I was never one for the ocean – I could get seasick in the bathtub – but the wife had insisted I come along for the trip. Sharon had been pretty convincing, too; food, alcohol and poker were all mentioned as enticements, but I think it was the striptease and raunchy sex that finally won me over – not that I need persuasion in those matters.
We had set off two days later from the jetty down at the marina in a boat (and I use that word rather loosely – the proverbial lead balloon would have floated better) heading for the tiny island off the coast. Sharon had conveniently forgotten to inform me of our guests for the day – her boss, Karen, and partner Jock – and my thoughts about this tin-pot transporter were getting darker by the moment. I think sinking would have been a brighter prospect than spending the day with people that I had nothing in common with, nor had any interest in. A day on Flinders’ Island would have been wonderful had it just been the two of us – now it was going to be a nightmare.
“Oh, sailing, I remember when I was just a young girl...” I instantly didn’t like this woman but, to be fair to Sharon, I tried not to let it show. “...isn’t that right, Matthew?”
I had been ignoring her childhood regression like a teenager ignores housework. “Hmmm? Yes, you are most definitely right, Karen.” I replied, more out of hope than of understanding. I hadn’t the faintest idea of what she was prattling on about – something to do with family and castles and expense accounts. To me, she sounded like a reject from the Who Wants To Be A Millionaire auditions.
Several hours later, we came within sight of the small island harbour. Unfortunately, the rusting hulk hauling humanity started to give some signs that maybe we should have spent the extra fifty bucks and upgraded to the ‘condemned’ level. The engine began making noises that were normally only heard on those David Attenborough documentaries but, luckily as it turned out, we were able to float the rest of the way to our destination. Sharon’s boss, Karen (all boobs and no brains), told us all quite confidently that her husband, Jock, was a tram engineer and would be able to get us back on our way rather quickly. I had my reservations on that count.
“Oh yes, Jock has worked on all kinds of engines, haven’t you, Jock? I am sure he will be able to complete all necessary adjustments and calibrations before we head back to the mainland. Won’t you, Jock?”
Our maritime Saviour was silent. I think he was too scared of her to respond.
Unfortunately, no sooner had we stepped onto the white sands, the boat blew up; I don’t mean the engine – I mean the whole boat - exploded, erupted, blew itself into tiny little pieces and scattered its earthly remains across the majority of the beach – I guess it had had enough of the Self-Serving Bitch banter as well. A sacrifice I could well understand.
For the first hour or so, we sat around in a circle, trying to devise a plan (I didn’t hear anything more about Jock’s talent with engines – funny that) but we came up with nothing. Zero. Zilch. Nada. So we moved onto exploring the island for food sources. That seemed more like my kind of thing – food and I have a very good relationship and one I was looking forward to reacquainting myself with. It was decided that I would scout the around for food and shelter, leaving Jock behind “in case the women needed protection” – from what, I didn’t know. I wonder if they knew what the word deserted meant. I decided they didn’t.
“Now, don’t forget Matthew, if you see the wild Altherea berry, please get some for me. They are great for my skin.” I tried to judge if she was joking, then berated myself for forgetting that she wouldn’t recognise a joke if Jerry Lewis himself wrote it in the sand with big letters and flares all around – maybe someone removed her funny bone when she was younger. Maybe she had her brains relocated to her chest – although, if that were true, she must have been one smart woman. I do love a woman’s brain...
Morning high-stepped its way into afternoon; afternoon marched into evening. We had discovered no edible food on the island (I thought all deserted islands were under copyright law to at least have tasteless but edible berries) and shelter consisted of a few tall palm trees – sure they were pretty but not much good in the case of a tropical cyclone. Maybe if we all gathered under Karen’s chest we could be covered from any passing storm (not to mention the dribble that flowed from her lips.)
I began to wonder how long it would take before we started eyeing each other off. I remember hearing about a football team whose plane crashed in the mountains and that the survivors chowed down on their dead team mates. I considered relating this story to my fellow castaways. I doubted they wanted to hear it.
We cranked up a fire and sat around contemplating the future. Bad jokes about Gilligan and Ginger were aplenty – we all tried to laugh but it was hard...until I discovered that Karen wasn’t aware of who Gilligan and Ginger were. I made sure that Karen got the impression that Gilligan was the intelligent one (and you are just like him...) She pushed out those chest puppies in pride and, not for the first time, I felt like asking if she had gotten a building permit for them. But I guessed she wouldn’t appreciate it.
The evening closed in and Karen and Jock fell asleep by the fire; they were spooning – he was behind her (they had already worked out it couldn’t go the other way) and I looked at Sharon. She looked tired and hungry, but when she was sure Dumb and Dumber were asleep, she produced a Snickers bar from out of her top. We quietly nibbled on the bar that really satisfies (which, I may add, is false adverting) and lay down on the sand together, arm in arm – but still damn hungry.
Not exactly the perfect end to a perfect evening but, if worse came to worse (like it did for that football team)...that Karen looked like she might have a nice thigh, not to mention the breasts...