As I struggled up the beach in a driving rain, I heard Mario calling to me from the water taxi dock.
“I didn’t think you was coming out in this weather,” he said, when I finally joined him. “Are you sure you want to catch a boat in this storm?”
“Caye Caulker is only fifteen miles from here and besides, I don’t really mind this weather.”
“Why you going to Caye Caulker?”
“I don’t have any choice. Alvin Spurling has been my friend since I came to this country twenty-nine years ago. He’s one of the first people I met. Now he’s old and sick and his wife says that the doctor told her he won’t last much longer.”
“I don’t have any choice, either,” Mario said. “The judge said I’d better be in that courtroom at one o’clock.”
Halfway to Caye Caulker the storm hit us so hard that the captain had to keep the boat headed into the waves to stop it from rolling over. Even the crew members were scared.
The baggage man came by and said, “Mario, me and Julio are gonna pray. You want to join us?”
“Not me,” Mario said. “You the one supposed to be taking care of the ship. Me and Mr. Dennis is paying customers.”
He was soon singing a different tune. As the waves got higher, he started turning green and soon he was leaning over the rail and getting rid of his breakfast.
“I’m dying,” he moaned. “Tell Consuela I love her.”
“Oh, come on, Mario,” I said. “Tell her yourself. You’re just seasick and that won’t kill you.”
“Don’t say that. Please don’t say that.”
“It’s true,” I said. “Seasickness never killed anybody.”
“Please don’t say that. Right now, the hope of dying is the only thing keeping me alive.”