Sal approached the dock, ready to offer his last pesos as a bribe to get on the northbound ship. Rosa clung to the sailor stationed at the bottom of the ramp. Could she be trusted with Sal’s secrets?
Waving Jimenez’s military identification and the forged San Diego orders in one hand, Sal saluted with the other.
“Special envoy to the Bishop of Alta California, the Reverend Father Serra,” Sal said. “Check your logs. Father Serra recently left this port for San Diego.” Did he speak with enough authority to convince this sailor? Sal gave him a slight bow.
“There you see, I told you,” Rosa said. Thrilled to see Sal salute so officially, she responded with a little curtsey.
“Father Serra is expecting my services and this small cart of church goods in San Diego as soon as possible. I cannot lose any time, ¡vàmonos!” Sal said. He imitated the bold tone Father Serra used when he made his demands at the Presidio.
“As I told you, he is an officer—muy importante,” Rosa said. The sailor, anxious to please Rosa, returned the salute and clicked his heels as Sal stepped onto the ramp. Sal considered Rosa’s help a minor miracle; she was an angel, after all.
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