Out of the frying pan

burnt stump on a beach, sailboat in the distance

The bonfire had burnt out. Initially, green palm fronds produced adequate smoke, but did little to keep the blaze burning. All dry driftwood they found was exhausted early, along with the hopes of the marooned travelers.

Frank was the first one voted off the island. After his umpteenth rendition of the Gilligan’s Island theme song, the others were ready to sacrifice him to the volcano gods, or for their shared need for food. Since there was no active volcano submerged in the atoll’s lagoon, Frank was slow roasted, his bones used to fuel the bonfire, before their rescue signal finally died.

The morning after their macabre luau, the designated lookout spotted the sailboat on the horizon. Assembling on the beach, the survivors called out, and waved their arms, frantically trying to draw attention to their dire circumstances.

When the boat turned, and began tacking toward them, the shipwrecked band held a quick confab to concoct a story about Frank’s disappearance to their saviors. They disregarded wild animals, sharks and alien abduction, and decided on saying he was lost to the deep when their boat capsized.

A few bemoaned the timing. If only they could have waited one more day, Frank could have gone home with the rest of them. They comforted themselves rationalizing that he at least kept them alive until help could arrive.

When the sailboat was close enough to shore to see the crew, elation turned to alarm when it was obvious the ship was manned by armed pirates. Rifles were slung over shoulders, and holstered semi-automatic pistols were draped on bony hips.

The marauders shouted threats as they stormed the beach, demanding to know where the other tourist boats were. They fired warning shots over the shipwrecked survivors’ heads, a clear sign the pirates were willing to shoot anyone who didn’t tell them what they wanted to know.

Pirates killed Muriel first, making her an example, after she refused to give up her Harry Winston diamond ear studs.

Later, when their ordeal was adapted to the small screen on an episode of a popular crime drama, the main character quipped about them being thrown out of the frying pan into the fire.

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Inspiration: Sailboat

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