TALES FROM THE CARIBBEAN

Dave (everybody called him Shark Boy) was back at school after his hunting trip to Indiana, but not happy about it. His final hour of math class seemed like it would never end. Although he had a lot of homework assignments, he thought he could get them done on his bus and ferryboat ride back to Cruz Bay, which would leave him free, once he got home, for a fast trip to Lovango. Hurricane season was over, the tourists had returned and the seas were settled enough to safely cross the unprotected ocean between islands in a dinghy.
Nearly a month had passed since he had last gone to Lovango and talked to the monk, and he wanted to get his permission before he shared their secret with his Dad. At that time, the different currencies and other treasures cached under Santana’s old outhouse had not yet been counted or inventoried. Perhaps the greatest of these prizes was Santana’s recipe for his secret anti-fungal coconut butter (nut butter).
Big Jessie’s nosiness about their business was still a potential threat. His new boat had been safely shipped to St. John on a container ship, and she was a real beauty—she was currently sitting proud on a trailer with quad axles—with four 220-horsepower, four-stroke Mercury outboard motors, operated by a single joy-stick with fly-by-wire throttle and steering controls. Dave couldn’t see a name painted on her transom yet, and he wondered what Jessie would name her.
Nevertheless, Big Jessie himself could still safely be ignored for a little while longer, because he still had not made it back to the islands. Just before his return flight to Cruz Bay, the environmentalists in Kentucky filed another lawsuit against him, and he had been forced to stay there until a counter suit could be filed.
The sheriff was also too busy at this particular moment to pay any attention to what Dave was doing; his political rivals had begun an ugly gossip campaign against him about the unfortunate death of a deputy that happened two years earlier. The sheriff’s political enemies alleged that the other deputies had assassinated this deputy because he was a mole working for the Drug Enforcement Agency. The sheriff and his surviving deputies vehemently denied the vicious rumor and claimed they had an excellent working relationship with the DEA, and furthermore insisted that it was the Island Boys (the local drug gangs) who caused the deputy’s demise.
Furthermore, when the heinous crime was committed the sheriff and his other deputies were at Big Jessie’s fundraiser and lobster feast with several important boat captains. Furthermore, the physical evidence collected from the crime scene consisted of 11 different calibers of bullets and shell casings, and none of them were the kind of ammunition used by the sheriff or his deputies.
A legal spokesperson for the Island Boys denied any involvement in the assassination, and they claimed it was the dead deputy’s Russian girl friend who had whacked him in order to cover up the KGB’s involvement in local gun and drug trafficking. The murder therefore remained unsolved.
Just as Dave finished his last math problem, the ferryboat docked at Cruz Bay. Amid the rush of excited students and tourists, Dave jogged to the public dock where he saw his mother talking to some other charter captains. Dave tossed his back pack into her dinghy and asked,  “Mom, can I use Dream Weaver’s dinghy to visit the monk?”
“Yes, you can,” she said “if you put gas in it.”
Dave untied the dinghy’s painter and shoved off for the gas dock. The dock was busy with powerboats lined up and waiting for service, but when Dave’s buddies with the long dreadlocks saw him approaching, they immediately yelled, “Hey mon, how you bean? We not see you for long time.”
Dave’s West Indian friends had no knowledge of Indiana, or for that matter snow, but they made space for him as he tossed them a line and then handed up the empty petrol tanks.
“How many deer you get, Shark Boy?” they asked, but before Dave could answer, they asked him, “Did Captain Unlucky see deer this year?” and “Did you us bring back any canned deer?” Dave deflected their question about his Dad by saying, “Yes, we had a record hunt this year, and we brought back two cases of canned venison and made the rest into smoked jalapeno and cheese sausage.”
“Have you seen the monk?” asked Dave.
“Not for mebee three weeks mon”—they rolled their eyes and grinned—“but we see him last time with three girls and dey spending old pesos like pay day rum-heads.  Sheriff’s men dey ask me where dey get old musty pesos, but I shrug and say, ‘hey mon, mebeee dey win lottery.’”
Dave cringed at that news, but he wasn’t surprised, because the Monk never had  much money before now and he knew nothing about the danger of attracting unwanted attention by flashing it around.  My dad taught me that if I ever got a dollar ahead not to tell anyone because the governemt will try and tax it, friends will try and borrow it, and the thieves will try and steal it.
To be continued …

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John Stark

The author of the "Tales from the Caribbean" fictional column. He attended school at Waynedale Elementary, Maplewood, Elmhurst HS in the Waynedale area. John had 25 years of professional writing experience when he passed away in 2012. > Read Full Biography > More Articles Written By This Writer