- Deadwood Soldiers Take a Cruise!
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We were somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, between Puerto Vallarta and Puerto Quetzal, and Tyler wanted to go ice skating. It was a little before midnight.
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I don't know. It's hard to to keep track of the hours at sea when you've been drinking.
I told Tyler it was a bad idea, but I didn't try to stop him. It's easy to sneak around on a cruise ship. No one cares what you do, and at least half the people onboard are shitfaced at any given moment. And anyway, watching Tyler try to skate drunk seemed like a fun thing to do.
We tipped Carl, our favorite bartender at the Royal Flying Viking Lounge, and stumbled out into the warm tropical night. Darkness. The white noise of the ship's engines. The teens-only disco on the deck below long since shut down for the night.
"The rink is down on deck two, right, next to the Broadway Dreams Theater?" "Yeah … I think?" We passed Shogun's Sushi and the Windjammer Cafe and were briefly tempted by the kids' Candyland Carousel, but Tyler pulled a tallboy of Heineken from deep within his cargo shorts and we soldiered on. "Soldiered on." Ha.
We took the elevator down past decks thirteen through six, the creepy residential decks that look like the hotel from The Shining, and got off at deck five. We wanted to see if the Pig and Whistle—which is an authentic British pub—was still open. It wasn't, which was a pretty authentic touch, so we broke into the ice-cream parlor, Sundae's Best. Tyler came out with a giant cardboard cylinder of ice cream, Caribbean Chocolate Hurricane, some of it already on his shirt. My heroic husband.
We started gulping down ice cream but got spooked by faraway sounds of laughter. Down the stairs to deck four. The casino deck. The casino deck is always open. Tyler doesn't like the casino because of the lights, because of the noise. I don't really like it either because of the sad fat fucks who sit there all day and all night, ignoring the ocean and nature. At least we can take in views of the jungle coast from our barstools in the Royal Flying Viking. We can sit there and imagine a lone jaguar making a long journey through the thick, dark jungle, coming to the edge of the forest, dizzied by the endless, sparkling brightness of the ocean and the sky, looking out across the water and seeing us, this giant object, moving across his field of vision. Hi, jaguar! And when they open all the windows in the Flying Viking, the sea air rushes through and it's beautiful. The fucking casino deck might as well be on the outskirts of Reno.
The ice cream was almost all melted into soup, so we left it at the casino entrance. [End Page 152]
Anyway. At least there's a bar on the casino deck.
We had a couple shots at the Haunted Schooner—Jack or Jim or Jose, I can't remember—and headed down to deck three. Did you know that a "schooner" is both a kind of boat and a kind of beer glass? I didn't know that.
You can see the ice rink from a balcony on deck three. We sat down, our legs dangling through the railings like little kids watching a grown-up party from the top of the stairs. The rink was quiet. Perfect. Like coming upon a bright frozen lake after walking through the dark woods. Tyler was covered in chocolate ice cream and appeared to be somewhere in the middle of a slow-motion sugar crash, though maybe the buckets of alcohol had something to do with it, too. Oh, Tyler. Sweet Tyler.
Then, a loud bang, maybe the slam of a security door, echoed across the ice. That's when Tyler lost it.
We were making a run from Tikrit to the hospital in Samarra...