<HONEA EXPRESS: Never Thought I'd be on a Boat
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Monday, August 24, 2009

Never Thought I'd be on a Boat

I've had a song in my head for days. This happens. Sometimes I'm stuck on a Waits tune or I hang my hat on the perfect pitch of Miles 'round midnight. Other times it's the haunting chords of Jeff Buckley or the lonesome road beneath David Gray. I get lost in both kinds of music, country and western.

And sometimes I'm on a motherfucking boat. Yes, this boat is real.

The boat song, not to be confused with that Banana Boat Song or the theme to Love Boat, was floating on my deck for days. I couldn't get it out of my head. It's docked there now, just off a memory.

I'm riding on a dolphin, doing flips and shit
This dolphin's splashing, getting everybody all wet


It's like poetry.

And then I sunk my battleship.

It was gone, out with the tide.

Straight flowing on a boat on the deep blue sea.

That song had sailed.

Hours passed on dry land.

Then an unknown phone in an unknown pocket in an unknown part of town rang, and its melody was like the Siren's:

I'm on a boat, I'm on a boat
Everybody look at me

'Cause I'm sailing on a boat

I'm on a boat, I'm on a boat

Take a good hard look
At the motherfucking boat

Seriously? There are kids on this bus, man.

But it was back and there I was, sans flotation device, and I slowly felt myself drown.

I looked at the guy who had unknowingly relaunched the ringing of my soul, and he was all, "What?"

And I was like, "What?"

I wanted to tell him. I wanted to tell him that with one unanswered booty call he had undone minutes of therapy. With one ignored debt collection he had thrown me to the sharks. I wanted him to hold me.

I wanted to cut him with my iPhone app for cutting a bitch.

Instead I just gave him some stink-eye.

"Boat." I said.

And I meant it.

He backed the fuck up at that point. I let him drift. Bon voyage, motherfucker.

T-Pain carried me home.

My phone rang a few days later. It didn't play anything by The Lonely Island, but it did play something by Islands, because that's my ringer, and that was close enough to feel suddenly landlocked. My waters run deep.

It was the wife in another state in our other yard, and parked where it shouldn't be was an unknown boat. A boat.

"Take a good hard look at the motherfucking boat," I said.

"The boat is real," is how she should have replied. She didn't, but she knew what I was talking about so I forgave her.

"There's a boat," she continued, "in our yard."

"Tow that shit!" I yelled. My neighbors stopped pretending not to listen to me and gave me their full attention.

I put my hand over the phone and whispered into the street, "I've got a boat!"

"We'll get our towels ready!" they screamed as one WITHOUT EVEN MOVING THEIR LIPS!

"I think I'm hearing things," I said into the phone.

"Are you drunk already?" she asked.

"Already? Woman, it's Sunday and I'm sans family. There is no already, there's just is ready. And, still." I nodded at the neighbors. Someone in the back raised a fist into the sky. There may have been a beer in it.

"Whatever," she said. "What should I do about the boat?"

I was quiet for a moment. It was too much and my mind was doing a montage. I let it play. I owed it that much. In hindsight, the ascot may have been overkill.

"Hey," I whispered. "Is T-Pain there?"

"Um, no."

"Just checking."

"I think the boat is the neighbors," she added.

"Bastard."

I was reaching for my app without even realizing it.

"Did you at least get our water slide?" I asked.

"Yes, it's in the car," she replied. And then she said other stuff about something else(s).

I hung up the phone and looked past my sea of neighbors and their constant waves that crash until heeded. They could have been smooth as glass.

I almost had a boat. Then I didn't. Easy come? Yes. Easy go? Not so much. Still, I do have a water slide- a huge, awesome, double slide with a rock wall, tipping bucket, wadding pool and this thing which tells time. Also, it's inflatable.

Hey ma, if you could see me now
Arms spread wide on the starboard bow
Gonna fly this boat to the moon somehow

Like Kevin Garnett, anything is possible


Except it's not really a boat.

The water slide is real. And I'm on it.

Motherfucker.

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