Murphy's Law

Land lubbers

“Alright, you land-sucking lubbers,” screamed Captain Al “Parrot Breath” Ahab to the unfortunate passengers. “If you're gonna be sick, do it on the other side!” And with that, he clumped off. Meanwhile, we “land-sucking lubbers” where desparately trying to hold on to breakfast, the boat and a fishing pole as we were “drift fishing” out on the open (and extremely rough) ocean last Sunday.

It had all started out innocently enough durring Thanksgiving, when Rick (my mom's cousin) invited me to go with him and his two kids drift fishing. Having exhausted my supply of column material, I accepted.

So I arrived at eight the next Sunday morning to “Ahab's Drift Fishing” in Lantana. I should have suspected something was fishy when I saw a sign that read “Captain Al ‘Parrot Breath’ Ahab is this years ‘Nicest Captain’—National Enquirer” but then again, hindsight is always 20/20. Anyway, I was prepared with lunch (the fresh alternative from Subway) and an enthusiasm for the exciting world of drift fishing.

Rick then bought four tickets at $16 a pop, selected four rods, and boarded “The HasBeen III.” I stopped short of the gang plank. One of Ahab's “swabs” came up to me.

“What ever happened to the HasBeen's I and II?” I asked the swab.

“Do you really want to know?” he snarled back at me, giving me dirty looks with his one eye.

“Not really,” I said, and helped Rick's two kids, Heather and Ricky, board the boat.

Then Captain Ahab clumped aboard the boat, looked at us land-sucking lubbers, and went “Aaarrrrrrrg!” to us. “Aaarg, all aboard who's going aboard,” he then said. The boat started on it's way.

An hour later, we were out in the middle of the ocean with 20 foot waves battering the boat. Heather lost breakfast over the side of the boat, then passed out. Ricky simply passed out, and Rick was in the front of the boat, with the salt spray in his hair, as his head was over the side of the boat. I was determined to keep breakfast and fish.

Now, if you think it's easy to fish with the boat not only going up and down, but up, right, down, right, up, left, down, right, back and forth, and keep breakfast down, then you probably find it easy to drink fruit juices on a roller coaster also! Standing on that boat was like riding the mechanical bull on setting ‘100’ for four hours. Lots of fun.

“Hey! Whose fresh alternative Subway sandwich is this?” asked the one eye swab, looking at my sandwich.

“It's mine,” I said, holding on to the railing.

He walked up to me, eating a porkchop sandwich with tons of mayo on it. Three people who saw his sandwich headed for the side of the boat. I clinched my teeth. “Are you sick?” he asked me.

“No, not yet,” I said through clinched teeth.

“Ahh, too bad,” he said, taking a large bite out of his porkchop sandwich, heavy on the mayo. “Le' me know when you do ge' sick,” he said, his mouth full. He then walked away. I clinched my teeth harder togeather.

The trip back in was horrible. The waves were thirty feet by this time, and Captain Ahab was determined to hit every wave on his way in. One poor soul was outside getting soaked while he was throwing up over the side boat. The last time I saw him, he was being swept down the railing by a large wave, him screaming and throwing up at the same time. Not a pretty sight.

Upon arriving back at the dock, Rick and I revived Ricky and Heather, and togeather, we disembarked from the boat. We were lucky, we were able to walk off. Most of the other passengers were carried off in stretchers. Looking back towards the boat, I saw Captain Ahab eating my fresh alternative Subway Sandwich. I sold it to him for a few adramamine tablets. They helped alot during those few last miles.

“Rick,” I said, “the next time you want me to do something with you …”

“Yea …”

“Remind me to say no.”


A subtle influence (ha!) on my writing was Rick Hill, a cousin of my Mom's (on her father's side). He wrote a column for the Boca Raton News from March of '84 to January of '86 and some of my style I copied (okay, stole) from him.

That's okay. We're family (and Rick, if you're reading this, please contact me. I need your cornbread recipe, okay?).

And little did I know a simple fishing trip would turn out so bad.