Monday, May 4, 2015

Chapter 6


Emi was almost done in but she refused to give in.  She also refused to let the man named Ernie touch her. 

Barb shook her head as she checked to make sure no stitches were needed.  “You’re a shade of crazy I’ve rarely seen Chica.  The guy is a legitimate doc … so what if he started out as a vet, that’s still pretty damn as close as it gets these days.” 

“He’s a man.” 

“You didn’t strike me as a hater, ‘specially not after you wouldn’t leave Kiko behind and kicked that mooney chick’s ass for even thinking it.” 

“’S different.”

Barb just shook her head, finished tying off the bandage, and then headed back to the girls.  The boat crew were giving them a wide berth and Emi thought it pretty funny. 

Kiko groaned before asking, “What’s so funny?” 

“Nuthin’.” 

“Ain’t in the mood for no mouth girl.” 

Emi looked over at Kiko and rolled her eyes.  “You get back on your feet then I’ll be scared ‘o you again.” 

“You saying you was scared of me?” 

“Anyone with sense would have been.” 

Kiko seemed to think about that then snorted.  “The woman had it right.  You play at being a hater but … there’s something there.  You sure you told me your story right?” 

Emi sighed.  “Look Kiko, I don’t always know why I feel …”  She ground her teeth then asked, “You supersticioso?” 

“No.  That’s stuff for old women.” 

“Well … I wish you would have told my mother’s family that for me.  They thought I was kissed by the Sihuanaba.  I was a mess when I was sent to live with them.  One time my cousins kids intentionally lost me along the river … eh … long story.  Just one of the old women in the village said … stupid stuff because I … sometimes I just …” 

“Women’s intuition.” 

Kiko and Emi looked up to see the boat’s captain.  Kiko grunted and Emi shrugged then grimaced.  The man said, “Should have let Ernie look at it.” 

“No.” 

The captain sat down and stretched out his legs and quietly asked, “Why?” 

Kiko growled, “Don’t give him trouble.  I tol’ you.” 

“I don’t know why.  He just …gives off vibes I don’t like.” 

“What kinda vibes?” 

It took Emi a moment to decide if she was going to answer them and although Kiko was getting irritated the Captain seemed to be willing to wait her out.  She sighed.  “He carries more shivs than I do and … and he looks at people behind their backs.” 

“Looks at them how?” 

Emi looked at the Captain in irritation.  “Looks at them … and there’s nothing behind his eyes. 

What you see on the outside is just window dressing that he practices.  If you could peel it away … you’d see … vista fuerte.  OK?  And I know it sounds stupid.  There’s no such thing as the evil eye but if there was what is left on his insides would be the embodiment of it.” 

Kiko shook his head.  “You crazy after all.” 

“I’m going to check on …” 

Emi wasn’t even able to get into a crouch to stand up because the Captain pushed her back gently.  “I’m not through with my questions … Chica.” 

“Well I’m done answering.” 

“No … no you aren’t.” 

For the first time Emi heard the purr of danger in his voice.  “You told me about hearing something before the shooting started.” 

“So?” 

“None of my men reported hearing anything.” 

“So?” 

“So you got good ears.” 

Emi shrugged, this time more carefully than the first time but it still hurt.   

“Now you tell me one of my men gives you the heebies.  So maybe I’m willing to see if your eyes are as good as your ears.” 

Surprised, Emi looked at him cautiously when the man ordered, “Tell me what else you see when you look.” 

Slowly Emi said, “The men don’t like the women being on board.  Either they don’t like women in general, don’t like trafficking, or they’re superstitious.  Since they didn’t seem to have too much problem with the women at first I’m gonna say they’re superstitious.  Most sailors are.” 

“And you know sailors?” 

“Enough to know they’ll blame anything and everything for what can and does go wrong in life … especially if it goes wrong while on the water.” 

“What else do you see?” 

Emi was getting fed up.  She was tired and in pain and just wanted some quiet so she could deal with it without making herself appear weak.  “Your men, they’re in good shape.  They’re eating regular but that could be down to you being on the water enough to survive on fishing.  But I don’t see no sores or scurvy.  That means you make enough from your water trade to …”  A wave took her by surprise and she banged her bandaged arm.  It was a near thing but she didn’t pass out. 

When her hearing came back Kiko was telling the Captain, “I don’t want her messed up.  She’s for Tony.” 

“About that Bro’.  Tony … well there were some that decided they didn’t want to wait and they bought them some women down in Miami.  Tony is shacked up with …” 

Kiko started cursing and the anger coming off of him nearly had Emi seeing stars again.  He finally calmed down enough to snarl, “I tol’ that boy that I was going to bring him back a woman.  How did he pay for the one he got?” 

“The idiot actually gambled for her.” 

There was another string of Spanglish, none of it pretty.  “He promised me he’d stay away from the tables after what he lost last time!” 

Kiko was continuing on but something had caught Emi’s eye.  Ernie was staring at the women and didn’t realize anyone was looking at him.  She nudged the Captain’s foot and he casually glanced in the direction she indicated and Emi heard him draw a sharp breath through his nose but it was subtle and anyone that did notice put it down to his reaction to Kiko’s behavior. 

The Captain, without really looking at Emi, spoke out of the side of his mouth and whispered, “We have a shark in the fish bowl.”

1 comment:

  1. This is a really great story Kathy. Lots of layers to it. Looking forward to the next chapter.

    ReplyDelete