Cuba sat just off the ship all day Tuesday at sea, mocking us. “You can see me, but I don’t show up on any of your maps!” it seemed to be saying.
Meanwhile Jamaica was beckoning, in sultry dulcet tones we wouldn’t hear clearly until we were on land, it sweetly sang: “Ah mon, need a taxi?” “Hey mon, you want the smoke?” “You look so busy mon, come to de falls wid us we make it all right, in my taxi.” “The smoke mon, tis good here in jamaica.” “You take a taxi mon, it be too hot to walk” “you want some weed mon? I grew me own and it’s real nice” “you sure you don’ need no taxi mon?”
On the island I got made fun of for “Bein’ so american mon, just relax” You tell me.
Wed morning began with a late breakfast and a leisurely stroll onto the shore of Ocho Rios. I quietly made an ESPN 8 joke to myself. We strolled along with David Rees and John Roderick with absolutely no harassment by any individuals whatsoever. Ok that previous statement is complete bullshit. From the very moment we touched land in Jamaica it was a non stop litany of offers of taxis or weed. Rochelle made our way past the grifters to the beach. Our goal? Drink Red Stripe and sit on the beach. High goals, we haz them.
Seconds on the beach dodging offers of weed and cheap beer and Rochelle goes for the hair braids.
Now, here’s the best part. After dodging all the grifters on the beach artfully, we got…grifted. Those braids were 80 bucks. In Rochelle’s purse? 20 bucks. Great, so here we have three surly Jamaican beach ladies with 76354 male beach grifters at beck and call to punch me in the jimmy for not paying them. They let me know that an ATM was mere moments away. I offer to go to the ATM and that’s where the fun began.
They call a “guide” over from the side and he leads me off the beach where I’m accosted by another “guide” and informed that I must enter his taxi in order to reach the only ATM on the island that dispenses US dollars. The cab was a mess that looked like the end of those films they showed you in elementary school about not getting into cars with strangers. Desperately I looked around for Mike Phirman, I knew he would appear to save me.
Seconds passed and it was clear that I was on my own. I was lost alone in a dangerous situation and left to my own devices, without Mike Phirman. I informed the individuals that if the ATM was a cab ride away I didn’t need the money anyway. Immediately the guide rattled off some angry patois to the other “guide” and informed me in broken English that an ATM was just around the corner. Along the way I ran into my friend Andrew, Wil’s editor.
”Hey man what’s going on?” he asked, sizing up the situation correctly as “Hey man, I don’t want to see you raped and cut up into pieces.”
”Just getting a guide to the ATM,” I said, repeating to the guide “Which is real close right?”
Insert all manner of gibberish “yeah Mon, its all ok in Jamaica mon.”
I felt adrift without Mike Phirman to help me, but Andrew was a steadfast replacement as the guide led us deeper into the deeply sketch areas of Ocho Rios. Also it was deeply deep in deep where the fuck are we and I suddenly wished I had paid more attention to those films in elementary school. Finally we reached a tall vertical building marked “Cool Oasis, ATM” We entered the ground floor. Inside were more air conditioning vents than Baron Harkonnen had sores, and in the center of the room like a chancre was a single ATM. No lights at all, no people or chairs, just an ATM in the middle of a huge building. I closed my eyes and prayed for Mike Phirman.
”This is by far the shadiest place on Earth I could possibly imagine swiping a card in,” I said to Andrew, who had smartly taken up position at the door to protect our egress should we need it.
”In Jamaica, is ok!” said our guide.
20 minutes later I’m back on the beach explaining to the Jamaican ladies why they weren’t going to get paid.
The best part of the story? I offer to stay on the beach while Rochelle returns to the boat to get cash. She forgot her boat boarding pass, which was with me, but in seconds navigated herself through practiced experience in Mexico to a proper bank with a proper ATM and got money.
Later on we hired a beach guide to bring us beer and drinks while we relaxed. He kept lecturing me when I tried to pay him every time he brought us something on my silly American need to pay for things and be nervous. OH I WONDER WHAT GAVE ME THAT IDEA.
Rochelle however, rocked the Jet ski.
I relaxed, and drank my Red Stripe. The day had started out tense, and I was deeply concerned that Mike Phirman had been absent in my time of need, but my heart was peaceful and we were a mere walk away from the ship. Time was nigh to return.
That night’s show was deep in my heart to see. I’m already a fan of the wonderful and awesome Molly Lewis. I count among my lucky life…things… the opportunity to perform even near her. However her performance on this night was actually eclipsed by heroes of mine from Mystery Science Theater 3000, Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy. Again I arrived early at the venue to grab a good seat and I bumped into Mike Phirman as I arrived.
“Dude…” I said, startled and slightly losing faith in my–
“I wish I could have helped you.But you didn’t need me, you never did. Meanwhile, I’ve been making awesome,” Mike said, “Just watch.”
I laughed at Molly’s antics. Bill and Kevin rocked my world. But Mike Phirman left me to be abducted in Jamaica for the cause of comedy. And in this effort, in this microcosm, he ascended.
This isn’t a fair entry, for at this point Mike Phirman’s cruise set is not all on video. The best minds have analyzed the problem and determined that several video devices failed in the presence of Mike’s awesomeness. It’s always a risk when you get to play with the best.
I was still left wondering what I would present both for my friends, my heroes, and the people we were all on board for, the Seamonkeys. As I mentioned previously Rochelle and Wil would provide the answer.