I was in Salvador, in Brazil, and I needed to get to an island. I distrusted the potability of the water so I’d been dehydrated for days, and the night before I’d tried to fist fight a hotel manager for demanding my passport. This was my first real travel experience and I was coping badly. Sally assured me things would be better on the Island, a brisk two hours jaunt on a high speed catamaran. She was concerned about my motion sickness, which presented itself in all other forms of travel. I told her that I’d be fine because this was a boat, and I’d never been sick on boat…as the sea was my friend.

On the pier my wife handed me a hotpocket composed of congealed grease, shriveled chicken, and impending dramatic irony. A local delicacy. The catamaran was divided into a plush, enclosed, middle with T.V. Screens, and a hard bench back deck exposed to the elements. I argued for the middle but my companions insisted that we sit in the wind. I relented, ungraciously, insisting that their science was bad but we’d go with their plan anyways. I had become the contentious, first murdered, teenager in a lazily written horror movie. Also, the sea was not my friend.

When the the first wave hit I was midship and avoided spewing on a baby by cheek strength alone. I stormed to the back and hurled into the sea. In the brief calm afterwards a crewman handed me a sleeve of clear plastic bags, and informed me that I’d puked on their lifeboat. The number seemed excessive. I filled the dozen he gave me and a hundred more, my stomach transformed into a vomitous clown car, disgorging an amount impossibly greater than its confines. I had to tie each bag into a knot and place it into a different bag that the crewman held, his hated growing with every deposit.

He eventually hung me off the side of the ship, clinging to a precariously latched gate, where I was waterboarded by the sea for the next hour and a half. My body temperature dropped low enough that my eyesite stated fading, and I prayed for a hard wave to jolt me into the comfort of my watery grave. I reached the island a broken man[1] and wondered what job I could find in this place that fate demanded be my forever home.


[1] I legitimately googled the cost of charting a helicopter as a means of returning. It was way too much so I just took a medically inadvisable amount of Gravol on the return trip and I was fine.