1 comment

Holiday Funny Adventure

“Stay on Garden State Parkway for 14 miles, then turn left.” 

The GPS said over the bluetooth, interrupting Emily’s driving playlist consisting of Lizzo, Panic! At The Disco, and Post Malone. They were almost at the end of a four and a half hour trip from the rural areas of downstate New York to the Jersey Shore. 

Her ride-or-die and today’s road trip buddy and navigator was Francesca, her college roommate from freshman year. They were meeting up with Kayla, their suitemate from sophomore year on. She lived in Virginia but they had all gone to the same college in small town Pennsylvania. They graduated last year and promised they would go on a trip when they all had some money. This time was perfect, taxes had just hit their accounts. 

“I can’t wait to see Kay! She dyed her hair back to red, she posted it on Instagram,” Francesca turned her phone screen toward Emily. 

“It probably looks a bit different by now.” 

Francesca turned her screen back to her and continued scrolling. 

“Franny, you haven’t put your phone down this whole trip. Look outside! Look, there’s like water channels or something. Are those people fishing?” Emily pointed to a truck pulled into the grass on the side of the highway. Two people were standing in the water a few paces from it. 

Francesca turned her phone screen off and looked outside the SUV window. “I didn’t know they could have a boat dock thing in the middle of the marsh.” 

“Marina. Is the word you’re looking for. And neither did I.” 

 They drove past a marina with docks on either side of the parking lot and small fishing boats tied down with flimsy-looking ropes. A little further down they saw a marina and restaurant all tied together in one. Other restaurants started to fill in on either side. A lobster shack, crabs, boat and tackle. 

Soon, they say a sign, “Welcome to the Wildwoods!” 

“We made it!” Francesca took her sunglasses off the top of her head and secured them on the bridge of her nose. “Have you ever been to the ocean?” 

“When I was three. You?” 

“Never. But Kayla came here last year.” 

In front of the car a giant sign rose in front of the horizon. “Wildwoods.” It was decorated with balls in front painted like beach balls. 

“This is so cute,” Francesca snapped a picture of it. “We are definitely all getting a selfie in front of that later.” 

Emily was paying attention to the GPS directions. She turned left, on a road that ran parallel to the ocean, but couldn’t help but stare at the waves in front of them. Their hotel was the next road over, a glittery little motel with a tiny pool in front. They parked in front and got out. 

“What’s that smell?” Francesca sniffed the air. 

“I think that’s the ocean,” Emily opened the trunk and put her duffle bag over her shoulder. The only nature smell she could identify immediately was cow manure.  

“Kay is already checked in, she said room 218.” Francesca led the way up the stairs that overlooked the pool and knocked on the door marked 218. 

It swung open, and a very red-headed Kayla in a bikini that hardly contained her chest bounced on the balls of her feet. 

“You made it!” She threw her arms around the two girls in front of her and ushered them into the room. 

The room they had gotten was a little more expensive, since it had two beds and a kitchenette. A table and four chairs sat pushed against a wall with a small TV against the opposite. The minifridge and kitchenette, with a two-burner stove and microwave, was just outside the bathroom. 

“This is it?” Francesca asked as they walked in. 

Kayla shrugged as she looked around at the faded-teal drapes and matching furniture. “It’s not much but who cares! We’ll be on the beach and boardwalk for the next two days.” She gestured to the view outside their bay window. The waves crashed behind the boardwalk as people walked and biked along it’s boards. 

“The bedroom is past there,” Kayla pointed to the open door past the kitchenette. 

Two full-sized beds nestled into either back corner of the room with an end table and single lamp on top. Kayla had a suitcase and tote on one of the beds as Francesca and Emily had agreed to share a bed for the two nights they were staying at the motel. The two new arrivals set their bags on the bed and surveyed the room. 

“So, time for the beach?” Kayla leaned against the doorframe. 

“Can we get a little unpacked first?” Emily giggled and opened a drawer of the white and teal painted dresser. 

“Screw unpacking, beach time!” Francesca pulled her bikini out of her bag and slid her tank top off over her head. 

Kayla walked over to her bed and tucked a beach towel, sunscreen, and sunglasses into the tote on the bed. 

“Where are our beach towels?” Emily asked.

“Oh, I brought this one form home. You guys didn’t?” She shry=ugged, “You can use one of the pool towels from downstairs I guess.” 

Francesca held her bikini top against her chest and turned her back toward Kayla. “Can you tie me up? Make it tight.” 

As Francesca finished up, Emily grabbed her bundle of a bikini and walked to the bathroom. It was a little old, as she’s had it for five years and only worn it three times. Lakes were more her style, and even then she’d often just jump in in her shorts and bra. 

When she left the bathroom and put her travel clothes on the bed, Francesca and Kayla were ready with sandals and sunglasses. Emily slipped her flip flops on and followed the girls outside. Kayla handed Emily the spare key. 

“Wait, we don’t get a keycard thing?” Francesca asked as she looked at the key.

Kayla shrugged and walked down the stairs to the pool area to grab two extra towels. The entrance to the boardwalk was across the road and a short parking lot. Emily walked down the steps and stopped on the last one while Kayla and Francesca bounded ahead. She slipped her foot out of her flip flop and slowly lowered it into the sand. Her toes were enveloped in warmth that made her smile. Emily picked up her flip flops and ran after her friends. 

She ran into their backs and threw her hands in the air, “Wildwood!” 

“Wildwood!” The other two chorused in and started running with her. 

They laid their towels out on the already crowded beach and threw their bags on top of the towels. Kayla whipped out the sunscreen and started rubbing it on her hands and shoulders before extending it to Francesca. 

“No way,” Francesca shook her head. “I want to get tan!” 

“You’re going to regret that tomorrow but whatever, your skin cancer.” Kayla handed the bottle to Emily, who took it and lathered herself up. 

Francesca laid out on the too-short towel and threw her arms behind her head to support it. Emily pulled out a book and laid on her stomach with it spread out in front of her while Kayla powered up her portable speaker. After a while of talking and catching up, they decided to try out the water. 

It lapped against Emily’s legs as it rushed and retreated. Her feet sunk into the wet sand as she walked into the water. Kayla waded thigh-high into the water, keeping steady against the waves with her strong legs. 

“Franny, get your ass in the water,” Kayla laughed as Francesca teetered on the shore. 

Emily walked forward to join Kayla, the water cool and warm at the same time. The smell of salt almost overwhelming by this point. She smiled and walked past Kayla. 

“Careful, Em. The wind is picked up a bit.” 

“I got this!” 

Emily kept walking into the waves, bobbing with them until she was standing on her toes. She turned around to face the shore.

“Come on, scaredy cats!” 

A wave formed behind her, pulling her feet off the bottom. She flailed a little to regain her floating position on the surface. Another wave formed behind her, but broke over her head, crashing down on top of her. She gasped as she was submerged underwater and took in a mouthful of salt water. After pinwheeling in the water for half a minute, she emerged from the current, twenty feet in front of where she had gone down. 

Kayla and Francesca ran to her and each grabbed one of her arms to drag her to shore as she coughed up sea water. 

“Alright,” she said in between coughs. “I think I got ahead of myself.” 

The girls spent the rest of the afternoon basking in the sun, until their bellies started to growl. 

“Time for boardwalk food,” Kayla shook her beach towel out as the other two stood and stretched. 

“Boardwalk food?” Francesca asked. 

“Oh yeah! Greasy, overpriced, delicious.” 

Back at the motel room, Francesca turned back and forth in the vanity mirror. 

“I’m a lobster!” 

“I told you to use the sunscreen, dumbass.” Kayla shuffled through her bag for shorts and a tank top suitable for rides on the pier. 

Fransesca cast one last sad look at herself in the mirror before getting herself  a pair of shorts and shirt, “I guess I just have to get drunk tonight.” 

“If you vomit on a ride I’m pretending I don’t know you.” Emily pulled out a pair of jeans and crop top from her own bag. 

After a few minutes brushing their hair and adjusting their faces for the night, they headed out the motel door again. The boardwalk was rickety, with new planks of wood striping old strips. People on bikes petaled by and the echo of “Watch the tram car, please.” echoed over the water. 

Emily almost fell as someone shouldered into her and kept walking past her. 

“Oh yeah, you’ll have to be fast and careful on the boardwalk. People have placed to be,” Kayla started surveying the food spots tucked in between discounted clothing shops. 

After walking for almost twenty minutes, the trio finally decided on loaded hotdogs. Melted cheese, bacon bits, caramelized onions, mushrooms, Francesca almost died of happiness after her first bite. They walked past photo booths, arcades, piercing and tattoo shops on their way to the pier. A giant ferris wheel with RGB lights loomed in front of them. 

“Oh, we are so going on,” Francesca pulled Emily by the hand and with her other hand took another bite of her hotdog.

The line was long, but it let the girls plan their next few rides. They wanted to go on the swinging ship, high swings, and scrambler before hitting up the big roller coasters. While in line, a longer line for a ferris wheel than Emily had ever been in, even at the state fair, so many people walked past them. Emily heard different languages, saw toddlers to elders, and of course, a variety of outfits, all before they finally got on the ferris wheel. They soared high in the air, their faces lighting with different colors from the RGB strips on the bars. 

“Guys, look at the view of the ocean from here.” Emily rested her elbows on the edge of their car and watched the waves form and crash.

“Can I pick a vacation spot, or can I pick a vacation spot?” Kayla tossed her red hair behind her shoulder. 

“Well, the question is, where can we get some drinks around here?” Francesca scanned the food and beverage stalls on the midway below them. 

After the ferris where, they tried out a few of the smaller rides. Francesca got herself an alcoholic Arnold Palmer and sipped it happily while the other two decided to wait until after the roller coasters. They walked around until they got at the first one they wanted to try. A wooden coaster with about 20 bumps following the first big drop. 

“I never trust the wooden coasters,” Emily let out a laugh as they were buckled in. 

“Neither do I, isn’t that what makes them the most fun?” Kayla laughed beside her. 

Francesca had finished her drink, which was a pint when they first got it, and sat staring out the side of the car. It took off, shuttering and jolting as the chair pulled them upwards. 

“Put your hands up!” Kayla held one of each of their hands. “Here we go!” 

The coaster rounded the top and let the car go. It banked right and spiraled downwards until it encountered their next bump. Emily felt like a sea serpent, in and and out of the water and twisting whichever way. Both Emily and Kaayla were giddy with laughter when the ride jarred to a halt at the station. Francesca didn’t feel the same. 

Her face was pale and she was holding her stomach. As the attendant let her out, she ran to the railing and heaved the entire contents of her stomach onto the sand below the pier. 

Kayla played with her hair and rubbed her back, “This is why I waited to get a drink” 

Emily and Kayla stumbled back to the hotel with Francesca being supported in between them. Crowds before them parted as soon as they saw the drool and vomit dripping from her chin. The elevator was slow but they finally carried her across the threshold of their motel room and laid her on the couch. 

“I’ll get a water bottle,” Kayla walked to the mini fridge. 

“I’ll get a bucket.” 

After they had Francesca all set up on the couch, snoozing away, Kayla looked at her watch. “It’s only 9:30.” 

Emily looked outside and shrugged, “Beers and mini golf?” 

“You genius s-o-b, I’m in!” 

The mini golf course was two blocks away from their motel, in perfect view of the “Wildwoods” sign and beach ball decorated sidewalks. They paid for a game and a beer each and started on their way. 

“Now, if I remember correctly, you have shit aim.” Kayla lined up her shot on the lighthouse hole. She sank it. 

Emily dipped her head, “Nope, you’re right. But you forget from beer pong that once I get some alcohol in me, my aim just gets worse!” She took a large swig of her drink and aimed for the tiny hold in the lighthouse. She straight missed and bonked off the side, rolling back toward the start of the hole. It took her six more swings to sink it as Kayla laughed from the sideline. 

“Should we just declare me the winner now?” 

They finished the course and sat down with fresh beers outside the ticket counter. The sound of people, music, and crashing waves floating around them louder than the harvest festival festivities every fall.

“Well, what do you think about your first time on the beach?” Kayla asked and tipped the bottle of her beer bottle toward Emily. 

Emily nodded and thumbed the label of hers. “I think it went pretty well, Francesca aside.” 

“Francesca always aside. That girl goes hard out the gate.” 

“That she does,” Emily laughed and took a sip. “What about you? Enjoying yourself?”

“I have my girls, beer, and a gorgeous tan on its way. What do you think?” 

“I think the tan will take away the intensity of your hair.” 

Kayla threw her head around, swinging her hair back and forth, “Then I’ll just find another color!” 

Emily laughed at her friend and looked out across the water. Tomorrow was their only full day on the Jersey Shore. They had done so much already she wasn’t sure what more they could do! But, she couldn’t wait to find out. Tomorrow Jersey, Sunday back home.

September 13, 2020 19:50

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

1 comment

Charles Stucker
21:47 Sep 20, 2020

"She shry=ugged, " typo "People have placed to be,” places "After the ferris where," wheel "as the chair pulled them upwards." chain "in and and out of the water" get rid of the extra and This is a very light story, just some college friends having fun on vacation. Your scenes are well done, each giving a vivid impression of what occurs. But I don't see any overall plot, any source of tension, or any of the elements I associate with adventure. As a character study, it is fair. You show elements of the different girl's attitude...


Show 0 replies