Fear That Was Conquered With Fear

My dear friend, I’ll now tell you this stalled story that is now just beginning.

Lets just skip the vigor of everyone around the boat that evening as we left; the vigor of the young men that called me “rasta” and asked me to take pictures of them somersaulting recklessly with the background of an amber setting sun, the vigor of crying babies left alone by their mothers to load illegal weights of salt into the boats in vigor, even the vigor of the devils pounding in my head for devil-knows-what reasons.

Let’s us concern ourselves with the happy fact that we left after sunset that Saturday.

If I had thought that that was the end of disappointments, or of attacks on my sanity, or of attempts on my life which isn’t worth much anyway, or of being scared into an insomnia, I was thoroughly wrong.

We travelled the waters and they grew very rough in a an hour. So rough, dear friends, that the ‘captain’ suggested that we should spend the night at the distant silhouettes of the Central Islands that I had come to hate. It didn’t amuse me much although it had started to appeal to some of my fellows. The only way to repel that appeal was to counter it with some other fear.

“Are there crocodiles where we land?” I asked the crowd in the boat.

“Maybe,” answered someone. “But the engine scares them away”

“What about hippos?”

“Yes. Those won’t bulge. One might even attack if isolated from the rest.”

“Let’s hope five boats would not do that. Large snakes in the tall grass?”

“There are snakes everywhere.”

“But they are not the poisonous ones, are they?”

“Is there another kind?” here two voices sneered.

“Mosquitos?”

“You don’t want to see the giant mosquitos of central islands,” a new voice said carelessly, upon which I could feel the hearts of the mothers go out to their small babies.

“I hear the game rangers arrest and fine people who go to the islands at night. Is it true?” and by one of those coincidences, we saw two flashlights shine briefly from the big island for we were now quite close.

“They are bad men”, an experienced voice offered.

“Would they rape the women and shoot the rest of us?” it was the same careless talker from earlier.

“Ride the rough waters, I say!” ordered one of the older women and everyone agreed.

And I turned from the moonlight, punched the air between my legs and smiled to myself.

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