I Left My Harp in Sam Clam's Disco #6: In Which the Author Discovers that Instead of Writing Clever Content, You Can Just Make References to Someone Else's
Night on the harbor bay is clear, crisp, and cold, and if I was home in the Midwest, it'd be about October right around now, and I'd be writing about how the leaves are changing colors, as if the trees are blushing, and if you strain your ears, you can just barely hear the whistle of footballs arcing through the air and corn-fed farm boys getting dissatisfied with the patriarchal consumerist suburban lifestyle and going to "find themselves" out in the wilderness. But instead, it's July, I'm writing about how the reflected lights of the skyline glow against the absolute black void of the water and if you strain your ears, you can just barely hear the screams of gamblers tossing down plastic chips onto faux-velvet covers and a DJ who actually isn't terrible at his job.
Beneath my feet, I can feel the engines stir as they strain to move a ferry roughly the size of Manhattan across the bay, turning towards the city. The twinkling lights that outline the glassy skyline seem false, too clear, too small, like flickering windows of a miniature house sitting next to a model train diorama. I grim the deck handrail and look out over the seas, and if I didn't know better, I would say the skyline and the water are rotating around a motionless ferry, as though they're on a giant disc sitting on top of the back of a slowly turning turtle. The boat is the only thing staying still as the whole universe shifts and changes around it. Carefully, I remove a top from my pocket and set it spinning on the deck to test my hypothesis that the boat is standing still/that this is all a dream. It spins and wobbles, spins and wobbles. If I close my eyes, the whole world drops away-
"Hey, Captains Courageous, you coming?"
I turn to see one of my fellow interns standing there, with an eyepatch over his left eye and a dark mid-level beer in his hand.
I shrug. "Sure, why not."
The ferry boat is loaded with close to a thousand [Company Name Redacted] interns of all shapes and sizes, many wearing pirate-themed gear: eyepatches, fake wooden legs, hooks for hands, cutlasses, RPGs, Pittsburgh hats, Barbary Coast patches, squidlike Cthulhu masks, and even a BitTorrent shirt or two. There are three levels to the boat: Shame, where interns may attempt to sing along with popular music piped in over an intercom, Despair, where interns may attempt to dance with popular music piped in by a DJ, and Karma, where interns may attempt to gamble away fake money at an array of three different games, including game (aka blackjack), game (aka roulette) and game (aka craps)*.
I try to get in line for karaoke at Shame, but then one of my fellow interns sings an impossibly good rendition of Bill Withers' "Aint No Sunshine When She's Gone", and I realized that there's no way I'm ever going to be able to replicate her smooth tone and on-key quality. So I head upstairs to Despair, where there's an open bar that only serves beer and wine free (but high-quality of both) and I debate the merits of a $10 shot. I notice that a number of the interns (by which I mean, all of them) are standing around in an enormous circle, whose probability of spontaneous existence is rather low. After all, because of the bizarre confluence of interns, alcohol, managers, and pirate gear, everyone is slightly tenser than they might be at a club, so there's considerably less grinding than you might expect, and everyone is making non-trivial effort to pretend they've stayed within a two-drink limit. Dance circles form quickly and dissolve just as quickly, fractal and ephemeral, so for one to exist for a long period of time at that size is incomparably improbable.
I crane my neck over several variably dressed interns, to see a very senior executive of [Company Name Redacted] breaking it down in full pirate regalia.
Somewhere on the deck outside, the top keeps spinning. I think.
*To quote a fellow intern: "Craps is a really fun game to play once you realize you'll never understand it and you basically can't win."