Saturday, October 31, 2015

Carrie White's Love Boat Cruise


Sometime in 1977. The Love Boat is still docked, but getting ready to cast off. The crew's been assembled on deck. They're waiting for the Captain to speak.

FRED: You firing somebody, Captain?

CAPT. STUBING: No. I’m not firing anybody.

ISAAC: Somebody here a murder suspect?

They laugh.

CAPT: No, of course not.

ISAAC: (clowning around) You’re probably wondering why I …

The laugh again.

CAPT: Quiet! Everybody! This is serious.

ISAAC: Must be. You sweating, Captain.

JULIE: What’s this all about?

CAPT: I'm trying to tell you what this is all about. It’s somebody on this boat. Passenger.

FRED: Who?

CAPT: I’ll show you. Don’t turn your heads. Just look, then look away. Try not to be obvious.

DOC: Don’t let this mystery person know we're looking, huh?

CAPT: You got it, Doc.

ISAAC: Where we supposed to look?

CAPT: I’ll nod my head in that direction. Just a glance, OK? Here goes.

Captain Stubing nods his head towards the pool. They all instantly whip their heads and stare in that direction like a bunch of rubberneckers gawking at a car wreck.

CAPT: Oh God, don’t look directly, look back, look back, what did I just say?

Gasping. Fighting a panic attack.

ISAAC: Man, you worried.

VICKI: Yeah. Take a breath, dad.

He gets it together.

CAPT: OK, OK. Did everybody see her? The girl by the pool?

ISAAC: The skinny white kid.

CAPT: Right. The skinny white kid. Please don't look at her. But nod if you all saw her.

They all nod.

CAPT: Well, that poor kid had a rough time at the prom. Now it’s our job to give Carrie a good time.

ISAAC: Hold up. You talking the prom burned down in Maine someplace? She that Carrie?

CAPT: Don’t point, please. Yes, Ike. That Carrie.

VICKI: Carrie White!?

CAPT: Shhh!

VICKI: Wow. There's this book out about her. She blows stuff up with her mind. Tele ... Tele Something or other.

CAPT: Not a good time sweetie.

ISAAC: Uh-uh. Can't be Carrie. News say she died.

CAPT: Disinformation from the Shop.

ISAAC: What Shop?

CAPT: The one you don’t ask questions about.

DOC: There's no damn question! You know what to do, Captain. Get her the hell off this boat. Kick her off.

ISAAC: Man, that Carrie White. You try to kick her off, she rip you half

DOC. I don't mean literally kick her. Tell her one her boyfriends is waiting in the Crab Shack.

CAPT: Bad idea, Doc. Our friends in the Shop …

DOC: The Shop you're not supposed to talk about?

CAPT: Yes, Doc. That Shop. If we kick Carrie off, they’re not going to like it.

ISAAC: How you know all this?

CAPT: The Shop sent a representative … he told me. Then he got off and Carrie got on.

ISAAC: OK. Kick or trick. We get Carrie off the boat. The Shop don’t like it. What happens?

CAPT: "There will be consequences." He kept saying that.

JULIE: What consequences?

CAPT: Well.  See those buildings along the dock?

VICKI: Can we look this time?

CAPT: Yes, sweetie.

ISAAC: Man ask if you see, that means you can look.

VICKI: Wow, it looks like Christmas!

ISAAC: You dumb as rocks, girl.

FRED: No, she's right. Something's reflecting the sun. Like a bunch of little mirrors.

VICKI: It's shiny! 

JULIE: What are we looking at?

CAPT: Rifle scopes. There’s a team of snipers on every roof top.

ISAAC: How you know that, Cap? Scary man from the magical Shop tell you?

CAPT: Yeah, that’s what he told me.

ISAAC: Ain't my fault if you believed him Capt. No disrespect but -- Man, shit you talking like a bad spy movie. No damn logic, but you got us believing it. We all shaking in fear of the almighty "Shop" with they snipers and shit and some badass representative ordering you around. Why? They using up all these resources to put that girl on a cruise ship? Damn sight easier to kill her, know what I'm saying?

CAPT: Evidently they can't. They did wipe her memory. But they're not sure ...

ISAAC: Oh, they not sure? Sounds like bullcrap to me.

CAPT: It did to me, too, Ike. Look at the life preserver.

VICKI: Yeah. You can look, Ike. Dad says it's OK.

Isaac smirks at her stupidity, looks.

CAPT: What do you see?

ISAAC: Life preserver. Up there yesterday. Probably be there tomorrow nobody falls off the boat.

CAPT: What’s in the center?

ISAAC: Three neat little holes.

Another appears with a faint "Pop."

ISAAC: Four. (pause) Man, that's some nice shooting.

CAPT: I watched the first three shots go in about an hour ago.

FRED: Knew where to look?

CAPT: Uh-huh. The representative called me on the radio phone right after he left. "Keep your eyes on the center of the life preserver" Three seconds later -- pop, pop, pop. Must've used a silencer.

ISAAC: Shit for real, huh?

Captain Stubing nods.

ISAAC: OK. So what’s the deal? What exactly did the man tell you?

CAPT: If Carrie gets off, we die. If anybody leaves, we die. If we don’t cast off, we die. They want us out to sea.

ISAAC: Then what?

CAPT: The representative didn’t get that far.

DOC: The passengers are going to panic.

JULIE: I'll keep 'em happy, Cap. It's my job.

CAPT: I'm sure you could, Julie. (looks at his watch) But it won't be a problem.

At the exact same instant, the passengers all stand up from their deck chairs and exit their staterooms. They silently assemble in neat rows and walk down the gangplank in orderly fashion. Except for Carrie, who's obliviously sunning by the pool.

VICKI: Dad! I got an idea. Maybe we should, like, call for help?

Captain Stubing shakes his head ruefully. Isaac laughs.

ISAAC: Yeah. "Call for help." He ain't never thought of that.

JULIE: Radio silence, Captain?

CAPT: Yeah, once the harbor master clears us. No chatter in the meantime. One word gets out, they kill our families.

JULIE: Kinda what I thought.

ISAAC: We fucking dead, man.

CAPT: Hey, hey. Let's try to stay positive, people. Just keep Carrie happy, OK?

DOC: How, Captain?

ISAAC: Yeah.What we supposed to do?

CAPT: Anything Carrie wants, people. Anything she wants.

Vicki raises her hand, waves it furiously.

VICKI: Dad! Dad!

CAPT: Yes, sweetie? 

VICKI: The book also said she can read minds.

CAPT. STUBING: She sure can, Vicki.

ISAAC: Best not be thinking bout killing the bitch, huh?

CAPT: Best not. Or thinking the word "bitch," heh. (claps hands) OK. Let's keep it simple, people. Keep Carrie happy, think happy thoughts and keep smiling.

VICKI: Like that Twilight Zone episode with Billy Mumy?

CAPT. STUBING: Yea, sweetie. Exactly like that. Please excuse me ...

He smiles and walks away.

VICKI: Don't go, dad.

ISAAC: He the captain, girl. Gotta take the wheel. Ship don't pilot itself.

Over by the pool, Carrie stands up and looks around. Starts waving her hand.

CARRIE: Excuse me .. excuse me. (shouts) Hello?!

They all look.

CARRIE: Sorry to bother y'all, but my waiter seems to have dropped off the face of the earth. (holds up glass) I don't want to make no fuss, but this here Co'Cola tastes more like iced tea. Any of y'all...

They all run to her, grinning like fools.

The Love Boat toots, and heads out to sea.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

No Fair

As a kid, I lived about ten blocks south of the Sarasota County Fair grounds. This being the era before airc oinditioning (or the era my parents finally shoelled out for air conditioning) I slept with the windows open. The thumbing bum ping sounds of hte fair woul,.d raor int through the my windows at night. Sound carries, and my ears wree about 100 moire acute in those days. The perioidic screams pof peolple going up and down the sine waves of the roller coaster, the rattling tracks, the pitchment saying alive alive, the freaking callipoe music. Gorsh, it all sounds like fun. My imagination painted lovely pictures. The actyual fair itself was always disappointing.

The swining 60s was a lot like that. THe big party just down the street. Woodstock. Frank Zappa and the GTOs freaking out in Laruel canyon. Ken  KEsey and his pals on the bus. A distorted picture to b e sure, filtered through the Life's camera lenses and various cynical documentarians strio,llng up and down Haight Ashbury asking stupid quewstions about the hippie experience. But my head resonbatinged with the thunmping, buympoing sounds of the fair I was a little too young to snerak into.

So, in 1973 I stride into colledge in no longer fashionable blue jeans and long hair. It's UVA,m wahoo-wah. EVerybody else is wearing sperry topsiders and Izod lacoste t-shirts. The preppy look. I think it was born there. Buncha neat sonsabitches, damnit. I felt like Pigpen on the edges of the dance in Peanuts raising a cloud of dust.

No hippies. Anywhere in sight.

Except, uh, there's this one table. Right smack dab in the college quadrangle. Sorry, UVA doesn't have a quadranbgle. The lawn." YEp. Sorry.

Two scruffy bearded guys in denim workshiurts and one girl in a peasant bl;ouse with straight (perhaps ironed) hair hanging down below the edge oif the table. Maybe one year older than I was, but they looked ancient. Fossils. Artifacts of another time.


That there being the slang term applied to an obscure sect of proto-commie semi-Socialists emroiled in the ravings of a left-lkeaning trust fund baby who later turned right wing. Lyndon LaRouche, being the man in question. Out of his own deepo pockets, he printed up a monthly Daily Worker style tabloid paper what was insulting know as the LaRouchie paper. A stack of same was laid out on the table. I pikcked one up.

Whereupon my cartoonist's eyes were immediately drawn to the editorial cartoon.

The image (gawd-- talk abouty opriginality!) was of a giant capitalist octopus, it's tentacles encircling the b log. Its various appendages limbs whate er were labeled STANDARD OIL, EXXON, DOWN CHEMICAL, etc, etc. A Satanic uncle sam posed the question, "What more could you ask for?" The evil capitalist octopus replied, "Nothing." But -- in the extreme lower right corern of cartoon -- was a circle wherein the ciogar-smoking face of Castro appeared. Tjhe wprd bibb;re saod" "Void where prohibited by law.