For three nights, the boys slept huddled against the rocks near Papá’s other family. Realizing the truth of the move, Sal got up at dawn, eager to get to the dock. The ships and sailors reminded him of his time in Santiago. He covered his hurt and anger by making his own plans. Why not? Papá only brought them here as extra laborers for his second family.
“You go back home if you want, Blas,” Sal choked out his words, his head hung low. “But I’m thinking of a scheme for the two of us to get out of here.” He felt lousy and abandoned by his own father. “Papá made no explanation about this family in Cadiz. He lied about having a job here so we’d join him on the road trip. Olvìdese, forget it— forget him!”
“Sorry, Sal, but I’m not too surprised,” Blas said. He turned his face away from Sal. “I thought you knew all about the rumors of your Papá and his other women. I’ve heard them ever since we were boys.” He turned back to face his best friend, “Tell me about your plans.” Blas always relied on Sal for the best plans and schemes.
“Did you see the huge ships entering the port today?” Sal said.
“You mean those Portuguese slave ships?” Blas said. The slave ships were notorious; huge and guarded day and night by men who looked more like thugs than sailors.
“No, idiot, I mean our own Spanish galleons, loading tons of supplies for the New World,” Sal said. He could face anything as long as his friend Blas stayed with him. “This plan will work. Hear me out.” Now he had Blas’s full attention. “Yesterday, in the dock beyond the jail yard, I saw one of the King’s galleons stuffed full of food.” He waved his arms, acting out each stage of his plan for Blas. “If I can distract the stevedores stacking the supplies before they get hoisted into the galleon, you can snatch the food!”
The boys talked all night, sketched out the dock and their escape route with a stick in the dirt and hardly slept a wink. The next day Sal’s scheme did not go as planned.
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