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"I was wrong when I called you the stupidest child I ever met," I said, lashing the terrified boy to the side of the boat. "You are in fact the nastiest, stupidest, most willful child who has ever been born." I winked at the small, extremely wealthy group of passengers on board, who giggled nervously in response. Next I retested the knots and ropes to make sure they were taut enough. Check. After a brief review of my notes, I addressed my audience, who were palpably excited by now.
"Observe, if you will, the coral reef passageway that begins some 300 yards due Northwest. At its widest point, the boat you currently sit on measures exactly nine feet across--just barely wide enough to squeeze through the corridor. I must therefore advise you to keep your limbs and extremeties well within the boat, for any object hanging over either side will instantly be slashed to ribbons by the razor sharp coral."
I shot my clients a mischievous glance and turned to the boy, who was squirming away at the ropes to no avail. "Perhaps you didn't hear my warning, young fellow. For your own safety I'd strongly urge you to move to a less precarious berth."
I waited for my audience's laughter to subside before continuing. "No? Well, each to his own, I suppose. Today's youth will do anything for adventure, it seems! Then again, perhaps our young friend is an aspiring marine biologist, eager for a closer look at the local oceanographical marvels. Well, if so, he shan't be disappointed--I can assure you of that!" The ensuing hilarity was largely drowned out as I gunned the engine, but when I hit the gas and the boat shot forward, the enthusiastic cheer that rose up was perfectly audible. A grand sense of well-being overtook me as the reefs grew larger. Two more of these and I could take a well-earned vacation.
Date Written: December 30, 2003
Author: Jon Matza
Average Vote: 4.5