[Gabe loves fan fiction. You Can Make It Up features his own personal alternate adventures starring some of our favorite characters.]
The irony, the man thought, as he thrashed his arms and legs, trying desperately to keep his head above water, was that this was happening to him now, on a clear morning, with calm waters, under a bright blue sky. The night before, when the storm was at its worst, he would have expected such an outcome. Wind tore the mast in half, and the metal fixtures all along the railings glowed blue with the threat of lightning. There was panic on deck, and below decks wasn’t much better, people huddled in corners staring at walls that seemed suddenly made of rubber, straining to understand what the explosive noises coming from above might mean, and whether they would ever see the rising of the sun. Somehow, though, they had weathered nature’s wrath, and as the sky lightened, and the horizon burned bright, the winds receded, the rain abated, the waters stilled, and they could all breathe easily that some miracle had delivered them back on the path of the living. It was a few hours later, on the gentle seas, that the hull had struck against an upturned, abandoned dinghy. A glancing blow, really, and yet enough to jar loose an already weakened suture. And now this. A watery grave after all.
The man couldn’t see anyone else from the ship. Some had certainly already disappeared into the deep. Everything was chaos and yet unnaturally quiet. But that silence was broken by a soothing, attractive voice. “Yoo-hoo,” the voice said. “Hi.” The man spun in circles thinking that perhaps he had descended into madness before his final descent. But then he saw her. Christina Hendricks. Paddling up to him in a small rowboat. “I’m Christina Hendricks,” she said. “From TV’s Mad Men. And I was wondering if you’d be interested in buying some water.”
“What are you doing he–” the man managed to gurgle out before dipping under again. He came to the surface sputtering. He could feel the energy draining from his arm and legs.
“My friend made some water, and I’m helping her sell it,” Christina Hendricks said. “Would you be interested in buying some water? Do you have a PayPal account?”
The sun reflected off the water, shining into the man’s eyes. The salt burned in his throat, and his eyes itched and stung in their sockets. Christina Hendricks’s boat bobbed easily on the surface, and her dress looked like it had recently been pressed. Her hair was perfect.
“Please,” the man said, pulling together his final reserves of strength and will, “save me. There is plenty of room on your boat. I am drowning.”
Christina Hendricks smiled and tilted her head slightly down. “You’re cute,” she said. “Would you like to buy some water?”
Something massive and powerful bumped against the man’s legs. A shark? The man’s heart thudded in his chest, and the surge of adrenaline in his bloodstream drained him of the last of his energy. He could feel his muscles going soft and soggy, his arms slowing, his legs seeming to fill with cement. A peace came over him. Christina Hendricks looked down at him from her boat, nothing out of place, her smile soft and pretty. She stretched out a hand. At first the man thought perhaps she was going to pull him onto her boat, to safety, to life. But as he reached out to meet her, he saw that in her hand she held a large pitcher of water. It did look good, her holding it there in front of him. After all, we all need water to live, do we not? Besides, perhaps water was what had always been missing from his life. Perhaps with some water, he would be more attractive, more successful. The man smiled back at Christina Hendricks, and proudly exclaimed, “one water, please!”
“Wonderful,” Christina Hendricks said. “Oh, this is great. I’m so happy you’re interested in some water.”
The man just barely managed to provide her with the three-digit security code from the back of his credit card before succumbing to the ocean’s embrace, where he then drowned to death.