The Passenger


The wooden boards of the deck of the ship were clean and newly varnished. As the last glow of the sun disappeared below the horizon, I sat thinking about what I had started and would complete very soon now. The trouble it had taken to get on board this ship undetected had been considerable. It had been good fortune that it was not the coldest part of the year, though it could only get hotter en route as I travelled further southwards. My warmer outer clothing would soon be discarded as it had served its purpose doubling up as a part of my disguise. I had successfully walked onto the ship past the officers on duty at the boarding stairway as I smiled hoping that I looked confident. I have known from a long time ago that if I looked as though I belonged somewhere and gave the appearance of knowing where I was going then there was a very good chance of not being challenged. I consider myself quite resourceful and "streetwise" although I wasn't quite so sure of myself as it appeared. The first part of my plan had gone ahead without any real problems. All had worked well and I was safely on board with nobody looking for me. A few close calls, but this was nothing new to me. I was sure I would be successful as the future depended on it. If I failed? I was not going to fail and I was determined not to think like that. The forged documents had worked perfectly though I didn't have any delusions about the outcome. At least, I think I didn't have any. Maybe the biggest delusion of all would be expecting to get to where I wanted to go. To reach the final destination. To win. No. I'd get there. It wasn't a delusion at all and I was sure of that.

I had no problem with doing what I planned to do. I didn't like the English anyway. Their arrogance and general self-righteous attitude would irritate me to distraction if I let it bother me. I didn't allow this as I knew I would soon have the last laugh. It gave me a tremendous sense of excitement knowing what would happen very soon now. It may be 2007, but it's still a war. Time never heals. Weak minded people think it does, but some things are too important to ever be forgotten or forgiven. I had been told this much over and over again and it is, of course, true. I know that much. I have known that since childhood. As an adult, I know the emotive term of terrorist is made up by governments to justify their actions against people like me. It's certainly a war and many of the "enemy" have no idea what it is all about. The beginning is buried in history and conveniently overlooked. One man's terrorist is another man's patriot and I am a patriot. I am true to my beliefs and I believe in what I am doing, which is more than I can say about many of the "enemy". They have no idea what it is all about other than we are the wicked mindless ones. They go about daily business not really concerned with important issues and then they pompously sound off about the opinions of others after they have read them in their newspapers. Or seen and heard about them on TV. To be true to my convictions is honourable and I know exactly what I am doing and why I am doing it.

So, I must not be too quiet or withdrawn as this can bring its own unwelcome attention. I will just go about my business of becoming accepted and worm my way into any situation that may bring me advantage. I spoke the English language very fluently with virtually no detectable accent. I even had the features of a native Englishman and had been groomed for my mission from a very early age. I would not expect any problem passing myself off as a native Englishman and I have never encountered any such problem before. Chatting with my fellow passengers and not being too aloof could be tricky sometimes, but I was rather good at deflecting questions with non-answers. I know that most people accept the lack of an answer to their questions without too much protest. Deflecting a question is a skill I have developed. Not answering at all is blatantly offensive and there is no need for that. I might only have had a problem if I had to answer an official question from a crew member, but as my documents are all in order and I will be dressed as an officer of the shipping line I should find it all very easy. I must simply stay out of their way. I may be confident and a little cocky, but I'm not stupid!

I put on my cap and stood up without my topcoat to begin my walk around the deck. The time was approaching when it must get much hotter.

Much hotter.

© Louis Brothnias (2005)

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