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Twisting all the bad things into good

Dec 1, 2011

The Nitty Gritty, 22: People in Hell Want Ice Water

We have now left reason and sanity.
Next stop, Looneyville.
Jim Butcher, Grave Peril                                  

            It was obvious that Mark was nervous as he double checked, and then triple checked his equipment.
            I ask how he is going to mark the treasure as our discovery. He shows me a small flag that he will stick in the sand. I can only hope the other treasure hunters don't come along and pull out our flag and replace it with their own. He seems to know what he's doing though.
            Mark is worried about me. He tells me I look really bad. I try to explain how thirsty I am. He wants to know that I'll be able to make it until he comes up. After that he will get us back. He shows me a red ball with a flag stuck in it. He tells me to just not let the kayak drift too far away from the flag. He throws it into the water. The floating flag  is attached to him by a rope. He pulls his mask over his face.
            He knows there is a good chance that when he gets back to the surface, I may have drifted out of sight. If that happens, he knows he will be too far from land to make it back.
            He needs me to show a little confidence.
            I need to tell him I am okay.
            I need to lie.
           "Mark. Don't worry. I'll be here. I promise."
           Cooler than Steve McQueen, he says,"I know you will, you're Jimmy Mac."
           Mark puts his mouthpiece in and falls back into the ocean.
           As soon as he was gone, I realized how much of a better person Mark was than I had ever been.
           His last words to me would have been worth going out on.
           I really hoped that my last words to him had not been a lie.
           I really wished that it was not too late to tell him what I now knew.
           He was a hero.

            Roughly 8 seconds after Mark dove down to make his mark in maritime history, the seas got rough and the rain and thunder started. Without turning my delusion into some kind of Old Man and the Sea or Moby Dick type epic, suffice to say I saved the day by paddling with everything I had against the crashing waves in a circle around the floating flag...until I passed out...and Mark got back.
            He got in the kayak and said he planted the flag and the treasure was ours.
            Wow. I can't believe I really thought this shit was happening. Sometimes I forget how nuts I was until I write something like "the treasure was ours". Wow.

            Mark started paddling towards land.
            I laid back in exhaustion. I didn't have to paddle so my mind started wandering. Just like when I could only think about killer sharks, I now could only think of killer beverages. 
            A nice glass of homemade iced tea or one of those tall light green cans of Arizona Iced Tea with ginseng and honey would be the greatest thing ever.
            A tall can of Arizona Lemonade or a glass of homemade lemonade would be pretty amazing.
            Even better would be mixing the iced tea and lemonade in a nice big glass pitcher for a homemade Arnold Palmer. That would be fantastic.
            Or just a tall Arizona can of an Arizona Arnold Palmer would be terrific.
            Or even just a glass of Arnold Palmer's ass sweat would be fine.
            Something, anything to quench this thirst.
            Holy shit.
            Nothing would be better.
            I don't know the name of the researcher who invented Gatorade at University of Florida,  but that man is a saint.
            Oh how do I love thee?
            Let me count the flavors:
            Arctic or Alpine uhh.. Amazing
            Whitewater... Whatever
            Purple...Painkiller Purple, maybe?
            Citrus "Crack Cocaine" Cooler
            Blue...Blue?...Better Than A Blowjob Blue, that's right
            Orange.. .Orange You Glad You Are Not Dying of Dehydration?    
            Kool Aid.
            Any powder you can imbibe if you mix it with water.
            Whoever the scientist was to first mix 2 hydrogen atoms  with 1 oxygen atom was a goddamn genius.
            He deserves a special place in Heaven.
            Bottled water.
            That last  ice cold one that you find hidden in the back of the refrigerator, a refrigerator that also has water and cubed ice and crushed ice. Instead of wasting time trying to figure out if that light goes out when the fridge door closes, I should have been trying to figure out if that water ever stops coming out of the freezer door.
            How is it that something so life saving is so free? I will never waste a precious drop.
            A glass of  ice water.
            The kind they give you as soon as you sit down at a restaurant, that you don't even have to ask for, that never gets empty before they refill it from that silver pitcher that is so icy cold that the server has a cloth napkin  wrapped around the handle, and the sound it makes as the glass bottom gets hit with ice cubes small enough to swallow without choking.
            I've never had Spanish water but I bet it's amazing.
            Even the kind you're not supposed to drink in Mexico.
            I say "Chinga tu madre!" when they say "Don't drink the water".
            I suddenly hate that Dave Matthews song.
            I suddenly love that Adam Sandler movie.
            I'm delirious.
            I need water.

           "He's delirious. He needs water!" I hear Mark say.
            Water? I open my eyes and see my friends who were waiting for us on land. Jeff puts the bottle to my lips. I grab it and chug it until it's gone.
           "I need another one".
           "That's all we had" Jeff tells me.
           "That's it?
            I raise my head to see where we are. We're in a parking lot of a grocery store...that is closed. I know there is a corner store across the street. I motion for Jeff to come closer, like I have a secret..
           "Dude, I don't have any money" I tell him,"Can you go over to Kwik Stop and get me like 5 Gatorades?"
            Kwik Stop was closed too.

            I was still delirious. I went on and on about the amazing lives we would all have, how we would be able to enjoy life the way few men in history ever had, how we should buy an island and open a resort where we would be kings, and how our adventure was like something from a Hemingway novel.
            I'm pretty sure that my delusional heroics stemmed from my fascination with Hemingway.
            After rambling for a few minutes, Angel said,"Man, you need to write this shit down".
            I started talking about how I finally did something great in my life. Then it hit me that my triumph came just 2 days after my father died. For the first time since I was 10 years old, I had done something that he would be proud of.  I said how I wished I could tell him about my heroics.
           "He knows" someone said.

            We sat around talking about what we were going to do with our riches.
            Jeff pulled me aside. He reminded me that Anuj had murdered Mark's ex girlfriend. Mark still loved her and was tortured not knowing who her killer was. We saw the inevitability of Mark finding out eventually. This would cause a problem for all the partners. I agreed with Jeff that we needed to tell Mark.
            After Mark flipped out, we had to kick Anuj out of the group. We told him we would see that he still got something for his effort, but for now he should stay away.

            After everyone went home, Mark and I went to the closest bar, Flanigans. I was still severely dehydrated.  As soon as we got there Mark disappeared to look for someone he knew who worked there.
            I walked into the bar area to get some water and a Coke.
            As soon as I walked in, I could not believe what I saw.
            After the last few days, nothing should have shocked me.
            My father had died 2 days earlier.
            My mom is at the bar.
            She is obviously drunk on wine.
            She is full on making out with some guy at the bar.
            I turned back before they could see me. I would deal with it after I got hydrated.
            I was too weak to fight anyway. Anybody would have kicked my ass in my condition.
            All I could think was she could not have met someone in 2 days. She must have known this guy from when my father was in prison.
            My paranoid conspiracy theory was beginning to take shape.
            The next day, in reality, I spoke to my mom.
            I accused her of having an affair.
            She would deny it of course.
            But I saw her.

            There were some old folks sitting around waiting for tables.
            I walked up to the hostess, who I created in my mind to antagonize the shit out of me.       
           "Hey, I really need some water. I can't explain what I've been through. Just please get me some water".
            She said she was a hostess, not a server.
           "I know. I just can't wait to be seated  to get some water".
            She repeated that she was a hostess not a server. I would have to wait for a table since I couldn't go to the bar.
           "Can you please have a server get me some then? I'm so fucking dehydrated".
            She said not after I cursed at her. I told her I didn't mean to. I just really needed water immediately. I asked her to please just seat me ahead of everyone so I could order some.
            She refused.
            A server walked by so I asked her if she would please get me some water.
            The hostess told her not to serve me because I was rude and I had cursed at her.
            Eventually, she told every server to not serve me.
            I had to get out of there but Mark was nowhere to be found. I decided to lay down in the middle of the floor.
           The hostess started instigating me. When a second hostess arrived, she immediately started talking shit about me so I could hear. Of course, she told her not to let anyone serve me. I tried to ignore her. She started saying stuff to me like I probably never had a girlfriend and no girl would go out with someone like me.
            I kept asking her to just please stop.
            She didn't.
            I finally got up and approached the hostess station.
           "Look I'm sorry I cursed. I wasn't cursing at you,  I am just really on edge. I have never been so thirsty in my life. You have no idea how this feels. It's like I swallowed a desert. Look, I'm just waiting for my friend and then I'm going to leave. I'm begging you for some water".
            She began to talk with a robot voice.
            I can still hear her say it.
           "When you have a pretty waitress, do you wonder what it would be like if she touched your penis?"
            I was dumbfounded.
           "What the fuck? What is your problem? Are you fucking retarded? Seriously, I'm not even trying to be rude or funny. You don't look it, but you have to be slow or something".
            I still remember how absurd I thought this was.
            She starts her Small Wonder robotic shit again.
           "Do you go home and picture your waitress naked and masturbate?"
             Again, I am stunned.
            "Are you fucking kidding me? Do you have any idea how dumb you are?"
             She doesn't. She drops the android act.
            "I'm not dumb. My boyfriend tells me I'm smart. And that I'm pretty".
             I'm raging.
            "Then your boyfriend is an idiot too! You are a pretty girl, but seriously, I have never heard anyone say anything even remotely as stupid as the shit you are saying".
           "You're stupid" she says like some 5 year old brat.
           "I'm not the one talking like a fucking robot". I mimic her robot voice, "Do you think about your waitress touching your penis?" I drop the robonics. "Do you have any clue how much of a moron you are?"
             Besides talking like a robot, now she adds the upper body movements.
            "People like it when I do my robot".
             She continues the movements and talking nonsense as if she's gonna win me over with her performance. I give up.

             If I was not hallucinating all of this, I most likely would have left the restaurant by now.
            "I don't even know why I'm talking to you" I say. I go sit down.
            "You're ugly", she says.
            "I'm ugly, ok".
            Come on, Mark. I need to get away from this girl.
            She starts telling me that I wish I could have a girlfriend like her.
            I practically beg her to please just leave me alone.
            I tell her as soon as my friend reappears, I'm leaving.
            "You don't have any friends. Who would be friends with you".
             Why is this girl tormenting me like this?
             Why did I create this girl to torment me?
             Why am I putting these words in her mouth?

            She finally walked away from her station. I saw a new server and asked her to please grab me some water and she said she would. Please hurry back.
            The hostess got back first. I would not even look at her
            The server was coming back with a huge glass of ice water. The hostess noticed my anticipation and she turned and snatched my water off the tray and told the server not to serve me. She told her to take the water back to the kitchen.            
            "Are you serious?" I'm almost in tears from frustration."Why are you doing this?"
            She said because I was a jerk and she didn't like me.
            "You know what? I never use this word, but you are a fucking cunt".
            She was appalled. She got loud and the manager came and wanted to know what was going on.
            "Your hostess is a moron. First of all, she acts like some goddamn robot, then she's asking me shit like if I imagine my waitress touching my penis and do I masturbate to her".
             Long story short.
             She got fired.

            Mark was nowhere to be found. I got a call on my magic cell phone. It was my cousin, the police officer in Philly who got me involved with the pimp, prostitutes, and almost a night in jail. He said he needed me to come back to Philly and do the drug deal I promised Pimp Daddy I'd do. I told him there was no way in hell I was dealing with any of that shit. He told me it was going to be some undercover thing and that I had been approved as an undercover and I just needed to be sworn in. Then we were going to hit the streets. He said it was going to be a big weekend of busts. I told him good luck because I was not coming back and to never call me again.

            A few minutes later, on my real phone and in reality, I called a drug dealer friend of mine. In my world, I was still in Flanigans. In the real world, not a clue. I left him a message letting him know that if he had any deals happening that weekend that he should cancel because the cops knew everything going down this weekend. A week later, I was checking my messages (on my working phone). He left me a voice mail wanting to know what I was talking about on my message. He always changed phone numbers, and by the time I tried to call and let him know that I was out of my mind, he had changed his number. I never spoke to him again.
            Mark finally returned from wherever. I was pissed and demanded we leave right then. I told him my mom was drunk and making out with some guy at the bar. He kept going around starting random conversations until I started freaking out.
            The next thing I remember was being locked in the cabin of his boat. Besides me begging for water, this was reminiscent of when he would not let me in my apartment the day my dad died. I kept pleading for him to open the door, calling him an asshole, and saying he was not really my friend. He just kept telling me he'd let me out when we got to my place because I was out of control. I was too pissed off to ask him why we did not use this boat, with it's engine and an anchor, instead of a friggin kayak to find our treasure bullshit.
            That was the last thing I remember from Tuesday.
            Wednesday was when my roommate finally figured it might be a good time to let my family and best friend know that I had been talking to people who were not there....since Friday. 
            Wednesday would be the day my reality would collide with the reality of  everyone else.
            But in my delusional mind, they were the crazy ones.
            I was fine. I was a victim of their conspiracies.
            I was just caught in their web of lies and deceit.
            They were the ones who made me into the enemy.

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