Record 23: San Diego. Friday, July 5th, 2013. Day.
There was a jacuzzi at the bed and breakfast that no one used. It sat in its faux-plastic glory beneath a stained red awning, shriveled and crusted from rainfall and neglect. The water was the coolest blue you could imagine. Like 5 star hotel swimming pools. You could see to the bottom without debris clouding your vision, or obstructing your view in any way. That’s what Maddie thought. That’s what Maddie told Cool Josh the night before the wedding, in their bungalow, which was built of pine wood and smelled like cedar.
They’d just finished devouring one another, lost in a squall of white linen sheets, sharing breaths and whispering in the wearied timbre of lovers that had achieved mutual gratification.
“You can see straight through. To the bottom.” Said Maddie her eyelids lumbering heavy over hazel eyes.
“Really? I haven’t looked.”
“We’ll look together. Tomorrow.”
On the morning of July 5th, Maddie and Cool Josh, dressed formally and looking distinctly unlike the patrons of a $90/night bed and breakfast, stood over the jacuzzi, holding hands, and staring directly into the clearest blue jacuzzi basin they had ever seen.
“So there it is.” Said Cool Josh, forcing awe.
“There it is. A clear blue abyss.” Said Maddie, misusing the term abyss.
“You misused that word.”
“Well good then.”
They arrived in the Gaslamp Quarter via taxi cab approximately thirty minutes later, careening briskly down 5th avenue, past stoic-faced twentysomethings in Padres garb, and other resident tourists taking pictures with iPhones. Maddie, leading the way and pulling Cool Josh behind her, was in a hurry. Her step-grandmother’s wedding was to begin in five minutes at the Italian restaurant she privately owned with her soon-to-be-new husband, built into what used to be a red brick firehouse which had burned down a year prior.
Maddie tugged Cool Josh’s wrist, and they spun around a streetlamp. Cool Josh’s face was buried in his iPhone, and he attempted to navigate.
“We’re close. We’ll make it on time.” Cool Josh said.
“I don’t understand why we couldn’t have had the cabbie drop us off at the restaurant.” Said Maddie, coolly frustrated.
“Because we’re close, dear. And cabs are expensive.”
Once more, Maddie jerked Cool Josh around a streetlamp.
“You need to look up. You’re going to hurt yourself.” Said Maddie.
Cool Josh, obeying, looked up just in time to greet the spine of a streetlight’s crosswalk signal. He wailed in pain. And then he laughed. And Maddie tugged.
The Italian restaurant’s interior boasted the banal decor that only appeals to the aesthetically unoriginal. Red and white tablecloths. Lacquered wooden bar. Black leather stool chairs. Red plastic Coca-Cola drink tumblers. Piazza framed photos of Italian-American actors. Cool Josh, upon observing the interior from his assigned black-wooden meta side chair, withheld an urge to make an entirely snarky comment to Maddie – a modestly funny quip about step-grandmothers and pizza, that, through intrepid repetition at odd junctures during work or school time, would inevitably become one of many linchpin jests understood by no one outside of the Maddie/Cool Josh veil. Instead, Cool Josh politely observed the wedding procession taking place before a wood burning pizza oven, lit and flaming and making him hungry for pizza.
“Doesn’t she look young?” Asked Maddie with a whisper, referring to her step-grandmother, who wore a deep red wedding dress and too much make up.
“She does.” Cool Josh lied, still hungry.
Maddie gripped Cool Josh’s hand, tears welling in her eyes, as her step-grandmother, nearly a silhouette before the aureate glow of the oven fire, recited vows to the middle-aged man, 20 years her junior, donning an all-white tuxedo and top hat. This was to be her husband.
“I do.” Said Maddie’s step-grandmother over the resounding echo of her own bawling.
“I do, too.” Said Maddie’s step-grandmother’s now-husband before he was asked.
And then they kissed.
The reception was held on the restaurant’s wood-decked patio, beneath strung white Christmas lights and a setting sun; Cool Josh thought of postcards and cheap lush photography. Maddie spent the majority of the night genially chit-chatting with her step-grandmother, gleefully enduring the small talk of her step-grandmother’s loved and tolerated acquaintances. Cool Josh held Maddie’s hand and articulately withstood the apathetic chit-chat of the middle class elderly, all wrapped and lost in their rented formalwear. When he’d tire, or run out of quirky tidbits to contribute, he’d pump Maddie’s hand twice, and she’d bow out gracefully, excusing the both of them to the bar where drinks were complimentary, and thus, consumed with little discretion. This routine continued for two hours, until Cool Josh was uncomfortably drunk, and Maddie was feeling amorous.
“We have to say goodbye to my step-grandmother.” Said Maddie, as Cool Josh attempted to tug her away.
“Oh. Right.” Said Cool Josh, in his Cool Josh way.
Maddie wriggled free and darted headlong into the crowd of old folks and bad perfume. Cool Josh, meanwhile, lingered by the patio door, doing his best sober face. Couples came and went from the patio. Cool Josh remained cool, avoiding any and all eye contact with wrinkled men and women he’d met previously that evening, and preempting an urge to vomit from alcohol poisoning.
When Maddie returned, she held the hand of her step-grandmother, who held the hand of her new husband. Cool Josh wanted to, but did not, recoil.
“My step-grandmother wants to show us something on the roof.” Said Maddie, excited.
“Aren’t we on the roof?” Said Cool Josh, stupidly.
“This is the third floor. There’s a fourth.” Said Maddie’s step-grandmother.
“And the fourth floor has rooftop access.” Said Maddie’s step-grandmother’s now-husband.
Cool Josh forced a smile and took Maddie’s hand.
The roof was itself unimpressive, Cool Josh thought as he ambled onto flat slate shingles that divoted the straight course he attempted to walk with inebriated finesse. Maddie wrapped her arm around Cool Josh’s waist, keeping him upright.
“Thanks.” Said Cool Josh.
“Oh my God.” Said Maddie, looking in the direction of her step-grandmother.
“What?” Asked Cool Josh, confused, and now seeing double.
And then he saw it.
Maddie’s step-grandmother and her now-husband stood proudly before a bubbling jacuzzi, lit from beneath by multicolored fluorescent lights that dissolved from pastel greens to reds to blues and back to greens. Cool Josh, in a trance, eyes wide and anchored by the heat and alternating fluorescence, hovered over the hot tub, circling it slowly, like prey.
“It’s clear.” Cool Josh said. “You can see to the bottom.”
By the time he’d finished his seduction, he was already naked. Maddie and her step-grandparents, though, had not yet noticed. The three were, instead, busy discussing the specifics of jacuzzi-roof construction, in extravagant detail.
“Maddie!” Cool Josh called, now seated and boiling agreeably in the water.
Maddie spun around with dance-like precision, on her heels, before throwing her head back and giggling abundantly.
“When did you get in?” Asked Maddie, already undressing.
“While you were talking.” Said Cool Josh. “Hurry up and get naked.”
In seconds Maddie was donning her pale birthday suit and climbing into the roof-jacuzzi, wrapping her arms around Cool Josh and sucking his face. Her step-grandmother and her now-husband scrutinized Maddie and Cool Josh’s rampant affection, off-put, but nonetheless intrigued.
“Isn’t it supposed to be our wedding night?” Asked Maddie’s step-grandmother’s now-husband.
“It is our wedding night.” Said Maddie’s step-grandmother.
“Your step-granddaughter is sullying our jacuzzi.”
“Oh please. We’ve sullied that thing too many times ourselves.”
They both chuckled and kissed.
“Come. Let’s head back to the restaurant.” Said Maddie’s step-grandmother.
“You’re right. We should get back to our party.”
“Well, no. And yes, I suppose.”
“What are you on about?”
In the jacuzzi, Cool Josh and Maddie’s impassioned moans vaulted skyward, roaring brassy and shrill into the firmament.
“I need to get Maddie some pizza.” Said Maddie’s step-grandmother. “I know she misses my pizza.”
Maddie and Cool Josh sat post-coitus in the hot sex water, contented, exhausted, and dehydrated. Cool Josh, his head now full of bricks and his mouth parched, was gravitating towards the sweet release of sleep, his eyes sealed tight and mouth agape. Maddie shook him awake.
“Don’t sleep yet.” Said Maddie.
“Ugggghhh.” Said Cool Josh.
Maddie slapped Cool Josh.
“Don’t do that!” Cool Josh shouted.
“Don’t go to sleep! We still have to try the jacuzzi at the bed and breakfast.”
Maddie’s step-grandmother returned with two slices of wood-fired pizza, and two glasses of water.
“Out. The both of you.” She said to Maddie and Cool Josh.
“Okay step-grandma.” Maddie said, obeying, before turning to Cool Josh. “My step-grandmother wants us to get out.”
“I heard her.”
Maddie lifted herself out with ease, resting her buttocks on the shingled roof. Cool Josh stayed soaking and groggy.
“Josh. Get out.” Said Maddie, reaching her arms beneath Cool Josh’s pits, and tugging with all her might. Cool Josh didn’t budge, his eyes cast down into jacuzzi water.
“Josh! My step-grandmother has pizza!”
“I can see all the way to the bottom.” Said Josh, before vomiting profusely, and looking to Maddie’s step-grandmother. “I’m ready for my pizza.”