‘We can take our time now,’ says Sergio soothingly. ‘We have an hour until the tide turns. Have you got the map?’
‘I thought you had it’
‘Not again!’ spits Sergio through gritted teeth. He knew this would happen! ‘It doesn’t matter. I can see the lights on the yacht from here’
‘It looks so far away,’ worries Jim. ‘And the wind is getting up. We need to find a dinghy. Or we could tie these buoys together with seaweed and use the net from the old lobster pots.’
‘The stars are coming out. There's some old rope here.’
‘Let me do it. Knots never were your strong point Sergio.’
‘Thanks Jim. Here, take my knife.’ Sergio takes a small blade out from inside his sock. An old piece of heating duct honed over many years in the prison to form a crude but deadly looking blade.
Jim looks up, ‘Where did you get that? Oh no matter. Keep it safe. We will need it once we get aboard.’
The raft now complete, Sergio puts the knife back in his sock and takes it to the edge of the water ‘Right, let's give the raft a go.... I think this will do. Hold on to it. I'll test it.’ He puts one leg on the raft and shifts his weight onto it. ‘It'll do. I'll hang my legs off the back and kick.’
They both edge onto the makeshift structure. Jim at the front and Sergio at the back, paddling with his feet, as they head towards an elegant-looking yacht at the far side of the bay, lights twinkling faintly. There waits ‘the fat man’, their connection. Years in the planning, this was the day he said he would be there. If Sergio and Jim could break out of jail that day, he would help them to sail away to freedom on his yacht.
‘Almost there,’ says Jim with a nervous smile.
‘Grab the anchor chain,’ replies Sergio excitedly.
‘Got it. We will have to climb up.’ They reach the top of the anchor chain and heave themselves onto the deck, feeling like beached whales. They peer anxiously through the cabin window. ‘Look, I can see that fat so and so. Smoking cigars and rubbing his fat belly. We had some good times together though, didn't we Sergio?
‘He looks so calm,’ smirks Sergio. ‘If he only knew eh, Jim? It wasn't all bad. He was like a father figure.’
‘But he never cared,’ spits Jim, with uncharacteristic venom.
‘Well, he did get us out of the orphanage. Remember?’
‘How could I forget? Then he landed us in jail just to save his hide.’
‘It was always you and me though, Jim.’ Sergio places a conciliatory arm on Jim’s shoulder.
Jim turns to face Sergio, eyes glowing. ‘Time for payback. Just the two of us. Have you got the knife ready? Can you do it? Just cut his throat.’
‘I've got it,’ says Sergio, his hand reaching down to his sock, with the hidden blade. ‘Remember the plan? You go up first. Distract him.’
Jim pushes open the door and strides into the cabin, tears welling in this eyes. The fat man spins around and a smile spreads across his face. ‘It's been a long time. Hey, how did you get out? Where's Sergio?’
Jim starts crying. 'Sergio didn't make it. The dogs... they smelled the bones in his pocket... So. Much. Blood. I tried to save him but....’ Jim and the fat man embrace.
Meanwhile, Sergio peeks out from his hiding place in the lifeboat. He pulls the blade from his sock. ‘One clean swipe,’ he muses to himself. He takes a deep breath and steps back onto the deck, tiptoes to the edge of the cabin and gives the signal: tap, tap, tap. Jim steps back from the fat man, his throat tight with emotion. Almost in slow motion, Sergio turns in through the cabin door. He leaps through the air, spins. The fat man turns: ‘Sssssseeeeerrrrgggggiiiiiooooooo…’
A second later, he is gone. The silence and sadness are overwhelming. One simple cut. The fat man slumped on the floor. Sergio and Jim look up at the moon and think about the time in the orphanage, and then quickly get back to action. It was their time then and it will be again. ‘We need to get him overboard before the others get back,’ says Jim. Taking one leg each, they haul the body to the edge of the deck. ‘Let's put some stones in his pockets. Hey, take these anchor weights. Now, push… heave ho…’ An almighty splash.
Steady but stunned, Jim goes back to the cockpit and unfurls the sails while Sergio winds up the anchor. The wind catches the sails. They make a cracking sound as they fill and Jim turns the bow to head out to sea. Sergio looks over the side of the boat and sees the fat man slowly disappear under the waves. They hear shouts from behind them as the crew return in a dinghy, but they are too far behind to catch up. ‘We have done it,’ beams Jim, ‘a life on the Med beckons.’
They look around them at the beautiful yacht. Now all theirs. Pristine teak decking, neatly coiled ropes around shiny polished bitts. Jim climbs down into the cabin ‘How much do you think he has? It's all on board. He keeps it here to hide it from tax.’ He walks over to the safe. Click… ‘Ha! The old man never changed the codes!’ He opens the door… A golden ethereal glow. ‘Gold, pure gold.’ Sergio and Jim count up the gold bars with unconstrained glee. As they stack them up on the chart table, a handwritten note flutters to the ground.
‘What's it say, Jim?’ asks Sergio as Jim bends down to pick up the note. Jim tries to speak but his throat is too constricted. ‘Is it his will?’ The note is written to Sergio and Jim. ‘Jim?...’
Jim swallows. ‘It says... Jim and Sergio. My boys, my true blood. You never knew your mother, I loved her so dearly. But, after the accident I couldn’t look after her and my beloved twin sons. So, I put you in the orphanage. I never stopped thinking of you. You meant everything to me. I swore in my heart I would always return. I even arranged for you to be locked up to keep you safe.’
Sergio and Jim slump to the floor. ‘Brothers?’ They say in unison. The future disappears before their eyes. ‘We had it all’ wails Jim, ‘money means nothing now.’ The waves crash upon the distant shore. Sergio and Jim embrace as big fat drops of rain fall on the roof of the cabin. ‘Pleuvisaud’ sighs Sergio. ‘What did you say?’ asks Jim quizzically. Sergio turns to Jim with a gentle smile ‘Pleuvisaud; the comforting sound of rain on a roof.’