Return to Home Page Return to Home Page
Fiction by Mildred Pond

The Stowaway - page 29

With surprising strength he pushed me back into the water. A shot landed in the bushes behind us. He grinned then, and blood slithered between his teeth. He bent toward me, saying, “Nein, no schlimazel. You take chance. Danke, danke!” Quickly then, like a hounded, wounded animal, going it alone against every odd, he hoisted himself behind some bushes, and vanished. A buoy was thrown overboard; I was hauled back up, clinging to Jules, our bartender, who’d been ordered to swim the short distance I wouldn’t have managed alone. “Idiot!” Jacques said. He propelled me down to my cabin, where he ordered one of his men to stand guard outside. I collapsed onto my bunk, straining to see signs of Schmidt through my porthole. He was gone. I lay on my bunk for hours, aching from the strain of staring fixedly on one spot. Our ship had safely anchored. It was evening. Occasional shots still rang out from the brush, but vendors shuffled by anyway, selling their wares, the light from their lanterns hung on poles from their shoulders shining over the same bushes behind which Schmidt had escaped. The giant leaves swayed in the breeze like swinging doors – toward freedom? Or Death? Are you already dead, Schmidt, fallen so soon in the damp soil? No! You did make it through the shadows, the barriers, oceans. For God’s sake, Schmidt, take care. . .you can. . .you will. . .keep going, don’t stop! My throat relaxed. Finally, I could breathe. He would breathe too, I knew it. You’re no Schlimazel, Schmidt, no more bad luck, you took chance, thank you, dear friend, Godspeed.