Advice, Episode 33, Odysseys in Paradise

Rich arrived about five miles offshore from Papeete near sundown. He dropped the sails and set adrift. In the morning he sailed closer and motored to a dock.

After securing The Odyssey, Rich with the cigar box firmly tucked in his arm and side, walked to a small Polynesian open-air cafe.

He asked a waitress if anyone spoke English. She smiled and pointed to the bartender.

“I need some direction,” Rich said.

“Sure,” the bartender said. “What is it you are looking for?”

“An address,” Rich said. “27 Rue Francois Cardella, The Dubois Exchange.”

The bartender chuckled. “So that it is no surprise to you, it is a bar, a notorious bar. I do not wish to demean you, but you look young, fresh, and innocent.” He cautioned, “be careful.”

Rich stood motionless, contemplating his options.

“I promised to deliver something for which the exchange is supposed to pay,” Rich said.

“I would not expect pay, mon ami,” the bartender said.

“I risked a lot,” Rich said, “and I expect something for it.”

“Do you have pearls,” the bartender said.

Rich hesitated. “Yes. I was nearly robbed at gunpoint on the high seas.”

“It was probably men hired by the exchange to rob them from you before they were delivered,” the bartender said. “That way they owe the Islanders who gave them to you nothing. When you deliver them they will have to pay for them, but they will likely say the Islanders should have paid you or they will make things very uncomfortable for you. You could just take the pearls and run, but I surmise you to be an honest man; deliver them and leave, it is no longer your concern. Forget the money. That is my advice.”

“I guess it is true what they say about bartenders,” Rich said.

“And what is that?” the bartender said.

“The best advice in the world comes from bartenders,” Rich said.

“How much were you supposed to get paid to deliver the box of pearls?” the bartender said.

“500 francs,” Rich said.

“That is not much,” the bartender said.

“Where is the 27 Rue Francois Cardella?” Rich said.

“I knew you would not back away,” the bartender said. “Three streets north, turn left, and look for the numbers; it’s only a few buildings from the corner. Be safe, mon ami.”

“Merci beaucoup, mon ami,” Rich said.

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