Wednesday 27 January 2021

Three People in a Boat


by Stephanie Simpkin

a very cold tinny of ‘Fosters’


Suzy and I had been friends since childhood, both in our early thirties. I lived on a farm with my husband.  Suzy was a renowned architect. I saw an advert in a yachting magazine:

"Crew wanted to deliver a small sailing yacht from Sydney to Cockatoo Island. Must be experienced sailors and have relevant documents"

 My husband told me to go for it, the money was brilliant, and I deserved a break. And so, I went for it.

 Suzy and I arrived in Sydney to meet the third crew member, Bruce a bronzed Aussie hunk. We found out very quickly he was an idiot, a lazy idiot, in his late twenties. First, he chatted up Suzy then me.

 ‘You two lesbians?’

 ‘No, I am married.’

 ‘To a man?’ asked the fool.

 ‘What do you do Bruce?’   

‘I am a Disc jockey, it’s great for pulling the Shelia’s!’

 ‘Bruce, you ever been married, had  a long term girlfriend?’    

 ‘Yea once! She left me, I was bothered then; she came back I was really bothered! The perfect girlfriend, stays up all night having sex, then turns into a peperoni pizza! 

             ‘You can do the cooking, you the cleaning!’ said the sexist moron.

 ‘Why’? We asked incredulously?

 ‘Because, you’re girlies, I am a fella, so I am the leader!’

 Is this why Pankhurst, Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan, Germaine Greer and all the many others, fought so hard for equality? For this chauvinistic idiot?

 We explained democracy to him, very, very simply, and very slowly.

 ‘By the people for the people. The opposite to tyranny and dictatorship.’

 ‘What, you mean we have to vote?’  

 ‘No,' said Suzy, 'there’s two of us’!

 I awoke with a start. We were in a dingy on a beautiful sandy beach, surrounded by palm trees, the turquoise water lapping gently. Suddenly I remembered. The idiot had shouted 'FIRE! Quick get into the life raft,' so we had. He lost one oar then the other.

 We drifted for hours. Luckily the water was calm, and now we were here. We did a recce, the island was about ten miles by eight-ish, uninhabited by humans, but we saw chickens, small wild pigs, and most importantly a small waterfall with clear crystal water.

 Suzy and I stripped to our underwear for a swim.

 ‘Great tits,' the moron dribbled, ‘and a great arse Suzy.’

 We decided the beach we had arrived at was the best place to make camp.

 The idiot said ‘Shame we had no tents.' Hhe would be Tarzan and build a shelter for the  girlies.   

 Suzy told him she was an architect and she would do that.

 ‘I will get our food!’  What was that noise, oh yea, Tarzan beating his chest

 ‘Have you ever killed an animal, butchered and cooked it, caught a fish gutted it?’ I asked.

 ‘No!’ He shrieked, I am a vegetarian.

 Wish you luck with that, a coconut, some nice green leaves, and mouldy yams. ‘You, can be in charge of collecting firewood, starting a fire and keeping it going and, make sure we have fresh water ok?’

 ‘Any one got a lighter?’ The moron asked.

 ‘Perhaps you could be the DJ like Desert Island discs, what book do you fancy, War and Peace, Playboy? Your luxury item would be?’

 ‘I don’t have a record player or a deck do I? Any loo rolls?’

 ‘Yea! Ten rolls, I managed to grab them, when you, shouted fire!’

 ‘You being sarky?’

 Two days later we had our sturdy shelter and  I had killed a pig cooked it on the fire. It smelt great. The VEGETARIAN asked for seconds, and any barbie sauce? ‘I’d kill for a cold tinny of Fosters.’

 ‘Perhaps you could kill a chicken?’

 ‘EH! No,’

 Was he really this thick, or was he joking?

             ‘Wanna hear an Aussie joke, what do I want to  see hanging from my Sheila’s ears?’

 ‘Corks?’ I asked.

 ‘No their legs.’ Said thicko.

 Suzy said she found him vaguely amusing in Neanderthal kind of way.

 ‘Really!’ I said.

 ‘Yeah, some of the men I’ve dated recently!’

 Thicko screamed, he had been fishing, we ran. Perhaps a shark, a jelly fish sting. No… in the fishing net he had dozens of tins. Condensed milk, potatoes, corn beef, pineapple, baked beans, some tins with no labels. He was so excited. “We can have corn beef hash, beans anyone got a tin opener”?

 After he almost severed two fingers with a rusty bit of metal, smashed three fingers with a rock, he gave up and did what he did best, fuck all, worked on his tan, slept for hours.

 ‘I am going to kill him. I mean it Suzy, if we are not rescued by tomorrow, he’s dead! He tells sexist jokes not funny, he’s lazy and rude, and I had to collect the water, and relight the fire today’.

 ‘Calm down! I have a plan!’

 ‘Tell me, please. We have been here a whole week. Why is no one looking for us, surely?Jake will be missing me, the yacht owner, someone!’

 ‘Tomorrow! Dawn! Bring a large plastic bottle filled with water.”

 Sun up, Bruce was fast asleep, what a surprise! Suzy beckoned me over. “Ready?”

 Suzy had repaired the dingy made some oars, she thought it would be seaworthy. ‘Are you ready to take a chance. The bad news is, it will only take two not three.’

 ‘That’s bad news?’

 We set off, suddenly. Bruce saw us. ‘Wait for me!’ he shouted hysterically.

 We didn’t! ‘We'll send someone to rescue you.’

             “What about democracy”? he whined.

 After an hour rowing we were knackered. Suddenly we saw a cargo ship in the distance it got closer it saw us! Rescue.

 They rang the coastguards. They picked us up. “What happened to the yacht?’ we asked.

 ‘What do you mean? When we found it was just like the Mari Celeste. We thought maybe pirates had kidnapped you.’

 ‘What about the fire?’

 ‘Fire? We found a blown up toaster and some very burnt toast, but no fire. The missing person report said three crew. Anyone else with you?’    


About the author 

Stephanie left school at 15 with no qualifications. Dyslexia was diagnosed in her late 20’s.
On retirement she joined a creative writing class, and hasn’t looked back.

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