Rachael, who saved the day by letting me know that the latest book in Stephen King’s Dark Tower series came out today. I had completely forgotten! I grabbed up the $10 Waldenbooks coupon I’d been saving for just such an occasion and went to the mall as fast as I could go.
When I was paying for the book, the lady working there – I think she was the manager – asked if I needed her to put the new Bill Clinton book on reserve for me.
“Uh,” I said. “NO.” And then I laughed. Whereupon she told me that her district manager was giving her hell because she wasn’t getting enough people to pre-order the Bill Clinton book, and that his store was getting 50+ pre-orders a day.
“Where’s his store?” I asked.
“Ah,” I said, and we rolled our eyes about her district manager.
See? I can be approachable!
* * *
SUCH a liar
This is what really happened. After Fred went to the quarry and spent an hour or so swimming there, he came home and talked about it for the rest of the day and into the night. He made it sound so amazing that I was absolutely chomping at the bit to go and swim myself.
Yesterday was cloudy off and on, but when Fred left work it was more sunny than cloudy, and once he got home, we decided that it was perfect swimming weather. I put on a t-shirt and shorts (please. I am SO not wearing a bathing suit in public!), we packed some drinks and towels, and off we went.
We had the quarry to ourselves for the most part (there were a few people on the other end for a little while), and I went over to the pier to look into the water.
“It’s kind of creepy, isn’t it, the way you can’t see the bottom?” Fred said.
“No, it’s cool!” I said. The water was a beautiful blue-green (more blue than green) color, and I couldn’t wait to get in. Fred went first, stepping down the stairs from the top level of the pier to the bottom level, gasping every inch of the way as he moaned about how cold the water was.
, I thought, mentally rolling my eyes. But he wasn’t kidding. If I had testicles, they would have sucked up into my body when I started walking down the steps. When I got to the bottom level of the pier, the water was up around boob level, and I whined and moaned about how damn cold it was. Which is when I first felt it.
I looked down and realized that I was surrounded by bream of all sizes and they were QUITE interested in me. As I watched, several of the smaller ones darted forward, nibbled at my legs, and then darted away. I’m betting that some people who come to the quarry feed the fish, and they were checking to see if I was edible. It was cool to watch, and I stood in place and watched them take turns coming forward, nibbling, and swimming away. Fred went underwater and adjusted his mask, then swam away a little.
“Come on, Bessie!” he said. “Come off the pier!”
And then assorted bream started nibbling a little harder, seeming to concentrate on the backs of my thighs. I don’t know if my thighs were jiggling in a way to make them look like fish food or what, but several bream seemed to think there was food to be found.
“Hey!” I yelled, and started running in place so the little fuckers would knock it off. I started to feel a tad claustrophobic being surrounded by so many fish, so I grabbed my mask and yellow foam noodle off the upper level of the pier (what? You don’t swim with a yellow foam noodle? Liar.) and jumped off the pier. A couple of the little fuckers took a last few chomps off the backs of my thighs, and then I was away from them. I put my mask on and looked downward.
Where I couldn’t see even the hint of the bottom. There was nothing to be seen but water, as far as the eye could see.
I draped myself over my foam noodle and suddenly felt like I couldn’t catch my breath. The idea of being suspended in water 50 feet deep, with god knows what swimming down there, creeped me out. I flailed around, feeling more than a little panicked, and checked to see where Fred was. He was about thirty feet away, looking down toward the bottom of the quarry. I took a deep breath, trying to calm down, and put my mask back on. With one hand on my noodle (and the other one is flashing the peace sign!) I floated on my stomach and looked down toward the bottom of the quarry again.
Which is when I saw the BIGGEST UGLIEST FUCKING FISH I HAVE EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE. It was big – at least three feet big – and it was UGLY, and when it saw me, rather than quickly swimming away, he gave me a curious “Hm. That looks like food…” look and HEADED IN MY DIRECTION.
“Fuck THIS,” I said, and I grabbed my noodle and I hauled ass toward the pier. When I was on the pier, the bream darted forward to partake of my delicious thighs, and I stomped across the pier as fast as I could, saying “STOP IT, YOU FUCKERS!” and I stomped up the steps to the top part of the pier, and waited for Fred to take his face out of the water.
When he did, he said “What are you – ?”
“No, I’m sorry,” I said. “No, it’s too fucking creepy and there was a fish THE SIZE OF MY ASS, and no. I’ll just say here while you swim. I’ll be over at the picnic table. Take your time.”
“Bessie,” he said patiently. “Come back in!”
“No!” I said. “I don’t like the fish, and I don’t like not being able to see the bottom! It’s too creepy! And the fish are too big!”
“Bessie,” he said. “The fish won’t bother you!”
“It SWAM AT ME!” I said. “It was going to bite me!”
“Bessie, there are no fresh water fish that eat humans!”
“It’s a fact!” he said. “Fresh water fish won’t hurt you, I promise.”
“YOU DON’T KNOW THAT!”
“Bessie, please? Come back in the water.”
I considered it. He was really having a good time and I wanted to have a good time, too. If I didn’t learn to appreciate the magic of the quarry, I could foresee many afternoons where I’d be home by myself while he was off at the quarry.
“Okay, FINE,” I said. “But you have to stay WITH me.” I was pretty sure that if another six-foot-long people-eating catfish came toward us, I could cripple him with a kick to the crotch, and swim to safety while the catfish made a meal of him.
So I went back into the water, got nibbled a few more times, and spent the next hour following Fred around and checking out all the cool underwater things. It was really pretty amazing, and I can’t wait to go back.
I still don’t like those fucking catfish, though.
* * *
“What? You have an empty box, you think I’m not going to jump into it?”