Chapter 25: TOBACCO
“Captain Jones!” Armad was calling to his lead captain as he came strolling up the dock. “How is my latest ship sailing and what did you find for me?”
David had been holding two packages on his shoulders when he came from the ship, strode up to Armad and pulled him along. “Come; let us find some place quiet and private. I have some things that you will have to make a decision on. I found some fruit and some other things like you suggested.”
Armad nodded and drew him towards Fallon’s. Once there, David unrolled his load and displayed it for him. On the table sat a wealth in variety of fruits. Armad picked up a long, curved, brown one, peeled it and took a bite of the dark brown mush that was inside.”
David winced. “That one was a bright…”
“…Yellow.” Armad interrupted.
“How did you know?”
“A good guess. I have seen a similar fruit. We will never be able to sell it because it spoils too fast and it won’t grow here. It has to be warmer for the plant to survive. The same goes for this one.” He picked up a spiny yellowish fruit. “It will transport a little better and I would like to see more but we can’t bring much back except as a luxury. I would always return with a few of the yellow ones to help the crew keep a good diet. They have a lot to offer for return trips but wait until the green is gone and the brown is just beginning to appear.” David looked at him in total surprise again. He hadn’t even mentioned the colors to anyone but his crew, and they hadn’t seen shore yet.
David uncovered a few more pieces. “These come from another island. It is a bit further south where the weather gets cooler.”
Again, Armad went through the selections and gave his blessing on several of them. Some of them he asked for in particular, others he told David to avoid for a while and others he fully opposed. As they were talking, David stood and pulled a pouch from his waist, reached in and pulled out a short stick. Reaching again into the pouch, he pulled out some brown, leafy material and stuffed it into a cavity in the stick. While he was passing by one of the cook stoves, he pulled out a small dry stick and lit the leaf while drawing on the object in his mouth, with his breath. Armad gently smiled. This was the type opportunity that rarely presented itself.
“CAPTAIN JONES!” Screamed Armad.
“Huh? “ Jones turned swiftly and asked, “What did I do?” He went on smoking his ‘pipe’.
“What are you smoking?”
Confused, Jones looked at him and then realized that he was being asked about his new habit. “I do this to relax. Why?”
“Can you get me the plants?”
“I don’t know. It is highly prized because it does not grow well on most of the islands and they seem to have a special way of preparing it. It doesn’t come cheap. I know you’ve seen them before but why is it important now?”
“M’Lady has told me that smoking does not have to be dangerous.”
Captain Jones considered that Armad had been actually ‘speaking’ with M’Lady. Apparently it did not seem unusual to him.
“If I can get you a pipe that smokes better, do you think that you can trade for some?”
“If anyone can, I can. Do you really know how to make a better pipe? This thing is constantly going out and is usually too hot to handle. I enjoy it but it is very inconvenient, not to mention dangerous on wooden ships.”
Armad assured him that he would have something before it was time to sail.