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Dialogues O Clandestino

Narration 1


In a dark, rundown seaport the very air breathes despair.


Yet in the salty tang of the oil-slick water rocking gently beneath the pier, there’s a whiff of magic. Nothing echoes louder to the heart of a lonely wanderer than the unending love song of the sea to the pier.


On the morning of December 24th at one of these crumbling jetties, a ship came to rest. I had come from afar bearing a meagre, varied cargo: palm oil, coconuts, green bananas starting to rot, peanuts, two dozen bales of cotton. Also on board was a passenger, a single passenger _ one whose name would not be found in the ship’s log, one who had not paid his passage.


Who was he? Where did he come from?


No one could say, least of all the man himself. Silence is the golden rule for the poor of the world.


Who smuggled him on board? Who crept out at night to bring him food and help? Who? Who indeed?


It was Christmas Eve and the crew were heading off in search of comfort. To their families, those that had families, or to a smoky bar, where laughing ladies gleamed pale under their gaudy rouge. For men who creep over the surface of life and the world, as if no country will take them in, can find no safe harbour save in a passing bed or in borrowed arms.


But what were they waiting for to get him out of his hole? Where they going to forget him, lease him alone on board, stuffed in this coffin, to die of hunger and cold? Was there a hitch, some unexpected difficulty preventing his disembarkation?




(In Portuguese) Come quickly Mr. Tomé! Hurry up; we must do it before any cop his on the docks…


Narration 2


All he had to do was slip over the side and scurry down the mooring line like a rat. Just a few metres below was the dock, solid ground, freedom, the promised land dreamed by the sweat of his brow.




(In Portuguese) Good Luck! May god be with you!


Narration 3


It was then that in his heart of hearts he began to curse that fell hour he decided to embark on this adventure. He was not a sailor; he knew neither how to climb a rope nor to swim.




(In Portuguese) Shit! I’m fucked off!




Stowaway, eh? You speak English?




(In Portuguese) No espique engliche, no espique!



Ah ! Ah ! Ah !

No eespeek !… No eespeek !… No eespeek, no eespeek…

Now run !


Narration 4


Not trying to understand, he ran off. He ran not knowing where he was going.




Hey! … Merry Christmas!




???… Ah !


Narration 5


It was only then he remembered that it was Christmas Eve.

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