“Sharks have everything a scientist dreams of. They’re beautiful―God, how beautiful they are! They’re like an impossibly perfect piece of machinery. They’re as graceful as any bird. They’re as mysterious as any animal on earth. No one knows for sure how long they live or what impulses―except for hunger―they respond to. There are more than two hundred and fifty species of shark, and everyone is different from every other one.”
― Peter Benchley, Jaws
Boca Diablo (part 5 – El Tiburón)
Dwayne never imagined how difficult it would be to get to Boca Diablo and see the butterflies again. After all these years the orange swarm he had seen as a child had grown in his mind. Now, after Flynn had brought him information, probably only a myth, that indicated that the insects were used by the ancient indigenous royalty for supernatural powers, the idea of the butterflies had grown in his mind until they had pushed out almost everything else. With Flynn’s support, he assumed that gaining approval from the university would be a cakewalk, and funding would surely follow.
But there was violent political unrest in the Boca Diablo area and the State Department was restricting travel. A shadowy figure, El Tiburón had raised a ragtag peasant army which, somehow, had driven the government forces out of the area. The central command didn’t seem too keen on spilling the necessary blood on getting it back.
“It has always been a backwater,” the embassy official had told him, “It will always be a backwater – bloody and dangerous. And useless. I recommend you abandon concern for that godforsaken place. Forget about it completely. I know I have. At least until you came in and started bothering me about it.”
One night, he received a phone call from someone asking to meet him down at his university office. The person on the other end refused to give his name, but said, “You need to meet me there, you won’t regret it.”
“Are you sure I won’t?” he asked.
“Well, I am absolutely sure you’ll regret not showing up,” was the answer. And it sounded convincing.
After carding into the dark research building and walking down the eerie empty echoing hallways Dwayne was startled to see his office door open, and the lights on. When he entered he saw a tall man wearing an expensive suit, smoking a cigar, sitting at his own desk.
“Have a seat,” the man said in a slight accent. He gestured at a chair in front of the desk.
“Ummm,” Dwayne stammered, “That’s my desk, and my chair, and there is no smoking allowed in the building.”
“Oh, I’m sorry, so true,” the man said in a calm voice. But he made no attempt to move or to extinguish his cigar. He simply made a generous puff and repeated his hand gesture toward the chair. Dwayne sat down.
“How did you get in here?” Dwayne said.
“I’m Mr. Albert, I work for the CIA,” was the answer. Dwayne supposed that answered his question, even if indirectly.
“Why are you here, what does anything have to do with me?” Dwayne said.
“Anything of what?”
“That’s what I need to know.”
“Well, Dwayne, can I call you Dwayne? Here’s the thing. We understand you have been trying to get permission and funding to reach Boca Negro. Is that true?”
“Of course, I want… I need to get back and study a sighting of rare… of unique butterflies I saw when I was there as a….”
“But how can I help you, I can’t even get there.”
“Those are difficulties that we can make go away… like that,” and Arnold made a simple wave through the air.
Dwayne’s eyes grew large. He hoped that Arnold wouldn’t sense his eagerness, though he was pretty sure that was not possible. As cool as possible he replied, “I suppose with help with a visa and research funding I could make a trip. But what is it that you need… what could I possibly help you with?”
Albert sat silent, staring at Dwayne as if he were sizing up an opponent – or a lion staring at a limping deer.
“You know the area has been overrun by forces of a man that calls himself El Tiburón – that means The Shark, you know.”
“If you get into the area, you will certainly be brought before El Tiburón and we need information about him. You would be expected to get this information and return it to us, either by returning alive, or other means.”
Dwayne didn’t like the term, “by other means,” but he had been so obsessed with getting back to the butterflies, he was willing to march through hell on the way, which wasn’t far off from what he was being presented.
“How do you know he will want to see me?”
“Oh he will. We guarantee that, at least.”
Albert paused again. Then he opened a folder that had been sitting in front of him and extracted an eight by ten glossy photo.
“We have managed, at great cost, to obtain a photograph of El Tiburón.”
He turned it toward Dwayne. “I think you might know this man.”
Dwayne gasped. The man was older, streaks of grey ran through the thick hair that poked out from beneath the military cap he wore, and the face was furrowed by years of tough living… but there was no doubt about who the man was.
“Chaix,” Dwayne mumbled.
“Yes! Chaix!” Albert replied, with too much enthusiasm… bordering on glee.