Entertainment and Activity Director Hilary MacAlaney Schmidt meeting on board the stricken Carnival Triumph with Ship Captain, Myron Stromfeld and via conference call, Carnival Cruise, Chief Counsel, Sheila Rung, and Eddie Mays, Chief Marketing Officer.
Sheila Rung: Before we start, I just met with the CEO and he said to tell you that he is extremely proud of each and every one of you and wants you all to know that we are doing everything within our power to expedite the safe return of the passengers and crew.
Captain Stromfeld: That’s great news, Sheila! What exactly are they doing?
Sheila Rung: Specifically?
Captain Stromfeld: Yes.
Sheila Rung: Everything. Everything within their power. I just explained that to you. We really should begin discussing how to deal with the passengers.
Captain Stromfeld: Have you actually spoken to the CEO about what’s going on, Sheila?
Sheila Rung: He’s on vacation. I don’t know where. I was just reading from the “in case of emergency” card he gave me 12 years ago when I got hired. I’m sorry.
Captain Stromfeld: Forget it. I got the same card. Here’s the situation. We have more than 3,000 passengers and 1,000 crew members without air conditioning, clean water, hot food or working lavatories and tempers are starting to run a bit, shall we say, high.
Chief Marketing Officer Eddie Mays: How high? Like “I’ll never take a cruise with these people again unless they give me drink vouchers” high or “someone hold the captain’s legs so we can toss him overboard” high?
Captain Stromfeld: At the moment, somewhere in the middle of that range, Eddie.
Chief Marketing Officer Eddie Mays: So drink coupons are obviously out. Ok, not to panic, people. Maybe a meet and greet with that Cirque Du Soleil knockoff troop we picked up from Brazil. What did they call themselves again? Circus Bouqet?
Entertainment Director Hilary MacAlaney Schmidt: Are you for real, Eddie! We’ve got a panic situation here!
Chief Marketing Officer Eddie Mays: Well, I have one here, Hilary! My job is to extract every single nickel from our customers’ pockets before they hit the parking lot and now you want me to start putting nickels back in. That goes against everything we stand for! I could lose my job!
Sheila Rung: Take it easy, Eddie. What have you been feeding the passengers, Captain?
Captain Stromfeld: I spoke with the Chef this morning and for breakfast he’s been serving baked Alaska.
Sheila Rung: Breakfast?
Entertainment Director Hilary MacAlaney Schmidt: It melted two days ago. Chef’s telling everyone they’re protein shakes and if anybody knows the difference, they’re keeping their mouths shut. For lunch and dinner, everyone get’s grilled cheese.
Sheila Rung: I thought you were without power.
Captain Stromfeld: We are. The coldest place on the entire ship is 106 degrees.
Sheila Rung: Got it. What are we doing to keep the passengers’ morale up?
Entertainment Director Hilary MacAlaney Schmidt: We’ve started to…
Chief Marketing Officer Eddie Mays: You haven’t been making any promises I can’t keep, Hilary? Please tell me you haven’t been making promises I can’t keep!
Sheila Rung: Shut up, Eddie.
Chief Marketing Officer Eddie Mays: Easy for you, Sheila. You’re a lawyer. You had seven years at Harvard to learn how to lie to decent people. I had to pick it up watching C-Span.
Entertainment Director Hilary MacAlaney Schmidt: All of our booked talent, the comics, dance troupe, steel drum bands and the guy that impersonates Wayne Newton, no wait, that’s right, we got Wayne Newton — all of them refuse to do anything until we give them the combination to the liquor storage compartment and as you all know, that’s worse than capsizing. Since the whale watching dried up, we’ve been forced to rely upon the talents of the regular crew and have had mixed results.
Sheila Rung: Ooh, you saw whales? That must have taken the passengers’ minds off things for a while.
Entertainment Director Hilary MacAlaney Schmidt: Not really. The only whale they saw was the one that ran into our propeller, started the fire and floated alongside the ship for a couple of hours before he sank. All we have in the way of entertainment now is the crew.
Sheila Rung: And…
Captain Stromfeld: Not so good. My First Officer, Gerry Singlelton, fancies himself a comedian and tried to do the scene with Tom Hanks and that volleyball from “Castaway” until someone interrupted his act and handed him a death threat that was signed by the entire audience. One of the Ukrainian maids volunteered to lead “Simon Says” but no one could understand her. The only guy they liked was Jerry Hayes, the maître d’ on B Deck. He’s been pretending to be a fortune teller and predicting that everyone on board will receive an unexpected windfall. They love him!
Chief Marketing Officer Eddie Mays: That’s not funny! If I fall, I’m not falling alone, Sheila. Do you hear me? I’m not falling alone!
Sheila Rung: Get a grip, Eddie.
Captain Stromfeld: We are going to have to issue some sort of statement about restitution. What’s Carnival prepared to give them, Eddie?
Chief Marketing Officer Eddie Mays: You mean in addition to the Baked Alaska?
© 2013 The Monkey Bellhop and John Hartnett