The Plane from Iquitos
Part Three [a month later, l959]
Captain Derry and the Pink Dolphins
[Interlude] Things can get mysterious, if not down right sinister for lack of a better word, in the chaotic waters of the Amazon, more so than any other river, and I have been on most every river in he world that counts; yes, the mightiest river on earth is the Amazon, and I’ve swam it felt its underwater creatures swimming around my bare legs. It holds seven times the amount of water any other river on the globe does, and is the longest river in one direction; and produces more water flow than any other water source on earth. And has countless tributaries, or arms linking into and out of its body; one could get lost easily; it is as wide as forty miles at some points along its snake like figure. And what you least expect, is what you might get, like pink dolphins, or eaten up by Purina; oh yes, there are two sides to the coin, is there not. If you say it’s not possible, than you have not been on the Amazon, and I have. But here is part three to Captain Derry’s adventure, a lot different than mine.
In part one, Captain Derry was flying a plane from Iquitos, and was shot down by a tribesman, whereupon he and the planes ten passengers formed two groups, each going their own way within the thick of the Amazon. The first group getting slaughtered by the Chief and archenemy of another tribe; the second group, in their run to escape the thick of the jungle to the waters of the Amazon, some almost made it, but at the end, it was only the good Captain that ended up on the boat heading back to Iquitos. And now Captain Derry is heading down the river and the Chief has spotted him, that is, he and his two vessels full of tribal members. One boat being quite large the other rather small; now the chase begins.
Captain Derry saw the two boats chasing him, or at least it seemed that way, and so with every bone and muscle in his body he took the long shaped oar, broke it in half and started to row like a madman; as the king, the chief of the tribe, Old Evil Eyes pursued him. A deep mist: a maddening cloud pounded in his head, quivering his almost dead shape of a body: wherein he gained some distance from the two vessels of the chief’s, but his escape was slow in coming, for the chief was gaining distance rapidly.
This escape went on for several hours; wherever the captain was getting his energy from–was a surprise to the pursuers; perchance he was more reptile and the sun was energizing him–the chief was impressed, so much so, he stopped the boats, and with incantations he called upon the shapes of his dead ancestors to appear; shadows from the dust of time. Hence, they appeared and having done so, the shadows with little form, chased the Captain in his vessel; pounding him, pulling on him, jerking the vessel trying to tip it over. Yet, even though the shapes and shadows surround his dugout like boat, the shadows, and their monstrous boldness in attacking nonstop, as he rowed the craft, tired the evil spirits out. He, (He being: Captain Derry] in consequence, told his nightmare to vanish, but it wouldn’t and thus, they paid no attention, until the morbid spirits, with their sinister movements, tipped over the little vessel: thereupon, they left the scene.
At this point, the Captain was floating in the waters of the Amazon loosely, limp as a dead fish, too weak to turn the boat back right side up; as I have said, the spirits had disappeared, and so did the two boats belonging to the chief, but being so week, he was a good as dead: but if this was the case, as you already know, the story must end, and it is not about to end yet. Hence, he concluded he’d had to accept the inevitable; he’d drawn sooner or later.
After four hours of hanging onto the boats protruding keel he let go and to his surprise two pink dolphins hit his chest as they swam by; not large by any means, yet–not small either. And then they came back, and hit his chest again, and again and again. And that was the only thing he could remember when he woke up: dolphins, pink dolphins returning to hit his chest, but when he awoke, he was on the shores of Iquitos, the Peruvian city along the Amazon. Ah! could fate be so kind, perhaps only in such a story as this you are thinking, but there are pink dolphins in the Amazon, and I swam in the Amazon, as I have previous mentioned, and saw them, felt them. The dolphins evidently had made a kind of barrage, and with balance put him over their backs and being but a few miles from Iquitos, gave him a lift, one might say: since his babbling was constant as he unknowingly met officials of the city in “Iquitos (I was on a plan from IQUITOS!) He was not well though when he was brought into the hospital. Physiologically and psychologically, he was bonkers, as one might say; oddities seemed to surface from his remarks, and body twitches. A mental disturbance was evident.
When Captain Derry was brought into the hospital, several of his friends were notified, for he had been gone more than a month. No one had found his airplane, and the best reasoning was that he was dead. When a few friends had stopped over to see him, Matthew Henry, his closest friend for some twenty-years, and a co-pilot of his in the past, really couldn’t recognize the thirty-seven year old buddy of his. He had aged way beyond his years it seemed. Although his doctor, Dr. Sowell, assured him it was he, and that mental illness ages a person substantially faster; although this was out of the ordinary. So much so, she gave him a complete physical, finding his heart beat was not irregular but weak; his digestive system was not working properly–but working nonetheless, and would not digest food fast enough, and yet she did not provide a pathological reason at this juncture, nor diagnosis, or prognoses. Everything was conjecture.
Unmarried, and with no family living back home in the United States, it was simply his co-pilot, friend Matthew whom would visit him, come the following days of recovery. Yet the good doctor took a special interest into what she called: “This Special Case.”
Said she to the Hospital Staff, and to the Psychologist Thomas Manning, during an inquiry of this case, and in the presence of Matthew, whom at this time was seemingly becoming his guardian to speak of: “For all intent, Mr. Derry should not be alive, his metabolism is retarded, and his stomach area has some deep holes in it; from what the Captain says, in his whimpering dialogue with me, is that pink dolphins carried him to the shores of the city.” All the doctors, several at a square table along with Matthew, looked at Patricia Sowell in a mystic manner. Yet she was renowned for her acute observations. She added: “I do think as time goes by, even at this moment, he has a ting of madness in him, and yet I do suppose some of what he experienced must be reality. Our best bet at this point is to place him in confinement for insanity; there we can try to resolve whatever mystery seeps within his brain”; turning toward Dr. Manning as if to wish for his concurrence.
Matthew not liking this took a turn for the worse, and walked out of the room, while the others agreed verbally with the Doctor.
In the days following no one knew what took place in the jungle, as she tried to talk to him to find out, there were many gaps, and concealments of knowledge, and no hypnosis to stand the test of reality; furthermore, he was too rigid, too anxious to participate in any in-depth conversations. In short, Captain Derry had lost all regards for mankind.
Several months had gone by, and Mr. Derry was committed to the psychiatric ward of the hospital. No one quite knew what to make of him, to assist on his behalf, or what had happened to him in the jungle (one must remember this was 1959, and in the Peruvian jungles): did he get a fever some asked, or use an excessive amount of hashish, thus describing many things that could have produced delirium, his now cosmic projections, dreams that haunted him: he could not longer enjoy life without the dead being part of his thoughts; he now belonged to an alien world, an entity of a lost world of his. As time went on, delirium tremens and terrestrial images continued, they came close to killing him so much so they caused him intensification in his mannerisms; distortions in his thinking; visual frightening images for his system to digest; thus, coming close to having a heart attack several times. How would he live, seeped through his mind; his thinking now being all messed up.