The Innocent Assassins
by Fred A. Salazar with Jack Herschlag
This is a true story of an expedition led by Fred Salazar into an unexplored part of Brazil. It is an adventure shared by the explorer, who followed his restless curiosity far up the Rio Negro to an isolated corner of the Amazon jungle, and a Waica Indian named Kamboe, whose life was changed profoundly and parmanently by his first contact with the twentieth century.
Dean Reed is mentioned in the book beginning on page 210.
Dean Reed wird in diesem Buch ab Seite 210 erwähnt.
... At our first dinner at Santa Izabel we were joined by another American, about our own age. His name was Dean Reed, and he was a professional folk singer and guitarist. We hit it off together, and I had my answer ready when the request came.
"Can I tag along with you guys?"
"Sure, if you don't mind sharing the work and expenses."
Of course he didn't. I had never met a prospective explorer who wasn't willing to share the work, until the time came to do it. Armand and Guilio made the solemn pledge and had broken it.
Still, Dean seemed like one of us from the very beginning. I acted as if I had to consider the question deeply; then I told him, "I guess we really do need another guitar player. You're in."
Dean was a sort of wandering troubadour. He loved to sing, he loved to hear other people sing - all kinds of people. He was in Brazil on a nightclub tour, and had taken a vacation to visit some out-of-the-way places.
Once he became an official member of the party, he declared himself in competition with Arnie. He vowed that by the time we returned from the Marauiá his beard would be longer than Arnie's, in spite of Arnie's head start. The beard-growing contest became a permanent addition to our collection of running jokes.
... We entertained the children again, this time with the professional help of Dean. The natural folk style with which he spun out his musical tales of joy and sadness went straight to the hearts of his young listeners. His language of song was as universal as Arnie's language of laughter.
We spent nearly a week at Santa Izabel, experiencing the entire cycle of physical and mental change, from near total exhaustion to impatience to get started again.
Dean added his few belongings to the common property of the expedition, and one day we packed to leave for our second trip into the interior.
... Dean made the evening more bearable by singing some of our favourite folk ballads, but eventually we had to confront the problem of sleep. Even with the protection of netting, I spent the first two hours of the night swatting mosquitoes.
... Traveling hour after hour in the boat made us seek some kind of diversion. I took out the dictionary and practiced my Protuguese. Arnie and Jerry played cards, and Dean stretched out in the sun so that he would have a good tan when he returned to civilization. He lay on his back with his eyes closed, preening his beard with his fingers.
... The caboclos and Padre Antônio had managed to sleep a little better than we, and Dean Reed was holding his own. Considering the fact that he was a novice, he was doing surprisingly well.
... Upon awakening in the morning, I discovered that Suzy [his pet ozelot] was missing... I made everyone search, but after an hour we gave up and decided we would have to leave without her. Dean suggested that we give it one more try. He went back and found Suzy looking down at us from the branch of a tree just a few feet away from camp. She had probably been there the whole time, enjoying the fun.
... However, I did question Dean, who was full of confidence in spite of, or because of, his inexperience. I asked him if he thought he could keep up with us in the bush. He was prepared for my question; out came the newspaper clippings. Shades of the adventurers!
"Look at this," he said. "I outwalked a mule on a fifty-mile hike in Colorado. Think I can't keep up with you?"
"That was on flat ground," I said dubiously, wondering whether this expedition was no more to Dean than just another opportunity for publicity.
"Don't worry about me," he insisted. "I can take care of myself."
We sorted out our supplies for the overland journey... While no one wanted to leave his own things behind, each of us found plenty that was espendable in what the others were carrying.
Arnie couldn't see why Dean needed his guitar. Dean couldn't understand why I needed so many cameras. Jerry couldn't imagine what we needed all the trade googs for. In the end we took along just about everything we started with.
... The vine bridge was a novelty to Dean. He insisted that I take motion pictures of him crossing. The whirring camera brought out the ham in him. He got so absorbed in putting on a show that he nearly fell into the river.
... Arnie was alarmed. So far he had escaped the bad luck that plagued Jerry. He wondered whether he was in for a siege of illnesses. I told him he was coming down with an acute case of hypochondria. Dean said he knew the cure for that - shave off his beard. That quieted Arnie down. The one thing that was forbidden was self-pity.
... One thing that civilization had not changed was the Waica's playful nature. They made our camp a place filled with noisy fun. Dean added the music, having taken over that department since joining the expedition. He sang our favourite song, "Sherry," and a whole repertoire of folk ballads that had the Indians entranced.
... When we started the morning's march, Dean was near me at the head of the column. A little while later I looked back and saw that he had fallen back about three places. After an hour he was with Arnie, bringing up the rear. Finally, he dropped out altogether. I signaled the guide to stop; then I called back to Arnie, "What happened to Dean?"
"He doesn't like our company. He's used to walking with jackasses."
I knew then that Dean was not very far away. Arnie's remark was obviously meant for his ears.
"Okay, let him catch up, and tell him we won't wait for him again."
Dean rejoined us, and stuck with us the rest of the way in grim silence...
... We spent a few days the the Xamatauteri... We felt like staying longer, since none of us were physically up to par. Jerry was still suffering with his cold and skin infections. Arnie's jaws were clearing up with the help of medication,but now he had dysentery. Dean had experienced a violent reaction to insect bites, and the strange food was getting him down. I was suffering from a number of miner maladies, which were taking their toll in subtle ways...
... When we were feeling a little more like ourselves, we started to get back into the swing of trading, playing games, and learning. Dean was our official troubador. He entertained the Pukimabueteri and eased the atmosphere a little. The Indians were willing to be wooed.
... We sat down in the shade of the chabona wall and talked, while the mission Indians wandered aimlessly around the clearing. I wanted to push on, and so did Arnie and Jerry, but Dean complained that his vacation was already up and he had contractual obligations to meet. That seemed like a strange thing to bring up. I wasn't even aware of what day of the month it was, and here was Dean, planning to entertain at such-and-such a nightclub on such-and-such a date. I really found it hard to believe that he was serious.
Arnie was in a contrary mood. He told Dean, "If it was up to me, we would go right over those mountains into Venezuela."
...I knew that I would continue to seek out new, untouched corners of the natural world, and follow the paths of unshod feet to the dwelling places of primitive men. Those were my private thoughts. The others had theirs. For Dean I imagined his career would come first, now that this lark was out of his system. Jerry was difficult to figure. The expedition had opened a new world to him, but I wasn't sure that is was a world he liked... Arnie was a complete mystery... That is the jungle. It brings out mysterious qualities in men.
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