The decision to leave the island of Utila was made at the intersection of Main Street and an unnamed road that led to the Bucket of Blood, the island's best beer bar. The intersection was the spot where the wet and dry parts of Utila met, where a drunk might collide with an early morning churchgoer. This contrast had lost its significance with the four travelers, however, as word got around that four Americans were
giving money away to just about anyone who asked. Instead, the travelers were dealing with people attracted to their generosity like fish to an overturned piece of ocean bottom coral. The air around them was pregnant with expectancy, a Pavlovian thickness awaiting gringo dollars to nourish the small pirate-founded community.
"I think it's time to head south," said Medio.
"How do we get off the island?" Capn asked, knowing he couldn't face another ocean voyage.
"Airplane," Nuco said.
"Planes fly out here?" the BigGuy asked.
"Small ones. You have to call ahead and order one."
"Where do you do that?"
"The local trucha," Nuco said. "They radio the mainland."
"These planes are safe?" asked the BigGuy, deciding to question Nuco's travel arrangements more thoroughly.
"Don't worry, no barracudas on these planes," Nuco replied.
"The fatneck says the pilots earn extra money transporting spooks," Medio added, hoping to put the BigGuy on edge.
"CIA." Nuco pointed to a small grocery store. "That's where they call. I'll do that and meet you back at the house."
Salting the Wounds
The remaining three travelers continued walking down the street toward the rental house. "I'm just happy to be free," said the BigGuy.
"What do you mean?" asked Medio.
"Considering you and the fatneck almost had the local caribinieri on our backs," the BigGuy elaborated. "We could be sitting in a jail cell."
"We never should have messed with such a powerful member of the community," Medio admitted.
"How's that?" the BigGuy asked.
"The maricon," Medio said. "He controls the ex-con, the professional soccer player and the carabinieri. He also sent the second craziest guy on the island after us."
"A little scared last night?" the BigGuy asked, chuckling.
"Then there was the barracuda," Medio replied. "You were not exactly Senor Cojones del Mar."
"The barracuda was going for my cojones," the BigGuy replied, then fell back on the previous day's hypothesis. "We ate barracuda before entering the water. He sensed his brother's blood flowing from my pores and was out for revenge."
"I heard he was the second craziest barracuda on the island," Medio said.
The travelers fell silent until they arrived at the rental. There, Medio turned and said reflectively, "Perhaps the barracuda was a reincarnation of the homosexual's brother. He knew we'd been harrassing his kinfolk."
"What are you talking about?" the BigGuy asked.
"That's why he attacked," Medio explained. "The reincarnated barracuda knew we'd been harrassing his brother. He remembered that from his past life and went for you."
"You harrassed the homosexual after the barracuda attacked me," the BigGuy corrected.
"That's the thing with reincarnation," Medio replied, "you can't put events in chronological order."
"Good thing you didn't have that umbrella underwater," Capn added. "He never would have let you go."
"No, he feared metal," the BigGuy said. "After I went into the water with the spear gun, there was no question that the barracuda feared metal. The stick, he did not fear."