Crossing the Line
Crossing the Line, by Dougal Ranford
And so the day we'd all been waiting for finally arrived, our appointment with King Neptune could not be put off any longer. First we were taken down to the Aft deck to meet King Neptune himself, along with his wife and the Judge. Captain Marshall welcomed them aboard before King Neptune addressed us, and the FIDS were sent on their way to hole up in the ship, finding a good hiding place to escape Neptune's policemen. Some were preparing for a confrontation whilst others found various small crevices to hide away.
Pretty soon we could hear the policemen coming, their truncheons beating on the side of the ship. Rob and Dougal's seemingly cunning hideaway in the tail of the aircraft in hold was the first to be found within seconds in fact. An easily defendable position, with water bombs and shaken up beers (Rob's legendary weapon of choice), but impossible to escape from. The game was up. More scuffles and attempts at escape outside the aircraft were swiftly dealt with and the captured pair were dragged before King Neptune and his court on the aft deck of the ship. The charges were read out, attempting to cross the equator without Neptune's permission and various charged per person. Looking like John Travolta in Sat night fever was one for Dougal and Constructive discussion of pertinent points, i.e. Arguing about everything for Rob).
Other FIDS managed somewhat better. A team of four, Adam, Scotty, Fin and Graeme put up a strong resistance from the Monkey Island. Water Bombs and Custard managed to hold off the policemen for a while after they were spotted but even this defense couldn't hold for ever and eventually the monkey island was overrun. A death defying leap by the grumpy vet (Fin) saw him make a bid for freedom and he was on the run for some time before being eventually found in the hold hiding behind the cargo nets! The 3 that were caught we're then tied up and finally brought before Neptune for more charges to be read out.
On being found guilty by the judge the FIDS were made to 'take the medicine'. A pretty unpleasant mixture of chilies and other hot things was pumped into our mouths. Some chose to swallow while others just spat it out, to the disappointment of the crew. We were then taken to the chair and given a ceremonial shave and given a good covering with 'SLOPS'.
Let me explain SLOPS. The SLOPS bucket has stood in the kitchen since leaving Stanley two weeks ago. After most meals the waste food has been emptied into this bucket along with a load of yeast and god only knows what else. This fermented decomposing mess of food waste very closely resembled vomit. The stench was appalling and the grease stuck to skin and clothing long after the sea water shower. Even some of the crew as policemen got a little too close and got an unhealthy smell of it, and were unwell over the side!
The last Fids to be found were Stewart, under the sofa in the Bar, and Russ, who was lying under the sink in the galley and actually gave himself up he'd been down there so long!! But that wasn't it. One of the crew, Ash the Chef was charged for desertion as he is changing Ships, over to the JCR. He was forced to enjoy the same punishment, but instead of a few ladles of slopes, he got the rest of the bucked over his head. The whole day was an excellent event and despite a few anxious moments before hand (particularly by the policemen) the whole afternoon was great fun. All that there was left to do was to get the barbeque going and swap the slops bucket for the iced beers bucket!! After some food, the Captain then presented us with our Crossing Certificates, which we can then use in the future to avoid such activities again if we ever find ourselves sailing across the Equator again.
Thanks to all the crew for an afternoon we'll never forget!