Hello dear readers,
Just a quick note on this story. I haven;t done any real editing on it. Punctuation and spelling mostly and I won't even go so far as to say that is correct. This is just real raw writing. Not much of anything is done to it to ready it for reading.
Enjoy it as it is,
The Lion and I
The boat wasn't much of a boat, as boats go these days. Not a high powered speed boat that you might see floating around on the weekends, its decks adorned with gorgeous, sun-kissed beauties and a rich captain at the helm with his blue and white striped shirt and white sailing cap with the gold emblem flashing away in the sunlight.
It wasn't a fishing charter boat like the ones you see leaving the harbor early in the mornings, its deck full of middle age men sitting on oversized coolers that are stuffed with mostly beer but also a few turkey sandwiches, one of which will undoubtedly be left in the sun and the mayonnaise will turn and at least one of those overweight fellows will have more than beer to blame for his hangover.
It wasn't a sailboat with it's magnificent sails billowing in the breeze, regal in her essence and graceful in her moves. Why I would have relished a sailboat. I had never been on a sailboat before and I always wondered what it must be like to fly across the water without the roar of eight cylinders gobbling up enormous amounts of high-priced marine fuel. A sailboat was much more my style but alas I was a worker not a player.
Our boat, and I only say ours because I happened to be on it was an abomination of the seas.
No way would I ever willingly purchase something that looked like this. It had the rudimentary shape of a boat of which I mostly mean that it was floating.
The hull of the boat sat very low in the water, little sea shell things clung to its side, I would later learn were called barnacles, and were supposed to be cleaned off periodically. These little seas creatures could cause a great amount of damage if the boat were not maintained as it should as we would later find out.
The top portion of the boat resembled a big box. Plain and simple. Sort of like a houseboat on steroids. The sidewalls were constructed of fiberglass panels but did not contain any windows. Each panel was held in place by an aluminum frame and the frames were bolted together at the corners. The bolts were made of steel and had not been treated to survive in a marine environment. Long streaks of red stained the fiberglass panels under each connecting bolt. It made the boat appear to be crying tears of blood.
The only part of the boat that had any windows was the wheelhouse. A row of windows ran across the front of it, they were low slung and skinny. It looked like the boat was wincing in the bright sunlight. The top of the boat was one solid deck, again made up of aluminum frames and a wooden deck. The top deck was strewn with buoys, ropes, and miscellaneous fishing gear.
If it was meant to portray that the boat was a fishing vessel it was doing a piss poor job.
One look at this contraption and it screamed Haitian refugee taxi or worse yet it might as well of had a sign on suction cups that said “Drug smugglers on board.”
The boats engines were at idle as I stepped aboard. The stern was just wide enough for a few barrels of extra fuel and some small wooden crates of which I knew nothing of their contents nor did I wish to know. I was only here to pay a debt. I wanted nothing to do with this operation and hoped it would soon be completed.
Where the stern ended, the cargo area began. It ran the length of the boat which I estimated to be around 30 feet or so. At the front of the cargo area, was a solid wall with a door which led to a set of stairs that in turn led up to the wheel house. There was nothing else to the boat. One large cargo area and the wheelhouse. There was no place to eat, sleep or even a place to relieve one's self.
I took a step inside of the cargo area and looked around. It was empty of any significant cargo. Nothing except a few ropes, turnbuckles and strapping which I presumed were to tie down any load.
I turned to one of the two guys on board and held my hands up in a questioning gesture.
They didn't speak any English, but they knew the universal language of glaring. I took that as a sign they didn't wish to talk about it or perhaps I didn't need to know.
The door opened at the end of the cargo hold and a short pudgy little man made his way through the empty hold. He was dark complected like his boat mates and had a ball cap pulled down tight to his brow. I could barely make out his face for his exceptional mustache which covered most of his cheeks and curled up towards his eyes. He wore loose fitting pants, which I assumed, were white at one time but now were covered in a multitude of grease and oil stains so much so that the color was more gray and black now than white. He wore an old brown sweater despite the warm weather. It was an ill fitting sweater with several holes in it, one most noticeably under his left armpit where I could see a large portion of his undershirt. I gathered he was our Captain.
“Vamanos en un momento”, he said to me.
My few years of high school Spanish classes allowed me to decipher that we would be leaving shortly.
I nodded my head letting him know that I understood.
He added, “Esperamos el león.”
I had no idea what he had said so I just nodded my head like I understood and took a seat on the small crates outside the cargo hold and waited in the bright summer sunshine.