Boat Story / by Paul Christian

Keanu Reeves is on an Alaska Marine Highway System boat. This boat is a large specimen of a type of boat called a catamaran. The boat has multiple, more narrow hulls that support a wider more platformlike boat body. This allows the boat to move rather quickly compared to other boats of its size. The boat moves quickly and you can fit cars inside this boat. The boat is also called a ferry but is not the kind that grants magical wishes; this disappointed Keanu Reeves when he found out. The boat's name is Chenega. 

Keanu Reeves' trip will take two nights and two days continuously on this boat. Keanu Reeves is wearing a pair of large aviator-style sunglasses and a slightly confused frown. The sunglasses are by two people called Dolce & Gabbana and the frown is Keanu Reeves' own design. Keanu Reeves is standing on the upper deck on top of the ship just outside the solarium.

Keanu Reeves watches a family open a tent in the harsh yellow tint of the plastic solarium on top of the boat. The solarium is a heated area on the deck of the ship where one can be outside without having to feel like one is outside. There are deck chairs in the solarium. Keanu Reeves neglected to bring a sleeping bag. The small girl member of the family smiles as she unwraps her sleeping bag, which has a variety of small cartoon monsters on it. She places a pillow at the head of the sleeping bag very carefully and puts a plush monster toy on the pillow and gestures at it as if telling it to stay. The plush monster is the same kind of monster that is on the sleeping bag.

Keanu Reeves does not recognize or know the names of these monsters. They are from a cartoon program that Keanu Reeves has never seen before. He discreetly takes a photo of it to ask others what these monsters might be. He waits until the girl has left the tent so she will not appear in the picture. The family does not notice Keanu Reeves taking a photo of their daughter's sleeping bag. Keanu Reeves plays Candy Crush discreetly after taking the photo and feels guilty about one of those two activities.

Keanu Reeves had assumed that there would be beds aboard the boat. The hum of the engines is very loud here, in the solarium on top of the boat, as is the sound of the catamaran's multiple hulls breaching the water and throwing the water back at other parts of the water. The water does not like this and responds with violent bursts of air bubbles that leave a whitish trail stretching behind the boat named Chenega. 

Keanu Reeves is approached by a dog in the solarium on top of the boat. The dog is yellow here and pants at Keanu Reeves expecting pats and affection. He thinks the dog might be a light brown in other light. The tag around the dog's neck reads Jeremy. This tells him nothing about what the coloring of the dog actually is. Keanu Reeves feels the need to procure a frozen yoghurt. 

When Keanu Reeves attempts to procure a frozen yoghurt at the ship's cafeteria, he is disappointed to find that they only have frozen yogurt available. Keanu Reeves thinks “A lot is lost when an H disappears.” Keanu Reeves does not get sprinkles even though he is offered them. Rainbow jimmies. The most jubilant of all sprinkle veriatals. Keanu Reeves does not like sprinkles. He once had a very bad sprinkle experience.

Keanu Reeves sits in a part of the ship that resembles a reasonable hotel lobby except surrounded by water and with islands slowly passing by. And whales. This part of the ship is undearneath the top of the ship where the plastic solarium, small girl, monsters, tent and dog are. Keanu Reeves is seated in a cushioned booth in front of a large nondescript frozen yogurt. The frozen yogurt is exactly like the frozen yogurt in every other part of the world. 

Keanu Reeves sees a group of Japanese tourists with cameras and similar large nondescript sandwiches sitting in a booth across the way from her own. Keanu Reeves notices that the oldest three members of the family – mother, father and oldest daughter – are all wearing matching polyester tracksuits. The oldest daughter of this family is older than the younger daughter of the other family in the solarium at the top of the boat.

The tracksuits that are being worn by three members of the Japanese family are not identical. The tracksuits are red, white and blue. When viewed from behind, the three tracksuits together form an image of an American flag. This only occurs when the family is standing in the correct order like an apocalyptic eclipse in a movie about horrifying apocalyptic eclipses. The correct order is with the father on the right, the mother on the left, and the daughter in the middle. The tracksuits were made in a manufacturing facility in Guangdong Province, China, purchased at a locally owned shop in Chiba Prefecture, Japan, and depict the flag of the United States of America. The tracksuits are experiencing an identity crisis and would much rather be home neatly folded safely tucked in a dark drawer or cardboard box.

Keanu Reeves watches the family idly while scrolling through old pictures on his phone, the broken American flag never leaving his periphery. Whenever a whale passes, the Japanese family gathers at the window excitedly, except for the older daughter who detaches for a moment, waits to see in what order her parents are standing, then stands either to the left or the right of both of them to prevent the american flag from appearing unbroken.  

As a Japanese camera makes a clicking sound, Keanu Reeves thinks of the other family who are probably still in the solarium on top of the boat. Keanu Reeves feels creepy for having taken a photo of a young girl's sleeping bag without her parents' permission and deletes the photo in a brief fit of anxiety. Keanu Reeves thinks that maybe it would have been a better idea to ask the mother of the girl what those monsters were in a friendly and not creepy manner. Keanu Reeves wonders if there is a not creepy way to ask that question of a small girl's sleeping bag. Keanu Reeves wonders if there is a not weird way to casually show someone the picture of the small girl's sleeping bag and ask who the monsters are. Keanu Reeves decides that this is a no-win hypothetical situation.

Keanu Reeves wonders if the small girl has met the probably light brown dog. He thinks they would probably friends. He thinks he should probably stop thinking about the small girl.

Keanu Reeves wonders if there is a place on this boat to purchase alcohol or if it is a dry boat, in which case Keanu Reeves will seriously consider throwing herself overboard but ultimately, after noting the lack of towels draped conveniently along the shoreline, will decide this is unwise. Also Keanu Reeves' phone would be ruined. Also Keanu Reeves does not know where she is. There is no place to purchase alcohol on one of these boats which is a good and bad thing.

Keanu Reeves looks out the glass window and sees the tail of a whale disappearing into the water and thinks about a book she read once. It was called Fluke. Keanu Reeves remembers that the book said whales were large hollow vehicles for tiny humanoid cetacean creatures that piloted them from within. The creatures were constantly jerking each other off which made Keanu Reeves uncomfortable. The creatures were referred to as “whaley boys.” Keanu Reeves did not finish this book. He did not even get to the part in which a whale uses an inflatable boat as a diaphragm to prevent unwanted insemination resulting in two marine biologists  being showered with massive jets of whale sperm.

Keanu Reeves looks out the glass window again and sees another whale and this time the whale is breaching. The black and white patterns on its skin appear too glossy to really exist. Keanu Reeves notices the sun is shining and wonders if it is possible for whales in real life to masturbate. He pictures tiny flippers attempting to grasp a faraway object or orifice. A whale curving shrimp in deep water.

Keanu Reeves accidentally takes a nap wearing Dolce & Gabbana aviator-style sunglasses imagining he is in a yellow tinted tent instead of on a padded bench next to half of a half-melted frozen yogurt without an “H.” Keanu Reeves dreams about the family he is sharing the tent with. The family is nice. The small girl offers Keanu Reeves her sleeping bag. Keanu Reeves' expensive Chrome bag is on the floor and his wrist is intertwined with its secure strap so it cannot be stolen. In Keanu Reeves' dream, he, the girl, and the yellow-tinted dog leave the tent together and walk in lock-step to the railing on the edge of the boat.

Keanu Reeves dreamlooks at the water. Keanu Reeves dreamsees a fish. Keanu Reeves dreamthinks, “I should call Laurence Fishburne.”


paul christian's sister tricked him into eating mud multiple times as a child. he is better now and almost has a masters degree in writing from calarts. his dad is very proud sometimes.