Day Five Hundred Thirty One #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

There were no overt signs, no indication on any level that this place was given over to the enemy. Not even any posters of Stan’s image staring down from the walls.

But a brooding sense of malignancy made its presence felt at the edge of our senses.

Elijah and I remained in the ship. One look over the ship’s railing was enough for us.

Tomas took P ashore to school him in the purser’s responsibilities with the dispatcher. The other Raj twin G wanted to accompany them, but was told his charge was to remain with the ship.

Tomas brought back surprising news – we will be allowed to load several containers whose owners don’t bear the mark either.

Astonishing indeed.

Day Five Hundred Thirty #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

As predicted we arrived just off our destination in the early afternoon. There was a lot of traffic – more coming out than going in. We took our place in line, and waited our turn.

The Captain came to me to ask after Elijah. The last I knew he was going to the special cabin, so I replied that he was more than likely still there. The Captain then inquired if Elijah had any plans to go ashore.

I had to plead ignorance.

Not wanting to disturb him, we waited.

Elijah emerged around the time our turn to enter port came up. Unbidden he declared we were not going ashore, saying this city is completely given over to the dark one.

Day Five Hundred Twenty Nine #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The Captain was conflicted. With the satellite network re-established the ship’s navigation will be so much easier and exact – no need to rely on the old methods. But it does mean we will be tracked wherever we turn – wearing “a mark” of another sort.

He turned to Elijah for his advice. Elijah thinks that at this stage their system will lack the sophistication  to be used against us. He is all for using it to speed us on our way and to perhaps increase our lead. Still, as a precaution he suggested that Tomas be assigned to monitor any changes as they manifest themselves. And then revisit the decision.

Later, Tomas brought word that we should make landfall tomorrow.

Me and My Arrow

Me and my Arrow

There is something to be said about listening to your wife.

In my case it was a hard lesson to learn. (In fact the learning never ends).

I loved my Plymouth Roadrunner, but with that V-8 engine (and its racing cam) it was a bit of a gas hog. No longer could you pull up to the pump and buy gas for 25 cents a gallon. Our buying power for that commodity had been cut in half with the rise in price. And the price showed signs of going higher.

Time to look for a more fuel efficient vehicle.

I am not sure if the ad campaign for the Plymouth Arrow led us to consider that vehicle. The tune has stuck in mind ever since whenever I think about the car. The marketeers had picked up the Harry Nilsson tune from 1971. It had been composed for the ABC animated Movie broadcast on 2/2/1971 as the theme for its hero Oblio, the pointless boy, and his dog Arrow.

Anyway I had made up my mind that this was the car for us. Gas efficient, a 1600cc overhead cam engine, four cylinder, with a clean sporty look (although the bright orange paint job let everyone know you were coming). And did I say gas efficient?

But there was a BIG negative, not for me, but for my wife. The Arrow had a stick shift. This didn’t bother me at all, that stick shift was a four speed. Can you say sporty? I could grind those gears like Steve McQueen in Bullitt.

But my wife didn’t drive a stick. And wouldn’t drive a stick. She made her feelings very plain. If I bought that car, she would never drive it. (She didn’t say I could never drive her in it).

But it was fuel efficient, was my argument. And within our budget. And brand new. Our first brand new car right off the lot. (And last brand new car ever as it has turned out – so far).

Regret was slow in coming. Not for the car itself. It was a great car. But the seed of bitterness sown with that one-sided decision poisoned our relationship.

True to her word, she never drove that car. And every car after that has had an automatic transmission.

So all you young husbands out there. Learn this lesson, and don’t fall on that arrow.

Day Five Hundred Twenty Eight #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

At the end of my time in the special cabin today, I was comforted by the realization that it still looked and felt the same, but then I wondered for a moment was I still the same or have I changed. However I shook the notion off when I realized that I was falling to the temptation to judge myself and not placing my reliance where it should be.

A lesson learned long ago, but needing to be relearned. I am such a leaky vessel.

Tomas was coming in as I was going out. We had a brief exchange – momentous news from the bridge – the radio has sprung to life – a sign that the global authorities are extending their reach.

Day Five Hundred Twenty Seven #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The crew is scared witless. Elijah has been sharing with them portents of future events. He did temper his vision with reasons to hope, but they have only been able to focus on the downside. I took every opportunity to share with them out of our experience about how that hope is real and has the power to see us through anything.

I passed part of my time today with P to instruct him in the duties of a purser. (Yes, he has been approved for the position by all concerned). He has asked a lot of questions – always a good sign. I encourage him to ask more, as it gives me the best insight into what I should teach.

Day Five Hundred Twenty Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The Raj twins are fascinated with the workings of the ship. They followed me about everywhere, from the depths to the heights.

The one, whom we call G, was particularly enamoured of those things that are done routinely for the maintenance of the ship, as a result, most likely, from his experiences in the shipyard.

His brother P expressed more interest in what Tomas does when functioning as Purser.

This would be fine by me, for I have not felt right about taking it on this time around. As long as the other parties involved agree – Tomas, the Captain, but especially Elijah.

For now, Elijah feels we are beyond the reach of the global government. And hopes to stay ahead.

Day Five Hundred Twenty Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We are sitting in port at the end of a long day. This city has proven a surprise to all, not the least of which is the fact that it is under local control. Not a hint of the world government anywhere.

I wonder how long that will last.

We have filled the holds and will top off tomorrow by securing a few containers on deck. The Captain is pleased.

Elijah and I bid goodbye and God speed to the Raj family, who will depart from here upon their journey and mission.

They in turn committed to hold us up in prayer before the One. And had a tender parting with the twins, whom they have surrendered to our care.

Day Five Hundred Twenty Four #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

It feels good to be underway again – out in calm seas under sunny skies, especially as the Captain has decided to take the risk and put in at the next port up the coast.

Elijah has invested all his waking hours with the Raj family, which he gathered into our cabin to go over the slightly different route they will be taking.

At one point he sent for me. I was with Tomas in the Purser’s cabin, listening to his arguments for taking on the job again. It seems some of the older members of the Raj family were battling sea sickness.

I rejoined Elijah in our cabin and did what I could to help them cope with the malady.

Day Five Hundred Twenty Three #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The cargo was loaded back in the holds, with room to spare, no need to place any of the containers on deck. An official from the world government stood by watching everything. He even made a pitch to the Captain extolling the benefits of bearing the mark. The Captain declined politely without explanation.

We managed to take on a pilot without an accompanying government representative.

He missed the boat.

When beyond the harbor, Elijah met with the Captain to talk about the next port up the coast. The Captain wanted to skip this port and strike out eastward. But Elijah argued for the risk as he judges it the best port from which the Raj family can start their journey.