In honor of the most eerie month on the Calendar I think I will devote the majority of October’s posts to the macabre and the morbid. I’m thinking along the lines of either dark and brooding, or light-hearted Halloween themes. I think that can be fun and a little bit of a challenge. It’s not easy to be morose for 31 days. I’ll give it my best shot though my dearest readers. So let’s start with something over the top…
The Last Song
The boat was leaking and Gerald couldn’t stop it. He wasn’t sure he even wanted to any longer. He’d been drifting for weeks, although he wasn’t really sure anymore. All the days had run into each other and they were always the same. The rolling endless sea bobbed the lifeboat up and down ceaselessly. He had thrown up so much he figured the ocean was now 0.0002 percent Gerald.
He was lucky to have thrown up at all. It wasn’t really the sea sickness that had gotten to him. It was the three other passengers of the lifeboat that he had eaten. One of them was making his stomach rather upset. Son of bitch probably had worms or something. Gerald guessed that the other 0.0001 percent of the Ocean was made up of his three comrades and his violent indigestion. But he wasn’t starving, not yet.
The leak was slowly filling the dingy and Gerald could feel the water in the bottom of the boat. It was a slow leak, yet it was only a matter of time. The leak had filled the boat with ½ an inch of water and had mixed with the dried blood of Gerald’s former boat mates so it was now a rusty, muddy color, dyeing Gerald’s feet red. There was no place for Gerald to put his feet so he just resigned himself to having blood covered toes. It was just his lot in life he guessed. He burped a little and pounded his chest with his fist, trying to dislodge whatever gas had deposited there.
Gerald looked up at the blinding sun overhead and burped again. He remembered the buffet on the cruise ship and all the marvelous seafood, beef and assorted meats of creation spread out over several long white table clothed food stations. The smells and the colors were perfectly designed to encourage you to gorge one-self. Gerald was no different. He was a gourmand. He loved food. He loved eating, smelling it, cooking it, stuffing it with other types of food, smearing it with jams, and jellies, mustard's and mayo’s. He loved everything about food. It made him feel better than just about anything in the world. He wished he was at that buffet right now, rather than picking Sarah out from between his rear molars.
The entertainment the night the cruise ship sank was the high-point and the low point of Gerald’s vacation. The final night of the cruise at sea there was to be an amazing show with the one and only 70’s songstress, Sarah McCollins. Gerald had a crush on her since her first album cover in 1975 where she was wearing a leopard, an actual leopard and nothing else. The big cat was placed delicately over her naked body and Gerald was completely enamored. He’d followed her career with enthusiasm, through her failed marriage to folk singer Bert Chambers, her drug addiction days; her slight resurgence in the 1990’s when a famous director used her song, “Only the Forgotten”, in his low budget looking but huge budget film. She drifted in celebrity circles for a few more years, another failed marriage, until she was reduced to being the finale entertainment on NordiStar Cruises line. But that didn’t matter to Gerald. He’d always wanted to see her in person and when he found out that he’d be on a boat with her for seven days he jumped at the chance.
She was magical onstage, just as beautiful as ever in her gold lame dress, with hints of leopard spots. The leopard spots were her signature look of course. She sang all the songs that Gerald knew by heart and she did a few covers of her favorite artists. The crowd seemed a bit bored by her but Gerald was transfixed. She was a vision of all his sexual desires from childhood, through adulthood, through his early middle-ages. He was counting the seconds until he could actually meet her and talk to her and maybe, maybe she would even fall in love with him.
He wished he hadn’t eaten her. He was starting to regret that he couldn’t hear more about her drug fueled night with Mick Jagger. She didn’t get to finish that story before Gerald crushed her larynx. It had to be done though. She had gone rather delirious after they both had eaten Billy Whatshisface and Mr. Shanders, the Cruise ship’s launderer. Gerald wasn’t even really sure if she had ever really hung out with Mick Jagger but still, it was at least more entertaining than the water lapping up against the side of the dingy.
Gerald had saved her torn gold lame dress. He figured it would make a great souvenir once he made it to dry land. He had no doubts about his survival. He was pretty sure he’d make it, until the boat started leaking sometime during the night. At least it was a slow leak and he might still get rescued before the boat became unusable, or whatever nautical term sailor’s used when boats were no longer buoyant. “Scuttle?” wondered Gerald.
The boat was certainly sinking much more slowly than the NordiStar cruise ship. The ship was called the Empress of the Northern Sea and apparently she was well past any sea-going adventures. While the guests watched Sarah’s wonderful evening show and Gerald was shoving popcorn shrimp in his mouth and applauding wildly for Sarah during the breaks. The hull of the Empress of the Northern Sea burst or blew out or something and there was a seven foot hole in the boat. When it happened, Sarah was just finishing her cover of “My Way”, and the boat was violently rocked. Alarms started sounding all over and strobe lights started blinking. The captain came on the PA and told the guests to remain calm and to head to the lifeboats. He saw Sarah on the stage, by herself, seemingly bewildered by the interruption of her finale.
Gerald pushed his way through the crowd and went to the stage. He called out to Sarah and to his amazement she looked at him. He convinced her to come with him, to a life boat, that he’d protect her and make sure she was safe because he was her biggest fan. As if she was unaware of the chaos unfolding around them she leaned toward Gerald, her surprising robust bosom spilling out of her dress, and thanked him for being such a huge fan. She said she loved her fans and then she passed out. Gerald hopped on stage and scooped Sarah up in his arms and started toward the emergency exit.
The life boat could have held 60 people but in their panic, Billy and Mr. Shanders had hit the release system too fast. Gerald had just boarded the boat with the limp Sarah in his arms when the boat began to drop toward the water. The Cruise ship was already sinking fast. He could hear people’s screams as they struggled and fought each other for seats. It seemed even on a modern cruise ship there still weren’t enough seats for all the passengers.
As a stroke of luck, the accidental emergency release by Billy and Mr. Shanders is what initially saved their lives. The cruise ship sank so fast that most people didn’t have time to even get to a life boat, let alone wait for others to board one. There were several days of rowing through the debris and the corpses of those that didn’t make it. It occurred to Mr. Shanders at that time that the boat sank so fast they might not have had a chance to send a distress signal. It could be weeks before they were found.
Gerald’s stomach growled. He rubbed his belly and shifted his weight. He farted and felt some of the pressure relieve. He was skinny. He was thinner than he was in high school and that was his best weight ever at a mere 198 pounds. He figured he was probably down to 170 to 165 pounds. He could see his penis for the first time without having to push his big belly out of the way. He wondered if Sarah would have liked that.
The water in the boat had risen to Gerald’s knees. It was leaking faster. Gerald tried to cup his hands and toss the water out, but it wasn’t working. The rusty water was leaking from the boat and leaving a trail in the ocean. It was a trail being easily followed by several sharks.
Gerald was oblivious to any sharks nudging the lifeboat. The sun had baked his face and had boiled his brain. He was listening to Sarah sing to him about all the ways she loved him, wanted him, and needed him. She was a ghost now, sitting in the boat, sitting through the water, singing. The sun was setting. The boat was leaking. There was nothing Gerald could do.