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The First Adventure of Scooter and Hal
by Hal the Gullboy

Exhausted from the 28 hour non-stop drive from Henniker, New Hampshire to Vero Beach, Florida, Hal squinted in the tropical sun and strung his jungle hammock to a couple of palm trees.


Scooter and Hal, Vero Beach, Fla.
"Nice to meet ya, but I really gotta get some sleep." yawned Hal at CV, Scooter's old pal who now lived with his folks on a sailboat in a slip there at the marina. With that, he climbed through the mosquito netting and into the shade of the hammock's rainfly. Hal was soon asleep, snug in his sleeping bag, clothes in a stuff sack for a pillow.

The hours ticked away and day became night. Hal tossed and turned. His sleep became plagued with nightmares. From the depth of sleep, he felt a churning, he was trapped in a cocoon, and the cocoon was being tossed about by some giant, incomprehensible force. He was trapped and could not wake from his deep slumber.

Nearby, Scooter's lungs were collapsed. His gut was in a knot, a painful spasm gripped him. As he witnessed Hal's plight, his mouth was open in silent howl, and tears escaped from his tightly closed eyes. Finally, he gulped some air, only to lose it again in a great guffaw, followed by an airless, stuttering chuckle. A fifth of Yukon Jack spilled from his hands and leaked all over the carpet of the VW bug, its sweet scent mixing with the putrid low-tide aromas of the marina.

CV, at the wheel, was in no better shape. He backed the bug up and tried once again to drive under the hammock. Once again the prone form rode up the hood and lodged against the windshield, stopping forward progress. One last try, with some extra speed, and Hal finally bounced off the windshield, ripped through the netting and rolled off the hood onto the ground. He stood, his Fruit of the Looms shining bright in the moonlight and glowered. CV, startled at the hairy beast before him, backed up and drove off, but stopped dead on a stump, causing the horn to stick, shattering the peace of the quiet marina. Thus began the very first adventure of Scooter and Hal.

It's very difficult to pinpoint exactly when the next day was, but the next time they were all awake and it was light out, they endeavored to go for a jaunt in the sunfish sailboat. One of CV's friends made it a foursome. They put in at the local beach, pushed out through the breakers, and hopped in. Well, actually hopped "on", with just enough room in the cockpit for every one's feet.

CV introduced the group to a very effective navigation tool, known as a case of beer. "It's easy," he intoned, "You just go straight out to sea until half the beer is gone, then you turn around and go back! That way, you never run out of beer."

Well, it sounded all very well and practical to Hal, Scooter, and that other kid, so off they went, snapping open four cold ones in unison. It was a sunny day with a brisk wind, and the four guys were soon out of sight of land. The navigation seemed to be working fine so far. One drawback to this form of navigation in such a small boat is the lack of facilities on-board. Three of the crew slipped into the water, resting elbows on the sides of the boat, facing into the cockpit as if it were the back of a pickup truck, containing an engine block or freshly killed deer or something. The fourth, CV, took that moment to announce that sharks are attracted to urine, whereupon the boat nearly capsized from all the scrambling back aboard. His big mistake, though, was attempting to pee from the bow right after saying that. The boat rocked violently and poor CV went in the drink, head first.

No worse for wear, and nary a shark bite, CV made his careful counting of the full cans and indicated that it was now time to return to shore. They came about and breezed back to shore, finishing the last can as they hit the breakers.

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