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TALES OF THE CARIBBEAN

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Jini, Aura and Enzo climbed into Jini's dinghy. Aura started the motor and Enzo cast off the painter-they were headed for the fish boil. The brilliant Caribbean sun was low on the azure horizon and the ocean was like glass as Aura pointed the bow towards shore. Soon the trio was hiking up the hill to the boat shack where a flurry of preparation was in progress. Into the large copper pot of steaming vegetables, Chef Pierre added two pounds of secret seasonings and four gallons of heavy cream, while he adjusted the chowder's thickness with premium flaked potatoes. His assistant chopped the fresh lobsters and grouper into bite-sized pieces—adding them last. Dan was tending the wood fire and the Gypsy sisters, Anna and Catrina, were chatting up the Monk while his milkmaids passed around samples of his fresh Tuscan bread, extra virgin olive oil, stinky cheese and red wine. Delaney had her baby with her and two of other milkmaids who would soon give birth. Delilah was rumored to be barren and wasn't serving the guests because she was busy seducing one of the sheriff's deputies. When Jini, Aura and Enzo approached, every man's head turned and they stared in stunned silence at Aura's natural grace, youth and beauty.

Delilah's eyes flashed with jealousy when she saw them coming and she suddenly lost interest in the deputy and ran to greet Enzo. It embarrassed Enzo, but Aura told her that she should fix her makeup because a large piece of mascara was sliding down her face. At first Delilah, who's Amsterdam English is lacking, didn't understand what Aura said but when Jini laughed she understood that and waved her fists in Aura's face in a most menacing manner. If Aura was at all concerned by Delilah's threats she didn't show it.

The revelers' became suddenly silent as they waited to see how this battle would end. But Delilah blinked first, spun around and went the other way. The monk gently asked Delilah to please help serve the appetizers and although she did as he asked, she kept her distance from Aura. Delilah refused to serve Aura and it was clear that this tiff was not over. Delilah peered like a cat at Aura, she was looking for a high place to fight from—if looks could kill Aura would've been dead.

The newly elected Sheriff and his wife were there along with the prosecuting attorney and his sexy secretary. The island governor sent his regrets that he could not attend because of another official obligation. Mad Jack and the regulars from Boss Penny's bar were there, too and it was an odd collection of eccentric people, pirates, politicians and the island's top law enforcement people.

Mad Jack, was drunk and telling one of the elected officials that his favorite politician was Harry Truman who once said that he couldn't decide if he wanted to be a professional politician or play the piano in a whorehouse because the jobs were so similar. The Captain intervened and changed the subject but it was clear that if he didn't keep a lid on this party it would spiral out of control.

The Chief of the Park Police was there and he asked Big Jesse if it was all right if he searched his shipping container before he sent it to Pike County, KY. Jesse's face turned beet red and he was standing nose-to-nose and toe-to-toe with the Chief kicking dirt on his pant cuffs. Jesse said, "Hell no, it isn't alright." The Captain hurried to intervene and so did the deputies but before they got there Jesse had already made several derogatory and slanderous remarks about the Chief's ancestral heritage. It was common knowledge that Jesse had obtained a permit from the Sheriff's office to excavate for human remains on Lovango and that he had indeed found two human skeletons but he vehemently denied that any sort of treasure or artifacts were discovered.

While the argument progressed Delilah was standing off to one side displaying her most innocent face, but in Jesse's mind she was a prime suspect, for being the rat who tipped off the Chief of Parks whose sworn duty it was to stop any archeological artifacts from leaving the islands.

Chef Pierre saved the day by ringing the dinner bell and thus the feast began. A few minutes after the altercation Jesse was seen with his arm around the monk's shoulder talking to him like an errant son. Enzo recalled the night that Delilah had watched them from a distance as they dug and sifted through the overburden from their excavation and although he had said nothing to her about the treasure she might have figured it out. His dad once told him, "Hell hath no fury like a woman's scorn," and after he rejected Delilah's advances that night he understood what his dad meant. He also remembered the night they left the treasure with the monk but he was absolutely certain that Delilah was not there. It was just the monk, Jesse and himself because if Delilah had known where the treasure was hidden she would've either taken it or, told the police about it. His dad told him that's how prostitutes survive they tell the cops everything. Only politicians, Hollywood celebrities' and sexually-under-secure men are stupid enough to lay with a prostitute or tell them anything at all—loose lips sink ships.

The Chief was sure that Jesse had artifacts in his shipping container but he didn't know exactly what they were or, how many. When Jesse refused the Chief permission to search his shipping container it put the rock in the Chief's pocket because now he needed a search warrant. The Judge would, of course, want to know exactly what the Chief was looking for before he issued a search warrant. Jesse was one of the Judge's biggest campaign contributors and the Chief's demand for a warrant would put the Judge in an unfortunate position. He would rather fire the Chief than risk losing his largest financial backer—he could make a new Chief in five minutes, but a big cold cash contributor like Jesse was scarce as hen's teeth—that was the reality of the situation. The Chief was running a bluff, but Jesse is not the sort of man who can be bluffed.

Enzo excused himself to Aura, Jini and the Gypsy sisters and hurried over to his Dad and Jesse. The three of them went behind the shack to discuss the situation and although Jesse was outraged, he knew if they didn't act quickly the Chief just might get his search warrant and the fruits from his excavations. For now, at least, they knew the big treasure was safe on Lovongo because even if Delilah knew about it she didn't know where it was hidden.

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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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