Salty and Patrick remained sitting on the front porch never moving from where Rich last saw them. Salty asked Rich to join them.
“You two look serious,” Rich said as he walked up the steps and sat in a chair facing them.
“We have been talking very seriously,” Patrick said, “and we wanted to know what you thought.”
“If it includes me, sure,” Rich said.
“First of all,” Salty said clearing his throat, “would you be willing to stay on Barbuda for as much as three months?”
“Sure,” Rich said. “I said you can take as long as you want. The world ain’t going anyplace. I can find things to do. I can use the time to start some writing.”
“Well,” Salty said, “I would like to enlist some of your skills.”
“I have no skills,” Rich said.
“Yes you do,” Salty said. “You’ve learned some about boat construction.”
“A little,” Rich said.
“Patrick is determined to return Jacktar to me,” Salty said.
“It is not mine,” Patrick said.
“It is my view if a person has possession of something and takes care of it for an entire lifetime it should be his,” Salty said. “However, my old friend is very stubborn and resists reason. We have discussed that between he and I, we will pool the funds he has reserved either to pay me for the boat…”
Patrick interrupted. “As to the point of stubbornness, my old friend not only refuses to take back what is his, but refuses any fair and just compensation for what is rightly his.”
“Let’s return to the subject at hand,” Salty said. “We have agreed to pool finances and my expertise to build a proper boat to ferry between here and Antigua. If the materials can be gathered in a reasonable time frame, even with some leeway, we can complete a project in three months; four months tops. I could use your help. So are you in?”
Rich stroked his chin. “I said you could take as long as you wanted here. I didn’t expect that long, but I’m in. As you are aware I may have to go at a moment’s notice. You know, that little problem that seems to be perusing me.”
“Salty and I have discussed that,” Patrick said. “Although it is important to deal with possibilities they are to only remain possibilities and not liabilities.”
“Where do we start?” Rich said.
“We already have,” Patrick said, “I already have my sons gathering material and tools.”
“We already have a six man crew,” Salty said.
“And I’ll be the seventh,” Rich said.
“We already counted you,” Patrick said.
“Your first assignment is to ready The Odyssey in case we have to leave suddenly,” Salty said.
“I don’t think ‘we’ is the right word.” Rich said. “I’ll take off, you finish what you started, and we meet up someplace else.”
“Like Tony’s in Key West,” Salty said.
“Of course,” Rich said. “Do you think I’ll ever get to see that place?”