He Who Lives By the Gun, Episode 88, Odysseys in Paradise

They stayed another day and in the morning Rich awoke and waited for Ramona to awaken. He sat on the bench of the cockpit with a coffee and watched the soft blue water of the cove and the lazy sway of tropical trees yield to the pleasure of the wind. She arose like a sunrise from the companionway with her cup of tea and sleepy smile.

“What do you say we go,” Rich said.

“Can I finish my tea,” Ramona smiled.

“No,” Rich smiled. “I’ve already pulled the anchors.” He started the engine and motored from the small cove and maneuvered through the reef.

A quarter mile beyond the reef Rich said, “Take the helm and I’ll tend the sails.”

“Aye, Aye, Captain,” Ramona said.

Soon they were at full sail heading at 40 degrees.

After a full day and night of sailing, Rich noted a sullenness about Ramona. He wondered if perhaps regret had settled in on her after all. It wasn’t as though she was unfriendly, but more as if something deeply bothered her. Except to eat, fresh air, and exchange a few pleasant thoughts about the day, she remained in her quarters.

Rich prepared a pasta dish made with canned ground beef and tomatoes. He rapped on her door and told her he had prepared something special.

Rich sat at the table and waited for her. She walked from her quarters.

Rich smiled at her. “It’s not exactly Italian, but it’s close—well, maybe.”

“It smells good,” Ramona smiled.

They quietly ate.

“Something is bothering you,” Rich said, “and I suppose it might be as well to leave it alone. After all, in a few days, we are likely never to see each other again. Any repair in a friendship would be useless.”

“Oh no,” Ramona said. “It’s nothing of that sort. You have been a perfect gentleman and a really good friend.”

“But there is something,” Rich said.

“I have looked at things on this boat without your permission or knowledge and it bothers me,” Ramona said.

“Ramona,” Rich said, “I’m sorry for not making it clear, but I have nothing to hide from you. There is not a private place on The Odyssey. The restriction on privacy is of your accord, not mine.”

“Your guns and weapons,” Ramona said, “they make me uneasy and nervous.”

“They are there for your protection,” Rich said, “and may I add, mine as well.”

“I have had to use them several times,” Rich said, “and I told you about every time.”

“Is it true what you said back in Auckland?” Ramona said.

“What did I say?” Rich said.

“You said to the man in our house when he pointed the gun at you that you had pointed a gun at men, but never intended on using it on them,” Ramona said. “Is that true?”

“Yes,” Rich said. “I have used it to scare danger away, but I’m not certain I can use them on anyone.”

“What would happen if you did?” Ramona said.

Rich swallowed his food and closed his eyes for a moment. “It seems strange to me, but lopping off the head of a fish is one thing, but aiming a rifle or pistol at another living creature is quite another. A few years ago my friend killed a rabbit. It was suffering, so it seemed justified. That bothered me and I thought differently about my friend from that point on. Another friend mistreated his grandmother, again I never felt the same about my friend after that. No, I will never use a gun to harm anyone.”

“As long as you possess the guns there will always be that possibility,” Ramona said.

“The sea is a dangerous place,” Rich said, “and dangerous people are after me.”

“That is something you have not told me,” Ramona said.

“I never wanted you to worry about it,” Rich said.

“I worry more about you using a weapon for which you have not prepared yourself to live with the consequences,” Ramona said.

“That’s what is bothering you?” Rich said.

“And what role I might play in it,” Ramona said.

“For right now set aside whatever self-righteous loathing you may possess for my weapons,” Rich said sternly. “They are insurance. We pray to God we never have to use them, but we thank God they are at our disposal.”

“He who lives by the sword shall perish by it,” Ramona said. “Those weapons attract nothing but evil.”

“They keep evil away,” Rich said.

“I’m talking about your thoughts,” Ramona said. “and thoughts produce action.” She stood. “Good night, Mr. Larsen.”

Rich sat at the table for another 15 minutes before cleaning up. “She’s a little emotional,” Rich thought. “That kingdom of God is a long way off and until then I must live in the real world.”



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