The arguing couple next door had caught our attention. From the dock, you could look into their yard, where the two middle aged pair were screaming insults at each other. Either they were drunk or didn't give a damn or both. We could clearly hear the heated verbal battle as the two hurled graphic profane insults at one another. I used to think this was a classy, upscale neighborhood, but the crass language & screaming made the neighborhood suddenly feel so ghetto, quickly going down the gutter. I guess you really can't buy class.
The man was on the deck trying to talk on the phone while his wife stood in the doorway yelling insults at him.
"Don't ignore me when I'm f*ckin talking to you, a$$hole!", she ranted.
"Bitch!', he answered, "You ain't talking! Your ass is just screamin' & I ain't puttin' up with your sh*t!" Then he put one finger in the ear to block out the woman's screeching while he held the phone flush against the other ear.
The harpy woman looked furious that he had turned his back at her, ignoring her. So she yelled, "F*ck you, muthaf*cka! I'm the one who puts up with your sh*t! You don't even appreciate all that I've done for you! I got new tits for you, a$$hole!"
He turned to her & yelled back, "I didn't ask you to get new tits! The old ones were fine. In fact, they felt a lot better & softer than the tetherballs you got strapped to your chest!"
Oh, my! We were learning all sorts of things about the neighbors, like how her new tits feel hard like tetherballs.
She responded, "Well you sure didn't complain last night when you were titty f*cking me!"
Too much information! I suddenly imagined the man on top of his wife, humping between two yellow tetherballs. The man stormed off to the garage, still talking on his phone while the woman slammed the backdoor shut & retreated indoors. The fight was over, & we returned to the backyard, giggling at the new found revelations about the neighbors.
I found myself in a group with Bud, Sailor Jack, & the New Guy. We didn't know the New Guy. So we introduced ourselves. It turns out the New Guy was invited to the BBQ by another friend of ours. She's an accountant, & I'll call her Countess. And it's not just because she's good at numbers & tallying things. Her grandfather was actually from Transylvania, Romania, the home of Count Dracula!
Countess met New Guy at work. New Guy was a new transfer to the company. He said Countess was nice to him & introduced him around. He said they'd been to lunch a few times in the past two weeks. And over drinks after work Friday, Countess invited him here to the Sunday BBQ.
It sounded about right. Countess was very friendly, & she also had a talent for making strangers into friends, or at least friendly acquaintances. Hearing New Guy gush about how nice Countess was made me think of her other talent. And when New Guy asked, "Is she seeing anyone?"
Bud, Sailor Jack, & I exchanged a quick look before Sailor Jack answered, "No one special at the moment."
"Really? A beautiful girl like that, still single?", New Guy mused.
Bud said, "She just hasn't found the right person yet."
I had to drink my can of beer to keep from blurting out, 'But she sure does like looking!'
Countess was a maneater. She was one of the most liberated, most free spirited people I know. She went after what (& who) she wanted & made no apologies for being independent & assertive. It's what I loved about her. She didn't give a damn what other people thought. She just did whatever or whoever she wanted.
Many men have fallen for her dazzling beauty, sharp wit, & passionate free spirit. They foolishly chase her until they unknowingly fall into her trap, & she devours them & discards them as soon as her appetite is fed. Then she quickly moves on to the next quarry, all while the leftovers of the men she consumed are left dazed & confused, wondering what happened to end the glorious feast they reveled in & how was it she slipped away.
It's quite sad to see these broken, befuddled suitors, trying in vain to hold on to Countess like some prized rare bird to be kept in a cage. They failed to realize that the fiery free spirit that attracted them in the first place is the very reason why they cannot keep her locked up. As hard as they try desperately to hold on to her, this bird cannot be tamed, cannot be captured, cannot be changed. You cannot cage a phoenix, for out of the ashes of former burning lovers, she rises anew, more glorious than before, blazing brighter than ever.
The smart ones turn away from her, realizing that she is beyond their reach; these grieving men mourn the loss & live with their sight intact, perhaps someday to look out & find love once more. The foolish ones are unable to look away, & they are blinded by her fierce radiance, losing their way & eventually fall to ruin, with others left to pick up their shattered pieces.
New Guy seemed nice. I didn't think he'd survive Countess. Not that she ever dated anyone from work seriously, though a few have tried & failed. Those failures eventually moved elsewhere. I suppose that should be enough to keep New Guy at bay, but I wondered if it would be prudent to warn him to keep it professional & friendly with Countess. Then I wondered if it was any of my business.
As I debated whether or not to save New Guy from a broken heart, Serenity, the Captain's wife approached. We introduced her to New Guy, & in the introduction discussion, learned that New Guy was from the middle mountainous region of the country. Born & raised in snow country, he lived most of his life up in the great mountains region. He loved skiing & snowboarding & outdoors activities. So when a position opened up in a coastal area by the beach, he jumped at the chance to escape the blizzards & frozen winters to enjoy the sun & surf life of the beaches.
Serenity, the retired navy lawyer/hippie said, "That's the spirit! Life is too short to be wasted on fears & what ifs. If there's something you want to do, then just go for it! I've learned life is a lot more fun & enjoyable that way."
We raised our drinks & cheered to those wise words. Then Serenity flipped her new short hair do & floated off to mingle with the other guests. Bud, Sailor Jack, & I continued talking with New Guy. For now, I figured that I would stay out of it. If he wanted to pursue Countess, then let him. Whatever happens, happens.
We walked over to the dock to look at the waters & get a close up view of the Captain's newly acquired used boat. It was quite a marvelous ship. And it fit perfectly in the evening scenery, bobbing gently in the water with the night skies of clouds & stars peering through the gray veils making for an incredible sight.
As we made conversation with New Guy, offering tips on the local lay of the land & best places to check out, Sailor Jack excused himself to man the grill. In less than half an hour, he proclaimed the brisket would be ready. Not that we were starving. We had hot dogs & chips & dip & cupcakes to tie us over til the main meal was ready. Sometimes, snack foods is all you really need to enjoy a good party.
As we walked to the grill to accompany Sailor Jack & offer unsolicited grilling advice just to pester him really, the Captain & Serenity led a group to the dock that we just left. Bud & I made fun of Sailor Jack & questioned his grilling skills. At the beach BBQ yesterday, he got drunk, wanted to roast his own hotdog, left it on the grill, then sat in a beach chair, opened a bag of chips, took a bite of a chip, then passed out. Soon, birds were on him, munching on the chips while his hot dog burned to a crisp.
We laughed as we showed New Guy the pictures of Sailor Jack passed out with birds on him, eating chips, & the pictures of his burnt black hot dog that even the birds refused to eat. Sailor Jack told us to shut it & get him another beer. Bud, New Guy, & I laughed & made our way to the drinks coolers.
We met the Captain there who came to fetch drinks for him & his wife. She was still with the group by the boat, entertaining them, her short length hair flipping everytime she tossed her head back to laugh with them.
The Captain seemed to be enjoying a good buzz as we chit chatted at the coolers. He looked out to where his wife was & proclaimed, "She's quite the beauty, ain't she? I'm a very lucky man."
We all nodded in agreement. Bud said, "She looks great."
"She sure does," the Captain acknowledged, beaming proudly. Then he confused me by adding, "It took a lot of work to get her looking like that, but it was worth it."
Oh, talk about awkward! New Guy & Bud look surprised just like I was. Why was the Captain telling us that his wife had a lot of work done? Granted, as a retired navy surgeon, I had heard him describe some of the most complex, interesting, at times disgusting, cases he worked on, sparing no intimate details. He held nothing back & spoke matter of factually about things that made other people squirm uncomfortably & blush.
I couldn't decide if this was one of those times where he spoke candidly or was he that drunk? Or maybe he really was proud of the results of the work his wife had undergone. Well, who am I to judge?
I tried to break the awkward silence by saying, "Well, as long as you're happy."
"We both are," the Captain replied, "I mean, my wife & I both knew the potential was there. We just had to go for it & get all that work done."
Huh. I was flabbergasted. I didn't know what else to say so I just grunted, "Huh."
Somehow the Captain took that as a request to elaborate on what was done. He said proudly, "Oh she was sagging in places, body worn out from age & use, & she leaked frequently, & her joints creaked everytime she moved. She was showing her age. Her top needed work, & her heavy underside had seen better days. It was a risky undertaking to get all that work done, but my wife & I agreed that it was worth it. So we went ahead & got all the work she needed done."
Oh. My. Gawd! This was too much information! The dumbfounded looks on the faces of New Guy & Bud confirmed that I really did just hear the Captain describe his wife's body & all that was wrong with it. It was gross! I didn't want to hear the intimate details of Serenity's body!
I pride myself on being open minded. I try to be nonjudgmental & let people be. So long as it's consensual & no one is getting hurt, who am I to judge what other adults do in the privacy of their own homes? I make every effort to be understanding, but this? Oh hell, no! This was way beyond my comfort level!
It was just awful listening to the Captain describe his wife's problem areas. I did not have the fortitude to handle this kind of revelation. I wasn't drunk enough! I didn't want to hear about her sagging, leaky body, nor the the creaks that come from age & wear & tear over time! Blah! This was a horrible conversation! How the hell did we get here? How did it all go wrong?
As I futilely attempted to end the disturbing conversation or at least change the topic, the Captain went on, "She got a facelift, had the old worn parts of her body removed & replaced with newer parts, & she's been tightened in all the right places. No more leaks, creaks, & sagging. And she feels great every time I get up inside her."
Good lord! This was way too personal to share! I felt violated just listening to him brag about the results of all the work his wife had done. Seriously, this dude needed to stop drinking immediately! He was spilling top level marital secrets that should be taken to the grave! I didn't think this conversation could get any more disturbing. But I was wrong. So wrong!
The Captain said, "Y'all should come back tomorrow. We invited a few other people to join us for a good time. My friends really had a blast the last time they were all on top of Serenity. She had no problems taking them all on. She handled it like a pro. It was hours of fun. I reckon she's ready for more action, more fun."
What!?! I don't believe it! Was this freak asking us to join him & his wife in their kinky activities!?! For hours of fun!?! I honestly felt dirty & icky from the horrible revelations of this filthy conversation. Damn you, Viagra! Damn you for giving old pervs everywhere the ability to get & maintain erections!
I was completely discombobulated. And the shocked expressions on the faces of New Guy & Bud confirmed that I wasn't the only one horrified at this conversation. Then I thought, 'Oh.my.gawd! Does Sailor Jack know his dad & Serenity are kinky swingers? If not, do I tell him? Oh hell no!'
My brain was about to overload on how to process this disturbing information. Luckily, the Captain took off to return to his freaky wife with their freaky friends. We grabbed our drinks & returned to the grill where Sailor Jack was impatiently waiting for his drink.
"What the hell took y'all so long? Did you have to brew the beer yourselves?", he asked. He noticed we weren't replying, as we were too busy trying to erase the memory of the last conversation from our brains. The three of us were going to need to consume a hell of a lot more alcohol to kill the brain cells that held the memory of the traumatic conversation.
"What the hell is wrong with y'all?", asked Sailor Jack.
Bud & New Guy were still too traumatized to speak. So I did my best to relay what had happened without getting down to the dirty details. So I said, "Oh, we just ran into your Dad, & he was just telling us about the work that was done on Serenity. He seemed very proud."
"He should be," replied Sailor Jack, "It took a lot of work & money but she looks great! She looks so much better now than how she looked before the reconstruction work."
Dear gawd! Did Sailor Jack have the same nonchalant attitude of his father when it came to discussing personal, private matters? What happened to decorum? What happened to common decency? First the neighbors yell out their personal private matters, informing us of their tetherball t*tt*es & t*tty f*cking. Now the Captain brags about his wife's new & improved reconstructed body & freely shares their penchant for group sex! Good gawd! This neighborhood is full of pervs & has gone down to the filthy gutter!
I was taken aback by Sailor Jack's laid back attitude regarding his father & his father's wife. How much did he really know? Did I want to know? Nope. Did he care or was this normal for them? All I know is, this was too weird for me. I said, "I'm just not used to it."
Sailor Jack looked confused, "Not used to what?"
How do I say this in the most diplomatic way possible? I said, "Your Dad was telling us how much better Serenity is after all that work." I paused, not sure how to continue.
"I agree," said Sailor Jack, "She's so much better now."
Well, no getting around it. So I said, "It just feels weird hearing your Dad talk about Serenity like that," I paused again.
"Why does it feel weird?", asked Sailor Jack. He seemed genuinely confused. I figured. Aw, hell, I'm going to have to spill it out & go where I really don't want to go.
So I said, "He talked about how much he & his friends enjoyed Serenity the last time they got together, & he invited us to join them tomorrow for fun."
Sailor Jack said, "Yeah, that sounds like fun."
New Guy & Bud looked just as shocked as I was. Bud exclaimed, "You're okay with it!?!"
Sailor Jack answered, "Yeah. I've joined them twice all ready. It's a little nerve wrecking at first, but then it gets really exciting! We all ended up having a lot of fun."
Oh.my.gawd! The three of us gasped & our mouths dropped open when we heard Sailor Jack's answer. He had joined his father & Serenity twice, & it was fun!?! I was just stunned! Absolutely stunned! I was shocked to realize that I didn't know my friend as well as I thought! What the hell? I couldn't stop myself from blurting out, "You freaks! You people are Caligula! Dude! What the f*ck, man!?!"
Sailor Jack looked confused. "What the hell are you talking about?"
I said, "I'm talking about your kinky Dad bragging about enjoying his wife's new body & their swinging lifestyle! Then he invites us to join them tomorrow for a good time, & you're okay with this? And you've been with them twice!?! I don't know how to handle this!"
Sailor Jack raised an eyebrow & queried, "Dude what the hell are you talking about? When did my Dad tell you he & Serenity are swingers?"
"At the coolers! When we went to get the drinks! He was telling us how she was old, leaky, & creaky! Then he went on to say she's had a facelift, got tightened, & no longer leaks! He told us his friends also enjoyed her new & improved body!", I said.
Silence. Sailor Jack looked at us like we were crazy. Well we weren't. He & his freaky family were crazy! Suddenly, he burst out laughing. He laughed so hard that he was bent over & finally had to sit down on a bench, barely keeping himself from falling to the ground.
The three of us were confused. What the hell was so funny? This wasn't some sort of joke. If it was, it was elaborate for sure. I hoped it was a joke. Some sick joke. Any kind of joke would be great because it was too disturbing to be real!
Finally, Sailor Jack said between fits of laughter, "He wasn't talking about his wife!" He wasn't? Now we were confused. Sailor Jack continued, "He was talking about the boat! The used boat they got is named Serenity, after his wife! And they just got done fixing & renovating that boat. Now she doesn't leak & she looks great! The boat is now shipshape! They've all ready taken several people out on boat rides, & it's a lot of fun!"
The three of us suddenly realized our mistake. We misunderstood the Captain. He wasn't looking at his wife when he made his comments. He was looking at the boat behind his wife!
Oh, what a relief! The three of us suddenly joined Sailor Jack in his laughter. Now it made more sense. Thank gawd the Captain was talking about the boat & not his wife! Because if they really were freaky pervs as I had feared, I'd've need some time to sort out a proper response & figure out if I still wanted to hang out with them.
I'm gonna be honest, it would've been a difficult situation, but I'd like to think that I am evolved enough to deal with it. I'm sure that so long as it was consensual & didn't involve me in any way, then I could stay friends with them. I would just make sure to keep out of their private affairs. Thankfully, I don't have to deal that.
As we were winding down from laughing, Mrs. Bud & Countess showed up. I noticed New Guy immediately got up to greet Countess. Poor guy, smitten with the Countess, not knowing he was the fly & she was the spider, her web ready to ensnare those who made the mistake of getting too close.
Mrs. Bud asked Bud want was so funny. He replied, "We were just talking about the work that goes into keeping things shipshape." And that sent us into another fit of laughter as the girls looked perplexed at us.
Countess sat down next to me as New Guy went to fetch her a drink. I noticed in the corner of my eye that he kept looking at our direction. No doubt he was mesmerized by Countess's charms. Poor little fly, flying towards that inescapable spider web.
New Guy returned with Countess's drink just in time for us to hear the drunk foul mouthed neighbors next door start screaming at each other again. This time, it sounded like it was coming from the front of their house. Naturally, we gravitated to the side yard to hear the argument closer. How could we not when the lively argument began with the harpy cursing, "Go f*ck yourself you thoughtless piece of sh*t! I can't believe your stupid a$$ is leaving me to go hangout with your f*cking friends!"
"B*tch!," he screamed back, "I all ready done told you before that I was going on a campaign this weekend! I told you two weeks ago! Don't act all surprised now. I go to all your stupid sh*t! So let me go do mine!"
A campaign? I wondered if the drunk man worked in politics. It would explain the drinking & his needing to join his friends. It was probably for some political event. It was campaign season now. I almost felt sorry for the guy having a stressful job then dealing with a ranting crazy wife.
But then his wife yelled, "I hope you b*tches f*cking die!"
We gasped! "Oh, well that was harsh!", I said. The others nodded in agreement. I did not like this harpy at all!
But then the drunk man responded, "Whatever, b*tch!" He climbed into the passenger side of his friend/whore's vehicle, then he yelled out to the harpy, "We're off to Draenor. So f*ck off!"
At this point, the girls looked confused. Countess asked, "Where the heck is Draenor?"
"Just a dark portal away from Azeroth," I answered. The guys laughed, but the girls still look confused. So I explained, "It's from the World of Warcraft computer game."
The look of understanding dawned on the girls faces. Then it was replaced by incredulity. Mrs. Bud said, "Hold up. Are you saying he's leaving to go play video games with his friends?"
Bud answered, "Yeah. It's a multiplayer role playing game. They're probably going as a group on this campaign, & you need everyone working together to succeed."
"It's a freakin video game!", exclaimed Countess.
"It requires tactics & planning, working as a team to successfully complete the quests & win the campaign", I said.
The girls still looked unconvinced. Countess said, "It's a freakin video game. I can't believe he actually left her to go play video games with his friends."
Sailor Jack said, "The man all ready told her of his plans two weeks ago. These campaigns take time & effort to coordinate with the other players on your team. It makes sense they'd pick a holiday weekend to undergo a campaign. It's probably the only time they have to maximize their game time & success."
Mrs. Bud said, "Still, it seems kind of silly to run off to play games with your friends & leave your wife behind."
I said, "Hey, some people go fishing, others go hunting. These fellas probably kill invading, murderous orcs. I suppose you have to appreciate teamwork & adaptability to appreciate the game."
"Are you saying we don't understand teamwork & adaptability?", challenged Countess.
"I'm saying it's a game that requires strategy & skills, teamwork & planning to succeed. If you can share & show those values with your friends, then you'll appreciate the game", I said.
The girls were quiet. I took that as a victory for successfully defending gamers everywhere. Gamers deserve the same respect as knitting circles, athletic leagues, & gardening clubs. It was an activity that required problem solving, creativity, stratagem, & adaptability. It was also a whole lot of fun. Too much for me, which is why I don't play video games as much anymore. I developed an addiction to video games & lost productive hours, hooked on the screen & game console. Video games fed my competitive nature & I craved winning, & I was high on successfully playing these games, sometimes for days on end.
Luckily, I was able to recognize that I was devoting way too much time to video games & cut myself off from developing an unhealthy attachment to gaming. Though, I may not play as much video games as I used to, I can still appreciate the value of the games, especially when they involve a coordinated team effort compromising of diverse players from all over the world, working together to overcome the challenges & achieve their goals.
I thought that my arguments for the value of the games clearly demonstrated my proficient skills in defending my position & outmaneuvering my opponents. But before the night was over, I'd be reminded that I wasn't the only player in town. Soon enough, I would be engaged in a campaign battle that took planning, strategy, & tactics to a whole other level.
I didn't know it then, but a guerilla war was taking place. The enemy had moved against me without warning, hidden in plain sight, & they struck at me when I least expected it. And whether I survived & overcame my enemies or perished in the struggle would depend on how far I was willing to go & how much I was willing to risk to win at any cost.
Loose Lips Sink Ships Act I: Cast Off
Loose Lips Sink Ships Act III: Safe Harbor
Loose Lips Sink Ships Act IV: Homecoming