I went to my Grandparents’ house today, expecting nothing more than the weekly Sunday dinner which has become one of the few constants during my time in
It happened like this: I was lying on my aunt and uncle’s hammock, talking to my little cousin Danny (age 6) about the biggest storm he ever saw, and suddenly, I’m not sure exactly how, the hammock became a boat and little Danny turned into a brave and fearless captain. We were adrift in the gigantic waves which rocked our tiny vessel back and forth. There was much scrambling about at first. I wasn’t exactly sure what I supposed to be doing, but the captain found his place at the front of the boat and took command.
“Oh no, another wave,” shouted the captain, and I shift my weight accordingly in order to make the hammock turn violently on one side, threatening to throw us overboard. We tossed an turned as wave after wave rocked our ship. Luckily, we hung on and the storm seemed to calm. But the adventure was just beginning.
“Rocks!” warned the captain, “You have to steer the boat the way I say to make it through!”
“Aye, aye, sir!” I shouted back.
“LEFT!” he called, and I shifted the boat on its left side. After several more turns, we successfully cleared the dangerous rocks. I was quite bewildered and somewhat exhausted after this, but scarcely had time to rest before disaster struck again.
“Oh no!” the captain announced, “We’re caught in a whirlpool!”
And so we were, and quite a devilishly strong one it was too. The torrential blasts of the ocean grew so strong that our poor little captain actually fell overboard!
“I’ll save you!” I shouted bravely, reaching over the side to pull him back onto the ship. He looked somewhat embarrassed as I did so, perhaps feeling that the captain ought to have a bit more resiliency when in tight situations, but under the circumstances I thought his survival was quite miraculous. He soon had an explanation, though:
“Good thing we wear safety vests!” he said, drolly. I agreed.
The captain was safe, but we were still in the whirlpool that threatened to pull us under at any minute.
“What are we going to do?” I asked, terrified.
“Well,” the captain said, thinking out loud, “we better try off-ground.”
“What?” I asked.
“Off-ground!” he said, louder and slower, but it still made no sense to me, so he explained what I had to do. “You pull that side and I’ll pull this side.”
I wasn’t sure what that was supposed to accomplish, but I obeyed and it seemed to work.
“We’re out of the whirlpool now,” he announced, and I breathed a sigh of relief. And then he said, “Oh no! A sea monster!”
It seemed we would never get a break.
“How do we get past it?”
“That’s why we have torpedoes!” he said.
“Oh, of course!”
He leaned low over the front of the boat, and fired four torpedoes but still the monster survived.
“Oh no!” I said.
“Oh, I forgot to drop the anchor!” he said, and then he pulled a lever and made a falling, plopping sound. “I dropped the anchor!”
“Why?” I said, “Now we can’t move!”
“No,” he said calmly, “I dropped it on the monster.”
I was impressed with his quick wits, and glad that the creature had been defeated, but I knew better than to expect any kind of reprieve at this point.
“Giant squid!” he shouted.
“Oh no!” Lamenting our situation had become pretty much the only thing I was good for, but the captain, as usual, had a plan.
“What would happen if we shot a torpedo through the squid’s head?” he asked me.
“Well, I think it would die,” I guessed.
“Ok, lets do that. Fire torpedo!”
The ship shook quite furiously, prompting the captain to remark, “Oh, I guess that was a super exploding torpedo.” But my guess was correct; the squid was dead, allowing us free passage.
There were some blood-hungry clams after that, which required us to use eight of our ten remaining torpedoes (he counted them thoroughly). After this, however, it was finally time for a well deserved rest, as night had fallen. We settled down for sleep.
“Wait, you forgot to turn on the shield,” he chided, “so that sharks can’t eat us while we’re sleeping.”
“Oh,” I said, sheepishly, “how could I forget? Sorry.” He had to point on the shield button, but it was worth it because we slept through the night without incident.
The next day brought new trials. Looking over the side of the ship, Captain Dan spotted swordfish.
“Swordfish!” he pointed.
“What if they drill a hole in our boat?” I asked, nervously.
“Hmm…” he considered this possibility, “well, they just did!”
“Oh no!” I said, repeating my catchphrase.
“We’ll have to use the surfboards,” he said.
“What?? How do we use those?”
“You just strap them to your leg and then get on the water.”
“But we have to get under the boat, that’s where the hole is. How are we going to plug it up?”
He thought a moment. “Good thing we always carry around these big rocks!”
“Good idea! I’ll swim under the boat and plug up the hole with the rocks.” I wanted to do something productive.
“I’m the one with the air tank on, I’ll do it!” he said, and dived off the side, emerging moments later to announce the hole was no more.
We were hungry after that, so he distributed fishing poles to catch our meal. He got a big bite, and I had to help him pull his catch onto the boat.
“Whoa!” he said, he hands stretched out wide to hold the massive creature, “Good thing we have a big boat, because this is a WHALE!”
I cleaned it and then asked, “How do we cook it? Do you have a fire?”
“No,” he said, “we have a stove downstairs.”
“Of course!” I replied, and then we made short work of the whale.
“I think that whale must have ate a lot of fish,” he commented.
So ended our second day. After an uneventful night (I forgot to turn on the shield again, and he had to remind me), the third day dawned with hope on the horizon.
“Land ahoy!” I shouted, looking through my telescope.
“Oh no!” he said, “there’s rocks in the way!”
“Do we have to steer around them?”
“No,” he said, “we’ll go under! Turn on the shield!”
I was an expert at this by now, so I did so. Suddenly we submerged into the dark briny water of the sea under the rocks, which I suppose must have been of the variety of sea rocks that float on the surface. We finally popped up on the far side, very close now to land.
“We’re almost there!” he said, “Turn on superspeed!”
“Ok,” I said, and hit a button.
“No, not that one, the one that says ON!”
“Right, sorry,” I hit the correct button and we were off. The boat bounced up and down with the speed.
“We’re going to hit the shore!” I screamed, fearing the boat would disintegrate and we’d perish, so close to our goal, after all we had endured. It seemed the most profound of ironies that we should fall victim to the wonderfully creative inventions crammed on our ship that had been our salvation more than once. I closed my eyes and prepared for the worst.
“BRAKES!” he shouted, and the boat came to a screeching halt right at the dock.
“We made it,” I sobbed gratefully. “We’re home.”
“Yeah, but just wait until our next adventure,” he said ominously.
“Dessert!” called Grandma from across the lawn.
“Hurrah!” we shouted, and abandoned ship.