There are times when this intrepid reporter is compelled to reveal infinite details of some the most inconceivable skullduggery that has ever been conceived. Such is the case of a recent series of events, in particular a very heinous episode, in which the guilty and shameless participants chose to cover-up their shocking behavior rather than admit to the truth and trust in the forgiveness of their fellow men.
If this collection of cohorts, most notably the leader of the dubious quartet, had not fully engaged in the most underhanded of tactics to purge themselves of anything even remotely resembling the facts, I would not now be soiling my keyboard with these strokes that I dare not withdraw. To do so would mean that I have chosen to cast my lot with those whose chastisement is well earned and thereby risk my reputation as a fair and factual reporter when others may chose to "look the other way."
As my astute readers well know, it is the cover-up that almost always exceeds the scope of the crime. In the sorrowful incident that I am about to expose, it is indeed the dastardly cover-up that surpasses the true circumstances surrounding otherwise ill-conceived actions -- actions that might otherwise be understood by those who would believe most any excuse these sorry participants could concoct in the middle of the night when most good citizens of this beloved land are fast asleep.
Kim Fundingsland is a staff writer with The Minot Daily News.
I ask you, dear reader, would you choose to be suffering in a cold rain, in the dark of night, on an island in the middle of a dangerous and powerful river, with only a few pitiful fish and a grounded boat to show for your efforts and then rebuke your fellow man for gently inquiring as to why? Certainly not!
It is the facts, as best they can ascertained by my investigation, that reveals the extent of these misdeeds and the infinite embarrassment of two men who, in the admitted questionable interest of protecting their identity, I'll refer to only as Gilligan and the Skipper. The events were only discovered by me during a phone call to the "Skipper" in which my only intent was friendly conversation. The Skipper replied that I had best get the story from "Gilligan."
Story? What story? Hmmm.
Knowing the true character of those with whom I was now connected in the weirdest of ways, I followed up with a call to Gilligan with the pretext of inquiring about our next fishing excursion which, I requested, should be in his boat. A boat and motor, by the way, which had only recently been completely refurbished by a reputable mechanic and was in wonderful working order.
His response was, "Uh, no. Not anytime soon. What did you hear?"
The cover-up was in full gear. Getting better, isn't it?
Supplied with only remnants of twisted truth, I managed to quite easily untangle this ugly backlash. It seems the two were fishing after dark on the Missouri River. A second boat, containing two others and the only other craft on the water, was in close proximity. The occupants of boat No. 2 clearly advised that they "knew the way" and therefore Gilligan and the Skipper should adjust their navigation accordingly and not attempt to venture off the proven track. This advice, is seems, was either ignored or too difficult to follow in the black of night.
As the cold and rain and void of night overcame our anguished anglers, they had no choice but to cut their losses and call it a night. Only a dash through the dark to the boat ramp lay between them and the comforts of a warm vehicle headed towards home. While boat number two led the way and soon disappeared from view, Gilligan, operating boat No. 1, chose to rely on his Global Positioning System for navigation.
So confident was he in his GPS that he chose to test the power of his newly overhauled motor. The test ended suddenly when water turned to sand. Fortunately, Gilligan and the Skipper escaped serious injury. However, as they climbed out of the boat they discovered they were completely on terra firma. The motor was buried into the sand to up to the bottom of the boat, which was now so firmly planted on the island that it could not be moved a single inch.
Imagine their joyful experience in our great outdoors! There they were -- stranded on an island in the rain in the blackest of nights and their companions long disappeared into the dark. As they considered how they would survive their night of reckoning, little comfort could come from a planned meal of their few puny, uncooked walleye. Somewhere nearby, most certainly, vultures were perched and sharpening their talons in anticipation of what the morning would bring.
Just at the moment all seemed lost, the faint sound of an outboard motor could be heard above the laugh of the gulls that frequent the area. Soon the operator of boat number two could be seen faintly through the darkness. Saved!
Our soggy and marooned duo emptied their stricken craft of all possessions, climbed aboard boat number two and turned the over-laden craft toward the boat ramp. It was there that the second occupant of boat number two exchanged a few choice words with our trio. He had accepted the responsibility of preparing for their arrival by backing the boat trailer down the ramp in anticipation of their return. However, since he was not given any vehicle keys, he was obliged to wait uncomfortably in the rain without any assurance that anyone would ever return from downstream.
It was a series of simple phone calls the following morning that exposed the full extent of the planned cover-up. When I called to visit with "Gilligan" his wife replied, "Huh? His pickup is here but not his boat. What's that all about?"
It appears the real fear was that I would learn of these sorry events and publish the details for all the world to see. The reality is, if it were not for the ill-conceived cover-up and an ill-advised comment to a rescue party the following day in which they were coldly told, "No videos, no cell phone photos and don't tell Fundingsland," I likely would've forgotten about the entire matter.
Such is my character.
Did I mention they didn't invite me?