1. Avoid Drowning
The boat rolled with the motion of the storm-tossed sea. Molly steadied herself against the sickening lurch, then continued to pound on the cabinet.
"Molly, what are you doing?" Steven adjusted his glasses quizzically.
"The wood's swollen shut," she said. Her hands were beginning to hurt. "The life preservers are in there."
"Don't worry," he said, a bit impatiently. "We'll be fine. This will blow over in no time."
Outside, lightning sizzled and flashed. The boat rocked as a direct hit scorched the port side. Thunder cracked like a deafening afterthought.
"...Do you have a hatchet?" she asked calmly.
2. Protect Yourself from the Elements
"We're in the Florida Keys." Steven batted her outstretched hand away, then immediately resumed his death grip on the wooden plank. Molly had been able to grab two woolen cable-knit sweaters before their boat had sunk. She was wearing the other one. "I doubt we're going to die of hypothermia anytime soon."
Well, not in the first few minutes, like they would in colder climes, anyway.
With a mental shrug, Molly used his sweater to towel her face dry.
3. Prevent Dehydration
They didn't own a reverse-osmosis hand pump – a lack Molly intended to remedy before she ever set foot on another boat again – and she'd been frazzled enough that she hadn't thought to collect any rainwater while it was still storming.
A fact she was very tired of Steve pointing out to her.
Instead of punching him in the nose, she pointed toward the darting silvery shadows swimming by. "You can drink the liquid from the eyes and spine bones of fish, you know."
Steve's face twisted in disgust. "I think I'm going to be sick."
"Don't," she said. "You'll waste water."
4. Fend Off Encroaching Wildlife
In retrospect, Molly thought with a false calm that verged on hysteria as she watched the dorsal fin slice cleanly through the water towards them, killing the fish had perhaps been a bad idea.
5. Signal for Rescue
"Steve," she croaked, shaking his shoulder.
The sunburned skin of his face flinched, but that was all the response he gave.
She tried again, louder. "Steve! Helicopter!"
This time he maybe moaned a little.
Right, she thought grimly. Then she fumbled his glasses off his face and angled them in the sunlight, hoping the pilot would notice the reflection.
6. Reaching Shore
The hospital's PR person must have alerted the media when they were released, because a throng of reporters crowded the lobby as they tried to leave. Steven launched into a tale of adventure on the high seas that Molly did not recognize; she stood silently and listened.
He threw his arms around her shoulders, hamming it up. "Tell you what, sweetie. You can plan our vacation next year!" The audience laughed.
Finally, she found her voice. "Steve," she said. "You're never going to make plans for me ever again."
She walked out of the building, head held high.