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powerful. Even in the moonlight I could see Henri's face turning pasty pale as he clawed at Randall's hands.
I pulled at Brad's hands but couldn't get him loose. I grunted for Eddie. He came over and hit him in his
heaving gut, a short little punch which not only made Randall let go of Henri, but roll over on the sand,
grasping his belly, his mouth open wide as he could possibly get it.
Henri made it to his feet, his clothes a mess, blood streaming from nose and mouth. He stared down at
South Pacific Affair
Randall, who was still on his back like an overturned turtle, then sent a glob of bloody spit down on Randall
as he said,  You crazy old 
I pushed Dubon away.  Leave him alone. We've done him enough harm.
Dubon put a hand to his nose to stem the blood, which started down his sleeve, as he said in Tahitian,
 Sorry, something went wrong. But we have his money. And suckers never run to the police or tell others
 Stop talking, you damn fool! I yelled. If the whole thing had seemed cheap before, what we had done to
Randall was now sheer tragedy. I felt crummy; not even thinking about socking Barry could shake the
crummy feeling.
While I was standing there, staring at everybody and seeing no one, Randall sat up, his heavy face still wet
with tears, lines of pain around his open mouth. I was about to say I was sorry, but no words came out of my
dry mouth. Heru came over, one hand to her puffed eye. Her good eye stared solemnly down at Randall.
Henri, who had been stuffing his shirt in his pants, straightening out his clothes, turned on Heru with
tiger-speed, shrilled,  You're the cause of all this, you dirty drunken 
It was an all-around bad night for Henri. Eddie's left hook flicked through the air and crumbled Henri into
a heap. No staggering or falling backwards; the clean sound of the fist hitting and Henri went down. It was the
hardest punch I'd ever seen. I was positive Dubon was dead.
Randall moaned,  Oh, my, my... while Eddie rubbed his knuckles and said,  There's something I been
waiting to do for a long time. The slimy... slimy  Eddie walked down to the water and carefully washed his
Jack Pund bent over Dubon, said softly,  This one will never arise again.
I pulled Randall to his feet, told him,  Look, Mr. Randall, there isn't much I can say. I know how you must
feel, and I'm sorry. Sorry isn't much of a word but... Well, you'll get your money back.
 It doesn't matter, Brad said in a whisper. He rubbed his stomach, looked down at Dubon, muttered,  He's
a pug, isn't he? He nodded at Eddie who was coming towards us, shaking his wet hands.
 Used to be. He had to hit you or you would have murdered Dubon.
 You're all thugs! Where's my clothes? Randall turned and slowly walked to the hut, rubbing Henri's
bloody spit off the side of his face. Heru shivered and put an arm across her bare breasts. The little cut over
her eye had stopped bleeding. Eddie told her to get dressed, added,  I will get some raw fish for your eye.
Jack Pund was still squatting over Dubon and I told him to move, knelt, and felt of Henri's heart it was
under the wallet in his inside pocket. He was still alive. I took out the wallet, old, sweat-stained, and thick. He
had all the francs I'd given him plus a fat rubber-banded bundle of one thousand franc notes and several
American twenties. Beside his identity card, there were a few scribbled addresses I couldn't make out, an old
army PX card, and a faded hunk of newspaper an ad for a correspondence course in public speaking.
Randall returned, wearing his seersucker suit over his pajamas, carrying his pigskin overnight bag, sport
cap stuck on his head sideways. I held out Henri's wallet.  I'll give you the three hundred we took you for.
He shoved my hand aside.  How soon can I reach Papeete?
 Probably by morning. Take the money, please.
He pushed by me, went down to the dinghy and sat on the stern seat. Heru came out of one of the lean-tos
wearing her gaudy dress, high heeled shoes slung around her neck. Eddie was walking beside her, holding a
hunk of raw fish to her purple eye. I gave her Henri's wallet, told her to keep it. Then I took a thousand franc
note out, handed it to Jack Pund.  Forget what happened here. And when he wakes, I said, pointing at Henri
with my foot,  paddle him to the mainland of Huahine.
He grabbed the money eagerly, shoved it into his loin cloth, asked,  When you return with my red ash
 You can buy a dozen of them with that money, I said.
 You no return? Pund asked sadly.
 No, the show is over. Don't forget, take care of him.
Eddie said,  Why not let the louse stay here till a passing canoe picks him up? Maybe he'll even starve!
 Stop it, I said, suddenly feeling very weary.  We're as much in this as Henri. Let's get out of here.
We three walked down to the dinghy and got in, nearly swamping it. As I rowed I faced Randall and I told
South Pacific Affair
him,  You really don't know what happened here tonight. I'd like to 
 Goddamn you, can't you shut up! he snapped.  You think I Worry about the money, that I was rooked? I
 I want to explain what 
 When a fellow is young and has some sense, he dreams, then settles down to hard work, making money,
Brad went on.  When he's too old for living he realizes he should have paid more attention to his dreams, they
are important as money, maybe more important. Even if this was a fake, why did you have to spoil it? Ruin
the greatest thing ever happened, to me? If I had left there still thinking this was all real, I'd have been the
happiest man in the world! But you pimps, this cheap whore....
 Sure she's cheap she didn't get any new car! I cut in.  Look, Randall, Henri isn't any more to blame
than we are, and by we I mean all of us, including you. In a sense we're all trying, in our own way, to find the
same dream you were chasing, even Dubon. We came here too late Eddie and Heru should have been born
two hundred years ago. All of us are the ugly by-products of too many years of cruel exploitation,
double-crossing, and greed. We've been dreaming in a sewer. I thought sailing around in my own boat was
clean and good, especially yesterday after I met up with them  the point is, I thought it the best life possible,
but now that's dirtied up, too. I don't know if I'm making myself clean and good, especially yesterday after I
met up with Kent responsibility for this mess.
Somehow it seemed terribly important to me to explain all this, as if I had suddenly hit on the core of what
was wrong in the islands for me. But I was talking to myself. Randall was miles away in his thoughts, Eddie
was whispering to Heru.
When we reached the Hooker, I stepped aboard and helped Randall on, although he pushed my hand away.
Eddie and Heru jumped on deck. I got the motor working and we upped anchor. Eddie took the wheel. Once
outside the reef we raised sail and Heru went below to sleep, while Randall sat on a mat in the cockpit, held
his head.
He sat like that all night, maybe he was asleep. An hour or so after daybreak-we sailed through the
Papeete pass, saw the spire of Notre Dame as we came into the harbor. When we docked Randall stood up
stiffly, straightened his clothes and lit a cigar. I offered him his money once more but he brushed by me, [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]


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