When I stopped rowing the boat to catch my breath, Salvador lunged towards me, grabbed the oars and threw them into the sea.
“Congratulations,” I said. “We’re now adrift.”
“Stop moaning, Luis. Do I mind if we lack means of propulsion? No. And look behind you at René. Is he troubled? Definitely not.”
I glanced at René.
“He’s not bothered because he’s sleeping and dreaming, as usual,” I said. “As for you, Salvador, you’ve deprived the boat of its oars because you’re frustrated. Your latest artistic effort has yet to sell, so you’ve reverted to your characteristic puerility.”
Salvador stuck his tongue out at me and stared at the clouds.
“I discarded the oars, Luis, to create a stimulating situation. For weeks, you’ve been grousing about how your ideas for your next film are dull and repetitive. You need something to galvanise you.”
“Does this help to ‘galvanise’ me?” I asked, gesturing at the two oars floating away.
“Shut up and do what I say.”
Salvador stretched his body across the planks that served as seats. He then leaned against the side of the boat.
“What’re you doing now?” I said. “You’re tilting the boat. We’ll capsize.”
“Lie alongside me,” he demanded.
“But it’s uncomfortable on these planks.”
With care, I eased myself alongside Salvador. The boat tilted still further. The edge was within an inch of the water.
“Now raise your head.”
I did as Salvador requested and saw a horizon that was set at an angle to the sky.
“How intriguing: the sea is not flat,” Salvador said. “Science has it all wrong. The sea slopes. Clearly, water does not find its own level.”
Despite my discomfort, I laughed.
Salvador’s moustache twitched. He was pleased with himself.
I laughed again and listened to René’s snores. A moment later, I heard a squeal from across the water.
I pushed myself up. The boat rocked and took in some water, wetting Salvador’s shirt.
“Be careful,” he said.
“Never mind,” I replied, steadying the boat as best I could. “Look what’s coming.”
Salvador sat up.
“Excellent,” he declared.
A piglet was swimming in the sea. We watched as it approached, and bumped against, the boat.
“Bring it aboard,” Salvador urged.
I reached over and pulled the piglet from the water.
“It’s escaped from its pen, Salvador. It’s taking a swim to cool down.”
“Don’t be mundane. This animal materialised from René’s subconscious. It’ll appear in his next painting.”
I grinned. The piglet slipped through my hands, ran across to René and nuzzled his neck.
“I dreamed this was how I’d be woken,” René said, opening his eyes and staring at the piglet.
“Of course he did,” Salvador whispered to me, winking. “Now let’s continue.”
And reaching down, he produced a second pair of oars from beneath a canvas sheet.
By K. J. Watson
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