“The good, the bad and the ugly; that’s what people like to read about,” were the words of advice years ago, from Natalie, editor of PassageMaker magazine. We were discussing article ideas for an upcoming submission to their magazine. “With the emphasis on the ugly,” she added. I try to keep her advice in mind as I write, because it turned out that she was right. Our website readers enjoy following our life in the sunny south but when something bad happens, like a hurricane or a coup, a riot or an earthquake, the daily hits on our website go through the roof. Yes, Natalie, people love the ugly.
Add a pirate to the recipe, add water and stir. The very word “pirate” demands attention. A pirate is a thief at sea. They’re everywhere on land; muggers, robbers and thieves, but only when they pillage from those who choose to live on the water can they call themselves pirates. I’ve borrowed other boaters’ pirates over the years. We’ve visited remote spots with buddy boats at times, taken turns keeping watch all night, guarding against pirates. But so far, after six years of living and travelling on Diamond Lil, we had no first-hand experience with a pirate, until this past week that is.
The captain is normally up before me in the morning. Thursday morning was the same. He gets up, brushes his teeth, reaches for his kindle and heads upstairs, where he reads, quietly, until I get up. If I sleep long enough, I hear him come down to the galley, take the kettle off the stove, go out to the back deck, fill it with water and put it on the stove. The fan above my bed slows as the power supply dips, so even if I don’t hear this I sense it, and it wakes me up, but that’s fine, because it’s coffee time and there is no better coffee than Honduran coffee.
So I stumbled out of our bedroom, properly referred to as the “main cabin,” after brushing my own teeth and as I stepped past the spare bedroom, or guest cabin, I noticed my purse on the floor, with a little baggie full of business cards lying on the floor. That wasn’t there when I went to bed, I thought. That damn pregnant cat has been rummaging around in here. Then I noticed a new shirt, pulled from the hanger in my closet, or storage locker, also lying on the floor. Not really a cat kind of mess. Picking up my purse and stuffing the little baggie full of business cards back in, I instinctively reached for my wallet, which was not where it should be, nor in either or the other two sections of my purse.
“Honey, do you see my wallet out there? It’s not in my purse. My purse was on the ground and my wallet is gone. Someone has been in here.”
“I’m sure it’s here somewhere. Nobody has been in here,” said hubby.
“Do you have your laptop?” I asked.
“No,” I’ve just been reading, he answered.
“Where was it, when you went to bed?” I asked and by this time he was by my side.
“Right there,” he said, pointing to an empty spot on the bed, right beside my laptop, which luckily, was still there. And then I knew. No laptop. No wallet. I hung the pink shirt back up and reached down, under all the clothes, to the spot where I hide my external hard drive, on which I back up my book, after I’ve finished writing, each day. Gone. Where had my camera been? In my purse, I had it when we went out earlier in the day. Gone. John’s phone, gone; unplugged from the charger that it had been plugged into when he went to bed. Footprints on the swim platform told us that we had been visited by pirates, versus the everyday thieves who come by land. As the day went by, we noticed more and more things missing. Several flashlights, a Tigo internet stick, and John’s crocs, which Lisa had brought all the way from Canada, were all gone.
“Wait a minute,” John said. “That’s who did it, he shoe thief.”
About a year ago, an identical pair of crocs, also from Canada, had gone missing from our aft deck one night while we slept. At the time, I insisted that someone had been on the aft deck of our boat and stolen them. The captain refused to accept this possibility, back then, but he does now. He believes that this shoe thief enjoyed the first pair of crocs so much that he came back for a new pair, once they wore out. Only this time, the shoe thief wondered what else might be lying around that he might like, or like to sell, or trade for crack cocaine, perhaps!
“Shoe pirate,” I reminded John
So now, we’ve lost our innocence and sleep with our back door locked tight, hot as that is on an eighty-five degree night in the tropics. John will get a good chain, like in apartment buildings back in the real world, and we’ll have the door open, wide enough for a cat, but not wide enough for pirates.
All we have to do is look for the guy wearing black crocs from Canada.