Melanie and Carol were sipping Perrier in the club lounge, talking about their tennis game and remarking on the heat. Here it is September and still blazing hot. Seems the summers are getting hotter and longer every year. Oh well, thank God for cool showers and air-conditioning.
Just then, Sam wandered in, smiling. “Well, well, well, who have we here? Why it’s Melanie and Carol” Sam removed his baseball cap, bowed deeply while sweeping the cap in an arc across the floor. “Mind if I join you?”
Melanie smiled. Carol nodded and said, “of course”.
Sam was a good looking guy, tall with thick light brown hair, forty-something, athletic, Air Canada pilot. Sam sat down. A lot of the women in the club eyed him longingly. A lot of the men envied him for being such a chick magnet. Everyone liked being around him. He had an easy laugh and generous nature.
“So ladies, how was your game? I see you’re looking all fresh, clean and cool”
“It was hot everlasting,” said Melanie “I’m still recovering,” Carol nodded in agreement.
“And speaking of recovering, I see you’ve recovered nicely from last weekend.”
“Don’t start, Sam” Melanie half whispered.
Just then Mike walked in. “Mikey, my boy,” Sam called. “Come here and pull up a chair.”
Mike had dark brown hair and piercing brown eyes. He was a cop and spent a good deal of time weight training and it showed. He sauntered over, squash racquet in hand pulling a chair from the next table. “You know we’re booked for a game of squash.”
Sam continued, “Yes, I know, Mikey. We were just reminiscing about last weekend and the rapids on the Ottawa River. While we guys unwound from the drive by swimming and playing volleyball, these ladies played a game called, ‘Who can drink the most without passing out?’”
They had brought two tents, one for sleeping, the other for supplies. Melanie, Carol and Sam shared the sleeping tent. Mike and his girlfriend had their own tent.
“You and two chicks in one tent. That is so you,” said Mike with a smile.”
“Just to keep the record straight, there was no hanky-panky. I thought you should know. Furthermore, we did not drink that much. Sam has a tendency to exaggerate.” Melanie said quite sternly.
“I don’t know. I thought I heard some moaning coming from your tent,” teased Mike. “I just don’t know who was the moaner and who was the moanee.”
Trying to change the subject, Melanie said, “I hear that every year, somebody goes missing and their bodies are never found,”
“Ah, that’s just gossip that’s passed around so as to make it appear more exciting – even dangerous. None of that has ever happened.” said Mike.
“It was fun,” Sam continued, “We were singing, laughing and rowing. The folks in the other rafts were having water fights. Pretty soon, one of them fell in – then two – then five. Everybody was having a good time. It was great.”
Melanie interjected, “Until ripples appeared in the water and the river narrowed.”
Suddenly, as they were coming around a corner, everything changed. “Holy shit!” Melanie shouted. “There they are!” The helmsman barked “Row, Row, Row!!” The rapids were so severe, at times they’d be paddling air. Walls of water came down on them, washing over them. The raft careened way high, then came crashing down, covering the raft and everyone in the raft with water. At times, they were gulping water, then gasping for air. The raft continued to heave up and down and sideways. “Row, row!!!” He kept shouting. At times they couldn’t see the prow of the raft nor the people rowing from there. By some miracle, the raft remained upright.
“I remember. I was at the prow, rowing with Mike. Remember, Mike?” said Carol.
“I sure do. We worked hard. One of the other rafts capsized.”
Sam, “Yeah, it was pretty rough. But you know, after two hours of this, when we could finally see the shore getting closer, suddenly, I felt it was over too soon.”
“Well, I sure didn’t think it was over too soon,” added Melanie. “I felt like a Titanic survivor. After we touched solid ground and got out of our wet suits, I was ready for celebrating life on terra firma.”
“Anyway, to continue,” Sam continued. “Miss Prudence over here tied one on that night and the last time I saw her she was dancing with a beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other. That was about 10 or 11. I turned in because I had signed up for war games the following day and I wanted to be alert.”
“I seem to recall leaving Carol at the party and crawling back to the tent at some ungodly hour. I also remember that Carol had won a pink flamingo. What did you do to win a pink flamingo, Carol?” asked Melanie.
“I don’t remember,” was Carol’s response.
The next morning, Melanie woke up sweaty and greasy. It was so hot inside the tent. She unzipped and stepped out. She looked at her watch. Man, it’s only 8AM. Sam was gone. Carol was lying on her back in the grass by the supply tent. Melanie’s head ached and her tongue stuck to the roof of her mouth. She got a Styrofoam cup from the supply tent, filled it with water and took a couple of aspirins. Carol had made coffee on the Coleman.
“How do you feel, Carol” Melanie croaked.
“Like shit. I woke up with grass stains on my knees. I really don’t want to know how I got them” she whispered hoarsely. “My elbows feel raw, too.”
“Why are you lying in the grass, I ask stupidly?”
“The tent got so hot.”
But Carol remembered the reason why she lay on the grass. She had come back to the tent only to see Sam and Melanie going at it, not hearing the zipper on the tent. Quietly, she rezipped the tent and lay down on the grass. She heard the muffled moans.
Melanie grabbed her cigarettes, a magazine, and coffee and headed for the outhouse. She was sitting and sipping coffee, smoking and reading. When she had finished she threw the cigarette down the hole, wiped and headed out. Just then, she realized she had thrown paper on top of a lit cigarette. Well, she had no more coffee to out the flame so she panicked.
“Hey, anybody here have a full bladder? I think this outhouse is going to burn,” She shouted.
“No. I just went,” was one reply.
So, she ran back to the supply tent, filled her styrofoam cup with water and hurried back, in her panic, spilling most of it along the way. Just then, a young man came out of the outhouse and said, “I put out the fire.”
She was so relieved.
“Not that I looked any better but you sure were a sight that morning with smeared makeup, bed-head, holding a coffee mug, ready for fire-fighting” laughed Carol.
“I wish I could have seen it,” added Sam.
“Be thankful you didn’t” replied Melanie.
“Well, that was the weekend that was. I think we all had a good time.” Mike said.
“Maybe so, but I will never do that again,” smiled Melanie.
“Say Melanie, didn’t you promise to have dinner with me tonight?” Sam asked playfully.
“Did I? When did I promise that?”
“I don’t remember anything like that.”
“Well, you don’t remember a lot of things from last weekend, but I do, so I’ll pick you up at seven. Be ready.”
“Where are you taking me?”
“It’s a surprise.” Sam smiled and left.
After they bade their good-byes, Sam and Mike headed out. “I think Sam likes you, and I think you like him,” said Carol.
“I’m not going to become another notch on his belt, of that you can be sure,” answered Melanie.
Carol chuckled to herself.