The Three Thieves of Porto Seguro
Rich ate close to closing time at a small restaurant. As the last one served, the owner appeared as happy to see him depart as take the money. The door shut and locked before Rich managed twp steps beyond the doorway.
Shops closed. The streets fell dark, and empty. The street lights cast only a dim glow. Rich started an ominous walk toward The Odyssey. He noticed three men seemed to follow him. Besides the dim street lights, an occasional light from a second story apartment loomed and a distant pulse of a bar’s neon sign. However, the closer to the seawall the darker it became.
The three men appeared to be locals. Nothing stood out about them except they looked desperate and intimidating. Rich made some abrupt stops to look in shop windows and a couple of random direction changes. They remained behind him.
“Robbery,” Rich thought. “They are waiting for a place of opportunity.”
He stopped at a street intersection. Out of the corner of his eye he calculated the distance from him to the seawall and to the dinghy on the other side. “Do I have the time to run to the dingy, pull the anchor, and shove off? I see no other alternative.”
Rich looked for boulevard traffic. He waited for a clear path. He bolted at full speed across the boulevard. The three men pursued. Rich’s arms pumped out more speed as he entered the boulevard. From a hidden driveway a small car pulled onto the boulevard. Rich swerved to maneuver around it. That cost him distance and broke his stride. He leaped over a row of hedges. A man on a bicycle impeded his straight line to the dinghy.
Rich reached the dinghy and grabbed the cement filled coffee can anchor. He tuned to see how far away his pursuers were. They halted within ten feet – no time to hurl the anchor on board the dinghy and climb aboard.
They were puffing, but smiling.
Rich stood quietly and thought, “I don’t have an anchor on the end of this rope, I have a 30 pound wrecking ball with centrifugal force. I’m David and they are Goliath.”
One man said something in Portuguese and motioned with his finger to give him something, presumably money.
Rich whirled the anchor over head and caught the man on his lift side of the head. The other two jumped back. The man in the middle pulled a knife. Rich flung the anchor around the man’s ankles and he slammed hard on the brick sidewalk. The knife slid from his hand. Rich quickly grabbed it. The last man ran across the boulevard and into a car, fell to the pavement, and limped away holding his knee.
Rich walked up to the man who had the anchor’s line around his ankles. Rich gripped the knife in hand. The man began begging in Portuguese.
“I just want my anchor,” Rich said and untangled the line.
Rich climbed over the seawall and into the dinghy. He tossed the knife in the water.
The man hit by the anchor crawled to his feet and sat on the seawall. Blood flowed from a gash on the left side of his head. He looked out at Rich rowing back to The Odyssey. He swore in Portuguese. Rich offered only a smile in return.
“With any luck you’ll have a headache for a week or two,” Rich said. “Otherwise, the rest of your life.”
Rich climbed back aboard The Odyssey and wasted little time motoring away and hoisting the sails.
Soon the glow and flickering lights of Porto Seguro faded distant and lonely.
Robbery and Taxes
Rich sailed four hours before the excitement of the evening slithered into a drowsy state of body and mind. He set a due south course and locked in the steering, stumbled below, and fell into the cabin’s bench. Sleep was not far off.
He awoke to good seas and wind.
A check of fittings and lines proved satisfactory.
He sat in the cockpit. “Robbery is the poor man’s way of taxing the rich.” He smiled. “The rich just get it back. I’m now thinking like Sam. Wealth is just recycled money. A person just has to figure out were the distribution point is or become one. That’s not for me and never will be. The love of money really is the root of evil. With money comes power or disruption of power. That’s what those plates tossed in the sea were all about. I just slowed it down for a moment.”
“What is so important about being in charge? What is so important about political movements? Why is one political ideology better or worse than the other? Why do they want to control thinking? Why do people insist on their way? I’m just a boat on the water. The water has no politics, neither does the boat. I’m the only one with that concept and I have none and we all get along just fine. I’m sounding drunk.”
Rich studied the charts and a map of the coast of Brazil. “Rio de Janeiro is five days. How often does anyone go to Rio? That sounds like I’ll be asking and answering that question for the next two years. I’m never going to do this again. It’s Rio for a couple of days.”
Rich was free to think and write. He pecked away on his typewriter about the events back in Porto Seguro. It made for another short story that could only to be told another way – capture, escape, and adding personality. He titled it Three Thieves of Porto Seguro.
“My three thieves are braver and smarter,” Rich thought, “not like those three unfortunate guys. They were probably looking for drinking money. Not too much different than the guys back in Pennsylvania a couple years ago, Baby Face and Green Teeth. I wonder how they are doing and the guy who helped me, Glen Jones. He would make a good sailing partner. Man, what a good time he and I would have in Rio.”
“In Rio there must be at least 3,000 thieves,” Rich mused. “That would be 3,000 tax collectors.”