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Death in a Travelogue
Beginning
written or edited: 2/22/18
“Dad?”

“Hello?”

“It's me, Indra.”

“I know, honey”

“It's Thomas. They think he's dead.”

“I know.”

“How do you know? They just called.”

“I just do. He's my grandson.”

“You know, they won’t do anything.”

“I know”

“Could you?”

“Could I what?”

“Could you find out what happened?”

“Yes, I’ll try.”

“Thanks dad.”

“Is there anyone you can call? That can come over, Indra?”

“Yes...No...Don’t know. Just find out for me, wilya?”

“I will.”

“Thanks Dad”

“Anything else?”

“No, that’s what I need. Pop, that’s all I need. Gotta go.”

“Love you.”

“Love you too.”

“Have you called him?”

“No”, she said and the line line went dead.

Gabriel put down his phone and sat for a while.

Guess, I’m gonna have to see Zak.
Sunday News Article
The CROSS Antilles-Guyane was alerted around 12:30 this Sunday about a situation of distress concerning a young man carried away by a rip current at the Clugny beach. in Sainte-Rose. Immediately, the CROSS AG set up a major search and rescue system with the Civil Security helicopter, the helicopter of the Gendarmerie, as well as gendarmerie and fire brigades along the beach.

At this time, the young man is still missing

Marine and submarine research could not be carried out given the particularly turbulent sea state and the size of the waves. The services of the prefectures of Guadeloupe and Martinique remind that during YELLOW VIGILANCE alert periods for "DANGEROUS SEAS AT THE COAST", extreme caution should be taken if you have to practice risky sports at the seaside or if your outdoor activities are located in an exposed area, near the beaches or especially at sea. It is strongly recommended to give up these activities in order not to put anyone in danger. Searches will resume Monday morning.

Because of darkness, the search has ended for today. They will resume tomorrow morning with air search and divers in the water depending the state of the sea.
Zakasha
Gabriel walked into the grove of trees and sat down on the flat rock that was at its center. He chuckled, thinking of the work that it took to move it into place by himself.

Gabriel waited for a while until Zak began to communicate with him. Zak does not speak, but Gabriel knows when he is listening to him.

“Puttin’ on a little weight, hey Gabe? Might be packin’ away a few too many accras with your ti punches”

Gabiel thought that there was no responding to that. Yes, he had his worries. But he hardly ever answered back. It didn’t seem to be necessary.

“Gabe, that's why I like you. You don't talk much. Humans have a lot of problems, but the worst is that they are always thinking, and arguing. I like cats. I like cockroaches.”

After a pause, “I was just kidding,” Another pause. “About the cockroaches.”

Gabriel had to laugh, but only for a moment. He thought about his daughter's call.

“I've brought him down here, he and his wife, Julie. I am doing it for you. He is a jerk, always was, as you know. It will be a biggie surprise if he changes. I think the last time I was surprised was that Jesus thing. That guy talked a lot.

Robert's gonna write a book that will explain it all. He's just beginning to find that out as he flies down here. His life is going to change big time. I hope he likes it. Ya know Gabriele, when you came here before, how long's it been, seventeen years, I helped you, and I am going to help you now. I hope you like it. Now all this interaction with humans, even you, is makin’ me tired, so I’m going to hit the rack. See you.

Gabriel's mind lay at rest. If I believed what just happened, I would write a book. Last time it worked. Now let's get these bones down the hill. br />
“Off the Cuff Travels - A Travelogue”, Part one
Robert:
I came down the stairs early and found Julie at the kitchen table, coffee in hand, looking out the window.

“Travel?” I asked.

She smiled and answered, “Log.”

“Guadeloupe?” I posed.

“OK Robert, when?” She was still smiling.

“A couple of hours.” and kissed her on the forehead.

Without another word, she went upstairs to pack. I had been wakened by something around midnight. I got up, checked the weather on the internet. It was going to be miserable here in Boston for maybe a week. As I have said before, “Winter is a nice place to visit, but who would want to live there.” I managed to get two tickets on Norwegian Air, although not together and we would start with a week at what I hoped would be a sweet little place in St. François. Hervé, would pick us up at the airport and rent us a car. Karl, our next door neighbor, would manage our house while we were gone, maybe renting it out on Airbnb and he would drive us down to TF Green airport today. Emails, texts and whatsapps had been flying and by 5:00 AM it was done and I came back to bed.

I don't like writing about things in the USA, so I am not going to say anymore about our preparation. Julie did call the grandkids to let them know where we would be. I am never sure why. If they call us, we get the call, same with email.

After following the crowd out to the front of the airport terminal in Pointe-à-Pitre, we found Hervé waiting for us. He is the same guy that we rented from last year. In fact, we recognized the car that he led us to as the same one we drove last year (it had a small Canada sticker on the back bumper). After driving us back to his office in Jarry, he asked us what we paid last year. We remembered 25 Euros a day so a deal was made. We showed him our licenses, which he copied, and then I signed the contract, renewable every week, and we were off. The driver side electric window switch is still a little temperamental, but the car has four new tires along with its 80,000 kilometres.

I'm sorry if this is getting boring. Usually, travel day is full of mishaps. Lost this, where is that, full of energy and sometimes a little tension between Julie and I. Today, no drama, and it continued this way. We had some traffic on National 5, but it dissolved in front of us. I had a guy tailgating me, but suddenly he turned off the road into a gas station. This year we found the cut-off that we missed last year which took us north of St. François to easily find our place. The cottage was on Annika's property on the heights above the town. I hoped it had the things that I have discovered make Julie happy: a garden, airiness, lots of light and a covered outdoor patio or porch to have our coffee in the morning and our dinners when we didn't go out. After we reached the bungalow. I was checking off my list: Small windows but lots of them that let in a lot of light, a beautiful breeze that wafted through the cabin and the front porch had a dining table and comfortable couch. It was when we were getting a tour of the grounds by Annika, the most beautiful Airbnb owner I have ever met, that I noticed a tall palm tree that lorded over the whole place.

Over the next few days we became lazy, made no plans, found ourselves at the beach, sometimes with our snorkel stuff, or some days on a hike, or at bar for a sunset over the Caribbean with a planter punch in hand, dinner awaiting with a nice rosé. We were doing our thing, discovering without trying. Finding because we are not looking for anything.

palm tree

Vision Tree

Looking at this palm tree from our doorway, I feel that it is a guardian spirit of some kind. It exudes strength by its size. Its gently swaying palm fronds are beckoning me to approach. Whatever it is, it does seem to be standing at the other end of the garden watching me with its skewed coconut eyes. I guess I like being watched over.

You don't have to believe in animism, you just have to allow yourself to feel whatever you are feeling. You hardly have to believe in anything. You love, you are loved. There's never any proof, nor needs to be. The tree is now swaying seductively, cheering on a life that is starting now, hopefully with a smile.
Zakasha
Well, that was fun. The first part was the hardest, getting them out of Boston. I think it was that looming giant snowstorm that did it. Meeting them at the airport was harder. If I knew what a mind meld was I might say it was like that. Maybe I'm a sofa and they just sat down on me. Humans, they talk a lot of nonsense, but when they sit you can really feel them. The rest was easy: zooming them through the car rental. Hervé is a sweetheart and then kind of flexing my spiritual muscles on the way to St. François. I could just make things flow. Maybe we could make a team. Can I keep them quiet?

When we got there, I saw a beautiful palm tree and asked its spirit if I could share it for a week, kind of like AirBnB without the fees. She said yes. From the tree. I just watched over both of them. That evening, the porch glowed with light coming from fixtures made of driftwood. They seemed happy. So good so far.

My name is Zakasha, or just Zak. I am a spirit. Ya know the one that was talking to Gabriel. Don't start jumping to conclusions about me. Julie and Robert think they know something about spiritual life, but they don't really. He is trying to reach Nirvana with his mind, she is trying to save the world. I like her. She will get closer to her goal long before he ever does to his.

As you might suspect, I can't hold a pen or type a key, so these two are now my writers. On the way over to St. François, they listened, or rather, she listened to a news story about Thomas. As she told him aboit it, he began to have the idea of writing a murder mystery based on the incident. (I wonder where he got that idea?) Luckily for me, Julie speaks French although not as well as she thinks. He thinks he can read a map. Well actually he can, but doesn't remember enough to get himself where he wants to go. They hardly go out at night. She hates to drive in the dark. He can, but doesn't like to do. What a pair.

“Off the Cuff Travels - A Travelogue”, Part two
Julie:
I know Robert likes to jump in with the opening to a new travelogue, but I feel the need to go a little slower. I need to connect with all you readers out there. My name is Julie, and I am married to Robert. We have been writing travelogues for fifteen years. He does most of it. I kind of trail along. What I like to do when I travel is connect with people and since I speak French, we concentrate on French speaking places. After I meet people, I want you to meet them too. Robert tells me that I am guilty of showing only their best parts.I say, why not?

When we were driving to St, François, I heard the story of the boy who was pulled out to sea while bodyboarding. It filled me with great sadness. My own children are grown and have their own, but my oldest granddaughter is that age and I would die if anything happened to her. Our first night was wonderful. Anika had some accras and some other snacks ready for us along with a good rum. I was already breaking a little promise i made to myself that I wouldn’t drink too much. Anyway, the rum put me to sleep pretty fast, but I woke up a few hours later with a dream/vision of that boy standing at the top of a cliff with his arms out, looking out to sea.
Julie and Anika








Death #1
The wave had its begining in the distant Atlantic days before. A local storm, or some seismic occurence has sent a wave of energy toward the islands of Guadeloupe. It knows nothing, it feels nothing. It sweeps toward the beach quietly, totally invisible, maybe lifting the surface of the water an inch or two.

Thomas is in love with the power of the water. As a young boy, he played for hours at the beach, being tossed by the waves. He loved the moment of being in the wave as it crested and he could look along the tube as the water curled over and then swept on. If he were too close to the shore the wave would dump him onto the sand, then dump a ton of foam and water on him then pulling and pushing him up onto the beach. He wanted to ride on the wave, live on its small wall of water, carving along the sweep of water that was being pulled up as the wave crashes along the beach. He bought a body board.

Amanda is in love with herself. She feels she is beautiful, but is not sure. As she walks to her car parked on the bluff at the west side of the beach, her body is outlined in molten sun. She turns to see the guy from the crew that was working on the house next to her B&B. He is bashing about in the large, churning waves on the beach which have sent everyone else home. He's really good. He makes curves, he spins, he rolls, he is beautiful. She has been with guys before, they have been okay. He might be different. He might be better. She waves.

The wave has arrived at the rocky point which swings it around toward the beach. It has grown over its long voyage. It seems to be sucking into itself all the other waves around it. A rogue wave, It is still growing as it sweeps in from east to west, from the cove to the rocks that have protected that bluff for eons.

Thomas has the waves to himself. There is no one else on the beach except the girl from the B&B. She is beautiful. She has always seemed shy, but now seems sure of herself walking along the beach. Her leg muscles are pushing her through the sand, even as she looks back and waves. Is this an invitation? Should he go into her?

Amanda stops and faces him. He is far away, but looking at her. In an impulse she pulls off her top. She waits. He is now working in her direction, toward the rocks and the bluff. She turns away and continues walking down the beach toward the steep trail that will take her to her car.

The wave has now arrived at the beach near the cove and rises up, its wall reflecting the setting sun. It has absorbed the chop of the unruly cove and now looks like a wave at Waikiki. It is alone. There is no partner behind it. It will sweep across the beach and die as a disorganized mess in the rocks of the bluff.

Thomas looks back and sees the wave and with a yell swims out to meet it. It is gorgeous. He twists to see her. She is walking away, her hips and bare back hold his gaze for a moment. Looking back to the wave, he finds it nearly on him. He kicks and paddles furiously, afraid of missing it. He has caught it. Grabbing the front of the board with his right hand, he turns right and slashes along the front of the wave. He has never been on a wave like this before. It's huge but smooth and is now his playground. He pushes forward to gain speed and now is pursuing her as fast as he has ever gone, a grin on his face.

Amanda looks back to see him racing toward her on his wave. She turns to face him. It feels wild, crazy, but okay. She can see his face now and his eyes are fixed on her. He is closer and closer flying toward her on his wave.

The wave is nearing its end. It will finish its existence in a fury of foam and thunder against the rocks. After traveling for days as a gentle transfer of energy along the surface of the ocean until this beach is about to cause its violent destruction, absorbing all its energy.

Thomas sings to himself, “She is beautiful, she is beautiful”. He takes her in, long legs sweeping up to her hips, then her waist and breasts. She flashes a beautiful smile below her laughing eyes. He sings, “I am coming, I am coming.”

Amanda sees him reach the top of the wave as it crashed into the rocks. All is foam and noise.

He knows, “Falling, I am falling.” Where's my board? Where's my board? Where is she? He sees only rock below.

She can't see him. The wave has died. The sun has quickly set now. It is getting dark. She puts on her top, climbs the hill, finds her phone in the car and calls the police.

The wave is gone
Zak
What the hell! ! You can't start with ending. This is worse than I thought possible. Gonna have to teach him how to write a murder mystery. Nice rhythm though, a little overblown. Oh my God, I think he is going to write another ending!
Death #2
After lunch, Thomas borrowed his uncle's car and went with his cousin, Simon to pick up Amanda at her B&B. They parked across the street and walked in through the gate. It was a nice place. It had a pool, a big terrace with a bunch of cool stuff in it. There was a big fiberglass head on the bar. It had a top knot on its head that came to a point and it had really long ears. They told the owner, Natalie their plans. They were going to the beach to watch the waves which have become huge over the last few days and maybe test out his new bodyboard. They did not tell her the rest of their plan, but the chit chat covered the time while Amanda finished getting ready.

The blue door flew open, showing the pink of the other side and out she came, dressed for the beach. A big hat, dark glasses, a multi-colored coverup, some kind of bathing suit underneath and pink flip flops. A shopping bag, slung over her shoulder completed the look.

“Okay guys, I'm ready. How do I look?”

“Amanda, great, like a million Euros, really great,” they chimed in together.

Thomas thought, you know she did look good. Real good. Too bad, she is soon to be out of his life forever.

When they got to the beach, they drove past all the parked cars along the road, and turned off toward the ocean about halfway up the hill. Here, there was a grassy parking lot, mostly used by the people going to the naturiste beach. He parked the car in the shade of the tree in the middle of the lot. They got their stuff out of the back, and then he said,

“Let's go and check the nudies.”

They went to the top of the cliff and looked down to see if anyone was there. To get down there, they would have to turn left staying right on the edge, and follow the narrow trail to the bottom. There was nothing today, a little too rough, he was happy to see that the water was smoother at this end of the beach.

Thomas thought, this better work.

They turned back and waled east along the wide trail marked with yellow blazes that took them down to the beach. The waves were frantic. They boiled, jumping and crashing this way and that. He slowed his pace. He thought that the deeper water at the bluff might his plan easier. When the time came, he could duck down to the bottom of the wave, shooting through beyond the bluff. But he needed a big wave. He had practiced it before, had perfected it. But now the waves thundered.

The three of them moved down the beach and put their towels down and did what kids did for the rest of the afternoon. They played at the edge of the water, told lies to each other, lay in the sun. Without her coverup, she was a sight. He stole glances at her all afternoon, and flirted with her constantly. When the time came, he needed her to keep her eyes on him. Too bad this would be the last time that he saw her. The shadows lengthened. The French tourists were headed for Francine's at the other end of the beach for their Corsaires and planter punches. He got out his board.

“Let's see how good these bad boys are.”

He put his fins on and the three went down to the water. Simon by himself wouldn't work. They had been caught in enough shady deals that he would not be believed. She would be the innocent tourist with no connections to him. They would believe her. It was going to be a matter of timing. She needed to be in the right spot at the end of the beach so it looked like he had gone onto the rocks. He and Simon had worked this out, even using some pink paint to mark the spot so there would be no confusion where should she stand. She needed to stay there, so she wouldn't see him shoot toward the nudiste beach. That was his Simon's job. His own job was to do a rollo so it looked like to her that he had fallen on the rocks. The two of them had practiced this whenever the waves had been big. Yesterday was the dress rehearsal. It went perfectly, but every day is different.

“Well, give me a kiss for luck.”

He turned to her, but she was already there. Her mouth on his, soft. It stayed for a moment, then pulled away. It surprised him.

“Another?”

She laughed and gave him a slap on his butt and pushed him toward the water.

“OK show off, let's see what you got.”

Laughing, he got into the water, diving under the waves that were crashing in untiI he was outside the breakers, lying on his board. He looked back at Amanda. He grabbed the next wave and it scooted in toward the beach as he turned right, always right toward the bluff. It took ten minutes to work his way down the beach, with his cousin and Amanda following. He was enjoying it, doing all his tricks. He could hear her hooping and yelling. He didn't show her the rollo. Finally Simon was waving his hand over his head. That was his cue. She was in place and he looked back up the beach to make sure that no one else could see him. He waited for the right wave, leaving a couple go by, and then a couple more. Amanda seemed to want to climb the bluff for a better view. That would ruin everything. Keep her there, keep her there, he prayed. Finally, l he saw the big one he needed. He thought this is it, my flight to freedom, and I am going to be flying.

He was on the wave and moving quickly. No tricks now. Timing. Timing. I have to be at the top when the rocks are between us and rollo out of her sight. The rocks are approaching. Good-bye old life. Good-bye, Amanda. Too bad we never got together. Maybe, good-bye everything. The rocks are here. He heard himself scream involuntarily as he launched himself up the wave and it flipped him into the air.

She wouldn't stop screaming. Sobbing. Screaming. His cousin embraced her as she screamed and looked for him. He was screaming too. It looked bad. Simon didn't think he made it. The wave he had been riding was now only foam.



Zak$
God, Robert has killed him again! Well, not quite, but that is a really rough beach and during a Code Yellow. I don't know.

You know yesterday, he did a cute thing. He meditated as if he were me. He thinks of me as nothing and he wanted to reach emptiness by starting there. Oh, Robert, I am everything, start there. Still, other things went well. He returned to the present many times, remembering to smile, even though he let one fantasy go on a little long. Buddhists have this thing with the breath that drives me crazy. It keeps them way to connected with life. Another thing, can we not sit in the front seat of the car? I know it was raining, but still.





The Terrace Bar
02/20/18 really in progress. hardly readable
It is one of the noisiest places we know in Deshaies. As we go by, even across the rotary, we hear shouting. It is mostly good natured, but an angry, creole expletive gets tossed in occasionaly. It's a joke to call it a terrace, you could see when you went in that it was just a room with louvred glass windows that were mostly closed. Calling it a terrace allowed the men to smoke all they wanted as they drank and gambled on whatever they were watching on the TV above the bar. Today it was the winter olympics, streamed live. It was the downhill, some french guy had a good chance. But until he got his chance, as each racer, came into the gate, they would shout, “What are the odds, give me some odds. Then make bets on whether he would go into first place.

We were only because Julie wanted to watch some ice skating, but it turned out that skating wouldn't be on til tomorrow. I got us a couple of beers. Two choices, Heinekin and Caraibe. “Combien les bets?” I asked the guy next to us. , He seemed surprised, “Cinq euros,” he said. I got out a five. There was a pause in the action, someone had fallen. on the other side of the room two guys were betting on whether he broke his leg or not. The guy next to us yelled over, you guys are crazy, he!ll get up and walk off, two to one. He got a bet. Julie leaned over and asked him, what are the odds that they will find that boy's body?

Who cares, he was a shit. what do you mean, he paid for that, he was doing good. The police have it in for him, they are not really trying. I knew his mother, she was a babe. He was into something i don't what. I owed him money i don't care. On the TV, the skier got up and walked off the course. The next skier was on the course and it was the Frenchman. They were all cheering now, no betting. About half way down he went of the course. The room groaned. I took my bottles up to the bar, bought he guy one and said better luck tomorrow. What's on. The skaters, that Japanese guy will never repeat, it's a lock. I said, we'll be back. We left the place and climbed the hill to our house.
Off the Cuff Travels - Travelogue End #1
Robert:
Gabriel said that he was going to the grotto. I asked him what was going to happen and told him that I wanted to go along.







“Off the Cuff Travels - A Travelogue”, End #2
Julie:
I packed our stuff in the dark and with first light drove the car down the steep hill and onto the highway. I had the directions memorized but knew they would be no good in the dark. The route was atrip back into time. First, a National road. I turned off it onto a Departmental one, then a local road, good at first but it turned into a concrete lane, wide enough for just one car. Minutes went by. The road kept climbing, twisting its way up the mountain. Finally I got to th end. A couple of cars were parked. I pulled over to the side as best I could. I sat for awhile in the car, then I pushed open the door. I got out slowly, slammed the doored and walked down the road as it went steeply down a hill. Then I waited.

I heard him first. l turned to see him coming down what I thought was some kind of dry waterfall. It was so steep that he was turned around and coming down backwards. I walked over to where he would finish. When he turned, he was startled, but said nothing.

“Travel?”, I asked. He looked at me.

“No”, he replied carefully.

“Home?”, I asked even more carefully.

“When?”, and he smiled for the first time.

“Couple of hours”, I said with my own smile.

There are a lot of hugs in the world. They are all different. This one told us that we fit. We hugged quietly for a long time. We were still. We were right. No thinking.

When we were finished, we walked arm in arm up the hill to the car. I drove to the airport and we flew home. /td>
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