A Pirate Named Gianni Cobalto • Part 1

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The sharp saltiness of the ocean flutters in the lazy afternoon breeze. A clavichord is giggling from the inside, beyond the wooden porch. It’s a tune from Domenico, the Neapolitan. Gianni is carried away by the melody. His memories at sea are intertwined with his future – very likely at sea. The Old World looks so precious now that it’s kept in the gilded casket of the past. But the pirate knows about the illusory nature of this coffer. “Memories are tricks of the little you, designed to hold you back from experiencing the wonders of the larger You,” said the Indian guy in Pulau Ujong. “The little you likes to be right. Rigid in its beliefs, it likes to provide you with a sense of identity.” All these esoteric ideas resonated with Gianni in a strange manner. His Christian upbringing taught him that God was up there, ready to judge you after your final step. The Indian guy, instead, told him that God is within and is free of judgement.

“What do you like?” asked the man in orange robes.

“I like… What do I like…”

“Yes, is there any form of beauty you can appreciate?”

“I like music. In Venice, we have great music. Antonio Vivaldi.”

“So. The next time you listen to a beautiful sonata, let it become one with you.”

“How do I do that?”

“Listen to it with your whole body, not with your brain. Don’t listen to your parrot mind, let it fly away. Listen to the music!” he lifted and shook his palms with intensity.

Gianni is now in the New World, a land of great uncertainty and even greater opportunity. He promptly applies the method suggested by the guru to the sonata coming from inside the house. The clavichord melody, note after note, flows through the banks of his awareness like a river. The course of this river is initially twisty and restless. Then he expands his focus on the harmony: left and right hand, white and delicate, dance on the keyboard in the dimly lit room. The river is approaching the sea. It finally surrenders into the infinite waters of the ocean. The pirate has never experienced such a sense of peace. Of fullness and emptiness at the same time.

“Cobalto!” a voice pops in the background. “Cobalto!” It sounds farther than it is. He does not react to the desperate vibration of those shouts. The music stops. A gentle drumming of steps follows, out of the porch. A fresh hand touches his neck: he feels the love of a lifetime piercing his skin-shell through those fingers. “Jean…” The female French-coloured voice chimes in like a timid violin. “The Spaniards…” He lifts up his gaze and her features astound him. She radiates a soft golden light. Her dark hair balances with the pale blue eyes and face. “You have to go…” He caresses her tender cheek. Thus, he calmly gets up from the creaking wooden chair. Gianni smiles confidently to her. The green palms idly wave in the maritime breeze throughout the bay. The sun is hiding behind the clouds. The pirate doesn’t know what to do, but he doesn’t mind, as if he was guided by something smarter than him. Jacmel Bay is as gorgeous as a dream, including the small Spanish frigate at the horizon. He turns to the French angel who’d accidentally fallen on his lap. One kiss. He’s swiftly off to the stable, where Troussard and Cantley were shouting his name. “Hurry up, Venetian!” said his English comrade. They gallop away at once. They cross the forest and villages and face a dilemma.

“Port-au-Prince lies a day away,” says Troussard.

“Too late to join any ship…” answers Gianni.

“But the filibusters will protect us for the night.”

“Of course they would, the Spaniards wouldn’t dare lift a finger there.”

“Why you’re so doubtful then?”

“Cause it’s what the Spaniards expect from us. They’re not only coming after us. They’re surely ahead of us.”

“We need an alternative plan, vénitien.” Agrees with him the French pirate.

They’re heading north, towards the coast. Gianni listens to the hoofs knocking on the bare soil; the air gets fresher and fresher as they climb up the road through the mountains. The forest is alive. He closes his eyes for an apparently infinite moment. No parrot is chatting in his head. His mind is clear like the water of the Caribbean. He’s listening to everything with his body like the Indian man suggested. Suddenly he knows. He knows what? He just knows.

“Are we fucked up, Venetian?” genuinely asks Cantley.

“We could be. But we’re not. The Spanish head-hunters are probably waiting for us at Carrefour. We go to Gonâve Island. And leave tomorrow with the first filibuster ship stopping for supplies.”

“How do we reach l’Île de la Gonâve?” asks Troussard.

“Even if we steal or buy a boat on the coast, what makes you think we’ll cross the Canal du Sud alive? That is the most dangerous place in the whole New World for a pirate now that the French want to kick the filibusters out of Port-au-Prince. Dutch, English, French and Spanish ships swarm in the area – untouched by the retreating pirates.” Cantley emphasizes the facts opening his arms wide.

“God will bring us there.”

They’re both silent, in shock, for a minute. “Cobalto, do you suddenly miss catholic school? What the hell. We’re bloody pirates. Murderers and thieves! What makes you think that God would help us?”

Gianni bursts into laughter and the horse responds neighing as if it could get the irony of Cantley’s reaction. Troussard, renowned atheist, doesn’t speak. “You, silly Briton. I’m not talking about the God of the Bible. I was just using a word you could understand. The Divine is not an old bearded man hanging around on a cloud. The Divine is all around you and inside of you!”

“You’ve gone insane, Venetian…”

Je lui crois. I trust his plan.” Asserts the French pirate. “Even though I’m still quite sceptical about the mystical stuff,” he grins through his sharp moustache.

Jack Cantley is stunned on the back of his black horse.

Perfetto.” Gianni turns to the English man. “At worse, we’ll die blowing some brains… And drinking the good stuff,” he winks, “I have a bottle of cognac from Maxine.”

“Right…” he mumbles, totally spaced out.

 

Herons

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