We had fallen into a routine: up at eleven, eat breakfast (or lunch, depending on our mood), and go cruising around in the Crown Vic for a while. A couple hours on the beach, then back to the house to shower and screw in the hot tub. Then off to a local restaurant for dinner, and spend the night cruising the clubs. All of this was done in a state of chemical frenzy.
Midweek we had to break the rhythm. Bekka found the perfect solution in on of the pamphlets:a two night cruise to the Bahamas. That should break things up.
We left from the dock in the late afternoon aboard the Northern Cross, built in Northern Ireland in 1953. It had been quite a ship in its day, now dwarfed by the Disney and Princess Cruises floating condos.
Bekka smuggled the speed aboard the ship the same way she had upon the plane. This was international smuggling, so we wanted to make no mistakes.. Nonetheless, we didn't wish to go through the experience without drugs, for better or worse.
Trouble started just after dark. A storm blew up, rocking the boat side to side. We were on an outside berth, and that damn room was doing twelve foot elevators every fifteen seconds. Now, I don't get motion sickness. Never have. Just good luck, I guess. Bekka on the other hand, was bedridden, unable to even keep down the medicine I brought her. She insisted that I go to dinner without her.... So I did. Walking the walkways was painful, as I kept bashing into the walls while I walked.
At dinner I was seated with a woman whose husband was in the same predicament as Bekka. I suggested we tell those around us that we were married.... Just not to each other. (heh, heh, heh.). The servers were highly skilled at delivering platters despite the uneven floor; it was amazing to watch. Good food, too..
Also amazing was the floor show, which had an uncanny resemblance to what we'd been watching at the strip clubs, only the clubs didn't have a Latin crooner in the middle of things. The moves and the dress on the females was uncanny, though. I did get the feeling that shoving dollar bills into their outfits would be in bad taste.
The nice thing of the evening was winning $140 on the slots. Knowing when to cut and run, I cashed the coins into bills and left the room. I figured I'd buy something nice for Bekka once we landed.
Sun broke on a glassy sea, and Bekka was feeling tired but much better. We went above decks to watch the tugs pull us to the dock.. Docking next to a Disney ship was intimidating: those things are huge.Once on shore it was a consumer frenzy for most. We didn't care, preferring to smoke Cuban cigars and people watch. We were appalled to see a McDonald's doing a brisk business.
In the afternoon we were offered the chance to visit the Island where Gilligan's Island was filmed. Sure, what the hell, we could do with some televisual cheese. The one thing I noticed about the Bahamas was that most of the islands were completely uninhabitable. Lumps of sand sticking out of the ocean with tufts of grass on them. Inhabited keys collected their water in cisterns, thanks to the copious rain. Still, no place to live: It makes Southern California and its irrigation system look efficient..
Back on land, I escaped Bekka long enough to buy her a blue opal necklace: $240, but quite a discount with my winnings.
We bought a couple more (illegal) cigars to smoke on board, and were promised smooth seas ahead. Cuban cigars really are number one, and the embargo can't end soon enough. The Dominican ones just don't cut the mustard.
Our luggage was inspected thoroughly to make sure we weren't smuggling cigars, cocaine, fish, Harry Belafonte, or any other illegal items.Finally, after being inspected coming and going (and a half ounce of methamphetamine up my wife's snatch) we returned to the U.S.A.
"Hot tub and a nap?" suggested Bekka.
"A perfect plan," I replied.
The Crown Victoria made a blur of the road.
We woke up around 4:30 feeling ravenous. "What say we go on the canal cruise again?"
"But they hate us there."
"Fuck 'em. The food is served buffet style so they cant't sabotage our meals, and we can goof on people's heads for our own amusement.. It's a win/win. Food, booze, and sarcasm."
"Shall we do coke?"
"Coke and Ecstasy. Get a seriously aggressive wire going on."
We walked back to the landing and paid our money, manic grins on our faces. "Is the bar open yet?" I asked.
"Yes sir, it is." came the answer.
Bekka said, "Is your wire riding you that hard again? You've gotta cut down or something."
"That's not it, I just feel like adding to my level of aggro, you know?. Figure all these chumps will be knocking back the booze, I may as well be on their wavelength, to an extent."
The boat began to fill up, along with the bar. Mercifully, there was a different bartender on duty that evening than there was before. The rest of the boat was filling up with the standard-issue crackers, all crowding the bar and loudly asking when the boat would shove off. The last thing these people needed was motion in their stomachs.
Bekka and I had shoved our way to the bar and retrieved drinks. We went back out on top, and.... Miracle of miracles .... We saw a teenage girl in a leather with an Exploited skull pointed on the back. I snuck up behind her and said in her ear, "Is this the only place your family eats dinner?"
"She spun, ready to be affronted.... Then gave me a smile and a hug. Bekka was waiting in line for hers.
"Ohmigawd! What are you guys doing here?"
. "We could ask the same question. Will you all turn into trolls if you don't eat here on a regular basis?""
"Aw, this place has some special romantic meaning for my parents. They refuse to explain. And you two are on coke again."
"Coke and Ecstasy. We decided to double up tonight.
Bekka said, "We're gonna get our aggro on to an extent. Given how we were treated the last time we were here, seems only fair."
"First stop: the bar".
"Get me a drink!" called Janelle.
"If it's okay with your parents!" resulting in a pouty look..
We squeezed into the bar and began quizzing the bartender. "What's the most traditional drink that comes with an umbrella in it?"
"Um, I guess a Mai Tai."
"And whet would be the next traditional drink?"
"Gee, I dunno.... Anything made with a blender, really, and lots of fruit."
"Okay, a Mai Tai with an umbrella and a double scotch and soda.. And that's for here."
"My cunning plan is working" I muttered to Bekka. Your complex drink is jamming up all the beer and whiskey drinkers, who take five seconds to serve. You're occupying five minutes."
"Clever man, Mr. Schneider."
We decided to go up on deck to see who there was to goof on. Janelle's parents seemed like prime targets, but not while Janelle was there. Although talking to their daughter would certainly be a catalyst....
"Hey Janelle, no luck on the drink. So what did you think of the tape?"
"It rules! I can't believe I never heard of those guys! Do they have any more stuff out?""
""No, but they're still together, so they've gotta release more stuff."
"Are you talking about that horrible band you gave my daughter? said Janelle's father. "I can't believe they call that music!".
"I take it you're not an Ornette coleman fan, sir. By the way, I'm Lenny Schneider and this is my wife Bekka. And you are....?
"I am Jim Osborne, and this is my wife Nancy. Tell me, why do you have such an interest in my daughter?"
"Commonality in taste in music," said Beka. "The way she's described Gainesville, she doesn't have much of an opportunity to get a hold of new music. Why shouldn't we mail her a few tapes to her every month? As long as she has her headphones on, what's the diff?"
"It makes me nervous that a couple in their twenties is expressing an interest in my teenage daughter."
"And it comes back to music," I said. "No less, no more. Sure she's a friend, but it all revolves around music. We're not trying to somehow corrupt her."
I spun on my heel and walked to the bow, where Bekka was sucking on her Mai Tai. She smiled at me and said, "Goofing on people is fun! There was an old couple next to me so I started singing 'I Wanna Fuck Myself' by GG Allin, real low, and they edged away."
"Shall I try scratching at my crotch next?"
"No, we want to be served for dinner."
Janelle's parents sequestered themselves well and far away at dinner. Oh well. We entertained ourselves by telling the couples on each side of us about the violence and horror that occurs on a daily basis in California: the drive by shootings, the punk rock shows, the copious amount of drugs everywhere....California is bedlam, and we like it that way.
"She's never been shot, and I've only been shot once. Wanna see? But I wouldn't live anywhere else. It's the energy of the place that sucks you in. You always have to be on your guard."
One of our audience asked, "How can you stand it? It sounds like hell."
"It's home, you know? I've never known anything else," said Bekka.
"You should try somewhere else."
"But then I'd be bored. And I hate being bored."
One woman piped up, "That's not excitement, that's terror!"
Bekka responded, "Not to me. Although you have to watch out for the Satanist gangs. They'll cut you apart without warning, open up your veins and drink your blood."
"It's true, I added. "There is no more paper delivery in California because of the teenage paperboys getting offed."
"We're lucky, we're in a safe industry," said Bekka. "All we do is pornography. Nobody gets killed, and there's darn little blood. Lots of other bodily fluids though.."
"You produce porn?" came a quavering voice.
"Absolutely! It's easy, it's fun, and the money's great."
"And we're always looking for new talent," I said with a wink.
"The two of you are utterly depraved," one woman declared, scooping up her tray and marching down to the other end of the room. The others followed suit.
"How nice," I said, "A table to ourselves....Although a bit cruel."
"Fuck 'em," said Bekka. "More California for us. Fewer damn tourists."
Before our usual round of strip clubs, we were parked in front of the TV. I kept hearing a sliding noise, like nails on chalkboard.
I looked out the sliding glass door and was surprised to see an orange tabby kitten begging to come in. It looked emaciated and desperate.
"Aw, kitty!" exclaimed Bekka.
"Keep it outside," I warned, "it's gotta be a total fleabag. No reason why we can't give it a good meal, though. There's still some of that turkey left?"
The kitten dove in as if it was famished.... Which it probably was. I rolled it on its back and was greeted by the sight of crawling black things. "We've gotta collar it, but soon."
"Let's take it home with us! It's obviously a stray, so no one will miss it."
"We get it de-fleaed first. I'll find a vet in the Yellow Pages and we'll have it treated. Fair enough? And we feed it outdoors.."
The tiny thing was purring up a storm as it ate turkey while Bekka petted it. I've always had a soft spot for cats, and rescuing one seemed the right thing to do. We'd need a carrier for the plane, food, dishes, a veterinary inspection....I personally had named the cat 'Cash.' (Bekka named it 'Squeak, and I was overruled.)
I got on the phone to Angel. "Hello sir, it's Lenny. No, everything is going great. I was wondering, could I have the number of the guy who owns this place? I've got kind of a strange question for him. Oh, okay, that works.. Later."
A few minutes later the phone rang and it was the homeowner. Angel. Vinny, and Frankie only looked like mafioso, while this guy sounded like it.
"Lenny! I'm glad to hear your voice! Are you enjoying my home?"
I told him very much so, we can't thank him enough for his generosity, and I had a question.
"Sir, do you have a pet kitte that hangs around? An orange one?"
Is that pest still around. I can have it removed if you wish."
"Actually, we wanted to adopt it."
The man chuckled. "If you can give it a good home, God bless you. Just don't let it in the house; I don't want to be powdering for fleas. You have a good night, and enjoy your new pet."