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"Carnivore Cruise Lines: Economy Class"

Theodore Juryrig

This huge canvas commemorates the disastrous voyage of the "Medusa," pride of the low-budget Carnivore Cruise Lines fleet. Passengers had been lured by glossy ads for the "exotic singles getaway" excursion, which was to sail from New York to Rome as part of a sales promotion. On the first day of the voyage the ship lost all power, food and water when it ran into a few low waves off the coast of New Jersey. Drifting helplessly, the ship began to take on water and was soon in peril of sinking, yet the passengers refused to allow the captain to call for aid, fearing death less than washing up in Perth Amboy or Bayonne.

Later that night the ship did founder and begin to sink just as the typhoid epidemic swept through, apparently caused by rebottled Mexican beer that had been passed out by the crew before they took the rowboats and abandoned ship. At last the mighty vessel went to the bottom, leaving only a handful of exotic singles clinging to the dance floor from the Disco Lounge.

Juryrig's painting captures the moment of hope the following dawn when one of the survivors thought he saw another ship. Alas, it turned out to be another raft of survivors from the "Medusa's" sister ship, "Euryale," floating on their ship's squash rackets court, so anguished with cholera from bad beer they could barely discuss their class action suit.

Eventually both parties washed up on a small rocky island where they were reduced by starvation to cannibalism, voting for the least popular person to be consumed each night. By the time their island was discovered only one survivor was left, who attracted great media attention and was later offered a role in a television soap opera.


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