Chapter One: Five on a Raft
It was a beautiful April day in the South Pacific, and perfect weather for spring break. A group of college students from University of Wisconsin- Madison had saved up their money and were spending spring break in Hawaii. They had decided to take a little boat trip. The guys were hoping they could find a deserted island where they could camp and party. They had an eight-track player that was blaring Peter, Paul and Mary's Puff the Magic Dragon. Joe, a stereotypical looking hippie was very high. He had long brown hair and was wearing a headband.
"Look man, it's Puff. He's waving to us. Groovy!" Exclaimed Joe. His girlfriend Caroline couldn't help but notice that he was hallucinating…again.
"You are so high, Joe! I enjoy being with you when you are singing folk songs and playing your guitar not getting stoned! You sound just like Bob Dylan when you sing!" Said Caroline, who had never smoked pot.
She preferred his activism and singing to his pot smoking. Not to say that she only hung out with liberals...her best friend Charlotte was very well…Republican. Caroline was liberal politically, but conservative in other ways. She did not like to get high or drunk. She did not dress like a hippy and enjoyed watching Lawrence Welk. She thought that others saw her as a bit of a nerd and a goodie two shoes. She had campaigned for Hubert Humphrey recently and had met Joe in 1960 when her father took her to a Kennedy rally. Joe's parents were also very politically active.
Charlotte, on the other hand, had campaigned for Barry Goldwater back in 64 but was now working as an aide to the Nixon campaign in Madison. She was very knowledgeable and almost preppy. Some people called her Nancy Drew as a nickname. Charlotte laughed to herself and rolled her eyes as she watched Caroline try to communicate or even reason with Joe. She turned the page in her book. She was pretending not to pay much attention to what was going on and had buried herself in Plato's The Republic. In actuality, she was listening in on everyone's conversations and was amused by their desire to find an island for partying purposes…Lord Of The Flies anyone?
Charlotte observed that their group was like a merry band of mix-matched travelers. There was a British student, Charles who was an active Civil Rights protester. Charles's mother wanted her son to have the same name as Prince Charles. She was an obnoxious social climber who wished she could mingle with royalty, Charles had an air about that too, but in reality he was much more laid back about his social ambitions and hoped to attend U.C. Berkeley for graduate school. Then there was Mahalia, an African-American girl who was named after the gospel star Mahalia Jackson and a wonderful singer herself. While she'd never told anyone yet, she thought Charles was cute!
"Good God bloke, you are bloody high, Joe. I can't see the dragon yet! Maybe I need to smoke another joint!" Charles thought this was a great idea.
"How do you smoke this stuff? I don't really like it," Said Mahalia as she tried her first joint. She began coughing and decided it was best to toss it into the water. This was not for her.
"It's wicked, or as you Americans say, groovy."
"Really, Charles?" Mahalia rolled her eyes and turned her attention to Charlotte who was leaning over the side of the boat about to throw up. The smell of the pot had finally become too much for the asthmatic.
"Yeah, it really is! I hope I can see Puff if I smoke another joint." Charles replied.
"I think I already can..." Charlotte began. After all, asthma attacks could cause hallucinations too. She was allergic to marijuana and never would've signed up for the boat ride if she'd known they'd be smoking quite this much, but the fresh sea air did help a bit, and she was thankful for that. "Look, land!" She burst, leaning even further over the edge of the small boat and pointing desperately to the island she saw in the faint distance.
"Oh look, it's an island!" Exclaimed Caroline.
"Oh groovy, it must be Puff's island!"
"Joe, Puff's not really there. It's a hallucination. Just like the hallucinations you see every weekend!" Caroline was getting sick of having to be the responsible one in the relationship
"I don't see Puff then! I see pink donkeys by a castle."
"I just see patches of black and sky and water." Charlotte was on the verge of blacking out..."Where's my inhailer?!"
"Here you go, Charlotte." Caroline handed her friend what she was looking for.
"Oh, yeah Camelot! I don't think that's what people mean about the Kennedy Administration though, Joe! So I suppose this is the perfect party island for you guys, right? I really don't care where we go, as long as I have 8 tracks, friends and time to do homework." It was spring break, but that was not going to stop Caroline from doing homework every day. The only problem was that she could not use her electric typewriter on a deserted island. Thank goodness she had some textbooks to read!
"This place is perfect to spend a few days. Mum would call it lovely," remarked Charles.
"Yeah it's very pretty. Do you want put together campaign lit on the island?" Asked Mahalia.
Mahalia and Caroline were both involved with the Democrats on campus. They were very excited about the presidential election that November and thought they could think of how they'd package the literature.
"Yeah, I'd love too! Then we can be all ready for lit drops in the fall!"
"What the bloody hell is a lit drop?" Asked Charles.
"We put campaign literature outside of people's houses near and on campus. It's fun! So Mahalia, you said earlier that your Dad went to seminary with Dr. King? I hear he is going to be in Memphis soon." Caroline thought that Mahalia's dad went to school with the famous civil rights leader was awesome. Mahalia and Caroline had been talking a lot about Civil Rights lately. It was an issue they were both passionate about.
"Yeah, he did. I heard about Memphis too. I hope he keeps on doing his work for a long time."
"What's seminary?" Asked Charles as the boat pulled up to the island. He was not familiar with the terms the girls were using.
"It's where clergy go to school." Explained Caroline.
The others didn't notice when Joe wandered off into the jungle. He'd seen a bit of smoke in the distance and felt called to go find Puff, after all, where there was smoke, there was Puff the magic dragon, right? In reality, if Caroline and Charlotte had looked they may have recognized the smoke in the distance to be just a small campfire.
Unbeknownst to them, there was a young man about their age tending the fire. He wore a red shirt and a white hat on his dark brown hair.
"Gilligan!" A loud voice thundered.
"Did you start cooking the fish yet?" The Skipper was clearly annoyed, he'd ask Gilligan to start making lunch over an hour ago and the other five castaways were anxious to eat.
"Well the thing is, Skipper..."
"Gilligan, I don't want to hear another thing about it. Just make lunch before we all starve." The Skipper walked off once he'd finished his complaint. Gilligan sat in silence and watched as his friend's large frame disappeared into the distance. He had a lot of time before the Skipper starved to death, that was for sure.
Gilligan thought his assignment to make lunch was just painfully ironic. Ginger and Mary Ann couldn't make lunch. In fact, everyone on the island, excepting himself, had gotten food poisoning from the lunch he'd made last week. Why should he cook for them again, just to make them so sick he'd finish them off? Gilligan sighed and looked out into the lagoon. There must be something other than hours old fish he could make.
It was a hot day and Gilligan decided he could use a swim, so he jumped into the water head first, hoping to just catch more fish with his hands. He didn't think it was a good idea to cook what had been sitting there all that time...that's what had happened last week after all... So, after two and a half years on the island, he fancied himself to be something of a true outdoorsman now and figured that he could pull off such a fishing feat. As soon as Gilligan was fully submerged in the water, Joe found his way onto the shore of the lagoon.
"Aw, look, cool man, fish! I'm starving." He said, sitting down and beginning to prepare the fish. It didn't occur to him that finding a frying pan and freshly...well, moderately freshly caught fish on a deserted island was a little strange.
Meanwhile, Gilligan was enjoying the feeling of the water rushing by him as he swam in the depths of the lagoon. He'd had no luck with fish just yet and decided that the need to come up for air was more pressing than catching lunch, plus...did he smell cooking fish...NO! The Skipper would kill him! If the rancid fish didn't kill him first! Gilligan wanted to yell out but luckily stopped in the nick of time, recalling that he was under water. He quickly made his way up toward the light and the surface of the water, soon finding himself entangled with a bunch of seaweed. It covered his whole head and arms.
"No!" He screamed as he popped out of the water.
"Ahhhhhhhhhh!" Joe screamed. He began to panic, it was Puff!
"Did you hear something?" Charlotte said. The crew on the beach stopped their conversation and listened.
"It's Joe!" Caroline would know her boyfriend's panicked cry anywhere, it was the kind he only made when he was high. "Come on, it's Joe, what are we waiting for?" She asked urgently and the group ran in the direction of Joe's screaming.
Off she went to help her high boyfriend for what seemed like the billionth time in their relationship. He was always was getting into trouble when he was high. Was she his girlfriend, or his babysitter, she wondered.
"Ahhhahaha! It's Puff The Magic Dragon, there he is, he's real man." Joe thought he was going to pass out.
"Dragon?!" Gilligan's eyes grew huge. At first he'd just wondered who this stranger was sitting there using his frying pan, but now he was petrified. "D-d-dragon! Oh no oh no! SKIPPER THERE'S A DRAGON! OH NO OH NO! WHERE, WHERE!" Gilligan jumped out of the lagoon and began running around in circles, looking for the Magic Dragon called Puff.
"Ahhhh stay away from me man, you like breathe fire!" Joe panicked and began the process of climbing a nearby banana tree.
"Gilligan! I'm here little buddy, what is it?"
"OH NO OH NO! SKIPPER THERE'S A DRAGON, THERE'S A DRAGON! PUFF THE MAGIC DRAGON HE'S IN THE LAGOON AND HE'S GOING TO GET US ALL, OH NO OH NO!"
"Shut up Gilligan, there's no dragon."
"Yes there is Skipper, yes there..."
"Would you pipe down it...hey, who's that!" The Skipper yelled, observing the young hippy sitting in the tree. He'd just calmed down and was absent-mindedly munching on a banana.
"Hey these bananas are good man..." Joe muttered.
"Hello." The Skipper greeted. "Can you get us off this island?"
"It's Puff, man!" Joe retreated into the tree a little bit, still afraid of Gilligan.
The Skipper was frustrated and pulled the wad of seaweed of off Gilligan's face and arms.
"Oh it's just a dude, man...wait, Puff the magic dragon is a dude?" He was confused but far less afraid now.
"Skipper where's the dragon?!"
"Gilligan. There is no Dragon, Puff The Magic Dragon is an old wives tale about what you see when you're...high."
"High you mean like up in a tree, you mean like...oh! I know what you mean Skipper."
"Joe!" Gilligan and Skipper could now hear multiple voices, some American, others British, calling for Joe.
"Who's Joe?" Joe asked.
"I think you are." The Skipper assumed.
"Oh hey...you like boats man?" He asked, noticing the Skipper's captain's hat. The Skipper laughed to himself, this kid was just far gone: higher than a kite.
"Oh there you are! I was worried about you." Caroline was relieved to find Joe and climbed up the tree to sit near him and try to bring him out of his freaked out state.
"Yes, there he is." Charlotte rolled her eyes. Sometimes she just couldn't stand the irresponsibility of it all. "Hey, who are you guys?" She asked, noticing Gilligan and the Skipper.
"Well I'm Skipper of the S.S. Minnow you see, and..."
"Yeah, and I'm Gilligan and..."
"Gilligan will you be quiet and let me finish telling the story: we're marooned here."
"And it's been almost three years, a real long long time and we'd love to..." The Skipper slapped a hand over Gilligan's mouth and he continued to mutter hopelessly into the captain's hand.
"And we'd really like to get back to the mainland." The Skipper finally said. "I have an idea, why don't you come back to the campsite and meet the rest of us, maybe have some lunch, right Gilligan?"
Gilligan shook his head and remained quiet.
"Sounds great, I could use a spot of tea!" Charles chimed.
So Gilligan, Skipper and the college students headed off to the other side of the island with the fish.