¡Muy Importante!: Don’t let the title fool you. This is Gilligan’s Island
– we’re not going there.
Sal: Mob-leader; your stereotypical, cigar-smoking, tough-guy.
Artie: His eager-to-please second-in-command; for looks picture Danny DeVito.
Pauly: Tall, gangly; “the good one.”
Allyson Sheffield: Infant (can’t walk, can’t talk, just sits and acts cute); daughter of a very rich couple. And away we go!!!
“Authorities from all around the nation have been called out to aid
in the search for baby Allyson. Her mother, Lillian Sheffield, has made a
A blond woman with tears in her eyes came onto the screen and began to speak, “I want the --.”
“I can’t watch anymore of this. It’s pathetic,” the short man stretched out on the couch turned off the television and tossed the remote over his shoulder. “Hey, Pauly!”
“Yeah, Art?” A tall, gangly man poked his head into the room.
“Get me a beer outta the fridge, will ya? And get somethin’ for the kid too.”
“Right. Where is the beer?”
“Where it always is. Second shelf on the right, next to Sal’s heart.”
“Oh, boys, no need to compliment me,” a raspy voice came from the cloud of cigar smoke hovering over the chair on the other side of the small dark room.
“My pleasure, boss.”
“Here ya go, Art,” Pauly reentered the room and handed Artie his beer. He put another bottle down in front of the infant, “And for the little lady.” She stared at it.
“Not beer, you moron!” Artie slapped his comrade upside the head. “Go get her a juice! Sheesh.” Artie was about to toss the other bottle back to Pauly, but instead shrugged and decided to keep it for himself.
Pauly returned with the juice for the baby and sat down on the couch next to her. “So, what are we gonna do with the kid?”
“We hold out for the money, Pauly. How many times do I have to tell you? Her parents are loaded. If we can control that, we’re set for life. Besides, her father’s company screwed my brother over for a job. I think he owes me.”
“Are we gonna return the kid?”
“If we get the money,” Sal said matter-of-factly.
“But what if we don’t?”
“Use your imagination, Pauly,” Sal stated evenly.
“Uh, boss, I don’t wanna do anything drastic here. I mean, it’s just a kid,” Pauly nervously questioned Sal’s judgment.
Sal leaned over and slapped a hand on the other man’s shoulder. “Pauly, in all the years that we have been friends, in all the years that I have been your mentor, have you ever seen me do anything hasty?”
“Well, actually, there was that one time you --.”
“Not from you, Artie!” Sal growled. Artie silently nodded and turned away.
Pauly thought for a moment before shaking his head slowly.
Sal smiled and patted him on the back. “Good.”
“So, boss, where are we headin’?” Artie asked.
Sal glanced around, leaned in closer, and whispered, “We get the midnight plane to Hawaii. From there we get on a boat.”
“A BOAT!” Pauly gawked.
“Shhh! You idiot, what’s the matter?”
“You know I’m scared of boats,” Pauly pouted, “I always get sick.”
“Don’t be such a girl, Pauly. It’s just a little boat.”
“That’s even worse!”
“Pauly, ya gotta come with us. If you stay here the police’ll question ya and you’ll talk!”
“I will not!”
“If you think a boat’s bad news, just wait ‘till they torture ya.”
“Police don’t do that.”
“You wanna risk it?”
Sal and Artie interpreted Pauly’s silence as compliance, so they continued with the plans. “We’ll take a small boat to one of the islands just off the coast and hide out there until the search blows over.”
“Why can’t we just take the reward money?”
“We will, Pauly. All in due time. I want this Sheffield guy to stew a little first,” Sal explained. “Besides, the longer we wait, the higher the reward.”
“Hey, Art, how’d you get the boat guy to not rat us out?” Pauly asked as he carried the infant onto the small dinghy.
Artie merely shrugged his wide shoulders, “I made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.”
“You promised him some of the reward money, didn’t you?” Sal accused.
He whacked him on the back of the head, “I told you to stop doing that!”
Pauly scoffed, “Way to go, Art.”
“Shut up, Pauly.”
“Gimme the kid.” Sal put his cigar back in his mouth and motioned for Pauly to hand the child over. He took her and sat down. “You two. Row.”
“Why can’t we just use the motor?”
“It’s too loud. You wanna wake up all of Honolulu?”
“Hey, Sal, I -- I donno if we should do this now.”
“What’s the matter, Pauly, you scared?” Artie teased.
“No. Look.” Pauly pointed up in the distant night sky. A large, black cloud was brewing and heavy rain could be seen a couple miles away. A bolt of lightning shot down from the middle of the cloud.
“Don’t worry; we’ll make it before the storm hits.”
“I donno --.”
“Pauly!” the rotund man standing at the front of the boat yelled, “Shut up and row!”
A warm breeze cut briefly through the tropical morning; the stuffy heat then returned as quickly as it had left. This was the calm after the storm. The white, sandy beach was littered with debris and the piquant fragrance of the wet exotic flowers cut sharply through the air. A tall woman, grossly overdressed with massive red curls piled atop her head, strolled down the beach fanning herself with a palm frond. Suddenly, a piercing cry sounded and echoed through the jungle. Thousands of birds squawked in protest and abandoned their perches in a single, rainbow cloud. The woman flinched before slowly making her way through the tall grass to investigate. What she found there lit her face into a gorgeous smile.
“Hey, everybody! Look what I found!” Ginger ran into camp as fast as her slinky gold gown and high heels would allow, carefully holding her find.
The younger brunette gasped and ran to the actress’s side, “A baby!”
“Oh, my goodness! Thurston, I had no idea,” an older society lady held her parasol in one hand and fidgeted with her long string of pearls with the other.
“Yes, you hid it so well, my dear,” her husband addressed Ginger with a laugh. “Now, who’s the lucky fellow?” he asked, poking each of the three single men in the backside with a thin bamboo stick.
“Mr. Howell, it’s not mine. I found her,” Ginger explained matter-of- factly.
“Maybe she came in on last night’s tide,” an awkward young man in bellbottoms, a red shirt, and sailor’s cap suggested.
A rather large man in a blue polo shirt and khakis groaned, “Gilligan, don’t be stupid! Babies don’t --.”
“Wait a minute, Skipper. Gilligan might have something there,” a fourth man interjected.
“He does?” the Skipper exclaimed. Gilligan shot a smug smile across Mr. Howell to the captain at the opposite end of the table.
“Yes. While it’s hard to determine exactly how she arrived at our island, we can safely assume that she began her journey on a boat, right?”
“Right,” five voices confirmed.
“Or the stork dropped her,” Gilligan added thoughtfully.
The Skipper tried to hit his first-mate over the head with his cap, but, unfortunately, Mr. Howell got in the way. His arms flew up over his head. “Cease fire, Captain!” the millionaire ordered. He swatted the hat away and straightened his jacket.
“I’m sorry, Mr. Howell.”
“Yes. Well. At ease,” he mock saluted the Skipper before crossing his arms over his chest.
The Professor continued, uninterrupted, obviously accustomed to these scenes, “So, chances are, someone’s out there looking for her right now.”
“Or we could just keep her.”
“Yeah!” Ginger and Mary Ann were busy swooning over the infant, tickling it, and making a variety of baby noises.
The men regarded them with a mild level of interest for a moment before shaking their heads as one and continuing with their conversation. “I think I’ll go start a signal fire right now!” The Skipper pointed towards the beach and then headed that direction.
“Good idea, Skipper. I’ll help you,” the Professor offered and followed.
Mr. Howell cautiously approached the girls, who had sat the baby up on the bamboo table. “Excuse me, ladies,” he said, taking a seat in front of the child, who watched him curiously. “Now, you look like a smart little girl, hum?” He raised an eyebrow and stared at the baby, waiting for a response.
“Don’t scare her, Mr. Howell.”
“Hush, boy!” the millionaire absently swatted an arm in Gilligan’s general direction. “I’m waiting, child.” The infant watched him with big blue eyes. Her bottom lip quivered ever-so-slightly before she exploded into tears, her little fists punching the air. Ginger and Mary Ann burst into laughter and after a warning, but amused, look from Mrs. Howell tried to stifle it unsuccessfully in Gilligan’s shoulders.
Mr. Howell, however, was furious and jumped out of his seat, “Well, I’ve never been so insulted in all my life! That’s it, Lovey, call the authorities! I’ll take her to court for contempt! Better yet, I’ll sue!” He leaned down towards the child and added petulantly, “It’ll be like taking candy from a baby.”
This sent the three youngest Castaways into an even bigger fit of laughter. As the millionaire turned to storm into his hut, his wife stopped him. “Oh, Thurston, so try to calm her down.” She gave him a small shove towards the table.
“But Lovey!” he whined, but let himself be lead over to the table. He looked down at the bawling infant with an insulted, yet loving, look in his eyes. Gilligan, Ginger, and Mary Ann sobered enough to be able to watch, fascinated. Mr. Howell plastered a tight smile on his face and addressed the child, “If you stop crying, Uncle Thurston will give you $5,000!”
“$100,000 and that’s my final offer!”
She kept crying.
The baby started kicking her feet, pounding on the table.
Mr. Howell became desperate went to the last resort, “My teddy bear?”
“Here, let me try.”
“Well, it won’t do any good.” Mr. Howell retreated, hurt, into his hut with his wife right behind him.
Mary Ann picked the child up from the table and rocked her back and forth until her sobbing was reduced to only a few sniffles. The infant looked around for a moment at the palm trees, bamboo huts, and three smiling faces (one of which was now creeping towards the jungle), yawned, and laid her head on Mary Ann’s shoulder.
“Awwe, looks like somebody needs a nap,” Ginger observed.
“Gilligan?” The suspect continued making his way towards the foliage until, “Gilligan!” He flinched and reluctantly made his way back towards the voice.
“What is it, Mary Ann?”
“Go put her in your hammock, okay?” she smiled sweetly and held the infant out in front of her. He looked at her sidelong, which only resulted in a bigger and brighter smile. He made the mistake of glancing at Ginger, who grinned back at him. Gilligan groaned silently. He hated that smile and they knew it. After a few encounters like this, Gilligan was convinced that women possessed some sort of evil psychological power that could make men do whatever they wanted. He’d seen it before: his mother had it, his sister had it, and even his best friend Skinny Mulligan’s dog had it. Gilligan did his research and went straight to the source -- Mr. Howell, who merely laughed in his face and told him to get used to it. Well, Gilligan decided that enough was enough and this vicious cycle was going to end right here, right now, with him!
Gilligan sighed as a baby was placed in his outstretched arms and he trudged off to his hut.
Maybe next time.
Sunlight filtered in through the thin slits in the bamboo shutters; a figure moved stealthily through the dark hut. The shadow crept up to the hammock where the child lay nestled between two blankets.
Mr. Howell carefully tucked his precious teddy bear under her arm and smiled. “Nighty-night,” he put a finger to his lips and slipped out, unnoticed, into the daylight.
Late in the afternoon, Gilligan and the Skipper returned to their hut to find the little girl awake and waiting for them.
Gilligan grimaced, “Hey, Skipper, what’s that smell?”
“Well, it certainly isn’t me, Little Buddy!” the Skipper took offense.
“It isn’t me either!” He pulled the collar of his red, rugby shirt up over his nose.
The two slowly looked at each other, down at the gurgling baby, and back again, chorusing, “MARY ANN!”
“What’s the matter?” She squeezed between them into the hut and froze. “Ooh, looks like someone needs a new diaper.”
“Yeah, smells like it too,” Gilligan said through his shirt.
Mary Ann picked the baby up and held her at arm’s length as she left. Gilligan and the Skipper artfully dodged her footsteps and kept a safe distance.
Her voice floated in on the tropical breeze, “You guys better get used to this; I’m not the only one who’s gonna be changing diapers around here!”
The men looked at each other and gulped. The baby giggled, as if sealing their fate.
“I still don’t see what difference it makes!”
“Then why doesn’t she sleep in your hut?”
“Heavens, no!” Mrs. Howell protested.
“And why not?” the Professor questioned.
“Because!” Mr. Howell shot back. They all stared at him, waiting for him to continue. He simply crossed his arms, signaling that he was through.
“Well, I think you’re both being very cruel!” Mary Ann admonished them and hugged the baby in her lap.
“Obviously, the baby should stay with the girls,” the Skipper rationalized.
“Oh no, I need my beauty sleep! I can’t have a baby crying all night!” Ginger retorted.
“But you two are the best at taking care of her.”
“Yes, it’s the maternal instinct,” the Professor explained.
“But I’m too young to be a maternal!” the actress whined.
Mary Ann gave Ginger a look and continued, “What about Gilligan? He’s really good with her.”
“Yeah,” Ginger agreed, “She always quiets down for him.”
“Gilligan?” the Skipper asked incredulously. “You’re going to trust Gilligan with a baby?”
“And why not?” Mary Ann argued.
“His pet turtle ran away,” he said pointedly.
“What’s your point?” she countered.
“My point is, Mary Ann, you grew up on a farm. You’re good at taking care of,” the Skipper searched for the right word, “stuff.”
“Nice,” Ginger complimented him.
Mr. Howell finally became exasperated, “Oh, for heaven’s sake, what difference does it make? My dear, animals and babies are practically the same: they both eat, they both sleep, and they both make a mess every hour or so!”
Silence as they all gaped at him.
“Well, they do,” he said quietly.
Just then, Gilligan ran into the clearing with the radio. “Hey, everybody, listen to this!” He tried to stop, but skidded on the sand right into the Skipper.
“Gilligan, not now! We’re discussing important matters!”
“But, Skipper, just listen --!”
“But it’s about the baby!”
“Gilli --! What? Give me that!” He snatched the radio from Gilligan and turned the volume up.
“We have an update in the case of the missing Allyson Sheffield,” the announcer began. “Apparently, her three kidnappers flew with her to Hawaii late last night. We were told by a local man that he sold them his small boat, but did not notice anything suspicious or recognize the child until her photo was released to the media moments ago. Little Allyson is about seven months old and has blue eyes and blond hair. She was last seen wearing a pink outfit with a flower design on the shirt. If you have any information, please call your local police station. Thank you.”
All seven Castaways slowly leaned in and stared at the child in Mary Ann’s lap.
“Well,” Gilligan observed after a moment of silence, “she’s wearing pink.” The little girl giggled and grabbed Gilligan’s hat off his head.
The Professor had an idea and walked around behind Mary Ann to call the child, “Allyson?”
She immediately turned around, smiled at him, and held out her arms. He went over and picked her up. “Their boat must have gotten caught in the storm.”
“So, that means her kidnappers are on the island too?” Ginger asked, afraid that she already knew the answer.
It was silent for a moment, until the Skipper assumed leadership as always. “It’s getting dark and we’ll never find anything at night. We’ll form a search party first thing in the morning. Everyone be on guard tonight.”
The Professor handed Allyson to Ginger, “Here you go, ladies. Have fun.”
“Goodnight!” the Skipper called as everyone scurried to their huts, leaving Ginger and Mary Ann there with Allyson, staring after them.
“Oh, come on. Come on. Pleeeeease go to sleep!” Mary Ann begged as she trudged around the clearing for what seemed like the thousandth time with the wailing baby. It was three o’clock in the morning and Ginger had refused to get up again after Allyson’s 2:30 outburst. Mary Ann was on the verge of tears and was too tired to take one more step. Just as she was about to collapse from exhaustion, Gilligan shuffled out of his hut, rubbing his eyes groggily.
Before he had a chance to say anything, Mary Ann pushed him down onto the bench along the side of the Supply Hut. “Gilligan. Sit.”
“No, Mary Ann,” he started to get up, “I just got up to --.” He pointed towards the trees in desperation.
She pushed him back down again, “Gilligan, please, I’ve gotten twenty minutes of sleep all night. Just sit here with Ally for two minutes. Please?”
He looked into her eyes and groaned. “Alright.”
She let out a sigh of relief, “Thank you.” Mary Ann deposited the infant in his left arm and plopped down to his right. “You’re a lifesaver.” She yawned and patted his shoulder before laying her head on it.
“Yeah, well, I try. Ya know, I think I’m a little under-appreciated around here. I do a lot for you people.”
She mumbled something that resembled, “That’s nice, Gilligan.”
He frowned and turned to his right; she was sound asleep. Noticing the eerie silence for the first time, he looked down to see that the child, too, was finally sleeping contently. He shifted uncomfortably. He was trapped. “Oh, boy.”
It was going to be a long night.
“Awwe, how cute!” Ginger squealed.
“Thurston, isn’t this precious?”
“Sickeningly so.” He recoiled as his wife swatted him gently.
“Well, let’s get that search party moving!” the Skipper and the Professor entered the area before noticing what the three were referring to. The Skipper stopped, “Well, well, well,” he declared, amused.
“What do we have here?” the Professor chuckled.
Ginger shrugged, a smile pulling at her lips, “This is the way we found them this morning.”
Gilligan, Mary Ann, and Allyson were still asleep on the bench outside of the Supply Hut, but Mary Ann was now snuggled up against Gilligan’s chest. Gilligan still held baby Allyson in his left arm, but his right arm was now draped over Mary Ann.
“Come on, Little Buddy. Time to go search for kidnappers,” the Skipper moved to shake Gilligan awake before Mrs. Howell stopped him.
“Oh, let them sleep,” she implored.
“Yeah, they were up with Allyson all night,” Ginger explained.
“Up with each other too.”
“We don’t really need his help,” the Professor cut in. “He’ll only get in the way.”
“Well, that’s true. He can stay here with you ladies. Come on, Mr. Howell.”
“Coming, Captain. Goodbye, Lovey.” He kissed his wife before joining the Skipper and the Professor.
“Be careful, Thurston!”
“I brought my sword cane. Just in case,” Mr. Howell could be heard chuckling as the men left the clearing.
“Great! Just great! Now we’ll never get the money! Way to go, Pauly!”
“Me? Sal was holding her!” he accused and continued looking. “Kid?” He looked behind some tall grass. “Hey, kid!”
Artie picked up a rock and peered under it. He straightened up and stood for a moment with his hands on his hips, “I can’t find her.”
Sal glared at him, “You better.”
Pauly walked over to where Sal was resting on a rock and sat down beside him. Sal gave him a dirty look and he immediately stood again. “Hey, boss, you think she might have --. You know --. Out, uh --,” he pointed towards the water and made some motions with his hands.
“Of course not, Pauly. She’s alive and we’ll find her!”
Mary Ann yawned and slowly opened her eyes. Her neck was sore from lying in an odd position for hours. She carefully sat up and blinked a few times, trying to focus. The brunette stretched and brushed some hair out of her face before remembering that she had fallen asleep outside after pawning Allyson off on Gilligan. Gilligan! She had completely forgotten about her substitute pillow. Mary Ann turned to her left and smiled when she saw Gilligan and Allyson both asleep; they looked so cute.
She stood and gingerly tried to remove Allyson from Gilligan’s grasp, but with little success. “Sorry, Gilligan. I didn’t mean to wake you.”
“No, that’s okay. I haveta go on the search with the Skipper anyway.”
“Oh,” Mary Ann looked around and, not seeing anyone else, said, “I think they left already. It looks kinda late.”
“Well, maybe I can catch up.” He stood and started to go after them, but Mary Ann caught his arm.
“Gilligan, stay here. Please?”
“Because. Uh. What if the kidnappers show up here? They could be dangerous. What can us girls do to protect her?”
He thought about it for a moment, “Well, maybe you’re right.”
“Thank you, Gilligan. You’re wonderful.” She kissed him on the cheek and ran off to her hut to change.
“Mrs. How-ell! Gilligan! Ginger! Breakfast!” Mary Ann, who didn’t feel like getting up to find them all, bellowed as loud as she could. From the table, Allyson gave her an annoyed look. Mary Ann merely shrugged and continued setting the table.
“Did you hear something?” Sal stopped dead in his tracks.
“I didn’t hear anything,” Artie answered, “Did you, Pauly?”
“Nope. I didn’t hear anyone announce breakfast.”
They all suddenly became alert, “Breakfast!”
“That must mean there are other people on the island.”
“Unless the monkeys learned how to talk.”
Artie reached up and whacked Pauly on the back of the head. “Moron.”
“C’mon, boys, maybe they found the kid.” Sal, Artie, and Pauly turned and made their way through the jungle after the voice.
“Ya know, I could go for a little breakfast.”
“Shut up, Pauly.”
“Must you yell, my dear?”
“I’m sorry, Mrs. Howell. I just didn’t know where you all were,” Mary Ann set a plate down in front of her.
“That’s alright, darling. I’m just used to being served breakfast in bed by my butler. That is, of course, after his butler serves him breakfast in bed,” Mrs. Howell pat Mary Ann’s arm motherly before turning her attention to her breakfast.
Mary Ann gave Gilligan and Ginger their plates before talking her seat between them with Allyson on her lap.
Gilligan picked up a coconut cup to take a drink when Mary Ann stopped him. “That’s mine.”
He stopped and held it out, examining it. “No, it’s not.”
“Yes, it is.”
“Well, then what’s that?” He pointed at the cup in front of Mary Ann.
“Since when does she get her own cup of mango juice?”
“Since now. Then where’s mine?”
“Over there.” He pointed at the one near Ginger.
“No way, that’s mine,” the movie star retorted.
Mrs. Howell snatched hers up from the table before they could get to it. “Well, this one’s mine!”
“And that’s mine.” The four Castaways stopped and looked up at the three men who entered the clearing. The one in the center, who had spoken, pointed at the baby.
The four immediately stood and Mary Ann instinctively clutched Allyson closer to herself. Gilligan looked around and decided, as the only man present, to take charge. He stood protectively in front of the women and tried to look fierce.
Without a word, Sal took a gun out of his coat and casually swung it around his finger. Gilligan yelped and hid behind Mrs. Howell.
“What a waste of time!” the Skipper declared as he burst into camp that evening.
“Yes, our search did prove to be fruitless,” the Professor agreed.
“Only a few lousy footprints.”
“And they didn’t even lead anywhere -- the nerve! Ooh, my footsies are killing me,” Mr. Howell whined and shuffled over to the table.
“And how was your day, Little Buddy?” the Skipper asked. Gilligan, Mary Ann, Ginger, and Mrs. Howell sat rigidly at the bamboo table. “Gilligan, I was speaking to you.”
“What’s the matter, girls?” the Professor addressed Ginger and Mary Ann.
Ginger pointed to one of the huts, but no words would come out of her mouth.
Mary Ann joined Ginger in silently pointing to the hut.
After a few more moments of uncertain silence, Gilligan suddenly blurted out, “KIDNAPPERS!” and instantly looked proud that he had finally said something.
The three other men exchanged looks. “They’re here!”
Mrs. Howell had finally had enough and burst into tears. Her husband was immediately at her side. “Oh, Thurston, it was horrible! They found us not long after you left and we had to spend the entire day with them! We had to make them lunch, and get them drinks, and do everything they wanted. And do you know why?”
“They have a gun?” he ventured.
“They have a gun!” she really wasn’t paying much attention to any part of the story but her own. “And do you know the worst part, Thurston?” she clutched at his shirt.
“What, Lovey? What!”
She leaned in and whispered as if this vital piece of information was signaling the end of the world, “They don’t know who we are.”
Her husband gasped, “Not know the Howells! That’s absurd! Lovey, I promise that if one of those ruffians even touches a hair on your purebred little head,” he picked up his bamboo walking stick and held it out like a fencing sword, “I’ll parry, parry, thrust, thrust and then -- HA!” he jabbed the air quickly with the stick, as if finishing off his opponent.
“Oh, Thurston, you’re so brave,” she pat his cheek with a gloved hand.
“Skipper, violence will not work with these men. Remember, they are armed and dangerous.”
“Yeah, and they’ve got a gun too.”
The Professor waited until Gilligan was finished and then continued, “You can’t forcibly subdue them, even if you are stronger.”
“That’s enough, Gilligan!” Gilligan flinched and nearly fell off his stool as the others reminded the Skipper to whisper. Sound moved quickly through the tropical night air and they didn’t want the three men, who had taken over the Professor’s hut, to hear them.
“I don’t know how we can reason with them. We just don’t speak the same language.”
“They speak English. I heard them saying that --.”
“Well, I speak the universal language. Money.”
“Mr. Howell, a bribe is your answer to everything!”
“And it usually works, Captain!”
“Listen, Howell, drastic times call for drastic measures and I say we --.”
“Skipper, wait a minute,” the Professor interjected. “Think about it. What do kidnappers usually ask for?”
“Right, Gilligan. If they’re doing this for the money, then Mr. Howell has the answer!”
“As always.” The millionaire looked smug and began counting a roll of bills he produced from his pocket. “What are we looking at here, gentlemen, eighty-five thousand? Ninety?”
“You carry that much money around with you?” the Skipper asked incredulously.
The millionaire laughed, “This is just my petty cash wallet. Merely walking around money.”
“But what if they’re not doing it for the money?” Gilligan asked innocently.
“My boy, it’s always for the money!” Howell replied, genuinely taken aback.
“I suppose I should try to repair their boat like they asked,” the Professor said. “Although I don’t know if I’ll be successful. After all, I had such trouble repairing the holes in the Minnow. There’s just nothing on this island that’ll do the job.”
“Except for that syrup Mary Ann and I found.”
“Yes, Gilligan, but that dissolved after three days, remember?”
“Oh, yeah.” He thought for a moment, then an idea slowly came to him. “But if it’s the kidnappers, who cares if their boat falls apart in the middle of the ocean!”
“I think the boy may have a point there,” Mr. Howell pointed out.
“Except for one thing. Allyson.”
“What about her?”
The Professor continued, “They’re going to take her with them. If they drown, she drowns.”
“I could teach her to swim.”
The Skipper rolled his eyes, but, before he could react, Mr. Howell cut in, “Allow me.” The millionaire took of his straw hat and hit Gilligan over the head with it.
“Thank you, Mr. Howell.”
The next morning, Mary Ann was clearing the table after breakfast. As usual, everyone else had quickly disappeared, leaving her with all the work. She had baked one of her famous coconut cream pies earlier that morning and set it on the bench opposite the table to cool. She balanced a stack of plates in one arm and was reaching for the rest when she noticed that Gilligan had left his hat on the table. She shook her head, muttering, “Gilligan,” and picked it up with everything else. Not knowing what to do with it, Mary Ann finally shrugged and deposited it on her own head before scooping up the rest of the plates in her free hand and taking them to be washed.
Meanwhile, Gilligan came into the clearing looking for his hat. Convinced that he had left it on the table and confused that it wasn’t there now, he sat down on one of the benches. His eyes grew wide and nearly popped out of his head when he felt something squish underneath him. “Oh no.” He slowly stood and pulled what was left of the pie out from under him.
Startled, he fell back on the bench and quickly looked up. Exasperated, Mary Ann snatched Gilligan’s hat off her head and let her arms fall dramatically to her sides. Almost instinctively, Gilligan shielded himself with his arms.
Mary Ann stopped abruptly and stared at him, “Gilligan.” She made her way over to the bench and sat down beside him. “I’m not going to hit you with it.” She pulled his arms down, away from his face.
She laughed, “Of course not. It was just an accident.” She placed his hat back in its proper place, tugged it down, and smiled at him, “Okay?” He only nodded solemnly.
She bit her lip and sighed. “You know that when the Skipper hits you with his cap he doesn’t mean anything by it, right?” There was silence, so she continued, “He cares for you. We all do. You do know that, don’t you?”
He merely nodded again. As Mary Ann studied her friend’s expression, she was finally able to see more of the layers that comprised his complex personality. She sighed again, “Oh, Gilligan,” and wrapped her arms around him. She hugged him not only for his own comfort, but for herself. She hated to see anyone this way, especially Gilligan, who was so sensitive to others’ actions. After a few moments, Gilligan took comfort in the fact that someone cared and hugged her back.
“Come on, Ally. Go to sleep. You know you want to!” Mary Ann pleaded.
“Oh, it’s no use,” Ginger whined, “This kid’s nocturnal.”
Gilligan sat, flanked by the girls, cradling a wailing Allyson. All three were exhausted by the task of keeping Allyson quiet for fear of upsetting Sal.
“Hey! Shut that kid up!” a voice from the next hut rang out. A few seconds later a gunshot aimed at the sky validated the severity of the threat.
After a short tense silence, the three began to rock Allyson faster and sing quietly (and rather off-key) to her, doing anything humanly possible to ensure silence.
“Really, Thurston, babysitting! I never thought I’d see the day.”
“We’re just doing our part, Lovey,” Mr. Howell answered as his wife paced the hut behind him.
“I’m sure we’ll be dropped from the Social Register for this!”
“My dear, no one will ever find out. I promise.”
Ginger and the Professor stared at the newly changed Allyson who sat on the table before them. Her ‘diaper’ was what looked like a silk ascot secured with an elaborate bow and huge diamond pin.
“The Howells have been babysitting again, haven’t they?”
Ginger merely nodded. “Uh huh.”
The Professor wiped the back of his hand across his forehead and sat back on his heels, staring at the smashed motor of the little boat. Different mechanical parts were scattered across the sand as he attempted to put them back in the proper order.
“Hi Professor.” Gilligan greeted as he wandered onto the beach.
“Hello Gilligan. What can I do for you?”
“Oh, uh, not much.” He made himself comfortable on a nearby rock.
“Alright then, while you’re here, hand me the screwdriver, will you?” He pointed to the toolbox by Gilligan’s feet.
“So, how’s it coming?” Gilligan asked after a moment.
“Not well, I’m afraid. The motor was almost completely obliterated.”
“Not only that, but it’s broken into a million pieces.”
The Professor sighed, ignoring Gilligan’s last remark. “It must have hit an underwater rock when the boat washed ashore.”
Gilligan only nodded and sat in silence for what seemed like an eternity, while the Professor worked on the motor. Gilligan shifted uncomfortably on his rock for the twentieth time, this time knocking over the toolbox with his foot. The Professor turned to him, “Is there something you wanted, Gilligan?”
“Well, yeah, actually. I kinda want your advice. It’s about girls.”
The Professor chuckled, “Are you sure I’m the right man to ask about this? Why don’t you go talk to Mr. Howell -- he’s married.”
“I already did, and considering I only have $4.83, his advice won’t help much. Haven’t you ever had a girlfriend?”
This sudden question surprised him, and the Professor sat down in the sand to address it, “Well, there was this one. She was a physics teacher at the school I taught at. Fascinating woman.”
“Was she pretty?”
The Professor stopped, seeming to be caught off guard. “Oh. Well, I . . . suppose so.” He shrugged. “I never really noticed.” Gilligan looked at him quizzically and he changed the subject, “So, what type of advice do you want, Gilligan?” When Gilligan was silent, the Professor pressed, “Do you have a crush on someone?” he asked with a smile as wicked as a man of science could conjure.
Gilligan looked down at the sand, “Maybe. What do I do?”
“I think she has a right to know. Tell her.”
“‘Cause the last time I told a girl I liked her I got beat up!”
“Her older brother?”
“Oh. Well, I hardly think Mary Ann or Ginger is capable of beating anyone up.”
“Not even if they gang up on me?”
“That’s not the point.” He stared down at the seashell in his hands before slowly looking up again. “What if she doesn’t like me? Or worse, what if she laughs at me?”
“Gilligan, there’s always a risk factor involved. That’s just a chance you’ll have to take.” Gilligan’s face fell, so he continued, “But, Gilligan, if you’re talking about who I think you’re talking about, you just might have a shot.”
He smiled and turned to leave. “Thanks Professor.”
The next morning, the seven Castaways were seated around the table eating breakfast; Allyson sat between Gilligan and Mary Ann in the bamboo high-chair the Professor had made for her. Gilligan was feeding her some mashed up bananas when she suddenly looked up and yelled, “GIGGILAN!”
Everyone stopped and stared at her, the Skipper’s spoon dangled somewhere halfway between the table and his mouth.
Gilligan grinned from ear to ear, “Hey, I’m her first word!”
The Skipper rolled his eyes, “Of all the words in the English language, she hadta pick Gilligan.”
“Well, I think it’s adorable!” Mary Ann exclaimed as she hugged the little girl. “Who am I, Ally?”
Allyson considered her for a moment before turning away, “Giggilan!”
Gilligan grinned again. “That must mean she likes me.”
“Don’t flatter yourself, my boy,” Mr. Howell replied between bites and without looking up from his plate.
“Of course she does, Gilligan. Who wouldn’t?” At the far end of the table, the Skipper made a noise in response to Mary Ann’s last statement and she glared at him.
“Well, gee, Skipper, I don’t see you taking care of her. No wonder she likes me better.”
“Now, see here, Gilligan!” The captain slammed his spoon down into his dish. “I do my share of the work around here and if I say she likes me then she likes me! And that’s an order!” Allyson stared at him wide-eyed.
“Actually, Skipper, that’s not really an order. That’s more of a belief and --.” He was cut off by the Skipper’s cap connecting with his head.
Seeing this, Mary Ann caught Gilligan’s arm and whispered in his ear, “He doesn’t mean it, remember?” He nodded. After she had returned to her breakfast, he took off his hat and put it on her head. She looked up, smiled, and pushed him playfully. He pushed her back and this went on for quite some time until they were laughing hysterically and everyone else was staring at them, slightly frightened.
“Thurston, I believe we’ve missed the joke.”
“Have you two been raiding my wine cellar?” Mr. Howell indicted. “Lovey, they’ve been dipping into my private stock! And underage too! I mean, really!”
Ginger and the Professor exchanged knowing looks. “I know what it is,” Ginger suddenly offered and was met with complete silence.
“Well?” the Skipper pressed after a moment.
Before Ginger could go on, Sal, Artie, and Pauly entered the clearing. “I have an announcement to make,” Sal began.
“Uh, I’ll go get you some breakfast.” Mary Ann started to get up, not entirely comfortable with the way the conversation was going, but Artie stopped her.
“It can wait. Professor, I trust the motor was repaired?”
“It runs. It’s a little slow, but it works.”
Sal nodded approvingly. “Will you be leaving soon?” the Skipper asked.
“Yes, soon. But first, my announcement. The boys and I have come to realize that we’re not very good at the whole kid thing and noticed that a few of you were,” Sal moved behind Allyson and put a hand on Gilligan and Mary Ann’s shoulders. They glanced at each other uneasily. Sal continued, “That’s why when we leave one of you is coming with us,” Sal squeezed Mary Ann’s shoulder.
She couldn’t move. She couldn’t even breathe. The Skipper noticed this and jumped up, “Now, see here, Sal! You can’t just --.”
“Oh, but Captain, I can.” Sal motioned to Artie, who approached the Skipper. He had no choice but to return to his seat at gunpoint.
Mary Ann took a deep breath and suddenly spoke up, “It’s okay, Skipper. I’ll go. Ally needs me.”
“That’s more like it. We leave tomorrow morning.”
“Mary Ann, you can’t!”
“Who knows what’ll happen to you!”
“What’ll happen if I don’t go?”
“I -- I donno,” Ginger backed down slightly.
“That’s exactly the point, no one knows what they’ll do.”
“Why can’t they just go themselves?” Ginger was becoming exasperated.
“I don’t know,” Mary Ann sat down next to her friend. “I wouldn’t want Ally to go with them herself anyway.”
“Skipper told you not to get too attached to her.”
Mary Ann gave the actress a look before standing again and going over to the window. “Would you feel comfortable with letting an innocent child go off with three kidnappers?”
“Not if you put it that way.”
“Besides, if I go we could be rescued.”
“That’s true, but I still wonder why they want you to go back with them.”
“I don’t know.” There was silence in the hut for a time. Mary Ann sat down on the cot next to Ginger with her head in her hands. Finally, she looked up and turned to her roommate, “I just don’t know what else to do.”
Ginger didn’t know what to say so she simply put her arm around her friend and tried to comfort her as best she could.
“Ah, Sal, just the gangster I was looking for. Can I have a word, my good man?”
“I guess so, Howell. What is it?”
“Well, the missus and I were just discussing this little shenanigan of yours and we think we may have a solution.”
“Really? What might that be?”
“Now, be honest, Salvador --.”
“It’s just Sal.”
“Yes. Well. My apologies. Now, be honest, this whole kidnapping escapade was for money, was it not?” Sal raised an eyebrow and Mr. Howell laughed, “Please, man, you can be frank with me. I do everything for money.”
“Well, partly,” Sal stated.
Mr. Howell chuckled, “That’s the spirit. Now, would a nice monetary incentive convince you to leave Miss Summers here?” he produced his wallet, a good three inches thick, as he spoke.
Sal stared at it greedily, but shook it off and recovered. “No,” he answered simply, turned, and walked away.
Mr. Howell gasped and stared after him, “Must be a Yale man. Or worse yet, a Democrat!”
Startled, Gilligan looked around for the voice. He finally found a dejected Pauly sitting on a nearby rock. “Oh. Hi.”
He continued on his way but Pauly’s voice stopped him, “Gilligan, please don’t be mad at me.”
Gilligan spun around, “Why shouldn’t I be?”
He sighed, “You don’t understand.”
“Then tell me.”
Pauly suddenly stood and exclaimed, his voice shaking, “I never wanted anything like this to happen! Okay, I admit I went into this knowingly, but I thought we were just gonna kidnap the kid, get the money, and give her back! I never thought we’d mix all of you up in this!” Pauly fell back onto his rock and let out a long breath.
Gilligan sat down across from him, “Can’t you talk to Sal?”
“He won’t listen to me.”
Gilligan was done here; there was nothing more to say. He stood and left Pauly there with his own thoughts. Gilligan meandered through the jungle, thinking about everything that had happened in the past couple of weeks. It had all happened so fast. Time can stretch on for months at a tedious rate and then suddenly surge ahead. Before one can even notice what has occurred, the dull routine is back, steady as always. It would be different this time, though. Nothing would ever be the same. The boring monotony of life would not return. At least, not to Gilligan’s island.
“Pauly, I’m not going to discuss this with you!”
“But it’s important!”
“No, it’s not. We have the upper hand. We can do whatever we want. Wait, no, I can do whatever I want. Any questions?”
“Pauly, what’s your problem anyway?” the third man interjected.
“Artie. Load the boat,” Sal pointed with his cigar and turned his attention back to Pauly.
“Look, Sal, we were just gonna get the money and give the kid back!”
“Plans have changed, Pauly. They do that.”
“But I still don’t understand it.”
“You don’t have to. If you don’t like it, you can stay here.”
Artie chose that moment to wander over to their conversation, “Well, now that he mentions it, Sal, I don’t really get it either.”
“Alright. I’ll explain it to you once; only once. When we get back to Hawaii, we send the girl to the family with a note telling them where to leave the money. They follow orders, one of my boys gets the dough for us, they get the kid, and we all go home happy.”
“What about Mary Ann?” Pauly asked.
“By the time her friends are rescued and go to the cops, we’ll be outta the country.”
“So, no one gets hurt right?”
“When we’re rescued, I’ll bring you your stuff, okay?”
It was calm tropical morning as the seven Castaways stood performing the dismal task of reducing their numbers by one. The sky was a light shade of gray, the sign of impending rain. The Professor had tried to convince Sal that it would be foolish to leave in the rain, but the mob- leader stubbornly refused. While Sal and Artie waited impatiently for Mary Ann to say her goodbyes, Pauly stood uneasily drawing patterns in the sand with his toes.
“Take care of yourself, okay?”
“I will. Don’t worry.”
“You know we won’t be able to help it.”
A small smile crept across her face as she hugged the Professor, “Yeah, I know.”
“Do you have the coordinates of our island that I gave you?” the Skipper asked. She nodded. “Okay, then. We’ll see you soon?” She nodded again. He gathered her into a hug, his large arms engulfing her tiny frame. The comforting hug surrounded her with a sense of protection which gave her the strength to let go and continue down the line.
Mrs. Howell kissed her on both cheeks in the way only an elite society lady can. With tears in her eyes, Mrs. Howell looked at her for a moment before pulling Mary Ann into a hug. The young girl was the closest thing Mrs. Howell ever had to having a daughter and she felt some sort of surrogate responsibility for her.
“I want you to take this. For Allyson.”
Mary Ann looked down at the teddy bear and stroked its fur, “Mr. Howell, are you sure?”
“Yes, yes, take it before I change my mind.”
She smiled and hugged him, “Thank you.”
“Let’s go, Summers!” Artie called impatiently as the clouds broke and it began to drizzle.
She glanced at him before approaching Gilligan. As they stared at each other, the Professor nudged Gilligan from behind, but he couldn’t say anything except, “G’bye Mary Ann.”
She threw her arms around his neck, “I’m gonna miss you.”
“I’ll miss you too.”
“Alright! Enough of this mushy stuff!” Artie yelled as he pulled Mary Ann away from Gilligan and thrust Allyson into her arms.
As she walked further away, Mary Ann glanced over her shoulder and waved to her friends. Allyson followed suit, flapping her little fist in the air, clutching Teddy by the ear in her other hand.
Gilligan watched her go. How could he be so stupid? He normally wasn’t at a loss for words, but today, when he needed them most, his voice failed him. When Mary Ann turned back to wave, he could see the fear and desperation in her eyes. But she was so brave. Why couldn’t he be brave like that?
Gilligan suddenly stepped forward impulsively, “No!” His voice sounded unusually strong and everyone immediately turned towards him. Instinctively, Sal spun around and pulled the gun out of his coat in one smooth motion and aimed it at the voice. Mary Ann caught her breath and waited, but nothing happened. Surprisingly, Gilligan didn’t back down. “I -- I’m not afraid of you,” he insisted, his voice only slightly cracking from the fear he was trying to conceal.
“You’re not?” Sal was impressed. “Well, maybe you’ll be afraid of this.” Before Mary Ann knew what was happening, Sal had her by the waist.
It was amazing the things that a person notices in these slow moments of impending terror. Time seemed to stretch out as Mary Ann took note of things she normally would have missed. She noticed how the sun was fighting a losing battle with the storm clouds and how cold and clammy Sal’s hand was on her bare side. For the first time in almost a week, Mary Ann realized how heavy Allyson actually was and how tightly she was clutching her. As if the child was reading her thoughts, Allyson whimpered a little and Mary Ann unconsciously loosened her grip on the infant.
Mary Ann sensed everyone gasp even before she felt the cold metal on the side of her head. Ginger let out a short shriek and buried her face in the Professor’s shirt.
“Sal, what are you doing?” Pauly screamed.
Gilligan panicked; he didn’t know what to do. Logic told him to step back, but he couldn’t move. It was as if his legs were cemented into the ground. Gilligan’s one brave moment was gone as quickly as it had come. He heard the Skipper say something behind him, but was unable to make out the words. All he saw were Mary Ann’s wet brown eyes, pleading with him.
She was breathing heavily and her heart was jumping around in her chest, but she still tried to stay calm. Allyson noticed the tension and began wriggling in Mary Ann’s arms. “Shh. It -- it’s okay, Ally. Stay still,” Mary Ann whispered. The child was obviously confused, but obeyed. She looked up and, noticing the tears falling down Mary Ann’s cheeks, began to cry as well. Allyson followed Mary Ann’s gaze and held out her arms, shrieking, “GIGGILAN!”
It was a good thing Gilligan couldn’t move. He was so tempted to run to them, but was glad that he physically could not. Sal noticed his desire and smiled slyly. “Back up, little man,” he growled as he cocked the hammer of the gun. Mary Ann could hear the sound echoing around inside her head. She closed her eyes and silently prayed that someone, something, would come to her rescue. If not for her, then for Allyson.
“Sal --,” Pauly began quietly.
“Sal, you promised!”
“I said shut up, Pauly!” Sal turned his head to face his comrade when Pauly suddenly grabbed his wrist. Artie watched the clash over the gun ensue, shocked that Pauly would stand up to their boss. The six other Castaways watched in horror as Sal, still holding on to Mary Ann, struggled against Pauly’s overpowering height for control over the deadly weapon.
As the two scuffled, a gunshot rang out over the otherwise silent clearing.
And then silence.
The Skipper sat with his head in his hands. Ginger walked with Allyson around the edge of the clearing as the Professor entered camp and joined the Skipper at the table. “Well?” the captain asked after a moment.
“They’re locked up securely. I can’t believe Artie got away. Who knew he could run that fast.”
“Pauly looked pretty upset.”
“He is. He didn’t expect all this.”
“No one did.” After a beat the Skipper continued, “And Sal?”
The Skipper shook his head, “I don’t see how a coconut could knock someone out like that. Gilligan’s been hit with them thousands of times.”
“He shot it out of a pretty high tree, Skipper. The velocity of an object’s fall increases with height.”
“I still don’t see how he could have hit a coconut that high up dead on. That’d be hard even if you were trying.”
“It’s better than hitti --,” he stopped as he realized what he was about to say. “Well, you know.”
There was an awkward silence then until Ginger came over to the table with Allyson. “Why can’t one of us just take the boat and come back with help?”
“I thought of that, Ginger, but the boat’s gone. Artie must have hidden it from us. We’ll start looking in the morning.”
“You don’t think he’d take the boat and leave?” she asked.
“Well, why wouldn’t he!” the Skipper demanded.
“Loyalty,” the Professor replied, startling the Skipper. “I don’t think he’d leave Sal here. We definitely haven’t seen the last of him.”
Later that night, after everyone else had gone to bed, Gilligan was walking through camp. It was dark, save for the few torches outlining the clearing. He passed the girls’ hut and found who he was looking for sitting outside holding a sleeping Allyson.
Mary Ann jumped and spun around. “Oh, Gilligan. Hi.”
“Can I sit down?”
“Sure.” She slid over to make room for him on the bench.
“Are you okay?” he asked after a moment. “Really?”
She looked up and smiled reassuringly at him. “I am. Really.”
He nodded. There was a comfortable silence as he watched her with Allyson.
The child woke up half-way and smiled when she saw him. “Giggilan.”
Mary Ann rolled her eyes. “Ally, who am I?” she entreated the child, who was quickly asleep again.
“Ya know, you really shouldn’t be out here by yourself. Artie’s still free.”
“Gilligan, haven’t you babysat me enough for one day?” she argued with a smile. After a moment she added, “Speaking of which, I wanted to thank you.”
“For being you.”
He looked at her, bewildered. “What?”
“You stayed with me all day.” He had, indeed, sat with Mary Ann for hours and, after she had finally stopped crying, only let her out of his sight when the Skipper called him, in which case he instructed Ginger to watch her like a hawk. He was scared. Actually, he was terrified. Gilligan had almost lost one of his best friends. They had almost lost a member of their family. Gilligan wasn’t quite sure how to handle the situation. He had never experienced real loss or tragedy before, or even real danger.
He merely shrugged. “Anyone would have.”
“I know, but you did. Thank you.”
“It was nothing, really.” By this time Gilligan was blushing, hoping she would change the subject.
“No, it was something; a big something.” She hugged him as best she could with Allyson in her right arm.
He hugged her back and said the only thing he could think of, “Uh, you’re welcome.”
“You’re one in a million, Gilligan.”
“Yeah, well, who’d want a million Gilligans running around?”
“Well, I donno about the rest of them, but I know I would.” She laughed and pat his hand.
They sat there like that for a time, until Gilligan noticed a tear slip down Mary Ann’s cheek, “What’s the matter?”
“What? Oh, nothing.” She took her hand back and quickly wiped her face before shifting Allyson in her arms.
“No, tell me.”
She was silent for a long moment before she took a deep breath. “It’s Ally.”
“What? What’s the matter with Ally? Is she sick? I’ll go get the Professor.”
“Gilligan, no.” He started to go, but she grabbed the back of his shirt to stop him. “Nothing’s wrong with her, it’s more my problem.”
“What, are you sick? I’ll go get the Professor.”
“No, just listen to me for a minute. I know this is gonna sound really selfish, but I’m gonna miss her.”
“Skipper told you not to get too attached to her.” She gave him a look and he continued, “But look on the bright side, we’ll be rescued.”
“But what if it’s just like every other time?” She turned sideways on the bench and addressed him earnestly, “Haven’t you ever noticed that so many people have come and gone from our island, but we’re still stuck here? Something always happens.”
“Yeah,” he turned away from her, “and it’s always my fault.”
“Oh, no, Gilligan,” she turned him back around, “it was never your fault.” She paused and thought about this. “Okay, so it was a few times, but we don’t love you any less for it. Okay?” Mary Ann smiled, trying to encourage him.
He slowly smiled back, if only half-heartedly, “Okay.”
Mary Ann beamed, “That’s my boy.” She was silent for a moment before returning to the original subject at hand, “Do you really think we’ll be rescued this time?”
He shrugged, “Maybe. Maybe not.”
She thought this over for a minute, “So, then Ally’ll be stuck here?”
“It depends. Her kidnappers might too.”
“Oh, that’s right. It’s just that I don’t want Ally to grow up here and miss everything the world has to offer her. And her poor mother…,” Mary Ann trailed off as she thought about how Mrs. Sheffield must feel.
“Look, I wanna go home too, Mary Ann, but you haveta admit that we all got pretty lucky to be stuck here with each other. We’re like a family.”
“I know and, because of that, being stranded here hasn’t been that bad.” Just then a new subject caught her attention, “Have you ever noticed that we always work constantly to be rescued, but we never really think about it? We only do it ‘cause it feels like the natural thing to do. Most people would love to have an ocean view and lobster for breakfast, but not us.”
Gilligan pondered this for a moment, “Ya know, you’re right, Mary Ann. If we were rescued tomorrow we’d probably be disappointed.”
“But on the other hand,” there was always another hand to something good, “we’d never see our families again, never be with our friends. Never fall in love,” she closed her eyes and leaned back against the side of the hut.
He watched at her for a moment before noticing the flowers growing in the window-box above them. He broke the stem of an orange one. “Mary Ann?”
She opened her eyes and looked at him without turning her head, “Yeah?”
“For you. I know it’s not as pretty are you are, but…,” he ran out of things to say to finished his sentence so he merely held the flower out to her silently, grinning shyly.
Mary Ann, blushing, took it from him. “Thank you, Gilligan.” She took in the flower’s wonderful fragrance before tucking it into her hair behind her ear.
Gilligan, finding a sudden burst of confidence, took off his hat and held it in his lap. “Mary Ann?”
“I, uh, wanted to tell you something.”
“What’s that?” she asked curiously.
“Um, okay.” He fidgeted nervously with his hat, wringing it between his hands. “Well, uh -- well.” He took a deep breath and tried again, “Mary Ann, you’re my best friend and I, uh --.”
“Go ahead,” she urged him on gently.
“Right. Well, I, uh, only wanted to say that I -- I like you. Like, like you. Just thought you should know.”
He squeezed his eyes shut and braced himself for her reaction, trying to convince himself that what the Professor had said about her inability to beat him up was true. All he heard was a quiet, “Oh, Gilligan.”
He cautiously opened one eye and peered at her before turning away. “You’re disappointed.”
“Oh, no, Gilligan.” Mary Ann took his chin in her hand and turned him back to face her. “Actually, I’m flattered. ‘Cause, well, the truth is, I like you too.”
It took Gilligan a moment to realize how she meant it. He was shocked. No, stunned. Flabbergasted, perhaps. At that moment, he could have been knocked out of his seat by a feather.
Mary Ann watched him, waiting for him to say something. All he managed to squeak out was a, “Really?” and then mentally slapped himself for it.
At that moment, he did the most un-Gilligan thing ever. He even amazed himself. He didn’t know how he did it, but he kissed her.
Pauly opened his eyes and stared down at the ground. He watched a small tan spider make its way across the grainy sand before disappearing.
“Pauly. Pauly!” came a hushed whisper from the bushes behind him. He lifted his head and slid around in the sand towards the voice.
Pauly grabbed the bars of the bamboo cell and peered into the jungle, “Artie?”
The other man glanced around cautiously before making his way over to the cell and sitting across from Pauly. “Yeah, it’s me.” Artie put a hand between the bars and abruptly hit Pauly upside the head. “I can’t believe you let yourself get captured!”
Pauly slowly rubbed his head. “Sal promised no one’d get hurt.”
“He wasn’t gonna kill her, he was just tryin’ to scare the little one into backing up! Because of you grabbin’ him like that, he coulda accidentally shot her. Nice goin’!” He shook his head; “I’ll be back.” Artie stood and made his way carefully back into the foliage and out of sight. Pauly watched Artie go, thinking about what he had said. Pauly purposely struck his head against the bamboo pole and slid further down into the sand, covering his face with his hands.
A while later, Pauly still hadn’t moved. He was finally snapped out of his trance when he felt a gentle hand on his shoulder, “Pauly?”
He slowly turned around to find a young woman sitting on her heels on the other side of the bars. “You’re the last person I expected to see here,” he said, wiping his eyes with his wrist.
Mary Ann shrugged slightly, “I wanted to talk to you before Sal wakes up.” She motioned to the man lying on the other side of the cell. “He’s been out for a long time.”
Pauly glanced over his shoulder. “Yeah.” After a moment, he added quickly, “Listen, I’m really sorry. I know that’s not much, but if I had known what Sal wa --.”
Mary Ann held up a hand to silence him. “Can I go first?”
Pauly had expected her to continue, but when he realized that that was what she had come to say he was shocked. “What? ‘Cause I interfered he coulda accidentally killed you!”
“He might have done that anyway.”
Pauly was astounded by her calmness and felt his voice rising, “No, he wouldn’t! I know him and --.”
“Do you?” Her question stopped his train of thought and he stared at her blankly. This conversation was not going the way it was supposed to. He was supposed to be the bad one; she was the victim, but she didn’t seem to realize this.
“What you did yesterday was very brave and I will always be grateful to you for trying to save me.” She laid a hand on his shoulder again, “You have a good heart, Pauly; let’s keep it that way, huh?” Mary Ann smiled at him before standing, brushing the sand off her bare legs, and heading back down the path.
“Gilligan! Where are you going?” Mary Ann grabbed his arm and stopped him from stalking in the direction she had just come.
Gilligan was on a mission. “To talk to Pauly,” he replied, seeming surprised that she even had to ask.
“You don’t have to do that.”
“Of course I do.”
“No, it’s okay. I already talked to him.”
“Just five minutes ago. What’s the problem?”
“You shouldn’t have gone to see him by yourself!”
“And why not? It’s a free island,” she countered, hands on hips.
“It’s dangerous. Have you forgotten that you were almost killed yesterday!”
“I wish people would stop bringing that up! It’s not particularly something I want to be reminded of every five minutes!”
Gilligan finally sighed, looking defeated, “I’m just worried about you.”
She calmed slightly, “That’s sweet, but you don’t have to follow me everywhere.”
“But if you need me --.”
“I’ll find you.” She pointed a finger at him playfully. “I know where you live.” Mary Ann suddenly changed the subject, “So,” she began brightly, “why don’t you come with me and I’ll make you lunch.” She took his hand and began to lead him back to camp.
“Can I have a coconut cream pie?” Gilligan asked as they walked off.
“I’ll make you whatever you want…As long as you stay outta my kitchen.”
“Oh, boy; how ‘bout a hamburger, fries, a chocolate milkshake, and a coconut cream pie for dessert, vanilla ice cream, an --.”
“Don’t push it.”
Mrs. Eunice Howell was arranging her perfumes on the vanity table when there was a knock at her door. “Come in.”
“Mrs. Howell, can I talk to you?” The voice entered the hut tentatively.
Mrs. Howell turned around and stood. “Of course, my child. Come, sit down.” The millionaire’s wife sat down on her cot and motioned for Mary Ann to take a seat beside her. “What’s the matter?” When Mary Ann was quiet, Mrs. Howell continued, “You know you can tell me anything.”
“I know. I’m just worried about Gilligan. He’s been acting so strange lately; it’s like he’s a different person.”
Mrs. Howell chuckled, “You amaze me, my dear.”
“After all that’s happened, you’re still worried about other people. You’re not the least bit concerned with yourself, are you?”
Mary Ann shrugged. “I guess I just never thought about it.”
“Well, that’s very admirable, dear.” Mrs. Howell pat her cheek. “Now, about Gilligan. What’s so different? He’s just worried about you like the rest of us are.”
“I know and I appreciate it. It’s just that he’s the total opposite of himself. He hasn’t run into a single tree or tripped over a single log all day. And he’s so quiet.” After a moment she added softly, “It’s not the Gilligan I fell-in-like with.”
“Fell-in-like?” Mrs. Howell queried, laughing faintly.
The older woman searched the other’s face before venturing, “You told him, didn’t you?”
“Well, actually, he went first.”
Mrs. Howell smiled, “Well, that explains everything, darling.”
“Of course. He now feels responsibility for you.”
“I don’t know; it’s just what men do. It makes them feel more important than they actually are.”
The two shared a smile over this before Mary Ann continued, “Why can’t men ever realize what women want?”
“Mary Ann, let me give you the candid advice of a married woman: I’ve been wed to one for twenty-two years and he still can’t figure it out.”
“Skipper! SKIPPER!” The Skipper looked up in time to see Mary Ann running down the path to the beach and straight into his arms.
He held her by the shoulders, “What’s the matter!”
“It’s Ally; Ally’s missing!” she panted. “She was sleeping and I left the hut for a minute and when I came back she was gone!”
“Maybe Ginger has her,” he offered.
“No, she’s been with the Howells all morning!”
“Mary Ann, calm down. You’re getting hysterical,” the Professor added coolly.
She spun around to face him. “But we have to find her! What if Artie got her?”
“I doubt if he would be stupid enough to come too close to our camp.”
“And his friends are still securely locked up,” the Skipper added.
“Are you sure? What if Artie freed them?”
“Skipper! Professor!” The three turned to see Ginger rushing towards them.
“Don’t tell me…,” the Skipper began quietly.
Ginger took a second to catch her breath, “They’re gone.”
They turned to the Professor; unfortunately, his usually calm countenance now housed an unsettling look of anxiety.
“Whada we do, Professor?” Ginger asked softly.
“We need to find them before they get off this island!” the Skipper insisted.
“Right; you go get Gilligan and the Howells. Ginger, Mary Ann, and I will start looking,” the Professor instructed.
The Skipper nodded and rushed off to do as he was told as the trio made their way quickly down the beach.
“Gilligan!” The sailor jumped as the Skipper stalked into the clearing. “Why weren’t you guarding the prisoners!”
“I went to get a snack.” He held up a banana, “Want some?”
“No, I don’t want some! Artie freed the others and kidnapped Allyson.”
“Yes, again! We need to catch them before they get off the island. Come with me!” The Skipper grabbed Gilligan by the shirt and pulled him to his feet.
“Sal, this kid won’t shut up!” Artie struggled to keep a flailing Allyson in his arms.
“She better! She’s gonna give us away if we don’t get to the boat soon,” Sal yelled as he thrashed his way through the jungle. “Pauly! Get a move on!” he called to the man who was trailing behind. Pauly kept glancing over his shoulder, trying to decide what to do.
“But Sal --.”
“Plans have changed, Pauly. They do that, remember?”
“Girls, maybe we should split up; we’ll cover more ground faster that way.”
“Good idea, Professor.”
“Just be very careful.” The Professor headed up a path into the trees as Mary Ann continued on ahead and Ginger doubled back the way they came.
After a few moments of walking, Mary Ann came to a rocky outcropping that overlooked the beach and gazed out over the ocean. The strong mid-day sun bounced off the water’s surface and she squinted, shielding her eyes with one hand. There, out on the water, she saw what she thought was a tiny boat slowly making its way away from the island. “Pauly! What are you doing?”
At the sound of her voice, the occupants of the boat looked up. They began talking and yelling amongst themselves, but Mary Ann couldn’t make out any of the words. From the confusion in the boat came the sound of a child crying, followed by a chorus of hushes from the others.
Pauly stood in the boat and yelled a reply, “Don’t worry, Mary Ann, I’ll take care of her! I promise!” He waved faintly before sitting and taking Allyson on his lap.
A while later Gilligan entered the area and walked up behind Mary Ann, who was still watching the ocean. He peered over Mary Ann’s shoulder, trying to see what she was so intently examining. He finally whispered, “Whatcha lookin’ at?”
She jumped, her hand over her heart, “Gilligan! Don’t do that!” The tears that had been welling up in her eyes finally began slipping down her cheeks and she turned, burying her head in his shoulder.
“Oh, gee, Mary Ann, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to scare ya.” He awkwardly stroked her hair in a feeble attempt to comfort her.
“Oh, no, Gilligan, it’s not you. They’re gone!” She sniffled and gestured broadly to the ocean.
“You mean Ally and the guys?”
She nodded and leaned on him again.
“Hey, Mr. Howell?” Gilligan summoned, stepping into the millionaire’s hut.
“Yes? What is it, boy?” Mr. Howell was seated at the table, piles of money spread out before him.
“What are you doing?” Gilligan asked curiously, forgetting for a moment why he really came.
“What does it look like I’m doing, I’m counting my money! Never know when some may disappear.”
“Where would it go? There’s only the seven of us here.”
“Greed is one of the Deadly Sins, my boy. Never underestimate the smell of fresh currency in the morning. Very enticing!” He placed his glasses on his nose and returned to the cash before him.
“Well, what I came to ask you was --.”
“I haven’t even said anything yet.”
“I know what you were thinking.”
“Yes. It’s the Howell instinct. The answer is no, Gilligan. I don’t give out loans to persons in an unstable financial bracket.”
“That’s not what I came to ask you.”
“It’s not? Well, no one ever said the Howell instinct was perfect. Faultless maybe, but not perfect.” Mr. Howell returned again to his money. “What did you want, Gilligan?”
“Well, I wanted to ask your advice on something. Mary Ann’s been so depressed lately and I wanted to get her something to cheer her up and I thought maybe you’d have an idea.”
“Buy her something, naturally.”
“But I only have $4.83, remember?”
“I knew it! You’re after a loan! Get out of my quarters!”
“No, I just wanted a suggestion,” the young man insisted as he was herded out of the hut.
Mr. Howell shoved Gilligan outside and held the bamboo doors tightly shut behind him. “Need to invest in a security system,” the millionaire mumbled to himself.
Bright mid-day sun smiled brilliantly on the tiny island, making the soft sand hot to the touch. All of the Castaways were gathered in the center of their camp except Gilligan and Ginger, who were unremarkably absent. The Howells reclined in matching lounge chairs with the radio on a little table between them, the low volume providing soft background music. Mrs. Howell, hiding under her huge parasol, absently swung her fan in a futile attempt to fight the heat. Her husband sipped on a homemade piña colada as he scoured over an old, faded copy of The Wall Street Journal while the Skipper and the Professor looked at something in a book at the table. Mary Ann sat silently at the opposite end of the table, resting her chin in her palm.
“Okay, Gilligan,” Ginger began as they stopped at the edge of the clearing. “There she is. Go on.” She tried to push him out into the open, but he stubbornly held his ground.
“Alright, alright!” He shrugged her off of him. “I’ll do it.” He moved a few steps away from her before mumbling, “Later.”
“And now it’s time for the financial report,” the radio announcer began as the music faded.
This declaration brought Thurston Howell out of his reverie. “Oh, this is my favorite part!” He sat up in his lounge chair and leaned closer to the radio. He took a sip of his drink as he listened to the news.
“There was a sudden oddity on Wall Street today. Evidently, amalgamated stocks have lost their appeal. All are down 25%.”
Howell, astonished at what he had just heard, sputtered and consequently sprayed his drink all over his paper. Gilligan, who had been standing by idling rocking back and forth on his heels, tried to help by thumping the choking man on the back. “Lovey, my amalgamated! Stop pummeling me, boy!” Mr. Howell blustered and swatted Gilligan away from him. Furious, he jumped up, throwing his newspaper down onto the sand in a moist ball, and stormed off to his hut.
Mrs. Howell raised a lorgnette to her eyes and watched her husband go before turning to scrutinize the crumpled paper on the ground. “Oh, dear. That’s Thurston’s only paper,” she observed mildly, but made no movement to rescue the publication.
“Mary Ann?” Gilligan timidly approached her after receiving a firm look from Ginger.
“Hm?” She glanced up from the table.
“Um, I know how you miss Ally and everything so I got you something to cheer you up.”
“Oh, Gilligan, you didn’t have to do that.”
“I wanted to.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Howell wandered back to the clearing, comforted by his teddy bear. He placed Teddy on the table propped up against the radio and meticulously began to flatten out the damp newspaper.
“Here.” Gilligan reached into his pocket and produced the most beautiful native necklace any of them had ever seen. The center stone was made up of black, turquoise, and fiery orange which was embedded in silver. The background silver was molded into the shape of a heart and hung on a silver cord.
“Gilligan.” The Skipper rose to his feet. “Where did you find that?”
“In the cave.” He shrugged and pointed nonchalantly through the jungle.
“Gilligan, my boy, we could make a fortune.” Mr. Howell jumped up and began examining the stone with a jeweler’s loupe he seemed to produce out of thin air. “We must begin excavating at once.”
“Thurston…Thurston!” Mrs. Howell beckoned. “Sit down!” she ordered sternly. When he returned to her side, she grabbed his arm. “I will not have you hurting that poor little girl’s feelings by making a profit off of her present,” she whispered harshly. “Besides,” she added in a softer tone, “it’s only money.”
“Lovey, what you said!”
“Do you understand me, Thurston?” she demanded, unyielding.
He pouted and dropped down onto his chair. “Yes, Lovey.”
“Gilligan,” the Skipper continued, “those caves are full of voodoo --.”
“Stop it, everyone!” Gilligan protectively cupped the necklace in his hands and turned away from the other two men. “No one’s digging anything up and it’s not going back to the cave! No one can have it! Well, except maybe Mary Ann.”
When she didn’t say anything, Gilligan fastened the necklace around her neck. Mary Ann pulled her brunette pigtails out from under the cord, lifted the pendant and looked down at it. “It’s beautiful, Gilligan. Thank you. I love it.” She suddenly stopped mid-hug and questioned, “Do you hear that?”
“What?” he asked over her shoulder.
“The radio. Mrs. Howell, turn the volume up,” she instructed as she scurried over to the woman, dragging Gilligan behind her. The rest of the Castaways followed suit and gathered around the radio, where the announcer was mid-sentence.
“-- Allyson Sheffield.”
“It’s about Ally!”
“Gilligan, please!” the Skipper hushed him.
“After missing for a month, Allyson and her kidnappers, identified only as Sal, Artie, and Pauly, were sighted early this morning as a small boat made its way into Honolulu. A local woman recognized them and called the police who immediately arrived and took the men into custody. Mr. and Mrs. Sheffield arrived in Hawaii an hour ago and baby Allyson is now safely in their care.”
“Now comes the part where they ask the guys where they were and they tell them all about us!”
“Right, Gilligan, so shut up so we can hear it!” the Skipper exclaimed.
“I’m afraid we won’t get a change to get a comment from the kidnappers,” the announcer began again. “They are considered extremely dangerous and were taken away immediately to solitary confinement where they can expect to spend at least the next thirty years.”
“Thirty years?” Ginger reached down and angrily clicked the radio off.
“But we know Allyson’s safe now.”
“Right. That’s all that matters,” Mrs. Howell agreed with her husband’s statement.
The Professor shook his head. “And I was so sure we’d be rescued.”
“It’s alright, Professor. We’re used to it.”
“At least it wasn’t my fault they can’t tell anyone about us.”
“Don’t worry, Gilligan. I’m sure I can find something to blame you for.”