Laguna Blanca

This is a story based on the reality of where I live and the activities that go on in my neighborhood, but the people in it are, of course, fictitious and none of the events here, other than my dog jumping to catch things and behaving the way described, have ever been witnessed by me.

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2. Speedy Delivery

Have you ever wondered why we do the things we do?  Have you ever questioned how much real choice we have in our lives?  I have and I still do, all the time.  

I was getting burnt from the mid-morning sun.  I could feel it.  I had just about worked myself up to going inside to get some sunscreen or set up the beach umbrella when I realized my Coke was almost gone too.  Well, that did it.  I was going to need more refreshment anyway, so I stood up to go make an efficient, accomplish three things at once, trip into the house.  Stepping around the dock chair I nearly fell into the water when I tripped over Lil' Miss.  True to form, she wasn't letting me out of her sight, so as soon as I got up, she got up and tried to go ahead of me, stepping between my feet.  

In saving myself from what may have actually been a refreshing dip in the water I ended up facing away from the house again.  That's when I noticed that the launch I had seen earlier was moving quite fast and was coming straight for the shore.  There was also another launch, it actually looked like one of the big Navy speed boats the base across the lagoon uses for smuggler interdiction.  It was heading on what looked like an intercepting course.  I wondered if they were trying to intercept the first launch.  Not having any binoculars with me I could only guess, but it was beginning to look like I may get a bit of entertainment pretty soon.  I wandered up the dock, pulling my ball cap down to shade my eyes from the blazing sun.  Note to self:  grab sunglasses and binoculars while in the house.

Lil' Miss, realizing I was going to the refrigerator, began to do that little "wiggle the entire body instead of just the tail" dance she does when she thinks there might be a peanut butter sandwich in it for her.  I rolled my eyes.  

"Really?  You just ate!"

She sat obediently and tapped my knee with her left paw.  She could do "cute" really well.

"Alright, but don't tell Mom.  She'll think I'm spoiling you."  Reaching into the fridge I grabbed the Coke I was after and then reached into the cupboard for the bread and peanut butter.  

When she was a year old she had a bad case of worms and lost some weight before we could get her treated successfully.  That's one thing about living in the back woods of Central America.  there's no veterinarian of which to speak.  I had had to send off to the city, an airplane flight away, for the proper worm treatment because the local feed store was out, again...  Well, my wife had googled up ways to fatten up skinny dogs and had come up with peanut butter as a treat for the dog.  I was the one that started making her the sandwiches because I couldn't take her seriously for a while after I watched her trying to un-stick the peanut butter from the roof of her mouth.  The bread helped her to chew it and swallow it without having that problem.

"Bang!  Dead dog!"  I said to her, holding my hand like a pistol.  She laid on her back and kicked her rear feet out once than lay motionless.  I held half the sandwich up for her and dropped it.  She was in the air catching it before I could blink.  "Good dog!"  I said, opening my bottle of Coke and walking to my desk to grab my sunscreen, shades and binoculars.  

She followed me back outside, knowing there was another half a sandwich in my hand.  

As we settled down for some more idleness I noticed that I could hear the whine of the outboard motor as it approached the shore.  I looked up, grabbing the binoculars from around my neck.  Looking again I could see that the boat was on a coarse that would bypass the municipal dock and, at the moment, was headed directly toward my house.  Oh well, I thought, whoever it is they will probably turn East before they get into the  shallows.  Otherwise they won't be able to slow down because if they drop off plane they will be stuck poling out of the shallows.  Everyone around here knows that outboards risk damaging their props if they try to rise to plane while in the shallows.  There are so many stumps and rocks under the silty bottom.

I watched through the binoculars as they passed the municipal dock, as I had suspected they would, but they didn't slow down or turn off.  They crossed right into the shallows at the same speed.  Now they would either have to keep the launch on a plane which means maintaining speed, or they would have to pole themselves out further after slowing.  They were about half way between the end of the municipal dock and my own dock and they hadn't slowed at all.  I was beginning to get nervous, so I stood, as did Lil' Miss.  She barked when we stood.

I grabbed my chair and umbrella to carry them into the house, but stood, transfixed by what I was watching.  The other launch, the one behind, was definitely a Navy speed boat.  It had now passed the end of the municipal dock as well and appeared, more than ever, to be attempting to catch the first one.  I began to stumble backwards as it dawned on me that the first boat was on a direct collision course with my dock.  

"Inside, Lil' Miss!"  I shouted.  Hoping she would listen to me and go inside without me.  Just then I tripped, trying to walk backwards, and tumbled to the deck, tangled in plastic furniture and accessories.  As I extricated my head enough to look towards the boat that was about to kill me, it veered sharply to its right and then even more sharply to its left correcting its course to pass close to the end of my dock.  

I tried to further untangle myself while watching both boats, but was unsuccessful.  The Navy boat was screaming in from behind the other, while the civilian boat passed within a foot of my dock.  Suddenly something was launched or thrown from the civilian boat.  It was a small item, no bigger than 6 inches long, and it appeared to be wrapped in paper and plastic.  I reached out instinctively, but could not move from my temporary deck-furnishing shackles.  As the item arced and began to fall near me but not close enough for me to catch it, I saw a blur which became Lil' Miss as my eyes focused.  She was in mid jump stretched out and she grabbed the item before falling into the water near the dock.  I called to her as I watched the Navy boat speed by in front of my dock.

The second boat passed and continued to follow the first on a course back toward deeper water.  Lil' Miss swam to the stairs and was back on the deck now, dripping wet dog water on my face as she playfully tried to tempt me with her newest toy.  I reached for her collar instead of the package in her mouth.  Once I had her collar it was easy enough to take the package from her.  I examined it as I finished untangling myself from the deck chair and umbrella.  The umbrella was broken, but I could probably fix it.  

The package had teeth marks in it and dog saliva covered it.  There was no indication what it was by simply looking at it, but knowing the kinds of illicit activities that sometimes took place here in our neighborhood, I wasn't sure I needed or wanted to know what it was.

Lil' Miss sat excitedly, obviously hoping I would throw the package again so she could go catch it.  As I wondered what to do with the package I heard automatic weapon fire and I absently looked in the direction from which it came, the same direction in which the two boats had continued.  The first boat was now bobbing in place with flames beginning to rise from the stern area near the motor.  I could see that several men on board were frantically moving to prevent disaster.  There was another volley of gunfire from the heavy machine gun mounted on the Navy boat and the civilian boat exploded.   

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