Unhinged Alaska: Willie’s little dark cloud

My buddy Willie is one of those guys who always seem to be 10 laps down when it comes to participating in life’s grand race.

He openly admits that most of his predicaments have been his fault from skipping so much school that he couldn’t read a welcome mat without a tutor, to trying to make a buck while exerting barely enough effort to perform slightly better than someone in a medically induced coma.

It’s Willie’s way and he’s not about to change it. To him, his laidback existence is akin to persistently wearing the same set of comfortable clothes because they come with lifetime warranty.

If the truth be told, he’s a pretty happy man except for the fact that he seems to be a magnet for bad luck. He claims that the situation is so aggravating and chronic that sometimes he feels like the only a dude on Earth with a yin that is missing its yang.

I’ve never asked him to elaborate on his revelation for fear of the answer but only Willie could make something like that sound like an unfortunate medical condition.

I must admit, though, that his rotten luck circumstances are so systemic that the old boy can be toxic to be around sometimes.

Take last month …

Turk and Willie were skunked during the Winter King Derby while surrounding vessels were pounding the chinooks like dust laden rugs.

Turk said it was partly my fault for not joining them because he ended up not only piloting the boat but had to try and keep W from going horizontal when he showed up sporting a mutant ailment so virulent that the hairs on his eyelids ached.   

I reminded Turk that he was aware that I would be out of town so it made about as much sense to blame me as it would his psycho ferret, Rowdy, for buddy abandonment issues on the high seas.

The beast abhors being around saltwater and has been known to commit unseemly acts in Turk’s spare deck shoes if it’s brought along for a ride. So the devilish weasel gets to stay home and annoy the house mutt whose idea of raucous play is naptime and passing gas.

Turk stared at me for a moment and then continued his chronicle of Willie’s woes.

According to Turk, W claimed he felt great when he hit the sack, but around 03:00 he awoke snorting and sneezing like a potbellied pig with a wicked allergy. He claimed he was stuffed up so bad that he scrounged around his shack trying to find an old EMT study manual to see if it had any helpful hints for homemade tracheotomies.

He didn’t find the guidebook but ran across some basic spray decongestants resembling small nuclear warheads.

He fired a couple of shots into his nasal passages where his malady was holding a plague seminar and was finally able to stop blowing through tissues at a rate that would have deforested the rest of Brazil.

Willie thought he had it made.

Unfortunately, providence had its own ideas on how events should play out.

At first things went fine as the duo cruised out of the harbor and headed west toward one of Turk’s favorite set points.

W’s sinuses continued to clear up in the crisp marine air and his pallor improved from a mortuary pale to a plausible life form pink.

Life was decent until, during their second trolling run though Turk’s GPS numbers, W spotted something moving under the assorted cold weather gear stored in the boat’s small focsle.

Turk stepped inside and flipped over a light parka revealing a stray stowaway feline. Not good.

Willie is deathly hypersensitive to the critters’ dander and let out a bellow that scared the bejeezus out of the cat that, in turn, went all Circus Soleil with a claws-extended aerial side-flip terminating just above W’s shoulder blades.

Needles to say the fishing expedition came to an abrupt halt and by the time they docked Willie was suffering from a full body itch and a face with the swollen countenance of a volley ball with ears.

Turk was livid but the cat was cool and noshing on some bait herring in the anchor hold.

Although Turk claims he’ll never let W and his scarred karma near his Bayliner again, I know different.

Willie is a bit like the character in the Li’L Abner cartoons, Joe Btfsplk who’s the world’s most loving friend and worst jinx who always travels with a dark cloud over his head. He can be a pain in the butt but he always there when you need him.

Turk and I are lucky like that.

Nick can be reached at ncvarney@gmail.com.

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