Tuesday, June 14, 2011

200. If At First You Don't Succeed...

I tried to look away but I couldn't.

Even after Joey had jump up and ran toward the back of the boat with his left arm extended, I still saw him there on his back, his eyes bulging, his face twisted in pain.
I shook my head.

I tried to look at everyone but Joey. I was afraid I'd see a charred black hand, with his fingers melted together.

Joyce was at his side, her face white, her half Asian eyes wide and full of fear and concern for her boyfriend.

Chaz stood a few feet from Joey. He looked like he was going to throw up. He'd been the one who turned the key. His face was full of guilt and worry. "Are you OK? Is he OK? I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry," he was mumbling, shaking his head.

Only Rae was calm and confident. She looked into Chaz's face. "Look, he's fine. Everyone's fine. You didn't kill him, he's fine." I knew she was trying to comfort her boyfriend, but a part of me believed her.

I finally forced my eyes over to Joey. His eyes were less bulgy, but his face was just as white as Chaz's. He was nodding and saying "I'm fine. I'm fine," as he squeezed his upper arm below his bicep and held his arm out in front of him. "Look, I still have a hand."

I looked down at his hand and watched him wiggle his fingers. There were five of them. None of them black, none of them melted into one fleshy stump.

"It's OK, really. It was just a bad shock and I couldn't let go. But it's OK. I'm getting feeling back in my fingers," he said and then shook his hand to show us. "See?"

Lighting lit up the sky again. I needed to get off the boat. Hadn't Rae called her dad? How long had it been? Thirty minutes? We were only 10 minutes from her lakehouse. Did that old man lie about calling 911? Why wasn't anyone there to save us??

"Are you OK?" Cayden asked. I hadn't realized he'd been trying to get my attention the whole time.

"I want off the boat."

"Look, he's fine. Don't worry. We'll be fine," he said.

"I don't care. I want off the boat."

I heard a similar conversation going on at the other end of the boat between Joyce and Joey.

"Babe, I'm fine! Stop fussing," Joey said.

"I was worried about you! That scared the shit out of me!"

"Seriously, babe, I'm fine," he said, with a laugh to lighten the mood. I knew he was trying to reassure Joyce and Chaz, but instead it pissed her off.

"It's not funny!" Joyce said, then got up and stormed to the front of the boat.

Cayden took that as his cue to get up so Joyce and I could sulk together.

"I'm glad I'm not the only one freaking the fuck out," I said. "Get me the hell out of here."

"I know! This is bullshit, and he's over there laughing at me!"

We sat with our arms around each other, shivering against our towels.

Lightning lit up the sky again and I cursed under my breath.

"There he is!" I heard Rae yell. I followed her pointed finger and saw a light getting closer and closer. I wondered if it was the emergency rescue boat or her dad. I didn't care. I just wanted to be rescued.

Rae's dad's fishing boat pulled up alongside us, and their family friend Joe climbed onto our boat with a flashlight.

"Let's see," he said, shining the flashlight on the console.

Rae explained the location of the transmission and asked if the fishing boat could pull the pontoon boat back to the dock.

"No, I can fix it," Joe said, lying down on his back.

"NOOOOOO!" I screamed in my head, but I couldn't make the words come out.

"Um, we already tried that," Rae said.

"I wouldn't do that," Joey said.

"Please, don't" Joyce choked out.

Joe ignored us all, turned the key and screamed.


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