Chapter Four – Cruise of the Dolphin
Sarah smashes a plate. She’s pissed off at Bitch, who is being…a bitch. Sarah and Abercrombie gripe for awhile. Finally Abbey butts in and shares some wisdom. She says that Bitch has been spoiled her entire life and is used to having things her way, and she used to be a bitch herself, before getting her head screwed on straight in their last adventure. Abbey says that Bitch will probably always be that way – unless something happens that changes her. File that one under ‘Obvious Foreshadowing’. Abercrombie makes a joke about beating your wife, and I have to say, nothing lightens up a Christian youth novel than references to domestic violence.
Token and Reb fish. Reb winds the end of his line around his wrist. Token says that this is a bad idea. Reb ignores him. Five minutes later, he catches a huge fish which promptly jerks Reb overboard. Reb untangles himself, gets back aboard, fumes for a bit, and gets out another line. This one he ties around a capstan. Awhile later he catches a fish which turns out to be a 500-pound marlin. They’re trying to bring it aboard, and meanwhile Bitch saunters up on deck wearing a frilly dress. The fish flops around and hits her with his tail, because she can’t see that there’s a giant 500-pound fish there. She falls down and starts screaming and ranting and raving, and finally yells at Sarah to come help her clean up her dress.
To be honest, I’m not really sure why they’re putting up with her. I mean, yes, they needed to be nice enough while her father was around, but now that they’re safely out to sea, who cares if she doesn’t have people around to wait on her?
That night at dinner Bitch comes in wearing an expensive green dress. Jake immediately comments on what a hottie she is. Have I mentioned how much I like the fact that all of the guys in this series immediately objectify all the beautiful women they encounter? It’s really quite wonderful.
They eat the marlin. It’s delicious. Eventually Bitch demands some more juice. I have no idea why they have juice aboard a ship. In fact, I’m certain that juice would spoil almost at once without refrigeration. But Sarah goes to get her some more juice. On the way back, the ship lurches and Sarah spills a couple drops on Bitch’s dress. So Bitch slaps (heheheheh) Sarah across the face.
Everyone’s astonished. Abercrombie is pissed. He tells her to apologize. Bitch refuses. Abercrombie says if she doesn’t, she’ll eat all of her meals in her cabin. Bitch gives him the proverbial middle finger. So Abercrombie goes around the table, picks her up, tosses her over his shoulder, and carries her off kicking and screaming to her cabin.
Later, Josh goes up on deck. Abercrombie tells him that a hurricane is brewing. Maybe it’ll teach Bitch a little lesson. Maybe it’ll terrify her out of her mind, but I doubt it will teach her anything. Still.
Chapter Five – Hurricane!
It’s storming. Reb and Dave have tied themselves down. Abercrombie is at the wheel. They are tossed around like a leaf. There are huge waves of water, taller than the ship itself. It’s very dramatic.
Below decks, Sarah realizes that Bitch is probably freaked out. She heads in to talk to her. Bitch is terrified. Sarah sits down next to her and says that they’ll be alright, and they’ll have to have faith in the ship, Abercrombie, and Goel. She takes Bitch’s hand. And suddenly Bitch apologizes for everything she’s done and starts to cry. Sarah gives her a hug and starts to tell her about Goel. Well, that was a quick transformation.
Up top, Abercrombie looks at the sail, which is in tatters. He says that they have to put a sail up or they’ll founder (sink). Hmmm. I was of the impression that you might want to take in the sails during a hurricane so the winds don’t rip them off or something. But whatever. They put a new sail up. The storm continues for two more days. And then suddenly they see land. With lots of rocks. The storm is blowing them towards the rocks. The rocks are several miles away, but there’s no way to avoid them. They all get up on deck, wait until they crash into the rocks, then jump overboard and swim in to the shore. Abercrombie carries Bitch on his back because she can’t swim. Everyone reaches the shore safely, and they turn around to watch the Dolphin be shredded into kindling.
I’m guessing the title “Voyage” of the Dolphin was poetic license.
This book is curiously free of Civil War references, but that doesn’t mean we still don’t get stupid quotes from Reb:
“Well, I reckon we got thrown up on the shore just like Jonah,” Reb said (page 59).
No. Jonah was vomited onto the shore by a whale. Your ship crashed into some rocks and you swam to shore. Subtle difference. Also, this is the second reference to the Bible in this series, and it still doesn’t make sense. If these characters are Christians, then the obvious question raised is why, exactly, they don’t ever think about God or wonder if Goel is the same as God/Jesus, or a different entity entirely. Christians are the type who would doubt Goel the most, assuming he’s some sort of false prophet or the AntiChrist. Lewis solved this by not ever mentioning Christianity, and one could assume the Pevensies were heathens back in England. Then again, comparing Gilbert Morris to C.S. Lewis is like comparing a mentally retarded six-year-old to Albert Einstein.
Abercrombie says they should find shelter, and it’s a pity they didn’t think of bringing any supplies, but he was more concerned with getting off the ship alive. Pretty poor captain, if you ask me. He knew that they were going to crash a full ten minutes before they hit the rocks. Plenty of time to grab a few necessities like flint, an axe, stuff like that.
They walk inward, shivering. Suddenly Token has an idea. He pulls a magnifying glass out of his pocket and says when the sun rises, he’ll be able to use it to start a fire. I wonder where he got this magnifying glass. There has been no mention of things like magnifying glasses anywhere in this series, and it seems awful convenient that Token has one just when they need to start a fire. Anyway. Around noon he finds a dead tree and starts a fire. Everyone’s wearing a couple pairs of clothing, so they dry out one pair, and then the boys walk off so the girls can change, and then the girls to the same for them. And while the girls are off by themselves, they’re eaten by a dinosaur. No wait.
Later, they find some berries and eat them. They use some of their spare clothes to keep extra berries in. Abercrombie notices that Bitch’s mouth is smeared with berry juice. He gives her his handkerchief to wipe it off. Awww.
They keep walking. Abercrombie thinks that the island might be deserted. They find a giant dog’s footprint in the ground. They keep walking. Suddenly a giant wolf comes out of the foliage towards them. It’s about six feet tall at the shoulder. They shove the girls up a tree, and Abercrombie, Josh, Reb, Dave, and Jake all grab large clubs that are lying conveniently around the ground. The wolf/dog comes towards them a bit hesitantly, then charges. Abercrombie hits in the nose. Josh hits it over the head. And it turns tail and flees.
Bitch tells Abercrombie that it was very brave of him. Awww.
They stop and make a fire with the last light of the sun. To be honest, I don’t think the setting sun is strong enough to start a fire with a magnifying glass, but I suppose it could happen. They gather some more berries, and suddenly they see a fifty-foot giant walking along. It doesn’t see them and vanishes around a bend.
Sarah asks if they dreamt it. After all the weird things she’s seen, I don’t know why she still suspects she’s dreaming after seeing a perfectly ordinary fifty-foot giant. After all, everyone knows that radiation causes things to grow to giant size. But Jake has the perfect answer:
“That wasn’t a dream – that was a nightmare” (page 66).
It’s a large person. For all you know, it’s perfectly civilized and friendly.
Abercrombie decides to gamble on keeping the fire going, because it’s in a gully. I disagree. If you think that there are giants that may want to kill you, you put the fire out and the nine of you huddle together to share warmth, since it’s obviously not particularly cold out. Josh starts his exposition, which doesn’t sound like anything that would ever leave someone’s mouth:
“We’ve seen some strange things in Nuworld: Snakepeople and Gemini Twins – ” (page 69).
The only reason for this is to bring up Volka, but he was only about nine feet tall. Off the top of my head I can think of ten or eleven different ways to bring the conversation promptly around to Volka and giants in general without using clumsy exposition, but then, I’m a better writer than Morris is.
Abercrombie mentions that he’s heard some stories about men who had met giants, but these stories were generally disbelieved. They talk about whether the giants will kill them or not, and finally decide to go to sleep. Abercrombie notices that Bitch has pulled away from everyone else. He tells her to move over with Sarah and Abbey to stay warm. Bitch is very pale and frightened.
She looked much younger than her eighteen years, he thought as she looked up at him – more like fifteen or sixteen (page 71).
Much younger. Like, two whole years younger. That’s a lot.
Bitch talks about how she’s afraid, and apologizes for treating everyone like crap. See, this is the beginning of her transformation into not being a bitch. It’s a pity I like her nickname so much. Anyway, Sarah pipes up:
“You can sleep in the middle,” she said. “That’s what I always wanted to do when I was at a bunking party” (page 71).
Forgetting the slightly interesting bit about Sarah always wanting to be in the middle of a tightly packed group of womanflesh – a bunking party? I Googled it, and it has all of 310 results. The first page of results show notes about Arkansas and newspaper phrases from 1973 and the 1950’s. Sarah immediately clarifies it as a sleepover, so I’ll chalk it down to a seventy-year-old guy who has no idea how to write in the voice of a 1990s teenager.
The next morning Abercrombie says that they have to trust the giants, because they have no other choice. I disagree. You have many large trees. Find some implements, chop some trees down, make a raft, and leave. Or, sneak around and see if you can find some sort of boat, steal it, make it seaworthy, and leave.
They head over to the road and wait for a giant to come along. It doesn’t notice them at first, so Jake chucks a rock at it. The giant stops, bends over, and goggles at them. Josh yells “Friends!” a few times. And then the giant starts talking. It reminds Josh of Middle English. Wouldn’t you know, Josh studied that in school. Oh yes, and he remembers some words, too. He yells some at the giant, and suddenly the giant understands them and Josh can translate everything he says into perfectly understandable English. That’s convenient. Josh asks him to take them to his house. The giant opens a box, picks them up, puts them inside, and puts the top on.
The box has quite a bit of tobacco in it, so it’s not exactly the best place to stay for awhile. But finally they get somewhere, and the top pops off, and they see the giant’s family. The giant’s name is Gant, apparently. He has a ten-year-old daughter who picks Sarah up to examine her. Gant takes them out of the box and explains to his wife how she found them. They’re given some stew, and after eating Josh tries to explain, in his Middle English that he’s fluent in, where they came from. But the giants don’t understand. Apparently they don’t think there’s anywhere except for their island.
Josh next tries to ask if they have any ships. It seems that they do have a few small boats, but nothing sea-worthy. Josh asks if Gant will help them build one, and he says yes.
To protect them from the cat, the giants give them a cage to sleep in. Sarah asks for a partition to be put up, so the girls have some privacy. Their conservative Christian values appeased, everyone falls asleep.
…I’m not sure what the chapter title “A Serious Mistake” was, but I assume it’s Morris telegraphing that going along with the giants will actually turn out to be an extremely bad decision.