Los Varados (2)
Over the dunes I glanced down at the beach that appeared often golden than redden. A huge, black vessel lay on the coast a mile away…washed aground. I noticed some movements below…perhaps folks scrambling to its reach. I should have brought my binoculars.
It looked like a submarine with a gun house on its top. In second thoughts it could be a destroyer or a gunboat. I could tell no difference between a frigate ship and a trawler.
Some guys hammered down a pole into earth. I slipped under to reach them.
“Ahoy!” he called, “Don’t try to get down there.”
“What is it?” I enquired.
“It’s a stealth ship,” the second guy replied.
“Oh crap!” cried the third guy, “It’s the Argentine submarine that vanished into the depths of the Atlantic with forty-four crew members gone missing…”
“You know too much,” articulated the first mate pulling the tail end of a rope four inches in diameter. He said, “Hunt for the submarine is called off because it will not surface or materialise…”
“This ship is quarantined,” cried the second.
“Some kind of smallpox or what?” I asked.
“No,” said the first guy, “Mayor’s Office sent out a notice…this whole beach is cautioned not to enter.”
“It’s San Juan, no doubt, made its last contact on 15th November,” maintained the third guy, “message read, crew well and alive…”
“Armada, hardly!” uttered the first mate, “Arena Roja is now contaminated. They are calling them off. See that ship! It’s a nuclear stealth. You can’t go near because its radiation heat is felt in fifty-yard distance…”
“Mi falda!” I exclaimed.
“Split up! You’re tossing a nerve in those pants!”
Now it looked to me like a stealth ship as he said. “So it’s leaking?”
“Nothing leaks besides your pene…”
“What happened to the deck hands?”
“Dickheads! They are trying to communicate. No soul likely alive…”
“It’s a ghost ship then!”
They erected ‘BEACH CLOSED’ warning signs not to cross this line and to stay clear of the beaches with the symbol of the Trefoil – the three-leaved-plant – in yellow background indicating radioactive hazard in this area.
I grumbled, “Nobody comes down this beach.”
“Now they would,” returned the third mate.
“Say! Are you going to tug that man-of-war!”
First mate replied, “This rope is for conjuring in order to keep the demon out of town.”
“Now you call it a demon!”
“Precisely. A sea monster!”
“They don’t cross and we don’t cross the rope!”
“Exactly,” he grinned.
“Huh! It’s thick enough,” I admitted.
I got shivers figuring those grey clouds behind a magenta sky…a sudden erection and hours to daylight. I came home to find Juliette wrapped in falda.
“Yes,” she grabbed my crotch, “You’re up!”
“Falda!” I gave a jerk, “I am going to pick a friend to talk about this.”
“They dropped a leaflet under your door.”
They just did, in fact, three into three lodges. It got some illustrations of gasmasks and overalls…in case of an exposure to radiation.
“I can tell there are several kinds of garbs in the shops but where would you find this!”
“They’re bringing in a stock,” she said.
“What the fuck is that?”
“I’ll show you…” and the tall woman tossed her body to handstand with her feet up on the wall. Her wrap fell off. “Can you see?”
I arrived at the bistro for breakfast and to watch television. Folks would talk about the event and nothing else.
Door opened and a long lost friend walked out reaching for his motorbike. “Hello Traves!” he greeted.
“Murr!” I offered a hand in shock and surprise, “I thought you’re dead!”
“How come?” he asked bluntly.
“I heard you drowned in the waves trying to save some kids…”
“It wasn’t me,” he started the motor, “Perhaps another Murr.”
“Mi falda! You’re alive!”
I thought about it briefly. When news broke out many years ago, he was picnicking with those school girls from Hilly High. For many years I thought it was him…all by mistake.
On television they showed the ship stranded on Arena Roja. Indeed, it was a stealth corvette designed to elude visual detection; radar, acoustic, infrared. Shaped to avoid vertical surfaces which would otherwise reflect such beams back to the emitter; a tumblehome hull.
It appeared black and its body coated of carbon fibre, so they say. Noise reduction technology features of muffled exhaust systems, modified propeller shapes and water-jets…the list goes on. This craft measured up some 600 feet long and 80 feet in the beam, sitting there like a towering building in the open field in breach of its virtual camouflage.
Guys in insulated overalls worked around, some in hip-deep water measuring depths. No doors or hatches had been open so far. No sign of a sailor or a marine. No sign of light or power, a signal or an electric pulse or even a sound wave. Nobody claimed ownership and its origin remained unknown. This vessel bore no hallmark apart from a number; 5599.
Heat emitted from the hull stopped them from attempting any further to get to the bottom. Experts from outside world geared up to reach Los Varados in order to investigate the wreck.
By now those guys in coveralls planted listening devices and pounded its hull for any sign of life. All folks were removed from the beach. They gathered in flocks at dispersed spots on top of the dunes.
Those close-up shots on the screen impressed me. Some images caught an optical illusion of ripples in the heat mirages. In some scenes, columns of cloud build up to cover the sky, light shown in torn gaps.
Die-hard folks gathered fruit carvings of watermelon sculptures and pineapple faces in a quest to defeat the odds; the demon. However, fires were not allowed.