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TALES FROM THE CARIBBEAN

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As darkness covered the earth Dave saw the lights of Miami International appear in the distance. His Dad was fast asleep so Dave let him sleep. Jesse's pilot came on the intercom and said to fasten their seat belts because he was beginning his descent. Dave got the briefcase full of fresh Cuban cigars ready for customs. It's customary to call them and confess to having a surplus of cigars that's a bit over the limit and ask if they would please send a customs officer out to the airplane to confiscate them (wink, wink)-so we can be within the legal limit.

Soon after landing his Dad woke up and rubbed his eyes.

"We are in Miami," said Dave, "I already booked us a room for the night. I called Mom too and she's getting concerned that nobody is there to help her if a hurricane hits. She said that Aura called and asked if she could spend some time with her on "Dream Weaver," before school starts? The big shark has eaten several more fishermen since we left and the whole island fears they will be next? They want Shark Boy to kill the devilfish. Other shark hunters went after it, but they never returned. The West Indians believe only Shark Boy's "Mojo" is powerful enough to kill this man-eater.

"I see," said the Captain, "If your mother needs you schedule a flight home tomorrow. I always loved your mother—still do, but there's only room for one captain on a boat and after she earned her captain's license she started second guessing me."

"I know," commented Dave, "I was there, remember and she always says the same thing about you, she still loves you and it's too bad the two of you can't bury the hatchet."

"Maybe we should," commented the Captain, "I never say never, but for now living on separate boats is probably best for everybody concerned. I will have all the help I need rigging the new mast on the Flying Circus and your mother has first priority. Besides, if you fly home tomorrow it will take Carman out of the picture. She's madly in love with you and if you fly home tomorrow there's no chance she can hunt you down at the Key West Marina. As for Aura, if she asks if you've been with any other women, I would suggest that you never-ever admit it. Women never forget that sort of thing and if a man needs to clear his conscious, he should do it with a Minister, Priest, Rabi, or Spiritual Advisor, but never with the woman he loves."

"We talked about this shark dilemma before," said Dave, "and although I thought it was resolved in my mind, it's clear that everybody else on the island is not of the same opinion as us. Jesse has cast his lot with the islanders who want the shark dead, but he has ulterior motives. He wants that Shark's skeleton for his new museum, such a specimen will pack in the tourists and every time a cruise ship docks at St. Thomas his museum will cut a fat pig in the butt."

"If that shark is as big as we think it is," exclaimed the captain, "He'll need a bigger museum to accommodate it than what he has on the drawing board. I know the whole island is expecting you to provide them with a silver bullet solution, but don't be too hasty to say yes. I would suggest that you first conduct a study and tag the beast to observe its habits and get the DNR involved—that will buy even more time."

"Pop, I have a plan. It's not safe to hunt that shark from a boat, but if I camped out on the high ground between Henley Key and Lovango I might be able to hit him with an air gun and tag it when it passes thru the shallows. His dorsal fin will be exposed and I can tag it with a tracking device without putting myself in harms way. Then we can use a satellite to track it, learn its habits and the DNR should be able to help me with that—it's right up their alley. We can put a bell on the cat, and whenever it gets close enough to be a threat we can radio a shark alert. If my suspicions are correct that shark lives in the Puerto Rican Trench.

Banana Republic dictators have dumped so many leftist bodies out there that this shark has developed an insatiable taste for human flesh," said Dave. "Whenever it hears the sound of a military transport it's like ringing a dinner bell. I have mixed emotions about this shark because it tried to get me three different times—I know it's a killer and if its not exterminated it will continue to eat people. Normally, I saw its dorsal fin before it attacked, but not always. The first time, I had him hooked on a circle hook and he pulled the dingy and me over 10 miles without ever showing himself. I never saw his dorsal fin until he was under me. He tried to flip me over, but the dingy rose up on its humongous back and the prop cut a chunk out of its dorsal fin. The other times he attacked, I spotted its dorsal fin first and the scar from the prop and that's how I knew it was the same shark. There must be a breeding population down in the trench that doesn't attack humans, but this shark is different it habitually stalks and eats people. Hopefully, if I kill it, others of its kind can still propagate the species."

"Don't be too quick to say yes to the majority," cautioned the Captain. "They are not always right, especially when they're caught up in an emotional issue, but you're approaching the problem with a clear mind and logic. You can always change a no to a yes, but it's not so easy to change a yes to a no. Take your time no matter the pressure because once you kill that shark that can't be undone."

Dave's cell phone rang and it was big Jesse.

"Dave my boy," said Jesse, "I wanted to tell you that the sheriff called and said the businessmen on St. John, St. Thomas and the other islands are posting a big reward for the person who kills that monster—If word gets out about this man eater it could ruin the tourist business. I know you're the man for the job, but I thought I'd let you tell the sheriff yourself."

"I talked to Mom a little bit ago," said Dave, "I'm flying home tomorrow, but please, let me think about it."

"Well," said Jesse, "I want you to know that you can use my other boat for as long as you need it and the harpoons with the exploding heads should be arriving any day. We had to jump thru several federal hoops to transport explosives, but it's a done deal they'll be there any day. I don't know what your plan is, but whatever it is, we must recover that carcass—whatever you do, don't let it sink. I bought a new California boat for this season, its all carbon fiber with 3,000 butt-kicking horse power and a top speed of 200 miles per hour, what do you think about that?"

"I think that's faster than any boat in the islands," remarked Dave, "Including the DEA, Coast Guard and Homeland Security's chase boats. I wonder how long it will take before they get enough money in their budgets to buy a boat that can keep up with yours?" To be continued...

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John Stark
About This Author
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.
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