Slipping the somnium tropicus into the Professor's food or drink was supposed to be an easy job. Just tip the vial over whatever he was eating, mix it up real quick and be out of the way before anyone noticed. But it was turning out to be much harder than Ginger expected. Every time she attempted to lace the Professor's food, someone would suddenly appear beside her, wanting to talk or sit together for dinner.
Ginger never realized how communal the group was. The castaways were together almost all the time – private time was practically nonexistent.
'I'm gonna have to try something else,' Ginger thought one night over dinner.
Mrs. Howell had been hanging around her for the last 45 minutes making it virtually impossible to get anywhere near the Professor or his food. It was all she could do not to grit her teeth and tell the old woman to stop crowding her. But Ginger held back as best as she could. A lady was kind and polite at all times, no matter how she really felt or how irritating her company was.
Ginger thought of ways to distract the others while she put the extract in his food. Her ideas ranged from yelling that there was a boat nearby to simply forcing him to ingest the liquid. She eventually dismissed it all as ridiculous and impossible to pull off. Not to mention, getting everyone's hopes up about a boat nearby was just mean.
The next night she sat on her cot after dinner, still stewing over her predicament when Mary Ann walked into the hut.
"Hey Ging, I'll be in soon. I'm just getting everyone a nightcap. I'm trying a new recipe – pineapple banana liquor. I think it's gonna be good – just like dessert, except for grownups! The Professor's been fermenting the pineapple almost the whole time we've been here and he says it's ready to try out. I just cut up some bananas to put in the drinks. Mr. Howell can hardly wait. Do you want some?"
"No, that's alright, thanks," Ginger said, waving the offer away.
"Okay," Mary Ann said, turning to head back out the door. "If you're sure…?"
"Yeah… alcohol just makes my face so puffy and red. It's terribly unattractive…" Ginger trailed off and looked up at Mary Ann. "… You said everyone else is having one?"
"Yep. You change your mind," she asked.
"No, no. I'm still gonna pass on the drink but I thought maybe I could help you pass them out. It's been such a long day and it's so hot out." Ginger tsked and plastered a concerned look on her face.
Mary Ann sagged against the door frame suddenly. "I know. The heat just saps the energy right out of me! I'd really appreciate your help."
Ginger smiled and stood up. "Of course. We're friends – I can't just stand by and watch you do all that work by yourself. I know you enjoy the kitchen but it's just too hot."
"Oh thank you Ginger!" Mary Ann smiled gratefully and gave her a hug. "If only everyone back home knew how wonderful you are!"
"You're too much," Ginger replied with a smile of her own. "Give me a second, ok? I'll meet you out there."
Mary Ann nodded and went back to where she was setting up the drinks. Ginger grabbed her vial and followed her.
"Ok, so how should we do this," Mary Ann asked after Ginger had caught up with her. "You take half and I'll take half?"
"There's only five people plus you drinking," Ginger pointed out. "How about you prepare the drinks and I'll serve them."
"Alright," Mary Ann agreed. "Good idea."
She got to prepping the drinks, putting pieces of banana and a slice of pineapple in each cup before pouring the liquor. Ginger delivered a pair of drinks first to the Howells, and then to Gilligan and the Skipper. Mary Ann gave her the last cup which was going to the Professor. Ginger took the cup and walked over to his hut. In haste, she accidentally poured the equivalent of nearly half a cup of extract into the liquor.
'Oh no!' Ginger bit her lip in distress. 'That was almost the whole supply! God, I didn't mean to put that much in. Now I'll have to stick around to make sure it doesn't make him sick, or worse.'
She felt fear grip her. Ginger had seen what only a drop of extract did to the Professor. There was no telling what would happen with so much. She knocked on the door nervously.
"Hi, Ginger." The Professor gave her a bland smile and invited her in. "Delivery service? You're so kind."
"Oh it's nothing, Professor." Ginger tried to sound light and nonchalant.
She almost snatched the drink away from him but remembering what he was like the last time he took the extract was enough to keep her quiet.
"Aren't you gonna have some," he asked.
"I'm thinking about it," she lied smoothly. "Alcohol makes me puffy, but if you like it enough, I might just relent and have a little. Take a sip and tell me how it is."
"Sure," the Professor replied.
Ginger watched closely as he brought the cup to his lips. He started out with a sip but drank deeper after giving a nod of appreciation.
"How is it," she asked.
"It's very good," he said. "Pineapple with a hint of banana. Very tropical. It's…"
The Professor slowly brought the cup away from his face. He looked at Ginger strangely. "There's something odd about this drink, Ginger… There's a familiar aftertaste. Did Mary Ann put something extra in this? Aside from the bananas?"
Ginger shook her head mutely. She felt odd herself, watching her plan finally come to fruition. She had imagined feeling a sense of triumph when it all happened, but Ginger was feeling anything but triumphant. There was a familiar heavy feeling in the pit of her stomach. She didn't want to acknowledge it.
"… Something's not right," the Professor murmured as he sat down heavily on his cot. He was beginning to look a little sick. "Ginger, this almost tastes like…"
He looked up at her slowly, understanding dawning in his eyes.
"You found it didn't you?"
"Found what," she asked.
"You know as well as I do what that extract does," he said quietly. Pain and a more disturbing emotion laced the Professor's voice, causing him to double over for a moment. "Ginger. Tell me… you didn't… you wouldn't. Right?"
Ginger began to shake. She had to close her eyes against the tears that were starting to form. This wasn't how it was supposed to happen. She couldn't stand the look in the Professor's eyes. It was a mixture of sadness, shock and a bit of anger. For a second, he had a horribly accusing look on his face.
She looked down now, shame taking over. She was unable to face him any longer.
"… My love! You're absolutely ravishing this evening!"
Ginger's head snapped back up, crushing guilt momentarily erased.
"Professor, are you alright," she asked desperately with wide eyes.
She had to know that he was okay; that he wasn't sick, and more importantly, that she would be able to salvage what was left of the relationship they had. She discarded any more ideas of drugging the Professor. It was beyond troublesome and finally realized that she couldn't do it and continue to call herself a decent human being.
"If I was ill before, I'm alright now. Your beautiful face is medicine to my soul," the Professor declared dramatically.
"Professor – what are you saying?" Ginger couldn't believe what she was hearing. For once, she was praying that the extract hadn't worked.
"Ginger." The Professor stood up, strode across the room and wrapped his arms around her waist. "I love you."
"Wait – what?" Ginger tried to remove herself from his embrace. "Professor – I don't think you know what you're saying."
"Sure I do," he cried, tightening his harms so she couldn't get away from him."I'm in love with you."
She tried again to disentangle herself, but to no avail. He was too strong.
"Professor, we're friends," Ginger said, trying to reason with him.
"Of course we are," he said with an indulgent smile. "But I have more than enough friends and I want more from you than just friendship."
Ginger managed to slip out of his grasp. She turned towards the door but the Professor moved faster than she had thought possible. She suddenly found herself pulled back to him with soft lips pressed against hers. Ginger tried to fight, to get the Professor to come back to himself, but she found herself melting into his embrace.
'Those lessons I gave him awhile back turned out well,' she thought suddenly. 'No – wait! This isn't supposed to be happening,' Ginger reminded herself.
She drew back to look at the man in front of her. The Professor looked quite ravishing himself as he stared back at her with heavy lids and mussed hair. They were both breathing hard although she felt her breathing stop when he gave her a rakish grin. This person was not the Professor she knew. Ginger wasn't so sure she liked the changes as much as she thought she did.
'Isn't this what you wanted,' she asked herself. 'The Professor romancing you? You worked hard for this – enjoy it…'
Ginger mentally shook her head. 'No. This isn't right. Ginger Grant would never stoop to something so low.'
'Oh, you don't think so,' she asked herself in a voice that sounded different from her normal self. That voice represented a darker side of Ginger that was more in tune with her baser instincts and desires. 'Darling… you've already gone further and done more than you ever thought possible. Just embrace it.'
Ginger felt torn in two. One part of her was fighting this whole situation hard. The other part of her wanted to bask in her victory. She didn't know what to do so when the Professor leaned in to kiss her again, she didn't fight.
She tried to resist but it was becoming hard - she couldn't fight him and herself. Plus the Professor has proven to be a difficult man to resist when there was something he wanted. Ginger felt very tired suddenly and stopped fighting altogether. What was the point?
'That's right,' the dark voice whispered. 'Enjoy your time with him.'
'What about when the extract wears off,' the voice from the lighter side of her asked, no louder than a whisper.
Ginger would cross that bridge when she got to it. For now, she didn't want to think about it.