09-22-2012, 10:58 PM
I was never so embarrassed,or so furious, in my life. Here I thought Andi was fianlly showing some maturity, and then she pulls a stunt like this! What was she thinking? I wanted to bend her over my knee and give her a good spanking, but she was almost as tall as I am and I have an arthritic knee. Andi's eyes pleaded for Criss to intervene on her behalf as I dragged her down into the cabin for a "talk". Criss, for some reason, probably out of curiosity, followed.
I demanded an explanation. Weeding out all the "like"s and the "you know"s, the gist was that Andi had bicycled all the way to my house in the dead of night, hid herself in the truck, and slipped on board the boat. She had hidden herself in the bathroom until Criss opened the door and surprised her. I did not remember seeing her at the marina. She must have stowed away while I was out getting flashlight batteries.
I was torn between continuing the trip and turning around, but MF management made that decision for me. We had to keep shooting, they said. Criss graciously offered to take care of everything and leave Andi to him. Yeah, right, I thought. Leave my thirteen-year-old niece with some strange man? No way in hell. I told him to bring Andi up on deck so I could keep an eye on them both. In the meantime, I was calling her parents.
I was back at the helm, navigating the boat with one hand and dialing on my cell phone with the other. Rich answered, as frantic as any dad would be if he found his only child missing. His reaction to my explanation of his daughter's sudden disappearance can be pictured by anyone with even a limited imangination. I promised I'd get her home as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, out on deck, Andi was receiving a kinder, gentler version of what I wanted to tell her about her actions from her heartthrob. I don't remember all the details, but it was basically this:
"Andi," he said, "you know, running away like that was not the smartest thing. You could have been hurt, or kidnapped or something, an no one would have known about it. You could even have been killed. Now, I appreciate you wanting to meet me and all, and I loved your gift box from you and your friends, but you should have left it at that. Now you've caused a lot of worry for those who love and care about you."
"Are you mad at me, too?" she asked. "Please don't hate me, 'cause I couldn't bear it!"
"I'm not mad at you, and I can never hate you," he replied. "I do hate your disobeying your parents and running away. I was raised on the Ten Commandments, especially the one that says 'Honor Thy Father and Mother'. I've tried to keep them all, but that one especially, since I have always loved my mom and dad."
"Preaching to the choir on that one", Andi smiled.
"Am I?, Criss replied. "When your folks said you couldn't go with us, it wasn't that they didn't care about your happiness, they cared about your safety. They loved you enough to say 'no' to you. It's hard, sometimes, to refuse something your child wants, but it's for a good reason."
Well, whatever he said, he moved Andi to tears. I couldn't have handled it better myself. Maybe this Criss Angel guy wasn't such a bad sort after all.
We were near Cheboygan when our stomachs began sending us signals that it was feeding time. I still had to steer the boat to the Straits of Mackinac, so I put Andi in charge of dishing up the grub--hey, if she was going to be on this trip, I was going to put her to work. Andi fussed as never before, heating up the pasties, arranging the bags of potato chips, the bottles of Faygo, the packages of cookies. She's got a future in catering, I thought.
Meanwhile, Criss was looking over the pasties. He picked one up and read the label on the cellophane wrapper. "Pasties?", he I heard him say, puzzled. " Aren't those what strippers wear on their...you know...".
I cut the engines and came down from the bridge. "Those are paysties", I told him. laughing. "These are pahsties. They're meat pies the copper miners ate for lunch in the UP."
"You pee?" asked Criss.
"Upper Peninsula," I explained. "The bridge you are going to connects both Upper and Lower Peninsulas."
He shrugged, dug into a pasty, and pronounced it delicious. After that, he took a package of cookies and flung it to Andi, which she gleefully caught. Then another to me, and everyone else on board. He even juggled a few packages for the cameras, quite deftly, I must admit. He should have been in a circus. When he was though tossing his cookies, he kicked back on one of the lounge chairs on deck. Andi wanted to sit next to him, but I put her to work cleaning up after lunch. Grudgingly, she complied, but only after I reminded her that as a stowaway, she had to earn her keep.
Back on the bridge, I scanned the horizon for the Straits. Another large watercraft was sitting on the lake; people were dashing about frantically from what I could see. I got out my binoculars. Criss had decided at that moment to join me, probably for another boating lesson.
"What's going on?" he asked.
"I don't know yet," I replied. "That boat over there..."
Something was wrong, my gut was telling me. I looked carefully at the boat across the water from us. There was a man waving his shirt like a flag. A woman was clutching a crying child to her bosom. From what I could see, the boat was listing to one side. I immediatly sized up the situatuon.
"That boat over there!" I turned to Criss. "It's sinking!"