I don't own Gilligan's Island. If I did, I would go retire there right now… with lots of sun-block. I don't own any of the characters or the theme song, either. Wish I did, I might be rich! Many thanks to KDM and KC for their help along the way, and to Gerald Gardner and Dee Caruso, writers of "The Producer."
As for my story, I hope it speaks for itself, even though for a while I was discouraged by the number of rewrites and changes it went through - So many, that for a time I was hesitant to post it, wondering if it was still a good story at all, but I decided to go ahead – I detest wasting time, especially my own.
I have always felt that The Producer should been the first show of Season Three and an hour-long special… I can easily think of at least one show from the third season (it shall remain nameless, but I really hate it) that could have been zapped to cover production costs. The castaways went from "Let's write a musical," to a fully developed production (at least for a half-hour comedy) in the blink of an eye… I only wish writing anything was that easy – it sure isn't for me. This piece hopefully fills in the missing moments… My opinion, anyway!
Missing Scenes from "The Producer"
"I was just thinking…" Gilligan started, "…If we put on a musical, with Ginger as the star, H.H. would see how great she was."
"That's a GREAT idea, Gilligan," the Skipper answered sarcastically, "A dumb one!"
The first mate rose and started to leave.
"On the contrary!" the Professor argued, "That's a marvelous idea, Gilligan!"
Gilligan came back to the table, satisfied, and sat down again.
"But, Professor," the Skipper objected, "When you put on a stage show, you've gotta have rehearsals! H.H. has been running our legs off, all day long!"
"But he doesn't call us at night," Gilligan pointed out.
"Oh, you're really something… at night!"
Looking peeved, Gilligan stood up again and moved away from the table.
"Why not? We could use torches," the Professor pointed out.
The first mate came back and sat down with the other two men. "Yeah, and we can rehearse in the clearing, where he can't hear us."
The Skipper, not yet willing to give up his position, still fought the plan. "But Heckubah puts on musicals! It just so happens we don't have any musicals to put on!"
The scientist stood and headed for a small bookshelf on the other side of the room, the other two men following him.
"The Howells have records, and we brought some books, and books are always being made into musicals," he said, starting to reach for one of the tomes.
The Skipper's blue eyes lit up. "Say, maybe we COULD make a musical out of some of these books!"
The Professor opened one, and turned to the title page: "Four-Masted Schooners I Have Known..." he read.
"Uh, that's mine, Professor," the Skipper said, taking the book and reaching for another. "Integrated Calculus, by Zimmerman…"
"Uh, that's mine…" the Professor replied apologetically, taking his book with a negative shrug.
"I knew it wasn't MINE!" Gilligan interjected, with a shudder.
Ignoring him, the Professor reached for yet another volume. "Ah… how about A Million Ways to Make A Million?"
"No… that's Mister Howell's," the Skipper answered, a doubtful look on his face.
"How about the Carpenter's Handbook?" Gilligan asked, reaching for another book from the rapidly-thinning selection.
"Oh, that would be a GREAT musical… the Carpenter's Handbook!" The Skipper growled, ready to whack his little buddy in earnest.
"Didn't you ever hear a musical saw? Wawawa… " He broke off, seeing Jonas Grumby's face.
"That's enough!" the Skipper warned.
"I'm afraid it's a fruitless task," the Professor said, shaking his head.
Gilligan reached for the last book. "The only thing left is Hamlet, by William Shakespeare."
"That's it!" the scientist practically shouted, "Hamlet is a marvelous play!"
"But Heckubah puts on musicals…"
"We could put it to music!" Gilligan argued.
"Hamlet? To music?"
"Sure! We could call it Hamlet-A-Go-Go…" Gilligan started flailing his arms to a tune only he could hear…
It was now midnight. The air was barely moving, but the temperature was cool, for an island in the south pacific. Professor Roy Hinkley sat on a large log, facing the lagoon. Strewn around him were writing tablets, several scrunched up balls of paper, pencils, the copy of Hamlet, and the flute he had made when Mrs. Howell had organized the Island Symphony Orchestra two years before. Tiki-torches lit the area, but the scientist's mood was anything but bright. With a sigh, he picked up his flute and tried a series of notes, ending with a long screeching noise that sounded like some small animal caught in a trap.
"Damn," he whispered softly, glancing quickly around to see if he had been overheard. He scowled. "We brought some books, and books are always being made into musicals. We could make a musical out of one of our books!" he sing-songed, mimicking his conversation with Gilligan and the Skipper, earlier in the evening, "Me and my bright ideas! And how did I get elected to write this show, anyway? I may have six degrees, but none of them are in music!"
With a sigh, he began to play the flute again, producing nothing but tuneless, random notes. Finally he stopped, took a deep breath, and started to play a happy, lively polka. A few minutes later, he finished with a flourish.
"You're still at it, I see," he heard a voice say, and he turned to see the flame of a small torch, and then Mary Ann Summers appearing out of the island foliage. "Play another tune like that first one, and H.H. won't wait for his rescuers. He'll swim out to meet them." The Professor made a face, but she went on. "I hope you don't plan on using that second one, either."
"Why not?" The Professor grinned, already knowing the answer.
"As if you didn't know; that's Shall We Dance, from The King and I, isn't it? I read somewhere that Richard Rogers just hates sharing his music without receiving royalties." She smiled back at him.
"Well, I'm not Richard Rogers, or Oscar Hammerstein, for that matter," he retorted, feeling defeated, and trying to hide it. "What are you doing up so late?" he asked, tossing his flute up in the air and catching it.
"The Skipper told us about your project," the petite brunette replied, sitting down on the log next to him. "That, and Ginger is driving me nuts. She's been going through every stitch of clothing we both own, plus those costumes from the movie and magician's crates, trying to decide what she is going to wear when she plays Ophelia." She turned her large brown eyes toward the Professor's tired blue ones. "I thought maybe you could use some help? If you build a fire, I'll put some coffee on and we can really get to work. It could be a long night."
"You don't have to," Roy Hinkley protested, half-heartedly, but she held up a hand.
"Hey, we're all stranded here, remember? Whatever it takes for a rescue, right?"
"Yes, but I am beginning to think Hamlet is just not designed to be a musical. Me and my big mouth!"
"It could work. I loved Kiss Me Kate. You know, the Taming of the Shrew? That was a hit."
"But that was Cole Porter, and I'm not him, either. And Shrew was a comedy. But a tragedy? I don't know. Unfortunately, it's the only play we have a copy of. I'm just so frustrated…" The scientist sighed.
"Hamlet could work," Mary Ann said thoughtfully, leaning her chin on her hands.
"Well, it being a musical, we may have to change a few things; brighten it up a little, maybe, but the right tunes could do that, I think."
"IF we can write any, and I am started to think that is a really big "if." But the night is, well, not young, but if you are game, I am, Mary Ann. I could use some assistance. I'll make a fire."
"And I'll go get the fixings for coffee." The girl started to stand, but the couple was startled by the sound of rustling leaves, and scuffling canvas shoes.
"Hi, guys! What's up?" Gilligan emerged from the jungle and flopped down on the soft sand, facing them. "What are you doing out here so late? Wait! I know! You're writing Hamlet, right? Everyone's asleep, even H.H. and the Howells, so can I help ya?"
"Not really…" Roy started to say, annoyed at the first mate's interruption, but he stopped suddenly. Gilligan means well. He always means well, he told himself. "Yes, Gilligan. All right, you may assist us, if you like, in a few minutes, after we build a fire. Mary Ann is in on this project, too. And Gilligan?"
"No Hamlet-A-Go-Go, Gilligan."
"I promise, Professor."
"It's so nice to have real coffee again," Gilligan said; cupping both hands around his clay mug full of the beverage. "I'm really glad you found those coffee plants on the other side of the island, Professor!"
"Thank you, Gilligan. You won't get any arguments from me on that one," the Professor nodded. "Thanks for making it, Mary Ann."
"You are more than welcome, Professor."
The three gazed into the crackling fire for a few moments, and then, finally, Gilligan broke the silence. "So what exactly is the play about, you guys?" he asked, and before Mary Ann could interject a comment, Roy Hinkley began, in full lecture mode:
"The protagonist of Hamlet is Prince Hamlet, of Denmark. He has been studying at the University of Whittenberg and is the son of the recently deceased King Hamlet, and his wife, Queen Gertrude. After the death of his father, his Uncle Claudius, the King's brother, proclaims himself the new King and marries Gertrude. Now in the background, there is the longstanding feud Denmark is having with Norway. There is an invasion expected, which is lead by the Norwegian prince, Fortinbras. The play opens on a cold winter night at Elsinore, the Danish royal castle…"
"…When Fortinbras arrives, Horatio recounts the tale and Fortinbras orders Hamlet's body borne off in honor, and… curtain," the Professor finished, and took a swallow of his now stone-cold coffee.
Mary Ann gave him an amused smile. "And the curtain falls on a stage littered with bodies. Thanks for the review, Professor. But actually, the month before we were stranded here, I worked in a summer theater production of Hamlet at Southwestern College in Winfield… I was a sophomore there, majoring in business."
The Professor's jaw dropped. He hadn't quite expected this response. "I didn't know you knew Shakespeare… or attended college."
"I never mentioned it, I guess," she smiled. "I was taking business classes so that one day I could manage my aunt and uncle's farm. But my mother loved Shakespeare and gave me a copy of his complete works when I started high school." She paused, frowning. "I hope mama didn't give it away when she heard about… what happened to us." There was more than a hint of tears in her voice.
"I'm sure she didn't," Gilligan roused himself from his quasi-stupor and patted the girl on the shoulder awkwardly. "Any more than my mom and dad would give away my turtle, Herman."
"I don't think she would do that, either," Roy Hinkley agreed, patting the young woman's other arm, comfortingly. "I am sure someone still has your book, and that one day you will see it, and your family again, too. I wish to Heaven I had my Kent Shakespeare here! There are so many plays that would be easier to adapt than Hamlet. Much Ado, Twelfth Night…"
"Kent?" Mary Ann lifted an eyebrow.
"It's the finest edition ever printed, in my opinion, that is. Cambridge Edition Text, and Rockwell Kent did over forty black and white woodcut illustrations for it."
"Oh! Rockwell Kent! That's the same edition I have, Professor!" Mary Ann cried.
"You are very fortunate. I had to wait until I graduated from college before I received my copy. My father gave it to me. You know, now that you mention it, I rather hope he elected to keep mine, too. It was one of the few books, outside of reference material, that I took to Egypt with me for those two years." He gave Mary Ann curious look and then turned to Gilligan. What about you? Do you know the play? I mean, other than what I just… uhm… droned on and on about?" he asked, giving the other two a look of apology.
The younger man hedged, looked down, and started drawing lines in the sand. "I read the comic version once. I don't know what I would do if I ever met a real ghost. The one we thought we had haunting the island a few weeks ago was bad enough!"
"But he was pretend, Gilligan. There are no such things as ghosts, remember?"
"Shakespeare says there are. Hamlet's dad."
"Shakespeare also thought that witches were real," the Professor shook his head. "Do you think they exist, too?"
"Yeah, and they're even scarier than ghosts."
Roy Hinkley sighed. "I give up."
"The play," Gilligan started. "Just you telling it… it sounds kinda long. If it is gonna be a musical, it could run hours, and it'd take forever to learn it. We don't have that much time before H.H.'s rescuers get here… I hope."
Mary Ann nodded, agreeing. "We need to figure out some key scenes, the songs, and then maybe throw in a little dialogue between them. But who is playing what part should come first, though really. I think that's pretty easy…"
"There's a LOT of parts!" Gilligan chimed in, "We might all have to play two or three. "But, Professor, you can be Hamlet. You know the play already."
The teacher shook his head. "Absolutely not; Number one, I can't sing…"
"Yes, you can," the other two said at once.
"I've heard you sing, Professor," Mary Ann went on. "You have a nice voice."
"Thank you, my dear," the scientist looked pleased. "But there is one other matter… I'm really too old for the part!"
"What do you mean, 'too old'?" Gilligan queried. "Sometimes you are too smart, but you aren't too old. Now, Mr. Howell would be too old."
"Look," Roy Hinkley started, "In layman's terms, Hamlet is coming home from school in the beginning of the play. Even if he was in Shakespeare's day's equivalent of post-graduate studies, at most, he is twenty-five or six… a young man. Half of his whole problem is he is still a moody, kid; brooding over the murder of his father, revenge, his feelings for Ophelia, his country being in danger, but still too immature to handle any of it correctly. I ask you, would a full-grown, adult, logical person, blindly stab at a curtain without checking to make sure who he was killing? That's in impetuous thing to do. A more mature thirty-five or forty-year-old man like Lawrence Oliver, the actor from the movie, wouldn't do that. Besides, I look awful dressed in black. Hamlet wears black."
"Because he's in mourning for his dad, right?" Gilligan asked, wisely.
"Right! Very good, Gilligan!" the Professor smiled, and the first mate looked pleased with himself.
"I see what you mean," Mary Ann nodded. "You have a point, for sure. Well, Ginger already thinks she is playing Ophelia, and that's fine with me. I'm not trying to impress Harold Heckubah, she is. I'll pull back my hair or something and be Laertes." She smiled. "Hey, in Shakespeare's time, girls weren't allowed to set foot on a stage. Young men played all the girls parts. Seems only fitting I get to play a young man… long as I don't get treated like one of the boys!"
"Believe me, Mary Ann, nobody will ever think of you as one of the boys," Roy responded immediately, giving her an intense look.
Blushing, the young woman continued. "Now, Mr. and Mrs. Howell are perfect for Hamlet's mother and the king…"
"Which leaves the Skipper acting as that Polonius guy you talked about," Gilligan piped up.
"I could do some sort of intro at the beginning…" the Professor, said, rubbing the slight beard stubble on his chin.
"But…" Gilligan stuttered, "If you aren't going to play Hamlet, who is? It's a big part, isn't it?"
Not answering, the Professor and Mary Ann just looked at him.
"The biggest," the other man said, dryly.
"Me???" Gilligan squeaked, not quite getting the word out, "The lead?"
"You've got it," Mary Ann nodded. "Hey, at least you won't be playing four parts, like you did in Pyramid for Two, Ginger's play. You did fine in that."
"And really, you won't have a lot of lines," The Professor went on, "Just a song or two. Songs are easy to learn, just harder to write than I thought. We just need to give Heckubah enough of a musical sample to get him interested. He can fill in real music and lyrics later. I'm sure he won't want whatever we dream up!"
"I don't know…" Gilligan stuttered again.
"Be not afraid of greatness, Gilligan," the Professor smiled at the younger man kindly. "Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them."
"Twelfth Night," Mary Ann grinned. "The Professor is right, Gilligan. This is greatness being thrust upon YOU."
"But…" Gilligan protested, "Ginger is Ophelia, she's Hamlet's girlfriend, right? I don't want to do a love scene with Ginger. I mean, gee, I like her, but I could never KISS her in front of everyone!"
"I survived," the Professor answered, "Our ill-fated silent movie, remember? It's your turn. The Skipper and Mr. Howell just aren't the Hamlet type. But it's a MUSICAL, Gilligan!" The scientist reached over and patted him on the back. "All the real action is in the singing and maybe a few dance steps, and not a lot of that… our stage isn't big enough. I think we can work around the kissing, too, if it makes you nervous."
"And I don't think Ginger will mind that, either," Mary Ann added.
"Okay," the young man shrugged, accepting the inevitable, "The title role, huh? Wow. So what do I sing? I hope it's not opera."
"I haven't quite worked that out yet," The Professor admitted. "I've been trying… before you all arrived tonight. I've even thought up a few good lyrics, I just can't come up with any tunes. Everything I try is either discordant noise, or turns into music someone else wrote."
"I can't write music either," Mary Ann frowned, picking up the coffee pot and pouring another cup. "But I think maybe you are over-thinking things, Professor; trying to take on too much with the too little time we have. But you know, when I was in school, we used to take old tunes, classic tunes, and write new words to them. We figured what professionals could do, and get away with, we could, too."
"What do you mean?" the teacher asked, sitting up a little straighter.
"Well, Kismet, for instance… That was nothing but new lyrics set Alexander Borodin's music."
"I didn't know that!" Gilligan answered, but come to think of it, the ABC song is the same tune as Baa, Baa Black Sheep, and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. Someone borrowed someone else's music, there."
Mary Ann nodded. "And Lord of the Dance? We sing… that is, I used to sing it at church…" She began lightly:
"I danced in the morning when the world was begun,
And I danced in the moon and the stars and the sun,
And I came down from heaven and I danced on the earth,
At Bethlehem I had my birth…"
She stopped. "It was American Shaker's Simple Gifts."
"Oscar Hammerstein wrote a whole new libretto to Bizet's Carmen," the Professor snapped his fingers. "But the music didn't change at all! You know, this could work!"
"The Howells brought records…" Gilligan looked around, "Did you bring them down here? You mentioned them earlier, when you, the Skipper and I were talking."
"I was trying to write the music," Roy Hinkley answered. "But Mary Ann is correct. Our time is limited. I think the best alternative is to find the right songs and just write new words."
"The Howells put their records in the Skipper's and my hut when H.H. took over theirs. The Skipper is sound asleep… I'll go get them…" Gilligan started to dash back toward their camp.
"We'll all go," Mary Ann answered, stopping him. "We need to get the records, and our coco-phone record player, and I think I'll bring along more coffee, too, since we are going to be up for a while! One trip would be better; less of a chance of waking everyone else up, especially H.H.!"
Five-and-a-half hours later, if one were awake to listen; one would have heard three very tired voices singing:
"Neither a borrower nor a lender be,
Do not forget: Stay out of debt;
Think twice, and take this good advice from me,
Guard that old solvency!
There's just one other thing you ought to do,
To thine own self be true!"
"There! We're done! We're finally done!" the Professor cried, grabbing Mary Ann and Gilligan in a group hug.
"Really? You don't think we need another song?" Mary Ann asked.
"Well, I wouldn't mind writing you, that is, Laertes, a solo, Mary Ann," Roy Hinkley winked. "Of course it would mean staying up a while longer!"
Mary Ann shook her head. "No, thanks. I'll limit myself to being one of a trio of Honeybees. Besides, that would lead into the whole death scene at the end, and we don't have a Horatio or a Prince Fortinbras. What we have done is enough to get H.H. interested. I think we better stop while the stopping is good."
"Me, too," Gilligan nodded. "I wonder what Skipper, Ginger and the Howells will think of what we have written? I hope they don't hate it, or anything."
"I'd like to see them do better at five-thirty in the morning," the Professor yawned. "Excuse me."
"No excuses needed," Mary Ann looked up at him, her brown eyes looking even larger in the subtlety changing light. She glanced at the tablet in her hand. "I think we were getting a little slap-happy when we wrote Ginger's… Ophelia's song! I mean, From Ophelia, no one will steal ya? Can Ginger pull that off with a straight face, do you think?"
"Yeah," Gilligan nodded. "The Skipper is gonna think I made up that corny line."
"It's corny, but funny," she smiled. "I love that stanza, Professor. I still can't believe YOU actually wrote something like that."
"Not any cornier… is that a word? Than yours; Danish pastry for two, for me and you," Roy grinned.
Gilligan looked at his watch. "So… not to rush things, but are we for sure done, guys? If I leave now, I can get a couple of hours sleep before H.H. starts running us ragged again. And you two need to rest, too. I heard him say he wanted another of your coconut cream pies, Mary Ann."
"Only if I can put a frog in it," the young woman answered with a straight face.
"You wouldn't cook one of my frogs, would you?" Gilligan asked, frowning.
"Gilligan, I think Mary Ann was being facetious."
"What does that mean?"
"It means I am teasing you, Gilligan," the girl said, giving him a friendly hug and a swift kiss on the cheek. "Go on… go get some sleep. We'll pick things up here, and then I'll get a nap myself. Breakfast is already planned; just cold fruit. Ginger can serve Heckubah, if she still wants to, that is; I sure as heck wouldn't, and everyone else can get their own."
"You sure you don't want me to help you bring stuff back to camp?"
"It isn't that much; or that long a walk, Gilligan," the Professor interjected. "I think Mary Ann and I can handle it."
"Gee, thanks," the young man yawned again. "I really don't want to drop anything, and I am so tired now, I might!"
"No, we don't want that," the scientist nodded. "Here," he handed him the coffee pot. "You can take this back. Don't worry, it's empty."
"I'll put it on the rack over the cooking pit," Gilligan answered, lighting a small torch to help him find the way back to camp. "G'night, guys,"
The Professor and Mary Ann watched the first mate disappear into the jungle greenery, and then together they kicked sand into the already dying campfire, extinguishing it completely, and gathered up everything else that had been brought to the lagoon.
"We did a good night's work," the scientist sighed, as the two started walking back toward the huts. I just hope Harold Heckubah thinks so."
"He will," Mary Ann nodded. "Even if he won't admit it, at least not entirely, creep that he is."
"Almost embarrassing being rescued by him, isn't it?"
"I'll say!" Mary Ann answered, pushing a palm frond to the side of the narrow path. "But frankly, at this point I don't care. I am really much more curious about how Ginger, Skipper and the Howell's like our new musical."
"We'll need to write it out six times. What I wouldn't give for a mimeograph machine, or even carbon paper!"
"I hadn't thought of that," the young woman frowned for a moment, and then her face brightened. "Well, we'll have time, before tonight. One of us can make the first copy, and then we can do the other five together, if you want. We don't need writer's cramp on top of everything else, and it will give us a chance to do any fine-tuning. I discovered while writing college papers that I always find something that needs changing upon a re-read… or two, or three."
"You are absolutely correct, on that point; I've done the same thing myself, many a time. I'd like that. Why don't we meet in the supply hut after lunch?"
"That would work. H.H. has been taking an afternoon nap for the last two days. Bet he will today, too."
The morning light was hitting the tops of the trees and the birds had just started their morning songs when the couple deposited the record player, coffee mugs and supplies on the table in the middle of the camp. Then they strolled slowly toward the hut Mary Ann shared with Ginger, stopping in front of the entrance.
"Well…" The Professor started, and then stopped.
"Well?" Mary Ann echoed.
"I… I just wanted to…" the scientist started again.
"Yes?" She turned her face toward his.
"…To say how much I enjoyed tonight," he stuttered out. "It was most enjoyable being with… that is, writing with you.
"I've enjoyed it too, Professor."
"You still haven't told me how you know so much about the theater in general. Shakespeare, I now understand, but…"
Mary Ann shrugged. "Ever hear of the play, or the musical, Auntie Mame?"
"Of course. Good score, good plot, great actors."
"Well, I had an aunt that was a lot like that character. My Aunt Katy. Kinda nutty… eccentric. She would come to Winfield once or twice a year, usually with no notice. She loved all new experiences, some a little weird, maybe, but not harmful, and she loved theater especially. She knew EVERYONE, and for some reason she got a particular charge out of dragging me along with her, and exposing me to new things, especially movies, theater, and once we even got to visit a TV station. My parents couldn't afford the places she could take me, and my father, her brother, would never say I couldn't go. She was like… Christmas, the State Fair and Fairyland… I learned a lot of things from her. I have often wondered what she would have done, had she been stranded on this island, and not me. Probably loved it! My only regret is that she died when I was sixteen."
"I see…" Roy nodded. "I am sorry for your loss, but now your 'new'' talent makes more sense to me. You know, if you truly are interested in theater and such things, when we get back to civilization, I might be able to put you in touch with a few people at my university that can help you, if you like."
"You know, I think I would like that. After two-and-a-half years here, I believe we all might have a little adjusting to do when we get home. I'm not sure exactly what I want to do when that happens… with my family or my future. Who knows what might come to pass?"
"Indeed. But for now…" Silently, he took her hand, and looking into her brown eyes, he kissed the back of it softly, and then, gently, let it go. "Good night, my dear, and thank you, again." He turned, and Mary Ann watched as he made his way silently to his quarters.
Pressing the kissed hand up against her cheek, the girl smiled, and ducked inside her hut.
That evening, the plan was for the seven castaways to meet in the clearing as soon as Harold Heckubah had retired for the night. Earlier, Gilligan had swept the stage, hung their makeshift patchwork curtain, set up a small bamboo table and seven chairs, and as he had the night before, the Professor made a small campfire and then arranged tiki-torches around the stage to act as 'footlights.'
"Where is everyone? We haven't got all night!" Roy Hinkley asked the air, pacing the area in front of the stage.
"Keep going and you will be doing the whole play without us." Mary Ann emerged from the brush.
The Professor shook his head. "Hamlet is not a one-man show," he grinned. "Is Hekkubah asleep? He isn't… that's why everyone is late, correct?"
"He took a sleeping pill about twenty minutes ago," Mary Ann answered, "He was complaining it was his next to last one, too. I think the Howells are waiting to make sure he doesn't call for them again. Gilligan and the Skipper should be here in a minute, and Ginger wanted to try on one more gown, then I think she will be coming, also." The girl yawned, and the scientist took immediate note of it.
"Did you get any sleep today? We were up awfully late last night."
"And precisely how much is "a little"?"
"Maybe about four hours, if you add it all up."
"What does that mean?"
Mary Ann hedged. "It means I got that much sleep, I think, but not all at once. Maybe an hour-and-a-half after we said goodnight, or I guess it would be good morning…" She felt her cheeks turning warm at the memory, "But then Ginger woke me up because H.H. was yelling that he wanted ME to make breakfast. He doesn't like the way the Howells arrange fruit or something, and he was demanding Eggs Benedict. She thought I could make it. Well, of course I couldn't since I didn't have all the ingredients, but finally he settled for a seagull egg omelet."
"That man is a tyrant," the scientist interjected. "You should have told him to… make his own breakfast."
"And ruin everything? I couldn't, not after everything we have gone through so far. Rescue, remember? Anyway, I did that, and then took care of the dishes and a load of his laundry. Ginger helped with that, and then I managed another two-hour nap before I met you to go over our script and make the copies."
"Then you haven't slept even four hours today," he reproached her. "You have to take better care of yourself, rescue or no rescue."
"Aye-aye, Admiral," she smiled. "And you? There isn't exactly a lot of spring in your step, either."
"I got about five hours," the scientist looked guilty. "I retired at around six a.m. with thoughts of our evening together… I mean, that is, writing the show, and didn't wake up until eleven. I think if Heckubah had called me for anything, I would have told him what he could do with his rescue!"
"What did H.H. do now?" Ginger asked, stepping into the clearing, the Skipper and Gilligan trailing right behind her. The captain and his first mate were in their usual garb, but Ginger had on full stage makeup and wig, but was wearing her usual beige evening gown.
"Nothing, but be the dictator that he is," the Professor answered shortly. "Where are Mr. and Mrs. Howell?"
"About three minutes behind us," Ginger answered. "Mrs. Howell told me they didn't want to stay in their butler and maid outfits a moment longer than they had to, and they were going to change into rehearsal clothes."
"I can't say that I blame them, but what is one supposed to wear? I didn't know a particular outfit existed." The Professor gave a tired grin. "Well, as one of the elected directors of this little production, I suppose jeans and a turtleneck might be more in keeping than what I am wearing, but I didn't happen to pack either!"
"Oh, I wish you had…"Ginger cooed, and then frowned. "But what do you mean; ONE of the elected directors?"
"Mary Ann and I are co-directing this production, if we can ever get it going," the scientist said firmly.
"Oh," the movie star pouted.
"Why don't we all start reading though the scripts and we can catch the Howells up when they get here?" Mary Ann asked, glancing gratefully at the Professor.
"You won't need to 'catch us up,' we have arrived!" Thurston Howell announced, striding toward the table where the others had seated themselves. Mrs. Howell was right behind him.
"We're terribly sorry to be late, but I just couldn't decide what one actually WEARS to just a rehearsal," she explained their tardiness.
"You made a good choice," Mary Ann grinned, as she took in the older woman's outfit, consisting of a pair of silver lame' slacks and a long-sleeved black velvet top. Idly, she wondered how the older woman could wear a winter blouse on a tropical island and never appear uncomfortable. "You look very… hip."
"Hip?" the older woman repeated, "Is that good?"
"Yes, Mrs. Howell," she nodded.
"May we PLEASE get started?" the Professor pleaded, and everyone settled in their seats. Deftly, he passed out the copies of the handwritten libretto.
Ginger read the first two lines. "Gilligan is Hamlet?" she gasped.
"Yep!" the young seaman grinned.
"YOU are the melancholy Dane of Denmark?" Mr. Howell's eyes were huge.
"No, Mr. Howell; I'm Prince Hamlet, not a dog," Gilligan answered. "Do I get a dog, Professor?"
The scientist pinched the bridge of his nose, as if in pain. "Gilligan, 'Dane' is another word for an inhabitant of Denmark, and before you ask again, 'melancholy' is another word for unhappy."
"Now as I was saying…"
"I only get one song?" Ginger cut in, "I thought I would get at least two. The whole point of the show IS to show H.H. what a great actress I…"
"You sing part of another one, also," the Professor cut in, "Now…"
"Oh, Professor… Mary Ann!" Mrs. Howell gushed, reading her script, "You cast Thurston and me as the king and queen! How very thoughtful of you! It will be so nice not to be anyone's maid, at least for a while!"
"Thank you," Mary Ann answered, and the Professor nodded his acknowledgment.
"I'm Polonious?" the Skipper's eyes grew big. "But he sings! I'll never be able to memorize all this!"
"But… I'm supposed to be head over heels in love with Gilligan?" Ginger asked, flabbergasted.
"She is? Professor! Mary Ann! You promised there wasn't going to be any kissing!"
"Don't worry, Gilligan. It's not Romeo and Juliet," Mary Ann tried to soothe the panicking would-be thespian.
"Professor…" Ginger turned her big green eyes to the Professor. "Why can't YOU be Hamlet?"
"Because I am directing the play - Gilligan is Hamlet. Look, we could all just forget this, and go to sleep. I have a headache, and it's killing me."
Reaching in the pocket of his blazer, Thurston Howell pulled out a large bottle of aspirin. "Help yourself, Professor. "Lovey and I have been living on them since Heckubah landed here."
Taking the bottle, the scientist shook out two and swallowed them in one gulp, sans water.
"A stiff drink works well, too," the Skipper murmured, only Gilligan hearing him.
"No," Ginger stroked her hair nervously. I want to do the play so Mr. Heckubah will realize how great I am." Hastily, she picked up her libretto and began to read again.
"Hmm…" The millionaire was looking at his script. "So it goes straight into the first song? No introduction? No overture? Usually there is something…"
"You're right," the scientist nodded, making a note. "I forgot about that. Mary Ann and I will come up with something that sounds…"
"…Shakesperian," Mary Ann put in.
"Right. Now, folks, we don't have much time to get this show put together and…"
"…see if it has legs," Mary Ann finished.
The Skipper gave her a look, and his glance slid toward Ginger's gorgeous ones. "Legs?"
"'Legs' means to determine if a show has the ability to create and sustain success… that is, see if it grabs an audience, in this case, Harold Heckubah," Ginger cut in.
"Right," Mary Ann nodded.
"Yes. Now, Gilligan, you practically have your part memorized, because you helped write it! Up on stage, please," the Professor requested.
"Someone else can go first…" the young man stuttered.
"I'll go," Ginger volunteered.
"No, you haven't even heard your song yet."
"Oh. My song… Professor, about my song; I've been reading the words, and…"
"Yes? What about it? You'll love the melody, Ginger, its Barcarolle… Belle nuit, ô nuit d'amour from Tales of Hoffman, by Offenbach," she pronounced the title carefully.
"My song is in French?" Ginger asked, "Why?"
"No, the words are in English," the Professor explained, "Just like the rest of the play. Gilligan, up on the platform, PLEASE."
"But, about this one line…" Ginger started, but was interrupted by Gilligan making a jump to the stage.
Mary Ann moved to the record player and a moment later, the strains of Habenera, from Bizet's Carmen came pouring out. Gilligan began to sing… about two beats behind the melody line.
"Stop!" Roy Hinkley moaned. "Gilligan, you have to sing WITH the music."
"I was, but it got ahead of me. It's not like singing along with the Mosquitoes. Can you make the music go slower?"
"Not really. Let's try it again."
Boom, da boom, boom — boom, da boom, boom — the music started, and Gilligan tapped the rhythm of the recorded music with his foot.
"Cut!" the Professor held up a hand, "Gilligan, you can't tap. You have to keep time in your head."
"That's asking a lot," the Skipper said softly, looking up from where he was still reading his script.
"Gilligan, try putting one hand behind your back," Mary Ann put in, "There, now, if you need to, you can tap with that hand, but the audience won't see."
"Hmm… yes. Now put your right foot up on that stool… no, your other right. There… Yes… that pose looks rather… Shakesperian," Roy Hinkley smiled at his co-director. "Try it again, Gilligan."
The first mate took a deep breath and began:
"I ask to be or not to be,
A rogue or peasant slave is what you see;
A boy who loved his mother's knee,
And so I ask to be or not to be.
So hear my plea…"
He broke off.
"Why did you stop, Gilligan? You were doing splendidly," both directors asked, more or less simultaneously.
"The notes were getting too low," Gilligan shrugged. "I couldn't hit them."
"Go into a falsetto," Mary Ann responded.
"It's from the Italian diminutive of falso, or false, and refers to the vocal register occupying the frequency range just above the modal voice register and overlapping by approximately one octave. It is produced by the vibration of the ligamentous edges of the vocal cords…" the Professor started, but stopped as he saw Gilligan's eyes take on a more glazed look than what was normal… for Gilligan.
"A falsetto, dear boy…" Mr. Howell added, "…Means to sing higher."
"Go up an octave," the Skipper put in. "Little buddy, you do it all the time… when you get scared, or excited."
"Oh! Gotcha," the first mate nodded, and started again. "I ask to be…"
"Wait," Mary Ann put up her hand. "Mr. and Mrs. Howell, you need to be up on stage, too. You enter at the end of Gilligan's, I mean, Hamlet's first verse."
"I don't see where we are introduced in the script," Lovey Howell pointed out.
"You aren't, you just come out on stage and start singing; same tune, repeat the verse."
"No introduction? I don't think I like that!"
"Mr. and Mrs. Howell, we are wasting time…" the Professor interrupted. "Do you WANT to be here all night?"
"I'd rather do this than play butler to that cretin," Thurston Howell quipped.
"But I need to know what I am doing up there," the Skipper cut in, "We'll never get to my part at this rate!"
"Mine's first," Ginger argued, brushing back her mane of red hair. "I have the longest song…"
"Yes," Mrs. Howell frowned, "Why does Ginger have more lines than the rest of us?"
"Well, I am the female lead," the movie star pouted.
"But Gilligan has the title role," the Skipper put in.
"So'kay," Gilligan shrugged, "The Professor, Mary Ann and I wrote this so H.H. can see how good Ginger sings."
"And to get us rescued," Mary Ann added softly. The two directors gave each other a desperate look. "I was hoping we could pull this together tonight, maybe tomorrow night, too, at most," she whispered. "But by the looks of things, this is going to be one VERY long rehearsal!"
At four in the morning, the Professor and Mary Ann called a halt and sent their cast back to their huts, telling them to practice as much as they could, allowing for Harold Hekkubah's demands on their time. They both hung back a bit after the rest of the castaways had left.
"Well, that was certainly an interesting rehearsal," Mary Ann said, trying to sound more positive than she felt.
"If you mean 'interesting' as in the Chinese Curse sense of the word, I would have to agree with you," the Professor sighed, lighting a torch, and they started to walk back toward camp. "I am beginning to understand why the theater director at my own Cleveland State University always had a perpetually frazzled expression."
Mary Ann chuckled. "Chinese Curse… Oh yes… "May you live in interesting times." Well, it's only our first night, and none of our actors are professionals, except Ginger."
"That's true. Still, we don't have much time. Tomorrow and maybe one night after that. Heckubah's rescuers should find us soon."
"I know. But Ginger is already feeling better; at least I think she is, judging by the way she was acting tonight."
"Look, Professor, the Skipper and Gilligan are going to stay out of H.H.'s sight tomorrow, run their lines, and practice their respective songs, and finish the set. Mr. and Mrs. Howell are going to rehearse as much as they can and of course Ginger will have her lines down, pat. Don't forget, I can help you write your intro for the play tomorrow, too. Nobody has to do anything all by themselves around here. We're a Democratic island, even if that word does bother Mr. Howell." The two stopped in front of Mary Ann's hut. "Now don't worry. I'm sure everything will be fine…" The young woman yawned, covering her mouth. "Excuse me."
"That's another thing. You have got to get some rest."
"I'll have plenty of time to rest once Mr. Heckubah gets us back to Hawaii."
"True, but…" The scientist shrugged slightly. "I suppose you have a point. Sweet dreams, Mary Ann."
"And to you, Professor." With a small wave, she opened the door of the hut quietly, and went inside.
The next night, the seven castaways started their rehearsal with high hopes, but it was soon evident that 'Murphy's Law' was in full effect.
To begin with, the door at the back of the stage wouldn't open properly, and everyone had to stop while the Skipper jury-rigged something he couldn't even promise would last. Gilligan, to his credit, did have his main song memorized, but still couldn't remember all his lines between songs. This flustered him, which led to him ad-libbing, or tripping over the single piece of furniture on stage; a stool. The Howells, on the other hand, remembered each other's lines, not their own, and the more they rehearsed, the worse the problem seemed to get. The Skipper had conquered his stage fright, but had a tendency to sing too loudly over the music to the point where both the Professor and Mary Ann were afraid his booming voice would wake up Heckubah, even allowing for the fact that the producer had taken his last sleeping pill, and to top it all off, Ginger Grant's grand, sweeping gestures while on the small stage were distracting everyone. Several times, she had either blocked Gilligan's face, or caught the long flowing sleeves of her gown on another cast member, and once, a sleeve came dangerously close to one of the tiki-torches, almost setting her on fire. When Gilligan tripped for the twentieth time that night, this time over Ginger's foot, and fell through the back wall of the stage that he and the Skipper had spent three hours building that afternoon, the good Professor lost it.
"That's it! I've had it!" he shouted, "I give up! This is never going to work! Everyone… just… go to bed!" Then he was gone, storming off through the jungle.
"Wow… I've never seen the Professor so angry…" Ginger whispered.
"I'll see if I can go calm him down," Mary Ann said quickly, lighting a torch. "Let's call it a night, huh? Just… go back to your huts and go over your lines or something."
"Want me to come with you, Mary Ann?" Gilligan asked. "I feel bad. I was the one who tripped and made him mad."
"It wasn't your fault, Gilligan," the Skipper said, "We've all been goofing up tonight."
"Yes, dear boy," Mr. Howell put in. "This acting is much harder than it looks."
"I know I'd MUCH rather be in an audience," Mrs. Howell commented.
The brunette shook her head. "No, Gilligan, not right now, but maybe you can say something tomorrow… but after you fix the back wall?"
"Or we could do that tonight," the Skipper nodded, pulling off his fake beard and hair. "Now that we know what we are doing, it shouldn't take too long."
"I'll help you, Skipper," the movie star said, "I could hand you your hammer and… whatever."
"You don't have to, Ginger."
"No, but I want to. We've come too far to give up now."
"Great," Mary Ann nodded. "But, I think it would be better if we didn't try any more real rehearsing tonight. But tomorrow, full dress, as we planned, with everyone ready and raring to go." A moment later, she was gone.
Mary Ann didn't have to look too far to find Roy Hinkley. As on the night they had started their 'Hamlet Project,' he was at the lagoon. The moon was almost full, and lit the area with an eerie light. The girl silently approached and watched as he paced back and forth, mumbling to himself.
"Hey…" Mary Ann started softly, too quietly for the scientist to hear. "Professor?" she tried again, a bit louder this time. He looked up and turned to face her.
"I'm not a very good director, am I?"
At that one simple statement, the young woman's heart went out to him.
"You're a great director. We both are. It's just that we just have a lot to do in very little time, and everyone is on edge."
"No, it's me. I just don't have that creative streak that you have."
"Nonsense. Two nights ago, you were imaginative as anything, and you still are."
"I'm a stick-in-the-mud."
"No, you're tired."
"I haven't been pulling my weight on this project."
"Don't be silly; of course you have."
"And I'm obstinate. I should listen to the others more."
"Maybe you are a little, but directors almost have to be. A cast of seven can't all direct, you'd have…"
"…Anarchy," he smiled, and she grinned back at him.
"No, we can't have that. Professor, what is REALLY bothering you? It can't be just putting our little show together. Is it about getting rescued? That's part of the reason we are doing this, remember? Well, that and to cheer Ginger up, and she is cheering up just fine. And remember, only Harold Heckubah is going to see our version of Hamlet, and with luck, he will decide he likes Ginger's acting after all. Besides, you know darn well Ginger won't really stay here on this island all by herself."
"You're right," he nodded. "She needs an audience, and misses civilization too much to confine herself here. It's just that…" He turned and faced the moonlit lagoon again. "I AM worried."
"Not about leaving in a little snit tonight, I hope? Everyone understood. The Howells will practice and the Skipper and Gilligan are fixing the set, even as we speak."
"No," he faced her again. "Not about our friends. "But we have had so many disappointments already. I just hope we aren't counting on Heckubah, too much."
"I don't think we are, not any more than we have any other chance at a rescue, even that time you and Ginger managed to con us into that silly idea that she could see the future and a ship was coming."
Even in the half-light, Mary Ann could see the scientist's blush.
"Ginger told you?"
"She gave me a note at the séance saying 'don't tell anyone I am a fake,' but I already knew."
"But… how?" Roy Hinkley was flabbergasted.
"I was suspicious to begin with, but also, she talks in her sleep. It wasn't hard. I gather it was your idea?"
"Y-yes…" he stuttered. "In retrospect, I'm not sure what it really accomplished. It did get everyone out of their doldrums and all, which was my goal, but a rescue was promised, and obviously, it didn't materialize. Thinking about it after everything was all over, I regret lying. And Ginger wasn't that thrilled about the idea to begin with."
"It accomplished a lot. You WERE trying to distract us; get our minds going in a different direction, and it worked. If you had tried to tell us all the scientific reasons for the way we were behaving, we wouldn't have listened anyway. My own parents have distracted me like that plenty of times… there was this one time… well, I'll tell you about it later. Now are you ready to come back to camp, get a few hours sleep and stop worrying?"
"I will, if you tell me about your parents. You don't mention them very often, anymore. But you have talked about them and that aunt Katy of yours twice in the last two days."
"Yes, if you ready to call it a night, and return to camp?"
"Yes." Impulsively, he grabbed her hand. "Allow me to lead the way? It's dark."
"Deal," she answered, and they started toward their huts, walking for a few moments in silence.
"Well?" he asked.
"You were going to tell me a story about your parents?
"Oh, right. When I was a young girl and my father was still alive, I got a bad cut on the palm of my hand." She held up the hand that wasn't tucked in his and showed him an inch-long scar. "I didn't tell anyone that it had happened for a while because I didn't think it was anything to worry about. Anyway, it got badly infected. Finally, at midnight, about four days later, it was hurting so badly I could hold back any longer and told my mom and dad. We only had one doctor, and he had had to leave town suddenly and wouldn't be returning until the next day. My parents knew the best thing to do was to soak my hand in warm water and get the wound cleaned, but it was so infected, I screamed every time my hand touched the water. It literally felt like they were trying to scald me. Finally, my father brought a big pot of water to the kitchen table and made me test it with my other hand, so I could feel that it was at best, lukewarm, and couldn't possibly hurt me. Then, he had me start dipping my infected hand in the water for only seconds at a time, all the time telling me a tale about when he was a boy, using a winnowing machine, and how the horses shied, dragging him fifty feet, and him breaking eight toes in the process." She gave a slight shrug. "I got so distracted by his story, that I stopped dipping my hand and left it in the water. It stayed there long enough to soften the cut and they were able to open it up, clean out the infection, and medicate it properly. By the next morning, I wasn't hurting at all. I've never forgotten that day."
"That's a fascinating story, Mary Ann, and I am very glad you were all right, but how does it…?"
"I realized after your fortune-telling stint was over that you and Ginger were doing the same thing; distracting all of us from thinking only about all the bad things about being here, and feeling defeated and making us think about all the good things, even if it was pretend, and giving us our hope back that some day we will get off this island… and you were right! Harold Heckubah is rescuing us!" They stopped and the girl looked around. "Oh… here we are… my hut." She peered inside their 'window.' "It looks like Ginger is asleep. I wasn't sure how handy she would be helping the Skipper, but I know he appreciated it." Looking down, she realized her hand was still clasping the Professor's. "Now don't worry; we'll rehearse tomorrow night, and everything will be great." Impulsively, the young woman reached up to give him swift a kiss on the cheek, but at the last minute, the scientist turned his head slightly, and she hit his mouth instead. A brief moment later, embarrassed, she pulled back.
"Goodnight…" he answered softly, slowly releasing her hand.
"I… I'll see you in the morning?" she stammered, blushing.
"Of course," he answered, opening the door for her. "Goodnight, and sweet dreams, my dear." The girl stepped inside, and listened as the sound of his footsteps on the sand faded away. She peered out the door again in time to see him open the door of his hut and go inside.
What she could not see was the euphoric grin on the Professor's face.
The radio announcer's voice couldn't have been any clearer:
And now a repeat of the marvelous news… Harold Heckubah has been rescued, and with a bigger and better future. He announced that his next production will be a musical version of Hamlet… the greatest idea he ever had. Who but Harold Heckubah could think of an idea as brilliant as that?
"Us… that's who!" Gilligan answered, sarcastically, going over to a nearby table, and picking up the copy of Show Biz that the producer had left behind, sat down, opening the paper.
"But I can't believe that he's leave us here…" the Skipper protested.
"Well he has," the Professor answered with a shrug.
"But how could he do a thing like that? Just because he made a movie, he's gonna leave us? I mean he'd desert us because of a movie that he made…" The Skipper glanced over at his first mate and frowned. "Gilligan, what's the matter with you? Why aren't you upset?"
"Well, that's show biz," Gilligan answered, shaking his head, and returning to his newspaper.
"That's no answer, Gilligan!" Skipper snapped, snatching the paper from his first mate's hands. He crumpled it into a ball, and tossed it to the corner of the hut. "I just wish that newspaper was Harold Heckubah."
"Hey!" Gilligan protested, "I was reading that! And I was gonna save it for Ginger. She loves to read about Hollywood and she hadn't seen it yet!"
"Sorry, little buddy, it's just that I'm so angry! All the trouble we went to, the insults we endured, the demands… doing the show… and here we are, still stranded on this island!"
Gilligan rolled his eyes. "Yeah… we are! Well, at least the sets weren't too hard to make. We built the stage part a long time ago. Ya know; we should just leave everything exactly as is. Betcha we can use it again for something. I know Ginger would like it."
"That's a good idea, Gilligan," the Skipper paused, "Professor?"
"Does anyone else know yet? I mean, about H.H.?"
Roy Hinkley nodded. "I'm afraid so; Mary Ann and Ginger. The same time you two discovered that Heckubah had disappeared, I was listening to the radio. I wanted to check the weather reports for today. That's when I heard the first announcement of his rescue and his "brilliant idea." The girls were right there hearing it with me. Then I came in and told you."
"What about the Howells?" Gilligan asked. "You know, I bet they won't care… much. They'll just be happy to stop sleeping in the supply hut and get their own house back."
"I think you're right," Jonas Grumby chuckled. "What about the Howells, Professor?"
"Mary Ann was going to make some coffee, bring it to them and break the news, which she has probably done by now."
"HE WHAT???" came Mr. Howell's bellow. "I'll sue! That's what I'll do!"
"Yup… she has!" Gilligan said, smoothing out the last of the crumpled newspaper. He hopped off the table where he had been sitting. "I guess we better go eat."
Breakfast was simple, and quiet. For a while, nobody talked much, past "please pass the muffins," and "is there any more guava jelly?" but finally Mr. Howell broke the uneasy silence.
"If anyone is interested, by my count, Harold Heckubah is twenty-first person to let us down, rescue-wise."
Lovey Howell blinked. "That many Thurston, dear?"
The Professor shook his head. "There haven't been THAT many."
"Yes, there has!" The millionaire started counting off on his fingers. "Wrongway Feldman, twice. Our Japanese sailor, Jackson Farrell. That jungle boy Gilligan found…"
"Duke Williams," Ginger put in.
"Alexander Duboff," Mrs. Howell added.
"That Latin American dictator," Mary Ann said, "Though really, he didn't let us down. His people just didn't believe him, and exiled him again."
"Those two cosmonauts," Gilligan interrupted," Igor and Ivan. And the Mosquitoes — all four of them."
"Bingo, Bango, Bongo and Irving," Gilligan supplied.
"Erika Tiffany Smith," the Professor added, "Though she misplaced us, really. I still don't understand that. She didn't know where we were, but why didn't the sailor who brought her here? Something must have happened to him. There IS a war going on, you know."
"My double, that shyster…" Thurston Howell spoke again. "Though I suppose you can't say we counted on him either, any more that we did Jackson Farrell."
"MY double, the Russian spy, and I don't care if you guys still don't believe me — he was here. The Professor even has his knife. But he wouldn't tell anyone about us, at least not American anybody's," Gilligan said.
"Not to mention whoever our fake ghost was, and there is that ridiculous mad scientist and his ugly companion." Ginger added.
"Logically, I suppose Harold Heckubah was only our third real betrayal," Roy Hinkley pointed out mildly. "The Mosquitoes, yes. They did. No doubt. Of course our Russian cosmonaut friends could never tell anyone, fearing repercussions from their countrymen, and we did have high hopes for Wrongway, but face it, the first time nobody believed him due to his past history of tall tales, and his directions, of course, were a disaster. The second time in effect, we chased him away and he never made it back to Hawaii. He just found the paradise he wanted. Duke Williams got amnesia, he couldn't help that, and our jungle boy couldn't talk. I just hope he will actually learn to some day. Research shows that if children don't learn a language at a young age, that they never really become proficient at it. All in all, our ratio isn't wonderful, but it isn't that bad either. I just hope no one truly evil ever turns up here! I am still looking forward to the day that we return to civilization and find out what happened to all these people."
"If H.H. actually has a hit show using the words you three wrote, can you sue him, Professor? Ginger asked.
The scientist smiled. "Maybe. All we can do is date and keep what we wrote. Someday we may have a leg to stand on in court, but it's doubtful."
"Ginger, dear, is everyone in Hollywood like Harold Heckubah?" Lovey Howell asked.
"A lot of movie producers are," the movie star shrugged, "I was telling Mary Ann that just the other day. Show business people have more quirks than non-show-biz types, but maybe that's what makes actors. I don't know. But I hope you don't think I could be anything like him!"
"Oh, we don't, Ginger!" the Skipper shook his head, "Not at all… really!"
"Thank you, Skipper."
"No, nobody is as bad as Heckubah." Mary Ann smiled. "You know, he was such an egotistical, overbearing, unmitigated jerk, that I, for one, am glad he didn't end up getting us rescued, simply because I hate the idea that I would ever have to be indebted to him!"
"Excellent point," Roy Hinkley raised his glass of grapefruit and papaya juice. "I agree. Here's to our NON-rescue, people!"
"Cheers!" they all echoed, drank, and reached to the person next to them and gave them a hug. More normal, happy chatter resumed after the toast, and finally, Jonas Grumby stood again and tapped on the table.
"Folks… folks?" He tapped the table again. "May I please have your attention?" The talking ceased and the other six looked toward the captain expectantly.
"Yeah, Skipper?" Gilligan asked.
"I would like to propose an idea… Actually, as Skipper, I would like to demand it."
"I've had enough 'demanding' to last forever!" Thurston Howell growled.
"You'll like this one," the Skipper grinned. "It's Saturday, and H.H. is gone. No more orders, insults, or running us ragged. What I would like to propose is a 'Free day.' Girls, no laundry, or sewing, or cleaning. Gilligan, no fishing, or mending fish nets, or gathering coconuts. Professor, no experiments or bending over a hot Bunsen burner. Mr. and Mrs. Howell… well, nothing for you either."
"If it is a free day, can't we do what we want to do, Skipper?" Mary Ann asked.
"I can always do with another nap," Gilligan put in.
"No, not that kind of free, little buddy," the Skipper grinned. "I say we break open our food coffers, see what we have in the way of anything that even looks remotely good to eat, get some lobsters from our traps at the lagoon, and have ourselves a picnic and day at the beach, down where the Minnow landed… swimming, badminton, volleyball… whatever we can think of! What do you say?"
"Fantastic! Super! I love it! Count me in! Wonderful! Marvelous! Great way to spend a day!" came six voices at once.
"Then let's hop to it, crew! Sorry, but we DO have a little prep work to do…" the big man smiled. "Gilligan, Professor, Mr. Howell, I will need some help transporting everything we need down to the beach, and getting the lobsters. Girls… well we'll leave the rest of the menu to you. Everyone, let's get busy! Cast off!"
The castaways hit the beach about noon, and as the day wore on, the seven played games, walked the beach, ate, and collected seashells and driftwood. Mr. Howell and the Skipper had a contest to see who could drive a golf ball furthest, nobody winning when both their avocado pits were swallowed by the ocean's waves. All seven then joined the fun by making a madly designed miniature putt-putt golf course, in the sand.
A hilarious game followed that nobody won because Mrs. Howell, Mary Ann and Roy Hinkley decided that building sand castles was more fun, and got distracted. Gilligan and Mr. Howell, of all people, created a giant sand-sculpture turtle, and not to be outdone, Ginger and the Skipper built a "sand man" (vs. a snow man). Afterwards, all of the castaways had a go first at badminton and then Frisbee, using the now empty pie plate Mary Ann had used to make one of her delicious coconut-pineapple cream pies. When they were finished, it was time to eat again, and then eat some more.
Night fell, and no one wanted to call it quits, so the Skipper and Gilligan re-stoked the fire they had used to boil the lobsters, and the tired castaways gratefully took places around the fire. Someone started off singing Be Kind to Your Web-Footed Friends and everyone joined in. Other old favorite songs followed: On Top of Old Smokey, Kum Ba Yah, Go Tell Aunt Rhodie, to name only a few, then Gilligan cracked everyone up with his version of Nobody Likes Me, Everyone Hates Me, I think I'll Go Eat Worms. The Skipper countered with One Eyed, One Horned Flying Purple People Eater, and then Mr. and Mrs. Howell surprised everyone with their rendition of There's a Hole In My Bucket. Those songs gave way to rounds like Row, Row, Row, Your Boat and White Coral Bells and then, without pausing, Gilligan started his song from Hamlet. Mr. and Mrs. Howell joined in, in short order, and Ginger's song followed, everyone singing it, and finally Neither a Borrower… the fast version that their visiting producer had insisted on. It didn't take long before everyone was doubled over in laughter and gasping for breath.
"Maybe we should have sung this stuff for Heckubah," Roy Hinkley chuckled, gazing the moon above them and then at Mary Ann's face, glowing in the firelight.
The young woman beside him leaned back with her palms resting on the sand behind her. She laughed and shook her head. "I don't think even he could swipe these old standards! But it would have been fun to see him try, and get caught! But you know what? I don't care anymore. All I care about is that he is gone, that we are all healthy, safe and happy…"
"…and with people we love," the Professor finished, also leaning back slightly, reaching over, and gently laying his hand over hers in the gathering darkness. "And when you get right down to it, that's really all that matters, isn't it?"