Lewis and Jacob laid on their backs and looked up at the stars.
“What’d’ya think that one’s called?” asked Lewis.
“That one,” he pointed, “With sort of the curvy bit there leading to the, um…kind of a jumble underneath it.”
Jacob tried to follow where Lewis was pointing. Not easily done, as they lay side-by-side and heads-by-feet.
“Must be Scorpio,” he guessed.
The sea swelled and sank beneath them in a languid undulation.
“I think I’m gonna be ill,” Lewis held his gut.
“How can you still be gettin’ ill?”
Lewis held his head over the side and made awful sounds at the water.
“Just bile at this point,” he said, splashing water on his face, “O God’av’mercy.”
“Don’t drink that – you’ll just get sicker. And lay back down.”
The boat rocked only gently as Lewis lay his scrawny limbs back down upon the slats. And again, they watched the stars.
“Look!” Jacob pointed, “Look at that movin’ one there! Must be a satellite.”
“Not an airplane?”
“No,” he said, “Too small a spec. Too far off.”
A breeze filled the wounded silence with salt-mist. A fitting response for the sea.
“Hey, what was that one called,” Lewis asked, “that they flung way out into the middle of nothin’?”
“Yeah, for exploring or something – carried a message and all that.”
“Voyager,” Jacob said.
“Yeah, Voyager! God, that must be somethin’…And boring. I mean – even surrounded by the beauty of the cosmos, you’re still just out there… in the middle of nothin’.”
“Very wise, Shakespeare,” Jacob grinned.
“What’d’ya think it thinks about?…y’know, if it could think I mean.”
Jacob considered a moment as the boat swayed to and fro.
“I think it sings,” he said.
“Oh y’know,” Jacob shrugged, “Whatever it fancies…my guess is ‘I’m A Little Teapot’ and ‘Dancing Queen’.”
Lewis laughed and gave a little kick at his head.
“You’re losing it aren’t you?”
“Me? No. You asked, and I answered.”
Again, they lay quiet atop the white noise of the water. Long moments passed.
And then Jacob started singing.
What started as a quiet hum-mumble grew bolder with each phrase. Slowly, Lewis joined in, and soon the two young men were singing – nearly shouting – ‘Dancing Queen’. All verses. All choruses. All the words that, in different circumstances, they would have denied even knowing. They belted out their defiant ABBA sing-along against the darkness.
And just as quickly it was over. And quiet again. They lay all the stiller, looking at the stars.
“Jacob?” Lewis asked.
“Do you think anyone’s going find us?”
Jacob took his time to fill his lungs for an answer.
“Yeah,” he lied, “Yeah, I think they will.”