I think this is a short story. I don't remember, I haven't been in high school English class in a while.
Lather, Rinse, Umbrella Drinks.
He turns to me and asks,” Have you seen this one Family Guy…”
“I hate it when you start sentences like that.” I interrupt. No, I wasn’t supposed to fall for an improv actor. Especially not an improv actor on a cruise ship.
I had seen him perform. The show was fun because jokes about seasickness and buffets are always topical; at least they were topical on a cruise. Later, he was teaching an intro to improv class in the Stardream Lounge.
To the class, I deliberately wore a bright sundress to distract from the minefield of inflamed acne that had erupted on my back. He was friendly, funny and fleshy. He had an unparalleled smile, meaning his teeth were not parallel, that they were a bit askew. As the class finished and the ships’ elders dispersed, he said to me, “You look young and fun.” “And you are husky and observant,” I answer back baiting him with a smile. He returned the grin with his lips stretching around his two rows of linearly challenged teeth.
In lounge chairs on the Lido deck, we exchanged the predictable autobiographical details. Then we found ourselves, correction, found myself whipping out my ship card to purchase two rum concoctions in bright pink cups festooned with umbrellas and pineapples. My bacne was starting to itch from the sun, but I refused to scratch it to avoid an incident with pus and blood so soon in a date.
One fruit-lined rum drink lead to another and then to five, now that I was ambitious, I leaned forward to kiss him but ended up grazing his cheek in a drive-by snogging. “Follow me,” he said so clichéd-ly with a wink that almost distracted me from his rickety pirate teeth. He walked toward the elevators. “Not in the elevators!” I whisper in a sudden display of conservatism. “We’ll take the stairs,” he answered again with that wink that I was starting to think might be a facial tick.
In the movies, we would have slid laughingly down the banisters together. In reality, my fruity rum buzz and lust for mediocre comedy were waning with every series of endless stairs. So many staircases, I regretted my prudishness towards the elevators, at least then the zits on my back wouldn’t have been flaring up from the sweat. We finally reached the last stair, the last stair on the ship; there was no further down we could go. I felt like I was on the bottom of the ocean, and yet I was still somehow on a cruise ship. We had reached his cabin. Yes, cabins on cruise ships are small, but this was a water closet. There were four beds, two on the floor, two lofted and eight inches separating them.
“Are we at camp?” I ask.
“If by camp you mean Poseidon’s sex dungeon,” He improvises so wittily. Then, his distorted dentals were at me. Soon my lips grew tired of dodging Stonehenge and since I was already on the bed and my sundress was on floor we move toward deeper waters. He explored my coastline and I discovered his mast was just as crooked as his smile.
Afterwards and after-glowing he rubs his hand on my back as if to read the Braille that was my bacne asked what my sign was. It was such a retro question, I wondered if the tidal pool betwixt my legs had become a time warp. I looked over at him and he just smiled his imprecise, boulder toothed smile and replied, “Have you seen this one Family Guy…?”