Intro to Hugo
Rich cut the engine and drifted. “Do you speak English,” Rich hailed.
“Some good, some bad,” the man said with an accent.
“Can I dock here?” Rich called out.
“Sure,” the man said.
Rich started the engine and maneuvered closer. The man helped Rich secure the Beyond.
“Thank you,” Rich said stepping on the dock and shaking his hand.
“From where do you come?” the man said.
“United States,” Rich said.
“I can tell you not a rich man,” the man said. “Not a fancy boat, but it is clean. That’s good.”
“The only thing rich about me is my name, it’s Rich.”
“And I am Hugo.”
“Hugo,” Rich said, “will my boat be safe here? Will I have to worry about thieves?”
Hugo smiled. “How do you not know I am a thief?”
“A thief would be stealing fish,” Rich said. “Your hands are thick and hard. I noticed your glasses.” Rich pointed to a pair of glasses on the top of the dock piling. “They are pitted. You are a welder.”
“Yes,” Hugo smiled. “Now, how old am I and how many children do I have?”
Rich smiled. “I think my boat will be safe here.”
“It will be,” Hugo said. “Do not go any further up the river. Not good people up the river.” He pointed to the surrounding area with his finger. “All good.”
“I need to buy food,” Rich said. “Is there a store close?”
“Half kilometer that way,” Hugo said pointing down the street that ran alongside the river.
Rich nodded. “Thanks.”
“Maybe I give you a ride,” Hugo said. “I have a truck.”
“That would be kind of you,” Rich said. “I’ll make it worth your while.”
“That would be appreciated,” Hugo said.
“Do you have children?” Rich said.
“Five,” Hugo said.
“I have a dog, a pup,” Rich said. “Can you’re children watch him for me?”
“Sure,” Hugo said. “They like little dogs.”
Rich jumped back on board and lifted Zeke from the cabin. He placed him on the dock and Zeke followed Rich and Hugo to his home.
Hugo’s home had one floor. It looked as if two rooms may have been added as the family size increased. It was surrounded by a fence of various size pickets. A garden flourished on the side and next to that stood a cinder block building that housed Hugo’s welding business.
The children ranged in age from 4 to 12 were eager and happy to watch Zeke.
Hugo drove Rich to a moderate size market a few blocks away from the river. It stood in the middle of a stone parking lot. With all the garage doors opened it was pretty much an open air market. Rich quickly filled two shopping carts, paid for the items, and placed them in the bed of Hugo’s truck. Rich went back and bought a case of beer and two cases of soft drinks.
As they drove away Hugo said, “You like beer?”
“Do you?” Rich said.
“It is good,” Hugo said. “Especially on hot days.”
“Those are yours,” Rich said and smiled. “May you have many hot days. And when I’m gone think good of me as you enjoy one.”
“You pay with beer,” Hugo smiled. “Money loses value, beer never. Beer, one price here and same beer, more someplace else.”
“You pay for the atmosphere,” Rich said.
“I pay for the beer,” Hugo said. “After many beers all atmosphere is same.”
“Before we get to your home do you mind showing me around?” Rich said.
“You mean into Torres?” Hugo said.
“No,” Rich said, “around your home.”
“Sure,” Hugo said, “no problem, but if you want to go Torres where everything is, I take you.”
“No,” Rich said. “There’s nothing in the city I want to see or do.”
“A city can be like a jungle,” Hugo said. “I think you smart to not go, but Torres is a good place.”
They drove around for about a half hour. Rich pondered as he quietly looked at street after street of simple homes of simple people.
“Do you like living here?” Rich said.
“It’s good place,” Hugo said. “I born in Curitiba. Only trouble for me. When I’m 20 I move here. This has been good for me. I find a wife and have children. It is good. The people here know how to be good. Some bad, but most good. I want good for my children and wife. What about you?”
“I’m from a farm in Ohio,” Rich said. “A couple years ago I set out on my own. I worked at a newspaper. And one day decided to sail around the world.”
“That is magnificent!” Hugo said. “How much further you got to go?”
“I just started a few months ago,” Rich said. “I spent a few months on an island helping a friend build a boat.”
“How long you think it will take?” Hugo said.
Rich smiled. “No time. No family, No job.”
“A man has to have something,” Hugo said. “You have something, but you don’t wish to tell.”
“Is it that obvious?” Rich said.
“No,” Hugo said. “Every man have something; something to go to, something to run from, and something to hide.”
Before Rich could reply Hugo said, “I sometimes just go out to the beach. I have a rock I sit on and think.”
“You think good,” Rich said.
They arrived at the Beyond and Hugo helped Rich stow the provisions on board.
Hugo grabbed a case of soft drinks.
“Those stay,” Rich said. “They are for your children.
“They say it is not good for the teeth,” Hugo said.
Rich smiled. “Something else to remember me by.”
“Thank you, Rich,” Hugo said. “you are a generous man.”
On the ride back to Hugo’s home, Hugo asked. “How long you stay in Torres?”
“Maybe a couple days,” Rich said.
“I have a motorbike,” Hugo said. “Do you know how to drive one?”
“Yeah,” Rich said.
“It’s not much to look at,” Hugo said. “The motor is like new. It will get you around.”
Rich paused and thought. “I’m going to take you up on that.”