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Island was six hours away. They carried Tony into the galley. The
race was on. Six hours, an eternity. Anxiety, failing hope, the
truth seeping in. Finally, with the anchor down and the doctor aboard,
an official pronouncement.
is dead," the doctor said in clear English. "The body must come
ashore, the Federales, you know."
and Johnny whispered together. When the doctor left, Johnny said,
"Start her up, chief, we're getting out of here."
anchor chain rose slowly with loud clanks. Defiance swung around
and slipped out to sea. Anton headed her straight for San Pedro.
They put Tony in garbage bags and secured him with duct tape. "Move
those boxes of chicken up to that third shelf," said Johnny, and
they laid Tony out on the freezer floor.
crew was tired from the long hours of fishing and the run to Guadalupe,
but no one slept that night. A few of the men paced the decks, unable
to sit still. They gathered together and replayed the accident over
and over. The chief hid below, working furiously, keeping busy with
small repairs. Only after the sun was high the next day did the
men, one by one, turn into their bunks for a few hours of fitful
sleep. And now, evening again, they were gathered together in the
threw up again," Johnny reported when he returned to the galley.
"His eyes still don't look right. What do you think, Augie?"
he'll be all right. It'll just take a little time. I'll keep an
eye on him." When Raul came back in, Augie handed him a can of ginger
ale from the fresh box. Despite the noise from the engine, the galley
chief sat with his coffee in front of him. His round, stubby fingers
began to drum on the table. His face was set and angry. When his
cigar went out, he relit it, then blurted out, "Johnny, you got
someone to help me work on the small air compressor?"
studied the chief for a moment, then squeezed up one side of his
face. "Now?" he asked. "Why you gotta work on it now? It's been
down the whole trip." "Because it needs to be done," the chief said,
jumping up from the table. "Forget it. I'll fix it myself." He disappeared
toward the engine room.