“Well, what do you think?” Peter Brown looked pleased, eager even to talk things through.
“What the hell do you mean, ‘What do I think’? I think we’re stranded. That’s what I think. Isn’t it obvious.” Roger looked exasperated. And wet.
“Well, yes I know that. But what about the boat? Didn’t she do well?” Some people always look on the bright side. This guy was obviously one of them.
“She did well enough to get us stranded out here in the middle of bloody nowhere.”
“Oh, don’t be such a misery. I’m sure everything’s going to be just fine.”
“Fine!” He exclaimed. “I’ve got a meeting at work tomorrow. They’re expecting me to make a presentation to the board. At the very least I’m going to be late for that. And what about my wife? She’ll be worried sick? And the kids? They expected me back for tea. How do they get to school tomorrow?”
“We’ll get back. Don’t worry about it.: The tone was almost wheedling. “The Speedstar 35 has all the latest emergency warning equipment. Even now I bet there’s a lifeboat on its way out to us. It works automatically you know.”
“That would be as automatically as the foul weather warning equipment, you were spouting about as we set off? ‘No gales,’ you said. ‘A bit of a breeze’ you said. ‘Just enough to show the handling features’ you said. And a bloody force ten hurricane just popped up out of nowhere. And here we are. Stranded. Soaking wet through and nobody knows we’re missing.”
Peter started to rummage about in the cabinet above the engine compartment. “Look, the 35 has a full set of mechanics tools. We can fix it. Everything we need is in this toolkit.” He pulled out a large and indeed a rather comprehensive tool-chest. “I’m sure we can find exactly what we need in here.”
“Yeh, everything but a ruddy mechanic, I bet.” Roger looked askance at the equipment that was being spread out on the deck of their boat. “I don’t know what half of that stuff is for, nor what you do with it. And anyway you were singing the praises of this wonderful heap of junk. ‘Reliable’ and ‘long-lasting’ were the words that you used, if I recall.”
“Well, yes. But the situation was unusual and extreme. You must admit that.” Brown looked up. “And don’t forget, the Speedstar 35 got us through uninjured. Didn’t she?”
“She threw us in the bloody water, if that’s what you mean. Not going to get much injuries in the water are we. Apart from drowning, that is. And pneumonia. And being smashed against the rocks. But apart from that yes, she did keep us uninjured.”
“Well there you go then. All’s well and all that.”
“Upside bloody down in the water. Everything soaked through. Lost in the middle of God knows where and no hope of rescue. Yes, all’s well all right.”
“And don’t forget we can offer interest free credit up until the end of this week. You need to make up your mind before we get back. These special offers don’t last for ever you know.”
Roger looked at him. “I can’t believe you’re still trying to sell me this. After all that’s happened?” He asked.
Brown looked troubled. “Oh no I wouldn’t try and sell you this.” He waved at the mess around them. “This is only the demonstrator. You’d get a brand new model. All the latest gadgets and goodies. We’d even through in free lifejackets, for you and your family as well.” He looked smug. “Now isn’t that a good deal?”
“You actually mean you’d expect me to risk my wife and all our kids in this. In one of these death-traps. You must be mad. Or desperate to make a sale.”
“Oh well, perhaps you’ll reconsider once we get back home.” Brown was nothing if not an optimist. He pulled out the manual from the tool-chest. “I think it might just be water in the fuel. I should be able to clear that easily enough.”
Roger turned away in disgust. The bay they were marooned in was just far enough away from the boat to make swimming a challenge. And the waves that threatened to turn the boat over again, made that challenge one he didn’t want to accept. It had taken nearly thirty minutes to get back on the boat after it had miraculously righted itself, and he credited that more with the waves than the structure of the vessel.
It looked like he was stuck on this boat with a raving salesman until some passing craft came to their rescue. Phone, radio everything was waterlogged and useless. Even the emergency flare were washed away. So rescue, escape or starvation seemed the only options, and the third of those the most likely.
“How long is it going to take you?” he asked Brown, hoping a factual question would prevent more inane dribbling about the wonders of the Speedstar thirty bloody five.
“Oh, not long. I’m sure it’s straightforward enough.” He held up the manual. “Are you any good with Japanese?” He asked hopefully…
It was the end of the first week when the coastguard cutter nosed into the bay. The sea had quietened after four days and Roger had been able to get ashore. Fortunately some of the stores had washed up on the beach, so he’d been able to survive on pre-packed nourishing bars and soft drinks. But it had been a close thing.
“Ahoy there, we’ve been looking for you ever since you didn’t get back. It was a rough old sea to take a pleasure cruiser like this out in and no mistake.” Said the captain of the cutter.
“They said there were two of you? Where’s the salesman who took you out?”
“Sadly, I think he was lost to the sea.” Replied Roger. Deliberately not looking at the mound of earth, just beyond the shore line.