Mary, of used to live a couple of miles away, but vanished in the middle of last fall Mary, donates her company’s expertise to designing the artwork and programs for an annual film festival.
In return, the festival gives her company a few all access passes to the event. Last year, I stowed away in the trunk as “company intern.” This year, no one was free to go, except Mary, of used to live a couple of miles away, but, OHHH, *NOW* lives a couple of miles away from Atlantic City Mary, so I got promoted to employee!
I was packing for the weekend, which takes place on the sandy shores of Long Beach Island — when I started to hear reports of a hurricane moving up the coast from Florida.
Uhh. Hmm. Does that affect me, I thought to myself as I flung my bathing suit and shorts into my Mets duffel bag.
The next morning, I turned on the news at 4 AM and literally every single day’s weather square was an angry storm cloud face with lightning bolts electrocuting black women in dark blue BMWs.
Huh. Okay, but that’s *Brooklyn* weather. *I* won’t be in Brooklyn. I’ll be on an island! SO THERE!
Just for laughs, I typed in the zip code for the “resort” at which we were staying. “FLOOD ADVISORY WARNING. STAY OFF THE ROADS” Each day’s square was a picture of animal heads peering out of ark windows.
I emailed Mary to find out if the festival was canceled. It wasn’t.
I texted the director to see if it was going to be postponed. It wasn’t.
“IT’S FINE, DAWN! Get down here!” Okay. Well, I guess…
I told Mary I would be there by 4:00, in time for us to make the 4:30 cruise. O_o Sometimes I wonder why I publish these stories so that everyone knows just exactly how dumb I am? Anyhoo…
So… I’m driving *to a beach* during a torrential downpour in order to catch a boat for an afternoon booze cruise…
Suddenly, it occurs to me that I don’t know what I’m supposed to do when the car hydroplanes off the highway! Do I turn into it? Do I turn away from it?? My wipers are furiously swishing back and forth. I am going like 30 miles an hour down the parkway. Cars are cutting me off, drivers are giving me nasty looks. I am clearly going to die.
I contemplate turning back, but now I’m about 30 miles away and the weather is atrocious. I figure that I’m probably driving through the eye, which means, if I turn back, I’ll be in the eye the whole way home. Nope, best to go through. I finally get to Long Beach Island and the roads are FLOODED. There is a police SUV on the side of the road, the still water is more than halfway up HIS tires.
Now I’m imagining the hilarious phone call with my insurance company after my car gets washed away:
“Hello, how may we help you?”
“Yes, my car was washed away in a flood.”
“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that Mr. Summers… but our records don’t indicate that you are in a flood zone.”
“Well, I was on an island off the coast of New Jersey at the time.”
“Oh no. How long had you been on that island when the storm suddenly hit?”
“Um…well… see… actually, what happened was, I drove to the beach during the storm and arrived at the island as it was flooding.”
Anyway, I finally get to the resort. I can’t see anything. I’m terrified that if I turn the car off, it will never start again and I’m worried if I open the door, fish will swim in from outside. I pull up alongside another car. The figure inside has reddish hair, and I surmise that it’s Mary in her fancy new car. I look at the clock “crap, it’s after 4! She’s probably mad that she’s been waiting for me out in her car for fifteen minutes! But I can’t imagine this cruise is still on!”
I get out my car and run to her car and get in.
Thankfully, she had also just gotten there AND was also wondering why in the hell, she had driven to the beach during a hurricane.
Now, the “resort”… in the previous years, the festival had rented out these beach houses. They weren’t fancy, but they were close to the beach and they were fine. However, they were leveled after hurricane Sandy, so the festival relocated to a Catholic retreat location about 10 miles away on the Bay. It was run by nuns. So, there we are, sitting in a convent parking lot on a dark and stormy…afternoon (SO CLOSE to the hitting the bad writing trifecta there!) and wondering what to do. There wasn’t a check-in desk or any indication of where we were staying.
I shit you not.
I was still wearing my work clothes, complete with my chintzy little dress shoes.
“I have rainboots, I’ll go check it out.”
“Um… Yes…I have DEFINITELY seen this movie. So, now we split up…”
I KNOW she was thinking “thank God, Dawn is the black one!” #RACES
She gets out the car and heads over to the house. I dialed one of the organizers (because if I don’t have service, then I DEFINITELY know we’re going to die.) Apparently, the booze cruise is going to happen as scheduled, it’s just not going to leave the dock.
Mary comes back and says the house is locked…except for the basement, but she decided not to go down there. #Valid
“The ax killer was probably SO mad when you left!”
There was another house behind us. I pointed at it.
“Maybe that’s the house… it could be on the left, if you’re looking at it from here.”
She shrugged and we decided to drive over to it.
THE DOOR OPENED!
I grabbed my stuff and plopped it on the floor. There were two rows of beds on each side. Have you ever seen movies about orphanages? Yeah, that.
We found some bedrooms in the back each with two twin beds. We decided to claim one. I took off my jacket and hung it on the bedroom doorknob. Mary called her contact at the festival. I changed into shorts and sandals. I looked out the window and shook my head. But it didn’t matter, all I packed were shorts and sandals, so shorts and sandals it would be.
As I half listened to Mary talk to her contact and half berated myself for all the bad decisions I’d made *JUST THAT DAY ALONE* I deduced that we were NOT in the right house.
“No, there are no snacks here” Mary said.
“…but that one was locked…”
“No…there’s no second floor here…”
AWW FUUCCKK. WE BROKE INTO A CONVENT HOUSE!!
DDUUUUDDDEEEE. IN FLORIDA YOU *SO* GET SHOT FOR THAT!!!!
I half listened as the woman gave us directions to a different house and hurriedly shoved all my clothes and shoes back into my duffel bags.
Mary took the address down and we high tailed it out of the house.
“OH MY GOD! OOPS. SORRY! OH MY WORD!! JESUS! OOPS. SORRY! Umm… JESUS!!”
Mary is laughing. “Let’s just go to the cruise now and we’ll figure out the housing on the boat.”
“Okay, do you think I’ll need money or ID or anything?”
I patted my pockets and decided to bring my license just in case. I do look so very very young. It wasn’t in there. Oh, yeah, it’s in my jacket.
My jacket that is STILL hanging on the bedroom door of the house I broke into!
So, I break into the convent AGAIN to retrieve my jacket with my ID and cash and return to the car.
“…and this is why Dawn can’t get nowhere as a criminal.”
“Yeah, I am NOT taking you with me on any heists!”
The cruise was pretty packed. Mary drove, so I drank and drank and drank and drank.
Mary said hi to people she knew. They in turn introduced us to people we didn’t. This creepy guy was all “Hi, I’m Creepy guy.”
“I’m Mary, this is Dawn.”
“Where are you from?”
“Well, I just moved from BROOKLYN TO THE BEACH!” She says emphatically and then did a dance.
“I’m just from Brooklyn.”
“Oh me too, where?”
“Near the park.”
“Where on Ocean??”
Mmm…ummm…I think I hear my mom calling me!
I continued drinking, I know this, because there was a woman walking around and I *INTRODUCED* myself to her! LIKE VOLUNTARILY!
Mary was all: O_O
“I’m Dawn and this is Mary!”
And the girl, whose name was something like “Hanna” said “nice to meet you. It’s too bad we can’t actually go out though.”
And then Mary said “well, there was a big accident recently. A boat capsized and the crew drowned.”
“That’s awful,” Hanna said.
“Mary is such a downer!” I said
Hanna laughed. “Were you like a goth kid?”
Mary said yes.
“Pfft. You don’t even have any skull jewelery on you! Goth! HAH!”
Of course, Mary totes had on a skull ring. So’s my face.
We chatted some more with Hanna. I continued to drink and though I have no idea what we were talking about, Mary asked “aren’t your friend’s kids that age?”
And I scoffed and said “I have all new friends now,” adding an arm flourish that emptied the remaining contents of my glass all over her.
“Well, now I see why,” Hanna said without missing a beat.
They did eventually take the boat out and when we returned I went to dinner with Mary.
Afterwards, we finally got legally situated in a house and watched the end of the Boston hockey game. Mary said her mom watched baseball with her even though her mom doesn’t really understand the game.
“Meh. It’s baseball… what’s there to understand? Although, I guess I do text Alceste anytime I can’t figure out what happened…like with pass balls.”
“What’s a pass ball?”
“Uhh…crap…um…I DON’T KNOW! And I can’t ask him again! I’ve already asked him twice!”
“I’ve never heard of it…”
“It’s probably a flukey thing that only happens to awful teams like the Mets.”
The next day, the weather was slightly less “Doomsday adjacent.”
We went to the organizer’s house and while I saw syrup and a griddle, I did not see pancakes. I was sad. Mary and I sat on the patio and she ate a yogurt while I willed pancakes into existence with my mind. About half an hour later, a scent wafted through the sliding doors… SUCCESS!!
We went for a walk on the beach and then drove up to the fancy state lighthouse.
I heard a voice echo from the top.
“We made it!”
Mary said “Oh, you can go up!”
“Yeah, but from the sounds of it, you have to walk.”
“I know. It’s a lighthouse. There’s no elevator!”
My legs nearly fell off.
We went to some fancy sponsor’s cocktail party after that and then dinner. On the way to dinner, my Monkees playlist was on, and Mary was ACTUALLY singing along! I do not think Mary has EVER sang along to my car’s music EVER. IN TEN YEARS! NEVER.
We got to a burger place and they were playing “I wanna hold your hand” So we were both singing that and she goes “HA! You’re singing the Beatles!” And I was like “Oh yeah… see? I don’t get why they are so revered. This song is sooo cheesy!”
“Well, I grew up with it. So it has nice memories for me.”
“How’d you go from Beatles hand holding music to Alceste’s murder rape metal music?!”
She laughed “It’s not rape music!”
“Pfft, at the end of all Alceste songs someone is either murdered or raped.” #truestory
“You should tweet that!”
“Okay, but first, I’ve got to troll @juliusgoat about the Beatles suckingness.”
We saw a couple of movies at the festival and then went to the after party.
I was trying to follow the Blackhawks game on my phone, but just when I thought it was over, the stupid Kings tied it and my battery died four minutes into overtime. I borrowed Mary’s phone to continue listening until I killed her battery too. Now, I was bored and phone less. But they advertised “strong men bending steel,” which…listen… I am there to see some strong men bending steel.
A guy walked in with a huge box. I whispered to Mary “a mortician is here.”
“What do you mean mortician”?
“Dude…he’s old with a pale face, gray hair and he’s wearing an ill fitting dark black suit. MORTICIAN…well, or magician…”
He was a magician.
He picked Mary to be his assistant.
I yelled out “saw her in half!”
He didn’t. He did steal her watch though.
I was very impressed. As she put her watch back on, I sighed “man, if I could do that, I wouldn’t be a magician, I’d just steal watches all the time!”
“Yeah, but you’d probably leave your driver’s license behind.”
The pub kept putting out trays of soft pretzels, but we kept missing them. Finally, I saw someone walking away with one and made a beeline for the tray. There were TWO left. So… I picked them up. As I walked toward Mary, this guy stabs me in shoulder with serving tongs. I thought he was trying to get my attention to say hi, so I waved back. But then I realized …oh, I guess he was about to use the tongs to take a pretzel, when I took the last two. THEN I GOT MAD! HOW ARE YOU STABBING A STRANGER WITH TONGS OVER BREAD, HOMIE??!!
I wished I had realized what he was doing right away, because I TOTES would have licked both pretzels right in his face!
By now, I’m super bored and ready to leave, but I drove and didn’t want to make Mary leave before steel was bended.
(The next day, she was like “If I had driven my own car, I would have left! O_O)
Finally, the strong men came out. The first guy bent a horseshoe.
“Pfft. *I* could bend a horseshoe!”
No, I couldn’t.
Then a guy snapped a wrench in half.
“Who *hasn’t* snapped a wrench in half?”
No one. Can’t be done.
They bent pipes and rods and folded nails into shapes. It was pretty cool.
The next day would have been a perfect beach day, but I didn’t want to sand my car all up, so I just headed home…
From the BEACH TO BROOKLYN!