A Thousand Miles In Eight Days: A Play At Sea in Three Acts. Act Two.

If you missed Act 1 and/or need the rundown of the characters: https://backstepsforward.com/2020/07/28/a-thousand-miles-in-eight-days-a-play-at-sea-in-three-acts-act-one/



Scene 1.

01:40am. Natty scrambles up from below the deck. Squints in the dark at the choppy waves, still about 4 feet tall. The waves are, not Natty.  

NATTY (to no one in particular): Well, at least seems we are done with the gut sacrifices for now. Maybe I can scarf something before my watch.

She appears at the conn with a granola bar in hand, gingerly biting off small pieces. At the conn are current watch (Christian and Justin), Noah, and Lincoln.

LINCOLN: Feeling better?

NATTY: In a way a victim of a sociopath might feel when said sociopath stops mid-abuse to go save a life or two.

NOAH: Aha. She’s back to the land of living.

NATTY: If you insist.

NOAH (to everyone): Looks like we will have to jibe after all. But, we’ll tack instead. Let’s wake up Shaila and Shep; and then Lincoln, lead the way. I’ll take over the helm.

Everyone on deck starts to move about quite quickly indeed. Natty keeps the pace but looks like a chicken with the head cut off: directionless.

Albeit missing the epic-ness of a night chicken jibe exercise, this photo was also taken in the rain, so there. Left to right: Natty, Lincoln, Noah.

SHAILA (to Natty): Ballantine this line!

NATTY: Nice rhyme, but Balla- what?

Shaila shows the tech and Natty takes over content to be useful and learning a thing. Meanwhile, the rest of the crew trade places, echo commands, and get the job done. 

LINCOLN (to Natty): Stand by jib line!

NATTY: Which is the jib line? This one?  {methodically points at the pegs with lines fast around them} This? This? Ok, got it.

Sails are flapping loudly, lines running and tugging, blocks (pulleys) banging against wood and who knows what else, wind howling, waves lifting the boat up and bringing it gently (?) down. Rain starts to come down. 

LINCOLN: Hey Nat, go help man the foresail sheet.

Natty scurries up to the foresail sheet line. Christian in position to pull the line from the block. 

CHRISTIAN: You comfortable pulling the line into the block?

NATTY, hopping up on top of a hatch: “Comfortable” is a peculiar word choice. Woah it’s slippery.

Natty grabs the line and almost gets thrown by the wind forward as it fills the sail.

CHRISTIAN: Wait to pull when the wind dies down!

NATTY (pulling during a lull in gusts): You mean don’t fight a greater power?! Where’s the fun?

CHRISTIAN: Watch the block!

The block flies over to the other side and Christian attempts to fast the line. Another gust pulls the sail back and yanks the line out of both sets of hands. They work to get the block back over.

CHRISTIAN: Ok, let go now! Making turns!


With no line, there is nothing else to hold on to on the rocking slippery surface, and Christian swoops for a one-armed sweep of Natty back onto the deck. 

Back at the conn, Justin and Christian are relieved from their watch, and Natty and Lincoln step in.

Left to right: Shep, Justin, Christian.

NATTY (to Lincoln): So, I know my sailing theory is wonky at best, but what we did just now did not look like a jibe. I remember Cap said to tack, but I’m confused.

LINCOLN: In a situation when winds are very high with strong gusts and there is a greater chance of the boom swinging across too fast, it’s sometimes safer to just tack instead, all the way around. That’s called chicken jibe.

NATTY: Oh look the rain stopped.

LINCOLN (pointing at the GPS): Don’t get your hopes too high, we might get another one soon.

10 minutes later the rain starts.

NATTY (putting on rain gear): I guess I’ll commence the running around again: all them hatches won’t close themselves I suppose.


{Chorus to the audience:

The waves are rolling

The wind is blowing

The ship flies fast

We have a blast. }



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