Once upon a time there was a great ship up on the shore of a deserted little island. Inside the ship was the great anchor that had never been put out in time, so that the ship had run aground. Between the two prongs of the anchor a hammock had been stretched.
Spivey slept in the hammock when he wasn’t out collecting coconuts or spear fishing or collecting from his fish nets. He’d been first mate aboard the shipwrecked vessel, back when the barnacles on the sides had been the first generation. Now they were four or five generations deep on the rusting mass of the ship.
Years ago the Captain had rowed away in the lifeboat and left Spivey to watch the ship while he got help. So Spivey waited. He could see his beard had gone white, and it was harder to climb the palms for the coconuts or to wrestle the octopi for the fish in his fish nets, but Spivey waited.
The Captain had decided to go on a cruise. It had been years since he’d been to sea, having retired after blaming Spivey for that shipwreck years ago. But now that he was out on a cruise to the Bahamas he suddenly recalled the old cashbox he’d been carrying for that oil firm. Weren’t there old stock certificates for Shell and Exxon in there? They’d be worth a pretty penny now, he was sure.
It might be worthwhile scouting out that old wreck. By now it must’ve slipped below water, but no one would have ever looked for it. He’d told them that they’d floundered hundreds of miles from where they’d run aground.
But the Captain knew where it had gone up on that atoll. It had happened just when he’d been arguing with Spivey. They didn’t need to drop anchor in that storm, not with a ship of that size. He still couldn’t believe that they’d run aground. But that had been years ago, and now the barnacles had dealt with anything except maybe that old cashbox.
The Captain rented a glass bottom boat in the Bahamas. Most people wanted to tootle around the reefs, but he took the whole boat for the day and took it out into open water as fast as it would go. He figured if the hulk had gone under water he could spot it from above, and then snorkel down for the cashbox.
When he got out to the atoll, the Captain saw a hunched old figure banging away at a coconut next to the rusted out ship. He docked the flat bottomed boat up onto the sand, and walked over. “Spivey, is that you?”
“Captain!” Spivey called out. “You came back! I hope you got the help you were looking for?”
You don’t know the half of it, thought the Captain to himself. I’ll get myself that cashbox, and then we’ll see about making old Spivey scarce. But he slapped his old mate on the back and said he just needed to look around in the old hulk.
Now, you might be feeling bad for old Spivey at this point. But in the last few years he’d been having a few thoughts about the Captain. So when the Captain went into the hulk Spivey went sprinting up the beach to some bushes. He yanked the cashbox out of those bushes and took off for that flat-bottomed boat. By the time the Captain came out of the hulk, Spivey was half a mile out. “Don’t worry, Captain!” He called back. “I’ve just got to go get some help, and I’ll be back for you!”
- Blackbeard’s shipwreck reveals Swedish booty (thelocal.se)
- Captain’s Lover: I Was on Bridge During Costa Concordia Collision (world.time.com)
- Harrison Okene Survives for 3 Days in Shipwreck (theepochtimes.com)
- Man rescued after days in shipwreck (skynews.com.au)
- The Storm (cardboardmagazine.wordpress.com)
- Shipwrecking captain blames crew – Oh my! (iclassenglish.com)
- Man spends 62 hours trapped in shipwreck’s air bubble (reuters.com)
- A look at big migrant shipwrecks in the Caribbean (miamiherald.com)
- Bulk Carrier MV Smart Breaking Up After Running Aground in South Africa (gcaptain.com)