Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Bubble Bath, Part 8

Editor’s Note: We’re still in the “House of Blues” in Atlantic City. I have just offended Bubbles by somehow implying that she’s not my friend. Slightly-harsh words were exchanged, and Bubbles stomped into a dressing room to concoct an appropriate punishment. I was huddled near a worthless sales clerk, fully expecting to be annihilated by a death ray from Godzilla at any moment…

  Bubbles marched toward me, her look indecipherable as she tossed back whatever garment it was that she had given a test run, finding the thing unsuitable. Just before she reached the point where I was standing with Terry, she barked some cryptic message into her phone, probably arranging for a stealthy hit on the Boardwalk that would snuff out my life while she innocently fed bits of corndogs to the seagulls.

  Bubbles stopped in front of the two of us. “Hey, husbands,” she said blithely. “Ready to head outside and see some more sights?” Then she smiled brightly, as if she had just received word that the diet had been successful and the cholesterol numbers had dropped.

  This confused me. Was I going to die or not? Was she toying with me, or was she really over it? I’m sure that part of her master plan included intentional statements that would keep me in the dark, trembling. I looked at Terry with an expression that indicated he must now ensure my safety, as couples in strong relationships should do. He looked back with an expression that I was a big boy and I was entirely responsible for my own actions.

  I immediately ran to the checkout counter to make my purchase of the evil pink t-shirt that had resulted in threats to my livelihood. Bubbles was already upset with me about the misperceived status of our relationship, so there was no point in jeopardizing things with lackadaisical consumer transactions. I begged the cashier to proceed at full throttle, lest there be bloodshed. The cashier did not understand words with more than one syllable, but she at least sensed the urgency, and quickly shoved the bagged t-shirt in my direction.

  Bubbles led the procession out of the store, deftly knocking aside stupid people who dared to get in our way. There was brief confusion when we neared a place where folks were lined up for some type of world-famous hot dogs, because apparently those folks did not understand that their need for processed tubes of discarded animal parts did not justify blocking the exit path of a Diva with her husbands. Bubbles unleashed magnificent powers from her manicured fingertips, and the sea parted.

  Back on the Boardwalk, with the sun lowering and a very nice breeze cooling things off and carrying away the stench of unwashed humans who don’t understand hygiene, we approached the ocean side of the Boardwalk and gazed at the gently crashing waves. The sight inspired Bubbles and Terry to scamper down a nearby rickety staircase and dash across the sand, the call of nature ringing in their ears.

  I guess my cell phone reception wasn’t up to par, because I wasn’t feeling this call, but I followed my companions nonetheless, not wanting to be left out or re-inspire Bubbles to contact nefarious characters named Guido who would cut me down for the price of a good bottle of Chianti.

  Bubbles, because she had wisely chosen to wear simple sandals that effortlessly coordinated with her comfy summer dress while still allowing for impromptu wardrobe changes, quickly snatched off her footwear and raced into the waves, giggling with release and delight. Terry followed suit, albeit with a brief pause while he struggled out of his socks and tennis shoes.

  This left me standing there, fully clothed, clutching my “House of Blues” bag with the evil pink t-shirt and a magnet that I had impulse-purchased which read “Be Nice or Leave”. I didn’t know if I particularly wanted to expose my tootsies to the elements. Sand was involved. Sand gets into places that it shouldn’t. Which is fine if you just want to frolic on the beach and drink beer. Not so fine if you have to eventually wander back into fancy casinos in search of more alcohol. I don’t want bits of quartz shooting out of my ass while I order a vodka gimlet. (Best drink ever, when made right.)

  But I got into the moment, casting aside my normal anal tendencies to control everything around me. Off came the shoes, off came the socks, both of which were quickly shoved into my “House of Blues” bag, probably ruining the stupid t-shirt that had led to vindictive utterances from a Mafia Princess. Two seconds later, salty water was crashing into my shins and soaking my crotch.

  And it was fine, indeed.

  I’ve been to many beaches, but the years between visits erode the sensation, dim the pleasure, and you forget. There’s something amazing and mystical about the push and pull of the tide. This primal sense of things bigger than us. Coupled with the immediacy of small treasures brought forth by the lapping waves. An interesting piece of shell. An odd rock worn by time. The swift, skittering tiny birds that race along the shore and pick at bits of yummy in the sand.

  The garish and suddenly cheap yowling from the Boardwalk fades away.

  Real nature, fluff removed.

  So we wandered along the shore, heading, I don’t know, probably south. We made our way under a few of the piers, ancient stalwarts of strength, leading out to sea, to a destination that is no longer. Things have changed in Atlantic City, many things. Structures have burned or crumbled, and died. But this sense of other-place is there, once you get beyond that yammering of the Boardwalk.

  We sat on the sand. We talked. We envisioned.

  “I want,” I said, offering no further definition.

  The waves continued to crash, carrying far more secrets than I could ever fathom…

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1 comment:

  1. This

    We sat on the sand. We talked. We envisioned.

    “I want,” I said, offering no further definition.

    The waves continued to crash, carrying far more secrets than I could ever fathom…