Eunice Douglas sat in the back of the boat, a small coast guard boat no less, wondering exactly what had become of her. A Douglas on the back of a coast guard boat? It wasn't even a coast guard cutter...no one in her family would usually ride anything less than a 40 foot yacht and her friend Lovey Howell would be totally scandalized. But that was what brought her there in the first place, wasn't it...that Lovey and Thurston had snapped, boarded a small sailing vessel called the S.S. Minnow and not been heard from since.
Eunice had worried about what the Howells might have been doing on a boat like that, had then been kidnapped? Why would they go with such, such commoners? Had they been able to bring adequate luggage with them? Eunice had heard that they'd brought three or four trunks on the boat with them, that would be suitable for three or four hours but certainly no longer than that! As a result she was worried. She knew her friends were in dire need. That was why she and her ex-husband Horace, whom she hadn't spoken to in well over twenty years, had decided to spare no expense in finding their very old and dear friends, the Howells. They'd agreed to set sail together in the general area where the Minnow had been lost, but they'd never agreed on the thing Horace brought with him...Blanche: the second wife.
Blanche was smiling sweetly at her beloved, Horace. She didn't understand why she had to be on a boat with Her, Eunice that was. Wherever Horace went, though she followed. She was his Yellow Rose of Texas, with her beautiful blond curls She had been happily married for years without seeing Eunice and now she had to be on a boat with her!
"So do you think we'll actually find your friends, honey?"
Eunice rolled her eyes. Why did this home wrecker have to be on the boat with them? Her slow Texas drawl was the kind of voice Lovey would describe only as a "dreadful bore." Eunice looked around frightened, she could practically hear Lovey say that. Then she just realized she was being silly...she didn't know for sure that Lovey was a ghost.
"Horace, did Thurston tell you why he was planning on going on such a dreadful ship" Asked Eunice.
"No, maybe it was a pirate ship?", joked Horace.
"Very funny Horace, I'll never forget the time you thought you were a pirate! We were on Thurston's yacht after our sophomore year of college...
Off the shore of Cape Cod: June 1929
"What can you do w/ a French Major and Psychology Minor? Psychoanalyze all you French friends? Or will you be Psychoanalyzing Thurston and Horace forever?" Eunice asked critically.
The four were spending the day on Thurston's personal yacht, which he'd received as a gift when he'd entered prep school.
"Oh Eunice! You're really one to, to..."
"Talk, my dear!" Thurston called from the other side of the boat. He raised his glass to her, already half way drunk. "Cheers!" He promptly took a drink and fell over in his deck chair. Lovey waved a hand in dismissal and turned back to Eunice.
"Eunice, you're really one to talk my dear...and English degree, what on earth are you going to do with that? Write romantic novels about summers in South Hampton?" Lovey scoffed.
"Well I'd never be an author Lovey! I will host book clubs and have intelligent conversations about literature. Good heavens, Thurston is beginning to get very drunk!" Eunice was also very concerned for Horace who had also collapsed in his chair.
"Oh let him, he'll get over it. Thurston! Thurston! Get up darling." Her tone was half angry and part soothing. She helped him up off the deck where he'd been ranting about his GM stock for the past several seconds. "Come along darling, I'm going to put you in the sitting room where you'll have a nice rest...and chef will get you anything you like?"
"Can I have a hot chocolate, Lovey?"
"Yes dear." She practically baby-talked to him.
"Yes you big brave.." She continued baby-talking and Eunice stopped listening when Horace, also drunk, stumbled over to her seat.
"Hey Eunice baby!" He gasped as he approached her. Horace burst into a loud laugh, the smell of alcohol immediately invaded Eunice's senses and she was a little bit disgusted, but decided to follow Lovey's cue.
"Hello Horace, are you alright?"
"Never better babe!" He enthusiastically wrapped his arm around her, holding her close with one hand and holding his beer bottle with the other. He turned around to face the view of Cape Cod behind them, with the gentle baby blue waves crashing against the rocks. "Isn't it a beautiful country? Some...someday Eunice, I'd like to have land." He coughed.
"Land?" Eunice was petrified. She'd always dreamed of having land yes...but city land and lots of it!
"Someday, I'd like to buy a farm."
"A farm!" She was horrified...what would she do if this ever got out?
"Yes, and get away from the rat race of the city."
"You see, that's just what I love about the city!" Thurston barked as he and Lovey came back out to the sitting area. Lovey'd gotten him coffee, hot chocolate...with marshmallows, his favorite deck shoes and of course: teddy. "There's a rat every few feet...and I'm the biggest one of them."
"Thurston, does this mean you're the rat king?" Lovey considered.
"Whatever is a rat king my dear?" Thurston asked, taking a sip of his marshmallow-filled hot chocolate. Lovey leaned over and whispered something to him.
"Of course not Lovey! I'm no rat king! I'm the wolf of Wall Street! Where's my ticker-tape machine?"
"Oh Thurston, we're on vacation! Enjoy yourself for five minutes." Horace scolded.
"I do enjoy myself! Watching the stock market is the most enjoyable thing to do in the world!" Exclaimed Thurston.
"The most enjoyable thing to do? What about us, dear? Isn't being with me enjoyable?" Asked Lovey.
"Well yes but..."
"But...Thurston if we're going to get married."
"You're getting married!" Eunice squealed, she was delighted. She took this opportunity to subtally hit her drunk boyfriend on the arm, just to give him a hint. She would like to get married too. He choked on his drink, stopped and raised it to the couple in the form of a toast.
"Lovey see what you have people thinking!"
"Thurston, you know very well what I met. If we were to get married: the minister would ask for richer or for poorer..."
"For poorer Lovey how vulgar!"
"So you aren't getting married?"Asked a rather confused Eunice, who thought she was almost never confused. She thought she sounded like Lovey, asking a question like that.
"N-not right now." Lovey began, she seemed uncomfortable to Eunice and moved around uneasily in her seat, finally settling on snuggling up to Thurston.
"Yes, not now you see we have things to do first."
"A little bit of living!" Lovey explained.
Eunice thought this was strange. Living! Ha, wasn't marriage living? She was always taught from an early age that a young lady must find a husband as soon as possible.
"Why are you saying you don't want to get married right away? Is it because your parents don't like Thurston? Are you worried about that? I was just reading this book by Louisa May Alcott where the character doesn't marry until she is in her thirties. You won't wait that long, will you?"
"Well, Eunice, it's just that, Thurston and I have a lot we want to do."
"Yes, the world is full of possibilities!" Thurston added as he took another sip of his drink. "And we just want to explore a little bit before we settle down, although we've decided on settling down with each other."
"Oh my darling, you're so modern!" Lovey squealed, rubbing her nose against Thurston's.
"Oh that is modern! My goodness I don't...I mean I've never heard of a young lady in the Social Register do such a thing!" Eunice tried to act interested, although the real sentiment was shocked.
"It's going to be all the rage!" Lovey insisted, tossing her left hand flirtatiously.
"Oh really?" asked a skeptical Eunice.
"Yes, really...the two of you really must try it!" Thurston insisted. He, by this time, had put down his hot chocolate and picked up his...more adult drink again. He took another drink.
"On the other hand..." Lovey began. "When it happens it will be the wedding of the decade...it is a Wentworth wedding after all!" Lovey squealed.
"A Wentworth-Howell wedding my dear."
"Oh of course Wentworth-Howell!...Come along Eunice, you must come and look at china patterns with me!" Lovey leaned over and grabbed her friend's hand as she got up.
"N-now, you have china patterns now?"
"Of course, the wedding of the decade has to be planned years in advance you know." Lovey laughed.
Horace smiled when the women left. Thurston, who'd sobered up quite a bit, could tell that Horace was very, very off the deep end drunk now. He knew that look on his face and wondered exactly what kind of crazy scheme he was about to propose.
"What?" Thurston asked simply. It was almost more of a statement or an expectation than a question at this point.
"A toast! To the bride-groom!" Horace tried, he'd slurred his words quite a bit but Thurston could make it out.
"I'll drink to that...I guess." Thurston agreed.
"Now another toast...to on guard!" Horace commanded angrily, standing up and drawing his fencing sword. Thurston Howell III raised an eyebrow.
"Horace have you gone mad?"
"On guard!" He pressed, poking into Thurston's chest with the tip of the fencing sword.
"Ha fine. Sword please." He called. In an instant someone tossed Thurston his own fencing sword. He caught it without turning, pausing or batting a single eyelash.
"Buccanneers, it's a mutiny At sea! I won't stand for it!"
"Oh really...would you sit for it?" Thurston asked...he didn't really want to fight.
"On guard!" This time Horace charged, beginning to chase Thurston.
"Oh really Horace! Buccanneers...oh how vulgar!"
"Oh guard you cowardly swine!"
"A Howell a coward, never!" Thurston retorted. He was challenged now and really ready to fight. A nearby butler who stood at attention, watching this spectacle found it laughable and just painfully ironic that Thurston didn't challenge the assertion that Howells were in fact, swine.
"You sir on guard!" Thurston called, using his sword to strike his friend.
Thurston and Horace continued their duel around the dock of the boat, battling each other back and forth, almost in a circle-like dance. Every now and then, Horace would stop to take yet another sip of alcohol and challenged Thurston to do the same.
"What are you a coward? Real men and real muntinees for that matter, drink!" Horace, with almost a crazy look in his eye, raised his glass and then leaned his head back and began to chug the drink he held. At that moment their girlfriends emerged from the lower deck of the boat. Eunice was immediately scandalized by her suitor's very...unproper way of consuming the beverege. She wondered if this is what happened at frat parties. Where had he learned to drink like some bum in a pub?
"Oh dear what are they up to?" Lovey asked, feeling that she had to say something only because saying nothing would be worse.
Eunice couldn't believe that Lovey could be so casual about the whole ordeal. Thurston and Horace were acting like barbarians, well at least Horace was. She hoped Thurston didn't approve of such behavior.
Thurston had to ask himself wheter or not Horace was for real, was he faking being this drunk, just to have some fun, maybe get himself out of his impending wedded bliss? Thurston thought so. Suddenly a tick-tick-tick noise came floating to both men's ears. It was a soothing sound that made all the rest of the world stop and brought the hum of Wall Street floating into Thurston's coinscience...very suddenly he felt at home.
"Mr. Howell! Mr. Howell! Hey wake up Mr. Howell!"
"Er, er! Horace shut up with the on guard, don't you hear, the stock ticker is humming again!"
"No Mr. Howell that's not the stock ticker, just the mosquitos on the radio!"
"Gilligan you've...Gilligan!" Mr. Howell exclaimed, sitting up straight in his chaise. "Giligan you've ruined everything!" Gilligan shook at the captain of industry's thundering accusation.
"S-ssorry Mr. Howell I...get out of here!" He commanded as the boy picked up his radio and ran. Of course he dropped it again on the way out the the "private" country club the Howells had constructed for themselves, but he didn't bother to pick it up, he just kept on running when he heard the Skipper call for his aid on another part of the island...even on land the work of a first mate was never done...
"Thurston!" His wife's sweet voice scolded. "Why'd you do that to that poor boy?"
Lovey had been picking flowers for their hut and looked, on that particular morning, as radiant to him as she had many years before...like she did in the dream he'd just had.
"Well, he just wrecked the most beautiful dream." Thurston said, extending his hand to her and pulling her down to sit next to him on the arm of the chaise.
"What dream Thurston?" She sat by his side as he wrapped his arm around your hip.
"Well, you..." He began.
"Awe, you're so sweet!" She gushed. "But then you walked up and brought that part back...and then there was Horace Douglas."
"Thurston if you've been dreaming about Horace Douglas...do you have something to tell me!"
"No, no Lovey that...I was just thinking about that time we went out on my yacht."
"Which yacht Thurston the one with the dancing girls and the television executives or the one you got for prep school?"
"This was a long time ago dear, I'm speaking of the prep school one. Remember that time that Horace challenged me to a duel?"
"Oh yes, and you were both disgracefully drunk."
"And all my stocks made a new high that day!" He chucked. Lovey also appreciated being reminded of a sweet, fun day in her youth and leaned down to kiss her husband. He considered indulging in this also but they stopped when they heard the radio announcer say the S.S. Minnow.
"Lovey...did he just say the Minnow?" Thurston raised an eyebrow.
"That's right the Minnow!" The announcer called. "Eunice and Horace Douglas of New York, Boston and Texas, a prominent divorced couple and friend to millionaire Thurston Howell III and his socialite wife, Lovey Howell have launched a new expedition in the South Pacific in search for their friends."
"Ahhahah!" The Howells jumped up and squealed with joy. The couple quickly composed themselves...such an outburst was so un-Howell like.
"Come on Lovey was must tell the others!" Thurston grabbed her hand and began running back to camp with his wife in tow.