In 1994, a rogue postie, known only as Warren C, was found to have been hoarding thousands of undelivered, unopened letters, some of which were so old they had been partially eaten by vermin.
Fortunately, most of the letters were able to be delivered to their intended recipients, but one particular package containing a manuscript of an apparent romantic novel, was so badly damaged that not only was the entire envelope destroyed, but most of the pages too.
What follows are the last remaining words from the few undamaged pages. It is hoped that the original author can be found.
“Here, I want you to have this,” Auntie Nola said, passing Veronica a small folder. “It’s a ticket for a week-long cruise on the SS Good Times. I won it at the church gala, of all places! I’m too old for a cruise ship, but you, my dear, well, it might be just what you need. Might finally find a fellow!”
“What do you mean it’s a virgin pina colada? What, pineapple juice and coconut cream? That’s not a cocktail – that’s a detox, and I didn’t come here to detox!” Veronica was outraged.
Isaiah the bartender shrugged and passed the yellow drink to her. “Sorry, ma’am – there is no alcohol onboard this ship – captain’s orders.”
Veronica took the drink and mooched over to a deck chair on the Lido deck. What sort of ship didn’t have rum? And would she ever find love aboard the increasingly bizarre SS Good Times?
“I’m sorry, miss. The buffet has been closed due to a norovirus outbreak. But we have some packets of chips if you’re hungry.”
“This is only a bikini! How is this offensive?! I demand to see the captain!” Veronica was furious.
“Ah, I think I see where the confusion has arisen,” said the captain. “This is actually the SS God Times. We are a floating mission ship, bringing the word of the Lord to the South Seas.”
“Oh, you’re kidding me.” Veronica was outraged and furious. “Well, what am I supposed to do for the rest of the week? Pray?”
“Perhaps you would like to visit our Christian bookstore,” the captain suggested. “It’s the largest floating bookstore in the southern hemisphere. We have a large section for Christian singles.”
“Oh, Captain,” Veronica purred. “My bikini seems to have come loose. Could you be a dear and tie me up?”
“Uh, no. I’m… happily… married…”
“I’m your captain now, you bad bad boy,” she screamed.
“Shiver me timbers,” the captain moaned.
“Look, uh, this is kind of awkward. I don’t even want to see you again, let alone marry you. I was just bored. I mean, stuck on a ship for a week with no booze, not even shuffleboard… I was just looking for some good times.”
Veronica couldn’t find her bra, but it didn’t matter. The gangplank had been lowered. The real world awaited.
“But I think I’m going to check out that Christian singles website you recommended. Bye, captain. Thanks for the rum.”