Beyond Beyond; Episode 92
When darkness overreached Rio Gallegos, Rich peered through a starboard porthole. A lone silhouette leaned against a building shielded from the cold wind. A tiny red glow from a cigarette moved like a wondering firefly. Rich returned to reading. He became drowsy and switched off the cabin light. At last, he fell asleep.
He awoke at 12:15 AM, not knowing how long he slept. Again he pressed against the porthole. The silhouette now appeared to be no more than a lump of laundry on the ground against the building.
Quietly Rich slung on a coat, climbed onto the pier, and ducked low walking to the street. He circled the building. The lump of laundry was a man snoring.
“Asleep at your post,” Rich though and smirked.
Quietly he made his way back to the pier. He untied the lines and placed them on board. The wind and river’s current pushed the Beyond toward the sea, as well as any sail or motor.
Rio Gallegos soon fell beyond visual recognition and appeared only as a distant dim glow. Rich reefed the sails and headed the Beyond toward open sea. On the starboard he passed Punta Loyola. The sails continued reefed until the winds feathered out. Twenty miles off the coast a 175 degree course was set and held steady with Rich at the helm and Zeke behind him on the bench.
“I think they will come looking for us at daylight,” Rich said. “I know what you’re thinking, what do you mean by we?”
“Zeke,” Rich said. “I know you have been with me only a short time, but you see a pattern developing don’t you? I’m heading right for the Strait or around the cape. White and Smithson are aware of it. And they know that I’m aware they are aware. Are you keeping up with me, Zeke? Okay, raise your paw if anything needs repeated. Anyway, if I were to break the pattern this would be the place.”
Rich leaned against the bench. His eyes drifted to Zeke.
“Zeke, this is quite serious. I’m giving you the decision. Whatever should happen to me, it is likely you will go on living in such a way you will never remember what happened. You don’t really have a dog in the fight. Sorry, it’s an expression meant not to offend. If you should decide we should head east toward the Falklands remain as you are. However, if we should continue the coarse chosen and go through the Strait I will give you ten seconds to assume a sitting position.”
Rich counted silently, bobbing his head with each count. At nine Zeke sat up.
“Are you sure?”
Zeke licked Rich’s hand.
There is an unexplained connection between a man and a dog. They know immediately they are at one; they become dependent on each other. A man will never forget the dog of his youth. They hold their secrets dear and sacred. A dog carries a man’s burdens and heals unseen wounds.
“It is strange, my canine companion, it seems as if you understood every word and all the elements associated with it. Let me ask one question; are you anticipating White and Smithson will think this will be the place my course is altered?”
“That means it’s just a guess, right? You sly dog. That’s just an expression too. It’s a compliment.”
Rich patted Zeke on the head. “You are a better companion than you will ever know. You truly are a sea dog. I don’t know how far back your memory goes, but you only know the sea. Someday, if you like, we will walk in a woods together or chase butterflies in a meadow. Trust me, you will enjoy it.”