The Gilligan's Island Romance Fan Fiction Site
Story 8: Lost and Found
The jungle was alive with the usual cacophony of animal sounds as the Professor came through the underbrush in search of some much-needed plant specimens.
He and Mary Ann were on the verge of a breakthrough in their efforts to synthesize an herbal nutritional tonic that the castaways desperately needed. Lately, all of them had fallen prey to a vitamin deficiency that was lowering their resistance to tropical diseases. Luckily, nobody had gotten seriously ill yet, but the Professor knew the early signs: fatigue, irritability and shortness of breath. His beloved Mary Ann was the first to show them; she had fainted the other day while carrying a basket of laundry to the line, and snapped at him when he tried to help -- so unlike her.
When she regained her composure and realized what was happening, she wanted to accompany him on his quest for the key ingredient in the vitamin formula. But he gently urged her to stay behind and get her strength back.
Now he was finding himself in need of frequent stops to rest during his jungle search. He sat down on a flat rock to catch his breath. Those plants had to be around here somewhere, if the last big storm hadn't destroyed them.
Suddenly, he was jolted out of his near-doze by a series of men's voices. Strange voices, not those of the Skipper or Gilligan or Mr. Howell. The radio? No, he was too far from camp.
I'm hallucinating, he thought. It's exhaustion. Maybe I'm remembering something from the radio. Strange words: "Dead." "We did it." "Nobody will find him here." Sounds like one of those murder mysteries Mrs. Howell is always listening to.
The voices grew louder. They were coming from the east. This is no hallucination, the Professor thought. Someone's out there. Curiosity fueled by adrenaline brought him to his feet, and he headed in the direction of the voices.
Eventually he came to a clearing, where a shocking sight met his eyes. Three men were engaged in digging an enormous hole that could only be a grave. And the large plastic-wrapped package lying nearby could only be the body that was destined to lie there.
Good heavens, he thought. They've killed someone and are burying him here, where they think he'll never be found. But how did they get here? They must have a boat!
Should he approach them? Obviously they didn't want witnesses to their deed. But if there was a chance of getting off the island .... He decided to make his presence known.
"Hello! Excuse me, gentlemen ..."
"Hey!" One of the trio wheeled about and drew a pistol, like an outlaw in an old Western movie. He tried to aim at the Professor's heart, but the sun was in his eyes and the bullet landed just below his quarry's right lung. The Professor collapsed.
"Are you OK, Mary Ann?" Gilligan asked. "The Professor told me to make sure you take it easy. He's real worried about you. We all are."
"I'm fine, Gilligan," said Mary Ann with a weak smile. She was lying on one of the Howells' lounge chairs, where the Skipper and Ginger had ordered her to stay until her husband returned. "I'm just ... so tired. And there's the laundry, and dinner, and ..."
"Shhhh, honey," said Ginger, taking her hand. "Don't worry about that. I'll hang the laundry, and Gilligan and the Skipper will make dinner. You need to rest."
"But so do you," protested Mary Ann. "You look tired, too. And so does Gilligan. I don't want you to get sick."
"And we don't want you to," said Ginger. "And you're more in danger of that right now than we are. Please, get some rest."
Mary Ann squeezed Ginger's hand. There was so much to do, but the tropical sun was so warm ... like her dear Roy's arms. She drifted off to sleep, dreaming of him.
The Professor awoke in the clearing, his vision blurred with involuntary tears brought on by the pain below his ribs. The first thought that came to him was: Mary Ann ... Mary Ann ... she'll be so worried. Is she all right?
Those three strange faces were standing over him. Slowly, they came into focus.
"Damn, Tony, you said this island was uncharted! Deserted!" said one. "Who the hell is this?"
"Hey, how was I to know there was anyone here?" said the man beside him. "And how the hell should I know who he is?"
"Why don't you tell us, Mac?" said the third man, addressing the Professor. "Who are you and what are you doing here?"
"Professor ... Roy ... Hinkley," the Professor gasped. "S.S. Minnow ... shipwrecked ... seven of us. Need ... help."
"Seven!" exclaimed the first man. "That's all we need. Seven witnesses. Let's off this guy before he tells his buddies."
"Wait, Eddie," said the third man. "I remember the Minnow. One of the guys on board was a billionaire -- Thurston Howell. We play our cards right, we might be able to make a big score. A nice chunk of Howell's change in return for his professor friend here. Hey, doc, is Howell with you?" The Professor nodded weakly.
"Ransom!" said the second man. "I like that. But how do we know that Hinkley here won't blab about our taking out Bruno?"
"Won't ... tell," said the Professor. "Please ... help ... I'll do ... whatever. Don't ... hurt ... Mary Ann."
"OK," said Tony. "Joey, patch this guy up. He's worth more to us alive than dead."
Darkness fell, and Gilligan and Ginger woke Mary Ann from her long nap in the lounge chair. She'd slept through dinner, resisting their efforts to rouse her for nourishment.
"Time for bed, honey," said Ginger.
"Ahhh ... what time is it?" asked Mary Ann. "Where's Roy?"
"Still out gathering plants," said Ginger. "He'll be here soon. It's not that late."
"Should ... be back by now," said Mary Ann. "I'm scared."
"I'm sure he's all right," said Ginger. "Come on, I'll help you to bed, and I'll stay with you until he comes."
Mary Ann tried to stand, but was still too weak. The Skipper picked her up and carried her to the hut she shared with the Professor. He placed her tenderly on the bed, and Ginger lay down next to her.
At dawn, Ginger awoke to find Mary Ann still sleeping soundly, and no sign of the Professor. Now she was worried, too. She slipped out of the hut and found Gilligan and the Skipper preparing breakfast.
"How's Mary Ann?" the Skipper asked.
"Still asleep," said Ginger. "But where's the Professor? He's been gone all night. Do you think ... ?"
"That something's happened to him?" said the Skipper. "No. Remember that time when he and Mary Ann were both gone all night? There was a storm, and it turned out they had taken shelter in a cave. They came back the next day and they were fine."
"But there wasn't any storm last night," said Gilligan.
Neither the Skipper nor Ginger had any answer for that. Silently, they worked to get the morning meal ready, occasionally casting glances at the hut where Mary Ann slept, and at the edge of the jungle where the Professor had disappeared.
Guarded by the one called Joey, the Professor was sitting up, drinking a cup of mango juice Joey had brought him. It was just before daybreak. He was feeling a little stronger. It still hurt to breathe, but the bleeding had stopped. This Joey might be a thug, but he'd apparently remembered his Boy Scout training in first aid. Bruno's body was gone. Apparently the men had finished the job of burying him during the night.
"I'm sure Mr. Howell will give you anything you ask for," he said weakly. "All I ask is that you not harm the others. And get me back to them soon. My wife is sick."
"That's up to Tony," said Joey. "Your job is to keep quiet. That way, nobody gets hurt." With his left hand, he patted the pistol in his right, a silent reminder of who held the cards in this game.
A few minutes later, Eddie and Tony appeared. "Did you find their camp?" Joey asked.
"Yeah -- huts, a table and chairs, campfire, clothes on a line," said Tony. "Nobody around. They must have been asleep. Eddie left the ransom note on one of the chairs."
Clothes on a line .... The Professor winced, remembering Mary Ann and the laundry. Was she all right? What about the rest of them? Were they still strong enough to take care of his darling -- and themselves?
Gilligan had gotten in the way one time too many during the breakfast preparations, and the Skipper, his temper rendered even shorter than usual by the fatigue that was overtaking them all, had ordered him to go set the table.
As he laid down the plates, cups and utensils, he tripped over a chair and knocked it on its side. He bent down to right it and noticed the piece of paper that had fallen on the ground.
"Hey, Skipper ..."
"Not now, Gilligan! Finish setting the table!"
"But ... "
"Gilligan, I said set the table! That's an order!"
"Skipper, please!" hissed Ginger. "Don't wake Mary Ann. She's going to panic if she wakes up and finds out the Professor is missing."
"That's what this is about, Skipper," said Gilligan, waving the paper. "They've got him!"
"They?" said the Skipper. "What are you talking about? Give me that!" He snatched the note from Gilligan's hand.
"We've got your Hinkley," the Skipper read. "You want him back. We want $1 million. Cash. Leave it on this chair at midnight. We know your Howell has it."
"Kidnapped!" exclaimed Ginger.
"Maybe it's that Mr. Wiley," said Gilligan. "Remember how he kidnapped all the women that time? Maybe he's come back."
"I don't think so," said the Skipper. "This note says 'we.' Looks like we have some new visitors on the island."
"What are we going to do?" asked Ginger.
The Skipper sighed -- inwardly. It wouldn't do to let the others see how worried he was. He'd always been the leader, but had leaned heavily on the Professor's incredible intellect and unfailing logic for ideas and direction. Now he was on his own.
"The first thing we do is make sure Mary Ann doesn't find out about this," he said. "The next thing is to talk to Mr. Howell. They want his money."
"These guys are criminals," said Ginger. "If we give them what they want, aren't we -- what do they call it in the crime movies -- aiding and abetting?"
"But we have to save the Professor," said Gilligan.
"Little buddy, you're right," said the Skipper. "I don't want to help some bunch of bad guys any more than you do, but we're talking about the Professor's life. Ginger, go check on Mary Ann. I'll go talk to the Howells."
Mary Ann was still sleeping, but no longer soundly. She was tossing, turning, moaning, calling her husband's name. Ginger felt her forehead. My gosh, she's burning up.
Mary Ann opened her eyes. "Ginger?" Her voice was hoarse. "Oh, I feel awful. Where's Roy?"
"He's just washing up, honey. He'll be here soon. No, don't get up. Here, drink this." She reached for a cup of water, lifted Mary Ann up to a semi-sitting position and held the cup so she could take a drink. She's going to suspect something soon, Ginger thought. Damn, they didn't cover a situation like this in acting school.
Just then the Skipper entered. "Skipper, where's the Professor?" said Ginger. "Still washing up?" She winked.
The Skipper took the cue. Thank God. "Yep. He tripped and fell into a mud puddle on his way back this morning. He's a mess."
He reached into his pocket and produced a small bottle of pills. "He said to be sure you take two of these, Mary Ann. They're Mr. Howell's. They'll make you feel better."
Ginger glanced at the label as she shook out two of the tablets. Sleeping pills. Strong ones. She held Mary Ann up again so that she could take the pills and another swallow of water.
"Need ... Roy," said Mary Ann as she lay back down. "Please ... tell him ... come soon."
"He's on his way, sweetheart," said the Skipper. You just stay there and take it easy."
"Roy ..." she said again, then was asleep again. Ginger and the Skipper tiptoed outside to the dining table, where Gilligan and the Howells were waiting.
"She's running a fever now," Ginger said. "I'm so afraid. What if this is one of those horrible tropical diseases the Professor was telling us about?"
"Ginger, let's not worry about that until we have to," said the Skipper. "There's plenty to worry about without that -- like getting the Professor back. Which I guess is up to you, Mr. Howell."
"Yes, yes," said the millionaire. "It's all taken care of." At his feet was a leather attache case, which he opened to reveal neat stacks of bills. "A million. Petty cash." He tried to say it casually, but there was a catch in his voice, which Mrs. Howell noticed.
"Yes, and after all, dear," she said, patting his shoulder, "it's not as if there's anything to spend it on here."
Gilligan hadn't spoken. He was trying to avoid lighting the Skipper's short fuse. But now he said, "Do you think there's a way to stop them? I mean, knock them out or something when they come to get the money? Then Mr. Howell won't lose it, and we won't be ... aiding and embedding."
"That's 'abetting,' Gilligan," said the Skipper. "And I don't know if we can risk that. They could kill the Professor."
"Yeah, you're right," said Gilligan. But Mrs. Howell was looking at her husband and saw the wheels turning in his mind.
"Gilligan, my boy," said Mr. Howell, "I could use a round of golf to clear my head. How'd you like to caddy for me? There's a bright, shiny quarter in it for you."
"Sure, Mr. Howell," said Gilligan. "Is that OK, Skipper?"
"I guess so," said the Skipper. "All we can do now is leave the ransom money and wait."
Tony was on guard now. The Professor was sleeping fitfully, calling out Mary Ann's name, not knowing that she was calling his from what seemed like a world away.
Eddie approached, glanced at the Professor, and shook his head. "I still think we should get rid of him," he said. "What if he opens his trap about Bruno?"
"Look, Eddie," said Tony. "In the first place, he and his buddies don't know Bruno from Adam. So he tells them. So what? They've got no phone, no transmitter; who are they gonna tell? And what would they tell if they could? 'Three guys killed some guy named Bruno.' I'm banking on their not asking any questions or trying anything funny. They just want Hinkley back.
"But if we off Hinkley, they're gonna be out for blood. If and when they get off this stinking island, they'll go straight to the cops.
"I say we grab the cash, drop off the doc, get on the boat and make a run for it. We'll be free and clear."
The Professor was sleeping more soundly now, or so they thought. Actually, he had awakened and was pretending to still be asleep, listening to the conversation.
Please, Eddie, he prayed. Listen to Tony. I've got to get home. Home to Mary Ann. God, I hope she's all right. I hope Tony's right about the others not "trying anything funny."
Mary Ann slept on. Ginger and Mrs. Howell took turns watching over her. Her fever had broken -- an unexpected side effect of the sleeping pills.
At 11 p.m., Ginger came in to relieve Mrs. Howell. "She's been out for hours," said the actress. "How long are those pills supposed to last?"
"With Thurston, they last eight or 10 hours. Nothing can wake him," said Mrs. Howell. "Mary Ann is so much smaller than he is, and she's not used to them, so maybe that's why they're working so well on her."
"I just hope they keep working for another hour," said Ginger. "Midnight. That's when they're supposed to pick up the ransom money ... and bring back the Professor." She lowered her voice as she said "the Professor," fearing that the sound of his name might penetrate Mary Ann's sleep. "Anyway, it's time you went to bed, Mrs. Howell."
"I'll stay, dear," she said. "I won't be able to sleep. Thurston is so restless tonight. I think parting with the money has upset him more than he wants to let on."
After a while, Mrs. Howell nodded off in the bedside chair, and Ginger fell asleep on the bed beside Mary Ann.
It was 11:30. The cash lay on the chair where the kidnappers had left the ransom note.
Gilligan lowered himself from his hammock as quietly as he could. The Skipper was fast asleep, snoring loudly as usual. He'd wanted to stay awake and watch for the Professor's return, but exhaustion had overtaken him. Gilligan slipped outside. Mr. Howell was waiting.
"Is everything ready, my boy?" whispered the millionaire.
"Yeah, it's right behind that rock," replied Gilligan. "We just have to set it up."
They went to work. "It" was an elaborate booby trap that the two men had constructed from vines while supposedly off "playing golf." A thin but sturdy vine lay across the path that the kidnappers would have to take. When they tripped it, they'd be scooped up in a net six feet off the ground. Mr. Howell hadn't thought through what the castaways would do with the men once they caught them, but at least his money would be safe. And if all went well, so would the Professor.
Ten minutes before midnight, it was finished. Gilligan and Mr. Howell hid behind the rock where the trap had been hidden, and waited.
Joey shook the Professor awake. "Hey, doc, you're going home. Can you walk?"
The Professor shook his head to clear away the fog of sleep and tried to get up. Joey had to help him stagger to his feet, but once on them, he was able to walk -- albeit slowly. Joey rooted around in the wood the men had gathered for campfires, and found a tall, sturdy stick. "Here, lean on this," he said. "I'd have you lean on me, but you'd slow me down, and the boys will wanna beat feet as soon as Tony grabs the money. You'll be on your own."
"Thank you for sparing me," said the Professor. "I swear to you that if I get through this, I won't breathe a word about your ... other escapade."
"You're OK, doc," said Joey. "You remind me of a professor I had in college. Yeah, I went to college. Wanted to be a doctor. Had to quit, though. I was needed in the, uh, family business. Maybe someday I'll go back."
"I hope so, Joey," said the Professor. "You're young. It's not too late to get into a legitimate line of work."
"Easier said than done, doc," said Joey, shaking his head ruefully. "Come on, let's go."
With the path the Professor had cleared, finding the way back to camp was easy. Tony and Eddie led the way, with Joey a few steps behind keeping an eye on the Professor, who was making slow progress. His strength was giving out, but sheer will kept him going. Can't stop. Got to get ... to Mary Ann.
"Joey, come on!" said Tony in an angry whisper. "Who cares if we lose him? He can find his own way. We've gotta get in there and get out -- fast!"
Joey cast an apologetic look over his shoulder at the Professor, then strode forward to catch up with the other two.
Gilligan and Mr. Howell peered over the rock as the trio approached ... and walked right over the trip vine without tripping it. Mr. Howell's face fell. The men snatched the case of cash and sprinted back down the path, still leaving the vine intact and the trap unsprung.
"Damn!" whispered Mr. Howell. "What could have gone wrong? They were right there. We could have had them."
"I dunno, Mr. Howell," said Gilligan. "Maybe it's their lucky day. But where's the Professor? You don't think they could have killed him after all?"
The thought of losing both a million dollars and a friend was too much for Howell. He slipped down behind the rock, trying not to cry. Gilligan sat beside him and tried to comfort him, but he wasn't far from tears himself. The Professor gone forever! How would they break the news to Mary Ann?
The silence was broken by a sudden swish of palm fronds and a startled cry.
Gilligan leaped to his feet and ran out from behind the rock. "It's the Professor!" he yelled.
The trap had worked after all. The Professor was suspended in the vine net. "Gilligan! Get me down from here!"
Gilligan's announcement had awakened everyone, even Mary Ann. Ginger helped her up and supported her as they went outside to join the others.
"Roy!" she cried. "What in the world ...?"
The Skipper, Gilligan and Mr. Howell cut the net down and freed the Professor. As he emerged, the Skipper whispered in his ear, "Mary Ann doesn't know."
The Professor nodded, limped the last few steps to where Mary Ann stood, still leaning on Ginger, and took her in his arms. "Darling, are you all right?"
"I ... I think so," she said. "But where have you been? What happened to you? You're limping." She looked down and saw the bloodstain on his shirt. "And you're bleeding! Roy!"
"Shhh, it's all right, my love," he said, holding her closer. "I'm fine now. I'll tell you all about it in the morning. You need to get some sleep."
"You'll tell me tonight!" she said, fire in her eyes. "I've been sleeping for hours; I can't sleep anymore. Not without knowing what happened. And something tells me you didn't get those plants. Tomorrow I'm going out to get them with you."
Ah, her strength was returning. The Professor grinned. "Oh, how I've missed you," he whispered.
The Skipper nudged Mr. Howell. "So don't you think this is worth a million bucks?"
Mr. Howell stifled a smile. "Petty cash, my boy, petty cash."
Epilogue, one week later
The castaways' health crises passed. The Professor and Mary Ann found the necessary ingredient and finished the vitamin formula, which restored everyone's strength and immune systems. The Professor also made a full recovery from his gunshot wound.
But there was a wound in his heart that wouldn't heal as easily. His friends' efforts to rescue him had lost them a chance to get off the island. While he knew in his mind that he wasn't at fault, he couldn't help feeling responsible.
Love and female intuition told Mary Ann what was wrong before the Professor confessed his feelings to her. By then, she already had a plan.
She prepared a special dinner. Not just a meal -- a party. When the castaways assembled, a series of surprises awaited the Professor.
First there was dinner itself. It consisted of all the Professor's favorite dishes. "Dessert" was three courses: Mary Ann's coconut cream pie, followed by a chorus of "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow," and short speeches from each of the castaways.
From the Skipper: "Professor, I'm used to being in charge. But without your brains, my leadership here would be useless. We'd never have survived on this island without you."
From Gilligan: "You know, you're really smart, and I'm ... not. But you never make me feel dumb. You explain stuff so I can understand it, and you never act like you're better than me just because you're smarter."
From Mr. Howell: "Professor, I'm a Harvard man, you know. I went to the 'right' college with the 'right' people. The education itself meant nothing. Knowing you has shown me what education really means: acquiring knowledge. Without that knowledge, as the Captain said, none of us would be here."
From Mrs. Howell: "Thurston's right, Professor. I just want to add that you are a perfect gentleman. And you're not even in the Social Register!"
She giggled, and everyone else joined in.
From Ginger: "Gee, I can't add much to what everyone else has said, except that I think you're incredibly handsome. Mary Ann is the luckiest girl in the world."
Mary Ann took his hand in both of hers and looked lovingly into his eyes.
"Roy, my love, Ginger is so right. And I feel even luckier to have you after almost losing you. I want you to know I'd rather be stranded on this island with you than 'back home' with anyone else. Anywhere you are is home to me."
"And just for the record, Professor," the Skipper chimed in, "we've been talking it over, and we're all in agreement with Mary Ann. We'd rather be here with you than rescued without you."
The Professor and Mary Ann embraced while the others applauded. The Professor was facing away from his friends as he held his wife, so that he could regain control of his emotions. After a minute, he was ready.
"Thank you," he said softly. "I can't say much more than that right now, because your words have touched me so deeply. But let me say this: While we may have missed our latest chance to be rescued, I believe with all my heart that we will be, one day. And I'll do all I can to make that happen.
"Until then, there's no group of people I'd rather be shipwrecked with than all of you. Now, if you'll excuse me .... " He left the table. Mary Ann followed.
"Still feel like that million was well spent, Mr. Howell?" said the Skipper.
"Captain, I never thought I'd say this about anything," the millionaire replied, "but I could sell everything I owned and empty out all my Swiss bank accounts, and never be able to buy a moment like this."
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