Outside rain came down. It fell in sheets and wind howled about the man’s head, pushing back his hood.
He walked with purpose toward a slow-moving river. A ferry dock was on its bank and in the doc was the smallest ferry. its total capacity was five cars, given their size, and it had no engine or motor but was instead pulled from one side to the other by a winch that pulled a large chain bolted to the hull of the ferry.
The ferryman looked across the river and saw the headlights of a car shimmering through the rain. He sniffed and smelled desert sands and humid air, and knew he’d have to turn them away, no matter who they were.
Still, he climbed the stairs to the cockpit and stepped into the cabin and out of the rain. He pushed the buttons and swiveled the nobs that would release the ferry from the dock and with a grown and buck the ferry began to inch across the slow river, that, despite the wind, had not a ripple upon its surface.
Within minutes he was to the other side.
He walked briskly to the car, noting that its engine was running. It was cold out, there was no doubt of that. When he got to the car, a man rolled down the window.
“How much to cross?” he asked in English.
“No crossings tonight,” said the ferryman.
“What?” asked the Englishman as though he hadn’t heard. “But we have reservations just across the way.” He pointed as though to his accommodations.