chapter three already!


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In this chapter the "rapture" hits the cruise liner, and the libido hits the fan.




Rod Rigidson stiffly pretended to look over the NOAA report as he stood at the bridge.  The area was quiet, except for the whir of cooling fans and the distant rush of the sea. His navigators and staff knew him well enough not to try to talk to him in this mood.  Some of them even knew that he was stressed stupid over his marriage—even more reason for caution, more reason to look busy.  So it was a diversion and a relief when Bunny burst through the door in a swirl of humid air, wearing nothing but a lemon-yellow thong.

“Ms. Bunderson!” the navigator shouted. “You know we have a dress protocol on the”—but his voice trailed off as Bunny ran directly to the Captain, who backed toward the Bridge viewing-windows, as if confronted by a snarling pack of peccary. 


Captain Rigidson! Our passengers are disappearing!”  

There was audible tittering from the Bridge staff, though it quickly died away as Rigidson whirled about, glaring.


No one had raised the overboard alarm. There would be no place for them to swim to—no boats had been lowered—so what was she on about?  And why had she left her bra on the deck?  And did God just love to torture him, or what?

"Bra-buh-but you've got no--why would the passengers hide?" he spluttered.

“No!  I mean”—she waved her hands in an expansive gesture—“poof! Gone!  Into thin air, as I watched!”


This was too much.  Bunny was normally the impressively collected type—she had been hired after completing a Ph.D. in psychology, and had come with a reputation of scientifically engineering a Memorable Vacation Experience on each cruise ship she had been on.  Now here she was, wearing three square inches of fabric and a look of bewildered panic, uttering perfect nonsense.  Had to be drugs.

Captain Rigidson looked through the seagull-spattered storm glass, over the pool area near the bow.  Several passengers were sunning or frolicking in the water, but there were some others running about waving their arms and shouting.  What was this, a prank?  Pirates?  There were pirates near Somalia, but not in this sea--not for a few hundred years, at least. There was nothing on the radar. What did she mean by “poof?” How could he think with those gently wobbling boobs staring at him?  God was clearly on a tear.

“Ms. Bunderson,” he said, trying not to look at her heaving bosom.  Somehow, God would pay for this.  "I’m sure there is some cleava--um--explanation—Mr. Carson," he said, suddenly taking what he called his 'command tone,'  "call security.”  He lowered his voice and spoke through his teeth to Bunny. “Get some goddamn clothes on, and meet me at the Security office.”

Bunny was poised to say something else, but then she seemed to become suddenly self-conscious. Gathering all her dignity, she grabbed a towel from a nearby swivel chair, wrapped her chest neatly in it, tied a knot behind her neck, and walked stiffly off the bridge. Captain Rigidson watched her go, feeling butterflies in his stomach.

Bob Carson glanced furiously at Bunny, grabbed a red phone, and began dialing.  Bob had grown weary of Rigidson’s obvious infatuations, not least because—though he was loath to admit it to himself—he wanted Rod’s attentions in a big way.  Why wouldn’t Rod go to gym with Bob, anyway?  Was it Bob’s thinning hair?  Bob fantasized working out with Rod, then retiring to Bob’s cabin where they could study the Bible and, you know, stuff--

But hold on, this was news.  This was impossible. Bob hung up the intercom phone, stood at military attention, locked eyes with Rigidson as if to speak of something important, and disappeared in a puff of ionized smoke.

Rod’s eyes followed the motion downward as Carson’s clothes fell to the floor, revealing a tailored shirtwaist, black socks with garters, and the assistant’s red satin underwear. A cellphone and a pocket Bible (“Compliments of Shapes”) bounced on the deck.  The underwear was silkscreened with the phrase “Sexxxy azzz.”


Jeezus!” said Rod
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