We’re in Tomah, Wis. We’d hoped to get as far as Madison, but we’re all beat from two hard, long days, and Melani saw the sign on the side of the road: “Econolodge. 24-hour pool.” I think it was even hyphenated, so, y’know, bonus.
Swimming with the kids, I met a soldier stationed at a base near here. He’s training fresh boys, but there’s no more room in the barracks, so the poor soul and his three underlings have to stay here in the hotel with the pool. We had a good chat in the hot tub while he sipped a Budweiser, talking about how army guys hate journalists and how many journalists really do want to tell the story – we didn’t get political and we didn’t argue about what the real story might be. He was a sweet guy and when Melani and I went back to the pool once the kids were in bed, I was hoping he was still there – I felt stupid because during our conversation I blanked on the name Petawawa and I wanted to redeem myself.
He wasn’t there, but his buddy Rob was. Rob was drinking, too, which was okay because I’d gone to the car for my last can of Alexander Keiths.
He gets in the hot tub right after me and after a quick introduction (he’s from New York, and his mom’s French Canadian), his leg is suddenly right under mine. The water’s buoyant, though; it can happen. As I generally do in these situations, I just sorta freeze up, but my eyes widen a bit when he’s suddenly playing footsie with me. I tactfully move away and there’s a huge burst of bubbles from his crotch region.
“It’s the jets!” he promises. “My pants just fill right up. I oughtta take ’em right off.”
Melani shows up then and he’s overjoyed that I’ve brought a friend. “Isn’t this just your lucky day?” I suggest, and he’s all smiles. Smiles and footsie.
“They’re filling up again!” he announces and grabs my hand. “Feel this!”
“You want me to feel your pants?”
And because I’m halfway through my beer, of course I do, and off course the air that’s built up inside them releases and there’s bubbles all over.