Captain

January 31, 2010
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“Get on the boat!” someone shouted, as I slowly opened my eyes.

“What?”

“We’re leaving right now! If you don’t get to the ship immediately, we’re gonna have to go without you!”

My eyes widened as I jolted awake. “What? You can’t leave without me, I’m your captain!”

“Rules are rules; you should know that better than anyone. If we don’t leave now, they’ll burn our ship to the ground.”

“What about loyalty to your captain? You know we wouldn’t have lasted this long if it weren’t for me! You won’t even be able to get out of the bay without my guidance! You need me and you know it!”

“Captain, you know as well as I do that if we wait another hour, we won’t be able to get out of the bay either way, and arguing with me won’t change that.”

“But-”

“No buts. They found us out. Someone must’ve let it slip that we were still here. I saw some policemen getting ready to torch the boat on the way here. We’ve either gotta get back on right away or not get back on at all. What’s it gonna be?”

I sighed. “Alright, let’s get going.” The man nodded, quickly hopping out the window of the small shack I had slept in every night for the last week. I’d never really liked shacks; they were too small, and always let too much wind in. When there was the possibility of a night raid, though, I didn’t have much of a choice. I was a wanted criminal; if they found me sleeping on the ship, everything was over.

I hopped out after him. The shack was surrounded by a small, grassy field. To the east, trees. To the west, trees. To the north, trees. To the south… You get the idea. Through the northern trees, I could see the dock; policemen were already starting to arrive. “Damn,” I said, “We won’t be able to take the usual route.”

The other man groaned. “What did you think? I told you they were getting ready for a raid; did you think they’d march in one by one?”

“Shut up. We should be able to get in through the shortcut, if they haven’t boarded that up already.”

He shrugged. “Who knows? They’re raiding the bar for completely unrelated reasons, but I don’t know if they’ve found the passage yet.”

“You mean they finally caught him?” I laughed. “He couldn’t have picked a worse time to slip up.” I yawned. “Well, we’d better get going. There’s no time to waste.”

“You’ve got that right.” I nodded, as we began to run toward the west. “They’re busting us and the bar at the same time; they must be spread pretty thin. Are we gonna sneak by, or bust through?”

“Have we ever been able to just sneak by?”

He laughed. “I guess not. You armed?”

I flashed my pistol. “Am I ever not?”

“Loaded?”

“Has it ever been?”

He laughed. “One of these days, you’re gonna die.”

“For not carrying incriminating evidence? You know that all you need is a loaded gun for them to start shooting at you. If it’s not loaded, I can make up an alibi.”

“I guess you’re right. Got anything else?”

“Nope.”

He groaned. “How do you expect to make it through a bunch of armed officers with nothing but an empty pistol?”

“You got anything better?”

He looked away. “I’m just the messenger. I was expecting you to have something.”

I laughed. “You know me better than that.”

“How are we gonna survive, then, huh? Why didn’t you think ahead, like you usually do?”

I laughed again. “Think ahead? You know me better than that, don’t you? All I do is steer the ship and make big plans. I tell people where to go, but it’s people like you who actually get stuff done.”

“What’s so bad about just leaving you here, then, huh? If you don’t do anything for us, what’s the point in even keeping you around?”

“Can anyone else steer the ship? Can anyone else plan the plans?” He said nothing. “I didn’t think so. And besides, who’s the one that helped us survive the last three police raids? That’s right, me. Who-“

“Alright, enough, I get it. That doesn’t matter now. What matters is whether you’ve got a way for us to get back to the ship. Do you?”

I paused, as we reached the small backdoor to the bar that stood right in front of where our ship was docked. “Yeah, I’ve got a plan.” I reached into my pocket and pulled out a small stick of dynamite. “This is all the plan we’ll need, isn’t it?”

“I thought you said you didn’t have anything else.”

“I wouldn’t really call it a weapon. One stick can’t really do that much, you know?”
“What?”
“A single stick of dynamite is practically useless. It’s only good as a distraction.”
“But there can only be seven or eight of them in there at the most! You could easily blow them to pieces.” He paused for a moment. “You haven’t got any matches, have you?”

“Nope.”

He groaned. “Typical. What good is it, then? If we can’t light it, it’s useless.”

“Not necessarily.” I pushed the door open and threw the dynamite inside. “Run, now! Get behind the bar!” He quickly nodded, as we burst into the room, immediately leaping behind the bar. It was located toward the center of the room, about as far from the ship as it was from the backdoor. As soon as we hit the ground, I heard gunshots, fired right above our heads. After exhaling deeply, I smelled the smoke. Fresh bullets, from newer guns. There wouldn’t be any accidents on their end anytime soon.

“Now what?” the man asked. “What are we gonna do here?”

“We should be able to run through before they start shooting.”

“What are you talking about? Look around!” I stuck my head up for a moment, glancing around. There were eight officers in the tavern; two toward the back, three in the middle, and three in the front of the room, moving toward the bar.

“Be careful,” I heard one of them shout, “They’ve got explosives! Approach them with caution!”

“Got it.”

“There he is! Shoot, shoot!”

I quickly pulled my head back down, only barely avoiding the bullets. I sighed. “Looks like you’re right.” I looked around behind the bar for a moment. I saw papers, liquor, maps, money, cigarettes, the usual stuff. Wait, I said, if there are cigarettes, there must be… After a few seconds, I found what I was looking for. “I’ve got an idea.” I grabbed a bottle sitting behind me and, without giving it a second thought, threw it forward. It quickly shattered, spilling liquor all over the floor.

“What the hell was that for? Did you think that was actually gonna do something?”

“Shut up,” I said. “Did it make it to the dynamite?”

“What? Did you-” He paused for a moment. “Oh.” He poked his head up for a second, before quickly ducking down to avoid several gunshots. As the bullets pushed themselves through the wooden walls, he said, “Yeah, it made it.”

“Perfect.” I grabbed the box of matches I’d found earlier from beneath the bar, struck one, and threw it forward. Once it landed on the pool of liquor, I plugged my ears. “I’d do the same, if I were you.” He nodded, as the flame spread across the floor. As it neared the dynamite, I jumped up and ran toward the door. Taking a quick glance back through the tavern, I saw that the officers had grabbed the dynamite and were quickly extinguishing the fire.

“That was useless!” the man shouted, as we bolted through the door.

“It got us through, didn’t it?”

“What do you mean it…“ Suddenly, it dawned on him. We were outside, on the docks, ahead of the police. “Oh.”

I laughed. “Do you see the boat?”

“Yeah, it’s just moving out now. If we run, we should make it.”

“Perfect. Wait, is that-” I squinted. “That’s bad.”

“What?”

“They’re getting ready to leave without us. I can see the boat moving from here.”

“What? I told them to give me two hours, and it’s only been one and a half!”

“Maybe they saw the fire and figured they should leave before the whole dock started on fire.”

“But-” He stopped. “Whatever. It doesn’t matter. Do you think we’ll be able to make it there before they leave?”

“If you hurry up.”

“Hurry up? You’re the one trailing behind!”

“Oh, am I? We’ll see about that.” I picked up my pace. “Not so fast now, are you?”

He laughed, as he inched ahead of me. “What was that? I couldn’t hear you; you were too far behind me!”

“Oh, is that how you’re gonna play now? Well, if this is a race, I certainly won’t be the loser!” I sped up, as I felt beads of sweat begin to drip down my forehead.

He laughed again. “Look, we’re getting closer.”

“I’ll say.” I began to breathe deeply. “They’re speeding up too, though. We might not be able to make it.”

The man nodded, as we began to run even faster, determined not to miss our chance now that we’d come so far. “I think they see us. They’re lowering the gangway, but they’re leaving the dock.”

“Well,” I said, as we neared the edge of the dock, “How are we gonna board, then?”

“It looks like we’ll have to jump.”

“Jump?” I laughed. “Alright, let’s go!”





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