The rain clouds were breaking up as the rising sun cast them in hues of fire, turning their bottoms crimson, and the edges gold like pieces of eight. Peturo had arranged for a dingy to take them to the Strega De Lo Mare, and the light washed over the dock, creating a long shadow from the seaman who came for them, as he stood waiting.
Sicilian pondered his thoughts aloud to his long-time companion: "What do you know of the crew of the Strega, Peturo? Have you heard anything of them?"
"Aye, M'Lord! I sailed with Mr. Spratt fer a time. He's a good man! I don't know Cap'n Godwin, but if'n Mr. Spratt sails with him, he's a good officer."
"G'morning, M'Lord!" They had arrived at the dingy.
Mr. Spratt watched the dingy approach with some apprehension. He had no use for these "high-falutin' Lords," and always felt uncomfortable when one was around. As the dingy grew nearer, though, he recognized Peturo D'Angelo. If Peturo was with this man, he may have some redemptive quality.
"Ahoy the Strega," shouted Peturo, "Permission to come aboard?"
"Aye! Come aboard, then, and welcome to ye, Peturo. I haen't seen ya in a good many years now. Welcome aboard, M'Lord."
Spratt helped the men over the railing, then motioned them toward the ship's cabins. "Where is Captain Godwin, Mr. Spratt?" Sicilian came quickly to the point."
"She be settin' the watch, M'Lord. She will be down to see ya as soon as she's finished."
"She...?" Sicilian's surprise reflected in both his voice and his face. Peturo's mouth dropped open.
"Damn!" Mr. Spratt flushed. "I'll be in fer it now! I wasn't s'posed to tell ya. She be a mighty good Cap'n, M'Lord. Give her a fair shake, will ya?"
Sicilian's face was dark with anger. He answered nothing, just ordered Mr. Spratt to send her to him as soon as possible.
Alone in the Captain's quarters, Sicilian paced. His angry thoughts were as tumultuous as the restless billows of water that rocked the ship. It had been a man he interviewed... where did this... this woman come from? Women are nothing but trouble at sea! It was common knowledge among sailors. His steel-blue eyes flashed in anger, as he tossed his bag down, and withdrew the ship's manifest records from it... how long had this charade been going on?
Sicilian was not full blooded Sicilian, as his blue eyes betrayed that idea... but he had a good dose of the temper. His anger quickly cooled, though, and reason interceded even before Taylor Godwin came to the cabin. The truth lay before his eyes in the manifests, and Sicilian realized that this Captain... woman or not... was his best! It was her record that prompted him to select the Strega De Lo Mare for this mission.
Still, he had been lied to. Sicilian had always believed in interviewing his captains in person. Never would he hire a man just to fill a position ... if he wasn't the best, he did not sail in DeGiovanni fleets. The hiring of ship's personnel was then left up to the Captain's discretion. But Sicilian had never hired a woman. He firmly believed a woman on a ship was a disrupting influence at best, and trouble in most instances.
That, however, wasn't the reason for his anger. No, his anger rested in the fact that one of his Captain's had deceived him. He could think of no resolution but to discharge her, regardless of her record.
His thoughts were interrupted by the clanking of chain. The ship was weighing anchor. Anger again darkened his face -- he'd given no order to sail.
Dallas D'Angelo-Gary 97