“The Indomitable”, loaded with passengers, moved effortlessly over deep, dark waters. Hundreds had boarded the gleaming ship, bound for an exotic and distant port, on an all-expenses-paid cruise. But midway through the voyage, trouble is brewing.

Photo by Alonso Reyes on Unsplash

Almost half the passengers are no longer sure about where they really want to go. The South Pacific seems to be a much more desirable destination, they proclaim, and begin to send demanding notes to the captain to change course. Others want to go back to the port where they embarked. They can’t understand why they got on board in the first place: the ship is too clean and it’s too quiet. Still others are intent on sailing all the way across the Pacific to Japan. “We’re going the wrong way!” they begin to wail at the top of their voices: “We’ll never get to Japan this way-we’re going too far north. The captain doesn’t know what he’s doing!”

Meanwhile, a sizeable number have decided that the ship is the wrong shape. Whoever designed it obviously didn’t know much about the aesthetics of steel, they complain. They find tools and sticks and begin to hack and to beat at the walls of the ship, and to attempt to break or remove port holes. They deface the cabins and try to pry off wooden hand rails lining the steel underneath.

Photo by solitsocial dot com on Unsplash

One group prepares to lower a life boat. Coralling other passengers to join them in their escape, they explain that the lifeboat is “the real Indomitable”, and the vessel they were fooled into climbing aboard is not really a ship at all. How can this be a real cruise ship? they mock: no ocean cruise is free. It’s a trick! The self-appointed lifeboat crew begin to collect substancial sums of money from many eager to board the “real” Indomitable.

Huddled in a corner of the deck, one large group nod in passioned agreement to the claims of a woman with flowing red hair. She’s holding a large round cookie container, recently emptied, which she points to and then holds aloft for all to gaze at. “This…” she shreaks manically… “This…is the ship’s wheel!” The captain has given me control of the ship, and here it is in my hands!” The mob gasps in amazement and reach for their wallets. “I can control this ship with my own power and with my own determination! Watch as I turn it full circle!” The mesmorized mob stand in rapt attention as their red-haired wonder turns the cookie container slowly but dramatically in a complete circle.

Still others are led by a dark-haired man of great charisma and intent. While gazing out on a vast expanse during the second day of his trip it had occurred to him that the captain was being unfair to the ocean. He had been so narrow minded as to not allow the ocean into the ship! This was discrimination of the worst kind! How did this man get his job? How could he be so hard-hearted and unfair? How could he exclude water-the most common substance on the surface of the earth-from the voyage?

Something had to be done, and under the leadership of this dark-haired warrior, a band of men, women and others hold meetings to decide what to do to recify the situation. Suddenly, in a frenzy of activity, dozens lower long ropes into the water and haul up one bucket after another from the brine and dump it onto the deck. Others who are more ambitious and more organized descend as far below deck as they can, and finding a tool shed, begin to drill their way through the thick hull. This will do it, they think smugly- this will bring sanity and fairness to the voyage.

One womens’ group, convinced that the vessel is overburdened with weight and unnecessary fixtures and furnishings, begin unscrewing and ripping up whatever objects they decide are superfluous, and carrying them in teams to the sides of the ship, throw them over.

“I’m the captain now” asserts one of the passengers, a tall and imposing man. “I have the qualifications and the know-how to take this ship where it should go!” He climbs the stairs to the wheel house, and upon finding that the door is securely locked and guarded, begins to pound on it and to demand to be let in. “I’m the captain!” he screams above the wind and the surf. “I demand to be let in!” Crew members who ascend the stairs or who leave the wheelhouse on errands are accosted. “I’m the captain!” he yells. “You do what I say-do you hear?”

However, high above the deck and the turmoil, inside a warm wheelhouse, the captain calmy and quietly raises a mug of hot soup to his lips. His placid face glows with confidence and peace. He has designed and built the ship, while simultaneously seeing it arrive at its destination. The ship, he knows, is true to its name, and immune to any assault. Little mutinies, expected and of no consequence, will leave their perpetrators and followers behind in the ocean. Those who maintain their wish to arrive at the stated destination, under the leadership of the captain, will arrive with him; on time, safe and sound.


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