Loneliness is a good time to sort through the troublesome things of life, to rearrange them. Most generally they are best kicked aside. Mulling over problems creates anxiety. Reliving past inequities turns a person into a frightful and regretful statue of a being, afraid to commit to anything.
Rich recalled the words of one his friend’s father, “You don’t fix the car and wonder if you did it right by letting it sit in the garage. Drive it around; if it ain’t right, she’ll let ya know.” Rich, thus concluded, “Humans are meant to live through problems, not fret over problems.
“Something the Soviets said to me,” Rich thought. “Did they say something to only cast doubt in my loyalty. Were Oaks and Acres using me as a pawn? Of course, that’s what you are. But could they have informed the Soviets about me? How did they know so much about me? They had to have been following me all the way to New Zealand.”
“Crap!” Rich said and jerked to his feet. “I’m being tracked again.”
Rich set out on a furious search of the cabin, starting with the forward quarters. He bumped his head on a crossbeam just above the starboard side berth. He rubbed his head. “Slow down, boy.” Rich murmured. He then started a more thorough and methodical search.
“Crap!” Rich said as he finished the forward quarters. “The mast again.” He dashed through the cabin and up the companionway. Standing on the aft deck just outside the pilothouse, he looked at the top of the mast. It seemed normal. He moved around to the foredeck and looked up. “There it is,” he said quietly.
He climbed the mast with a couple screwdrivers and an adjustable wrench tucked in his back pocket. It was a challenging climb given the wind and pitch of The Odyssey.
At the top, the wrench unloosened the nuts. “This is smaller than the other. I wonder if it came with batteries,” Rich joked. “I could toss this into the ocean or have some fun with it like I did with White and Smithson.”
Rich returned to the cabin and unscrewed the tracker to open it. No identifying marks, letters, or numbers were on any part of it. “It would be kind of nice if there was something. I may want to return it to see if it comes with a money back guarantee.”
“It really makes no difference who planted it,” Rich thought. “It had to be in Fiji. I’d like to confront Oaks or Acres. What good would come from it though?”
In calm seas, a day later, the tracker again rode atop the mast. Time was needed to think of a more appropriate place, but for the most part, Rich favored dropping it overboard.
Rich sailed on day and night through smooth seas and through rough seas. Page after page he ripped from his typewriter and stored them in cabinets and drawers. His companions were the characters created to bind events and stories. The paper became the canvas, the typewriter the brush, and the words the images.
Tales ranged from young adventurers to old salts, discovered romances and lost loves, barbaric savages to idealistic dreamers. Every story echoed of isolation and loneliness. “That’s what all stories are; no one conjures a story in a crowded room, it’s a man alone with his thoughts; hoping for what he wished he had done or what he wished to become.”