Dave (everybody called him Shark Boy) and Big Jesse docked at Lovango and were lugging their excavation equipment up the hill when they saw the monk and the milkmaids hard at work. The monk was collecting dried sea salt from wooden racks while the girls and dogs moved the heard to a fresh pasture. From a distance it looked like an ancient army was on the move. The girls whistled at the dogs and the dogs barked and nipped at the stragglers heels and if the herd’s leader failed to go in the right direction one of the dogs jumped up on their backs and ran across them until he reached the leader, nipped his ear and turned him in the right direction—it was poetry in motion.

“Ahoy brother Lamb,” yelled Dave. The monk stopped what he was doing and welcomed them. Brother Lamb offered cold refreshments, but they declined because they were in a hurry to get on with their excavation. The Monk said his cheese business was booming and it was impossible for him to keep up with the demand for his products. Even though the hurricane season (June thru December) had slowed the tourist trade the island restaurants were nevertheless, buying his goods faster than he could produce them. Unless he could find more help, making beer, would be impossible. He had commandeered a starter of centuries old brewer’s yeast before he left the monastery and it was safely growing in the cooling caves, but if he started making beer, he would have to give up his already lucrative cheese business. Dave and Jesse listened patiently and then moved on towards the high cliff where the excavation was waiting.

“Lambini is living a life other men can only dream about,” said Jesse. “And he’s still complaining. He’d complain if the church inquisitors caught up with him and hung him with a gold rope.”

“Well,” Dave quipped, “He deserves a break after the lousy hand he was dealt. When he was a small child his poor mother abandoned him to a local monastery where older monks used him for slave labor and physically and sexually abused him.”

“Yea,” scoffed Jesse, “But he probably liked it. Look at him now, he came here with nothing but a few recipe’s scratched on parchment paper and he already has four girls living with him, three are pregnant and the fourth (Delilah), is so pretty that it hurts my eyes to look at her–go figure. He reminds me of the monk who joined a monastery but was allowed to only speak two words a year. The first year he said, ‘Bed’s hard.’ The second year he said, ‘Foods cold,’ and the third year he said, ‘I Quit!’ “I knew it, said one of the senior monks that guy’s been here three years and all he’s done is complain.”

When they reached the dig they uncovered and started the generator. Dave used a hammer drill to bore holes in a spiraled pattern that Jesse had marked the day before. While Dave drilled, Jesse mixed up slurry comprised of nitrogen fertilizer and nitro-methane racing fuel until it jelled. He inserted a quarter stick of dynamite with an electric blasting cap into each hole, filled it with slurry and connected the wires to his laptop computer. They were ready to blast, but had to wait for a passing ship to blow its horn and mask the noise from the explosion. Even though the computer set-off one individual explosion at a time, micro seconds apart, it sounded like one big-boom and if the local wreckers and pirates heard the blast they would descend on Lovango like a black cloud of dog-pecker gnats.

While they waited for a ship to pass by, Jesse gave Dave a double dose of “I told you so. “I tried to tell your Dad,” said Jesse. “Mad Jack will foul up the mission, the man’s so full of hatred that he’s mentally sick and whenever you try to help somebody like him, no good turn goes unpunished. The trouble is that your Dad is too nice of a guy. Furthermore, it’s only a matter of time before the coconut telegraph blabs what happened and who done it and the FBI will probably subpoena your dad and maybe me too before a grand jury. Then we’ll have to deal with that too.” exclaimed Jesse.

No sooner were the words out of Jesse’s mouth than they saw Dave’s Dad walking towards them. Dave could tell from a distance that his Dad was troubled about something, but before he was close enough to hail, a cruise ship blew its fog horn and Jesse yelled “fire in the hole,” and set off the charges. A thirty-foot circle of earth jumped about two feet and collapsed into a sunken circle of rubble. Jesse was still sore at his Dad for getting involved in Boss Penny’s revenge and he was mad at himself too for allowing them to use his boat. Even though the dust and smoke had not yet settled he started shoveling rubble into the shaker screen before the captain reached them. Dave’s Dad ignored Jesse as he took Dave off to the side and confided in him that as soon as he traded boats, with them he was leaving the islands for a while to help an ex-girlfriend and that Dave should look after his mother, Dream Weaver and The Flying Circus–especially since it was hurricane season.

A sudden sadness passed over Dave when he realized that his Dad was saying good-bye.

“Where are you going Pop?” asked Dave.

“I’ve been here too long,” explained his Dad. “Times have changed; when I first came here a measure of freedom still existed, but since the so-called civilized business people arrived they’ve turned these islands into another police state—the Nazi minded butt holes have had their way so–I’m out of here. The same stinking laws they crammed down everybody’s throat up North are being shoved down our throats here. When that fish cop wrote me a ticket because you weren’t wearing a life jacket the other day that was pretty much the last straw. It’s beyond that cop’s mentality to understand that you’ve lived aboard a sailboat since you were born, or that you were swimming before you could walk, and since that brainwashed maggot has to wear a life jacket everybody should wear one? We need life jackets while we’re anchored like, a fish needs a bicycle and besides what business is it of his—the mindless idiot must think we’re not intelligent enough to know when we should, or shouldn’t wear life jackets? The politician’s, and over 20 different federal cop agencies have bugged our phones and computers, gutted our constitution and stuck their big fat noses into every area of our personal lives and once it’s there it can not be removed by any means short of an armed insurrection—freedom comes out the end of a gun barrel. Ben Franklin said, “Democracy is when two wolves and one sheep vote on what’s for dinner. Liberty is a well–armed sheep that refuses to acknowledge the outcome of the majority vote. It seems to me most of today’s population is as ignorant, lazy, self-centered and brainwashed as that fish cop. Whatever happened to individual liberty and freedom?

“Where will you go Pop?”

“I’ll let you know when I get there, but until then, look after your mother. Stay focused on which college you’re going to attend and by the way son, the other night after we deep-six’d the stiff we saw a huge dorsal and tail fin coming towards us. I full throttled out of there before it could reach us but I suspect he was after the corpse? It could be that the governor’s secret police have been dumping leftist bodies out there—who knows? Beware of the Megelodon son, I never doubted you for one second and now you have three other eyewitnesses who saw it too! His Dad hugged him, told him that he loved him and then turned and walked away. Oddly enough, Jesse’s boom box was playing an Almond Brother’s song:

“Well I’ve got to run to keep from hiding,
And I’m bound to keep on riding.
And I’ve got one more silver dollar,
But I’m not gonna let them catch me, no,
Not gonna let ’em catch the Mid Night Rider.
I’ve gone past the point of caring,
Some woman’s bed, I’ll soon be sharing,
But I’m not gonna let them catch me no, I’m not gonna let ’em catch the Mid-Night Rider…

Dave struggled to hold back the tears, but Big Jesse barked, “Man up boy, we’re looking for gold here, get in the game. Let it go! We’ve got work to do! Your old man is a survivor, he’s always been one and he always will be until the end of time–fugetabotit.” Your old man never was too good at backing down, but that’s what makes him the hard charging captain that he is…

Latest posts by John Stark (see all)

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