This is Part 2 of last week’s Spring Break fiasco. If you missed part 1, please go here or scroll on down to the first post before continuing.
“Ummm … I wanted to see the beach?” It came out as a question rather than an answer. The two guys were looking down at me the way a beachcomer might stare at a particularly odd shell washed up by the surf. I figured I looked more like a piece of seaweed the tide had rolled in. There was an elderly couple strolling hand-in-hand behind the duo. I guess for them, the new day was beginning while for us it was still winding down. They meandered to a nearby bench and sat down as if preparing to watch a show. I felt a pang of regret that there wasn’t a popcorn vendor nearby for them.
“Well, dress a little warmer next time, lass,” said the shorter of the two guys. His friend plopped down on the boardwalk beside me as he took off his long coat and draped it over my shoulders. In spite of the fact that I realized I was in quite the bizarre position, I was grateful for both the warmth and the chivalry. Hey, it doesn’t take much to seem chivalrous to a girl who is quickly climbing the hill from drunk to hungover and who left her hotel room because a drooling, snoring stranger had crawled into her bed.
We probably sat out on the boardwalk for a half hour or so, shooting the breeze. I learned that they were theatre students from a college in North Carolina, driving up the coast for their own Spring Break adventure. They shared amusing stories of their classes and their adventures that had me forgetting my own woes. At one point, I felt something cold and wet hit my face. I looked up to see big fluffy snowflakes falling from the sky.
“It’s snowing,” I cried, not sure why that made me so happy. For a while, the three of us just sat with our legs swinging over the edge of the boardwalk, watching the snowflakes swirling around the beach. The elderly couple got up and drifted away, replaced by another set of late night/early morning strollers.
Although I was enjoying the company, their accents and the gently falling snow, exhaustion eventually got the best of me. “I should get back on up and get some sleep,” I said.
“We’ll walk you to the hotel,” said Jim, the shorter one, helping me to my feet. They not only walked me to the hotel, but up to our room. In retrospect, another huge dose of overtrusting stupidity on my part. But we had talked books, our classes, our goals. I was still wearing Jim’s coat to fend off the cold. We’d already been dumb enough to let in a bunch of frat boys with whom we’d discussed nothing but the price of beer and the best tactics for not getting hammered while playing “quarters.” Once you slide down the hill to impared judgement, it is a steep climb back to common sense.
Outside the room, I said my “nice to meetchas” and we talked about meeting on the boardwalk the next night, this time when it was still early enough to grab a bite to eat. I figured I’d bring Legal, since Flirt had her Bellboy and Swimmer her Frat Boy.
Speaking of which, as my room door swung open, our little living area with its two double beds came into view. Swimmer and Frat Boy were still sitting up in her bed talking. They each had one shoe on. Swimmer had her other one in her hand. Floor Snorer was sawing logs beside Legal, who was snoozing away.
“Appears to be a full house, lassie,” said Jim. “Where do you sleep?”
“Ummm … my friend is in her spot,” said Frat Boy. “I’m taking him home now.”
“We were just taking him home and then coming to hunt for you,” said Swimmer, a little sheepishly. Legal sighed in her sleep, and Snorer snored.
“I see,” said Jim’s taller friend. He bounced into the room, and in a tone as lilting and warm as a cheerful Irish ditty, said “Arse up, lad. Out o’ the lasses’ bed and off to your own.”
Swimmer and Frat Boy sat wide-eyed on the bed, Swimmer still clutching her shoe. Snorer rolled over, then sat up sleepily. He looked at the tall man standing at the foot of the bed, and mumbled “what the fuck?”
“Off with ya. Take your arse to your room.” He still spoke as cheerfully as if we were all about to do a jig.
The Snorer slowly swiveled his head and took us all in. I nodded. Swimmer nodded. His buddy nodded.
“Alright then,” he muttered and swung his feet over the bed. His friend leapt up and escorted him as far as the door, then stood and watched and made sure he got into their room okay. Then he turned and looked nervously at me and my two boardwalk buddies.
“Um … sorry about that,” he said.
“Weren’t you that was passed out in her bed, lad,” said Jim. “No worries.”
I’d like to say we got a dose of smarts then, said our goodnights and went to bed. But that would be a lie. Swimmer and I looked at each other and burst out laughing, and the three guys joined in. Legal pulled her covers over her head and groaned. Then the five of us sat and drank the remaining few beers, and watched the sun rise out on our balcony. Shortly after, my Irish friends departed, all of us making promises to see each other on the morrow. Swimmer’s Frat Boy went to his room, and Legal, Swimmer and I slept until noon. It would have been longer than that, if Flirt hadn’t woken us by breezing in ready to burst with stories of her own night.
So we made a pot of coffee and all sat cross-legged on the two beds, clutching the styrofoam cups the hotel provided for in-room java and sipping as we each recounted our version of the night.
At one point, Swimmer scowled at Flirt. “What you did was kind of dumb,” she said. “Taking off to that guy’s apartment like that. You didn’t know him, and we didn’t know where you were. You could have been killed.”
“Me? I’M the dumb one?” Flirt retorted. “You’re the one who sat here making out with that guy while his friend climbed into THEIR bed. You ALL could have been killed, hanging out with those strange guys and partying like that.”
“Well, you and HER (there she turned her scowl briefly on Legal) were the ones who let them in to begin with!” retorted Swimmer. Then she turned to me. “And YOU? You decide the best way to fix the situation is to go meet two more strange dudes and bring them back up here?”
“They got that guy out of my bed,” I replied lamely.
“Yeah, but THEY could have killed you all too,” Flirt said.
“I guess I’m the only one with any sense,” said Legal.
“Sense? Oh, please!” I snapped. “YOU bought them beer and then passed out while the drooling guy climbed in bed with us!”
We all stared at each other for a moment. I think Swimmer smiled first, followed by me. Soon all four of us were laughing, howling into the morning as we flopped back on our beds.
“We are ALL such stupid assholes,” I said finally. And we laughed some more, but the truth of that statement sunk in.
For the rest of our vacation, we laid low. Our guy friend from school joined us the next day, and was the only dude we hung out with for the remainder of the trip. He and Swimmer rode their bikes on the boardwalk. Flirt and I wandered the beach and collected shells. On our way out of the hotel she’d grin at her Desk Clerk/Bellboy. At night we wandered to an open restaurant and lingered over our food, then hung out on our balcony. Just five friends, with no need to party like rock stars and compete for the title of “most likely to act stupid and get us all killed.”
Those were good days.
So, what happened to the others? The Frat Boys stopped by the next day, but when they sensed our lack of interest in hanging out they found another group of girls in the next hotel over before nightfall. I’m guessing one of those girls was at least 21.
As for my Irish theatre student friends? Well, the next afternoon, Swimmer and I took a walk on the boardwalk. We wandered all the way to the pier, where there was a ferris wheel and several other rides, although nothing was in operation during the off-season. We planned to sit at the pier and just watch the ocean for a while. As we passed the ferris wheel, we noticed two guys in work uniforms doing some maintenance on it.
As we got closer and they came into view, my jaw dropped.
“What,” said Swimmer, and I just replied “look!”
The amusement park maintenance men were my “Irish theater student buddies on Spring Break.” They hadn’t seen us, and were chattering away as they worked, in regular old Maryland boy accents that were as far from Irish as you could get.
Sensing they were being watched, Jim – or whatever his real name was – turned around. His mouth closed and his eyes widened and he stood there looking over at us like he’d been caught with his hand in the cookie jar.
Swimmer laughed, and I wasn’t far behind her. We waved, turned around, and headed back up the boardwalk.
Needless to say, we didn’t meet them later. I’ll never know for sure, but if I was the betting type I’d lay down some greenbacks on them never showing up either.