PADDLEBOAT-PETE-Danny-Jock-censor-690

A BLOWJOB IS PROBABLY OUT OF THE QUESTION, EH?

Peter Thompson

15.04.13

Jenna was eager to go to the nudist club. Of course, she didn’t know it was a nudist club––I had advertised it to her as a resort out in the desert, like Palm Springs––The kind of place where she could definitely get a facial. I had never been there, either, but I didn’t want to go alone. Besides, nudist clubs are notoriously reluctant when it comes to letting single men inside, for obvious reasons.

The Buff Valley Sun Club would’ve let a car load of drunk frat guys in, provided they each had the $16 day fee.

I thought it would be fun, like a strip club with very lazy employees.

Anyhow, I was just along for the ride. That’s what I told myself. I had kind of a weird erection for most of the trip up but I wasn’t sure that it was going to be of any use to me. We were about 20 minutes outside of Barstow and it was 114 degrees outside according to the tallest thermometer in the world and we weren’t exactly lost but we were losing focus fast.

We were the kind of couple who could drive five hours to get somewhere and then turn right around and drive home at the first sign of any possible hassle or at the slightest hint of adversity, like if we’d have to pay for parking. It wasn’t a cheapness thing, it was more of a mental illness thing.

And Jenna was good at picking up on vibes. She had no trouble aborting any mission if something didn’t the way she had pictured it in her head. I tried to get her to read some Baudrillard where he talks about simulacra so she could at least enjoy her madness, but she didn’t have a favorable feel about the feel and printing smell of the book.

We were driving along old Route 66 and there were exactly zero kicks left to be had on the old highway. Most of the businesses had long closed up or had turned into economic dandelion spores by Interstate 40 and simply blown back and the building materials all returned to the creeping desert.

There were a bullet holes in the road signs. Somebody had painted a “1” and a “0” in front of the 45 mph speed limit sign, making the unofficial speed limit a hilariously unobtainable 1,045 mph. We were doing 20. There was really nothing anywhere.

Nothing. Nothing. Nothing.

Then there was something. Well, sort of something. It looked like something. As we approached we could see that it was, in fact, something with a parking lot and there was even a tour bus parked outside. The building was red and looked like it had been built with all the salvageable wood after a barn fire. A sign on the outside said Bagdad Café. The nudist resort was around here somewhere. I could smell the sun tan lotion.

“Let’s go inside and ask them where the Club is,” I said.

“I dunno” she said, wearily. “Let’s just go home.”

“Can we at least go inside and get something to drink,” I said. “I’m dying.”

There were a couple other cars outside and the people milling about the bus were speaking French and taking souvenir pictures of in front of the sad façade.

Inside you could hear the air conditioner sputtering trying to keep up with the heat.

“That’s a swamp cooler,” said the woman at the door filing her nails.

People were thwcking themselves with paper fans. It was the same temperature inside as outside, except inside it was humid and full of bugs.

Jenna relented at the door. “I don’t think…”

A fly circled my head and landed on my shoulder. A second fly followed a similar flight path but instead of landing, made passes around my left ear. A third fly was moving toward me. I pulled Jenna by the hand.

Jenna made that same face whenever we had to stay at a Motel 6 or a Super 8 and she had to use the bathroom.

“We don’t have to spend the night,” I said. “Let’s just get something to drink. And maybe a burger.”

We took a booth and a guy with long white hair in a neat ponytail and dirty fingernails came to give us our menus. Only they weren’t menus. They were old copies of a newspaper story with his picture. Something from the local paper. It called him the Duke of Gloustenbury. After a minute he collected the hand-outs.

“Look at his fingernails,” said Jenna.

The Duke had a book full of other news clippings with him, most of which were musty and yellow. He sat across from us with a grin on pause.

Jenna nudged me.

I got the waitress’s attention and she brought us two menus. These too were less menus than they were filthy pieces of copy paper with a list of things they had to eat at one point. A lot of the items had been crossed off at one time and then brought back and re-crossed off later.

Mine had some kind of soup spilled in the corner and someone had apparently blown their nose on Jenna’s copy.

We ordered cheeseburgers and Cokes and it was already assumed that Jenna wasn’t going to touch hers.

“I’ll have a coffee,” said the old man in a vaguely British accent. He opened his book and placed it in front of us. His blue eyes sparkled.

“My aunt is the Queen of England,” he said. “You wouldn’t have guessed that in a hundred years, would you have?” He turned his head to show us his profile as though that would help us make the connection and establish some kind of final proof.

Out of habit, Jenna kicked the man hard under the table.

His eyes rolled back in his head.

Her face turned crimson when she realized her mistake. “Sorry, dude” she said. “I meant to kick Peter.”

I thought maybe she had killed him. The old man’s face was that kind of deep, almost dyed leathery brown that comes after decades of desert sun worship. Like a saddle of a baseball glove.

I tried to rouse the old man. “Your majesty?” I said.

Our Cokes came. They tasted like they were cut with dishwater before the waitress spit in them.

“Don’t mind the Duke,” said the waitress. “He’s all right.”

I wasn’t sure if she meant he’s okay or he’s cool.

His eyes were still closed and he didn’t appear to be breathing.

I slid his book of clippings over and opened it to the middle. There was an old picture of the British royal family.

The headline above the picture said something about a row, but they were in a boat, so again, I wasn’t sure if it was a story about the royals having an argument or going for a boat ride.

“Since when is there a black guy in the British Monarchy?” said Jenna, sucking on an ice cube.

“This is getting kinda weird,” I said. “It’ll be nice to just go relax and sit by the pool over at the Sun Club.”

Our burgers came. They were pretty rare. She smiled as she delivered them then turned around and yelled “The dang stove is broken again!” She was calling to somebody in the back.

“Enjoy,” she said, dropping off a bottle of Hire’s ketchup.

The French people seemed to be having the time of their lives. This place was apparently some kind of religious shrine to them. If you’ve never seen French people enjoying themselves, it looks like they’ve suddenly been told they will be getting paid for farting and smelling each other’s farts. They look perfectly pleased.

“Something’s wrong with my burger,” said Jenna.

The waitress dropped off the bill.

“I ordered a Coke,” I said.

“We don’t have Coke,” she said.

The Duke sort of sniffled and then seemed to jump back into his body. His eyes opened and he smiled.

“Do you know where the Sun Club is?” I said. “We’re a little bit lost.”

“Go right and take the second right. I’m a member myself,” he said then winked at Jenna.

Jenna kicked me this time. Hard.

My weird erection was long since passed away.

The old man got up to show a newly arrived couple his book of clippings. “Have you kids ever heard of The Great Gildersleeve?” he said, taking a seat in their booth.

“I’m going to kill you,” said Jenna, pretending to take a bite of her burger and spitting it at me.

I wiped it away with my napkin, which turned out to be an old cash register receipt.

More French people came in.

Apparently, they had made a movie that supposedly took place here in the late 80s starring some beloved Euro actress and Jack Palance.

“I can’t eat this,” said Jenna. “Let’s go home.”

I looked at the check. Our meal was $37.

We left the Bagdad Café and turned where the Duke had said the Sun Club was.

We came to a structure that resembled a 19th century territorial army fort surrounded by a 12 foot wooden wall. Outside was a black telephone. I picked it up and the high gate opened.

“Hello?” I said into the phone. Nobody answered.

“Awesome,” said Jenna.

The first thing we saw inside the nudist resort was a man-made lake with two islands, connected by a bridge. It was a beautiful oasis. Crowded with naked dudes. They were loud and bossy, like sea lions on a pier. A ring of broken down RVs and fifth wheels surrounded the place. It was like half golf course half junk yard.

“Ugh,” said Jenna. “Where the hell have you taken me?”

“It’s not so … bad,” I said.

There were two smiling, sun baked people coming toward us at top speed in a golf cart. The woman held a shotgun. They were both naked.

The man wore nothing but a pair of Oakley iridium sunglasses––the kind that Mexican baseball players wear.

The woman wore nothing, unless you count her hair, which looked like someone had shaved a Golden retriever and stapled the dog’s golden mop onto a mannequin head.

“Get out of the truck,” they said.

“I’m going to kill you,” said Jenna.

“I’m Jimmer Twicks and this is my wife Bobby Mason-Twicks,” the man said, extending his hand. Jimmer Twicks had an ass chin.

We shook.

“I’m Peter and this is my girlfriend, Jenna,” I said.

Jimmer gave Jenna the once over.

I couldn’t get below Bobby Mason-Twicks’ neck. Her face was tiny, like an apple left on a radiator.

There appeared to be about a dozen naked men wandering around the compound.

“That’ll be $32 and that’s good until 6 p.m. So you’ve got a couple hours to check the place out,” said Bobby Mason-Twicks. “Don’t be shy, neither. It’s considered an insult if you walk around clothed. Somebody liable to pop you,” she said to Jenna.

All we wanted to do was get the hell out of there. But it had to be delicate. For some reason, neither one of us wanted to jump back in the car and take off. For one thing, we couldn’t. The gate was controlled by somebody inside. We were trapped.

“Have a look around and come to the clubhouse and come see us. Spend the night.”

“Okay,” I said.

“This is how the Scientologists do it,” whispered Jenna.

We walked toward the lake, Jenna gripping my hand for the purpose of causing pain. A swarm of naked men began to follow us, some just leering at Jenna but actually stroking their pricks. One guy actually had his tongue out, furiously tugging at his trunk.

“That Bobby Mason-Twix is something,” I said. “Do you know who her aunt is?”

“I’m scared,” said Jenna. “Seriously.”

We came to the shore of the lake. There was a paddleboat. Without any discussion, we both climbed in and shoved off, as if paddling would help us make a getaway. We paddled around the lake, checking out the scenery, looking for a water route out of the compound.

Three men were lined up at the edge of the lake looking at us through binoculars.

“Get comfy,” I said. “Why don’t you take your shirt off.”

Jenna smacked me.

The main gate opened up again. A van rolled inside and parked next to my Jeep.

Five guys got out, binoculars around their necks, shirts, but no pants.

“Shirtcockers,” I said.

“Shirtcockers?” said Jenna. She sighed. “You’re probably gonna get raped, too.”

This seemed very likely.

“If we’re lucky, they’ll kill us afterwards.”

After a few more minutes trolling around in the paddleboat, Jenna reached into her purse and pulled out her cell phone. She dialed. “Hello,” she said. “Daddy? We’re in trouble. What? A nudist club. With Peter. Yes. I know.”

“Fuck,” I thought.

She hung up. “He’ll be here in three hours,” she said. “He is very displeased. Those were his words. ‘Very displeased.’”

My eyes rolled up as if trying to think of somewhere they could hide.

There was nowhere. Nothing to do except wait it out in the middle of the pond on the paddleboat with Jenna.

I took off my shirt and pants and then my underwear.

Jenna picked them up, wadded them together and tossed them into the lake.

I thought for a couple minutes. Well, at least I had my title.

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