Ok my dear, I promise just one more. Can you give me this in Arabic…
The Excellence and Creativity Award 2014 and the International Schools Award in cooperation with the British Council
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Hey lets go sailing
2 AM ~ 35°C
It’s hot. It’s always hot in Singapore
STORY & IMAGE → GARRY RIGBY © 2022
We definitely had one or two too many. God knows what bright spark suggested sailing. I have a terrible feeling it was me. “Who’s got a yacht?” “I have”. “Great. She’ll get the pot, I’ll get the wine. Lets go”. We all dashed out to our scooters, taxis whatever. Thirty minutes later at the marina. “Yeah, wow, cool, we got pot, booze, a boat… Us! We’re off”. “Sandwiches?” “Yeah, we got everything man”. For a short moment it was bliss; then we remembered. “Oh my God”. But its too late. We have cast off, the wind is in our sails and no God can save us. There will be no parley here shipmates; tears, supplication, bribery will fall on deaf ears. Singapore strait was mined by the British during the Second World War… that would have been safer. (Spoiler Alert ~ nobody actually dies, but an elbow is seriously bruised, a nail viciously torn off and the swear box holds more doubloons than Blackbeard’s treasure chest). For we are now in one of the busiest shipping lanes IN THE WORLD. Everyone is off their head. All our dreams of Shangri-La dissipate in a moment. One thousand merchant ships on a daily basis. A gargantuan 400 metres in length some of them. A tower block nonchalantly floating about in the middle of the strait. A leviathan bringing doom and destruction. We are 12 metres. We are dead.“What the fuck. Why didn’t someone press stop?” *
“Wiziwig, this is Jùrén, request you turn to starboard, over”. “Who said that?” “Its the radio. Pick it up fool”.
“Wiziwig, this is Jùrén, request you turn to starboard, please verify, over”. “Hello, hello” crackle, crackle. “Push the bloody button dipshit”. “Wiziwig, this is Jùrén, insist you turn to starboard, you must comply, over”. What the hell are they on about? We are nowhere near them. 200 metres starboard a red ships light. 200 metres port a red light. We’re clear. He’s an idiot. We got GPS. We got charts. We got a shit load of wine and weed to get through. The screaming is about to commence. Get ready.
Its not two ships, its one and we’re headed straight for the middle. They take about a week to turn and we got about five minutes max.“You morons, turn to starboard, NOW!”. “Oh sweet Jesus”. “Turn you stupid cunt, turn, turn”. This is no time for polite conversation. This is a time to howl. “I am, I am”. “Not that fucking way, you’re other right”. “We’re all going to die”. Screaming from all quarters now, realising the true magnitude of our predicament. How can it be so big? Why? Its bigger than the fucking Parthenon, Eiffel Tower. It’s the fucking Empire State Building on steroids. The Great wall of China, Mount Everest… am I getting across the truly hugeness of it all? I fear I may have started crying at this point, or pissed myself; possibly both. “Why did we do it?”. All hands on deck now as we desperately try to steer away from the Goliath bearing down on us.
“Where is it?” “What the fuck do you mean. There, that fucking massive thing straight in front of you. Pull that rope you stupid bastard”. “Jesus Christ, we’ve had it”. “Shut the fuck up and PULL!”. I can barely see through my tears and the waves crashing against our port side. I am choking on salt water, too busy to retch or vomit. I really shouldn’t be here. I don’t even like sailing that much to be honest, it’s all rather wet and up and down… it just seemed such a good idea at the time. Christ, why didn’t somebody stop us? Where the fuck were the ocean police or whatever? You can’t let people just get on a boat pissed and do what they like. Where’s the sense in it all. “Where is it?” “Don’t start that shit again”. “It’s so fucking big I can’t see it; nothings that big”. “I can’t see it either”. “Get the fuck out of my way NOW”. “Oh my God there it is, FUCK!”. “Yeah, kill yourself”.
I would like to say there was thunder and lightning, but there wasn’t and we had drama enough; drama in bundles; more drama than Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Macbeth, Terminator 1 or a January sale just as the doors open. Relentless to be quite honest.
For Jack and Jill the situation was too much. They collapse into each other’s arms, raging at the injustice of it all. Two beautiful lives cut so short. A mountain of missed opportunities. A glorious future torn asunder. Together they flop to the deck, forlorn, forsaken and fucked, while Captain Birdseye surveys his motley crew with loathing and disgust, the mascara running freely down his weathered face. “Shiver me timbers, rise to blaggards or you’ll feel the cat o’ nine tails cutting into yer flesh”. Actually, he just called us a bunch of cunts again and we all, sans Jack and Jill, heaved away at the ropes. As you can imagine, the whole holiday vibe has long gone as we now fight desperately for our very lives. “Pull you stupid fucks, PULL”.
Then almost in an instance, the mayhem, darkness, shouting and crashing waves disappeared. Suddenly just silence and a gentle rocking. And light. A vision of tranquility; the Shangri-La we had been heading for. But we are so distressed and the weed is all wet and you’re either crying or being sick. We had to avoid each others gaze; shocked and ashamed at the things we might have said, the things we may or may not have done. Not even hysterical laughter and glad we are still alive ho, ho. Fuck. It was terrible.
Anyway. We dried the weed, finished the wine and were back home in time for tea and jam. But I’m afraid that would be a lie, a fantasy, a what you wish for ending.
Because then the screaming started once more
As we all suddenly realised
We would have to do it again
To get home
“Pull you stupid fucks, PULL!”