It is a strange vision through the small porthole in my submersible. Odd creatures, dark landscapes, and Mobutu’s slow-motion flailing arms. Ugh, he’s always so dramatic, indeed. “Calm your self good man!” I holler through the six layered plexiglass, and yet he is determined to ignore me. The man has a full tank of oxygen and his swimming briefs, for heaven’s sake, and someone has to hold all of our gear, as the space is limited in this vessel and lord knows I couldn’t make a deep sea dive without my mini putting green and cappuccino machine. “We are not animals!” I cry out to the fathoms below.
As you know, an ancient scroll was found amidst the bustle and grime during our last trek through the Sahara desert. “Mobutu!” I remember shouting, as he fell face first into the sand. Oh well, I suppose I will have to step out of my air-conditioned SUV A-gAIN and give my hapless guide some water. But what is this? As I roll Mobutu’s body over to pour some of my canteen through his chapped lips, (he really should have packed his Burt’s Bees like I did) I notice what he has tripped upon. How it gleams! How it glows and sparkles! HOW COME I DON’T HAVE SUNGLASSES ON?! Mobutu reaches weakly up as if to caress my face, and tips my shades from my head to my nose. Ah, that’s better.
So, now here we are, below the sea off the island of Madagascar searching for the treasure marked by an X on the ancient scroll I so cleverly discovered. Suddenly I notice that Mobutu’s limb-flailing seems to have taken on a distinct pattern. His pruned up body, despite quite resembling a dried date at this point, appears to be aiming all of its appendages in the same direction. Quickly as I am able, I finish foaming the milk for my latte and make my last putt, which I sink! Huzzah! And wander into the decompression chamber to enter my deep-sea diving suit and see what all the fuss is about.
As the soothing tones of whale song filter through the ocean, I begin to float gently in the direction of Mobutu’s decidedly inept pointing. The whale song starts to sound familiar. “ooooooiiiaaahhhhh,..” “Oooooooowheeeeerrrrreareeyougoiinnggg?” These whales speak English! Astounding. Suddenly, Mobutu’s face is pressed against the mask of my helmet and his limbs are wrapped around me in a strangely firm clutch. His eyes are wild. He points to the surface. Suddenly and shockingly our heads are above the waterline, bubbles and objects obscuring my vision. I remove my helmet and shake my head in disappointment. “We almost had it this time, Mobutu,” I sigh, shaking out my damp hair and stepping from the bathtub.
Alas, our simulation missions have failed time and again…
“Next time, Mobutu. Next time.” I say quietly as he wraps me in my hoodie towel. Next. Time.