Santa Helena: The Blessing of the Curse - Chapter 7

Santa Helena: the Blessing of the Curse

Chapter 7: When Boat Rides Get Cheap


Matthew Dollar’s Account


11:23 the next morning, after we [Sim, Monica, and I] took a good shower, changed outfits, and had a rather decent breakfast for a change, we Avalanchers headed to Metaphor’s hotel in Waikiki to see Satoko.

We couldn’t tell if Satoko changed clothes or not because she had so many of the same outfit, but she did emanate a noticeable pleasant odor. Using our stipulated outfit color definition from Chapter 5, Monica wore dark pink, Similie wore sky blue, and I wore green [don’t get me wrong; I’m no environmentalist]. Now, what does this have to do with the story? Nothing!—except for the fact that we so happened to be wearing waterproof outfits. Now, let’s get back to business!

On our way to Waikiki, we saw a bargain on a few plaques—a very, very favorable bargain, or so we thought; so, after we got Satoko, we took her to one of the plaques to read it out loud like a sixth grader:

“Climb on board for a one way trip from Oahu to the Cape of Good Hope!—for only $5 per family. The food and lodging are free….” She was speechless for a second and said, “Well, let’s say farewell to Metaphor and your parents; Met will be here for a while longer.” So, we said bye to Met and finally made it to the parking lot near the dock.

As soon as we arrived, we saw scores of people walking away from the boat, but a good minority of them had the courage to get on the boat—an old, outdated, beat-up, barnacle-infested, wooden junk! I can go on with downsides of this boat, but I won’t; I’ll just leave you with this image: an algae-covered thirty-first-century sunken ship that has be recovered and repaired by some four-rate mechanics from a dry dock on a third-world country!

Despite all the “liabilities” of this junk, my father (I call him “Pops”), a big ship lover, wanted to ride on the doggone thing!

Pops: “Ooooh, I love big boats! I gotta sail one o’ them ‘fore I die!”

Mom: “Are you crazy!? We’re gonna die before the anchor gets pulled up! They ain’t got life boats on this forlorn thing!!”

Pops: “Who said it ain’t got life boats?”

Mom (frantically waving the ad paper at Pops): “My God! Can’t you read the small print! We’re gonna die! We’re all gonna die!!!”

Pops: “So what if I die!? At least I can sail one last time ‘n’ tell Jesus ‘bout my adventure; I’m sure He’ll love ma boat stories!”

Mom: “Honey, I need you to live ‘n’ work so I’ll have enough money for shoppin’!”

Pops then contacted his supervisor via cell phone and told him that he was going to take another one-week vacation! He even had a luggage of clothes in the SUV trunk!

Pops: “Cora, we need to get on this boat.”

Mom: “Hell no we don’t, Leroy!”

Once my old man makes up his mind, nothing—I mean nothing—can stop him—unless an angel came down and struck him on his side. Satoko and I knew that as one of the laws of nature, though Mamma lived with Pops longer than we have.

Mamma was hoping for an angel to stop Pops, but Gabriel, Michael, nor any other angel—or demon, for that matter—came to pay a visit. Well, at least our friend Similie will have some company.

This ship was far faster than Aukai’s piece of crap! Based on Pops’ calculations, we’d be at the Cape in about two full days! Then, we Avalanchers can take a short trip to Hoap Les, our next destination! Soon, we found out the unlicensed captain’s name was Captain Smith; he never mentioned his first named (if he had one) and admitted that he was unlicensed, but he assured us of a safe trip—if the weather was good…So, we assumed his first name was Captain…

Even the sea gulls looked down in pity, saying in a squawking tone, “Boy, you shouldn’t have came—squawk—mamma told you not to come—squawk!”

I: “But, it’s only $5! Where can you find a $5-ride?”

Gull: “At Wal Mart—squawk.

I: “Wal Mart offers boat rides already?”

Gull: “Yep, squawk, you can get a $3-ride that’s better than this crap!”

I: “Aw, man! We’re setting sail now! You could’ve told me this earlier!”

Gull (flying away): “Too bad, suckas, squawk, too bad; see ya when you cross the bar!”

I: “‘Cross the bar’? Oh, hell no! It ain’t ma time yet; this junk can sink to the bottom of hell, but it ain’t ma time!—not until I find the Tree of Wealth.”

Gull (in the distance): “We’ll see ‘bout that—squawk—we’ll definitely see ‘bout that…”


Similie Steiner’s Account of the Mess Hall


So, how was the food? I think I will let you decide:

I: “This dining facility smells quite stale, don’t you think?”

Mom (Mack’s Mom): “Oh, don’t worry; you can call it a mess hall; there’s nothing political ‘bout eatin’, but yes, I can’t stand the smell!”

Suddenly, a gorgeous waitress strode toward us and yelled, “Whady’all waitin’ for? Quit holdin’ up the line and take a seat!” So, we did.

We waited about ten minutes; then, instead of passing out menus, the waitress passed around trays of water glasses and bread—unleavened bread, to be exact.

Mack (standing up): “What the heck is this!? Some kind of Passover!? It ain’t Sunday—”

The athletic waitress grabbed Mack by the shoulder and put him back in his back-less chair, saying, “Sit down, boy; what did you expect for five dollars!? An Italian buffet?”

Suddenly, Pops—as we’ll call him—got out a jar of bacon bits and put it on his bread.

Mom: “Where did you get that?”

Pops: “I know somethin’ like this was bound to happen; so, I brought this along! You’ll get used to it the more you sail on ‘bargain boats’ like this.”

Before Monica could lift her unleavened bread from her plate, Pops said, “Hold it! Since we’re eatin’ Passover food, we might as well pray.” He then led us in prayer, “Ohhhhh, Lord! Please bless this meal, if we can call it a meal, for the health of our flesh and the strength of our bones, if this thing has any calcium. And if we die on this ship, we know we’re coming home with You; so, let us die quickly and painlessly—”

Mom “intervened” for Pops: “Ohhhhh, Lord, don’t listen to my husband; this bread is makin’ ‘im a bit senile! Don’t let this junk sink on us, Lord! It ain’t our time yet! We need to shop Macey’s before we see the Kingdom! And, Lord, please help our friend Simile find a decent, stable job so he doesn’t have to be on welfare; don’t let him be a burden to the tax-payers, Lord; we thank You for it all in Jesus’ name—”

All (even the waitresses and atheists): “Amen!”


Monica J-Walker’s Account of the Pool and Lodge


After that rotten snack at the mess hall (I’m sure folks in hell have a better meal than that!), the other fellow passengers who brought swimming gear took a dip in the medium-sized, green, salty pool; ‘twas obvious that the water was taken from the ocean. You and I could see crabs, octopuses, and shrimp at the bottom of the pool! Imagine swimming in an unkept aquarium… (We CIA folks and Dollars didn’t swim since we didn’t have the proper attire.)

Captain Smith just happened to be strolling by the pool, enjoying the warm sun and the cool breeze, I complained to him about everything in the mess hall—from the moss-covered walls to the cold-hearted waitresses. He apologized for the lousy service but told me not to expect anything fancy from a five-dollar ride; he also assured that the upcoming dinner won’t be much better.

Gazing at the forlorn excuse for a pool, I asked Smith about the lobsters and other things in the pool; then, an idea struck Captain (if that’s his first name); he summoned the waiters/waitresses to fetch some of the sea life in the pool to take them to the kitchen; he thanked me from giving me the idea and went his way. I assumed our dinner will be quite promising…

With nothing to do at the forlorn pool, we CIA folks and the Dollars retired to our rooms. Oh, by the way, none of us passengers had a room assigned to us; so, I guessed we had to claim our room before someone else did; obviously, Mr. and Mrs. Dollar wanted their own room—Room 23; thus, Satoko forced Matty to dwell with her in Room 24; thus, Simile was stuck with me. Sim didn’t seem very excited about not living with Toko girl, but I didn’t care; I just wanted some TV.

Every door of the boat apartment rooms didn’t have locks on them!!! So, peeking through every room, Sim and I chose the best-looking room—Room 35. Now, don’t be misled by the term best-looking; Room 35 wasn’t all that great, but ‘twas better than the others.

The doors squeaked like a dying horse; moss and algae were the wallpaper. Barnacles lived on the toilet, and growing in the bathtub were some more algae. After I landed on the hard squeaking full-sized bed, I thought my body would break if I did that one more time; I let Sim use the algae-stuffed, good-for-nothing pillows, which had a note on one of them:

“Welcome to Captain Smith’s piece of junk! What the hell did you expect for $5!?! The back of this card has the Sinner’s Prayer, just in case this damned thing sinks anytime soon…I hope you’ll enjoy your trip and make the most of what you have. The drawer to your left should have a manual on how to make your own toothbrush and soap out of the crap in the bathroom (algae, barnacles, etc.)! I’ll be your maid for this doggone trip, and I’ll try to help you to the best of my ability, but don’t you call me before 8 a.m. and after 5 p.m., got it? –Melissa”

Sim and I spent the rest of the afternoon watching kung fu and cowboy movies on the beat-up 21st century TV…


Satoko Shikaku’s Account of the Mess Hall


Mine and Matty’s short lousy nap was disrupted by some loud Latin music which seemed to be coming from the mess hall. 7:00 p.m., we made your way to the mess hall.

Though lit up by a gigantic disco ball from the ceiling, the dining facility looked almost the same as before, ‘cept for the buffet table and that the tables and chairs were bunched up to create some dancing space! There was fried lobster, crab, shrimp, octopus, bread, and rice at the buffet! Did the cooks get the sea food from that damned pool?

We Avalanchers ate little so we could do some zumba, salsa, and some other slow-paced/fast-paced dances. (Captain Smith must be preparing us for some African dances at the Cape, I reckon…) Not used to this, Mr. Dollar and Simile kept tripping and slipping like drunk comedians; Mack scolded Monica, Mrs. Dollar, and I when we laughed at them.

Mack: “Aw, c’mon, don’t laugh; they aren’t used to this; how would you like to be laughed at?!”

I: “Well, I wouldn’t be on the dance floor if I were that bad, heeheehaha!”

Mrs. Dollar, Monica, Matty Mack, and I rocked the night away, making everyone else look like third-rate amateurs. I never knew Matthew was a belly dancer; his slim frame can move! His arms and torso could sway like the waves we were riding on, and his skinny hips put some of the women (and men) in a trance! If he were doing this on the streets, you and I could mistake him for a hooker!

Then, after dancing for about an hour and a half, we pigged out at the buffet! Monica and I went overboard with the lobster and octopus; Mr. and Mrs. Dollar took out the crabs in no time; not very fond of any kind of sea food, Sim and Mack indulged on unleavened bread and fruit juices—fresh from the juicer!—to prevent scurvy should the junk’s engine malfunction, which would force us to use the wind and sails………..! Mrs. Dollar and I thanked Captain for planning such a great dinner, but he humbly said that ‘twas Monica and Matthew’s idea…


Mateo Dinero’s Account of the Night


After having a ball, we all retired to our lodge. Satoko got out Stellar Cross and tossed me Lunar Sun (thus, she was left with Solar Moon), saying, “C’mon, Matty, nothing makes me sleep faster than a good sword fight!”

I: “What? Did you do that with Metaphor last night!?”

She didn’t answer…

I: “But, we just finished eating, and besides, you don’t wanna mess up the beds and drawers; we might have to pay for it!”

Toko girl: “Then, don’t hit ‘em! I ate more than you; so, you should have the upper hand!” I didn’t; I had to heal myself via B. Arithmagics just to keep up; Toko thought I was going easy on her and started cursing at me, telling me to fight harder. Blocking, rolling, and jumping, we sparred for about two minutes. Toko landed ten small scratches on me, but I landed only two on her…

“Whew, thanks for the spar, Matt; I knew I could count on you! Let’s get some rest.”

I thought I was going to barf out all my precious anti-scurvy juice, but I was lucky…

Toko opened the medium-sized window wide and turned off the lights. In no time, a cold evening breeze and the silver moonlight poured into our room. Toko could tell I was shivering.

“You OK, Mack?” she said sweetly.

“Nope, is there an aircon in this god-forsaken room?”

“Nope, just the window.”

“May you close it for me?”

“Hell no! I’m hot!”

“But, I’m cold!”

“But, I’m hot!” she repeated quite hotly but sweetly. I then tried to get up to close the window, but she grabbed me, saying, “Don’t you close that window, Matty; I mean it!”

She then wrapped me in a cocoon with the blanket. “You OK now?” she asked.

“No, not really,” said I. She then took off her trench coat and put it on me. “You OK now?” she asked.

“Uh, not quite,” said I. To end my misery, I snuggled up beside Toko honey, who emanated a good amount of thermal energy.

After about four hours of peaceful sleep, things started getting spooky…


We [Toko and I] heard something crack from under us, waking us up; immediately, the bed fell down a few inches as if the bed’s legs broke off!

I: “Aggghrrr! Satoko, hold me!!!!” She did; then, we got off the bed; it seemed that the bed’s legs went through the floor; ‘twas a matter of time before the whole room went through the floor, I reckon.

‘Twas around 2:04 a.m. when we heard the bathroom door squeal; ‘twas half open when we came back! Thinking Smith was playing tricks on us, we when outside to the dock.

Behind the pool and at the front edge of the dock was unmistakably an apparition! (Twenty-four-year-old women don’t glow in the dark, do they?) Her pink hair and silver, long dress rippled in the eerie wind; her white high-heels didn’t make a sound when she turned back to see us; then she turned back to face the dim moon.

We could hear Smith coming behind us.

Satoko: “Who is she? Is she evil?”

Smith: “I’m not sure; I’ve never asked her any personal questions before. She comes here almost every day around this time. She hasn’t caused me any trouble yet.”

Mustering all the courage we had, Toko, Captain, and I marched to meet the apparition.

I: “Hello, ma’am!

Ghost: “Hi!”

I: “This is Satoko, that’s Captain Smith, and you can call me Matty; what’s your name?”

Ghost: “I don’t remember; call me whatever you like.”

I: “Well, ‘tis a lovely morning, isn’t it, Rose?”

Rose, the apparition: “No, no morning is lovely anymore.”

I (like some British psychiatrist): “Well then, Rose, I’ve heard that you’re a ‘regular passenger’ on this boat; is there some history behind it?”

Some eerie, soft guitar music mysteriously playing in the distance, Rose told her tale:

“’Twas about 100 years ago when a volcanic island named Hoap Les came into being; my betrothed heard that there was some treasure (perhaps gold) on that island and set out to make a fortune before our wedding. Oh, Robert—I’ll never forget his name! Sadly, he never returned from his journey; I tried to contact him, but he never answered his cell phone; thus, I was determined to find out what happened to him and sailed on this ship. To my dismay, this ship sank to the bottom of the ocean. None onboard survived, yet I was bound to this ocean by sorrow and love; I can’t leave this world peacefully until I find out what happened to my Robert!”

Rose then pulled out a necklace; it didn’t shine in the dim moonlight, which was often engulfed by the black clouds. It was made of large pearls and a dark red—very dark red—heart-shaped jewel.

“You are going to Hoap Les, I presume?” Rose spoke sweetly.

I answered, “Yeah, this ship is headed for the Cape, but my friends and I are heading for Hoap Les; do you have any favors to ask, madame?”

“Yes, if you would be so kind, could you find out what happened to Robert for me? Mystical forces forbid me to roam the lands. If you see his apparition, perhaps he’ll recognize this necklace.” Noiselessly, she handed the necklace to me; as soon as it touched my hand, the necklace made noises again, like normal pearls do!

Rose: “I sense a malevolent event is going to happen later this day, but I’m sure you’ll be able to survive it; you’re the heroes of this story, after all, correct?”

Satoko: “That’s what they say…”

Smiling, she then bid us farewell and walked off the ship, floating in mid-air before fading into the dark horizon.

A cigar still in his mouth, Captain uttered, “Well, I guess we’d better get some sleep; I have a bad feeling about this.” Therefore, Toko honey and I went back to our room for some much-needed sleep; we didn’t worry about what would happen later in the day, since worrying about what we couldn’t change didn’t sedate us well…


Satoko Shikaku’s Account of the Mess Hall 2


‘Twas 9:04 in the morning when I awoke; the salty air pushed the waves along like some kind of slave-owner. Scattered across the sky were gray clouds that blotted out some sunlight at times; the sea gulls, which were cussing something a on the window sill at Matthew, were what really woke me up. I never had such a refreshing sleep in a long while…

‘Twas very quiet ‘round here; if I hadn’t seen folks walking to the mess hall, I would’ve assumed that everyone (‘cept Mack and I) got kidnapped or something. Walking on that squeaky wooden flooring were Mack and I, heading straight for the mess hall, where Captain already forewarned the diners about the premonition he already had. He assumed that the “evil event” was some sort of storm, and he told everyone to be ready for anything and not to eat too much. After his speech, the mess hall became even more silent—dead as a funeral recession—no plates scratching, no people chatting, NOTHING!

Who wanted to eat heavily anyways?—wait, let me rephrase that: Who could eat heavily!? If you didn’t go to the juicer table with Mack for some fresh juice, you were stuck with two donuts, a small glass of milk, and a cup of noodles! No buffet whatsoever (besides the juicer table); despite my ethnicity, I was expecting something better than this; this could be our last day on this damned ship!

Most of us chose the noodles and donuts, be Mateo had a ball at the juicer table, coming up with the tastiest combination of fruits. He said the best drink was the following combo: apples, lemons, mangos, strawberries, and pears. I wondered if that juice had anything to do with that smile on his face; I suppose not, since he smiled 99% in this whole story we’re trying to tell you in terms you can understand!

Remember the former Team Alpha’s weapons we got in Chapter 3? Well, we tried to evenly distribute them to some trustworthy-looking passengers. Mack and Sim soon found out that their thunderboltblades can be divided into two swords; thus, they both had one, and the other two boltblades were give to two other folks. I let Captain have Solar Moon.

After the humble breakfast, we Avalancher stood on the deck, waiting for the worst to happened; it didn’t happen; so, we watched a little TV—then came back to the deck. Finally, around 11:15 a.m., we noticed something emerging toward us head on!

Coming out of the water were gigantic octopus-like beings; the “tentacles” had dragon heads at the ends. These tentacles seemed to be the “legs” of these woman-like creatures, who were clad in armor made of sea shells; their rope-like (I almost mean that literally), sea-weed-looking (this one, too), bluish-green, long hair hung lifelessly from their scalps like willow branches. Their light-blue skin and eyes suggested some kind of peril. (Ever seen Medusa from the film The Little Mermaid? Well, these beings looked close to her—but a hundred times bigger and prettier!) To add to our misery, a small horde of gargoyle-looking folks accompanied the three giant sea women.

“What bloody malice has come upon us!?!” Simile screamed.

Captain replied, “I’ve seen haunted ships and wicked mermaid harlots, but I’ve never seen anything like this!”

Mack tried to negotiate with the hydra women, but they wouldn’t listen and almost knocked Matty off the deck!


The Hydras of Normandy: Mack Matty’s Account


Several tentacles (we’ll call them “dragons” for another synonym) unleashed a stream of giant bubbles from their mouths to the deck! All of us passengers rolled away from their beams in time. Boring into the deck, another dragon missed me as I high-jumped onto it; I ran on it until I wasn’t too far from the hydra woman it was connected to. Soaring like a cannonball in mid-air, I landed on the core of one sea monster, the octopus-like portion below the hydra woman’s belly. I climbed up this woman, with the aid of my lighting sword, and slit her throat before one of her powerful dragons whacked me back to the deck! It felt as if someone smacked my whole right side with a giant hammer head!—not to mention the pain I felt when I landed on the deck on my left! I was relieved to know that Captain Smith knew B. Arith…

Since ‘twas quite cloudy now, I made a downward slashing gesture with my three-foot-long blade, to sprinkle some lightning on some fiends, taking a great deal of SE (spirit energy, in case you forgot) to perform! While Simile was trying to snipe the hydra women from afar, and while Monica rained down a few more lightning bolts, I spun vertically in mid-air to mow down a gargoyle, but it parried my rapid assault with its pitchfork. I rolled away from the fiend’s dark fire helixes (Black Arithmagics) once my feet touched the deck. Seeing a young boy having trouble gunning down some gargoyles, I tossed a weak small whirlwind at my opponent by a swift dismissing gesture, and Smith finished it for me. (I would’ve done a more powerful whirlwind, but I my Arithmagics was too low-level at the time.) The boy’s electron bullet missed the intended target and went straight for me! I rebounded it to the unlucky gargoyle’s back like a lucky third-rate baseball star wannabe.

“Wow! Cool! I bet I can do that!” the young boy said excitedly.”

“It just takes a little timing; try not to miss like that again; I might not make it next time!”

“OK!” he answered before diving away from a tentacle’s bubble beam, which made a crushing sound at the mess hall’s wall, leaving several wooden board on the floor.

A gargoyle’s pitchfork almost sent me to heaven, but it got caught in my dad’s two-by-four wooden board. Unable to get it’s ‘fork out in time, the fiend gave off a series of wing-slashes, followed by a few windy arcs, which split the board; Pops picked up the ‘fork and drove it into the foe’s heart. Suddenly, a tentacle grabbed my father’s leg, almost pulling him off board, but Satoko honey severed the dragon by emitting a paper-thin, neon ruby parabola from her down-hack gesture. I was propelled by a hard—very hard—blow that made me fall face-down on the deck; I never knew what real back pain was until I felt that whack! Before I could debate if I should cast Blue Arithmagics on my sore back, Monica had to pull me back by a gravitational spell when a dragon tentacle swept me off the deck! Once I was back on the deck, I evaded several sweep attacks while throwing spark balls at the tentacles to keep them off the deck.

A few gargoyles were bothering Simile; at the snap of my fingers, bolts of lightning descended from a cloud, roasting two fiends, but two others dodged the bolts and resumed harassing poor Sim.

Sim: “Matty, how do you grab a spear with your leg again?”

I: “A crescent kick—like THIS!”

One of the gargoyles darted at me, attempting to lance my voluptuous hips, but before that fool could poke me, I crescent-kicked the spear to the side and immediately held its spear between my hamstring and calf muscles, like I did in the previous chapter (I guess Sim didn’t catch on yet…) I then gave off two swift strikes to its neck. Sim did a splendid job of emulating my trick!

I: “Nice work, Sim!”

Sim: “Thanks for the tip—”

I: “Look out!”


A tentacle dragon just took out half the cafeteria!

“My God! This boat might not last much longer!” Monica shouted at Captain—for some reason…Smith then looked at her as if he were to say, “Well, what the doggone hell can I do ‘bout it?! Blow it up myself!?”

We needed to take out those hydra women—without using too much SE! Captain did a harebrained trick: when a hydra woman was quite night the boat, he jumped towards her, soaring like a second-rate kung fu stunt actress, but the sea creature smacked him back to the boat with her dragon before you could even get close! Well, at least he distracted her for me… You see, after fencing rapidly/viciously with another gargoyle, I knocked away her pitchfork, got onto her back, and beat on her head with my hilt. She then flew around wildly as she tried to get me off her back. In time, she was right above the hydra woman that smacked Smith to the deck like a tennis star. Dropping off her back, I landed onto the hydra woman, slit her throat, and hopped back on the gargoyle before she could roundhouse me! Now, some other gargoyles were dashing toward me to get me off their comrade sister; this left them open to the passengers’ photon/electron bullets and my Avalanchers’ bolt showers—which missed often; my CIA folks weren’t very good at aiming/timing the lightning attacks, making me look like a pro! Thus, with gravity force, I slowed down the flying fiends so my comrades could shoot/spell them a little easier. Finally, the last hydra (or what we assumed to be the last hydra woman) assisted getting me off the poor gargoyle; the sad thing was that the hydra not only smacked me but also the gargoyle to the water! While plunging to the water like a drunk comet, I successfully landed some lighting on that forlorn woman. The gargoyle distracted a hammerhead shark as I doggy-paddled to the rope Smith let down for me…


Abandoned Ship!

Simile Steiner’s Account


I was glad to know that Mack was OK, yet more trouble lay down the road for us…

Crewman: “Our engine—and the backup engines—isn’t working!”

Smith: “And, why’s that?”

Crew woman: “Those engines are cheap, bra; they probably couldn’t handle too much damage from the hydra women, yeah?”

Smith: “I knew something like that was gonna happ’n, but I didn’t think ‘twould happ’n this soon!”

Crewman: “So, what do we do now, Capt’n?”

Smith: “Taking that battered cigar out of his mouth): “Plan Z!” It didn’t take us long to figure out his plan…

The crew members got out many long oars and gave one to each of the passengers (me included). Even the children in the strollers had to row with us!

Captain (looking through his telescope): “C’mon y’all, put some damned muscle into it! I see land in the distance; I think those hydra women got us off-course; so, we could be heading for Hoap Les, which isn’t too far from the Cape of Good Hope.”

Mistaking Hoap Les for hopeless, some poor passengers jumped off the bloody boat!

I: “Sire, do you not have a GPS to verify your claim?”

Captain: “My God, I can’t even offer you a decent meal and lodging, and now you think I can afford a doggone GPS!?”

I: “I’m sorry, sire; please pardon my ignorance.”

Captain: “It’s all right; just keep rowing…”

After singing some children’s nursery rhymes like “Row, row, row your junk roughly down the sea; miserably, miserably, miserably, miserably, hope is but a dream,” Mr. Dollar noticed something behind us!

“My God, Capt’n, now what the hell is that big ol’ wench behind us? She ain’t our tub boat, is she?”

We all looked behind us, only to behold a giant, black-and-red hydra woman! Those bloody wenches are already giant, but this witch made the previous hydras look small, like an anteater and a buffalo on Saturday mornings!

Captain: “Lord Jesus, where were You since I cheated on my wife last Sunday?! We’d better start rowin’ faster; an unlicensed Captain like me can’t get tub boat service!”

Crewman (hysterically): “Hhhhh! It’s—it’s Tiamat!—the Ruler of the Indian Ocean!”

Young boy: “Cool! Is that true?”

Crewman: “I dunno; it’s just one of those legends I’ve heard.”

Satoko: “Legend or not, we’re all gonna die—” Before she could finish, about half of the passengers dived off the boat! I suppose the rest of us would suffer the same fate sooner or later. Very unfortunate, I must say…

Like a deer in a rainforest, we paddled as hard and fast as we could! Yet, Tiamat caught up to us swiftly, like a water strider with a cigarette. With one powerful slam of one of her dragon tentacles, our poor ship—if we dare venture to call it that—was crushed in half, like a mouse in a parrot’s cage!

All: “Aaaaaaaaaggggggrrrrrrrrrhhhhh!!!!!”

I: “Eeeeeekkkkk (like a little girl)! Satoko, hold me!!!!”

Toko darling: “Get the damned hell off me, or I’ll—”


Fortunately, I was still clinging to Lady Toko when she swam to the surface. My jolly goodness! Though the Indian Ocean was said to be the warmest ocean, ‘twas cold—bloody cold! The word cold cannot accurately describe how I felt, yet icy would give you the wrong impression, but if I had to choose one adjective, I would use icy! ‘Twas so icy that I—I passed out…like a moose on a moonless, starry night…


Monica J-Walker’s Account of the Marooning


Using one of my Rabid Vines, I pulled a rather large, wooden board to me, and several other people—even the one that jumped off earlier—got on the board; the non-swimmers (i.e. the waiters and Matty Mack; no offense, Mack, but your doggy-paddling sucks!) had to get on first; we had to look for other boards for the fairly-good swimmers (i.e. the waitresses and me). Those who knew G. Arithmagics had to fend off Tiamat by summoning lightning and pushing back her tidal waves. This tedious process went on for about three minutes until she got bored of us and swam away; Tiamat exhaled some purple sleeping dust before she got pissed-off by the bolts, and Mack was able to conjure an anti-sleep barrier (Blue Arith.) on Satoko before he—you know…Everyone, ‘cept Toko girl, passed out by that doggone fairy dust attack…


Satoko Shikaku’s Account of the Marooning


I needed Smith and Monica to propel their doggone large boards with aqua Arithmagics, but I had to do everything!—eating up my SE in the process; my Blue Arithmagics wasn’t high-level enough to nullify the fairy dust’s side effect. After about fifteen minutes, a very strange event occurred; now, that doesn’t sound new, now does it? I mean, this story’s been strange ever since the first doggone chapter, but this baby was strange!

(Oh, by the way, I’m going to stipulate something in this story; you’ve probably had the impression that all of us characters in this tale are pretty. Well, not really; most are just average; most look no better than you; just cute, that’s all. Some have moles, freckles, pimples, rashes, scars, or—by Satan—a combination of those items! Even without blemishes, some characters still don’t look all that special. So, when we narrators use words like pretty or ugly, you KNOW the character we’re describing stands out quite a bit.

For your information, I don’t want to brag—but, my God, since we’re on the subject—Crafy, I, and this mermaid freak are around 11.5 on the beauty scale, if there is such a thing—though it varies depending on whose measuring us, but I just wanted you to know…

And by the way, most folks [other than Sim and Mack] have their degree of adipose tissue, if you know what I mean; I’m not saying that everyone [‘cept Sim, Mack, and a few others] is fat, but NOBODY in this story is anything close to anorexic! Very few are skinny, but most are average—or a little bigger than that…)

You remember that negro cat in Chapter 3? Well, here he was, riding on a shark fin! Suddenly, a pretty, tough-looking undine with 16-pack abs like me popped to the surface and said hello in English! I thought I lost my damned mind for a second; then, that cat started saying something in his kitty lingo. I forcefully woke up Mateo to translate whatever the hell that cat was saying.

I (spanking Matthew’s butt): “Matty, wake up; get the doggone hell up!”


Matthew Dollar’s Account of the Marooning


I: “Mamma? Who the hell is spanking me? What did I do?—aaaggghhhr! It’s—it’s a shark woman!”

Mermaid (in her calm, womanly tone—like most women in this forlorn tale): “Fear not! I’m a holy undine of the Hammerhead Sect.”

I: “Whew, that’s good to know—hey, it’s Kitty again; (I then looked to Satoko.) Remember him from Chapter 3?”

Kitty: “I thought ‘twas Chapter 4!”

I: “Uh-uh, brotha; ‘twas Chapter 3!”

Kitty: “My God, it had to be Chapter 4!”

I: “Don’t argue with me, brotha! I remember that!”

Kitty: “But, I put it in Chapter 4 of my journal!”

I: “Well, then, you’d better reformat your journal! Anyways, I thought you were dead already!”

Kitty: “No, my mermaid friend was just teaching me how to fend off a shark!”

(Kitty [whispering to you]: “Actually, I drowned, but the author of this story resurrected me out of pity…”)

I: “Well, that’s nice to know; so, what can I do for you?”

Kitty: “Nothin’; we just wanted to help out!”

I: “Wow, thanks! Oh, by the way, I’m Matthew, but you can call me Mack Matty, since I can’t afford a Mac. It makes me feel better.”

Toko honey: “I’m Satoko, but just call me Toko—it’s faster. This fool (shaking Sim, who was sleeping soundly on her back) is Simile; that’s Monica; those two are Leroy and Cora Dollar; that guy’s Captain Smith, an unlicensed captain, by the way… And, I dunno who the hell the rest are, but I know that guy all the way over there is a devout atheist!”

Mermaid (in English): “I’m Shalanka, but just call me Sharky; you can call George (pointing to our black cat) Kitty if you like.”

During our travel, I asked Shalanka, “Hey, Sharky, do you understand kitty lingo, or am I the only one who does?”

Sharky: “You’re the only one I know who can fully understand it. I can speak it, but I understand only a few words.”

I: “Like what?”

Shalanka: “Meow.

I: “Sista, that can mean a whole lot o’ things!”

Sharky: “Yes, I’m still learning; I’m intrigued by this lingo; that’s why I let him travel with me.”

(Sharky [whispering to you]: “Well, actually, the author of this story threw him at me and told me to take care of him!”)

I: “I see, I see…”

I taught her a few new words while we were “sailing”; you can imagine kitty lingo has much to do with body language. Perhaps normal people can never fully understand it; do I have some kind of gift? I never thought about it until today; don’t tell me that sneaky little author gave it to me! Anyhow, thank God I’m not normal!

Shalanka: “…So, what does it mean when they snarl while saying rawrrr?”

I: “It generally means I’m gonna!”

Sharky: “What about when they lift their left paw and say purrr?”

I: “That’s the ‘cuss signal’; it’s usually used for the f-word. You know something in the sentence is gonna be damned!”

Shalanka: “Wow, is that true, George?”

Kitty: “Yep!”

Sharky (I hope I’m not confusing you by using both names interchangeably; I just want you to remember both!): “I remember you using that on me, you sneaky little furball.”

George: “No, no, no, that was the right paw! Mack, tell ‘er ‘bout it!”

I: “The right paw is the ‘bless signal’; it’s usually used when you say something but mean no offense; it can also be used to bless or commend something.”

Sharky: “Aw, I see…”

(Satoko [whispering to you]: “Don’t try this crap at home……………………..!”)

‘Twas around 2:41 when the clouds started clearing. So, I shouted to the sun, “Sun, how far are we from Hoap Les?” He answered, “About 30 minutes, brotha; I see some shark fins heading your way, and they ain’t mermaids! But, chill out, bro; they don’t look all that great; you should be fine. Anyways, I thought you two were the heroes of this story!”

I: “I’ve heard that before… Thanks anyways, Sun!”

“Don’t call me ‘Sun’! It’s—it’s too embarrassing; Luna’s gonna start laughing at me once she hears that I’ve been call a son of a human; she ‘n’ her stars are gonna get the wrong impression, ‘n’ her gossip spreads like hellfire; I’m gonna be the laughing stalk of the whole doggone Milky Way!”

I put my hand on my heart and exclaimed, “I—I feel your pain, brotha; so, what should I call you?”

“Um, Helio should be fine.”

“Well, thanks for the info, Helio!”

“Don’t worry ‘bout it, brotha; I got nothin’ else to do today besides drifting through your sky. Ma iPod’s still in repair. I don’t drift well without ma rap music…”

George: “You should try some blues or techno or something—”

Helio: “Hell no, Kitty! I need some Usher in here!”

Shalanka: “Oh, did you hear his new song!?”

Helio: “Yeah, that song was so good I almost cried…”

Kitty: “Aw, c’mon; ‘twasn’t that good as his other song…”

Fifteen minutes later—when Sharky, Kitty and “Heely” finished babbling about their favorite rap songs and artists (the ones that haven’t got shot yet…)—the shark fins faded into view! At the snap of their fingers, Sharky and George (how coincidental!) had weapons in their hands! Shalanka’s was a long war hammer with a huge, pearl hammer head (huge doesn’t accurately describe it), and Kitty’s was a miniature harpoon with a plain halberd head. While Toko and I propelled the boards, the mermaid and cat took out the sharks in no time!—well, not literally…

After the skirmish, I asked Kitty, “H—how did you do that?!”

Kitty: “Do what?”

I: “That ‘thing’!”

Kitty: “What thing????”

I: “Y’know, the snapping-finger, weapon-appearing thing!!!!”

Kitty: “Oh, hahaha!” He then looked at Sharky as if he were to say, “Should we tell this half-negro?” She gave an affirmative nod. Pointing to Satoko, he looked at Shalanka, implying, “You should tell ‘em; that yellow sista can’t understand ma lingo, and ma English ain’t that good yet…”)

The undine the spoke up: “It’s called Brown Arithmagics, the magic of storage capacity. You see, you can convert some objects into ‘soul matter,’ which is stored in your brain as ‘magicbytes’; big items like a desk cost a ton of magicbytes, but one of your pouches should cost around one magicbytes. I don’t know if this is true, but I’ve heard that you can increase your mental capacity by eating soul food regularly…”

Toko honey: “Now, that is SOMETHIN’!”

I: “But, it won’t do us any good if we don’t install it first, right? So, let me uninstall my White Arithmagics.”

One minute later….

I: “OK, Sharky, how do we install it?”

Shalanka: “Now, do this (yoga tree pose)…now, this (yoga mountain pose)…OK, this (some kind of bodybuilder pose)…now, two push-ups—no, not three; do it again!—all over again! OK, now two push-ups; that’s better…five sit-ups; c’mon, Mack, get it up! Ninety-five frog jumps…now, think deeply for eight seconds in the mountain pose…jump up and say Shut up! Ow, not at me! That hurt…OK, sixty-five squats…another two push-ups; don’t screw up this time; you’re almost finished! Now, drink one ounce of green tea—”

Satoko: “My God, we ain’t at some Chinese restaurant; is there an ‘alternate code’?”

Sharky: “Yeah, think deeply and imagine drinking some hot oolong tea—”

I: “But, I don’t like hot drinks!”

Satoko: “Just do it, Matty!”

I: “Ow, my tongue got burnt!”

Shalanka: “Good, you’re almost there! Hop thrice…clap twice…now, hum your favorite rap song for ten seconds.”

I: “But, I don’t like rap music!”

Sharky: “OK then, your worst techno song.”

I: “But, I don’t have a worst techno song!”

Shalanka: “Then, by God, your average country song…aw, c’mon, Toko, you hum better than that; don’t disgrace Usher!”

Toko girl (embarrassed): “I’m trying, I’m trying, g’dammit!”

Sharky: “Now, that was better…OK, hop up and say I got it!”

We: “I got it!”

Shalanka: “Well, now you got it! If you want to uninstall it, just do the same codes but say I ain’t got it at the end, OK?”

I (typing the codes down in Nemesis’ ebook-reader): “OK!”

Sharky: “Well, try it; don’t be bashful!”

I held my pouches in one hand and snapped with the other, and behold, the pouches were gone! Toko honey did the same with Lunar Sun.

Kitty: “You don’t always have to snap; you can try something funny like this!” He pulled a handkerchief from his right ear; So, I yanked my pouches out of my noise, and Toko spat out Lunar Sun! We were so excited about this spell that we kept doing it ‘til our SE ran low!

I: “Hey now, what happens when you store up too much soul matter?”

Sharky: “You become forgetful; I tried stashing all the desktop computers in a store when I was little; I forgot my name and age until I unstashed the comps!”

I: “Wow, thanks a lot!”

George: “No problem; well, there’s Hoap Les. We gotta go now; seeya!”

Sharky: “Good-bye!”

We: “Bye-bye!”

On the beach of Hoap Les, we lay on the sand for a while, waiting for the other to get up; soon, we fell into a nice refreshing nap…

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Novel / Novella
writing Highsmyth
"The mountain only seems so high from the valley; if you're at the end of your rope, tie a knot on it and hang on!" --John Hagee.

Action-adventure writers of the world, UNITE!
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