When angry, count to four. When very angry, swear. My ex-wife, Martha, took the definition of angry to another level. When she realized where she was, she started to swing the raft, madly kicking the wood floor. Three muscular Hamilton sisters pressed Martha’s body against the wet boards, but she did not give up. She slipped out from under their fingers, grabbed Mr. Brahman-Carrado’s suitcase, and jumped in the water. An angry psychiatrist tried to stop her — it was too late: the raft broke into four parts, and we all ended up in the icy river.
I thought Martha’s crazy action would make Captain Happy furious, but I was wrong. He passionately followed her, moving with waves. Hamilton pulled me to the shore. I tried to grab Martha’s hand, but she was not interested in my rescue plan. Later, when our group sat on the sand, Captain Happy tried to explain his reaction to me: “I felt like I was being welcomed home, as if I had finally arrived at the place I had searched for my entire life.”
I covered my ears, staring into the pitch-black abyss. Martha screamed! I jumped up. A creepy cry was heard from the water: five starving crocodiles tore apart the body of a priest, Mr. Dionysius. Captain Happy did not seem to notice the disappearance of a priest or the spine-chilling, murderous act of the hungry crocodiles because he continued to whisper in my ear: ”I wanted to savor every moment with Martha.”
I sighed. A broken wood fragment, bloody clothes, the loss of a priest and his gun, an empty suitcase — that’s all that remained of our pompous trip.
Hamilton, followed by her similarly bronzed sisters, gathered the rest of us near the palm: “Mr. Brahman-Carrado is a traitor! He swam to another side, to the camp of our enemies, the Clan of Beluga.”
Captain Happy chuckled, then lowered his head to my shoulder and whispered: “I didn’t know how long it had been since Martha had been with a man. By her reaction, it seemed like it may have been a while.”
I fell on the sand, stretched my arms, and began to beat myself in the chest, roaring like King Kong. Because of the lack of food, severe anemia, and a complex allergic reaction, only a ridiculous squeak came out of my mouth. Still, it was a joyous squeak because the position helped me to notice the bright light on the hill right above us. I pointed my weak finger at the shiny dot.
”I know. It is the Ark,” Hamilton said thoughtfully, waving me off. ”Hmm, it would be better to get out of this place. It is well known for the wicked bugs. I don’t want you to die, Doctor Harmless.”
Hamilton presented her plan: Happy will stay on the riverbank to repair the broken raft. The rest will climb up to ask for help. Martha, probably in shock, expressed a desire to stay and help our Captain. I had no strength to argue.
While making my way through the jungle, I dreamed about Margaret Thatcher’s smile, a warm bed, and a mug of hot tea. The closer we got to the lights, the more energy I gained. I didn’t care anymore, who’d die and who’d live. I wanted to survive myself…
The Ark was carved from solid granite. Its titanic walls weighed many tons; they fit together so tight that it was impossible to insert a knife blade between them even if you tried. Hamilton raised her hand to knock. I took a deep breath to steady my nerves. The doors opened. A slim Barbie-like lady with silky knee-length red hair came out to greet us: “More company? How lovely! Glad to see you again, Hamiltons! We didn’t expect you so early,” the lady faced my trembling figure, and continued: “I’m Ms. Glorious, the local intimacy coach.”
Ms. Glorious wore a short dress printed with outsized red flowers, a mischievous smile, and a set of fine breasts. I felt a swell of excitement. My whole body began to melt when I heard a familiar grunt. I turned my head to the sound — gazing straight at me was the exotic-looking armadillo, Jack. The devil had the physique of a double box, fat and round, with dyed, pink-colored fur. A disappointed buzz traveled from my mouth: How was it even possible?! While I was suffering, walking through the dense jungles to the place of love and hope, this wicked animal was already here, enjoying every second in the company of the incredibly stunning Ms. Glorious. I heard a polite cough from the left and suddenly realized why Jack was here.
“Glad to see you are still alive, Harmless! How’s this magnificent Kingdom treating you?” asked Arcadio Hardstone with a tone of triumph. The man wore a golden cloak that stretched along the dusty road. His whole body was sprinkled with glitter, and two charming giggling girls hung on each side of his arms.
“Meet my sweet company,” he winked.
My heart began beating a mile a minute — Arcadio won again! All this time, he was under the safe wing of the Ark, making love to those dazzling creatures, who were, technically, his slaves. Hamilton looked at the scene with displeasure. She commanded: “Enough! Our raft is broken; we have to spend the night inside.”
She regally ordered the girls to climb down to the river and help our Captain so that our sailing could continue without any complications tomorrow. The girls obeyed, but I noticed discontent in their eyes.
Four Hamilton sisters escorted curious Mr. Hardstone back to the chambers of the Ark. The gates closed, leaving me alone with the bugs under the open sky. I started to bang on the door; my heart was filled with gigantic envy.
“Are you hungry?” asked a female voice. How could I forget that Ms. Glorious was left outside too! And how could I know that by ‘hunger’ she meant something completely different — more mythical, seductive, more grown-up! Panic began to build in the pit of my stomach, bubbling anxiety about the forthcoming session, where I must perform to the highest level… when all I wanted is a hot mug of tea.
I fell asleep only in the morning, still hungry and exhausted. As soon as I closed my eyes, the massive oak door opened, and the four Hamilton sisters ordered us to get ready for the trip back to the river. I was afraid to ask what happened with Mr. Hardstone: he was nowhere to be seen. I quickly hobbled, feeling a fiendish gaze on my spine: Ms. Glorious was unhappy with the outcome of our short relationship. Apparently, she feared Hamilton’s sisters more than I feared one more night with her at the steps of the Ark. She let me go…
The trip through the jungle was in silence. When I stepped aboard the repaired raft, the first thing I asked was: “Where’s Martha?”
“She is in the box, underwater. I had to place her there to teach her a lesson. She got too angry when the servants arrived from the Ark… We had a wonderful time, though.” replied Captain Happy.
When angry, count to four. When very angry, close your eyes and pretend this is the best day of your life! That was precisely what I did, lying on the floor, listening to the waves that carried me along the waters of a nameless river into a bloodcurdling unknown.
to be continued…
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