycles whose humongous low-end torque lets them climb with snarling ease up the steep mountain roads. Dan was the one who caught the big snapper they were preparing for the fish boil. Nobody knows where Dan came from; he sailed into town and stayed all alone until he found the boat shack and a second home.
Everybody was surprised to see a monk with the captain and Dave, but they were especially surprised to see the long-gone missing Barrack.
Squeeze box and fiddle players showed up — authentic pirates in their spirit, dress, language, and mannerisms — the party started even before the food was finished cooking, and that’s how it was. In the tropics, day come and day go, sometimes the next day comes before the party is done!
To be continued.
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