Invasion of the Booty Snatchers

By Joseph K. Waltenbaugh


As I lay on my bunk, I can hear the gentle lapping of the water against the hull.  All is peaceful and serene in the marina.  But bubbling up from the deep recesses of my subconscious, a dire warning takes shape like the menacing clouds of an approaching squall: Don’t fall asleep!  Then comes the stirring of something or someone in the cockpit.  Pirates?  No, not in Pennsylvania.  What then?  As I creep quietly toward the main hatch to take a peek, I come face-to-face with my worst nightmare.  My involuntary scream gives voice to the prior subconscious suspicion, “Nooooo!”

The pods.  Have you seen them?  They’re everywhere.  Why am I the only one to notice?  Why am I the only one to care?  Of course, no one else calls them pods, only me.  That is because I am the only one who knows their true origin and their real purpose for being here.  Everyone else just refers to them as ratcheting cockpit cushions—heavy-weight seat cushions with a ratcheting steel frames that enable them to lie flat, fold in half, or recline at preset positions.  Blind fools!

Maybe it is because I spent the better part of my childhood in darkened movie theatres watching B-rated horror films, but I know a pod when I see a pod.  For those of you who do not know, the pods were the key to an alien invasion in the 1956 horror classic Invasion of the Body Snatchers.  They would be placed in close proximity of their human victims—often in basements, attics, or garages—where they would grow into exact replicas of their victims.  When the poor unsuspecting souls would fall asleep, the identity swaps would be consummated.  The replicated beings were aliens, but they were exact copies of their host humans in every respect except that they lacked personality and individuality.  It was a sinister alien invasion without all the turmoil and conflict that would accompany most extraterrestrial attacks depicted by Hollywood.

So how do I know the ratcheting cushions are really body snatcher pods?  It is the same way people in the movie knew their friends and relatives were not who they claimed to be; it is the way people behave after exposure to the supposed boat cushions.  Otherwise normal sailors become obsessed with the cushions once they sit on them.  They immediately have to purchase one regardless of the price—then two, then three, and so on. 

They will expend their entire fortunes obtaining these things and then set out on mission to get everyone around them to buy them also.  Just sitting on one can predestine your doom.  These lost souls even go so far as to leave them on other people’s boats for them to “try them out” knowing full well what will happen after dark when they fully develop and the poor victims fall asleep.  Over the course of the past 2-3 years, I have seen more and more sailors in my marina succumb and become pod people almost to the point where I am the only one left.

It is just like the movie all over again where I am the only one who understands what is going on and I cannot get anyone to listen to me.  The pod people are everywhere and it may already be too late!  That was the reason for my primordial scream when I looked out into the cockpit.  There facing me was a partially developed pod just waiting for me to fall asleep and have my identity and fortune snatched away in the darkness.  But like the hero in the movie, I will never sit on one nor will I again sleep until I am certain mankind has been warned about this extraterrestrial threat beginning on boats and in marinas across the country and around the world.

Wake up before it’s too late.  They’re already here and they’re coming for you.  You’re next!  You’re next!


Copyright © 2012 Joseph K. Waltenbaugh