Let’s go on an imaginary boat trip.
Round up 36,000 people who all board this fancy, swanky-looking tall ship, the MV Malta LongStory. All good, all grand, with even a transparent bottom to display the underwater wonders.
The Captain of the boat is Joey Mustard, a ginger-haired man, full of vim and vigour, all bubbly, all smiles, as he greets all on to his newly-launched, beautifully decked-out vessel.
His second-in-command is Kontran Mitts, a tall energetic man with a mission to keep the ship out of the path of any dangers that can befall using fuel imported from all over Azerbaijan.
The reality is that the ship is not new; it’s a battered ship made of old wood but no one cares or truly checks. Why check when the going is good and all can bask in the sun on the comfy decks? Anyway, the paint is new, and blue, so all is deemed seaworthy.
Steering the ship from a room away from it all is Keith Kastrophe. He is the one who has got the ship glistening and fancy-looking, financed by business contacts who wanted to cosy up to Captain Joey Mustard and his fabulous consort, Lady Mix.
On the way to their destination, the ship takes a detour, passing through the Panama Canal. A few good men from the ship disembark, deposit a few euros and board ship again.
The ticket master of the ship, who also manages passport control, is Brie Tuna, a most ingenious, even if rather fishy, man. Tuna’s left-hand man is Carl Chin, a man known to confuse names and surnames when handing out tickets. Makes life more interesting on the journey of a lifetime.
No one really knows what the destination is. A few able seamen, like Joe Missy, always used to declare that he and his teammates had a clear roadmap of the sea. But this now seems to have been buried deep in the bowels of the earth. Gone missing, as have many of the able seamen surrounding Captain Mustard.
Far out at sea, in the dark, the ship, this seemingly magnificent ship, springs a leak. Actually a few dozen leaks; then a few thousand leaks.
“All is fine”, cries Captain Mustard. “Don’t worry at all. You have no clue how good we are at covering up leaks and plugging silly stories of doom and gloom.”
The Captain, assisted by an ever-diligent and obedient Reeno Blockit, tells all that the water gushing in through various holes is there for the thorough washing of the ship and to be used in the laundry room. All is recyclable, all is washable.
“Look ahead,” repeats Captain Mustard—“everything will remain rosy, the sun will shine on brighter and there is no need to fret at all.”
In a deep recess of the ship is an ugly stowaway out to stoke all sorts of trouble and spout out venom. She is an old witch, gnarled and nasty, Ana Gnomez, who slid onto the ship from Portugal.
Lawrence Cutagreatfigure, some sort of commissioner, is the one who makes sure all is shipshape on MV Malta LongStory. So once Gnomez is discovered he has her tied, shackled and muffled to stop her silly whining which could easily cause panic among the passengers.
The holes on the ship grow; the captain, formerly all smiles, is now all fraught and furrowed. But he flows on, talking of a future which no captain has ever managed to give the ship, the crew and the doomed passengers.
Gnomez, the old hag, manages to free herself of her muzzle and screams out that the ship is really floundering and no amount of lies or whitewash will solve the mess or stop the sinking.
The men and women on board, all 36,000 of them, wish they had never boarded the ship in the first place. They curse their rotten luck and the ship which is rotten to the core.
Yet all of them or most still shout that the man they trust most in the whole wild sea is Captain Joey Mustard.