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“ I CAN’T BE BOTHERED!,” the great voice boomed. 

Then…POOF! … just like that, the golden light blew out and was replaced with a large dark cloud. 

Ted found himself all alone on an island. All about him, the roar and crackle of the storm made it hard to orient himself. The rain, if it could even be called ‘rain’ tore at his skin so hard, it was as though his fancy dress shirt and tailored pants didn’t even exist. “This must be hail,” he muttered to himself. The sound of his words were blown away by the gale before they even reached his ears. 

“Where in God’s green earth am I? How did I get to this forsaken island? I must have fallen and smacked my head. I don’t know where I am or how I got here.” 

Some of the neurons in Ted’s brain whispered that they knew. Some even half-raised their hands, much as a shy third grader in a new class might when he or she was the only one who thought they knew the answer. But Ted had spent a life-time lying to himself. He was pretty damned good at it by now. So, the neurons, just shook their virtual heads, put down their timid hands, avoided looking at any of the other neurons. 

Ted began to shiver violently. He realized he was cold…damned cold! Starting a fire was completely out of the question, but maybe there was shelter somewhere on this Godforesaken isle. At last, he found two rather large rocks and wedged himself between then to wait out the storm. 

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The rain, or hail, or sleet or whatever it was splattered everywhere. His clothes, despite the absurdly high price he had paid, seemed completely useless at holding any warmth. He closed his eyes and tried to understand how the hell he had gotten here. He thought back. It seemed a million years ago.

“Okay. Okay. I was on my yacht. It was actually a sunny day. No sign of a storm. Fairly calm seas. Isn’t there a saying about calm before the storm? But…? I was lying on the deck. And … and what’s her name was beside me. Susie or Sue or Susan or something like that. We had just done it and I was enjoying a martini. Yes. A martini. Nice and cold. And then…? And then I finished my first martini and was going to get a second. Sue or whatever — she asked — no I asked. I’m a nice guy. I asked her if she’d like one. She said, no, but she’d like a glass of red wine. Merlot if I had it. 

I sighed. “We’re drinking martinis.” That should have been obvious to her, but she was too stupid to notice what I wanted I guess. I told her it was cold vodka or nada. I thought that was pretty clever because it kind of rhymed. But she again asked for wine. Now, if the whole crew had been on board, sure. I’d have one of them open a bottle. But it was just the two of us. I said, “I can’t be bothered.” Thing is, I didn’t even know where the damned corkscrew was. My chicks liked hard liquor like I did. 

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Ted frowned. He realized, he didn’t really know what they liked. He just assumed they liked martinis. Who wouldn’t? But then, he tried to recall what had happened? He had gone below to get another martini. He thought back. It was a smooth walk to the freezer. No storm. She yelled something down to him, but he couldn’t remember what it was. Anyhow, it didn’t matter. But there was no storm. Not then. And why didn’t Suzie join him on the island? Where the hell was she? She must have been blown overboard. For that matter, where is my damned yacht? Merde! Talk about a bad day. I lost my lay and my boat. He gritted his teeth in anger. 

Just as well. If Sally were here she would undoubtedly be blaming me for this hellish weather. It just blew up out of nowhere. “It’s not my fault!” he told the universe firmly. Ted snorted. It felt good to say that so he said again, but louder.

“It’s not my fault! You hear that, universe? Screw you! And put me back on my yacht!”

Ted pictured the yacht in his head. An image came to mind of a safety beacon. He wondered how it worked. He had always let André take care of it. What had André once said? “You really should learn ow zees work.” Ted recalled snorting as he shot back, “I can’t be bothered.” 

“Concentrate you A-hole,” he said to himself and tried to recall what happened next. But it made no sense. I had just opened the fridge to get the vodka. Vavoom! And just like that, the whole frigging boat had … disappeared. Or, at least disappeared for Ted. He opened the door and the refrigerator light must have gone incandescent. Like a giant flashbulb. Maybe a freak storm came up and lightning struck and that explains the bright light. I was shocked. That’s all. Electricity knocked me out. So, I fell down, hit my head and I must have been shipwrecked. And while I was unconscious, I dreamed about some weird dude being there talking to me about my life. He had promised to look into my “case” as he called it in my dream. 

“Concussion” Ted said to himself. “I must have suffered a concussion. It’s that damned Susan’s fault. If she just would have been okay with a martini like me, none of this would have happened.” 

Several of Ted’s neurons cast sidewards glances at each other. None dared speak aloud though. Ted had long ago beaten the crap out of all his truth-teller neurons. He tried to think back to what this imaginary dude had said. The chattering of his teeth made it hard to concentrate. But the dude’s name was some weird made-up rock-and-roll name like ‘Saint Peter.’ 

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“Yeah,” muttered Ted. “He said he would look into my case. And then he said: ‘I can’t be bothered.’ What the hell kind of a thing is that to say?” 

The words for some insane reason echoed in his brain. Whenever the crazies at his club had asked why he never wore as mask, he’d always looked at them like they were garden slugs and said, “I can’t be bothered.” 

Ted turned and craned his neck to look out through a small gap in the rocks toward the sky. No sign of clearing. 

It looked to Ted very much as though this storm would last forever.

For once, Ted was right. 

Saint Peter had thought about reviewing his case. But he just couldn’t be bothered. 

Original drawing by Pierce Morgan


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