Rich packed the dinghy and while dragging it to the water, Boris and Tama arrived with a cigar box.
“How you like earn money?” Boris said.
“As long as it is legal and it’s safe, sure,” Rich said. “Now, who do you want me to shoot?”
They laughed. Boris opened the box and showed him a box full of pearls.
“You deliver to Tahiti and go to Dubois Exchange and they pay you 500 francs. The address on top of the box, 27 Rue Francois Cardella, in Papeete. It is on the west side of the island.”
“Sounds like a lot of money,” Rich said.
“That not as much as it sounds,” Tama said.
“Last man take pearls and go,” Boris said.
“His name wasn’t Harry, was it?” Rich said. “That’s a joke.”
“No,” Boris said, “an Australian, name Willoughby.”
Rich closed the lid and grabbed the box. “I’ll deliver them.”
Rich shook their hands.
“Merci beaucoup,” they said.
Rich putted back to The Odyssey where he secured the box of pearls in the forward quarters tucked beneath the bed board. “There is just something about these people, the expression ‘in a timely fashion’ has little relevance,” Rich smiled and placed the bed board down and arranged the bedding.
After sailing for an hour alongside a sandy beach and the sparse palms of Raroia, Rich took a reading and set his course to Taenga. A slight adjustment was made after passing the tip of the Raroia and The Odyssey settled into pleasant waters and favorable wind.
An hour later Rich spotted what appeared to be a light green fishing boat approaching quickly from the southeast, starboard. Rich immediately became suspicious and fearful.
Rich opened the cockpit’s bench and retrieved the AK-47 and an extra clip. He laid them on the bench.
The boat circled in behind The Odyssey 150 yards aft. The engine of the boat thrust and pulled alongside about 25 yards port. Rich saw one man at the helm and two men on its starboard side.
“Pearls, pearls,” one man yelled. “We take pearls.”
“Pirates,” Rich thought, “Pirates who know what I have; curious.”
Rich steered away, starboard. The other boat did the same.
They pulled even again.
“Donne nous perles,” one man shouted and held up and bolt action rifle. “Bang, bang, bang.”
“Comme vous voulez,” Rich said. He grabbed the AK-47, pulled the lever, aimed at their stern just above the water line, and pulled a two-second burst.
The men ducked below the deck’s sideboards.
“Tat, tat, tat, tat, tat, tat!” Rich yelled. “Lequel preferes-tu?”
“Un ultre jour,” a hidden voice said from the boat.
“I take a man at his word,” Rich said to himself. “Il n’y aura pas d’autre jour!” Rich emptied the clip at the water line. He snapped in another clip and emptied it.
The boat slowed, tuned into The Odyssey’s wake and headed west.
“Rather than give them time to repair their boat and cook up a plan for revenge, it is best to get to Tahiti and deliver the pearls as soon as possible.”
The next two days Rich avoided a couple of islands to reach open seas and a straight course to Tahiti. As much as those islands appealed to him, he thought it better to wait for un autre jour.”
After sailing through the islands Rich set a 275-mile course due west to Tahiti.