“Donnie, look, I told you. My Dad has strictly forbidden me to let anyone else steer. Get away from the wheel.”
“I know navigation, Biff. I’m following Pluto.”
“What are you talking about Donnie? You can’t see Pluto with the naked eye?” Biff shook his head; sometimes, it was unfathomable how ignorant Donnie could be about even commonsense things.
Donnie went on. “It’s the brightest star in the sky! It’s huge. It’s Jupiter! It’s the Jupiter of stars, I mean. It’s the biggest and the best and the smartest and it’s the farthest away so it’s the brightest so we can see it!”
As Donnie spoke, his voice became more and more impassioned. At the end of this meaningless drivel of words, Biff found himself wondering whether perhaps everything he knew about navigation and astronomy were somehow wrong. Then he sighed and shook his head.
“Donnie, look. We need to get back to the dock. Look at the radar. There’s a storm coming. See these?” Biff pointed to a bunch of blurs on the screen.
It made no sense to Donald so he ignored it. Best to change the subject, he thought. “Hey, Biff, how come you didn’t bring any girls on board? I could use one about now. I mean, if we’re going to die in a matter of minutes, why not spend it making them.… Do you keep any on board, like chained up?”
“No. God, that’s sick. Donnie, go tell the crew that we’ve got to come about. Now.”
Donnie thought to himself, what a big prick. He thinks just because his daddy owns a sailboat, he can order me around. Yeah, we’ll see about that. Jerk. Prick. “Aye, Aye, Sir!” Donnie saluted as he said this but Biff was looking at the instruments.
Donnie went to the cabin door. He could see that Biff was paying no attention so he shot him the bird and thought to himself: my friend Jeffrey would have thought to chain some girls on board. Young, skinny ones. I could beat the crap out of them till they did what I want. I could be just like Daddy.
The wind freshened so that Donnie had to shout to be heard. “BIFF SAYS TO DROP ANCHOR!”
John and Mitt looked at each other and frowned. “WHAT?!” John yelled.
Donnie repeated himself, “BIFF SAYS TO DROP ANCHOR!!”
Mitt scuttled over to Donnie Boy, “That makes no sense. Look at the horizon! There’s a storm coming! We don’t…you must have misheard him. Go ask him again!”
Donnie screamed, “I’M NOT YOUR DAMNED ERRAND BOY! GO ASK HIM YOURSELF!”
Mitt stepped up onto a railing to get around Donnie. As he did so, Donnie gave in, as he often did, to a sudden urge to hurt someone. He wrapped one arm around the back of Mitt’s knee and shoved hard with this other hand. The boat lurched just then and instead of watching Mitt scramble to keep from falling overboard, which would have been great fun, he instead watched Mitt plummet into the ocean — which was even more fun! Donnie looked around. No-one had seen it. He held tightly onto the gunwale as he leaned over to watch Mitt bobbing among the waves. He was waving his hand and shouting something about throwing a life preserver. Hell, why, thought Donnie. He’s already wearing a life preserver. Stupid. Mitt was screaming in earnest now. Somehow his desperate voice carried enough to alert John who managed to slide and walk over to the starboard. He looked over to see Mitt floundering in the icy water. He looked at Donnie who was standing right next to a life preserver.
“THROW HIM THE LIFE PRESERVER!” he screamed.
Just then, the boat lurched again and the boom of the mainsail flew across the deck and caught John across the back of the head and it made a wonderful sound to Donnie’s ears as it cracked the back of John’s skull. John flew into the water in a wonderful sort of drunken cartwheel that was great fun to watch.
Donnie figured he would go somewhere where he couldn’t get hit by the bang. Or blast. Whatever it was called. So many fancy schmansy terms. Holding on against the bucking of the small craft, Donnie managed to get back into the small cabin.
Biff saw him out of the corner of his eye and yelled, “What the hell is going on out there? Are those guys too drunk to help me?”
“I don’t know. I told them to … I told them your orders and they said to tell you “F&&& You! They wanted to drop anchor and watch the lightening.”
“WHAT?!! Don’t be ridiculous! Why would they do that? Did you tell them a storm was coming?”
“Oh, they already knew. You can see it without the radar gun, Biff. Look!” Donnie pointed one of his teeny fingers toward the horizon. The sky had turned and ugly dark orange color.
“Oh, crap. Why aren’t they trimming the sails then?!”
“Biff, when I talked to them, they sounded high. Like they’d been smoking marijuana or drinking beer.”
“Okay, Donnie but where are they? I don’t see either of them?”
“Don’t worry, Biff, I’m sure they’re doing something to help you out. But, like you said, I don’t know anything about sailing so I can’t make head or tail out of it.”
“You’ve got to help me trim the sail! That wind’ll tear the mast right off the boat! Or, capsize us.”
Donnie looked at Biff, “God damn, Biff. With all your money, you couldn’t afford to get a sail the right size in the first place?”
“WHAT?! Donnie, oh CRAP!”
There was a terrific crash and the boat seemed to be coming apart.
A string of unprintable curse words came out of Biff’s mouth and then he screamed some primitive non-verbal cry of rage. He ground his teeth together. How the hell could this be happening!? he asked himself. (More profanity followed). Biff clenched his jaw and his hands tightly. Damn, he thought; I’ll be grounded now for the rest of my life! Or, the summer, for sure.
As horrible as that might be, Biff was no dummy and realized it was better to be alive and spend the rest of the summer in the house than it was to be dead. “COME ON, DONNIE. HELP ME GET THE DINGHY.”
“I’M NOT LETTING YOU DO MY THINGY!” screamed Donnie.
“DINGHY! DINGHY! You dolt, not your thingy. Where are John & Mitt?”
Biff let out another string of the usual profanities interspersed with some nautical terms and the names of various Saints. He poked a button on the Captain’s console. He managed to have a strained conversation of sorts with the Coast Guard who said they would come give them a hand or a chopper if at all possible.
Relieved a little to know help was on the way, Biff cautiously worked his way out onto the deck to search for his friends. He was soon convinced that they must have fallen overboard.
He came back in the cabin. “DONNIE, I THINK THEY WENT OVERBOARD! I don’t see either one anywhere. Help me LOOK!”
Donnie Boy put his teeny hand near his temple and said, “AYE, AYE, SIR!”
Donnie cautiously went over to a part of the railing that had good hand holds. “BIFF!” he shouted. “BIFF! OVER HERE! I FOUND THEM!”
Biff worked his way across the deck to where Donnie stood. Donnie held on with both hands but gestured starboard with his head. “THERE!” he shouted.
Biff leaned over to look into the waves. The waves were so high, it would be hard to see them. He might just catch a glimpse. They would soon freeze in this cold Atlantic water, he thought. As Biff leaned over for a better look, Donnie got down behind him on all fours and then stood up suddenly throwing Biff overboard with the weight of his body. He quickly stood up and watched Biff struggling in the water. “THROW ME A LIFE PRESERVER! THROW ME A LIFE PRESERVER! I FELL!”
Donnie held on with one hand as tight as he could but he couldn’t resist saluting “Captain Biff” one last time, “AYE, AYE, SIR!” Donnie shook his head. It was so easy to destroy people on your own side. They kept assuming you would work with them and you could literally get away with murder. That idiot Biff still didn’t realize that Donnie had pushed him. It was a lot more pleasant in the cabin, but Donnie braved the rain and wind to watch Biff’s stupid face as he realized right before hypothermia and exhaustion turned his features to stone that Donnie was not, in fact, going to throw him a life preserver.
Later, safe and sound in the cabin of the large Coast Guard Cutter, Donnie tearfully explained how the storm had taken them all by surprise. Slowly, and as though against his will, he let it be known that his shipmates had been drinking a lot and smoking marijuana and that they began to get naked and engage sexually with each other because that’s what pot does to people and booze.
“It was disgusting! It was awful. They tried to force me to join them. Of course, I wouldn’t. But they were so busy fighting me that I guess they didn’t notice the storm coming. When it did, they panicked and started screaming at each other. I stayed inside the cabin. I didn’t know what to do. It’s probably my fault I guess that they’re dead. If I had given in, maybe they would have noticed the storm. But it’s so gross. I just couldn’t.”
The kindly gray-haired officer in charge put his hand on Donnie’s shoulder to comfort him. “It’s not your fault son. You did the right thing not giving in to those homos.”
Donnie bit his quivering lower lip and nodded sagely, “I suppose you’re right, Sir. But Biff. Mitt. John. Whatever their sins, now, they are gone. It’s terrible. Just terrible. Honestly, I don’t think I’ll ever really get over it, Sir.”
Donnie was playing the part so well and then suddenly he damned near laughed out loud. He had learned to see this coming in himself and quickly bit his tongue and jammed his right toe into the back of his left calf. He didn’t want to get hurt, but he did manage to cause enough pain to wipe the grin off his face.
He thought to himself, and not for the last time, that it’s so easy to cheat people if you pretend to be their friend. How stupid everyone is, he thought, quickly hiding his grin in his hands. He pretended to cry as the idiot Coast Guard guy again patted his shoulder to console him about the loss of his friends, or as Donnie himself liked to think of them, his toys.
Donnie Takes a Blue Ribbon for Spelling