Last month, our esteemed Tommy and his long-suffering family boarded acruise ship to Bermuda. That Tommy should not be banished from a familyvacation is, in itself, a surprise. But, what our favorite PhilosopherKing uncovered on his week of leisure was even more of a shock. We'll lethim tell the sordid tale...

Cruise Ship to Paradise, or Skeet Death Flotilla?
How I Foiled a CovertOperation to Send Skeets to a Watery Grave

by Thomas L. Magliozzi

Every now and then, ordinary men and women are thrust into extraordinarycircumstances where, by sheer happenstance and through their spontaneousvaliant actions, they become heroes in the truest sense of the word.

That's not what happened to me, and I hope it never does. (I'd probablyturn and run for cappuccino.) Still, I do have a somewhat interestingstory to tell.

I was recently witness to a dramatic case of abuse of the highestmagnitude. Fortunately, I was able to intervene, and, in my own littleway, I was able to fight for one of our planet's most endangered species.Here's what happened:

Last month, I found myself on a cruise, headed to Bermuda. Now, normallythis would not be something I would exactly jump at. My inner ear has yetto meet a wave that hasn't sent it reeling to the nearest men's room.Nonetheless, I was told that Ray would not be coming (officially, my wife'slie # 4,637--but who's counting?), so I jumped at the opportunity to avoidmy rotten little brother for a few days.

So, there I was, hanging out with Gopher, Julie, the Captain and the restof the crew on the Love Boat, when...what should I spy, but SKEETS!"Sheesh," I thought to myself, "Now this here is one enlightenedoperation--they even make room so a few skeets can get some R&R."

Skeets, of course, are a personal interest of mine. As many of you know,my brother and I are profoundly concerned about the plight of these sturdylittle discs. The Save the Skeets Foundation, which we founded many yearsago, has raised millions of dollars for this worthy cause. (The fact thatmuch of that money was spent on H. Upmann Petits Coronas, a gold-platedBenito Imperio cappuccino machine and 55-gallon drums of brake fluid for a'63 Dodge Dart does not in any way diminish our support for this cause.)

Anyway, as cofounder of the Save the Skeets Foundation, I was naturallythrilled to see such a progressive-minded treatment of the skeet. Ithought I had arrived at Skeet Nirvana: a place where humble clay pigeonscould indulge themselves alongside other vacationers. Then, my worldturned upside down.


A split second later, I heard a sound I had once hoped never to hear again.Ripped from its cozy tanning spot atop the ship's railing, a skeet wassuddenly catapulted skyward. I can only imagine what desperate thoughtswere going through its little mind. Then, a split second later, thereport. Just 20 feet away from me, some cold, uncaring vacationer had justsent 100 pellets of 20-gauge on a collision course with a beautifulfluorescent orange creature that had never harmed so much as a mosquito.

Far on the horizon, with the placid blue of the Atlantic as a backdrop, theskeet exploded into a million tiny fragments, then fell to its anonymous,watery death somewhere in international waters off the coast of Bermuda.

I knew I had to stop this insanity. But how? I was just one person--whatcan one person possibly do, after all? I asked myself, "What would Gandhido? What would Thoreau do? What about Curly? And how would Moe react?"

Realizing I was woefully outnumbered, I had no choice but to employ somesubterfuge.

I casually sauntered up to the Skeet Death Range. Believe me, my heart wasracing. But, I knew I had to act. What sort of a man could enjoy avacation, while just feet away from him atrocities of the highest magnitudewere underway?

So, when the murderers weren't looking...I snagged the skeets.

I sprinted to my room, charting a circuitous route that took me through thecasino, dry cleaning service and bilge-pump room--all the while castingfurtive glances over my shoulder.

Arriving at my room, I bolted the door shut, collapsed on the bed andwondered if I would be found out.

Free at Last, Thank God Almighty!

For once, this is a skeets story with a happy ending. I saved the skeets.Sure, it was only a half-dozen or so, but they were free. During theensuing days, I left my room only to get food, water and fresh orange paintfor the skeets. When we arrived at our next port of call (for fear ofreprisals, I think youll appreciate why I cannot divulge the exactlocale), I spirited the skeets off the boat in my knapsack.

As of this moment, I am happy to report that the skeets in question areresting comfortably on a beach somewhere in the Caribbean, soaking up therays and downing strawberry margaritas.

As for the perpetrators of this dastardly deed...well, let's just say theyhaven't seen the last of me. I'm now in the process of filinginternational war crime charges and look forward to my day in court, in TheHague, where justice will finally be served to these barbarians.