Summary (Masterplots II: Short Story Series, Revised Edition)
For forty years, Martin Vemish has maintained his paint and wallpaper store on Long Island, New York, surviving the Depression and the postwar attempt by an outlet of Macy’s Department Store to put him out of business. He is a simple man, a fighter, and he has never taken a vacation. Eventually, his son Herbert, an unsuccessful entrepreneur, becomes his partner and prevails on him and Martin’s wife, Sara, to take a Caribbean cruise.
The ship on which they sail is the SS Solar, and its tour director is Clifton Booth, who is dedicated to managing the daily routine of the elderly passengers on board the ship.
The trouble starts shortly after the ship sails from New York, when Booth assembles the passengers to tell them what his schedule for them is, as well as to warn them against deviating from it. When Booth finds out from one of his assistants that the Vemishes have not attended the meeting, he confronts them. The Vemishes are sunning themselves on deck, and Martin Vemish, who is always smoking a cigar, and who did not like going on the cruise in the first place, tells Booth to leave him and his wife alone, that they will try to enjoy themselves on their own terms, not Booth’s.
From this point on, Booth finds himself at war with the Vemishes, and as the story progresses, his composure and power wither. Booth’s opinion is that the passengers in his care are not able to fend for themselves, that they should take it...
(The entire section is 1066 words.)
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