I evaded the second lunch with Jacques the following day when a customs boat circled outside the quay around midday…
They launched their tender, and a group of uniformed men came speeding toward the quay. The captain scrambled out of the dinghy, then stormed over to Swell.
“What are you doing here?” he asked in a fuss in French. “This dock is for cargo ships and official French vessels ONLY!”
“I’m so sorry, sir.” I replied. “The villagers told me that the next ship wouldn’t be in until Thursday. And in fact, I think we can both fit here…”
“Where is your husband?” he demanded. “You’ll have to move this boat right now!”
“I don’t have one.” I replied.
He went quiet for a moment, his face morphing from anger to surprise. His brow then softened entirely.
“Yes, I believe you’re right.” He chirped accommodatingly. “We can both fit if we move you forward…” He and the other officials handled the lines while I drove Swell up against the outgoing current, and shortly after, the battleship-looking customs boat came alongside the quay behind Swell.
The captain shook my hand before walking back to his ship. “You’re welcome to join us for dinner tonight,” he said, squeezing my hand for an uncomfortably long pause while looking me deeply in the eyes…
I smiled bleakly, and thanked him for the invitation…What was it this week? Where was Marine Man when I needed him!?