Brrr. Be afraid, be very afraid.
Last weekend, we were in Oklahoma City for my wife's brother's wedding. (Terrific wedding for a terrific couple; Hi guys!)
Normally, I enjoy a hotel with an indoor pool and hot tub. But this particular hotel's hot tub was set to "stun," if not "destroy." The jets (turned up to 11) pummeled my body into mincemeat, exploding into great fountains of devastation. Unbeknownst to us, the destructive force of nature was salt-water, eating away at our flesh and corroding my wife's silver ring. Let's call it the "Typhoon of Terror."
Even worse were the peculiar creatures who lurked there.
Before the wedding, I thought I'd take a relaxing swim. Peering through the door, I saw two people, one in the tub, one in the pool. Alright, quiet enough.
But once I stepped through the portal of Hell, everything changed. A little, roundly cherubic girl--possibly 8 or 9--stood up in the hot tub. All the pretty, pretty pinks and oranges and yellows of a princess's world adorned her swim-gear. A cutesy little fringe encircled her formidable belly. Duckies blissfully swam across her midriff. Tight green swimming glasses cut off her head's circulation, puffy sun-burned cheeks cementing them into place. Apparently thrilled to see me, she asked, "Are you going to swim?"
I thought it kinda obvious, my embarrassing body squeezed into too tight swimming trunks. But I answered anyway, "Yep." Mistake number one.
As soon as I waded into the pool, another creature rose from the depths like a monster invading Tokyo. Seriously invading my personal space. A lean and muscular boy, acne spattering his face, grilled me like a seasoned police detective. The girl joined him. I sat on the steps in the pool, lobbing answers to their questions: "What's your name?" "How old are you?" "Where are you from?"
I found out everything about them. They shared the same father, had different mothers. Their Daddy Monster dropped them off at the pool daily while he attended to "business (or maybe he was seeking a future wife; the explosive tub made it impossible to hear)."
Then the boy asked, "Hey, wanna' see what I can do?"
Huh, I thought, not really. But my lips were out of alignment and said, "Sure." Mistake number two.
The Creature hopped out of the pool, backed up, ran. Flipped. Landed in the pool and nearly careened into the wall.
Nervously, I gnashed my teeth, waiting for blood to rise. Finally, I breathed easily when he broke the water. Grinning. Staring at me expectantly, waiting for my critique.
"Um, wow...that was..." I didn't know what to say. Even dumber, I tried to speak "their language." Something my wife hates mightily. "Dude, that was awesome!" Mistake number three.
The Midwest Monster Olympics had begun! I was the judge! But unlike Johnny Weir, I had no flamboyant clothing or crazy hair to fall back on. I sat, imprisoned in the water, uncomfortable in my trunks, trapped between them. I'd given in to water terrorism.
The girl vied for my attention, begging me to watch her dog-paddle the width of the pool on water wings and a wing of a prayer. Meanwhile, the boy was getting more amped up, jumping, running, leaping. Damn near exploding.
Then he dropped the big one on me. "Hey, hey, hey..." His elbow nudged me. "Wanna know what else I can do?"
Oh God, no, I thought. "That'd be sweet," my inner wannabe teen said. The biggest mistake yet.
"I'm into extreme sports! We call it rad, that's what we call it!" His voice rose, his caffeine and candy cocktail kicking in. "Man, I put torque on it! I just press down! UH! UH!" I had no idea what the hell he was talking about, but he pumped his arm, bashing the water, coming close to smacking me. Which would've been embarrassing trying to explain how a 11 year old gave me a black eye at the pool. "All of Oklahoma City's my gym," he continued, "my playground! Dude!"
I scurried out of the water. Couldn't get my shoes on fast enough.
"Check this out! Check it out!" He started running around the rim of the pool, hurdling over the hand posts. Then it happened, the inevitable. He tripped over a rail, crashed, rolled, his head splatting into the wall.
"Whoa! You okay?"
He jumps up, says, "Yeah." Forced a pained smile. Then limped to a lounge chair, holding his leg in pain.
All I could give him was a weak, "Um, you might wanna get ice on that."
I made my getaway. But they weren't done with me yet. They followed me toward the door, still talking, bragging.
"I, ah, gotta get to a wedding." My story fell on deaf ears. But I finally escaped, their shouts following me--haunting me--down the hallway.
Later I did the only thing a mature, responsible adult would do. I sent my daughter down to scope it out before I revisited the pool.
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