Dave (everybody called him Shark Boy), and Big Jesse were only halfway up the path to Santana’s old cabin before they received a noisy, but warm, slobbery, K-9 welcome but the milkmaids kept their distance. “Wild dark eyed,” Delilah seemed to be the leader of the women, all of who had escaped from the chicken ranch and all of whom were with child. This caused the local islanders to gossip about whether the girls were pregnant before, or after, they escaped from the chicken ranch, but Brother Lamb, who was bringing up the rear, neither confirmed, nor denied any of these allegations.

“Ahoy, Brother Lamb,” said Dave as a flood of fond memories resurfaced about his deceased friend Santana. Many were the hot days and cool evenings that Dave spent talking with Santana as they watched his dogs gather the goats and herd them into a rickety coral.

“How’s the cheese business doing,” asked Dave?

The Monk nodded it was good, but answered Dave’s question with a question.

“What’s that strange looking thing Jesse’s pulling behind him?

Dave explained that it was a Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) and that a confidential informant had tipped off the sheriff that human remains were buried near the top of a cliff on Lovango. Because of Jesse’s archeological and mining expertise and his dedicated spirit of civic duty, the sheriff asked him to further investigate the matter. This, of course, was not new news to the Monk because he already knew about the rock pile, and Dave was relieved that he acted surprised. Altogether, they continued up the path to the shack where they stopped for refreshments and small talk. Jesse was in a hurry and wanted to move on, but not before he observed the changes that had occurred since the monk and this tribe of soon-to-be mothers had moved there. They had already quadrupled the size of the cabin, added several new out buildings, new windmill pumps and generators, row after row of solar panels, and a huge desalination system.

Jesse wondered out loud where the Monk got the money for all of these changes, but before he could inquire his attention was diverted by a cloud of dust that contained the irate landowner who slid to a stop in his ATV and rudely screamed, “Didn’t you see my “No Trespassing” and “Keep Out Signs!?”
Jesse responded by grabbing the guy by his jungle jacket and yanking him from his ATV leaving his feet to dangle in the breeze.

“Mr. Mouth, you better learn to show more respect to an agent of the court,” and after he stuffed the guy back into his ATV, he showed him the work-order that was signed by the sheriff and a judge. The landowner’s pride and ego were badly bruised and he puffed up like a ballpark wiener and huffed, “You haven’t heard the end of this!” Of course, he said it from a safe distance while Jesse and Dave continued on their journey up the path to the cliff.

Dave stepped off where he believed the cave began and ended but when they cleared the rock pile to look inside, the cave’s ceiling had completely collapsed.

Dave said, “When I was here the last time, I moved the rocks and partially crawled inside there and after my eyes adjusted to the low light, I saw two skeletons at the north end of the cave and some suspicious looking mounds on the south end of the cave. The ceiling had already begun to collapse and there were several piles of rubble in every direction between the skeletons and the mounds so I decided to error on the side of caution and talk to Dad before I went any further. The original opening to the cave was on the face of the cliff and that’s where the pirates must have entered to hide the loot but that entrance was already completely blocked by cave-ins. Dad figured that after they hid the treasure they killed two of their own members and blamed the theft on them but it didn’t fool Blackbeard because he killed every one of them… 16 men on Dead Man’s Chest, Ho–Ho–Ho and a bottle of rum…
This hole, as Dave pointed to it, was where Santana’s goat fell through and its the one he enlarged to retrieve his goat, but he claimed evil spirits lived in there. He refused to go near the place and insisted that I shouldn’t come here either. Between then and now the stratified layers of pumas further deteriorated and the whole ceiling has collapsed. The human remains and suspicious mounds that I saw are now buried under tons of rubble.

“Not to worry,” said Jesse as he pulled his GPR back and forth over the collapsed cave. Next they unrolled the yellow tape and pounded in metal stakes identifying the area as a crime scene. Dave rolled his eyes when Jesse unrolled the yellow tape but it was indeed a crime scene even if the crime that occurred had been 300 years ago. After staking out the dig, Jesse and Dave crisscrossed it with flourescent divider strings, making one large grid and then they photographed every detail and dimension with a digital camera. They were running out of daylight and Jesse’s plan for day two of the excavation was to bore holes beginning at the center of the grid and continue to the outside of it. The holes were for the dynamite and after connecting the electric detonator caps on each stick of dynamite to a laptop computer he could explode them, one at a time, in rapid succession beginning at the very center of the grid and ending at the perimeter. Jesse’s plan was to wait for a passing cruise ship to blow its horn and use that sound to cover the sound of his blasting. If local environmentalists heard him blasting they would descend on the dig like flies on manure.

When they arrived back at the shack, they received a warm welcome from the monk and were treated to some fresh Tuscan bread, extra virgin olive oil and slabs of the monk’s stinky monastery cheese. The conversation was congenial until Jesse asked about rooster, Barrack. The girls at the chicken ranch had adopted Barrack as their pet and they were extremely protective of him. That’s what caused the revolt at the chicken ranch. When the cook said he was going to make a rooster stir-fry the girls went on strike and some of them ran away and moved in with the monk. Barrack escaped too after the cook came at him with a Samurai sword but he found the girls and the monk and stayed there. Together the girls, the rooster, the goats, dogs and cheese making operation they became one big happy family all, that is, except Delilah and she remained restless, irritable and discontented. Jesse was bound and determined to take Barrack with him when he left Lovango for St. John, but Delilah thought different and Dave noticed her flashing dark eyes as she picked up a long bladed knife and moved quietly behind Jesse’s back. Dave could hardly believe that Delilah would stab a man over a rooster but it was what it was and perhaps there was more to this personality clash than what he was seeing? Dave defused the situation by saying he had to get home right away and he insisted that in his opinion Barrack now belonged to the girls and that he should stay with them. Jesse started to protest, but Dave urgently insisted they best get going, and even though Jesse didn’t get it, he complied and by the look in Delilah’s eyes it was a good thing he did.

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