The Wreck of the S.S. Neglected

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There were these three strangers. They had never met each other before today, but Herb, Charlie and Melinda got along pretty well considering their situation. They were sitting crosslegged on a steel floor playing cards. The floor swayed under them because they were inside a steel shipping container, underwater, somewhere in the South Pacific Ocean.

Lucky for them, the shipping container was airtight, so no water could leak in.

Unlucky for them, the shipping container was airtight, so they would run out of oxygen before long.

Herb said, "No, when they talk about Davy Jones's locker, I don't think they mean something full of collectibles and albums by The Monkeys."

Melinda said, "Wouldn't that be cool, though?"

Herb tried to think of something nice to say. Before he thought of anything, Charlie said, "Gin."

Melinda and Charlie and Herb had gone to sleep the night before in their separate cabins on a cruise ship. They were on vacation cruising from San Diego, California, USA to Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico, on board the Good Ship(TM) Tortuga. They had been awakened the next morning when they felt themselves rolling down the long, steel floor of the shipping container and bumping into the back wall of it. It was about eight feet across, ten feet high, and almost as long as a semi truck.

Outside the doors of the shipping container, on the higher end above them, they saw a man in his late 30s with a knife in his teeth. Not using the knife like a toothpick, but biting down on the flat part of the blade while he slammed one of the doors shut. The man laughed an evil laugh and started saying something.

Melinda said, "Could you take that knife out of your mouth? I can't understand you."

The guy said, "Anyways! I said you're all going to die down here! Your husband Rob and your wives Marci and Pam are going to be too busy partying on that cruise ship to save you! Because they always have fun together because they're three friends who work together on the docks with their friend Matt! And they'll forget all about you, like they always do! Just like they do every day when they go to the beach or go to Tennessee or have those slumber parties and kiss their mother good night! Are they all brothers and sisters? Never mind!"

Herb tried to run up the sloping floor to attack the man in his late 30s, but it was too slippery from sea water and strings of kelp, so Herb crashed back against the wall.

As the man closed the door, Melinda yelled, "Jerkwad!" Then she turned to Herb and said, "We're going to sink, aren't we? This box is heavy steel. It'll go to the bottom of the ocean and no one will find us."

A muffled voice from behind the closed doors said, "No, I'm going to hook big buoys from ropes to the top corners of your box. So you'll be floating 30 feet under the water."

"Okay, thanks," yelled Melinda.

"Shut up!" said the man in his late 30s. "Don't thank me. You'll die down there! Ha ha ha ha ha!!" Then his laughter got more muffled because he must have put the knife back in his teeth.

"Wouldn't you know it?" Melinda said. "We have to get attacked by pirates."

Herb said, "That guy didn't look like a pirate."

Melinda said, "Yeah, but any crime or kidnapping or robbery that happens on the high seas is technically. . .oh, never mind!"

So they banged on the walls and floor and shouted for a couple hours. When the floats were attached at the top corners of the shipping container, the floor leveled out. Eventually they sat down and started playing cards.

As the last of the oxygen ran out, Melinda said, "You know what I just realized? I'll never get to see my skull." Then she fell unconscious. Herb tried to breathe shallowly so he wouldn't use up too much air, but he passed out after another minute. Charlie said, "Gin," and dropped his last cards as he passed out.

Fresh air streamed in and woke them all a few seconds later. The floor was slanted again now. The end of the box was propped up on deck of a big Coast Guard boat. Four friends named Matt, Pam, Marci and Rob poked their heads into the doorway at the top of the long, sloping floor. They dropped a rope down for Herb, Charlie and Melinda to grab.

As they pulled themselves out of the big shipping container, Melinda said, "Can we skip the cruise and go home now?"

Herb said, "I told you we should have gone to Branson!"

Charlie just glared at the four rescuers.

At dinner on the cruise ship that night, everyone heard laughter from the four friends at the Captain's table, and everyone felt the frowns from three spouses at the table.

"Did you see how I clobbered that bad guy's sidekick?" Rob said, showing off his bandaged hand.

Pam said, "Sure, anyone could have done that after I got the pillowcase over his head."

Marci said, "I'm just thankful we got all of them back safely. Aren't you thankful, Herb?"

Herb said, "Why should I be thankful? We only got in this mess because you guys always go out and get kidnapped and end up killing the serial killer or turning him over to the police. If we didn't have all these serial killers and their vengeful relatives coming after us all the time, you wouldn't have to rescue us every two weeks. Half the time you don't even remember us! You're out playing on the beach or giving each other dating tips or going to Tennessee without us! Asking each other out on dates! How does that work?!"

Melinda said, "Not to mention getting shot! Try explaining to your HMO why they should bandage another bullet wound, the third time in a month you got shot trying to rescue a co-worker who foolishly went into the dark basement and didn't come back for half an hour! And Marci, I could have sworn we went to your funeral one time and Pam's too!"

Matt said, "Don't you want to hear about how I faced off against the guy in his late 30s, both of us on jet-skis coming at each other like we were jousting knights? He had that knife in his mouth and all I had was a hunk of driftwood to hit him with. Yeah buddy! Lookit, he slashed my earlobe!"

"I don't care," said Herb. "I'm going back to my stateroom."

Melinda marched off too. Charlie followed, saying to Herb, "At least you guys get to say more than three lines!"

Then they would have all had ice cream and gone home, and it would have been The End. But suddenly the starboard side of the ship pitched up from an explosion, knocking everyone off their feet. Rails along that side curled back on themselves like strips of licorice. The deck leaned down toward that side as icy seawater rushed into the hole in the side of the ship.

Will these four friends rescue the three spouses and everyone else on the ship? Will the three spouses pout about being left out from earlier stories? Who is responsible for the explosion and how many young ladies is he leering at and how old is he? Tune in next week for:

Chapter Two: Really, How Likely Is It That We'd Be Drowning Right Now If We Had Gone To Branson Like I Suggested?

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