September 27, 2004

There Are Two Kinds Of Boats On The Lake - Submarines And Targets

[Part I is here. Part II is here.]

After a while, we said our goodbyes to Jim-billy and Will-billy (although I'm not sure they noticed; they were encased in a cloud of batter dust from non-stop fish frying and probably couldn't see who we were) and headed over to a different part of the lake chain to visit Wilford's brother. When we got there, Wilford and Squeak were already there. As were Carmine and StitchMistress, in their pontoon boat. Which had a good ten-degree list to it.

Damn Russian subs.

Fortunately, we were able to maneuver Wilford's brother's boat out of his ShoreStation and Carmine's pontoon into it so we could hoist it up and see what was what. After pulling the plug so the pontoons could drain (it took a good twenty minutes for the torrent coming out of the left pontoon to slow to a trickle), we inspected the boat for torpedo damage and found none. Then Squeak noticed that the left drain plug hadn't been taped before insertion like the right plug was.

"Clever bastards, those Russians," I said. "They knew you'd see a torpedo wake in this shallow water, so they sent a frogman on a sled to pull your drain plug, take all the tape off, and put it back. They were probably hoping it would leak just slow enough to sink you in the middle of the lake on your way home."
"Fine," replied DA with a sigh. "I'll go update the threat profile on the depthfinder. Would a frogman on a sled show up more like a walleye or a pike?"
"Dammit, man! There's no time for that! They could be doing the same thing to your boat right now!"
"Good point. Honey?" DA called to his wife, who was still on their boat.
"Yes, dear?" Dimples replied.
"Are there any Russian frogmen lurking suspiciously around the bow of our - "
"Stern," I corrected.
"- stern of our boat?"

As Dimples started walking toward the bow, it occurred to me that I should have just kept my mouth shut.

"No frogmen, dear," she said after a look around, as if checking for suspicious underwater activity was just another part of Life On The Lake.
But we still hadn't answered the real question. "How about the other end?" I asked. Nothing there, either.

"Guess we dodged one this time," DA said.
"Unless they've already done it."
"No problem, guys," reassured Wilford's brother. "I deployed the sub nets as soon as you got here."

Our safety assured, we relaxed and had another beer, just as Kenny and Leen arrived. Actually, Carmine announced them as "Captain Crabby and the not-quite-Mrs." The question "Why did he call you Captain Crabby?" was out of my mouth before I could stop it (specifically, I remembered that morning's warning against bringing up the subject of his boat one ohnosecond too late), and I thought he was going to go nuclear on the spot.

My normal covering tactic in the event of a faux pas of this nature is to fake a seizure, but I wasn't sure I could get far enough into the routine to evoke sympathy before Kenny chucked me into the lake. Fortunately, flower_goddess bailed me out by offering Kenny a beer and a cigarette. Then everything was cool until the Girl With No Pants drove by on her Jet-Ski.

OK, so she wasn't really the Girl With No Pants. But when you're a Grade-A hottie wearing a two-piece swimsuit with a flesh-colored bottom part and driving a Jet-Ski at 40 knots, people are going to jump to conclusions. Actually, the collected masculinity present didn't so much jump to conclusions as we did drool to them. I think what tipped off the womenfolk that something was amiss was that we all simultaneously stopped talking in mid-sentence. They expressed their displeasure with our indiscretion by various methods; for instance, Dimples beaned DA with a waterball to the back of the head. As I was congratulating her for such a superb shot - from the boat 30 feet away, into the sun, with a crosswind, and without hitting Squeak (who stood between them), flower_goddess snatched the boonie hat from my head, filled it with lake water, and then replaced it. Squeak, Leen, and StitchMistress settled for withering glances directed at the appropriate Neanderthals, which told me that their Revenge Blue-Plate Specials would be cold dishes. It took several minutes of coughing, hacking, and gagging before I could clear my lungs of the pathogen-rich soup known as The Lake, and by then it was time to go home and get ready for the Mardi Gras party.

Yes, a Mardi Gras party. In September. They say that on the lake, you forget to count the days. But this is ridiculous.

Posted by Chris at September 27, 2004 04:33 PM

Category: Tales Of My Neighborhood