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I have done some traveling to the tropics and became infatuated with the climate and the terrain of rain forests. I went to Costa Rica, to the Bahamas and later to Indonesia. These travels inspired this book.
Elizabeth stepped out the back door dressed in trousers, shirt, hat and boots, carrying the bags that she had arrived with. She walked to the garage and threw her bags into the back of the truck. "Ernesto! Ernesto!" Elizabeth expected Ernesto to be in the shop end of the garage and he was, drinking a beer with a friend. He came walking out of the shop. "Si, Sen orita." Ernesto walked up to her and the truck. "Llevame al rio, alla!" She barked at him. "Si, Sen orita." He got in and started the truck. She got in the passenger side and they drove out to the road and down to the boat. Jorge was still at the river bank with his boat. He was standing out in front of the boat, wiping a tool with a grease rag. He saw the truck as it pulled up. He felt a little anticipation. He was pleased to see Elizabeth. She looke like she could hardly wait to see him. Elizabeth got out and walked up to him. "Hello. What's up? How are you doing?" Jorge asked. "Hi. I decided that I do want to go with you. Okay?" Elizabeth stepped back and looked at him with no expression on her face. "Yeah, Okay. Well I'll be leaving real soon. I can't fool around here much longer. I'll be leaving in the mor.." Jorge stopped because Elizabeth walked away from him, to the truck. She pulled out her luggage and walked back to him. "Let's go." She said. Still, she had no expression on her face. "Ahh. Now?" He asked. "Now. Let's go. Well? You said you were leaving?" She walked to the boat, and tossed her bags to the side and walked to the pilot's platform at the rear of the boat. Jorge walked back and put the tool and rag away. Everything on the boat had been ready for hours. He had only waited to see her one last time. He went to the helm and started the engines. Jorge raised the front ramp and they watched Ernesto back up the truck and leave, as the front of the boat slid off the bank. Jorge put the drive gears for both props in forward, and soon they were moving up the river, against the current. Jorge was stunned. He had thought about Elizabeth almost all the time. He expected that she would not go with him. He looked forward to one more night with her. He would make love to her and she would beg him to stay and she would make love to him and he would tell her when he would be back. He wanted her to wait for him. He knew there were no other men in LaMata, waiting for her. He knew this, instinctively, that she had not come back to LaMata after all these years for an old lover. The more he had thought about trading upriver, the less he liked the idea of a woman coming along. But he had invited her and he couldn't tell her to leave. He was surprised but not pleased. He had expected her to back out, but instead, she barged onto his boat like she owned it and didn't even give him a smile, let alone, a kiss. He was not ecstatic. He was perplexed. Elizabeth stood on the pilot's platform and gazed out over the river. She looked back at the landing as they departed and said nothing. She was not thinking about Jorge. She was thinking about Riggs. She thought about Margot. She had no time to even say Goodbye. She thought about Hector and Maria and worried. Riggs was a professional killer, she knew, but she did not think that he would give himself away by killing, unnecessarily. Perhaps he would give up or look for her, elsewhere. She thought of DeMarco. Monica told her that he was dead. She wondered what brought that about. Maybe DeMarco threw her out for her own protection. Maybe he saw this coming. Maybe he just got tired of her. The thought of his death didn't make her feel good, so she didn't dwell on it. She missed him, but that was a closed chapter in her life, even if DeMarco was not dead. She thought of Maria. Maria was the bright spot in her life. She worried. The only thing that she did not think about was what she would be doing on this boat with Jorge. After a while she became bored and stepped down off the platform, and dpwn into the boat. She inspected, casually, all the contents of the boat. She looked at the stacks of merchandise, the crates of tools on pallets, the clothes, the liquor, and the smoked meat. She looked into a recess made by two big crates and a canvas, spread on top, between them. In the nook were two chairs, a desk made from a wooden box, a metal cash box and several boxes on the floor. In one box was what looked like maps and charts. In another were file folders and a journal. She walked toward the front of the boat where there were several large bales of cheap clothing. She propped up a wooden pallet and using her hands and feet, she climbed to the top of one of the bales of cheap clothes. On the top of the bale, the breeze was fresh and the bale was soft. She made herself comfortable and placed her hat over her face and took a long siesta. Jorge was getting to be in a bad mood. He had been flim- flammed into something here. He just knew it. He sensed that Elizabeth was operating on a different agenda, now. One that had nothing to do, really with him. He sat back in his pilot's chair and tried to figure out exactly what the agenda was. The boat meandered up the river all day. As the sun went down and evening came. Jorge almost never traveled at night. The subtleties of river currents were too obscure in the dark. Jorge found a shallow spot covered with half-submerged brush and pushed the front of the boat onto it and parked. He shut off the engines and walked down to fix something to eat. His kitchen was a can of sterno and a few canned foods. He prepared jerky and warmed beans. He left some out for Elizabeth but she did not stir. He wondered why Elizabeth, after stalling and refusing had suddenly decided to go with him. And why was she in such a hurry to leave? He knew something was going on that she was not telling. He went to the large crate near the nook and climbed up to his bed. On his mattress, he could see Elizabeth, stretched out on the bale of clothes at the front of the boat. She was taking long deep unconscious breaths. Jorge was soon stretched out and fast asleep.
My name is John Roy Pickett. I was born in Bristow, Oklahoma. I was raised on a farm, and received a fairly good high school education there. I grew up, traveling during the summer months, doing farm work with my family. Each summer I and my family traveled from western Oklahoma and the panhandle of Texas, to Canada, following the ripening wheat. This gave me somewhat worldly ways for a high school student. I developed a taste for travel and adventure. After several colleges I got a degree and became a Biomedical Electronics Technician. I worked at this until my retirement.


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