Work In Progress

A Short Bit about the First Drop into the Insanity Bucket

Note: Another snippet from the work-in-progress for NaNoWriMo, wherein a wretched plan is hatched…


Well, now.

We’re less than two hours into our epic journey, and the regret of agreeing to participate in this adventure is already a heavy weight, crushing my soul and eating away at the foundations of my will to live. There is bitterness in my heart, and it is not the poetic kind found in 19th-century novels where someone named Anastasia is troubled about not getting nominated as Butter Queen during the Annual Harvest Festival. No, my bitterness is focused on certain family members that we should have had committed years ago when they first began doing annoying things that just weren’t right.

But I’m getting a bit ahead of myself, pardon me for doing so. Suffice it to say that it is sometimes difficult to provide a pleasing, non-confusing narrative when you are bouncing about in a Death Mobile headed toward Hell, as I am doing now, my trembling fingers punching at the keys on my laptop. I am hoping that my desperate journalistic activities, huddled as I am in the backseat of a Satan-tainted Toyota RAV4, will be discovered amongst the ruins of whatever smoking wreckage we leave behind, and that my name will be cleared of all wrongdoing. Or, at the very least, there will be a nice asterisk by my name in the record books, with a footnote explaining He really didn’t know what he was getting into when he signed up for this mess.

First, a bit of background.

Back in happier times, when the sun was shining with benevolence and birds were singing with insipidity, someone in the family, not really sure who to blame at this point, came up with the brilliant idea that we should go on a cruise in the Caribbean. At that particular brain-storming session, we were fully invested in a nice Happy Hour where the alcohol was flowing as freely as first cousins getting married in Texas. The suggestion was welcomed with universal, besotted acclaim. It was the best idea that anyone had ever had, bar none, with the possible exception of the creation of bacon-wrapped shrimp, because after you’ve achieved nirvana by eating one of those, the memory tends to stick with you, more so than the first Moon Landing or who really shot JR.

And as is always the case with folks sucking at the teat of alcohol whilst contemplating travel plans, everyone around the now-grimy table (because we all become pigs when the senses are dulled, fact of life) rallied behind the vague proposal that we travel as a unit to island countries. We weren’t sure which particular islands, as the planning didn’t advance to anything concrete, mainly because the “Geography” category on Jeopardy has never been a source of comfort for anyone in our family. Still, we were going to do this and nothing would stop us.

Of course, by the next morning, nearly all of us had completely forgotten about the proposal, because that’s just how margarita conversations work. You talk big during the consumption process, then you belch and move on with your mundane life where nothing exciting ever happens and the rent is always due. All of us, that is, except for Mom. She refused to let the dream die, continually bringing up the concept at family gatherings and sending us websites where scantily-clad but happy people frolicked about on large vessels with smiling service people ready to satisfy your every whim.

Nearly a year later, after much hemming and hawing and trying to figure out when we could all take vacation at the same time (an agonizing process that could easily kill weaker beings), we are actually getting on a boat in Galveston in a few hours. I will be cruising the wide-open seas with 14 members of my family.

Fourteen. That is not a typo. It might be an ill-advised quota, and possibly criminal in some states, but it is not a typo. I will be trapped on a boat with lots of relatives, all of us slammed together, with no ability to simply get in a car and go back home when they all inevitably get on my nerves. I assure you that my anxiety medication has been fully refilled, and I have a secret backup plan to simply slip away at one of the ports of call and never be heard from again. I’m thinking my new name will be Reynaldo. I like the sound of it.


Note: Please keep in mind the “work-in-progress” angle. I’m just snagging these snippets from the draft files, unclean and tainted…

Story behind the photo: A small platoon of the army we were. If memory serves, this was toward the beginning of the cruise when we still loved each other. I’m second from the right, and I have no idea why I look like a demonic Lurch. Maybe it was a phase I was going through, but I’m glad I left that look behind. Still have that chin, though…


15 replies »

  1. i blame all excursions to the caribbean on disney because of the pirates movie had it been called librarians of the caribbean or focused on another trade like grocery clerks of the caribbean nobody would be going there.

    Liked by 1 person

      • that’s a good one. I think if Johnny depp ever hosted saturday night live they could do a good librarians of the caribbean spoof where he is like jack sparrow but at a library. Or prostitues of the caribbean ho ho ho a pirates life for me.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. That must have been some strong hooch to inveigle you all at once and she must be one helluva strong mumma to have stuck to her misguided guns and seen this project through to embarkation. Your chin is finely honed and I see you are making absolutely no genuine effort to get your head in the ring (so to speak ….) 😆

    Liked by 1 person

    • Now that you have me reflecting, my first two books as well as this WIP are all the result of Mom instigating a family vacation. Hmm. I believe I now have a new angle to discuss with my therapist…

      And you’re right, I did not try all that hard to properly get my head in the ring. The sister to my right wisely chose a ring that gives her plenty of room to do what she needs to do. The sister to my left is going to force her head to fit the ring, no matter what. All three of our personalities have been precisely capture… 😉


  3. Galveston, oh Galveston… I still hear your sea winds blowing…

    Okay, so your Mom has moments of temporary insanity. All moms do. We can’t be held responsible. It’s caused by Norman Rockwell and Better Homes and Gardens.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Damn you were (are) so cute. *sigh* – my lot in life to lust after the unattainable. Thank you for sharing a snippet of what it’s like to be forced on the ubiquitous family vacation. Fourteen is quite a number, I hope the cabins were spacious and set far enough apart that any irregular banging on the walls or odd noises at 2 a.m. didn’t paint unsavory mind pictures of what siblings and their spouses might be up to or worse, what ma and pop were up to. (Ugh, just grossed myself out). We had the same number on my family’s Canadian vacation and it has resulted in the careful avoidance of the word “family vacation” ever since. Fish and family do stink after three days…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Luckily, the cabins were all very far apart, so you really only got irritated with the people who were in your own cabin. In fact, I often didn’t see several of the relatives for days at a time. (Huge ship, 4000 people, lots of places to hide.) Every once in a while, we would all get together and take inventory to make sure all of us were still living…


    • Sadly, the booze was not free on this cruise. (Everything else was all-inclusive.) Of course, I quickly reached the point where I didn’t care how much the booze cost as long as I had some every day. All day… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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