I awoke to a persistent buzzing coming from next to my pillow. “Fuck, Vivian! Is that Peter again?”
“Sorry, I thought I turned my ringer off, I must have left it on vibrate,” she moaned, muting her phone.
Just then, there was a knock at the door. “I don’t even know why I try, I will never sleep again,” I said to myself.
I spent half the night drinking wine and waiting for Vivian to get home from her last shift working the local carnival. She now had another two weeks off before following the fair to its next location.
The knocking continued, and I yelled to my daughter. “Rosie, go get the door! I’m sure it’s for you!” I heard the pitter patter of over-sized feet running down the hall, followed by the front door squeaking open.
“Mommy, can I go outside and play?” Rosie asked.
“Yes, but get dressed first, and tell your friend you only have an hour until I have to take you to your dad’s house for the weekend,” I said.
Rosie left her friend, Ivan, standing on our front porch leaning on his scooter. She scurried into her bedroom to throw on glittery leggings and a T-shirt dress.
Vivian pulled open the blinds to take a peek. “Oh, look at Ivan standing there by his new scooter, he thinks he’s so cool. Rosie, Ivan thinks he is better than you!” she announced, loud enough for the boy to hear.
“He does?” Rosie asked.
“Yup! Look at his shiny new scooter. He’s here to show it off because his is better than yours. You will never own one that cool!”
“Vivian, knock it off,” I warned.
“No matter what you own, Rosie, Ivan’s will always be better. His parents are rich and they can afford to buy him anything he wants.”
I’m not sure where Vivian was coming up with her bullshit. Ivan lived in the same apartment complex as we did and wore cheap kid’s clothes from Target like Rosie. I think she would have said anything to get a rise out of somebody. She wandered back into the bedroom and sat down next to me. “I hate that dumb kid. There is something wrong with him. Whenever I ask him a question, he ignores me.”
Even though Vivian’s breath wasn’t particularly pleasant on a good day, today it smelled like her mouth hosted New York City’s entire public sewer system.
I inched back. “Maybe it’s because you intimidate him? He’s been nothing but polite to me, he’s shy.”
“He’s a little prick!” Vivian said.
Rosie shut the front door as she left.
“Should I wear your extra swimsuit today?” Vivian asked.
The water park season was coming to a close, and she had convinced me weeks ago to join her at Trickling Ponds on its last day. Despite my better judgment, I agreed.
Since Rosie didn’t want to go, we arranged it on a day she would be at her dad’s house. I was jealous.
Preparing for the worst, I stocked up on plenty of adult beverages to bring along with us.
“You should wear whatever makes you feel comfortable,” I said. I prayed that she would just wear her men’s style trunks and rash guard to avoid the negative attention she drew.
“I just don’t know if I can pull off a woman’s bathing suit yet,” she admitted.
Not to be a dick about it, but without some serious reconstructive surgeries, waist training and voice lessons there was just no way Vivian would ever pull off being female. Believe me, I tried my damnedest to help her. I loved her to death, but she was living in a fantasy land.
That must have not been my lucky day because Vivian wore my extra suit.
We were twins!
If by twin I meant giant, broad shouldered, muscular-legged, long-footed, square-jawed man-lady with boobs. Well, at least we had the tits part in common.
“Do you mind driving?” Vivian asked, “I’m low on gas.”
“I wanted to drink today.”
“That’s fine, baby girl, I’ll drive your car back for you.” That I could live with, so I agreed.
Once packed, I hustled Rosie into the car. After dropping her off for the weekend, I drove us the hour and a half to the water park. It was another blisteringly hot day and I couldn’t wait to get my drink made and submerge my fat ass into the water. I had consumed more malt beverages than usual lately, and seeing myself in a bathing suit had been a sobering sight. It worried me that Vivian might look better in it than I did. Just kidding!
Trickling Ponds was at capacity, and all the parking spots in the main structure were filled. A park employee directed us to a small side lot a mile and a half from where we were headed. “Take the tram in,” he said. The water park was on top of a hill, in an area that bordered a cattle farm. We had to navigate a narrow winding dirt road to the hidden parking lot. To make matters worse, I was now facing a bigger problem. Trickling Ponds checked bags upon entry and they did not allow you to bring in drinks.
How was I going to smuggle in my tequila?
“You will have to drink it now, babe,” Vivian decided.
“No way! I would die. Here,” I said handing her the bottle. “Put it in the bottom of your backpack, under the towel.
“That won’t work. They’ll make me empty the bag.” Vivian scoped out my body. “I’ll stick it in the back of your suit!”
Although that sounded like a terrible idea at first, I must admit, that bitch was a genius! My bathing suit was tight due to my excess weight, and I had on a loosely fitting cover up that disguised the bottle perfectly.
We loaded onto the tram and were happy to find two empty rows together, one facing the other. It was like we had our own little train car.
Our joy soon ended as a family of four boarded next to us. They took up the entirety of the bench seat directly across from where we were sitting. I noticed Vivian was becoming increasingly annoyed. She leaned her leg out and placed her feet on the bench across from us, taking over half their sitting space. They were polite and pretended like they didn’t notice, huddling together and avoiding eye contact.
“Vivian, put your feet down, that’s so rude!” I whispered in her ear. She kept them exactly where they were and acted like she couldn’t hear me. Her smug smile gave it away. This made the tram ride uncomfortable for everyone involved except Vivian.
Exiting couldn’t come soon enough.
Once we successfully smuggled my tequila into Trickling Ponds, Vivian found a locker to rent. While she was setting the code, I spotted a frozen lemonade stand and eagerly took my wallet to make a purchase.
Disappointment set in when I realized it was closed. Someone filled the booth floor to ceiling with dusty old boxes. Vivian joined me just seconds after I made the discovery.
“What kind of shit hole is this?” she asked. “Why have lemonade stands if you aren’t gonna sell lemonade?”
I giggled. “Well shit, what should I buy as a mixer?”
Vivian pointed out a self serving slushy stand. That was good enough for me! We entered the line. I looked around the tiny water park. “This place is old, huh?” I asked my girlfriend.
“I think they built it in the 1980s. They have not kept it up.”
“No kidding, it’s kind of scary!”
Peering onto the ground, I added, “It looks like it needs to be re-cemented, see all the cracks?”
“Wait until we get into the wave pool, it will slice open our feet! Last time I came here, I limped for a week.”
“I think I can do without the wave pool,” I decided.
Finally, it was my turn to help myself to some slushy. I looked around but couldn’t find a disposable cup anywhere. I walked over to the attendant, “Excuse me, where are the slushy cups?”
“We just have the twisty souvenir cups for $20.”
I glanced at the overpriced, undersized, skinny pieces of hollow plastic. I couldn’t make a drink in one of those. They were too tiny and expensive.
“No thanks. I would just like a regular cup please,” I said.
“Okay. Go to the lunch area and order the cup. Once you get it, bring it back here to fill.”
There was a giant line. “We can go straight to the front; we don’t have to wait in another line, right?” Vivian asked the clerk.
“No. Wait in line again.”
“We just waited for twenty minutes for nothing! Why would you have a slushy machine without cups? That is the dumbest thing I have ever heard of! Where is your manager?” she shouted. Several groups of park goers turned around to witness the commotion. I wanted to dig a hole in the ground and insert my head. The slushy attendant pointed us in the manager’s direction. Vivian’s attitude didn’t change, and the manager refused to help us.
“I just want to get on an attraction, Asterisk! I hate that you are making us waste our time to feed your addiction.”
“Why don’t you go on a slide and I’ll meet you at the exit afterwards,” I suggested.
“No way! I have been on all the single rider slides before. I brought you here so I could go on the doubles. Vivian’s eyes lit up. Go rent us a double tube, then we don’t have to wait in line. Do it while I buy your cup!”
I left Vivian at the food stand and made my way to the rental booth. They had sold out for the day and I knew Vivian wouldn’t take the news lightly. “This is the worst water park I have ever been to! I’m never coming here again. What a waste of money my season pass was.”
I decided that I would just take whatever drink the stand was selling and forfeit the slushy just to move forward. I ended up with warm peach tea in a cup with a smashed top, incapable of supporting a lid. Once back to the locker, I mixed my pathetic cocktail. Upon inspection I noticed black specks and a piece of plastic in the bottom. I guessed they probably had taken this one out of the trash to teach Vivian a lesson. Here I was being the one to bear the bitch’s burden. I picked the junk out of the cup and prayed the alcohol would kill whatever germs were inside.
“Have you ever been on a hydro-magnetic water slide before?”
Vivian asked. She had the enthusiasm of a hawk making its first kill.
“No, I haven’t.”
“Let’s go, girl!”
I followed Vivian to the slowest moving line I had ever been subjected to. Though it was only about fifty people deep, we stood for close to two hours. I noticed that everyone, but us, was under the age of eighteen. I was feeling old, awkward and out of place.
Luckily, the younger generation didn’t seem to think a transgender girl was weird. Vivian talked non-stop in a voice much louder than normal and every third word was a profanity. Although I did my best to remind her we were around children, it didn’t have much of an impression.
I tried to down my crappy cocktail, but it was disgusting and hard to swallow. It was making me nauseous, so when Vivian swept it out of my hands and took a giant chug, I was almost grateful.
Eventually we made it to the front of the line and entered the ride for the most unfulfilling twenty seconds in history.
“We waited two hours for that?” I asked.
“Right? So much for the hydro-magnetism! It’s a total scam. What should we go on next?” Vivian grabbed my hand and led me off of the ride. “Oh! I know!”
“Wait, wait, wait,” I begged. “I need a bathroom break, a new soda and a half hour to relax in the lazy river, please.”
“Stop trying to ruin the day with your laziness!”
“I’m old!” I reminded her. “I’m not a spring chicken like you. I want to relax.”
“Pfft, please, you are only three years older than me.”
“But I’m a parent!” There was no other way out, I had to use my one “free pass” on Vivian. That’s right! I asked her if she wanted to smoke a doobie.
The next thing I knew we were on the long tram ride to the car. It was virtually empty. This time I put my feet up.
“I can’t wait to get high!” Vivian admitted, “I bet it will be so much more fun here after we smoke a joint!”
A voice echoed from behind. “It’s fun to be high! I used to love to get high. Can’t get high no more though.”
We turned around to see what appeared to be the female version of Crocodile Dundee, only with a case of schizophrenia. She had on a giant gray hat, over-sized sunglasses and a tan outfit made purely of khaki.
“Do you work for the park?” Vivian asked.
“Yup, I ride on this tram all day long. I can’t get high though,” she chuckled. She was bizarre, yet probably the most entertaining thing we had encountered all day.
“Why can’t you get high?” I asked.
“Marijuana is legal now.”
“Oh no, never marijuana! Cocaine, acid, ecstasy, Special K. Wee hoo!”
Vivian and I looked at each other and laughed. Our new friend was laughing too.
“This is our stop,” Vivian told her as the tram slowed. “We’ll be heading back soon. Maybe we will see you then?”
“Getting high is fun but then it hurts your brain. I was jumping off the roof into my swimming pool with my sister but I hit my head. Now my sister is dead!” she laughed. Because of her thick pair of shades you couldn’t really tell who she was talking to, if anybody.
We hopped off the tram and headed to my car.
Soon it was time to re-board. We sat across from our new buddy. “How’s it hanging?” I asked. It looked like she had never stopped talking. Actually, I’m sure she hadn’t because she didn’t acknowledge my question at all and instead continued her gibberish. “High as an angel in the sky. I’m floating when I’m high. My sister couldn’t fly.”
Vivian and I were just the perfect amount of “high” to enjoy it.
Even though I was reluctant, I accompanied Vivian to the next ride. It was at least an hour before we reached the front of the line.
“Step on here, please.” I looked over to where the ride attendant was pointing. Was he fucking serious? I glanced at Vivian for some kind of reaction, but she was following orders for once. Adjacent to the entrance of the ride was a giant scale. These jerks would weigh us before allowing us to ride.
“Sorry! You are too heavy!” he informed us, after reading our combined weight.
That had to be the most horrific thing that had ever happened in my life.
“What?” I asked.
“You are too big to ride together. Exit the ride, please move along. Next!”
“Wait, wait!” I screamed.
Now it was my turn to go psycho, “What is the weight limit for two people?”
“400 lbs. Please move, you are holding up the line!”
I glanced over to Vivian and looked her up and down. Exactly how much of the 400 was her fault? Worse yet, how much was mine?
“No! I will not moooove!” Like a mad birthing cow, I continued my intoxicated tirade. “We waited in line for an hour to ride this! There was not a weight limit posted anywhere in the line! None of the other employees working here bothered to pull me aside and tell me I was TOO FAT to get on! I’m not leaving until I get on a ride, any ride!”
Vivian’s face was gleaming, my craziness had impressed her.
My tantrum also influenced the park employees. We were promptly escorted to the front of another water slide and the two of us climbed onto a giant inner tube together. “Remove your sunglasses!” A lifeguard said.
Just as I was pulling them off, they propelled us down the giant slide and an enormous force ripped my favorite pair of gold-rimmed shades right out of my hand. Before I could react to what had happened, we were already at the bottom of the ride floating in a foggy pool of over-chlorinated water.
I jumped off the raft and violently searched through the waves.
“You must exit!” the lifeguard called out.
“I lost my sunglasses, I need to find them!”
“You can go to the lost and found after the park closes.”
“Grrrr! Can we just please leave now?” I begged Vivian.
Even though she hated the water park too, she was insistent on staying to get her money’s worth.
“Asterisk, I’m not coming back again because this place sucks too much. I have to at least stay a full day so I know the money spent on my season pass wasn’t a complete waste!”
“So in essence, you are paying to torture yourself?”
Finally, something I said made sense to her, and she agreed to leave.
Unfortunately, we didn’t see our new friend on the final tram ride back to the car. I never found my sunglasses either.
Enjoy what you just read?? GOOD! That was Chapter 20 in the new book.