Pato’s Big News

Raven Series # 14 | Jump to Raven # 1 

Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel on Unsplash

Don Pedro’s question chewed its way through my mind. I tried to think of who would be angry enough at me to kidnap Raven. 

The dive business was going well, but I wasn’t taking food from anybody’s mouth. There were more than enough divers for everyone—too many, really, if you looked at the reefs. 

Same for the hostel. More tourists came every year. It was getting out of hand, but that wasn’t my doing, and everybody was making money. 

The noise from the compressor swelled as Don Pedro opened the door to the compressor room to check on El Cangrejo and faded as he closed it. 

Just to be doing something I started adjusting the wetsuits hanging on the rack to get some more air between them. It was then, with my nose full of the aroma of wet neoprene, that I heard it. The familiar squeak and rattle of Silver, the wheeze as the engine was switched off.

“Cuervito,” Pato yelled, his Madrileño accent bouncing off the cement and stones, “I have big news.”

“I have been looking for you, my friend,” I told him. “You are hard to find.” We embraced.

“It’s because I have been doing the finding,” he said, smiling at his word play. 

Don Pedro exited the compressor room. “Buenas noches, Pato,” he said. The two shook hands.

Pato nodded at the compressor room. “Have you taken a second job filling tanks at night, Don Pedro?”

Don Pedro said nothing.

“Pato was about to tell me what he found while we were looking for him,” I said to Don Pedro. “Tell us, Pato, what have you found?”

“I found passages connecting Cenote Cardenas and Cenote Catrina to Cenote Tortuga. There are some stupendous rooms, Cuervito. You have to come with me to see it. You will not believe your eyes. We will put some lines in for the tourists to follow, it will be fantastic.”

Pato lit a cigarette. “Think of it.” he said, “A full-day tour. We enter at Cardenas in the morning and dive our way to Tortuga. We break there. We make a little kiosko to sell snacks, sandwiches, Coca Cola. We stage tanks for the second dive there. After our rest we do the second dive from Tortuga to Catrina. A pick up gets us from Catrina back to Tulum in time for dinner.” Pato smiled.

“I would love to do that dive,” I said. “After we get Raven back.”

Don Pedro frowned. “Who owns the land at Cenote Tortuga?”

“Don Hidalgo,” Pato answered. 

“I don’t know him,” I said.

“He is from Spain,” Pato said. “Very traditional, very conservative.” 

Don Pedro’s eyes went wide. 

Pato saw it. “What is going on, my friends?” he asked. “What are you not telling Pato?”

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