For Once, I Get Lucky
A few leagues north of the Equator, I was dozing at the controls. Had been sitting there like a statue for three straight days. Suddenly, I looked up and realized I was about to broadside a 180-foot superyacht.
I grabbed the wheel and spun for all I was worth. Unfortunately, my damn body keeps forgetting that, thanks to the bastard, I got no right arm no more. So I wasn't worth much. It was enough though to swerve just in time to miss clipping the stern.
It was odd the yacht hadn't so much as honked. No one seemed to be aboard. Doubtful everyone on a boat that big'd be below deck at one time. No lifeboats lowered. Copter still on the helipad. No swimmers in sight. She seemed empty and adrift.
I tossed up a line and climbed aboard. My panting from the two-story climb (having forgot I only had one damn arm again) was the only sound on the whole craft. I nosed around. Most of the staterooms had people's clothes and crap in them. Dinner for a dozen or so--three-day-old steak and flat-as-my-first-wife champagne--was sitting on a dining table the foredeck. A bunch of clothes were splayed out on the quarter. Weird as fuck, huh?
Here's what I think happened: There's an old maritime tradition that when you cross the equator on a new boat, everyone--passengers, crew, chihuahuas, whoever--jumps in. This champagned-up bunch evidently stripped down and hopped over the rail without realizing they had no way to re-board. These sleek superyachts got no ladders and crap like that. Hull's too sheer to climb up unless you got suction cups up and down your limbs. So they drowned. Poor bastards, I thought. Truth is though, I always feel a bit better when people are stupider or have worse luck than me.
There's another old maritime tradition. It goes something like, "Lost at sea, belongs to me." It basically means if you're enough of an idiot to lose your boat, you don't deserve it, and whoever's the finder is the rightful keeper. I doubt that would stand up in court. And if it gets even within a whiff of court, I'll probably take the rap for the missing passengers and crew. But I've got bigger fish to kill. With that in mind I cut loose my S.S. Piece of Crap cabin cruiser, which at that point was only afloat cause the termites were holding hands, and took the helm of my new superyacht. Unlike the cabin cruiser, she'll be able to keep pace with the bastard (sperm whales can do 30 mph). Then turn him into cold cuts.
I anchored her off St. Kitts. I rowed ashore and pawned a bunch of Rolexes and crap I'd found aboard. Netted $44,500 in cash. I then tried to hire some crew. Found a couple old guys with harpoon experience. Best I could get otherwise was a couple drug addicts who might have waited around the rest of their lives without getting another berth. When you go into a fish-stinking island seamen's bar and offer cash for a mystery job on a boat you won't name, the best and the brightest sailors don't usually line up. Gotta log off now because one of my new hires just came into the captain's quarters and wants to kill me.
P.S. Here's the bar I hired my crewmen at, scrimshawed by one of the harpooners. He's been scrimshawing caricatures on bar napkins to make ends meet. He and I both hope to get him some whale teeth to scrimshaw on now.