Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Somali Pirates

 We watched them for a long time on the water, trolling behind us slowly like far arching shadows across the waves.  Our captain kept muttering that they weren’t supposed to be there, that they didn’t belong in these waters, his voice trailing off into the muffled wind of the Red Sea.
 Little boats with puttering outboard motors.  Dark skinned figures with waving arms.  Hobgoblins on the horizon blocking out the light.  When they sped away I felt the breath come back into my chest.
 When we finally stepped foot on the island, I wandered over the dunes and atop the craggy rocks to get a better look, staring down like Robinson Crusoe at their abandoned hideouts and make shift shacks made of wooden ship planks and broken boxes.
I wanted so badly to see one up close.  To see his rifle raised high in the sunlight.  To hear his foreign tongue bleating in curses.  To feel that fear rush again to my chest like sudden breath when re-emerging from the depths of the ocean floor.  But there was nothing, only relief.  Later I told myself, thank God.  I mean, who makes small talk with pirates anyway?

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