BEN VARIAN "Part of the Y’all" (MJMJ)

A slimmed-down version of the paunchy skipper we’ve all known has moved his crew from yacht to dinghy. He attributes his agility to his recent weight loss, and uses it to advance kawaii. The Steely Youth spends most of his time in the “cafe,” a corner in the back-of-house where he takes his coffee standing, bugging the head chef and prep cooks with his quaint observations and weird sense of humor. Yesterday, his second mate was startled to find him at the wheel, dressed as a furry, blowing bubbles out of a plastic novelty pipe.

“Capitano, where is your uniform?”
“In my cabin. Thought I could use a sea change.”
“But, capitano, what if the others sea you like this?”
“Junior, it’ll be our little seacret.”
“OK. I’ll hasten down the wind and close the blinds.”
“Yes. Sea to it. Thank you.”

Low morale corroded the minds of the highly esteemed crew. They had been lost at sea for months, and, consequently, were a little cracked. Not one of them expected to see land again. They would stay the course. Lunacy and heavy ribbing became the name of the game as their aimless water-wanderings became lifestyle. Klepto’s trenchcoat. Scissors cutting cigars and coattails. Spaghetti hat. Candelabra helmets. Floral drag and falsetto. Silk scarves waving “yoo-hoo.” The shocking gum trick. Peroxide in the shampoo. Snakes in the shaker. Alien on the autopsy table. Urine in the soap dispenser. Turds mixed in with the meatballs. Was this a Marx Bros. gag or a respectable crew? Just another ship of fools…

They only turned the cameras on during moments of leisure—at the “cafe,” so to speak. We never saw them doing any real work. The more waving scarves, the higher the ratings. What started as potentially twee, turned and went madcap. It took a few seasons to earn their wings.

-- Rick Weaver