It is a somewhat common thing with rental houses for the owner to leave a blank book out on the coffee table where the various renters can record their thoughts for the benefit of subsequent visitors or just as comments to the owners. People typically write something like “Thanks for sharing your wonderful house, my family had a great time……” or “ we were so thrilled to stay here at xxxxxx house, the snorkeling was great just down the path ……” or “what a wonderful location for my family reunion, see you next year…”
I have generally taken a different tack with this and, with respect to those honest and well-intentioned comments, have tried to do something more interesting. (To me anyway!)
Dame Agatha Christie (1890 – 1976), published more than 80 mystery novels and short story collections, including all the Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple adventures. One of her masterpieces, “And Then There Were None” (1939), AKA – “Ten Little Indians”, told the story of 10 people on a remote island brought there under mysterious circumstances who are being murdered one by one by some unknown killer. This story has been made into a movie at least 4 or 5 times and the general outline has otherwise been copied over and over.
A childhood rhyme about “Ten Little Indians” proves to be an important plot point in the original book and in the movie versions that remain true to that book.
- Ten little Indians went out to dine, one choked himself, and then there were nine
- Nine little Indians staying up late, one overslept and then there were eight, etc., etc.
Political correctness aside, here is my own version which I have several times written into the comment books on St. John rental houses……. Strangely, I have yet to be contacted by anyone regarding my inevitable Pulitzer Prize for this! I am still waiting for that call.
Ten little tourists went out to dine, one had bad grouper, and then there were nine,
Nine little tourists staying up late, one drank too much rum, and then there were eight,
Eight little tourists thought this place was heaven, one said he’d stay here, and then there were seven,
Seven little tourists picking up sticks, one found a Manchineel tree, and then there were six,
Six little tourists came upon a hive, a Jack Spaniard stung one, and then there were five,
Five little tourists swimming by the shore, one got a muscle cramp, and then there were four,
Four little tourists snorkeling in the sea, one met a barracuda, and then there were three,
Three little tourists wondering what to do, one hiked the Reef Bay Trail, and then there were two,
Two little tourists sitting in the sun, one forgot sunscreen, and then there was one,
One little tourist, left all alone, he caught a cruise ship in St. Thomas, And Then There Were None……
- Manchineel tree: An indigenous island tree with irritating and potentially deadly sap. You do not want to be standing under this tree when it rains!
- Jack Spaniard: A potentially vicious wasp common to many Caribbean islands
- Reef Bay Trail: A hiking trail on St. John. Don’t try this if you are not in good shape!
The Working Stiff