A sailor & a shot of rum

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A Sailor. A Bar. It’s time for stories.

“I got kicked out of Honduras because they thought I was CIA!”. Having no immediate response to this, I bit the inside of my cheek and blankly stared at him. I squinted my eyes as if I was taking this information in as factual. He looked at me as if waiting for interest, or at least some kind of surprise. I searched for words to try to maintain a steady conversation, but what kind of response does one provide to this? A skilled bartender would be prepared with something. I am a blatant novice. Dave, sitting next to him with a giddy grin on his face, is not much help either.

The man has his shirt held together with fishing twine where buttons once were. His swim trunks are ripped so far up his legs that the outfit looks like a dress from certain angles. His skin is sun wrinkled and looks like it is barely able to hold the heavy beard sagging from his chin. His smile is a fixture. The crazy rants are driven by an optimism that’s both endearing and enviable.

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They know him here. He’s a temporary regular, as many are on the island. A shot and a beer type of guy. He is well read in classic literature, history, and Scientific American; reminding me that many of the world’s kookiest also emanate intellect. Having just finished terrifying some of our european guests over the chance of disability from a rare tropical insect, he’s diverted to an entirely new slur of stories suggesting a former career in government intelligence. I am for the most part sober, and having a hard time keeping up with the windstorm ensuing in front of me. He is instigating a new slough of commentary in my head… Theories on why so many men with a sail boat and a drinking problem claim previous special agency ties…

I wonder what the real story is. Is it anything nearly as adventurous and interesting as the act he puts on for those sitting here at this bar? Part of me wants to hope so. It’s possible that work in under cover bureaus causes the logic bearing part of the brain to landslide. Upon which the CIA purchases a sailboat for the soon to retire comrade and ceremoniously pushes them off into the ocean– presumably with a box of non-perishable food items, a fishing pole, and a stack of used books purchased from the library’s last rummage sale. It’s possible, I suppose.

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He asks for another shot and beer. Another volunteer reminds him that this time he has to pay– that the management will not allow him to roll over his tab to another week. A mild head nod and a slur about being friends with the management. He went on, but this time to an entirely different subject. Something about bug spray and a fungicide for the mast of a sailboat.

Tomorrow it will be an entirely different story. Same bar, same people… Each day a new perspective.

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