Another Bedtime Story

Desert IsleOnce upon a time, the usual cast of assorted characters became stranded on the proverbial desert island with no hope of rescue.  As demanded by the International Specification of Standardized Plot Twists, the group quickly divided into two factions, each led by charismatic leaders with diametrically opposed views of how to insure their survival.

The Blue Team supported a plan to build a raft from the trees growing on the island.  There were ample resources to build a craft large enough to ferry everyone back out to sea with reasonable safety.  But the success of such a plan rested on many factors beyond their control.  A storm might consume their raft.  They might drift aimlessly and never find rescue or land again.  Or they might be eaten by a whale or abducted by aliens.  The results were uncertain, but the basic plan was sound, and there was a definite appeal to taking a course of action rather than inaction.  And most importantly, there was a least a reasonable chance they would one day soon return to their happy lives full of HDTV and Chicken McNuggets.

Meanwhile, the Red Team favored digging in on the beach.  Using the trees to build shelters and fires.  They knew their straights were dire.  That this meant life would be rough indefinitely, and many would likely starve.  Yet they knew that the strongest of them would survive and might be rescued eventually.  They felt this plan allowed them greater control, and consumed less of the precious resources in the short term.  Yes, they might never be rescued.  Yes, they might have to suffer watching the weaker members of their tribe die.  But being marooned on the island was already almost more change than they could bear.  They couldn’t possibly abide the uncertainly of another voyage.  It was enough to be safer while they waited for their fate to arrive—whatever that might be.

The sides seemed hopelessly entrenched.  And unfortunately, the island lacked enough resources to follow both plans.  Ultimately it was agreed that two weeks hence there would be a vote of all the castaways on which plan to follow.  The battle was on to win the hearts and minds of the people.

The Blue Team began to develop elaborate plans for their raft.  Initially they tried to incorporate all the Blue Team members’ ideas to make them feel a sense of ownership for the plan.  The plan became somewhat unwieldy, and many of the ideas seemed to conflict with one another, but compromises were ironed out such that, while not perfect, the planned raft was still seaworthy.

Meanwhile, the Red Team never bothered to flesh out their plans beyond vague notions of homes for everyone and promises of lagoons full of fish.  Rather they focused their efforts on scaring the other castaways with stories of alien medical probes performed on hapless refugees abducted by flying saucers at sea.  They warned there were no anti-whale strategies built into the Blue Team’s design, and this would surely mean they were all doomed to be Moby Dick’s dinner.  They accused the Blue Team of designing their raft without incorporating all the ideas of the Red Team members.

The Blue Team was taken aback at first.  Yet having incorporated many ideas already, the Blues gladly added a harpoon to the front and aft of the craft to deter hungry whales.  They then asked the Reds, “Will you join us now?”

The Reds indignantly responded, “There’s no way in hell a single one of us will ever board your Huck Finn nightmare of a boat.  Furthermore, we insist you design a place to hold several large caches of rocks so we have something to throw at the flying saucers.”

The Blues protested that the weight of the rocks would compromise their safety, and that further there was no reason to believe the rocks would be a useful defense from an alien abduction.  This caused the Reds to howl all the louder that the Blues were ignoring them and condemning them all to certain doom.

Exasperated, the Blues asked, “If we add the rocks, will you join us then?”


Voting deadlines came and went.  Partial votes were held, but nothing binding was ever agreed upon.  Months passed until one day the Blues decided to act on their own.  They cut and lashed the lumber into a makeshift raft.  Not elegant, but functional enough to get off the island.  They were forced to post a guard around the craft as it was built, for every night the Reds would try to sneak in and sabotage their work.  During the day the Reds jeered at the Blues, claiming that their actions were killing them all.

In the end, the Reds fumed indignantly as the Blues sailed over the horizon.  And a few days hence, the raft was washed ashore on the mainland where their rescue was greeted by the rest of the world with a collective sigh of relief.  They told their rescuers of the remaining people on the island they had left behind, and a search party was sent out at once.

Shortly thereafter, the Reds spotted a ship off their beach and built a signal fire.  The rescue ship spied the flames and went ashore to retrieve the Reds.  Arriving in port the Reds promptly sought out their Blue counterparts and immediately started lambasting them claiming that their stay-put plan was vindicated because after all, they had just been rescued.  The Blues tried to explain that it was they who had sent the ship, but they could not be heard over the din of the Reds, who now that the ordeal was done, were busy taking credit for their prescience and perseverance.

The Blues shook their heads as they left.   If they hurried they could still stop for a burger and get home in time to catch the game on TV.

The End.

Sleep tight…

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