Saturday, January 31, 2015

Hearts of Darkness, Part II

David avoided Miami, all Floridian ports, actually. He told himself it was because he didn’t want the hassle. Because his skin was always on the lighter side, more yellow than brown, more Caucasian than Hispanic.

“What’s next?” he asked the captain.

“Savannah,” the man said. He seemed agreeable, but he was providing a favor, and his men did not understand. Likely, they were losing money by the day because of their bizarre route, and over time, everyone had come to understand who was at fault, but not why.

David knew only small bits about the shipping industry, and sailing business, such were his family’s interests, and his involvement in them. He knew even less about Georgia. “And after that?”

The captain looked down at his notebook, and turned a page. “Well, Bay City.”

David knew absolutely nothing about the US eastern seaboard except there was New York, Boston, and then a bunch of other places with less important names to the south.

“It’s near the capital,” the captain said. He had finally gotten to the point of trying to influence the very important stranger off of his ship.

David nodded, trying to look considerate in inconsiderate circumstances.

Several more days passed, and the weather made his decision for him. David knew there were cold places in the world, places where animals needed layers of fat and fur, and one’s urine would freeze moments after leaving the body. He had seen snow in the movies, and heard about things like mittens and sleds. But those places always seemed far away. He had never considered that there were a thousand different grades of unpleasant weather in between the perfect climes of his home and the north pole.

He couldn’t have them turn back to Savannah, so Bay City it was. Bay City, where from the boat he still couldn’t look back and see the island. He didn’t realize until right then that he was unconsciously trying to sail as far as possible away.

He thanked the captain. He didn’t know how much money his father had given the man, but he added to the sum. When he walked down the gangway, he did not look back. The new scents mingled with the memories of older ones. This was a dock area, but it was also not like any dock area he was familiar with.

The first night was spent at a hotel several miles away. The first series smelled strange, unsanitary and spoiled. The next were the same. By the third group, David realized all stay over stops would have a similar combination of chemical cocktails covering the odor of a hundred different guests. He spared no expense on a room on an upper floor, stared out at the lights of the frigid city that was his new home, and slept in the bath tub. He dreamed of the cage.

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