Story 2: Is the Honeymoon Over?
The other castaways had a surprise waiting for the Professor and Mary Ann when they returned from their honeymoon: a brand-new hut, built by Gilligan and the Skipper, with curtains made by Ginger and bed linens and furniture donated by the Howells.
The couple had been planning to live in the Professor's old bachelor quarters in the supply hut, but now they wouldn't have to share space with all the supplies and the Professor's lab. They were ecstatic.
Life on the island settled back into its normal routines, with one difference. The new love in their midst seemed to radiate out to all the castaways, making their moods a little brighter and their steps a little lighter. The Skipper didn't even yell at Gilligan very much these days. Only the Professor and Mary Ann knew something was missing.
Mary Ann was sitting at the dining table, mending one of the Skipper's shirts, while Mrs. Howell sat nearby doing needlepoint. After a while, Mary Ann set her work down in her lap and looked off into the distance with a melancholy expression and a wistful sigh.
"Is something wrong, dear?" Mrs. Howell asked. "That is not the face of a young girl in love."
Mary Ann smiled. "Oh, I am happy, Mrs. Howell. I've never been happier. It's just ...." A single tear trickled out of the corner of one eye, and she brushed it away.
Mrs. Howell took her hand. "It's all right, child, you can tell me."
"Well ..." Mary Ann leaned in toward Mrs. Howell and lowered her voice. "It's just that I love R- -- the Professor -- so much, and I can't ... show it." Mrs. Howell looked at her quizzically, and she swallowed hard before continuing.
"You see, we really want to have children someday, but we agreed it would be a bad idea while we're still shipwrecked. So we have to be careful about when we -- well, you know." She blushed. "We keep charts, and we are careful, and so far, we've been lucky." Another tear trickled out. "It's just so frustrating to be just married and so much in love and not be able to ... express it every day."
"Oh, I understand, dear," said the older woman. "But look at it this way. You have something to look forward to when we're rescued."
"Yes," Mary Ann smiled again, squeezing Mrs. Howell's hand. "I just hope I'm not too old by then."
The Professor was dealing with his own frustration in the best way he knew how: his work. About a week earlier, Gilligan had come down with a mild tropical fever, which the Professor had treated with an herbal medicine he'd invented. The fever broke after a couple of days, but the Professor had urged Gilligan to keep taking the medicine for a few more, as a precaution.
For every one of those days, Gilligan had been waking up in the morning violently sick to his stomach. The Professor had run some tests and was analyzing the results, which were, to put it mildly, surprising. While he felt sorry for the suffering Gilligan, he welcomed the distraction.
"Professor?" A visibly nervous Gilligan stood in the doorway of the supply hut/lab.
"Oh, come in, Gilligan. Have a seat. I have your test results right here."
"What did you find out, Professor?" Gilligan asked anxiously. "How long have I got? When I go, I want you and Mary Ann to have my comic book collection and my lucky rabbit's foot and --"
"That won't be necessary, Gilligan," the Professor interrupted, chuckling. "You're not going anywhere. You're going to be fine."
"But what have I got?"
"Well, according to these tests," said the Professor, a mischievous twinkle coming into his eye, "you're, uh, pregnant."
"PREGnant?" Gilligan's voice cracked like a 12-year-old's, as it always did when he was excited. He leaped out of his chair, knocking it over, and began to pace frantically.
"Oh my gosh, the Skipper is gonna kill me. He always told me something like this could happen if I messed around with girls." He stopped pacing. "Wait a minute! I haven't been messing around with any girls. I mean, Ginger has tried a few times, but I never .... And I'm a boy! Even I know a boy can't get --"
"Relax, Gilligan," the Professor said, righting the chair Gilligan had upset and sitting him back down in it. "There's a very simple explanation. You see, our bodies have these chemicals called hormones. Some are male and some are female, but everyone's body has both kinds. Obviously the medicine you've been taking has caused a hormonal reaction that mimics the condition of -- Good Heavens!"
The Professor was on his feet, and his eyes were afire with excitement. "Why didn't I think of this before? Gilligan, do you realize what this means? It's wonderful! I've got to find Mary Ann!"
He dashed out of the hut, leaving Gilligan still trying to figure out what was happening. "Gee," he mused, "I wonder if it'll be a boy or a girl. What'll I name it?"
Mary Ann and Mrs. Howell were back at their needlework when Mary Ann heard her husband calling her name. Then she saw him running toward her. Was something wrong? No, he was agitated, but not upset.
"Mary Ann, wonderful news! Come with me!" He grabbed her hand, pulled her out of her chair, and ran with her in the direction of their hut, throwing an apologetic "Excuse us, Mrs. Howell" over his shoulder.
Then Gilligan ran by. "Guess what, Mrs. Howell! I'm gonna have a baby!"
"Oh, how lovely, dear. Congratulations!" Mrs. Howell called absently after him. A second later, she put down her needlepoint and muttered, "No, I couldn't have heard that right."
At their hut, an excited Professor told Mary Ann about his new discovery. He'd heard about something like this on the radio, he explained. Back in civilization, a similar invention -- a drug that prevents pregnancy by fooling the body into thinking it's already in that condition -- was causing quite a commotion.
We would like to be able to tell you that the couple fell into each other's arms at that moment and gave in to their frustrated passions, but it wasn't that easy. The Professor's invention needed some adjustments before it would work on Mary Ann as it had on Gilligan, without the morning sickness and other unpleasant side effects. Mary Ann bravely endured those effects as the Professor tinkered with the formula. It broke his heart to see his beloved wife in such discomfort, but she assured him it would all be worth it.
And it was. One morning, Mary Ann emerged from the hut to start breakfast just as the Howells were coming out of their own hut for their morning stroll. Eyes shining, she went to Mrs. Howell and hugged her, whispering in her ear, "Everything is all right."
"What was that all about, Lovey?" Mr. Howell asked after Mary Ann had left.
"Never you mind, dear,"
said his wife, taking his arm and leading him down the path.
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