Indiana Jones and the Creature From the Black Lagoon

Chapter 5

The captain was a shortish, powerful man named Klaus Kirschner. He was an Austrian Jew who had fled Europe in the late 1920s, perhaps seeking fortune or perhaps because he sniffed the wind and sensed what was coming. His features were weather-beaten and hard, and he kept his maps weighted by an old Mauser pistol. Indy liked him immediately.

Kirschner spoke good Portuguese and passable English, and they communicated dipping back and forth between English and German. It was good practice, since Indy didn't get a chance to use the language of the Fatherland all that often. He commanded his crew of a half-dozen locals firmly, but not seemingly unfairly, and they seemed to regard him well.

"Ya, we can make up the branch, I think to this point," he noted a position on the map with a thick finger. After that, Rita no go. Draft is too big," he waved a hand certainly.

"We can make it that far?"

"Ya, is good. Branches on river always deep maybe two kilometers. After two kilometers, no. Here, where it gets narrow, also it gets shallow. We stay here, maybe half kilometer from narrow. That is the last place I am sure we can go."

"Two kilometers is a hell of a distance in the jungle," Indy mused.

"You stay on the water edge. Not so bad." He looked up at Indy. "You, I don't worry about. But them…" He shook his head.

"Yeah," Indy agreed. "They're gonna be trouble."

"Ach, they're already trouble. Always they argue, those three."

Indy pushed his hat back. "Murphy is a piece of work."

"Him," Kirschner spat to his disdain, a habit he must have picked up from the locals. "He thinks he's very smart. Always sure of everything. But he never lived in the jungle. He go find trouble, get people hurt. And them two, they follow him. Always they do what he say, like he is boss, maybe."

"Did you ever meet Professor Baker?"

"Ya, I meet him. He is smart man. He live here a long time. Many years. He know the Brazilians. Know the Amazon."

"So you think the Tapajos village is there?"

Kirschner shrugged. "Maybe yes, maybe no. The jungle has many secrets, I think you know this. Could be many things there. This place we're going, Christian man never been there. River people, villagers, they don't go that far either. No reason."

"Baker said no one who's gone there has ever come back."

"Many bad things in the jungle. Tigers, snakes, poisonous things. Even the people who live in the jungle don't go far from their villages. Too dangerous."

Indy looked out at the jungle. "How long?"

"We make first camp tomorrow morning. Maybe early. Maybe not if the rains put eh…" he switched to German, "If the rains washed debris into the river, we have to navigate around it to be safe. It could make progress slow."

"Who's at the first camp?" Indy asked in German with a bad accent.

"That, I don't know. Mr. Murphy arranged that part."

"How many men?"

"I think six, he said."

"Funny he didn't mention that," Indy growled.

"Many dangerous things in the jungle," Kirschner said. "Maybe some on this boat." He lay his palm on the Mauser.

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