THE TALE OF A FATEFUL TRIP
Log of the Minnow; Jonas Grumby, Cptn. Sept. 26, 1964:
Shipwrecked. What looked like a squall three days ago turned into a tropical storm. Was able to maintain some course tho instruments were useless. Hull smashed to hell on the reefs out from shore. When night comes should be able to figure out where we are, we can't be that far from the coast. Don't like the looks these tourists are giving me, like this is all my fault, like I'm God. The professor & that hick girl want to help, the rest just bitch. Watched my boat sink while the sun started poking through the storm. I'm too old to start over but theres no saving the Minnow.
Prof. Roy Hinkley's journal. 9/26/64
At the risk of sounding romantic, I have been shipwrecked on what appears to be a deserted island. Suiting, I'm sure, and my colleagues will have no end of amusement at my predicament. Before marking me with the tempting epithet "Crusoe" I am quick to add that I am not alone (whether or not this is a blessing or a curse remains to be seen).
I and my fellow day trippers are victims of a strange, unforcast storm that seems to have pushed us in a south easterly direction. Three days this storm pushed us through obscured skies, three days of desperate, wordless cringing below deck while the boat's captain, a stout and sturdy fellow, and his first mate who, shall we say, is somewhat simple (I suspect mild mental retardation), fought the elements and not only kept us afloat but also delivered us to this beautiful empty beach. I suspect we will be sought and found within a day or two for it seems hardly likely we are so far off course. A shame, I almost wish I had more time to do some intensive fieldwork amongst the native flora and fauna. Of course, this island is probably no more deserted than Catalina; I wouldn't be surprised to find it inhabited by some small community of commercial fishermen or wealthy vacationers.
Speaking of which, one of my fellow strandees, Mr. Thurston Howell III (yes, that one), has chosen this moment to rant at our noble captain. I close, a bit water logged but safe.
Log of the Minnow; Jonas Grumby, Cptn. Sept. 27, 1964:
Bad news from the stars. If my eyes are right & if I've learned anything in my life on the sea, the Minnow has gone down somewhere approx. six hundred nautical miles south/southeast of Hawaii which puts this island in the middle of a hell of a lot of water. If this dirt clod is charted it sure isnt on any of mine. At least we know they're looking for us. I don't know how he did it, but Gilligan saved the radio (the AM transistor not the ship radio of course) because like he says we might like to hear some music. Dim as the day I took him in but the boy makes me laugh. Anyway, on the news which we could barely pick up they mentioned an air/sea search & rescue going on since two days ago. I guess I should be thankful I ended up getting beached with a millionaire & a movie star. Then again, if Howell starts in on me about how hungry he is or how no one of his stature should have to sleep on palm fronds again, I might just have to snap him in two. The women I expect to be whiny but where does he get off? If that's what money does to a man I thank my fat ass I'm poor. This professor, Hinkley, wants to build a signal to help the planes spot us seems he's the only other one who's thinking his way through this mess.
Prof. Roy Hinkley's journal. 10/01/64
As comforted as we have all been by the daily accounts via radio of the massive ongoing search and rescue efforts being directed from the islands in our honor, it is sinking in ever so quietly the surety that we are going to be here awhile.
We are assembling our own sort of community pro tem and have made a decent, if stumbling, go of it so far. Food and shelter have been foremost on the agenda and some progress has been made on both fronts. In short order we have managed to fashion some meager lodgings (hardly more than lean-tos) out of bamboo, coconut bark and some planking salvaged from the ship. Miss Summers (Mary Ann) is a sturdy country girl who has, in the past few days, organized a team of fruit gatherers including Gilligan (our pliant first mate) and Miss Ginger Grant of all people who goes off on these missions with no small sense of indignation, but the complaints of our famous co-castaway ring rather empty in the face of hunger (I have heard tell many Hollywood starlets starve themselves into hourglass figures, but Miss Grant appears to have a healthy and unabashed appetite. Quite unladylike table manners as well).
We have been feasting on ample supplies of fresh coconut, breadfruit, star fruit, papaya and pineapple as well as anything else I can deem nonpoisonous. Captain Grumby and I have been supplying the protein – namely fish of multiple genuses. My jerry-rigged block and tackle (a bamboo-skeletoned rack of four independent poles on a shoe-string driven "motor" that produces a cyclical, alternating "dip and tug" motion) was a miserable failure. Ah well, back to the drawing board. In the meantime, it is a return to the basics, like being granted a second chance at the idyllic childhood my years of academia denied. The Skipper is quite accomplished and, despite the dire circumstances of our struggle for survival, I am enjoying learning this new discipline at his side. I have contributed a fair catch or two though I am in near constant agony from the new blisters appearing daily across my palms (I write this now out of the most masochistic dedication, holding my pen in my neck-tie bandaged left hand).
If I sound a tad delicate, I must point out that I have made a fairer showing than our privileged guest Mr. Howell. Nonstop complaints. "These hands made forty million dollars without a single callous and I'll be damned if I'll get one now" – and infinite variations on the theme.
Log of the Minnow; Jonas Grumby, Cptn. Oct. 8, 1964:
We're doing okay. Most of these people are having trouble believing we haven't been rescued yet & the news that they called off the search yesterday has hit everybody pretty hard. I dont have the heart to tell them that Im not surprised at all. If I didn't have the Howells & Grant on my tub they wouldve given up after four days. We can keep on lighting those fires all we like but this island is pretty low despite one hill (maybe 80-90 feet high) ending in a cliff on the east side & sandwiched between a bunch of mountain-sized corral reefs. We're out of most commercial shipping routes & only the cockiest Polynesian deep sea fishermen would skirt this atoll. What drives me nuts is that we're so close to Hawaii or even Palmyra, but we might as well be up a blue whale's ass. On the radio they were saying that it doesnt look good for us still being alive since they found debris from the Minnow. No shit. Hopefully one of those geniuses will clue into the fact that that stuff is just the ballast I had to dump to stay afloat. While everybody goes on whining & worrying about never getting found I'm actually feeling pretty good. All this work & sweat its like the Navy all over again. Think Im losing some weight.
Prof. Roy Hinkley's journal. 11/10/64
The skies are growing cloudy and the Skipper says we are entering the rainy season. Given our location, in a zone where the NE and SE trade winds collide, he says we are in for "quite a blow". The gravity of this information was diluted somewhat by Gilligan standing behind him making ridiculous faces.
There's an interesting dynamic between Grumby and his first mate. They don't read as employer/employee and, though the Skipper constantly refers to Gilligan as his "little buddy", they don't register as friends; the relationship I would say reflects their interplay best would be father/son. I understand from their history that the Skipper "took Gilligan in" (whether as a formal adoption or something less legally defined I do not know) several years ago, when they were both out of their stint in the Navy. It's fascinating to watch them together as the boy seems to be the only one among us who can make the Skipper laugh (truly a rare enough event). Grumby both indulges Gilligan's odd flights of whimsy and, concurrently, is rigid to the point of abusiveness in the face of Gilligan's frequent ineptitude. There is a lot of paternal patience shown the boy interspersed with bouts of shouting and beating Gilligan with his captain's hat. But the ire Grumby may feel towards the boy is always short-lived and salved by some new tomfoolery. I am still unable to discern whether Gilligan's often infuriating actions are conscious behavior or, again, some form of arrested development/mental retardation.
This afternoon I accompanied Gilligan on a coconut gathering expedition. He's really become quite expert at scaling the trunks of the trees - fast as any species of monkey I've encountered - without slicing up his hands or chest. While high in one of the trees he pointed out a particular bird he spied nesting in neighboring branches and asked me what kind it was. I found the bird with my field glasses and told him it was a red-booted boobie, which it was. This caused him to giggle uncontrollably for the next half hour.
The past week has seen us drastically improve our living conditions and we have converted our lean-tos into four-walled huts (of my design). They seem strong enough (due in large part to the lengths of rope our Miss Summers has expertly woven of thin strips of bamboo bark) and the bunches of palm fronds we have lashed in heaps upon the ceiling's crossbeams have, thus far, kept the rains away. One does fear, however, how our new domiciles will fare in the face of the monsoons the Skipper forsees. At least I was able to convince the others to locate these shelters farther inland, well canopied by the palms and mere yards from the small lagoon where we are doing our washing and bathing.
Ah, here is a subject about which I'm sure anyone who reads these papers will be most curious. On the topic of hygiene it must be reported that such concerns are well past us. We bathe daily but there is no soap, no shampoo, no shaving cream. I instructed the others in the use of smooth slivers of pumice stone as an astringent and while that certainly removes dirt (and a layer or two of skin) it doesn't make any of us smell any sweeter. By the end of the first week the stench of our collective body odor was so overpowering as to make eyes water. I don't even notice it anymore.
Clothing will be an issue before long. Since most of us were left here with just the clothes on our backs (I say "most" because Miss Grant was apparently on her way to a photographic session for one of the movie magazines when we were blown astray and, thusly, had three dresses and an equal number of pairs of shoes packed in her luggage – though I'm not sure how much good water-damaged high heels will do here), eventually these items will wear out past any use whatsoever. Exposure has been one of the primary threats confronting us and there seems to be no fauna here substantial enough for use as covering. For now we simply darn and patch where we can but I'm sure the day will come when modesty will have to be put aside.
Another danger we all face is the possibility of contracting malaria or some other insect-borne disease. We are all covered in welts and bites between the sand fleas and the swarms of mosquitoes. The last of the small travel-sized cans of repellent that the Skipper had on board the Minnow are gone and I've set to work devising a natural substitute. I've read that some forms of mint plant – their essences – have been used by native peoples to ward off biting insects. I will dedicate time to this problem soon.
Mrs. Howell, who seems to be having the worst go of it (but at least in a much quieter way than her husband), drained the last of the radio's batteries last night while listening to an opera program and now we have no distractions save the sounds of the sea, the jungle and each other's voices. This won't do. I'm devising a simple generator using lengths of copper wire salvaged from the ship and a foot pedal crank – like a bicycle – but
Miss Grant wants a word. I close for now.
Log of the Minnow; Jonas Grumby, Cptn. Dec. 4, 1964:
Okay so the kid made a mistake. Hes gonna do that. But nobody gets to yell at him, call him an idiot, but me. The signal fires have been a priority & the prof came up with a way to make them burn longer & brighter – some kind of gum from the trees mixed with leftover oil from the boat. Started out we were lighting them every nite but with the rains weve been having weve been slacking off some. Last night tho Gilligan woke up & ran out of the shelter saying he heard a plane – something big like a military transport. Mary Ann piped up saying it made sense like it was probably taking soldiers to Vietnam. Then the prof comes in saying no, this wouldnt be a route they'd use. And while everybodys chiming in – except the Howells who kept sleeping – Gilligan ran for the beach tripping over himself to get the fires lit. He only got the first two letters lit before anybody figured out that the sound he thought was a plane was actually Howells snoring & we'd wasted a few hours burning the word SO at the sky. No big deal. The only reason everybody was so pissed was he'd gotten there hopes up. The rest of the night was quiet. Mostly. Ginger put on a big show in the profs room. Good for him. Either hes a real stud or she's a better actress than I thought. Gilligan asked me if she was being hurt. The kid cracks me up.
Log of the Minnow; Jonas Grumby, Cptn. Dec. 25, 1964:
Its Christmas. Never would've known if it wasn't for Mary Ann humming Christmas Island. Ginger started singing along with her & even the Howells joined in. Kind of sad really & we didn't talk about it the rest of the day. For a minute there I was a little homesick. It passed.
Prof. Roy Hinkley's journal. 1/01/65
Happy New Year. I haven't written in this journal in some time but I have two reasons for this, one mundane and the other quite extraordinary. Firstly, my ballpoint pen ran out of ink weeks ago and I have just now perfected the right blend of plant dye and pigment to make a suitable substitute. Secondly, I have been somewhat distracted of late by the completely unexpected attentions of Ginger Grant. Not as well-versed in the ways of the heart as, say, the physical sciences, I can only relate that Ginger and I are involved in something akin to a love affair. Unlikely as it seems, this turn of events was instigated purely by Ginger, prompted by, as she said, "something in your eyes answering a question in my heart". This kind of input is inconclusive and does nothing to explain how here, in a remote corner of the Southern Hemisphere, yours truly is receiving a most vigorous education at the hands of Hollywood's eighth most bankable starlet (so she describes herself). As I write this she's asleep beside me – tired not from the day's labors (I have been shouldering most of her chores as I can no longer imagine her straining those delicate arms hauling wood or water) but from this evening's session of lovemaking.
Tomorrow I have promised to devote my time to creating a natural replacement for Ginger's hair dye. Though I am loath to dispel the popular image of her held so sacred by her admiring public, I can with some authority report that Miss Ginger Grant was not born a redhead.
Log of the Minnow; Jonas Grumby, Cptn. Feb. 14, 1965:
16th straight day of rain. This morning I made some cute comment about how this weather makes you wish you'd been born with gills & Hinkley's gotta pipe up to say how we all did have gills in the womb. Fucking smartass. Everybody's in a black mood & most are too sick to look after themselves. Which leaves me & Mary Ann & Gilligan to pick up the slack. Everybodys still looking to the prof tho, like hes got all the answers. Well its one thing to know the latin name for the flu but its another thing not to catch it.
Prof. Roy Hinkley's journal. 2/19/65
So dreadfully sick as of this writing. The rains are unending and all we can do is huddle together in the chill, spreading germs with each phlegmy breath. Ginger, the Howells and I are stricken with the flu and we must take pains to avoid escalating into full-blown pneumonia. Given our situation with no antibiotics or medical supplies of any kind, such an illness could be a death sentence. So here I am shoulder to shoulder with one of the wealthiest men on the planet and a nationally known sex symbol shivering in feverish misery and trying to write this by lamplight across wrinkling pages. I wish I knew the local weather patterns better so that I might predict an end to this
Gilligan is here with some warm liquid he calls soup.
Log of the Minnow; Jonas Grumby, Cptn. Feb. 28, 1965:
Got hit with a big one. The flooding got so bad we had to scrabble up the hills to hide out in the caves. Thought it was bad going up but then Howell starts screaming for his wife. Luvee! Luvee! Has anybody seen Luvee! Shit. So back down I go in zero viz. to find the sick old broad just shivering & twitching where our hut used to be. Put her over my shoulder & climbed back up the rocks with a river of nonstop muddy water trying to sweep me off, lightning popping all over the place & only one hand to haul us both up with. Sliced me up good. Anyway, got to the cave & everybody was really quiet. Scared, I think. I don't know. Nobody talked, it was just the rain & the thunder out there. And fucking cold.
Prof. Roy Hinkley's journal. 3/3/65
The monsoon has finally subsided and we've just now returned to camp – or what's left of it. The destruction is near total and all our careful hours of amateur construction now appears indistinguishable from the jungle debris. We, the damp and mildewed lot of us, have the disheartening task ahead of starting from scratch. I wonder, though, whether we will all manage. Despite the Skipper's praise-worthy rescue of her during the chaos of two days ago, Mrs. Howell is sinking deeper into what I believe to be a malarial fever. At this moment she's laid on the softest pad of fronds and sea grasses we could conjure and she's still but glassy-eyed. A sad, frail bird-like thing still wearing a string of pearls that could fund any small university's science department for a year. All we can do is care for her, keep her dry but hydrated and hope for the best. Mary Ann has taken on the role of nursemaid though I'm sure Mr. Howell's anxious hovering can't be making the task any easier.
As for the Skipper, I must admit that he's grown in my estimation during the course of our recent hardships. I thought him merely an able seaman and provider of food, but now, with his extra padding melting away and his features hardening in response to the gravity of our situation, I can easily see him as a leader among men. A powerful figure, surely, and a much needed rock that the others are already cleaving to.
Ginger has been a bit distant since we had to make for the caves (the remnants of shock and the flu, I imagine) but I'm sure to raise her spirits when I relate my plans for an automated solar signal using the sequins from one of her gowns and the pieces of tinfoil Gilligan found amongst the flotsam last week.
Log of the Minnow; Jonas Grumby, Cptn. Apr. 6, 1965:
The old lady died. Sad for Howell I guess but better for the rest of us. You ask me she was dead weight from day one.
Prof. Roy Hinkley's journal. 4/6/65
Terrible news to relay. Lovey Howell has passed. The fever claimed her during the night and Mary Ann, visibly distraught, broke it to Mr. Howell first thing this morning. Despite our forced acquaintance I can't claim to really know the man, still his wails of despair were profoundly moving (they also scared away a flock of birds I was trying to catalogue, but that's beside the point). To see this very proud, very public figure so broken, kneeling in the sand stroking his dead wife's hair, tears streaking down his flaking, sun-browned face was enough to shake me free of any of my petty concerns (why Ginger seems to ignore my every approach or why the Skipper won't hear me out on my theories of oceanic current vectors in re: our plans of constructing an escape raft). Though hardly my place, I did make to offer some condolences to Howell. He didn't seem to hear or see me as I spoke to him but at one point he intensely met my gaze. He asked me, in as sincere and vulnerable a tone as I'd ever heard issue from him, if there was such a place as Heaven. I informed him that no branch of science had proven or disproven the existence of such. I don't think this comforted him.
However, I was glad I had taken the time to distract the man as, mere feet away, Gilligan was curiously poking at Mrs. Howell's corpse with a bamboo rod.
The Skipper and I dug a grave in a jungle clearing close enough to camp. We dug it very deep (approx. 8 1/2 ft) in the hopes this will prevent any scavengers or further flooding from unearthing the body. There was a funeral of sorts. I think all were expecting the Skipper, as captain of the ship, to speak over the grave, but he declined and passed it to me saying I was better with words. Given the response my condolences engendered from Howell, I also demurred. Luckily, Mary Ann (raised, I believe, a Lutheran) volunteered. Her speech, which I found simple and appropriate, I will attempt to recall here:
"I didn't know Mrs. Howell as well as I might've liked. If it wasn't for this island I'm sure I wouldn't have known her at all. But over the past few months I came to know a few things about her. Her name was Eunice. She loved Leontyne Price's voice and hated what she called our 'less than seemly accommodations'. And I know that she adored her husband Thurston. Goodbye, Eunice. I hope you find your present accommodations more to your liking. In Jesus' name, amen."
When she was done, Howell was a shambles, having to hold onto me for support as he cried in the completely unself-conscious way that children do.
He's still crying. Tonight, in a compassionate gesture, I invited Howell to bunk in my hut instead of going it alone in the one he shared with his wife. What I don't quite understand is why we have also been joined by Gilligan, currently asleep on the floor.
Log of the Minnow; Jonas Grumby, Cptn. Apr. 7, 1965:
Well that was surprising. Ginger came on to me last night, saying something about something in my eyes questioning something in hers. Whatever that means. So I fucked her. Who wouldn't. It was good. She's got great tits. Been eyeing them for months now when shed go off to the lagoon for a bath. I admit I really needed that & I think I showed her something. I went kind of rough & she liked it - not sure how much tho cause she seemed to kind of overdo it on the screaming. Think I know now how she got her acting parts. When it was over she wanted to talk so the first thing I did was ask her about her & the prof. She said she liked him for the way his mind worked until she realized that his body had a lot of catching up to do. Ha. Said she knew from the start she needed a real man. That was cute but I was tired & all she did was keep talking. She asked me how bad a situation we were in for real. I told her I didn't get what she meant. I said I thought living on this island would be great if it weren't for all the people. That shut her up. I slept good.
Prof. Roy Hinkley's journal. 4/7/65
The reasons for Gilligan's exile to our hut were made abundantly, grotesquely clear through the night as the once-familiar sounds of Ginger in carnal bliss joined the usual chorus of night birds and lizards. I cannot fathom her shift in attentions nor, indeed, any of her motivations. If she had grown I really don't feel like addressing this further.
Prof. Roy Hinkley's journal. 5/2/65
The skies are almost painfully clear and blue of late and things have returned to normal in our day-to-day routine. By "normal" I mean that Thurston Howell III is a blank-eyed wreck, the woman that I was involved with scant months ago is clinging to another man and Gilligan is in mortal fear of a piece of wood.
During our stay in the caves, Gilligan found a small block of carved wood which, in the light of day was revealed to be an artifact of some native peoples who may or may not have called this island home in ages past. It is roughly the size of a clenched fist and is a stylized representation of (I'm guessing) some god or nature spirit. Very reminiscent of the Polynesian tiki idols. Skipper, who had been very busy, working hard at both bundling stripling bamboo plants and blatantly ignoring me (the Ginger situation has made things rather awkward on all fronts), reached over and grabbed the carving out of Gilligan's hands. "Headhunters" he said, giving every impression of speaking from unassailable authority. He went on to lecture his wide-eyed charge on the culture of those that crafted the idol – the magic rituals where these tribal warriors would remove and ingest the limbs and organs of their fallen enemies that corresponded with those attributes they valued most. "If you were fast they'd eat your feet. If you had great aim they'd eat your eyes", he said while I just stood by, marveling at the boy's gullibility. He held the tiki in front of Gilligan's eyes, "But this that you found – this is a 'tabu' idol. The worst of 'em all. Very bad magic, little buddy." He kept droning on about the curses wrought upon those that removed such "tabus" from their rightful place and other such claptrap. I would've left him to it and returned to work on my self-activated runoff water conveyor but I couldn't stomach the growing expression of terror on Gilligan's face. So, subsequently, I interjected.
Trying not to call the man a liar in so many words I did feel the need to point out to the Skipper that the ritualistic cannibalism he described is attributed to a handful of tribes in North America and some Australian Aboriginies but even then it was never a widespread practice. No Polynesian culture – which our location and the designwork of the idol would indicate as the "tabu's" originators – held such beliefs. And as for curses, well, those were mere folklore and the stuff of black and white movies with gypsies and mummies in them. The look I received from Grumby at that moment was stony and full of implied threat. It's becoming clearer to me that the man doesn't appreciate challenges to his authority.
And, in the end, it mattered not one whit as Gilligan snatched the idol back and started babbling about taking that piece of wood right back where he found it, not wanting to invoke the curse of the tabu. I offered to accompany him.
We made our way through the jungle skirting the steep rockface and then we climbed, taking a more relaxed route up the hillside than we did during the panic of the monsoon. When we neared the caves, Gilligan was trying to remember within which he'd found the idol. I suggested it wasn't those caves but one farther up. We kept climbing.
Near the top of the hill and without a cave in sight, I asked Gilligan for the idol. He was confused but I assured him I just wanted to do a quick experiment. Once he handed it over to me I threw it as hard and far as I could. It was actually a very good throw as the wind caught it and it sailed out past the cliffs, making a soundless plop into the ocean well past the breakers. Gilligan was horrified – kept saying, "Now you done it! Now you done it!" I calmly told Gilligan that he would see no effect from this action, that when we awoke tomorrow our fortunes would be no better or worse than before, and that if he really wanted to return the tabu to its rightful place he'd better start swimming because it was well on its way to Hawaii already.
Perhaps I should've gone easier on him, but if there's one thing I cannot stand it is a rational mind's slavery to superstition.
Log of the Minnow: Jonas Grumby, Cptn. May 3, 1965
The prof went to pull in his crab traps this morning & waded into a mess of jellyfish, a whole armada of them. I don't think I've ever seen anybody so godammed stung as that poor s.o.b. He let out the most girly scream too, thrashing around in the water like a 4 year old in the deep end of the Y pool. Mean as it is it made me laugh. Ginger wapped me on the shoulder but I couldnt stop. I laughed all the way out into the surf to drag him back in. Got a couple of lashes for my effort but it was worth it seeing the high & mighty taken down a peg. Course now its not as funny since we got Howell still staring & sobbing all day & now we got Hinkley laid out & whimpering. Theres work to do – always theres work to do – & I'm getting tired of doing it all. Can you believe Ginger actually expects me to do her chores for her? I told her good luck with that, never going to happen. Weather's getting better & my beards really coming in. I like it.
Log of the Minnow: Jonas Grumby, Cptn. May 11, 1965
Ginger stopped coming around. Big loss. Suppose she'll move back over to the prof if she can shove Mary Ann out of the way long enough. Maybe girls really do like the helpless types. If so I'm out of luck. Fuck them.
Prof. Roy Hinkley's journal. 5/17/65
Amazing as it sounds, it took the worst physical pain I've ever endured to reveal to me a heretofore unknown natural resource. I have discovered the most wonderful, unguessed at treasure and her name is Mary Ann Summers.
A little over two weeks ago I was severely attacked by a school of jellyfish, stung over forty percent of my body, and I have lain here in my hut unable to move without crying while this angel has watched over me with such care and tenderness that were I a poet I would have inspiration for epic verse and sonnet. Modest to a fault, she undervalues her own contributions to our survival yet she is the only one among us (myself included) who has worked tirelessly and ably without complaint or the expectation of recognition. Day and night she has attended to my needs, wrapping my swollen, welted flesh with cool seaweed and lifting my head to receive water from a coconut shell. She smiled and we talked and she sang – not in the same nightclub style that Ginger manages but in a sweet, pure, soft voice which she apologized for often. Apologized! I could've listened forever.
Such sentiment from my pen will surely startle those who have known me throughout my years in study and in professorship, but it is most welcome here and all I can wonder is how I could have lived for so long on this island side-by-side with this marvel of a female and not immediately recognized her singularity. It's like Fleming scraping the mold off his bread without a second thought or Carter never booking a trip to Egypt!
You may well speculate on what a man of my background and interests would find to talk about with a Kansas girl just out of high school. Only everything. Her life before now – growing up on her uncle and aunt's farm and participation in her local 4H program – instilled in her a fascination with the natural world and therefore her perspective on our situation is possibly closest to my own. Even in the face of such hardships and uncertain outcome, Mary Ann maintains a steadfastness of spirit as well as the ability to appreciate the adventure all around her.
Frankly I regret having healed so quickly as this means I will no longer lay claim to her attentions. But I think feel that something wonderful has begun between us and all thanks to jellyfish.
Log of the Minnow: Jonas Grumby, Cptn. June 20, 1965
Its been hot, muggy. Fell asleep after lunch & had a weird dream. The Minnow was sailing away from the island & I was on the beach waving them off. Not everybody was aboard – maybe 3 or 4 of us. I couldn't tell which ones. Looked at my hand while I was waving & it was dark, not Hank Aaron dark but pretty dark & my arm had all kinds of bracellets hanging off it made out of shell & bones. So I look down & I'm decked out like some kind of native with a grass skirt & everything. And then it starts raining & the color on my skin starts washing off like its paint or clay or dried blood. I think I started trying to shout something to the people on the boat but that part I don't
Gilligan's back, excited about something
Prof. Roy Hinkley's journal. 6/20/65
Porkchops. Mark one in the "proof of a Divine Being/ Benevolent Creator" column because tonight we ate porkchops. Or, better yet, credit Gilligan's uncanny knack for accidental discovery. This afternoon on one of his aimless wanderings deep in the jungle he stumbled upon a feral pig snuffling for earthworms. He wisely chose not to startle it and instead followed it back to its family group. Twenty-three Polynesian pigs (considering their smallish size) probably deposited here originally by Polynesian sailors during the initial exploration of these waters in the 4th century. How they could have escaped our notice before now is a mystery but it is clear that this particular atoll must be singularly ill-suited to their flourishing given their miniscule population. I did mention this in the initial rush of excitement and convinced my fellow castaways to ration out our consumption of these docile beasts as it would be a shame to let our appetites lead to utter genocide. That being said, tonight we had porkchops.
As desirous as I was to once more enjoy the sweet meat of our porcine friends, it is interesting to note that I had an unexpected reaction to the procurement of said delicacy, meaning I was unable to kill the specimen we caught for this purpose. Strange as, once the deed was done (Skipper took over the machete for the killing stroke, offering me a look of amused disdain) I had no problem with the remainder of the butchery. This, as any high school student knows, is Biology 101. Once life had fled and it was no longer a squealing, terrified animal, it was simply a body to be dissected. It was dinner.
And now this hunter/gatherer signs off, contented and logy.
Prof. Roy Hinkley's journal. 8/1/65
I put forth the extra effort this morning. I rose and saw to my ablutions with far greater attention. Using the mirror I made of tin cans pounded flat and polished, I took my penknife to the shockingly wild mass of hair and beard growing on my head, trimming it into a more civilized configuration. I found it nearly impossible to recognize the gaunt, dark-skinned savage that peered back at me from the mirror but, doing my best, I managed to tame him sufficiently for the task at hand. I went to find Mary Ann.
She was at the lagoon bathing and, though it is true our situation has stripped many of our inhibitions (unavoidably and by force), I still turned my back and apologized profusely. She merely laughed and assured me she was not offended. I remained so situated and asked if I could speak to her on a most sensitive subject. She said "don't be silly" and that I needn't have bothered asking. Thus emboldened I began and here I'm afraid any formulated thesis fell away and the most mawkish sentiments came issuing forth from my mouth while I felt powerless to staunch them.
I recall saying how remarkable I found her, how kind and able-bodied. I think I may have mentioned her eyes and hair. And, as ludicrous it might seem in the face of our surroundings and circumstance, I wondered aloud if she might consent to my courting her. Before any objections or apprehensions could be voiced, I hastened to add that I appreciated the difference in our ages and backgrounds but felt that it mattered not one whit.
At this I heard the sounds of her approaching out of the water, her soft footsteps on sand, and it took all the propriety left in me not to turn around. As she started dressing she told me that I was unlike any man she had ever known. She said that her boyfriend back in Winfield (who, when she left for the vacation that deposited her here, was recently her fiancé) was, in fact, my complete opposite. He's an athlete, he's loud and he's "kind of funny but not much of a thinker". She then segued oddly to the topic of my brief involvement with Ginger, expressing her condolences as to the turn of events and saying she felt "just terrible" at the way "that floozy" treated me. In defense of Ginger I pointed out that her attentions had been flattering and, in the beginning at least, quite romantic. I even quoted back her wonderful sentiment that something in my eyes answered a question in her heart. I had barely managed to finish this before Mary Ann laughed incredulously and said, "Bwana Beach Party". This seemed gibberish to me and I was again tempted to turn before Mary Ann elaborated, saying, "That's the line Ginger said to Rod Taylor in that movie 'Bwana Beach Party'. It's the only movie of hers I ever saw." I felt so immensely foolish at that moment and admitted as much; then I felt her hand on my arm and I turned. She was clothed but still wet from her bath. Rivulets of water coursing from the line of her jaw down her throat and between her breasts. She smiled delightfully (I have come to the conclusion, though statistically improbable, that she does everything delightfully) and said how flattered she was by my attentions and that we should proceed with caution and see how things developed. I said that such an ordered, methodical approach echoed my own preference and then she leaned in to kiss me quite gently on the lips.
Such a euphoria coursed through me at this simple contact that I cannot recall what words were exchanged next nor indeed what activities may have filled the hours between then and now.
This, I take it, is love. Fascinating.
Log of the Minnow: Jonas Grumby, Cptn. Sep. 18, 1965
Tonight was weird. Don't know what happened. No I know what happened but I don't know why. Decided to screw the day. Let everybody do there own work for once. Let Hinkley build more toys out of tin cans & seashells while Mary Ann giggles & shakes her apple ass at him. Let Ginger flirt with that sad old man & let Gilligan keep on the lookout for headhunters & U-Boats all he likes. I went for a walk. Took a couple strips of dried eel & some breadfruit & covered a lot of ground. Headed up the hill after a while & just stretched out, breathed in the salt & let the sun bake me like I was a country club playboy. Felt good & calm, didn't mind the quiet. Loved it. Even when the others started calling for me around sunset I just kept laying there. Darkness came on & I stayed put. The moon came up bright & after a few hours I was sure I was the only one awake on the whole island except the animals. Or maybe the island itself was awake. Sounds crazy but sometimes I get the feeling that maybe this place talks to me. Like how it might've talked to the natives that used to live here – the ones that carved the tabu. I was thinking about that - thinking about the island and the Minnow working together maybe to bring us here. Some kind of magic deal. The boat had to sink, gave herself up so I could be here now. But those were just thoughts I was having – funny thoughts. And then I saw it. Heard it first, more of a buzz than a rumble. A Sikorsky VS-44A not more than 500 feet up, no idea where they might've been coming from or where they were headed. Thing is the night was clear & I had picked it out in plenty of time to light the signal or used a torch with the prof's reflector thing but I didn't. Thats the part even I'm kind of surprised by. It flew right overhead like a shiny metal dragonfly & I just watched it go. Wonder why. Wonder why I don't feel bad about it.
Prof. Roy Hinkley's journal. 9/26/65
I can scarcely find the words. The past few hours have changed this place for me, loosened my already precarious grasp on hope and I doubt whether I shall ever be able to see certain of our number in a favorable (or forgiving) light again. But I am ahead of my narrative.
I am unsure if the others were even aware before it was stated but today was our first anniversary on this island. I doubt that fact would have registered as, in an objective sense, this has been just another humid, clouded, lead-colored day.
As unexceptional as this day was, there was something "off" about the Skipper. Nothing one could pinpoint, but something about him has changed of late. He works just as hard as before at our daily tasks, gathering and preparing, but he often disappears at night. When he returned from another of his excursions today, though nothing seemed outwardly amiss, we discovered that he had come to a certain resolution at which none could have guessed.
The afternoon passed easily with Mary Ann urging Gilligan to show me his latest find (our island does seem to "catch" a lot of civilization's refuse – this is either indicative of its location in re: commercial shipping lanes and the Pacific's southerly currents or it is indicative of the increasing pollution of Earth's oceans). It was a glass lens of large-ish size and free of any casing. Interesting, probably from a telescope or film camera and possibly useful. Gilligan insists it's either from the Mariner 4 or a Russian satellite and that cosmonauts would be arriving at any minute to retrieve it. Like I said, all as per usual. Until dinner.
Mary Ann had prepared grilled pig meat wrapped in dried seaweed and sweet fruit paste – a fine repast. And then the Skipper did something quite out-of-character: he stood and addressed us as formally as a statesman. He said, "If you could all listen up, there's something I need to say.
"We've been here now a year today and, as you know, they stopped looking for us after the first month. It's time we faced up to the fact that we're never going to be found."
The uproar was instantaneous as opinions and rebuttals flew. Mary Ann was asking why he thought so while Ginger just kept asking what made him so sure. Howell was alert for nce, insisting that it was inconceivable that any of his shareholders would allow him to vanish from the face of the planet like Judge Crater or Amelia Earhart. Gilligan piped up saying, "What about the Russians?" I tried to wait until the din had subsided somewhat before I voiced my opinion which, at that moment was; I could see Grumby's point. This also shocked the others but I fought to explain myself.
I conceded that the Skipper had hit upon something, that it was vitally important that we go about our survival as if we might never be found. We should devote more time to improving our way of life here instead of building a temporary life based on the idea of temporary occupation. We could remain alert for possible rescue, maintain our signals, but we must start improving upon our current standard of living. Somehow this marginal agreement lead Skipper to respond, nodding all the while, "Which means we need a leader and that man is me."
For a moment this elicited nothing but a stunned silence. Once I regained my words, I questioned why the Skipper assumed he should be our community's chief decision-maker. He immediately countered by asking if I thought I was the "better man" for it. Regretful though it may be (but all too human), this response stirred in me feelings of such competitiveness that, yes, I took the bait and began listing off qualities of mine that made me better suited to a leadership role. I also began a tally of the inventions of convenience I had been responsible for since our arrival from which all – even he – had benefited. As I might have guessed, he then referenced his service in the Navy, his war record, and his years of captaining seagoing vessels.
The others had merely watched as these verbal resumés were volleyed back and forth until I finally trumped the Skipper by saying that we were all still Americans and that, while upon this island, the democratic process still held sway. The people, I said, would vote for their leader. Grumby said fine. He then asked for a show of hands as to who thought he should be our leader. All hands rose save Mary Ann's. And that was the end of it. If the Skipper tried to conceal his smugness over the victory, he did a poor job of it.
When dinner was through I stayed to help Mary Ann clean and also to thank her for being my solitary supporter. She looked a mite embarrassed before admitting that she hadn't voted for me but chose, rather, to abstain (a word I had to help her with). My heart, I confess, sunk to hear this and I excused myself.
The campfire was dying and my spirits were equally dimmed when my wanderings brought me past the hut that had once been the Howells'. Mr. Howell had, of late, been improving somewhat. Meaning, at least, his outward show of despair had calmed and he had offered flashes of his former irascibility and pompousness. Thus I was concerned to hear him crying once more, the sound carrying through the slight barrier of the hut's walls. First concerned and then surprised to hear Ginger's voice issue from within saying what I made out to be, "Write me another one". Howell responded, still through tears, "Yes. Anything, anything, only please…"
I am ashamed of my next action but I could not deny my curiosity. When I parted the sailcloth door of the hut what I saw within sickened me. Howell, glazed and sobbing, was sitting upon the lip of his cot repeating over and over, "Lovey…oh, Lovey…" while Ginger knelt before the wretched soul performing fellatio upon him. I find it difficult to write these words but far more difficult will be living with the image in my mind. What is becoming of us? Who are these people?
Log of the Minnow: Jonas Grumby, Cptn. Sep. 27, 1965
Hinkley had better watch himself.
Prof. Roy Hinkley's journal. 10/22/65
Mr. Howell is dead. We were alerted to this by a bloodcurdling shriek of Ginger's that sent us all bolting into the jungle 'til we came upon the scene. There, in the boughs of the tree overlooking his wife's grave, hung the Giant of Industry by an Italian leather belt-made-noose. Ginger had been looking for him since sunset for what purpose I would rather not speculate when she found him there, dead for probably hours, his head bent horribly to a side and his face a grotesque mask of burst capillaries obscuring even the "gin blossoms" he wore cavalierly across his proboscis.
Although I cannot understand what relationship (if that's even the correct word to use) Howell had begun with Ginger, I believe I can appreciate the emptiness the death of his wife left behind. And although I cannot fathom the life this man once knew, I can relate to the despair that led him to that tree.
Gilligan cut him down and the Skipper and I dug the grave. There were a few tears this time but there was no eulogy. Thurston Howell III had been a difficult acquaintance at best and, though there was sympathy amongst us, there were no kind words.
I am left to wonder if this is how we will each end our time here, as the weeks become months become years, as all hope is quashed by the open sea and endless sky. A resolution here in print: tomorrow I will begin my planning in earnest to see that my fate takes an alternate course – steered by myself towards a more welcome shore.
On the radio today, somewhere amidst the nonstop rotation of Gilligan's favorite band "The Beetles" (whom he prefers to call "The Mosquitoes" because, he informs us, he thinks beetles are scary), came a news report with the briefest mention that Bob Woodward has won the Nobel prize for organic chemistry. Meanwhile his former pupil is huddled in a corner of a bamboo hut, scratching in this journal by torchlight, ignoring the tentative rapping at my door by Ginger Grant, and it has just begun to rain. Enjoy it, Bob.
Log of the Minnow: Jonas Grumby, Cptn. Oct. 22, 1965
Howell's dead now. Killed himself. Put him next to his wife. Mary Ann said it must have been a broken heart that did him in. I said it was having to shit in the woods & wipe his ass with leaves that did it. Gilligan laughed.
Log of the Minnow: Jonas Grumby, Cptn. Oct. 29, 1965
I'll give her this, she waited a week. Ginger came by. Made a big production. Crying - the works. Said she didn't know what I might've heard about her & Howell but she was only trying to comfort the poor guy. Sure. I told her she better watch it or she was likely to have a kid & not know who its daddy was until it started playing with testtubes or the stock market or boats. She laughed - said that was no problem cause she had her tubes tied. Did it when she first hit Hollywood & realized how many couches shed be laying on. Don't know why that surprised me but it did. Thats something I never understood. Seems to me we're only here for one reason & that's to pop out more poor saps to keep the human race going. So you take that away – by choice even – & what good are you? Itd be better if she could cook like Mary Ann but she cant even do that. I didn't say any of that of course cause I was horny. Maybe its because I was just thinking about her but while I was screwing Ginger I kept picturing Mary Ann. I liked it.
Log of the Minnow: Jonas Grumby, Cptn. Dec. 2, 1965
Profs been acting cagy like hes got something cooking that he doesn't want anybody knowing. If he thinks I'll wade out into the soup the rains have made out of the ground just so I can peek over his shoulder hes got another think coming. I'll find out soon enough. Til then I gotta put up with him puppydogging around Mary Ann (holding hands for christs sake – makes me want to puke) & shooting me looks. Meanwhile Ginger wont work anymore – wont lift a finger – & she whines & bitches & cries all day. Called me a monster. She ought to look at herself lately.
Prof. Roy Hinkley's journal. 12/31/65
Just as I had settled on a design (based on my admittedly sparse knowledge of the structure of Polynesian "outrigger" canoes which historically are capable of crossing hundreds of sea miles under both sail and paddle), the monsoon season was upon us again. My primary regret is not the regular beatings we incur from wind and rain but that 1966 finds us, as a group, resigned to a life under the growled edicts of Jonas Grumby – a man at increasing ease with his unchallenged dictatorship.
I will wait out the weather, collect and prepare the tools I will need to provide an escape from this place, if for no others than certainly for Mary Ann and myself.
She fell asleep in my lap tonight, too tired to be stirred by my shiftings and my scratching in this warped and crackling journal. She is the only thing that matters anymore. That thought causes me both deep concern and unabashed happiness.
Log of the Minnow: Jonas Grumby, Cptn. Feb. 22, 1965
The thing is if I say 'this needs to be done' – whatever it is – then you better do it. I know Hinkley's sneaking off into the jungle to build something. Its bound to be a raft. Whatever. He can chop down every last tree in the jungle & build himself a ocean liner for all I care but he had better not brush me off when I say its time to shore up the huts or repair the pig-pen before we get slammed with another ball-soaker. I am the boss around here & its not a smart move (no matter how many diplomas you got) to fuck with the boss. Goddam all I'm asking is that these people fall in line. You don't see Gilligan second guessing me.
Prof. Roy Hinkley's journal. 3/19/66
He's done it again. Gilligan the intrepid has blindly unearthed further treasures like some idiot savant Jim Hawkins. Responding to his echoing calls, Mary Ann and I (surreptitiously involved in the weaving of a grass and reed sail for the proposed escape craft) raced towards and up the hills on the eastern side of the island where we found him craning precariously from a cave opening some sixty feet above us – one hand gripping a sturdy root-like vine and the other waving at us with a large Japanese flag.
Once we reached the cave for ourselves we were astonished to discover within a wealth of Japanese military paraphernalia obviously abandoned at the close of the second World War. There were rifles and ammunition boxes brittle with oxidation. There were multiple crates which contained rations and bottles of rice wine. Most importantly, to me, was the remains of a radio transmitter, somewhat abused by time and neglect but possibly reparable. Gilligan and Mary Ann, however, seemed more excited by the wine.
It would appear this island served as a base, intentional or accidental, for the Japanese navy. The cave was a perfect roost as its entrance within a crevice in the cliff face and the vine curtain concealing it would have made it an ideal naturally camouflaged vantage point. If this island was an outpost during the war, then it stands to reason that our location must be charted somewhere. At the war's end American military intelligence would have confiscated all such information, so what puzzles me (and I did state this aloud) is why this island wasn't included in the search for us? The scenario proffered by the Skipper was that it is highly unlikely that the Japanese surrendered all of its strategic information to the Allies. "Those slants, they're too crafty a bunch for that," he said. His reasoning was solid, if inelegantly relayed, but I was more surprised that he spoke to me at all. Our relationship (such as it is) grows more strained with each passing day and it is not a one-sided dislike on his part. I believe he feels undermined by my intellect and that my various projects for signaling and/or departing this island threaten to spoil his intentions which are increasingly evident: Grumby does not want to leave. And in the face of this and his bullying manner, my own prejudice has become difficult to conceal. I am still, of this writing, not planning on including the Skipper in the project.
Regardless, Gilligan's discoveries were cause of some excitement amongst the five of us and someone (Mary Ann?) suggested we celebrate. Ginger proposed a luau. Gilligan suggested a birthday party. When I asked whose birthday it was, Gilligan replied, "Mine!" Surprised, I asked him if he knew what calendar day it presently was and he said, "The day before my birthday!" The Skipper then threw his arm around Gilligan and stated that was good enough for him and that tomorrow we shall have a birthday party for Gilligan. Again we, as a whole, acquiesced and Grumby was reassured that his word was law. So tomorrow we throw a birthday party for our beloved simpleton. But, presently, I want to examine this radio.
Log of the Minnow: Jonas Grumby, Cptn. March 20, 1966
SKiPPER LET ME RiTE ThiS. Hi SKiPPER! iTS MY BiRTH DAY ToDAY. iM ALL GRoWN UP. WERE GoiNG To HAVE FUN & EAT PiG & DRiNK JAP WiNE & THERES GoiNG To BE PRESENTS. iTS GoiNG To BE FUN! EVRY BoDYS GoiNG To LAF & DANCE ARoUND HAPPY & THEYLL SAY WE LoVE YoU GiLLiGAN WE WANT YoU To BE KiNG oF THE iLAND & iLL SAY oKAY.
Log of the Minnow: Jonas Grumby, Cptn. March 21, 1966
It happened so fast. Saw her on top of him like that, bouncing away with her ass hanging out & the look on his face. Hes just a kid. Its almost like I wasn't there or somebody else picked up that rock, brought it down over & over. So angry, crazy angry. That crazy feeling – haven't felt like that since that whore in Seoul. Bad & bloody. She was drunk - laughing right up til the first blow & she just went down. I couldn't stop. Gilligan watched it all. Her blood all over him. The look on his face. Jesus.
Prof. Roy Hinkley's journal. 3/21/66
Horrible. Our number is newly decreased by one and this time it is Ginger Grant that we buried deep in the jungle.
I do not understand this and I am trying to keep mordant suspicions at bay. The sequence of events as I recall them:
The "birthday party" (for Gilligan's 27th birthday – 27! When the Skipper let this slip I nearly choked on a mouthful of pork) began at sunset. There was a fire, a roast pig (whose head Gilligan put his hat on), and bottles of twenty year-old rice wine.
Said wine was liberally consumed – the first alcohol we've had since arriving. It had the affect of making Mary Ann silly, Gilligan sillier, the Skipper morose and Ginger much more openly brazen (I seem to recall her doing a "bump and grind" dance for the birthday boy, only managing a "bump" before drunkenly losing her balance and falling off the table). I, as noted on previous occasions, displayed no outward characteristics of intoxication at all.
At party's end – or the moment it seemed that all were going their disparate ways – I was helping an unconscious Mary Ann back to her hut. Ginger was leading a barely erect Gilligan off into the jungle saying something about his "present". Skipper remained at the table, mechanically downing swigs of wine.
I awoke late this afternoon, my head pounding from the previous evening's excesses, to the sound of Mary Ann sobbing wildly. She had entered my hut and was pulling me to my feet. Once outside, blinking painfully in the light, I was given the dreadful news in disjointed gasps as Mary Ann led me to the all-too familiar jungle clearing that has become our graveyard. While I was stunned at the tragedy, I was alarmed at Mary Ann's grief over the death of someone I assumed (and memory bears out) that she had little love for. I can only speculate that Mary Ann is suddenly aware of her place as the only female left in our dwindling number. I'm sure it's a lonely role to assume.
Gilligan was already digging a grave while Skipper knelt beside Ginger's body. She was arranged in repose with two or three palm fronds covering her head and face. Without prompting, Grumby relayed (from Gilligan's account) a sequence of events whereby Ginger had drunkenly attempted to scale the rocks by moonlight and then simply fallen to her death. When I asked Gilligan for his version of the incident he blankly stated, "She fell and hit her head on a rock". In fact, whenever the subject was broached again for the rest of the day – a day which found him spending many hours after the burial staring as if mesmerized into the eyes of the pig head which still sat in the middle of our table - his response was just as flat and rote. "She fell and hit her head on a rock."
Could this have happened as stated? Of course it could. We were all witness to Ginger's condition at the party. Gilligan's near-catatonic state concerned me but not nearly as much as Ginger's wounds as glimpsed by myself when helping Skipper lower her into the ground. Her head was destroyed from what appeared to the naked eye to be multiple blows to the cranium with something large and jagged (lest my observations read as clinical and unfeeling, I can assure the reader that this was a savage and startling sight for me given my former intimacies with the woman). Most damning of all, however, was the lack of apparent bruising on any other part of her body. If she truly tumbled from a height down a path of jagged rock, wouldn't her entire body bear the marks of such impacts? These observations were immediate but my prudent instinct was to keep them to myself.
While Skipper was in the hole and I above handing Ginger down to him, I watched his face – looking for clues there, I suppose. It seemed, for the briefest instant as he took hold of her shoulders, that I saw something like grief or remorse there but that soon dissipated as he was suddenly showered with what looked at first to be random slips of paper that came sliding and fluttering out of Ginger's bra, shaken loose by our handling of her. These were then revealed to be bank cheques drafted by Mr. Howell to Ginger in the amounts of thousands, even millions of dollars for (as scrawled in the billionaire's hand) "services rendered". The realization of what these were soured Grumby instantly to such a noticeable degree that Mary Ann, even in her grief, asked him what was wrong. Sharing a look between us, Skipper said nothing as did I. We filled the grave in quickly after that.
The seven are now four.
Log of the Minnow: Jonas Grumby, Cptn. Apr. 17, 1966
I spent the night on the hill again. Had to listen. And its all okay. This is the way it should be. All the worthless ones gone. This is good. These people can stay. These people I can use – these people the island can use. Gilligans loony but he can work. Profs not ready to fall in line but he works hard, sometimes comes up with something useful. Mary Ann is pretty much perfect. Good with her hands, sturdy, adapts, stays quiet mostly. Need to find out if shes fertile. It will be important.
Prof. Roy Hinkley's journal. 6/4/66
The work has been excrutiating and all-consuming but strides are being made. Each step along the way – the felling of a tree with the proper circumference and the hand-carving with stone, shell and wood implements – has been diffcult enough with only Mary Ann for assistance but made even more challenging by attempting to carry out this project under the observation of Grumby. He makes a good show of disinterest but he watches, he knows. For now, however, he makes no move to help or hinder. At this rate I hope to have the craft completed by early February in time to avoid the squalls but take advantage of the powerful currents of that season.
The voyage itself will likely take a week-and-a-half to two weeks (given the ratio of rowing to sailing and factoring in time to rest – we should, ideally, manage twenty or so miles a day). My hopes are that halfway to our destination (the "Big Island") I will be close enough to use the Japanese radio set we discovered. Its hand-cranked generator is in working order and though its capacitors were somewhat damaged and its counterpoise wires missing, I have cannibalized enough of our former AM radio (sorry, Gilligan, no more "Mosquitoes" for you) to insure a weak transmitter signal which I will utilize within range of the island to hopefully reach nearby ships or the Coast Guard. We will take enough gourds of fresh water and stores of food to last twice as long as I anticipate the trip taking and I will also pack the telescope I've constructed using the glass lens Gilligan found months ago, bamboo tubes and the eyepieces from my fieldglasses.
Mary Ann, ever my beacon of hope, works doggedly and smiles through the chores even though her hands are just as bloody as mine. She has stated on more than one occasion though that she wishes we could take Gilligan with us. Her heart, it seems, has room for all.
On the subject of our first mate I wish I could report an improvement of his vacant frame of mind but here, months after Ginger's death, he seems just as lost as that night spent staring at the decapitated pig's head. He spends most of the day wandering the shore, collecting detritus and bringing it back to camp, weaving cartoonish fantasies out of each new find. Again, as before, it is hard to discern what Gilligan actually believes and what he knows to be diversionary fantasy as he blathers on about mad scientists, "jungle boys", vampire bats and 4-foot long "black morning spiders", but the impression he gives is of one who has completely detached from a rational, objective view of reality. Perhaps that's best in a way as the tensions between those remaining have become poisonous; the days full of wordless stares and avoidance. There are times I wish I too believed that radioactive vegetables had given me super powers.
Prof. Roy Hinkley's journal. 9/26/66
Two years. Our second anniversary on this damnable scab of an island and tonight I was pushed to a new, unfathomed depth of rage. He went too far, he made me react that way. Grumby has abandoned all sense of propriety and the result, the regrettable, despicable result, was entirely inevitable.
In general we have been carrying out most activities separately but, this evening, perhaps out of some sense of occasion, we gathered together for a communal dinner. It was a quiet affair for the most, Gilligan humming as he ate. I opened another of the bottles of wine and proposed a toast to our fallen friends. The Skipper grunted and downed his cup in a flash. Mary Ann squeezed my hand, a supportive gesture, and I smiled back. She leaned in for a kiss which I readily supplied. For all of my growing discontent, the moment was perfect. A clear night of stars, a strong but pleasant s/easterly wind, the rich smells of sea and fire. But when we parted, we found Grumby staring across the flames at Mary Ann. It was an improper expression and one that he held far too long, breaking it only to tilt the wine bottle to his mouth, forgoing the cup altogether.
Then he rose, crossed to the log that served as our bench and took a seat on the opposite side of Mary Ann. Before a word could be uttered, he pulled her physically to him, one arm around her waist and the other hand turning her head to face him. He said, "My turn" and mashed his lips against hers. This was so jarring and happened so quickly that it was a few seconds before the reasoning centers of my brain made sense of the optic data. But once it registered I was on my feet, asking quite incredulously just what he thought he was doing. Mary Ann was squirming in his embrace but seemed unable to free herself. Grumby let her go to stand and face me. There's little likelihood that I could quote the man directly as the statements he then made fell on disbelieving ears, but the gist of his ramblings was that Mary Ann belonged to him too and that she knew what her job was now if we were to survive. There was something in his manner, in the words and their suggestion, in his very posture – standing there like some shaggy Neanderthal chieftain – that set me alight. I felt displaced, disembodied, all I knew was that my entire body had tensed and somehow my fist had shot forward and connected concussively with the Skipper's face.
From where she cowered yards away, Mary Ann shrieked. Gilligan laughed. And Grumby rocked backwards, staggered but momentarily, and righted himself, eyes fixated on me and a look of flat, animal fury in his eyes. I was sure I was soon to be reaping the fruit of my unthinking assault (his own hands, huge and calloused, were rolled into ready fists at his side), but he did nothing but shoot a jet of blood and mucous from his rapidly swelling nose and then grin at me. A hard, sneering grin.
I remember this: he wiped at the blood seeping into his beard and said, "All right then. All right."
I was preparing for more, for a returned blow, for a tackling run, but he merely reached down for the wine bottle and wandered off towards the beach. Mary Ann came to me then and we made for the hut. She dropped off an hour or so ago but I doubt I will sleep much tonight.
Log of the Minnow: Jonas Grumby, Cptn. Sept. 28, 1966
Hinkley's got a pair. They may be tiny little things but he finally showed them. If this is the way he wants to go Im game. Sometimes you just got to let them know who runs the ship & sometimes you have to go hard. He wants to keep her to himself, hell find out soon enough it doesn't work that way. Not here. My island, my rules.
Prof. Roy Hinkley's journal. 12/19/66
The worst monsoon of the season to date sent Mary Ann and I up the hill and into the first cave that seemed like it would provide sufficient cover. This has become standard procedure so neither of us felt overly concerned. Since our last unpleasant encounter with Grumby, Mary Ann and I have moved our camp farther into the jungle within sight of our outrigger-in-progress. Mary Ann, out of compassion or conscience, still leaves a meal on their table once a day but that's as much contact as we've had with those two in weeks.
She was quiet tonight as she has been for some time now. Discontent? Nervousness at our upcoming voyage? Paucity of conversational subject matter? My explorations into the cause yield no definitive response. She did ask me, quite unprovoked, if I believed in Fate. It was such a strange question coming from her that I asked what she meant. She said, "Do you ever think that, maybe, we were supposed to come here?" The earnest, almost pleading way she posed this question put me in mind of Howell's query regarding the existence of Heaven and my response to Mary Ann was much the same. I replied that, no, as a man of science, I had seen little evidence to support the idea of an external guiding hand directing our lives. Besides, to admit to oneself that you are nothing more than a chesspiece being moved about a board is to also strip oneself of any pride in accomplishment or, indeed, the very drive to accomplish at all. I said that I find it far more amazing to consider the probabilities, the random factors, the unfathomable chance encounters of innumerable variables that come into play with each moment of our lives. Just think, I said, what kind of cosmic mathematics were involved in bringing us together here, on this island, in this cave, during this storm.
I offered this remark as a romantic gesture, but Mary Ann looked just as mysteriously melancholy as before. But we held onto each other and, as the wind shrieked, the rain sheeted and the thunder boomed, we made love; a far more tender act (surroundings aside) than any I experienced with poor Ginger. Truly, this island life has altered so many of my preconceptions of what it means (or is supposed to mean) to be a man, a lover, a member of society, a survivor. Valuable lessons which I will be intrigued to apply back in civilization.
The only mar on an otherwise wonderful event came towards the end of our coupling when, in a flash of lightning, Mary Ann was convinced she saw someone spying on us from the mouth of the cave. I assumed she meant the Skipper – a possibility which had me immediately assuming a defensive posture – but when I turned to look for myself, there was no one there. Mary Ann then elaborated. It had been Gilligan observing us from mere feet away; observing and, said she, "playing with himself" all the while.
If there had been the slightest percentile of possibility that we could have made it to Hawaii with our canoe in its current state, we would have cast off last night.
Log of the Minnow: Jonas Grumby, Cptn. Jan. 3, 1967
I talk to her when she comes. Tell her what she needs & how its going to be. She knows it & I know shes listening. It chose her for me – it wants her to stay. Where does she think shes going.
Prof. Roy Hinkley's journal. 2/13/67
At last. The pontoon is fitted and the resin shellac (while not as watertight as one would wish) has dried and tested well. The mast is raised and rigged. All in all a sturdy if crude ship that I have dubbed (tongue very much in cheek) the "Beagle II". Mary Ann didn't get the joke even after I explained the reference but she smiled anyway.
This afternoon we took her out for her maiden voyage and the craft does well. My concerns on managing the swells and breakers close to the reefs were laid to rest as, using only the rough-hewn oars of our manufacture, Mary Ann and I were able to ride them out. It supports our weight plus that of our supplies and radio and the pontoon does a fine job balancing the craft and absorbing the shock of the buffeting waves. My admiration for the engineering genius of those ancient Polynesian sailors knows no bounds.
The final (and, perhaps, most ethically questionable) obstacle in our way is the acquisition of the Skipper's charts and sextant. Mary Ann has agreed to retrieve these tomorrow morning while Grumby fishes. Once she has them, we will meet at the beach where the canoe is currently staked down.
In mere hours the two of us will bid this island and its self-proclaimed ruler an overdue farewell. A great adventure and, if I am true to the task, a return to the 20th century awaits us. I will dream tonight of crisp, starched sheets, cotton underwear, coffee with four sugars and chicken Marsala.
Prof. Roy Hinkley's journal. 2/14/67
Gone. I don't understand how The smell should have told me but I thought – it seemed like just another morning – a breakfast fire. But the smoke was coming from the wrong area.
She wasn't there. I ran for the beach but Mary Ann wasn't to be seen. Just the boat. Just what was left of the boat. A long black scorch, nothing more than a burned-out firelog still crackling and blazing orange in places. It would have taken hours to burn it down like this. While I slept. Nearly a year's labor, all my hopes gone. All gone except for the sail, ripped from the mast and laid out on the sand before the ship like a welcome mat. And painted on the sail in sticky, dried pig's blood, "NOBODY LEAVES." I was numb, I was sick, I got physically sick as I stood there. I dropped to my knees in the sand and vomit and I cried. I'm still crying. And Mary Ann, where
I don't know why I'm still writing.
I sought him out, not an hour ago, back at the old camp. And he was there, stretched out on his vine mesh hammock, grinning at me, his face still smudged from the fire he set. The sight of him enraged me to an extent I would hardly have believed myself capable. He didn't rise, just said, "You get my message?" I caught a glimpse of Mary Ann peering out of the hut that was once hers and Ginger's, an expression of shame, perhaps, on her face. I called out to her but it was Grumby who answered.
He said she didn't need to respond to me, that she had "come to her senses" about where she belonged. He said that instead of "committing suicide" by setting sail with me, she chose to stay in "our paradise" with him. She would serve us all and provide us with strong children to keep the island alive. It was "what the island wants." He just kept spouting this madness until I could bear it no longer.
I leapt upon him, breaking the hammock and sprawling us both on the ground. From on top of him, I rained down blows but he's very strong (more so now, I believe, than when we first arrived) and my attack seemed to have little effect. When he displaced me from my position and began striking me in the face and torso, I'm afraid he had much greater success. Each impact was an explosion of light and pain and I felt consciousness threatening to leave me. Somewhere past the Skipper's fists I heard Mary Ann emit one timid, "Stop – please" while Gilligan just laughed and clapped like he was at a Punch and Judy show. My defense was meager, trying to block his strikes while simultaneously kicking my legs, twisting myself vigorously to get out from under his bulk. In a burst of ingenuity and desperation, I lobbed a handful of sand into his eyes and won my release. He spat and exclaimed but I was already running by the time he'd gotten to his feet. I didn't look at Mary Ann, couldn't, I just made a dash for the jungle.
It's a small island and one well-explored by those it has hosted for these last two years but I made my way here, to a tree-top lookout I constructed during the early months of shipbuilding, and I should have some warning when the Skipper comes looking for me. I hope he does, soon, for I am newly resolved – a commitment of every physical and intellectual resource at my disposal – that he will die. I will see to it that that man perishes by my own hand.
Log of the Minnow: Jonas Grumby, Cptn. Feb. 15, 1967
I let him go this time. Let him spend a little time jumping at shadows. Shouldve known it would come down to this – him & me. She ought to be flatered.
Prof. Roy Hinkley's journal. 3/23/67
A pattern has been established. I detect Grumby approaching (my various and quite basic "early warning" systems – mainly tripwires and coconut shell "chimes" – are doing their jobs), wait until he's spotted me and then I dash off for the next hidey-hole up a tree or into a cave or even into the ocean. I am buying time, building up his sense of overconfidence at his skills as a hunter and establishing a profile of myself as the inept, frightened prey. Days are passing in this cat-and-mouse exercise but I'm spending the time well. No matter what random tracks I leave behind for Grumby to follow, I'm leading him, slowly, right here to this spot that I've been cultivating, preparing for his arrival. Let him stalk through the jungle like a chest-beating ape, smirking and laughing at me behind his bushy white beard, I'm the overseer of this behavioral experiment and he's following the maze perfectly to its inevitable conclusion.
And what, when this is ended, will I say to Mary Ann? What possible justifications will she muster to explain her abandonment of me and our plan for escape? Is there something Grumby has offered her that I cannot/did not? Is there, perhaps, a threat involved? There must be some influence or intimidation at work to have turned her away; I refuse to conceive of any dark cosmology in which my beloved farm girl would willingly serve as passive spectator to a brutal clash for her hand. I hope I have to believe that a day will come soon when her motives, her heart, will be made clear to me.
Prof. Roy Hinkley's journal. 4/2/67
I believed, for a moment, that it had worked. There was even the briefest glimmer of remorse for, the dark intensity of my feelings toward the man aside, there is little pleasure in causing the suffering and death of another living being.
As night began to fall the Skipper and I resumed our chase (he came upon me as I was venting my bladder from the side of the cliff). There was some cause for concern for, tonight, he had enlisted Gilligan as a second prong of attack. Giggling as if involved in the best game of "tag" of his life, Gilligan sprang at me through the brush while Grumby charged from behind and to the left. I was able to dodge their advance, scrambling low and fast through the space between them, losing my pants in the process. I just kept running, stark naked, genuinely surprised this time but clear-headed enough to lead my pursuers towards my completed trap. We, the three of us, came down the hillside quite adeptly and were immediately in the thick tree stands of the jungle. Gilligan, being the faster, was right behind me. This almost caused me to redirect our path, since I did not, in any way, wish him ill, but in the moment's heightened emotional responses, the crescendo of my hatred of Grumby, I stayed on course.
At the proper spot, marked by the half oyster shell pressed into the soft earth, I leapt. Following me and still thinking himself involved in some game, Gilligan then leapt as well, meeting me on the other side. But then came a remarkable sound. The sudden commotion from mere feet away told me that not only did Grumby not follow suit in leaping, but that my trap had, in fact, worked. The vine netting I had artfully dressed to appear as jungle floor had given way under Grumby's feet and dropped him into the 5x5x12 pit below, dropped him, more importantly, onto the gourds waiting on the pit floor. In seconds of his impact, the most unearthly bellows of pain came reverberating from the pit that I was able to continue on my way without Gilligan's notice.
I made my way here, to another semi-permanent treehouse where I had stored some supplies for an event such as this, including my crude telescope that I now used to observe the results of my labors. A month of gathering oyster shells, then grinding them down to powder, then scorching this powder until, yes, I had a supply of calcium oxide or "quicklime". I filled two dozen light-shelled gourds with this and another two dozen gourds with water. When a body as large as Grumby's were to collapse these gourds, the materials would mix and create a caustic substance that would, literally, burn a human being alive. The shrieks and roars from within the pit told me I had done just this and here is when I felt, for this first time in some while, a kind of regret that I had been brought to such barbarism – not by the circumstances of life here, but by the unrelenting aggression of one man. And this was the moment I believed the ordeal was finished, that I had won but at a terrible expense.
I watched until the screams died away (or at least to the extent that I, from my perch a quarter-mile away could no longer hear). But then I witnessed Gilligan kneeling over the pit, lowering vines down. And then came Grumby, slowly, hauling himself out of the pit like a horror movie monster – scarred and bloody and refusing to die. A despairing gasp escaped me as I watched him shakily regain his footing and then scan the area for yours truly. He never spotted me, but from my vantage I was able to frame all-too clearly the sheer rage lighting his features (newly scalded, open and red). He then roared and it was a huge, animal sound reverberating, I'm sure, through the whole of the island. This, as everything seems to do, caused Gilligan to laugh.
Denied the true object of his fury, Grumby turned on his "little buddy" and commenced a savage beating the likes of which I had never before seen. Even in his condition, seriously wounded and chemically burned on a good portion of his right side, the Skipper pounded away at Gilligan with linked fists, knee thrusts and savage kicks. He thrashed Gilligan so severely - beating the poor simpleton until he lay still on the ground, one arm wrapped around the tree trunk he had been clinging to for protection - that I was tempted to spoil my own safety and draw Grumby away. When he was done, Grumby swayed on his feet, gently feeling at his scarred flesh. Then, using his unijured left arm, he hauled Gilligan's unconscious body onto his back and vanished into the jungle.
This should have ended it. How much longer can I – any of us – survive with Grumby still drawing breath?
Prof. Roy Hinkley's journal. 4/17/67
In warfare as in all things, preparedness is the key. The past weeks have seen me once more examining the problem at hand and coming to a clear, rational solution free of the anxiety that accompanies the thought of further clashes with Grumby and free of the ongoing frustration and disappointment thoughts of ever-abstaining Mary Ann bring.
I have made this cave (the former home of those Japanese soldiers from long ago) my base and my defensive stronghold. I have ventured outside only briefly to collect food or to see to my snares. The only entrance or exit is the curtain of vines spilling from the lip of the cliff above and I have partially cut all but one (which I have marked for my own reference). Anyone attempting to scale down to the cave's entrance will snap their vine and go tumbling to the rocks and surf below. Even if Grumby were to gain entry he wouldn't get three feet before tripping the spring-activated swing arms (made of taut stripling trees, notched and ready, one on either side of the cave walls) affixed with hardwood spikes. Grotesquely medieval, true, but sure to be effective.
For all the power and rage within him, for all his primitive indomitability and drive, my opponent is still merely a man. A man in his 50s, yet. He can be killed. And he must be if I am to restore some sanity to this place; so that Mary Ann, Gilligan and I can continue our efforts to live comfortably while always pursuing rescue. The world we knew is still out there and close, so tauntingly close. There is no power keeping us here, no magic, voodoo, or Fate. Am I the only one who still believes this? Am I the only one keeping a level
Snapped his neck from behind. Sat in the dark while he wrote in this. Made it into the cave while he was gone. Been watching him for days before. Watched him build his traps – nasty. Smart. Whos the smart guy now. Took what I wanted from him – strange taste – threw the rest to the sharks. Feel strong. Full. Ill go home now, shes waiting for me.
Associated Press article October 17, 1978
SHIPWRECK SURVIVORS FOUND AFTER 14 YEARS
(AP) --In a scenario worthy of author Daniel Dafoe, survivors of the ill-fated cruise of the SS Minnow were discovered on an uncharted Pacific island early Saturday evening by a deep-sea fishing crew.
The Minnow, an island-hopping charter boat, left Honolulu Harbor on September 24, 1967 and was presumed capsized during the rapid formation of tropical storm Sherwood. A massive sea/air rescue effort failed to locate any trace of the vessel or its passengers save a smattering of debris. In a tragedy widely reported at the time, the boat's two crewmen and all five passengers, including billionaire entrepreneur Thurston Howell III, his wife Eunice and movie actress Ginger Grant, were declared missing, presumably dead. Until three days ago, that is, when Captain Felton Gaertner of the SS Columbia's Folly spotted a plume of smoke issuing from a green atoll not appearing on any of his ocean charts, six hundred miles southeast of Hawaii.
"It was curiosity more than anything," Gaertner said, "Cause enough for a look-see, but nothing more."
Curiosity, so says Gaertner, turned quickly to surprise as his ship approached the atoll closely enough to see through his binoculars what appeared to be native dwellings and a campfire.
Gaertner's tale continues, "There was a man on the beach, a skinny guy, and when we blew the ship's horns, he waved back at us."
Upon making landfall, Gaertner and his crew made the acquaintance of Willy Gilligan, 39, the first mate of the Minnow.
"A lot of what he said didn't make sense," Gaertner relates, "but we were able to figure out he wasn't a native fisherman."
Escorted by Gilligan to the campsite, Gaertner and his men made note of the rough-hewn huts and ingenious water-gathering apparatus all constructed from the island's natural resources. Their arrival was then acknowledged by the Minnow's captain, Jonas Grumby, 64; fellow castaway and Grumby's common law wife, Mary Ann Summers, 34; and their two sons born since the shipwreck, Jonas Jr., 9, and William, 7; who cautiously approached Gaertner's crew.
Says Gaertner, "It was a while before they would talk. Almost like they'd forgotten how. Once we figured out who they were, what ship they'd been on, we all were pretty stunned. I mean, these people had been here for fourteen years. They were barely dressed all in shreds of cloth, grass skirts and pigskin loincloths, wild looking; the big guy in particular with the huge, bushy, white beard."
Joel Manzari, crewman of the Columbia's Folly and a pre-med student at Hawaii's John A. Burns School of Medicine, gave the castaways a cursory eaxamination. "Each of the survivors appears to be in excellent health apart from the usual markings of a hard, outdoor life. The Skipper (Grumby) does appear to have been badly burned at one point in the past but with no apparent effect past the scar tissue."
The story of their survival, as related by Mr. Grumby, is a harrowing account of a collection of people from different walks of life struggling together against the elements in an unforgiving environment. It is also, sadly, a tale of lives lost to that struggle. According to the survivors, the Howells perished within months of their arrival from exposure, Ms. Grant died in an accidental fall in 1966 and Roy Hinkley, professor of organic chemistry at Van Nuys State University, was the victim of a shark attack a year later.
Though initially eager to tour Gaertner's boat, Grumby and his family then seemed reluctant to sail back to Hawaii and an America that would likely welcome them back as heroes.
As witnessed by Captain Gaertner, "The woman, Mary Ann, she at first seemed interested in coming back with us, with her kids, but Grumby said no and she followed suit."
The Columbia's Folly deposited the castaways back on their atoll, promising a return with supplies and amenities within the week.
"I want to check in on them, give them another opportunity to think about coming back with us," says Gaertener. "But it's clear to all of us that that island really is their home and after all this time I don't think they want to leave."