Dark shadows covered Lovango before Dave (everybody called him Shark Boy), and Big Jesse finished sifting through the excavation. Jesse did one final sweep with his metal detector to satisfy himself that there was nothing left to find before they loaded the wood boxes of loot and equipment on a pushcart and started down the hill to the monk’s cabin. Ever since Dave had called his Mom and learned about the girl who wanted to meet him-she was all he could think about.
“Come on Dave,” barked Jesse. “Get in the game! You almost went off the path and wrecked the cart. What’s wrong with you?”
“Nothing is wrong,” insisted Dave.
Soon the two tired treasure hunters saw the lights at the Monk’s cabin and the girls in the yard milking goats. Arf, the old Yorkshire terrier saw them coming and sounded an alarm. Dave and Jesse received a boisterous K-9 escort into the yard where the Monk was collecting buckets of milk and pouring them into large metal cans. After he secured the lids on the cans he lowered them into the well pit for cooling. A tapered rack of meat sizzled on the slow turning vertical spit and the aroma of fresh baked Tuscan bread wafted from the brick ovens. Delaney milked too while she carried her baby, Indian style, in a flowered sash rigged like a backpack.
Delilah served them an appetizer of olive oil, cheese and fresh baked bread, and then they stuffed themselves with gyros meat wrapped in pita bread that they dipped in a heavy cream and cucumber sauce. After dinner Dave and Jesse took the Monk out to the cart and showed him 21 wooden boxes and explained their dilemma to him.
“We need,” Jesse began, “A safe place to hide these boxes and Dave said that you could do this for us until we can move them off the island—nobody must know about this.”
The monk nodded his head yes, but was nevertheless reluctant to share any information about his secret hiding place.
The Monk said, “If you leave the cart where it is, I will take care of it–end of conversation.” Jesse didn’t like the idea of not knowing where the treasure was hidden, but so long as Dave knew its hiding place it would have to do—there was no safe place on St. John or St. Thomas to hide them and if the authorities got wind of it they would confiscate the treasure.
Dave and Jesse removed their equipment from the cart and continued down the footpath to the dock where Jesse’s boat was docked. Dave took the helm, turned on the main power toggle and started the engines while Jesse removed the dock lines. The tide was up and the water was deep enough to open the throttles before they cleared the mouth of the reef, which made for a quick trip to Cruz Bay where “Dream Weaver” was moored. Jini’s dinghy was not there so Dave turned the helm over to Jesse, scrambled aboard “Dream Weaver,” went below, crawled into the “V” berth and fell fast asleep. Visions of a well-tanned young girl filled his dreams before he was awakened by laughter coming from the cockpit—Jini and her girl friends must have moved their party from Boss Penny’s place to the “Dream Weaver.” The women were topless, partying, laughing and in a playful mood but not aware Dave was there, until they saw him coming from the “V” berth, rubbing his eyes.
Jini was surprised because she thought her son was staying on the “Flying Circus.” Dave explained that he came there first because he wanted to hear about the girl and her visit, what did she want, what’s her name, did you get her phone number?
Jini suggested he should go back to sleep and they would talk in the morning. Dave returned to the V Berth, but he could hardly sleep because the girl was becoming an obsession in his mind–she was all he thought about. Early the next morning Dave scrubbed the “Dream Weaver’s” deck and polished the scuppers but his mother seemed in no hurry to wake up. Then he heard her cell phone ring, it was lying on the table in the main cabin so he took it to her. Still half asleep, Jini answered it, but unfortunately, it was not good news. He heard his mother say, “I’m so sorry.” Dave wondered what was going on and he began to pace back and forth. After a few tense moments he heard Jini say, “I’m so sorry, but you shouldn’t be there by yourself, I’ll send Dave to pick you up–we can talk when you get here.”
Jini closed her cell phone and said, “Aura’s mother passed away during the night and she’s terribly upset—poor child. Take the dinghy and bring her here so she doesn’t have to be alone–she will be waiting for you on the dock.”
“The security forces won’t let me dock there,” exclaimed Dave.
“She will clear it with them before you get there so hurry and please don’t make her wait,” said Jini.
“Dave hopped in the dinghy, started the motor, cast off the painter and he was on his way. The sea was flat so he cut across the bay at full throttle and soon saw Aura standing alone on the dock; she had on her best brave face when she jumped into the dinghy, but it was obvious she was sobbing. Dave was at a loss for the right words-he had never before met her, or her dearly departed mother. Aura was being brave and forced a smile, but she was emotionally overwhelmed and filled with grief. Dave did his best to console her and after he introduced himself he told her how sorry he was to hear about her mother. That must’ve been the wrong thing to say because she started sobbing and crying again and then he really didn’t know what to do other than hurry to the “Dream Weaver”-his Mom would know what to do. The waves began to build and one suddenly exploded over the bow and showered them with salt water. Dave altered course and moved closer to the shoreline and he was really relieved when “Dream Weaver” came into view. Jini was waiting for them on deck and after a long embrace the girls went below for tea and left him sitting in the cockpit. His mother and Aura cried together and they talked—Jini hugged and consoled Aura. Dave’s presence wasn’t needed, or wanted, so he jumped in the dinghy and was headed for the “Flying Circus” when his cell phone rang, it was his Dad and boy-oh-boy was he ever happy to hear his voice.
“What’s up Pop,” asked Dave?
“I got your message son,” exclaimed the Captain, “I’m on my way, we lifted off from Puerto Rica about 15 minutes ago. I’m in an old Cessna tail dragger and by the time you get to our landing spot, we should be on final, over”—”Roger that,” said Dave as he spun the dinghy around, opened the throttle, and headed for the public dock. He phoned Dan on the way and asked if he could use his all-wheel drive Jeep to pick up his Dad. The designated landing place was a short, grass, airstrip on top of the island—only pilots who are skilled at short field landings—dare to land there.
When Dave arrived at the boat shack Jesse was talking to Dan and when he told them Aura’s mother passed away they seemed indifferent and even cynical.
“We call that the Big Sleep in NY,” said Dan.
“Jesse said, “Yea, but I’ll bet you two 20 to 1, she don’t wake up.”
Dave ignored their remarks, jumped in the Jeep and headed for the switch back that would take him to the airstrip. He was in a hurry but it was slow going because the last hurricane washed out the road and not to mention the herds of goats he constantly dodged. He was almost to the airstrip when he saw a small plane coming from the direction of Puerto Rico. He checked the wind direction and parked on the up-wind end of the field. The Cessna was soon on final; it flew a tight “J” pattern; turned hard to Port and steeply banked across the wind and hooked around upwind. The pilot leveled his wings, cross controlled, full right rudder and full left ailerons, the plane shook violently as it bled off its remaining altitude, bounced a couple of times and rolled to a stop. The pilot taxied over to the Jeep, the Captain jumped out, dropped his duffel bag on the ground, picked up the tail of the Cessna, walked it around in a half-circle, and pointed its nose in the opposite direction. The pilot put the throttle to the firewall and soon after dropped out of sight off a sheer cliff and disappeared some fifty feet below the runway, but it mattered not because he was still 700 feet above the Caribbean Sea. Dave tossed the duffle bag in the Jeep and they bounced their way back down the switch back to the boat shack. Dave’s cell phone rang again and this time it was his mother wanting to know where he was?
“I’m at the boat shack,” explained Dave. “I picked up Dad at the airstrip and I’m headed your way”…To be continued.