Beached Bitches

Who doesn’t love a good road trip? Since high school, I have been accompanying my pal Danielle to visit her grandparents in Gulf Shores, Alabama. This is no ordinary shuffle boarding excursion. Sure, we always sit down to a nice family meal of brisket and cheesy potatoes, as well as the obligatory outting to Ed’s Seafood Shack. But the rest of the voyage includes boardwalks, bars, and adult beverages. On one such afternoon on our way to the beach, Danielle, her friend Charlee and I stopped into a Winn-Dixie for some alcohol and assorted sundries. I, being the loser I am, do not drink beer. Never have, and probably never will. It’s just too heavy for my taste, and takes too long to obtain the desired effects. I managed to find some mini bottles of wine, but they didn’t have a chilled wine section, so I had to settle for room temperature and a large bag of ice. The beer drinkers could easily disguise their cans in koozies, but the difficult wino had to also purchase something to contain the beverage. As soon as I spotted a green dinosaur sippy cup, I knew it was meant to be.

Once on the beach, we got settled in, and started popping tops and unscrewing corks. (Who am I kidding, the wine was twist top.) It wasn’t hard to hide the substance since the beach was full of people equipped with coolers, tents, boom boxes, and the kitchen sink. It was hot, even under my borrowed beach umbrella, and I was thirsty. After a couple of refills to the dinosaur, I started to feel it. How many ounces could it even hold? 4? 8? 12? We took a break from the heat to go try out the local drink, frozen bushwhackers. It’s kind of like a jamocha shake from Arby’s, but with lots of liquor. Returning to our spot, we sat on the hot sand under the blistering sun watching people on jet skis and rainbow colored parasails up above. That’s when someone suggested we go parasailing.

I had never been, but with all inhibitions gone, it seemed like as good of an idea as any. At the time, it was no different in my mind than if someone had suggested we stop in to the bathroom or build a sandcastle. I followed behind the girls on the way to the adventure kiosk about 75 yards from our towels, making a poor attempt to seem not wasted. We signed some release forms without reading them, and then each ran our debit cards. I was last to pay, and when I looked at my receipt, noticed I was charged 75 cents rather than 75 dollars. Even in an inebriated state, this mistake did not slip my frugal, penny pinching mind. I kept my mouth shut, and slipped the receipt into my clutch as if I hadn’t noticed. I must not have raised any red flags because we were suited in life vests, tromping off towards the water and climbing onto a banana boat in no time.

On the banana boat, which is like the mechanical bull of the sea, I took note of the other passengers. My two girlfriends, two cute younger girls, and one tanned steroid gym rat. I just couldn’t resist messing with him, thinking he was some frat boy on vacation looking for girls who are DTF. “So are you like, one of those guido juiceheads they’re always talking about on Jersey Shore?” I shouted over the jet ski engine. He responded in the most offended way possible to being told he had a muscular physique. We were not off to a good start. We reached the main ship, which was basically a gravy boat with a contraption to pull the parasail in and out, and made our way onboard. The six of us sat in a circle on the bench seats and headed out towards the horizon when the driver of the gravy boat flipped on the sound system and started blaring old school hip hop. I performed a flawless hammer time dance, then sat back down, winded, next to the young girls who were staring at me in bewilderment. “Are you girls drinking?” I queried. They responded that they were not old enough to buy alcohol. They were, in fact, only 16 years old. I guess kids really do look older these days because I assumed they were at least 21. I heard it’s got something to do with all the hormones in the meat. Anyway, I promised to buy them beer as soon as we got back to shore, and offered to let them parasail first. When they got up to be harnessed into the parasail, I realized the juicehead was not merely a passenger, but the person who secures you in the harness and decides which position you take. “Perfect,” I thought, “I’ve pissed off the person responsible for ensuring I don’t drop into the ocean from 100 feet in the air like a helpless field mouse in an eagle’s talons.”

The girls returned in one piece and it was our turn on deck. Danielle, Charlee and I climbed up to the parasail where juicehead chose the correct harness for each of our weight classes. Being the heaviest, I had a different color harness than the other two, and was in the middle of the parasail so the weight could be evenly distributed. Had I been on the left or the right sides, I might risk capsizing the entire vessel and all the lives on it. The crank slowly let us drift farther away from the boat, and higher into the air until we were flying high over the water in the cool breeze. It really was fun, but after just a minute I had the brilliant idea to moon the people on the beach. We all pulled down our bikini bottoms and let our rears hang ten as we floated past hundreds of sunbathers. It was an exhilarating experience and I CANNOT recommend it more highly. You truly feel the freedom of a bird when you’re soaring through the air with a steady gust of wind between your cheeks. However, the nirvana like experience quickly turned to terror when we realized the ship’s captain was slowing down to dip us into the water. The water itself wasn’t enough to startle us, but what was swimming on top was. There were groups of sting rays as far as the eye could see, and from the looks of it, we were about to be dunked bare assed into a whole family of them. If just one of them could puncture the heart of a trained crocodile wrangler, just imagine what a whole gang of them could do to our most delicate assets. Our delighted squeals turned to blood curdling screams as we prepared for impact. We were dunked several times, each time checking my extremities to make sure they were still attached, and that I had not scooped up any marine life into my lap. I imagined a baby dolphin or hammerhead shark latching onto my toes and being plucked from its aquatic terrain like a crane game at Piggly Wiggly.

Luckily, none of that happened, or else you would have heard about it on the nightly news. We were reeled back to the boat, released from the harnesses, and meeting back up with the banana boat in minutes. Eager to escape, I was the first one in line for the banana boat, but there was a drop to reach it. “Do I just jump?” I asked the juicehead.

“Yeah, go for it,” he answered. I took a leap towards the banana boat and landed in the least flattering belly flop position possible. While trying to compose myself, the others made their way onto the banana boat with juicehead’s gentle assistance. I guess this was his idea of revenge that didn’t involve the coast guard.

We made it safely back to the beach, collected our things, and were almost home free, when a girl at the kiosk asked, “Is one of you Pauline-uh?”

Realizing they caught their mistake, I wanted to sprint back to our spot and disappear into the crowd, but my friend responded, “This is her.” The next few minutes involved me sloppily trying to talk my way out of paying the remaining balance, but ended up begrudgingly swiping my card again. Nearly sober, we made our way back to our spot in the sand with fresh memories of the most recent day drinking shit show to watch the sun set.

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