Breaking the Line

I couldn't say what happened to the dorado.  I don't know whether I let the rod slip from my grasp, or if I jerked back in shock, snapping the line, or what.  I do know that beyond us, out to sea, a sleek thirty foot cigarette boat served as the stage to a murderous drama.

The players were too far away from me to see clearly.  There were three: one holding a large handgun (it had to be a pretty hefty chunk of metal for me to make it out at this distance,) and one heaving a third (presumably dead) overboard.

Unlike most stage productions, this one would not prove consequence-free for the spectators.  I could not clearly hear our boat's captain, nor understand his rapid fire Spanish (perhaps 'rapid fire' is an unfortunate choice of words) but I did catch the word 'chingada.'

There followed a moment of stillness, or so it seems in my memory, though I know intellectually that the boat's diesel was churning its usual throaty bass, sea birds were protesting the gunshot, and wavelets continued to slap against our hull.  But in the theater of my memory the world was expectantly silent as the four of us on our vessel waited to see if the remaining two on the other would turn to look our way.  Foolishness, I suppose now.  We were between them and the shore and not more than a couple hundred yards separated us.  How minuscule was the chance that they wouldn't glance our way?  They hadn't noticed us to this point, so there must be some hope.  Maybe....

Of course there was no hope.  The one who'd tossed the corpse over the side turned to hop into the seat behind the wheel of the big speed boat and saw us, as evidenced by his pointing arm and the responsive about face of the man with the pistol.

“A la madre!” swore the mate, and I heartily agreed with the sentiment, even though I didn't understand what exactly he was saying.  The captain also seemed to concur – he rammed forward the throttle and turned us, yawing precariously, towards shore.

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