An Embarrassment of Riches

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Five a Day.”




(Day 7) I’ve been here for a week now, and everything is as they say. I’m on a private island, exiled here “for your protection” they said. House arrest, says I. Each morning the ship comes in, my only contact with the outside world, and deposits my supplies.

I got to pick what I wanted, five food stuffs. Each morning I get a a six pack of eggs, 2 oranges, a pint of milk, a small loaf of french bread, and two Cuban Monte Cristo #2 cigars. I had to argue about those. “I’m consuming them,” I said. The HC (Head Captor) relented, admiring my taste.

Most of the early part of my day is spent gathering firewood and setting it up to dry so that I can keep a fire burning. They gave me a lighter, but I have used it sparingly since I don’t know if I will get another one. I found a piece of rebar left over from the construction of the abandoned Jack Tar village about a mile from the drop point, to light my cigars with. I just leave it in the fire until it is red hot, and the cigars light easily.

(Day 21) I really wish I had requested scotch instead of milk. I wasn’t thinking. Or, I was over-thinking, believing I needed the nutrition in the milk rather than the solace in the scotch. Smoking a cigar and sipping on milk just isn’t doing it for me. And scotch doesn’t need refrigeration. I pretty much have to drink the milk up by midday.

There are other foods on the island, I’ve been able to catch some fish and roast them up, and with the oranges, milk, bread and eggs, I seem to be nourished. Sometimes, sitting and poking at the fire, staring into it as mankind has done for ages, savoring my evening cigar, I’m content. Other times, I am lonely. So lonely.

I am reminded of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner:

“Alone, alone, all, all alone,
Alone on a wide wide sea!
And never a saint took pity on
My soul in agony.”

(Day 67, I think) Caught my beard on fire today. Leaning over the fire cooking eggs, got a little close and pfft. So, now I guess I know how to “shave.” I’ll just use the rebar and carefully trim my beard and hair. Maybe. Lost track of the days of the week some time ago. I had been trying to rest on Sunday, and say some extra prayers and such, since there is no priest here. But, I just lost track one day. They all seem to melt together. I think I detect a change in the weather. A little cooler. A little less humid. But, I have no idea what day it is, and am not sure how long I have been here. Now, I just guess when it is Sunday. For some reason, I have lost interest in tracking time. It seems pointless. So, I throw in some extra prayers when I am not foraging further and further for wood, or just exploring. Or just laying around.

(Day whatever) I decided it is Lent. I took some of the cigar ashes and rubbed them on my forehead. For Lent I decided to stop daydreaming about attacking the ship that delivers my food and killing all my captors with my sharpened rebar tempered in the daily fires. Partially this is because I don’t have sharpened rebar (it’s a daydream) and partially because I’m just not sure I’m supposed to be having such thoughts of mayhem as my constant companion. I also decided to quit cursing eggs, though I had gotten quite inventive with my invective. My captors have no idea what indignities they would suffer as I forced them to emulate a chicken laying an egg. Ah well, giving it all up for Lent. I figured I would count out 40 days (skipping my arbitrary Sundays) and at least start a calendar again. I decided not to give up cigars for Lent.

(20 days into Lent) I have decided, even with the loneliness, I’ve got it pretty good. The weather is tolerable when it is not excellent. I don’t have to get up in the morning and go to some job I hate. I don’t miss TV but I do miss Pandora, the Voice of Enigma Channel. I replay that scene in Summer Rental where John Candy is learning to sail and says to the gnarly old sea captain, “You must know a lot of ocean songs.” Skully replies, “I do. Here’s a sea ditty me mother taught me.” And he breaks into the theme song of the Love Boat. I laugh and laugh as I puff my cigar and watch the moon over the ocean. For some reason I feel very alive.

(Good Friday) Lent has been good for my state of mind, and I don’t want it to stop. What next I wonder? I reenact the scenes I can remember from Jesus Christ Superstar (The Passion of the Christ, while a much better film, just doesn’t have all the cool songs.) Giving up thoughts of mayhem has balanced me out. Now I greet my captors cordially, and thank them for the effing eggs and inquire politely if I can change my foodstuffs. They laugh and say no. It doesn’t make me mad anymore. Have I given up? Or am I just a better person? Why do I feel so… rich?

(Easter Sunday) When the eggs come, they are hardboiled and colored! I stare incredulously, and then look at the HC. He shrugs, says they figured out what I was doing when they saw the ashes on my forehead, and decided to surprise me. That moment of mercy and companionship washed over me and I knelt down and cried and thanked them. The HC pulled me to my feet and said, “The political situation changed. Your exile is over. It’s been over for a couple of weeks, but we thought you might want to finish your Lent. You seemed, I don’t know, whole.”

A moment of silence. “Gather up whatever you want, your exile is over.”

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2 Responses to An Embarrassment of Riches

  1. rintaqt says:

    …come aboard…they’re expectin yaaa!
    A good read for the beginning of lent. Thanks.

  2. The LOOOOovve Boat, eggsiting and new…

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