“IKEA Even Sells Cheap, Do-It-Yourself Metaphors For What To Do With Your Drunken Sailor,” by Mars Schupsky

Aug 20th, 2019 | By | Category: Fiction, Prose

I woke up in the water, well below the surface but still in the light. When I breached, I gasped and looked for safety. He was floating not too far from me, leg up on the back of the IKEA couch, his hand in a bag of chips, passed out. Even as I swam over to him, calling his name, he didn’t wake up; not until I almost tipped the thing climbing on.

He woke with a sniff and look of disgust. My hair, stiff with salt, clung around my shoulders and back like locks of scared children or a bouquet of eels. Or whatever a grouping of scared children or eels is called. The IKEA couch took as easily to the ocean as a twig. Just a few minutes of rocking and I was throwing up over the side. It took a minute for fish to come feast on my chum, another minute for me to calibrate, one more for him to finally recognize me.

“Jake, we’re at sea.” I told him.

“I sea that.”

“How the hell did we get out here?”

“I don’t know. Did you set the alarm?”

“What, to the house?”


“…I don’t think so, but what does that have to do with anything?”

“That’s probably it then.”

“You think someone broke into the house, stole us and the IKEA couch, rode us out into the middle of the ocean, and dropped us in…because I didn’t set the alarm?”

“Don’t talk to me like I’m stupid.”

He pulled his greasy hand out of the bag of chips and sideswiped it into the water. I quickly recovered it.

“This is our only food.”

“I don’t have the energy for this shit. I have work in the morning.”

“Jake, we’re at sea damnit.”

He rolled over onto the chaise lounge completely, so I was left alone on the loveseat. Then he tucked his hands into his pits, made a few soft slicks at the back of the throat and was rocked back to sleep within seconds. I stood on the cushions to get a better look around. Nothing, no one. Birds. Too far to mean anything.

He woke up again after twenty-four hours had passed. I had just dove down several feet below the couch looking for other fish in the sea. Not that I had any skills or resources for catching one, but somehow I felt constructive at least looking.

“I’ve been crying,” I told him.

“I can’t tell because all of you is wet.”

“My eyes are red.”

“The sun is hot.”

“I’m telling you I’ve been fucking crying.”

“Where is this coming from?”

“The part of me that dies from starvation.”

“You make such a big deal out of everything.”

Another twenty-four hours passed and I’d awoken to my hand getting bitten off at the wrist. Blood was squirting all over and I had to shove it in between the cushions to keep from creating a pool of it around us. I chewed screams into the one remaining throw pillow.

“There are sharks here now, Jake! One of them took my hand.”

He pinched the bottom of the chip bag and shook the last of the crumbs into his mouth.

“Well,” he said, salt on his lips. “Less of you to feed.”

Later on, he managed to get drunk on his own blood supply. I caught him suckling from one of his arteries.

“I think you’re confused.” I told him. “And you’re sabotaging us.”

“Holy shit, is that all you talk about anymore?” Blood dribbled off his chin into his diminishing lap.

“What would you prefer to talk about?”

“Remember when how our old porch had that window into the dining room?”


“That was cool.”

“I’m not going to reminisce with you when you’re blood drunk.”

“I’ve barely had a pint.”

“It’s not about quantity. You know how I can tell? Only one of your eyes is paying attention to me.”

It didn’t matter because in another day, birds would peck out both his eyes. Also, he’d have had more blood in his stomach than his veins, not that that stopped him. I even watched as he pissed a stream of solid red off the back of the IKEA couch.

“You’re pissing your life away.”

“Oh, you’re a fucking riot.”

I’d cauterized my wrist with a piece of aluminum framework I’d broken off of the IKEA couch and let bake in the sun. We were truly ship wreckage then, sitting there with our bloody stumps, two eyes between us, and the complexion of chili powder and rattlesnakes. We weren’t survivalists, we were food for flies the moment we got out there, just taking a comically long and grotesque amount of time to die.

We’d tried to have sex, just to pass the time until our deaths, but I was so dehydrated my vagina was sand. He offered to lubricate with blood from his open artery, but I wasn’t feeling it. It was nice of him to offer though.

On what scientifically should have been the last day of my life, I lay on my back staring unabashedly at the sun. A kind of damn you, let’s do this shit now Sun. If you’re going to fry me, let’s get it over with Sun. Let’s end this. You and me. Outside. Sun.

Jake had become literal toast. Toast that still wouldn’t shut up about having work in the morning. In the same vein, I was so unappealing that sharks spurned my advances. And then out of the clear blue –

“I think…is that? Holy shit, it’s a boat.”


“No really, Jake. There’s a big ass boat over there. Look.” I turned back to him and immediately saw those two sore, vacant pockets. I screamed a little. “Oh damn. Sorry.”

“No, I get it. I’m a monster.”

“Don’t take it that way. You just usually keep your eyelids closed.”

“It’s cool. I know I disgust you. It’s been that way for a while now.”

“No it hasn’t,” I argued. “Just since birds ate your eyes.”

“Well you’re no rose garden either, honey. That dead wrist of yours stinks like trench warfare. Have you checked it recently? Because I can smell the gang green from here.”

“I think I can swim to it.”

“To what?”

“The boat.”


It took more courage than energy to swim to the boat and as soon as I was spotted, there was a whole system of rescuers deployed to pull me from the blue. I was washed, fed, quenched, my skin was treated, my wounds tended. It felt good to among people again.

As the boat sailed past the bobbing IKEA couch, all us spectators saw the back of Jake’s head resting against the cushions, oblivious to salvation. The captain pulled me aside to ask me a question.

“What do you want us to do with him?”

“Leave him,” I said. “Less he rises.”


Mars Schupsky is one of the many natives of New Jersey who defected to Florida to escape winter. She currently does financial analysis for big law and has been published in nothing (until now).

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